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    DruidGirl

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    Default How to do a good World-Building post?

    I plan to post about the world I use as setting.

    But how much and which information I should post?

    What you guys think make a good post and not a boring one?

    Thanks.
    "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door."

    I want more Strong female characters.

    "In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!"

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    I've generally gotten good results by posting a specific question rather than putting up my setting in total. A big, long post with lots of information nobody outside your game really cares about can deter readers.
    Last edited by Solaris; 2015-10-21 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Post what makes your world different from others in intrresting ways. "My world has lots of magic items and elves." Boring. "My world has these six kingdoms, with this beautifully drawn map, that fight in the usual ways over these unusual things." Better. But only if you focus on the unusual things they fight over, showing the map for refeence, and leaving out discussion of how they fight beyond saying it's the usual.

    As Solaris said, if you have questions, ask them. Ask them up front, then give the background necessary to explain, then ask again in more detail. Like "I'm trying to figure out how my palyers will figure out the difference between advanced technology and magic. I have a world set a thousand yeays after a golden age that had both, and the characters will be coming across articacts. Now, I don't want a simple Detect Magic to answer everything, but I also want them to be able to work the difference out eventually (despite Clarke's Law.) So what would be the sorts of differences they can look for, and how can I present that without giving the whole game away?"

    If you just want to post everything about a completed world, because you're proud of your work and hope other people like it, that's fine too. But don't expect too much response. I'm not saying no one will read it, or that they won't like it, but they won't have much to say. The best way is tp break it up using spoilers and/or multiple posts. People tend to read a whole post, or at least a whole discernable section of a post at one sitting, so don't make it look daunting to do that.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Yeah, I've learned the "don't post the whole setting" thing the hard way. Twice now I've went to the trouble of writing up a length post (for my own benefit as much as anyone else's, thankfully) and gotten no replies for my trouble...

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    I wonder why people pay real money to buy books to read about famous settings but don't like to read fan made settings for free in the net.

    I mean Tamriel, Thedas and middle earth were nothing but fan works before the success.
    "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door."

    I want more Strong female characters.

    "In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!"

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amazon View Post
    I wonder why people pay real money to buy books to read about famous settings but don't like to read fan made settings for free in the net.

    I mean Tamriel, Thedas and middle earth were nothing but fan works before the success.
    Lack of a review system or similar infrastructure to tell them what's worth reading or not. Without testimonials or other forms of marketing people can't determine what's worth actually taking the time to read.

    I mean, there's some really good fanfiction out there, but if you just randomly click on some fanfiction it's a solid bet it won't be good. Sturgeon's Law applies.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Lack of a review system or similar infrastructure to tell them what's worth reading or not. Without testimonials or other forms of marketing people can't determine what's worth actually taking the time to read.

    I mean, there's some really good fanfiction out there, but if you just randomly click on some fanfiction it's a solid bet it won't be good. Sturgeon's Law applies.
    This.

    I come by my cynicism naturally; few indeed are the settings I've read posted where I either had anything to say about them or interested me enough to do more than just skim them over. If I were playing in the setting, it'd be a vastly different story - then I'd be interested in it. Without something to draw my interest, though, there's no reason to read someone's larval heartbreaker of a setting.
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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amazon View Post
    I wonder why people pay real money to buy books to read about famous settings but don't like to read fan made settings for free in the net.

    I mean Tamriel, Thedas and middle earth were nothing but fan works before the success.
    Because those are not works about settings; they are stories within settings, where the setting is interesting up to a point, but the story is why you read (or play) it. A post about a world is like a cracker. It's tasty up to a point, but you really don't want to make a meal or them, since they're dry and a bit bland. The examples you've sited are not works about worlds, they are worlds that contain stories and characters who do things. Stories are the things people will read, and the worlds themselves can be interesting too. Like cheese, patté, or ratatouille on a cracker; a good cracker supports the other stuff better than a bad one, both physically and flavorwise, but its the other stuff that is the primary interest. I can take this analogy even further: once in a while you have some dip on a cracker that's so good that you really want to try the cracker alone, and you eat a few of them, but before long even they get boring and you're dipping them or putting cheese on them again. And that's only with the rare, exceptionally good crackers; when you're baking a new cracker recipe you hope to come up with one this good, but most are not.

