Settings going forward

All proposals for changes to look and feel, what is available, settings, and anything outside of the rules and regulations goes here.

Re: Settings going forward

Postby Nox » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:29 pm

I don't mind there being a restricted setting, and I can imagine why a few of my lower-powered characters would prefer to hang out in a place where the worst that can happen is a bandit or the like, and not a crazed immortal demon. I don't really see myself playing a lot there, but I think it's an okay thing to have. It kinda really breaks it when every demon/angel/antediluvian vampire/cartoony faerie cat starts restricting themselves to go there, though. It completely breaks my immersion. I would say we should make a point on keeping the more supernatural characters in unrestricted rooms, but then that sounds like the criteria for rooms is power-level and... I don't think I like that either.

Maybe any writers out there could work up a mock description, or a paragraph or the like, for any setting idea that comes to mind and post them? Just to get some gears turning. I like the Convergence Keep thing, so I might give that a shot later through the week.
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Re: Settings going forward

Postby Magi Gabriel » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:00 pm

Restricted and Unrestricted Settings has been an issue with ISRP since well... back when I first registered account.

While theoretically an Unrestricted Setting allows for infinite character types, it does impose the "restriction" that any character you create must be able to and have good reason to want to stick around and socialise in an area where they might be exposed to a Balrog, a Dracolich or a faceless being of light that speaks in your mind with a thousand angelic voices.

Primarily my concern is that I don't want to take the "this is how you should roleplay" approach which was the basis behind a setting like Juxta or the "just sort it out amongst yourselves" approach that some might remember when all we had a Grove/Clearing.

Based on feedback, and observation of the rooms and the general history of ISRP I am leaning towards the following set-up for the Sword and Sorcery Setting:

Restricted Setting
Either relocating CRT or just relocating bargolem into a tavern within a port city in a temperate region of a generic fantasy setting. The nature of this kind of setting means it won't be as restricted as CRT, rather it'll be tailored more towards the equilibrium players tend to lean towards when not fully aware of the fine points of the rules.
  • Drow, tieflings, dragonkin, etc will be allowed in plain sight but are generally considered to be distrusted and undesirable sorts
  • Offworlders and offworld clerics will be considered by the locals to be one more type of eccentric foreigner. Same applies to specialist mages,
  • Firearms, clockwork, and similar paraphenalia will be permitted so long as they remain a fantasy consistent oddity (ie you can have a brace of flintlocks, be a warforged or keep a clockwork raven as a pet, you cannot have a 1911 pistol, dozens of kegs of gunpowder or a retinue of clockwork servants)
  • Undead, werecreatures and other similar "monsters" will be allow provided they conceal their appearance from general scrutiny of the public and don't announce themselves in a threatening manner (people can know you're a werewolf, but don't shift in the tavern and let out blood curdling howls that scare the neighbours).
  • The tavern shall contain a "members" door which (magically) sits unnoticed by most, only those from off world or with some mysterious inclination ever notice it and it leads to the Unrestricted Setting (but is suitable only for allowing general humaniods, not bulk shipments etc)

Unrestricted Setting
To try to combine the best qualities of past unrestricted settings, I'm leaning towards the unrestricted setting being an island that floats in space (SPAAAAAACE!) with it's own atmosphere bubble, weather, day and night cycle, etc. The centrepiece of the island per se is a large castle built into the centre of the island which features a tavern with an open-air area.
  • The setting will be accessible by mysterious portals in a "maze of doors" located near the tavern, other portals hidden throughout the island, by spelljammer (and similar craft) and simply by "magic"
  • It will have no known overlord or ruler, but simply be a setting that seems to magically prevent itself from being invaded, destroyed, etc. Those too troublesome simply disappear.
  • For those wishing to live on the setting, the castle will have essentially serve as a "city" where residents take up with the upper levels generally being inhabited by the wealthier and more powerful, and the lower levels being the domain of the poor. The castle is also home to any number of shops, businesses and it's courtyard used as a sort of marketplace.
  • Due to the capricious nature of the island itself, pretty much any type of character will be allowed provided they are not a general menace and great disturbance to the island itself or out to ransack and create chaos for other worlds (read: It enforces Freedom of Destiny and other rules by "magic")

Both of them will get setting pages with all the essential information a new, first time player would need to understand the setting and make an appropriate character and just in. From there both settings can be expanded upon with a focus on making them rich and fun to explore or use while still accessible to new players.

