Author Topic: A Radical New Idea  (Read 176 times)

Offline brujon

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A Radical New Idea
« on: September 17, 2018, 06:04:10 AM »
For a while, i've been thinking of building up a world from scratch. Every time i do so, the challenge seems daunting, herculean. Most of the times i've tried, i end up taking so long that new inspiration takes over, and i'm unable to finish. Every idea i've had before seems inadequate, as i keep on reading, dreaming and changing it until parts of it don't work together.

But then, one night, i thought... How did the world, our world, evolve? It evolved by the actions of ourselves, of nature. Time gave it substance, and made it deep and rich. Then, i had an idea. A radical new idea.

What if i didn't have to do it alone? What if i wasn't the one in charge? What if i was only one of the many that could contribute, but then, everyone in this living, breathing world, could help shape it into something else?

Something unpredictable. Maybe greater than the sum of its parts. Completely wacky or something that made sense. No boundaries. Only a few rules, to help form a cohesive whole.

And then i came up with this:


This would be the world map.

Some of you may be familiar with it. It's one rendition of a Terraformed Mars, with some landmarks to help guide us, as we try and build this into something, together.

To help get things going, i'll lay down some background, but try and leave most of the story intentionally vague and open, so that we can all embark in this together.

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The Background:


The Barrier was always there, and the City is all that there is. All attempts to breach it, all attempts to take it down failed, no matter how hard, no matter the attempt.  The City is all that there is, and it is all that anyone has ever known. 80km in diameter and roughly circular, it's packed up to capacity.

No one knows exactly when the city started, but some have theories. There are many religions in the city, too many to count. Some popular, some not. Land is a valuable resource, so we've built up.

Food is tightly controlled by the elites, who divide up the city. Every attempt at unification has failed so far, and The City's history is filled with short-lived would-be Monarchs and Emperors. There were those who tried to make it about the people. They were also unsuccessful. The City respects no one, and everyday survival is a struggle.

But every time anyone tried to rule the city, or change the way it works, when they fall, it all ended up being the same. The Streets seem to have a mind of their own, and eventually, it all comes back to the rule of the Streets.

Some Streets are more powerful than other Streets. It all comes back to basic survival, in the end. The city is ready to burst, and the wall is as ominous as ever. Those who control the Streets are called the Landowners.

In the past we've had our fair share of culls. Eventually, the City gets filled to capacity. There's bounding to be one coming soon, and the Landowners are slowly realizing it and getting over their petty squabbles about control. There's a Cull coming, and everyone's getting restless. The Landowner's enforcers are getting more and more brutal by the day, and the bleak atmosphere of The City is getting thicker and thicker by the day, you can almost feel it.

And then, everything changes. Throughout the whole city, tremors are felt. Massive winds take over, as a sunny day suddenly becomes cloudy and heavy with rain. Roofs and crops are razed, buildings topple and the shimmering glow of the everlasting barrier seems to fade, and fade, and fade, until it is no more.

Riots and fire break over, the Streets are wrestling to keep control. Faithful gather to celebrate both the End and Salvation. Mouths are agape, or screaming. Those sleeping are forcefully roused from rest. Something that has never before, has happened.

It isn't long before the first brave ones go to the edge, and try and do the impossible. But, they come back bearing different news.

The barrier has fallen. It is no more, and whatever power the Streets held is quickly fading as the news spread across the city. After that, there was no need for a cull. The streets ran red with blood, as more fell than ever before. Complete Anarchy spread. Even though the barrier fell, few were able to leave The City, as there were many eager to stop anyone from leaving.

There were many who believed that we couldn't leave The City because something terrible would happen. But then there were those that wanted to leave no matter what, and eventually they won out in the end, and drove the losers out into hiding. Out of pure need, they cast their differences aside, and swept up power in the vacuum left by the bloodiest Street War that has ever happened in the history of The City.


Finally, any who wanted to leave was free to do so. There were exceptions, of course. The United Church of the Holy City, as the religious coalition now called themselves, restricted travel of all those they deemed "essential" for the continuing well-being of the city. That meant that all the farmers, animal herders, medics and scholars, among other such important folk, were prohibited to leave the boundaries of The City. But all others, were free to finally explore the unknown.


You all are among those who dared to have hope, who dared to venture beyond the unknown, and become a part of The Age of Exploration.

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About The City:

- Technology level as of the beggining of The Age of Exploration is early-industrial. That means steam is already being used, but not large scale.

- Firearms weren't developed due to lack of resources and the extremely close quarters nature of every fight in the city.

- No magic in the past... But some may have felt something stir within as the barrier fell.

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About the Campaign and Setting:


The primer above is meant only as a starting point. The whole world is unknown, and every character oblivious to it. Everyone starts out at level 1, and classes/equipment are, at first, limited to PHB/DMG/MM1, D&D 3.5 and D20 Modern to begin with, observing the "no magic" restriction above.

How stats are going to be assigned will be subject to a poll where all participants will be able to cast their vote and decide.

