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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Giegue's Avatar

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    Default Do you do research for your worlds?

    As the title asks. I am VERY slowly in the process of creating a rather expansive setting that will be used both for possible future campaigns as well as a possibly novel/story series that I'm writing out of boredom and just because I want to. This setting is heavily inspired by Japanese mythology and as a result I have been doing serious research to get things right. I want the setting to be an accurate reflection of the mythology and not just a bunch of cliche's like WOCs OA books where, so I've slowly been doing research in my spare time to get everything right. It is, despite it's basis in Japanese mythology a science-fantasy setting, featuring Oni and Kitsune and such alongside high technology and the whole world is kinda a blend of cyberpunk, the tropes and conventions of anime and JRPGs and Japanese mythology and even some historical and cultural elements...but that's beside the point.

    The main thing I'm asking is how much research are you willing to do for a setting? Admittedly I am more motivated to do research for this setting because it's also going to be used in stories of mine, however, I still feel that without the research the setting would not be the same. So, do you ever do research for settings? If so, how much? Or are you just to lazy, hence why there is a lack of non-western campaign settings out there?

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I research as much as needed for world-building, even if it's a ton of material to go through. Everything from climatology to historical parallels, works of fiction, to even this very subforum! That said, sometimes I just wing it when reality goes against my wishes, since rule of cool trumps all.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I do very large amounts of research. But I don't use it all that often in a verbatim manner. It is often the case that I've found that boring into some random detail has given me an insight or new idea that I can apply to major aspects of a culture. If you are trying to get a direct insperation of a culture it is the details that will make it feel that way unless you play on googlemaps. But then I also find research adddictive. I've done entire analysis of which breeds of cow/sheep/goats/horses/dogs etc could be found the various 5 Nations of Eboerron or the Domains in Ravenloft. . . but the key is figuring out how to USE that research to enhance the gameplay. I found lots of research leads me to lots of interesting details that can paint very powerful imagery that lends a very local feel, as well as give me lots of cool adventure ideas.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2012-10-02 at 03:15 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I do no research at all.
    But I never base any parts of my settings on mythology, and try to be apart of it as much as possible. Somehow the only mythologies that made me want to base stuff on them were Cnanniac mythologies (Baal, Bephomat, etc) and some stories about king Solomon enslaving demons (which I haven`t read).

    If I would ever have a strong desire to base a setting/parts of it on something existing, I would do research, but not much, and I won`t hesistate to change parts I won`t like.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    For the calendar in my game I researched Hindu and ancient Roman holidays then applies them to the god pantheon from Dungeon Crawl (rouge-like computer game).

    Internet research is easy (compared to college thesis style research) so I'm pretty willing to do a fair bit of it. It also helps that RPG setting stuff usually does not have a deadline.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I research some stuff if I want it to be more plausible - if I want the thing to be fantasy, rule-of-cool style, I don't do research. It all depends.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    Depends on what I want the setting for and how detailed it needs to be. Right now, I've got three settings I'm working on for various projects. One is a near(ish) future setting that basically only needs research done for anything scientific or culturally unfamiliar to me. The second is a high fantasy dungeon crawl setting that I'm doing more or less zero research for. The third is another fantasy setting that I'm doing painstakingly detailed research and development on; I am nowhere near finished.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    All the time. In huge amounts. But I'm kind of anal retentive. I write up loads of background my players are never going to bother looking through. But that's for settings I actually need to research.

    Anything fantasy is Forgotten Realms unless I specify otherwise. I kind of default to that setting, to the point where my primary concern when drawing up homebrew isn't "How does this fit into the game?", but "how does this fit into Faerûn?"

    So I guess my actual answer is... about half. I go overboard on research half the time.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I like learning about other cultures and ancient history as a matter of personal enjoyment; that often finds its way into worlds and settings that I create. I don't ever set out to do research because I want to make a world, rather I read about something (or experience it firsthand) and think, "this would make for some really cool stories, better make a world/setting based on it (or at least an aspect I found particularly riveting).

    For example, I've always been fascinated with Mesoamercian civilzation, and I'd be inclined to make a setting based on what I've already learned about it. I'm also a fan of things like geology, astronomy, cosmology, and obsessive about crunching numbers, so I build whole solar systems (at times). On the other hand, I don't know much about the history of the ancient Indian subcontinent, and I wouldn't set out to research it for the sake of world-building. But I'd totally learn about it just because, and eventually it might spark ideas for world building.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    My own experience is pretty similar to everyone else. I've been working on a setting here on the boards for about 6 months now, and it's intended to be a blend of many real-world cultures. For that reason, I've done a lot of Wikipedia'ing (and rabbit trailing from there) to find information that's concise enough to remain interesting to the casual reader, and juicy enough to entice gameplay.

    Beyond making copies of real cultures, though, I'm interested in making this world my own. To that end, I head to art galleries and museums every few months (which may or may not be an option for you, depending on where you live) and see what takes my fancy. A recent--though not too relevant--example of this cherry-picking is a documentary I watched last night on Hawaii's geological, biological, and anthropological history. Between humpback whales, plovers, and the island's early polynesian settlers, I managed to get a lot of interesting ideas for a culture in my setting that's based primarily on medieval French and ancient Hebrew culture.

