a Christian podcast about tabletop RPGs and collaborative storytelling

Setting Design Report 31: Some News and a Shift in Focus

As always, you can find all the posts in this series here.

An Increase in Scope

Those who follow everything we do very carefully may remember me alluding to a writing project I was doing during NaNoWriMo both on the blog and the podcast. I wasn’t writing a novel, but I wasn’t quite ready to talk about what I was actually doing.

I was hoping to have more success to report – sadly November kicked the stuffing out of me. One of our cats gave us a health scare (he’s fine, but our bank account took a real beating), and various other commitments ate up a bunch of time. I only wound up hitting around the 26,000 mark for NaNoWriMo, which is just over half the goal. That was disappointing.

But despite the lackluster word count from November, I think I’m going to go ahead and announce what I’m doing, if for no other reason than it’s kinda crummy to tease something and then never follow through.

And what I’m doing is going against my earlier intentions and trying to eventually make this world into a book that I can sell.

I have no idea how long that will take, but the the answer is almost certainly “years, plural.” The average setting book for an RPG has several hundred thousand words in it, and I’m not there yet. In addition, what I have right now is a bunch of ideas I’m happy with, but the formatting is all over the place, I don’t have a map, my setting is very low on history and… …the name is one letter off from the name of Matt Mercer’s world. My working title has been Exadria, his world is ExaNdria. Way too close for comfort, so I’ll need to come up with something else. And while I like what I have, I need more of everything. I have two good civilizations, three evil civilizations, a desert full of small communities, a magic tree, a huge free city full of crazy amounts of stuff (I’ll probably start on that next in the posts), and some other odds and ends. It’s a start, to be sure, but lots more work needs to be done.

So what does this mean for the blog? The short answer is “nothing bad.” I’m going to continue to post stuff here as I work on it and that will eventually include some new races and class archetypes and eventually even some entire new classes. In particular, I’ve got some ideas for a vehicle specialist, a non-magical medic, and an engineer of the Team Fortress 2 variety who can set up sentry guns and the like in play. Once I do start getting that stuff together, I’ll be interested in having folks playtest it, and at some point, I may even solicit players to run through fights and so on using the new material. (But don’t get too excited, I make no promises about when any of that will happen!)

It does, however, mean that what I’ve written so far isn’t set in stone. What started out as a project with the luxury of using the material of other companies now no longer has that luxury, so I’ll need to cook up a lot of stuff that I didn’t need to worry about when this was just a “fan project.”

I suppose the other obvious question is “why?” The answer to that one is “I think I have something sufficiently different from everything else out there to feel like it’d be interesting.” The world I’ve been detailing is not another traditional fantasy world, which I feel like should be enough for people to either really enjoy how different it is … or maybe turn their noses up and give it a hard pass. Either way, it won’t feel like another Greek- or Norse- inspired setting or a world that’s attempting to replicate the success of Greyhawk, Faerun, Blackmoor, and so on. The closest contemporaries would be Eberron and the Iron Kingdoms, and there are significant differences between this new world and both of those.

So that’s my big creative project for the foreseeable future. I’ll probably post the occasional meta-update like this one when significant progress gets made, but starting with the next of these posts, I want to get back to talking about the world itself.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even come up with a name I can actually use for it.


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