RPGs and Story Telling: The Worlds


Oh lord, the worlds. After I’ve finished reading through the character sheets and looking at how characters are built in the game, it’s time to look at the rest of the book. And that’s where worlds are born and live.

This is one of the power of systems designed to translate across multiple settings. It’s what GURPS tried so nobly to get right, though I found it often got lost in all the rules. It’s what Fate Core has achieved thus far.

I used to buy those old GURPS books. Never played the game much, but the books were fantastic resources. They would take a setting, such as Steampunk, or pulp adventure, or Discworld, and walk through not only new rules for the location, but go through the major points of the genre. The essential stories, the essential movies. They weren’t about creating restrictions, they were about showing how the base rules could be expanded, and how to tell stories in these worlds.

That’s what running a game is, after all. It’s telling stories. This isn’t advice to grab these books and start telling stories entirely in these worlds. Unless you’ve been properly licensed to do so, in which case you certainly aren’t reading this. But this is advice to grab books set in interesting worlds, and find the bits that interest you. Grab the books that are guides through a genre, and follow their examples.

Or, just grab the books at random. Like I’ve been doing through Bundle of Holding. Look through them, and find the bits that interest you. Find the things that make the worlds fun or unique. Take small bits, change them around, make them your own.

And then, once you’re done checking out the character sheets, creation, and reading about the world…maybe grab some dice and a pencil and actually play one of the games. Cause that’s fun, too.

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