One thing we definitely want to do is to keep these settings alive so players who do want to help shape them or expand them will be encouraged to work with setting coordinators to help build and evolve them appropriately to bring the most benefit to the community.
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Re: Settings going forward

Postby Nox » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:43 am

I've got only one issue with that: in the restricted setting, 'relocating the CRT' or putting BG in 'a new tavern.' I have to say again, I personally dont' like the idea of limiting one of the main rooms to a single tavern. The only reason my main character even goes to the CRT is because he's compelled to follow someone else who always goes there. It gets really dull to play my character -any of my characters- just going to have a drink in a bar and randomly talk to people. You could make it the town square, or hell, even the whole town instead. I really doubt it's going to be that anarchic. Like the Great Bazaar, mostly people stick to the café, but the room is the Great Bazaar itself and you don't HAVE to circumscribe yourself to a single closed space.
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Re: Settings going forward

Postby Magi Gabriel » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:35 pm

There two main reasons that taverns tend to be favoured:
1. It provides a venue where someone can have "business" there (ie getting a drink, socialising, getting a meal, renting a room, coming down from their room, see if a bard is performing, etc) at any given time and thus it's easy to make a reason to be there
2. Traditionally most people's characters were adventurers and taverns are the traditional starting point for sword and sorcery adventures.

I'm quite open to expanding or changing the space, however there are a few things I've picked up from the many years in ISRP that need to be considered:
  • Size creates complications, the bigger it is the more that is expected to be considered in every pose. In a tavern it's assumed everyone in the taproom can see and probably hear one another more or less, because we're all in the same room. In a marketplace it becomes trickier to keep track of who can see who, who's able to talk each other, etc (hence why everyone hangs out at the cafe). Using a whole town would create greater mayhem as then you have to keep track of who is on what street, and a new person entering the room has no hope
  • Because they come to socially interact people will always congregate in set areas either within a room or in a setting. This goes for pretty much every online roleplaying community, even on a MUD or MUSH with hundreds or thousands of rooms people tend to appoint a 'social' space where they go to meet each other - sometimes it's a suitable spot (a tavern, cafe, etc) sometimes its for arbitrary convenience (a town square that connects to other areas, a space ship hanger, etc)
  • No one setting is ever going to make sense for everyone's characters. Not everyone goes to a tavern to socialise, not everyone goes to a marketplace daily, not everyone likes the outdoors, etc. Regardless of the actual setting there will be people who just turn up to sit around and wait for friends, so it tends to be best if the setting accommodates that and also provides a few traditional social lubricants (drinks, food, etc).

So basically taverns are the simplest way to facilitate all of this. In the past Wizards and others have tried other settings, but these come with their own benefits and complications.

Marketplaces
They provide a general reason for people to be there, and allow various kinds of business (trading, performing, etc). It's not as social as a tavern though and it makes less sense to be there every day unless you're a shop owner and the market itself can end up dominating the roleplay and conversation (which seems fine at first but can quickly get old or even frustrating). There is also the issue that a marketplace implies people should have an idea what types of goods, stalls, etc are available, nearby, etc and that they are usually quite dynamic environments. Also, as mentioned, usually characters gravitate to a cafe or bra.

Guildhall
Provides a large general purpose common room for people to gather in, but also creates the necessity that there must be a "guild" or other group that it belongs to. This tends to create an inequality where some characters are members and some are not. While this does seem a minor issue, universally it's potential for some players to get heavily invested in it and for it to start a pointless conflict. It also creates a sort of obligation to focus on the guild purpose.

Grove/Clearing
Generally has no in-character reason for anyone to be there and offers pretty much nothing in terms of an engaging setting unless you are a ranger, a druid or a lumberjack. It does tend to encourage a very casual atmosphere, but is not very conducive to most role playing.

Town Square/Forum
It does make sense as a place people did tend to gather there and can, to a certain extent incorporate a marketplace quality to it. However it is (quite deliberately) not really suited for casual socialising since going to the square or forum usually implied one had some business there and also there was often some important business (royal decree, execution, swearing in to office) going on there, which would require a lot more maintenance.

Obviously there many other options but those are the main ones I've seen and observed those pros and cons with. I'm happy to discuss alternatives to taverns but we do need something definite so it can be fully considered.
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