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About This Coterie

This coterie is for everyone who takes the plunge into world building. Discuss everything from map design to forum layout for your RP world.

  1. What's new in this coterie
  2. So, more a general discussion than anything else. How do you come up with names when you worldbuild? Do you have a pattern? A secret technique? Favored resource? Something that you're struggling with and want some input on? Names you've come up with that you don't plan to use? Do you use IRL names? Or do you tend to make your own name systems?
  3. These are all really good thoughts. Thanks y'all! I think the biggest struggle so far has been the sense of scale. It gets a bit overwhelming. Not that a single world isn't also massive, but it feels much more manageable than a star cluster, per se.
  4. Things change depending on the genre for me, but the rough plan is usually the same: I will youtube and check out various sources for the setting. If it's space opera i remind myself of various settings and how the lore works. If it's history i check historical elements from similar places. These for me trigger character ideas and they link to race ideas. After this I start listing notes and locations. I like to start in smaller circles then widen out. So it might be 2 kingdoms to 5 maximum compared to a space setting. For single locations like historical fantasy they take place in the same type of landscape. It's just territories. But for space ones I consider star systems, fake systems, planets, and that can lead to subcultures. Now compared to a supernatural setting...i know what species i want, then i know some character ideas and stick to a singular city or town. I condense those much more than space because there's a lot of options and i need to condense to a reasonably playable area. I tend to know what I want out of SPN more than other fantasy or sci-fi, so i have more of a wider net to cast for options. That means more time to think, more ideas floating about, and an often longer time picking lore.
  5. Honestly, I think there are more similarities than differences. Whether it's a space opera or high fantasy, if they are set in original universes, you have to create races, species, background history, cultural backgrounds, etc. The main differences would in creating the worlds' technologies and how magic works. After all, for earth-based/real-world historicals or medieval-magical settings, most of that is done for you based on history. Altering a fandom genre to fit the vision a person has for their RPG is daunting enough. You have to document what is the same in the fandom and what is different so your members know what is what. In world building, you are creating an entire universe which means loads more information is needed for your member base (in my humble opinion). Now, a caveat to this is that I have seen original RPs set in a myriad of worlds that has very little to no lore and they seem to run just fine. So, my process starts with the inkling of an idea often inspired by a random bit of history, something I've read, etc. This grows into a vision and deciding on what, if anything, will be incorporated from other creative endeavors. An example is my high-fantasy/sword and sorcery site - it is an original universe, but it melds concepts from other fandoms and even from good old Earth. Therefore, I don't bill it as 100% original. So, I do look at that aspect first and foremost. Next is level-of-effort estimate for bringing the concept to fruition and ending up with an appealing premise and playable universe. For Aereth, from first discussions with my co-founder to opening the site for play (original incarnation) took maybe two months. Of course, I had been thinking about it forever. When my co-founder had to retire and I put the site on hiatus for a rewrite and relaunch, that took me more than a year and I constantly underestimated the time it would take for each phase. That was compounded by my own extended LOA due to illness. I learned that I needed to factor in real-world delays in the future when estimating dates for my member base. Now, I have my setting, premise, look, and general idea ducks in a row and maybe even an outline written up. I start creating the lore, the site, etc. This is usually done in parallel because somedays I feel like writing documentation and some days I want to pick at the actual mechanics. In all instances, I leave the value-added documentation to last. These are things that are not required for a soft-open type launch and can be added on later or expanded on later if there is interest. Concentrate on the things needed for your central land, realm, continent, solar system, planet, etc. first. No matter the genre, my process is basically the same. I created a space-opera once loosely based on the Honor Harrington universe concept. I took the lore-minimalist approach and only added the different tech levels, one or two alien species, etc. It actually did not last very long. Made me sad. But, it also took me far less time and effort to launch. It kind of made me wonder if that wasn't mirrored in the lack of interest by my members. Aereth does not have a large member-base but the interest level is more intense. Bottom-Line: What differentiates my process seems to be dictated by my own level of enthusiasm and interest for the project and the world I'm building regardless of the genre. Lots of rambling for this two-sentence conclusion! I would love to hear from others on this!
  6. So, I do a lot of writing, and a lot of worldbuilding, across a multitude of genres. I was wondering if any of you others do the same if you've had any different kind of ideas for how worldbuilding works depending on the genre. Working on a few space opera/science-fantasy settings for various projects now, plus some more traditional high fantasy. Any thoughts on the differences? Or how genre affects your process?
  7. It's a much older software and isn't free. Don't remember if it has the possibility of working on Mac or not. I've never run a macbook. Ahh, yeah. Wonderdraft does have some that are far more intuitive and manageable than the rest.
  8. Campaign Cartographer is a new one for me. I'll check into it. It might be one of those that wasn't Mac compatible. That's where I ran into mapping software problems. I confess, I am hooked on all of Wonderdraft's features. It's great for a person with zero artistic talent.
  9. You're welcome! And it looks like it's probably in the pro version. The free version still has the very basic ones that I remember and ended up not wanting to use. I also picked up Campaign Cartographer 3 for its Cosmographer/space mapping. Need to see what CC3+ has for city icons. Not done a lot with it yet.
