Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Rule of Six

When I proposes creating my own fantasy world to kick around in, I knew it would be a lot of work.  The number of details that go into such an endeavor are astounding.  I have done a considerable amount of research over the last several days, and come to at least one conclusion: anyone who decides to undertake this kind of world building probably suffers from some kind of mental malady.  A journey begins with a single step goes the old adage.  It holds true for both a journey of discovery and a the road to damnation.  It remains to be seen which one this endeavor will become.  Perhaps both.

There are a bewildering array of choices to be made when creating an entire game world.  Maps, cultures, races, technology, magic, monsters, style... the list is nearly endless.  And yet, to have a finished product all of these choices must be made even if the choice is to exclude that category altogether.  At least part of this is the Paradox of Choice.  There are so many options that it becomes difficult to make any choice at all, or be satisfied by the choice once made.  Hand in hand with the Paradox of Choice comes Analysis Paralysis: in which the frantic search through the myriad options in service to a "perfect" option leads to making no decision, and therefore, no progress.  For the purposes of this project, determining a path and following it to a conclusion, even an imperfect one, is preferable to scrapping the project due to the lack of a perfect solution to any of these design problems.

PSST.  Hey bud! Want to buy a six?
In an effort to circumvent any potential impasse that may arise, and especially because my preliminary thoughts found such paralysis creeping in, I have decided to institute an artificial constraint to the proceedings which will give me a good finish point when dealing with any of the individual issues that may cause a sticking point.  I call this The Rule of Six.  When designing any aspect of the world that contains multiple choices, the goal will be to design six distinct options.  There will be six predominant sentient races.  Six major nation-states will comprise the central gaming world.  The major races will share a common pantheon of six deities.  There will be six major trade routes through the central game world.  The object will be to make this an upper limit, but not a hidebound goal that must be obtained.  Why six?  It is a nice middle number that gives variety without making the choices akin to "everything but the kitchen sink."  Also, it is a manageable number of things for players to remember.

The plan is to make this endeavor system-less.  If the project reaches a conclusion and players would like to play in the world, I would probably use Savage Worlds, of course.  Still, I would like the end result to be playable even my readers who do not regularly use SW.  Perhaps at the end of the exercise, I can create some specific rules for SW.  Edges and Hindrances that reflect the game's flavor should be pretty easy to create, but are perhaps better left for when the project is closer to completion.

I am going to reveal one aspect a week.  Each will be a, hopefully, brief synopsis of the topic.  There is more to be known about each subject than I can possibly include in a weekly blog post, but I hope to include enough information to interest both potential players and the casual reader. Next week, I will reveal the major races that inhabit the world of Sextus (a working name for the world, I have yet to firm up some of the details of the cultures that might necessitate a change).

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