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I mean, there's some really good fanfiction out there, but if you just randomly click on some fanfiction it's a solid bet it won't be good. Sturgeon's Law applies.
    And I agree with this about fan fiction within some setting, but I though the point was the setting itself. And, as an aside, the internet has rendered Sturgeon's Law inadequate; nowadays 99.9% of everything that's crap.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Also a couple things to add. Avoid the "Do you like it" and "please critique" type posts. It leaves little to respond to - there is no hook to comment on. Also having an idea of your goals (both in the post and the setting if possible) helps too. A world built for fast dramatic pulpy one shot adventures, vs one built around noir/intrigue etc, vs one aiming at a high fantasy grecco to arthurian epics are needed different things. If we have an idea of where you want to go we can judge how well the setting supports that.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    And I agree with this about fan fiction within some setting, but I though the point was the setting itself.
    Sturgeon's Law applies to all fiction.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Sturgeon's Law applies to all fiction.
    And it probably applies to RPG settings as well, but there is an important difference. The adventures that happen in an RPG setting, like the stories that take place novel, are fiction, but a description of the setting (either kind) is not. It is a true description of the fictional world, i.e. non-fiction about fiction. That's why it tends to be so dry. (This is where the cracker analogy breaks down. It's the description of the world that is cracker dry, and the fictional world that I previously compared to the cracker. Oh, well, I've always sucked at metaphors.)
    -- Joe
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    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    And it probably applies to RPG settings as well, but there is an important difference. The adventures that happen in an RPG setting, like the stories that take place novel, are fiction, but a description of the setting (either kind) is not. It is a true description of the fictional world, i.e. non-fiction about fiction. That's why it tends to be so dry. (This is where the cracker analogy breaks down. It's the description of the world that is cracker dry, and the fictional world that I previously compared to the cracker. Oh, well, I've always sucked at metaphors.)
    Describing fictional settings is still fiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Definition
    Fiction describes people, places, events, or complete narrative works derived from imagination
    Also, since when does non-fiction have to be dry?

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Also, since when does non-fiction have to be dry?
    Since 99% of non-fiction writers are themselves crappy writers.

    Here's lookin' at you, miserable history textbooks I paid a couple hundred dollars for and were inferior by every metric to researching the material on my own.
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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    Since 99% of non-fiction writers are themselves crappy writers.

    Here's lookin' at you, miserable history textbooks I paid a couple hundred dollars for and were inferior by every metric to researching the material on my own.
    Wow, pointin' at "99%" of non-fiction writers because of the history textbook fiasco is pretty hasty. I think you just need to read better non-fiction.

    You should read different history books. Stuff that goes through politicized school boards is generally awful. And often inaccurate too, since textbook publishers try to cater to the favorite bias of as many different school boards as possible.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Wow, pointin' at "99%" of non-fiction writers because of the history textbook fiasco is pretty hasty. I think you just need to read better non-fiction.