  10. Thank you re: the mountain scale on the map. I am not sure about which of the new icons are available with the standard Inkarnate version. I have the pro. But they did some awesome work for the new release. I really like Inkarnate's UI better than Wonderdraft's, but Wonderdraft has the upload and download features that I need and you can trace map outlines as well. I will probably use Inkarnate for some of my detailed town maps because their house and castle icons are so much nicer than Wonderdraft's.
  11. Oh nice. Are the new Inkarnate icons for the free version or the pro version? And I think the mountains are a pretty decent scale, looking at the map.
  12. If our coterie picks back up, I will add discussions for working with Inkarnate and other map-creation applications. This topic will be Wonderdraft specific but we won't kick you out if you have other maps to share. So, I have a new graphic display drawing tablet which has made working on my site's maps a real treat! I mainly use Wonderdraft and Photoshop. However, Inkarnate's new interface and updates are incredible. I am considering using it for my city-maps because the symbols are so much nicer than Wonderdraft's. I have not decided on that yet. Here is the first of my regional specific maps for my Chronicles of Aereth sword and sorcery RPG. At a glance, I think I need to fix the trees and maybe increase the scale of the mountains.
  13. Map Showcase album for in-progress and completed maps. Share your work with us!
  14. I am putting this here because I don't wanna start an entirely new thread for one statement! I am waiting for the delivery of my new drawing tablet and then will be showing off more Aereth maps - and I encourage everyone to do the same. Not just maps! We can add topics for other site graphics too.
  15. Good points! Well, Aereth wound up being very lore-heavy. There are just so many races, species, lands and quite a few nuances to each. However, we do not expect people to read it all and memorize it for posterity. They should read the FAQs, World Knowledge docs and then focus in on the documents pertaining to their character's race. Any further reading - until they are ready to create more characters - is gravy.
  16. How much lore is too much for a site? I struggle so hard with this. I could write BOOKS on lore, but so many are like "TOO MUCH!" and so I scale it back. It's hard though, because then I end up with endless questions that I would have answered in the lore if I felt comfortable going on forever and day. I like writing it, I get so happy when people want to talk about the lore. It's fun to bounce around ideas and change things when fresh ideas are introduced. But it's such a fine line I walk. Currently I'm trying something new, where I have what I consider basic creature lore and then a FAQ section for things that didn't get in. "Are we bipeds or can we half shift?" Easy FAQ material. So I'm giving it a go. Is it site dependent? In other words, does the amount of lore relate to how intuitive or user-friendly a world or realm is? From a creating standpoint, I want to give everyone as much information at the start so they can jump in with both feet and have fun. On the other hand, some people don't want to feel bogged down, so I try not to make it overly structured. Should we expect new members (and old, in some cases) actually read everything? Put in the work to learn the world and build a great character? Why would we write it if we didn't want it read? Personally, anytime I join a site I read everything. Often I'll have an idea of a character I want to make till I've read everything. By the end, I have completely different ideas, that fit the site better and are fresh and exciting. I certainly hope people feel that with what I write. Also, I think it's a bit rude not to read the lore. It's like you don't care what the site is about, or fitting in it properly. Relates to #3: Are those of us with lore-heavy sites expecting too much of new members by having a lore-heavy site? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I've been on sites that had just so much, I felt the needed to reread constantly and still was lost. When asking questions about what I read, people were a little condescending. I pray I'm never that. I want people to have fun reading and come to me with questions and ideas. But sometimes we can lost in our own creations I think. It's certainly something to keep in mind!
  17. 1. I don't know if there is such a thing as too much lore. 2. It's definitely site-dependent, considering some sites are completely original content while others are building upon something that already exists (fandoms, etc.). I don't think it depends on how user-friendly a world is—all play-by-post roleplay forums should strive to be as approachable and player-friendly as possible, but that's just the web designer in me talking. If someone can't navigate your lore or your site in order to figure out how to play, you're only hurting your own game in the end. If you don't know how to organize information yourself, find someone to help you! 3. I, personally, do not expect everyone to read everything, whether they are new or old. If a site literally covers an entire game world, it's impossible to expect a character from Kingdom X to know everything there is to know about Kingdom Y and C, let alone their own Kingdom's every secret. It's not how life works, especially in an original fantasy like my game where there isn't social media and there is no internet search engine at anyone's disposal. Myth, mystery, hearsay, and rumor are what make part of the game fun—misunderstandings, fears, etc. are all made more real by a bit of ignorance. I expect my players to know the game mechanics and how to play their characters in the setting they've placed them in. Those are the most important things. After that, what a person chooses to pursue in character or out of character is up to them. 4. I have a character creation guide and several overview pages. That's all I expect my players to know—we have a Question and Answer part of our Discord as well as on the forum for the rest, especially if there is confusion or if someone simply doesn't know where to find specific information that is important for their character. To be fair, if folks coming to our site are intimidated by "too much lore," then I can be honest and say our forum probably isn't going to be a good fit for them. If new players aren't excited and/or willing to roll their sleeves up and dig in (as well as contribute!), then they probably won't have as much fun as the players that are. There are so many places to write on the internet, that this doesn't make us elitist or rude—no one approaches The Simarillion without knowing what they're getting themselves into, right?
