Read the bill of fare for the Inn of the Welcome Wench in The Village of Hommlet. If I start my campaign with nothing but the village of Hommlet, I know that there's a place called Keoland which exports reasonably priced brandy and wine. That could mean the quality is merely middling, or it's simply closer and therefore less expensive to ship - most likely it's some combination of the two. I get a sense that the vintners of Urnst enjoy some natural advantages over the Keoish, and that the two are probably trade competitors. I'm also pretty sure that Veluna is someplace special, because their wine is in demand enough to be found in a small country inn at a price few locals could ever hope to pay.Crossposted at Promise City.
I can build a region from a wine list, a wine list that is something with which the adventurers can interact from the first time we sit down to play.
I didn't need to detail Keoland, or how it came to be called Keoland, or what it was called a thousand years before it was called Keoland, or what the terrain of Keoland was like ten thousand years before that and then a hundred thousand years before that, in order to plant the seeds - grape vines, actually - of a place called Keoland in the minds of the players.
My bullshit detector works really well, and it tells me the difference between 'stuff that matters to the players' and 'stuff that's primarily written for me.' My first order of business as referee is create stuff that matters to the players, and that means understanding what they are likely to want to do.
You know why Traveller UWPs work so well? Because they answer the questions player want to know first: can I fuel my starship? will the air kill me? can I pack heat? what kinds of gear are available?
Sunday, November 26, 2017
What follows is a reply to a thread at theRPGsite in which I put forth my idea of what's important in preparing a game-world that's meant to be played, as opposed to a game-world which is a referee's plaything. I've referenced this a few times in various online discussions.