    You should read different history books. Stuff that goes through politicized school boards is generally awful. And often inaccurate too, since textbook publishers try to cater to the favorite bias of as many different school boards as possible.
    I do. That's how I know most people's experiences with history is what leads them to believe non-fiction is dull, dry, and boring as opposed to it being a characteristic of reality itself.
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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Describing fictional settings is still fiction.
    Perhaps it's a matter of opinion, but my opinion is that that is nonsense. Middle Earth, for example, is fiction. Analysis of Tolkien's influences, the symbolism of his work, etc. is non-fiction. So is an analysis the characters' and monsters' abilities and behavioral tendencies. Presenting the latter in the form of gaming material doesn't make it fiction; it is non-fiction to say "Tolkien presented this creature that we will represent by the following game statistics:..." The same goes for any literary conversion into an RPG world. And, indeed, the same goes for an original RPG world. "In this setting, the monster called the orc differs from either its Tolkienian or its traditional gaming antecedents in the following ways:..." These are true facts. Not true facts about orcs, but about the RPG setting in which these nontraditional orcs are used.
    Quote Originally Posted by Definition
    Fiction describes people, places, events, or complete narrative works derived from imagination
    Source? I suspect either 1) it is quoted here out of context or 2) its use of the word "describes" is questionable at best.
    Also, since when does non-fiction have to be dry?
    Sturgeon's Law still applies. And the other 1% is subject to a number of factors, such as taste or opinion, and subject matter. Solaris, if you think most history school books are bad (no argument there) try a physics text book. One can (as I do) find the material fascinating when it's well presented, yet really dry reading at the same time. Hence, like a really good cracker or a good game world description, it is best taken a little at a time and also well worth the taking.
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    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    Source?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiction

    Very first line.

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    These are true facts. Not true facts about orcs, but about the RPG setting in which these nontraditional orcs are used.
    And the fact that Frodo went to Mordor is a true fact about the setting in which Frodo exists. So is every detail of the story, actually.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Thank you. That definition has two citations. The first is the definition by Webster's online dictionary, which states:
    Quote Originally Posted by Webster's
    : written stories about people and events that are not real : literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer
    : something that is not true
    ...
    1a : something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically : an invented story
    ...
    and other meanings of decreasing relevance. Thus writing that discusses a story which is already told, does not fall under this definition.

    The other is to a book called The Philosophy of Computer Games, Chapter 13: "Videogames and Fictionalism" by Grant Tavinor. It states
    Quote Originally Posted by The Philosophy of Computer Games
    Here I will define a work of fiction as one in which the characters, places, events, and actions referred to are fictional rather than real.
    Here, I admit, it is less clear. Yet, Tavinor goes on in the next paragraph to discuss finding "a videogame [that is] not a work of fiction in not depicting fictional characters, places, objects, events, and actions." Thus, he again defines fiction, this time changing the term "referred to" with the word "depicting." To me, it seems clear that "depicting" is the preferable term.

    Thus, neither of these definitions supports the view that discussion of a work of fiction is, itself, fiction. The meaning of the opening sentence you quoted is, I believe, not that "a work of fiction describes..." but that "the word 'fiction' describes..." I have editied the Wikipedia page accordingly.
    And the fact that Frodo went to Mordor is a true fact about the setting in which Frodo exists. So is every detail of the story, actually.
    Yes, but... Saying "Frodo went to Mordor" without context is different from saying "In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the character of Frodo goes to a place called Mordor." We may use the former as a conversational shorthand for the latter, but only when the context is understood to be a discussion about LotR. In some company, one only needs to mention Frodo or Mordor for this to be understood. If you were to state "Frodo went to Mordor" in other company where this is not understood, then you would be telling a story, not talking about a story, and then you would be speaking fiction.
    Last edited by jqavins; 2015-10-27 at 12:19 PM.
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    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    Yes, but... Saying "Frodo went to Mordor" without context is different from saying "In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the character of Frodo goes to a place called Mordor."
    You, as the writer presenting and building a world, are not an outside person discussing the fact that you created the original work secondhand. The Eberron Campaign Setting is not a work discussing or analyzing the merits or impact or whatever of the work of Keith Baker and other authors. It just is a work of the imagination of Keith Baker and other authors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merriam-Webster
    1a : something invented by the imagination
    Your setting is an invention of your imagination. Middle-Earth is a fictional setting, because the description of Mordor does not describe real places, people, or events. This is correct usage of the word.

    I have editied the Wikipedia page accordingly.
    Wikipedia had the correct definition for the context in which they were using the word, which explicitly included more than just literature. Changing it to "literary" makes little sense in that context.