  18. I definitely agree that it is important to make a thorough distinction between basic lore required to make a character and in-depth lore for those who want to delve deeper into the setting. The main issue I tend to come across when looking over boards set in an original fantasy is that it is difficult to tell apart essential reading from further reading. Even more common is that when a board is filled with lore, I rarely ever find a simple few paragraphs describing the general premise for the setting so I often find it difficult to judge whether or not I am really interested enough in the board's concept to give pages upon pages of lore a thorough read. My answers for question 1 and 2 would entirely depend on how well the information is organised and presented. However, I do believe with more lore, the more difficult it becomes to properly organise information. As for 3, while I do not expect members to read everything, I do like to hope that members at least familiarise themselves with the essential. I prefer the approach of slowly introducing members to a setting where members naturally pick up on more advanced lore as they spend more time on the boards. Finally, for 4, I believe it differs from board to board what you are able to expect from members. If it is an active board with dozens of posts a day, you can expect new members to make a bigger investment than you could as a board that only had a few active members with one or two posts a day.
  19. Our lore site will have a well laid out index of all the documents. We're also planning on the "nations/races overview" quick reference document to add links to the you should really read this to play in this nation or to play this race. I guess I am letting myself be influenced by the trends to go with as little lore as a site can get by with (same for character profiles). I am in no way dissing a site that has not fleshed out its lore and environment. If it works for them and their player base, then more power to them. Despite trying really hard to condense and downsize - I just can't! My RP history makes me want to create a well-rounded, in-depth world. Now to answer my own questions... How much lore is too much for a site? Is it site dependent? In other words, does the amount of lore relate to how intuitive or user-friendly a world or realm is? IMHO, it depends on the site and how much it relates to our real world. Should we expect new members (and old, in some cases) actually read everything? Put in the work to learn the world and build a great character? Again, in my opinion, yes. I'm very old-school when I go to a new site with an eye to joining it. I am going to read several character profiles - if the site uses them - to see what kind of characters get accepted and how in-depth bios usually are. I explore the premise, read all the lore (this might take some time, but I usually read it all). Last, if it's available to guests, I read some of the plots and threads. So, I expect new players and old-hands to do some work to join my sites. If they get stuck, we're all happy to answer questions. If the questions show they are making no effort to read lore, I give them links. 😉 Relates to #3: Are those of us with lore-heavy sites expecting too much of new members by having a lore-heavy site? Sometimes, I think so. At other times, I feel like I made the effort to create a robust and beautiful world, the least everyone can do that wants to join it, is read the stuff.
  20. I say you need basic lore that describes the setting, the social environment, the species (if there are any outside of humanity), the political structure and any powerful dynamics like war and stuff. But I also think you might need a clearly labeled index with additional information. No matter how well you write up your lore you are always going to have players who want more and more information. From fauna, to flora, to common diseases, etc. Which means that you should (in my opinion) have a basic lore package for the players who are good with a simple information download - and then a more detailed index for those players who are hyper-attentive to details. How much lore the players HAVE to read of course is another matter. There are always going to be basic facets of the lore that a player needs to have a handle on to make a character that meshes with the setting. It is not unreasonable to expect a player to read over a basic lore package as long as you've kept it under say 4000 - 5000 words. I definitely think that some worlds are far more user-friendly than others. For instance if you only have humans then a simple line of "the people of _____ world are normal for humans, no special powers or abilities." In that case you don't need much lore; and if its set in a common easily researched real world location; that's the same.
  21. This topic has been touched on in the main forums. I'd like to address it here with a game management approach, not what we want to read when joining another site. Just our opinions as the creators of worlds. How much lore is too much for a site? Is it site dependent? In other words, does the amount of lore relate to how intuitive or user-friendly a world or realm is? Should we expect new members (and old, in some cases) actually read everything? Put in the work to learn the world and build a great character? Relates to #3: Are those of us with lore-heavy sites expecting too much of new members by having a lore-heavy site?
  22. @StormWolfe This is the one I've developed for my board. Might find some of it useful or helpful.
  23. Ah, that is tricky. So what I did on WonderDraft was take the inked mountain (large) and dropped it to 50%, which mostly looked right. Then again, mine wasn't the most concerned with scale, but they were mostly the biggest thing on the map.
  24. I don't see why not. I didn't create it originally though, but was from a now-defunct forum. If you want to credit the forum, it was called Kingmakers. The guy who started it got a new job and his kids started school, so got to busy and the rest of us faded away as well.
  25. I really love that form! Would you object to me playing with it to see if it can be modified and adapted for use with Aereth? I'll happily give you credit.
  26. Does anyone have any tips or tricks on scaling mountains? I have stalled out on adding the mountains to my map because I cannot decide on scale. I am woefully inadequate when it comes to perspectives. 😄
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