    At every step, the important thing to remember is that you can get inspiration from seemingly unlikely places, and a little imagination will help you tweak your findings to the point that they seem unique enough to be original. Happy world building!
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I will, but mainly for inspiration for names and cultures. Like for a campaign I'm planning, elves have Hawaiian names, dwarves have Icelandic names, gnomes have Dutch names, and the predominantly human continent has Japanese names
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I do some, where religeons are concerned. I suppose I do more on where monsters live, ecology and such, than on any particular cultures. Usually I have two sentances jotted down for a city (Lawful Evil, Run by Necromancers. Neutral Good, Run by a cleric-based Oligarchy) etc.
    I do more creating than researching. Like when I was statting up my Torus-world, the effect of having a moon that orbits in a figure-eight would give the planet sixteen months instead of twelve, and the tides get really wonky. Tidal Bores are a lot more common.

    >.>
    But that's a different kind of research.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    If I'm really concerned about something in my setting, yes I do some research on the internet from free sources. If the things interest me more (history of England for example) I might read a book that tells an overview of it. I might at some point read some book about Ancient Greek and Rome also.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I'm in the very long process of creating a world. It's based on a sort of fusion of Greek and Irish mythology. When I create a world, my brainstorming/research period is often as long as two months, and more if I'm busy. For this world, I have read virtually every page about Irish mythology on Wikipedia. And many on Greek. And finally read the Percy Jackson series.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Thumbs up Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    I do very large amounts of research. But I don't use it all that often in a verbatim manner. It is often the case that I've found that boring into some random detail has given me an insight or new idea that I can apply to major aspects of a culture. If you are trying to get a direct insperation of a culture it is the details that will make it feel that way unless you play on googlemaps. But then I also find research adddictive. I've done entire analysis of which breeds of cow/sheep/goats/horses/dogs etc could be found the various 5 Nations of Eboerron or the Domains in Ravenloft. . . but the key is figuring out how to USE that research to enhance the gameplay. I found lots of research leads me to lots of interesting details that can paint very powerful imagery that lends a very local feel, as well as give me lots of cool adventure ideas.
    I'm not really experience in world building, in fact I'm building my first. But I think I'm with sktarq here. I began reading the Táin Bo Cuailnge the other day. A queen offered a noble man a substantial reward for the lending of a bull, and although it was the most exceptional bull, the man accepted the offer, as was honourable. This made me think about the power of gifts, oaths and reasonable compensation in old cultures, an element I think I would like to add to my world. This kind of detail can enrich the setting, and research can be very good to give you such ideas.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I do some, especially on very specific things (e.g. I looked fairly detailedly into the American deities Inti and Kokopelli for a couple of characters and a side-quest in an American-themed region), but it would be more accurate to say that I generally pick up interesting things through the course of my studies or general reading that inspires me. For example, wouldn't the Groom of the Stool* make a great twist/extra detail in a "sinister advisor" plot?

    *the guy in charge of wiping the king's bottom, highly sought-after due to the extensive private access it grants one to the king.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I do extensive research.

    That research finds its way into my settings, but I don't do research for my settings.

    I just do research to know more about the world.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Craft (Cheese)'s Avatar

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    Yes and no. My worlds tend to end up using a lot of research and real-world inspirations, but I rarely do research specifically for creating a setting. It happens the other way around: I read anthropology/history/linguistics books and papers for fun, and then this information seeps its way into the setting.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    Quote Originally Posted by akma View Post
    I do no research at all.
    But I never base any parts of my settings on mythology, and try to be apart of it as much as possible. Somehow the only mythologies that made me want to base stuff on them were Cnanniac mythologies (Baal, Bephomat, etc) and some stories about king Solomon enslaving demons (which I haven`t read).

    If I would ever have a strong desire to base a setting/parts of it on something existing, I would do research, but not much, and I won`t hesistate to change parts I won`t like.
    Ouch. You actually end up being more derivative when you don't do any research, because you have no idea what's been done before, and so many things have been done before that you're more likely to hit a cliché than you are to hit on something new. Not doing research is like sticking your hand down a blind hole.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    Research, as in, looking into reality to shape your fiction? If a campaign is at all realistic, it's a good idea to. I mean, is your setting a planet? Are you going to put two moons around the planet? How does that affect the tides? Where are the constellations that you use to navigate located? How do they move across the night sky?

    It's exactly like everyone else said: follow the rule of cool. If it enhances your campaign, it's important; but just as importantly, does it detract from your campaign? Chances are your players know something about some field that you don't know enough about to say anything on: astronomy, sociology, or (heaven forbid) mechanical physics. If your campaign is realistic outside these areas, but you didn't put the effort into making this area realistic, then your players will get mad.

    Returning to the stars things, an astronomy class I took would throw pictures of the night sky at us and ask us to calculate our position on the earth. Some of my players were in that class: it's entirely possible that I could randomly teleport them somewhere and they'd try to use the stars to navigate. If my stars don't obey normal physics (quite possible) when everything else does, then they're going to get lost and it'll break their suspension of disbelief.

    If I'm not doing a campaign based in reality (drastically different physics or culture or whatever) then I still do research, but typically into what already exists: you don't have to use it, but often looking at someone else's work will give you solutions to problems you haven't thought of. And at the very least, I define what I've changed from reality with a set of rules: otherwise my players will be disoriented.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    Yes!

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Do you do research for your worlds?

    I dont bother to really, I don't care to try and make my fantasy world match up to reality, though I do research other languages (i'm an amateur linguist) to get inspiration for the languages of my world, though that's mostly just so I can give characters names that sound like they belong to different cultures.

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