    One may also note, for example, that they have a section for "universes" under fictional works. Also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictional_universe

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    You, as the writer presenting and building a world, are not an outside person discussing the fact that you created the original work secondhand. The Eberron Campaign Setting is not a work discussing or analyzing the merits or impact or whatever of the work of Keith Baker and other authors. It just is a work of the imagination of Keith Baker and other authors.
    This seems to be saying, if I've understood you correctly, that a fictional world and a description of said world are different things only if they are created by different people. I counter that the hand which created a thing is irrelevant to the nature of the thing. The fictional world of Eberon is one thing; the descriptions that world and instructions that allow a DM to set adventures therein is a different thing, and it make no difference to those things' natures that they come from the same creator.

    Your setting is an invention of your imagination. Middle-Earth is a fictional setting, because the description of Mordor does not describe real places, people, or events. This is correct usage of the word.
    Agreed: Middle-Earth is a fictional setting. And LotR is a work of fiction; no argument. But the disagreement is not about Middle-Earth or LotR, but over, staying with this example, some hypothetical book called Role Playing in Middle Earth, which consists of Book I: The Setting and Book II: Role Playing Adaptation. Such a book, including Book I which describes the fictional world, is not fiction.

    Wikipedia had the correct definition for the context in which they were using the word, which explicitly included more than just literature. Changing it to "literary" makes little sense in that context.
    Which word, "fiction" or "describes." The original sentence could be read either "The word 'fiction' refers to people, places, events, or complete narrative works derived from imagination" or "A work of fiction is one that describes people, places, events, or complete narrative works derived from imagination." You seem to be arguing for the latter, so that simply talking about made up stuff is fiction, which I believe is incorrect. I believe the former is both what was intended and what is correct. It's that ambiguity I meant to eliminate. You have a good point that my use of the word "literary" makes my new version imperfect, and I'm open to suggestions to improve it further.
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    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    BACK ON TOPIC:

    Avoid using invented names and words as much as possible. People's eyes will start to glaze over if much of the words they are reading are nonsense or meaningless comparison. If you say that the Vosha aren't as technologically advanced as the Durnish, you've not given me any useful information.

    Do make it easy to skip to the sections that are less interesting to the reader. This can be acomplished using multilevel headings, but it also ties into not assuming that every word will be read and remembered. If you mention that Argentum is an metal important to the magic system once, don't expect me to remember 12 paragraphs of description later, even if I do read everything in order.
    I consider myself an author first, a GM second and a player third.

    The three skill-sets are only tangentially related.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    This seems to be saying, if I've understood you correctly, that a fictional world and a description of said world are different things only if they are created by different people.
    You have not understood me correctly.

    You have a good point that my use of the word "literary" makes my new version imperfect, and I'm open to suggestions to improve it further.
    Apparently Wikipedia's community disagrees too, because I just checked and your changes got reverted quite a while ago.

    My suggestion to "improve it further" would be to do nothing. Simply refrain from rewriting Wikipedia in an attempt to win an argument. That just strikes me as all kinds of wrong.

    In any case, I'm not going to pursue this further, as it is indeed off topic.

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    Default Re: How to do a good World-Building post?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    You have not understood me correctly.
    Very well.
    Apparently Wikipedia's community disagrees too, because I just checked and your changes got reverted quite a while ago.

    My suggestion to "improve it further" would be to do nothing. Simply refrain from rewriting Wikipedia in an attempt to win an argument. That just strikes me as all kinds of wrong.
    Oy. I looked at the discussion page for before making my change, and it seems that that paragraph, and indeed that very sentence, has been through many changes as many editors have struggled to get it right. I'm not "rewriting [it] in an attempt to win an argument." I was led, by this argument, to discover something ambiguously written that helped cause this argument; that did, and apparently still does need to be fixed.
    In any case, I'm not going to pursue this further, as it is indeed off topic.
    Now here, I agree completely. I confess to a tendency to look for the last word, and that I can't leave something be when falsely accused of something like the above. But I promise not to respond to this tangent again, even if I have to bite my figurative tongue really hard.
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    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

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