Everything is left intentionally vague, both past, future and present, because this is meant as much as a campaign, as it is a world building exercise, and to that end, here's the radical idea that i've come up with:

Everyone gets to be both DM and player. Even the first DM will be selected from all participants.

But brujon, won't that end up turning into an unmanageable mess? Maybe it will, but maybe it will turn out being something awesome.

How do i plan carrying it out?

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 The Rules for the Campaign:

- There will be eight players, including myself, all starting at level one with the restrictions placed above.

- Every week, each Sunday, a random player will be selected to act as DM for the week, and he is removed from running in the next week as the next player is selected for DM.

- The acting DM for the week cannot control his own character, and instead, relinquishes control of his character to the DM of the previous week, who will be controlling both characters until next DM takes over.

- The acting DM has broad freedom to introduce lore, new enemies, new mechanics, terrain features, quests and pretty much just act like a normal DM would in a regular campaign.

- However, any player may call out an OBJECTION! and put up the challenged decision up to a vote by all players as well as suggest something else. Both are put up to a vote by all players and whoever wins, wins. A tie is decided in favor of the acting DM.

- Sourcebook and other restrictions on Level Up are decided upon by the Acting DM.

- Retcons can be made, but must be approved by a 2/3 majority of all participant players.

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What do you all think? Any ideas?
"All the pride and pleasure of the world, mirrored in the dull consciousness of a fool, are poor indeed compared with the imagination of Cervantes writing his Don Quixote in a miserable prison" - Schopenhauer, Aphorisms: The Wisdom of Life

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: A Radical New Idea
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 10:58:18 PM »
I've played in collaborative campaigns with rotating DMs. It can work OK. I think agreeing on a schedule of who will DM ahead of time would be a LOT more desirable than making it random... That way, you'll have time to prepare, can trade with someone if you're not prepared that week, etc. We never had any rules written down for Objections, retcons, and the like, but it's probably a good idea to codify things like that ahead of time to forestall some possible strife.

Unfortunately there's no way I'd have time to play in this. :P But I'll be munching popcorn from the sidelines if you run it here. You would get better turnout over at mythweavers, though.
I don't pee messages into the snow often , but when I do , it's in Cyrillic with Fake Viagra.  Stay frosty my friends.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: A Radical New Idea
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 01:16:20 AM »
This honestly sounds like it would be a lot better as a live game or discord/roll 20/whatever.  Otherwise objections and retcons and arguments about different DMs allowing different material might just kill the game with how long they take.

Offline brujon

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Re: A Radical New Idea
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 09:19:32 AM »
This honestly sounds like it would be a lot better as a live game or discord/roll 20/whatever.  Otherwise objections and retcons and arguments about different DMs allowing different material might just kill the game with how long they take.

Agreed, disputes are often much more quickly resolved live. The idea, at least, is that things get put to a vote, and as they do, they're resolved, anything that gets put to a vote can no longer be put to a vote again, unless it's an unanimous agreement. Maybe that can work out?
"All the pride and pleasure of the world, mirrored in the dull consciousness of a fool, are poor indeed compared with the imagination of Cervantes writing his Don Quixote in a miserable prison" - Schopenhauer, Aphorisms: The Wisdom of Life

Offline Nanshork

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Re: A Radical New Idea
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 10:39:18 AM »
That's possible, it mainly depends on the players.

Strat is right about mythweavers, pbp here is slow and mostly dead nowadays.

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: A Radical New Idea
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 05:36:55 PM »
I thought the op made it sound like it was planned to be a live game. Mythweavers allows hybrid games on their site, now. So you could recruit and host characters and game materials there but play live in roll20 or whatever.
I don't pee messages into the snow often , but when I do , it's in Cyrillic with Fake Viagra.  Stay frosty my friends.

Offline brujon

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Re: A Radical New Idea
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 08:45:09 PM »
I thought the op made it sound like it was planned to be a live game. Mythweavers allows hybrid games on their site, now. So you could recruit and host characters and game materials there but play live in roll20 or whatever.

Mostly when i posted this, i had broad general ideas, but no true set in stone way of implementing them or making them viable. I think this type of constantly-developing-world is a very organic way of making an interesting and believable setting.

When only one player is responsible for world-building, even if the PC's are able to influence and change the direction of events and shape the world as it evolves, the DM's bias, both his flaws and his qualities are the mirror through which the player's actions influences the world.

No matter how mature, experienced and fair a DM, he's still unable to "unbecome" himself. As such, he will be, using a Tolkien metaphor here... The leading voice in the song that builds the world, eclipsing the others. Maybe more of a Maestro, in fact.

The chaos i expect from my idea seeks to, in part, smooth out those rough edges, to breathe some sort of new take and new life on something. After all, the world we live in is built out of chaos, out of seemingly completely impossible ideas but it somehow works...

So maybe this chaotic game can lead to something great? I don't know.

But you guys are helping me think about it some more
"All the pride and pleasure of the world, mirrored in the dull consciousness of a fool, are poor indeed compared with the imagination of Cervantes writing his Don Quixote in a miserable prison" - Schopenhauer, Aphorisms: The Wisdom of Life