I’m going to run a BW one-shot over skype with some folks I met on the livejournal role-players group. Someone started a thread, asking what games they’d like to play but won’t et a chance to with their local group. The first two of three or so were people saying they’d like to play Burning Wheel.
So, we decided to keep it to human lifepaths, just to keep it simple and I bounced the idea of a city-based campaign. And then I wrote the following in an e-mail:
“Here are some vague-ass city ideas that we could flesh out:
Labyrinth – a city made by The Minotaur with a religion worshiping the choices we have in life, a place that welcomes all monsters and gives them homes.
Rose – once the capital of a tremendous empire, now a crumbling beauty with vast abandoned regions and nobles with nothing left but their name and some crumbling lace and half-dead magicks.
Urban Rex – the largest city in the world, built by sorcerers when they were driven out from the holy lands as witches, now the holy lands are a colony of U.R.’s empire. A spired city with a tremendous thieving community…
I just vomited these out. I’m not married to any of ’em.
We circled around these three for a while, tossing ideas back and forth and settled on Rose with its surrounding tower-forts that are known as the Thorns. One of the players is considering taking Faith and being the bastard son of a noble family, so we’ll flesh out the nobles and the religions. Another player is taking a former city guard turned Fence.
I enjoy big ole dense settings. Houses of the Blooded has been good fun. Midnight’s original hard-cover was chock full of inspiring paragraphs that were dense with game-y potential.
But what’s on my mind is creating settings for RPG’s not with the mindset of a frustrated writer, writing as much as you can but figuring out how little you can say in order to get everyone inspired to leave their mark and on the same page to play. As a GM who often creates worlds for the games we’re playing, I have often written pages of setting material. Then I paired it down to a few paragraphs.
Now I’m fascinated with the one sentence blurb, filling in the rest as we need it, answering player’s questions as they come up and plenty of blank space on the map.