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C14P05 – Outside the System

C14P05 – Outside the System published on 6 Comments on C14P05 – Outside the System

That little physical tick of Tama’s has shown up before.

Actually, Mizha’s has too.

REMINDER:  LEYLINES WILL BE ON HOLIDAY BREAK STARTING DEC 18TH! UPDATES RESUME ON JAN 1ST!  If you’d like to be notified when updates start again, you can subscribe to the mailing list, follow me on Twitter, or Facebook!

I’ve had a thought that I may have had before, but forgot.  I may have even talked about it before here?  I tried to search through my archive, but I didn’t find anything matching this subject so maybe it’s just something that I think that I thought about and I thought that I shared that thought here?  Or I might have dreamed all that.  I have been known to “remember” things that never happened in real life, but instead occurred in very believable dreams.  Because my brain is so helpful that way.

ANYWAY.

The past year or two I’ve been considering making an online course.  The problem has always been that putting together an online course seems like a very massive undertaking.  What subject?  How much should I cover?  How long should it last?  How much should it cost?  I’ve always liked the idea, but worried that it would require and incredible amount of work to create something that folks might not even want.  With everything else I’m trying to juggle, that level of uncertainty always killed the project before it could get past the “THIS IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA I WANT TO DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!!” stage of initial enthusiasm.

However, I recently had an idea that would let me break down this huge idea into easier, bite-size pieces!

Every month for my Creator Corner patrons, I’m already making a video or article.  So I thought: I’m doing that anyway, why not use that to actually BUILD something?  What if I had a theme for six months, or even a year?  Tackling one subject, creating lessons and worksheets, getting feedback.  Like a beta version of the course, basically.  Once I had the content, I could collect it, polish it, and release it for folks that prefer to buy their online courses in one tidy package.

I ran this idea past Cory for a sanity check, and he said it sounded good.  And I’ve run it by Patrons and nobody’s said “ROBIN YOU NUTTER STOP RIGHT THERE” so I think that’s a good sign too.

That still leaves me with one question:  What should the topic be?

I have a few ideas.  Writing Villains is a subject I’ve thought about before.  So is How to Build a World.  However, before deciding anything, I want to get YOUR suggestions.  Then I’d like to collect those different ideas into a poll and see what folks would be the most interested in.

So how about it?  What subjects would you find interesting?  What kinds of things have you thought, “Robin does ___ really well, I wish she’d talk about how to do that!”?

6 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Luckily, you two happen to be in a good place to maybe kind of sort of change things? Eventually? Except that any bureaucratic structure will succumb to bribery. There’s really no way to ensure you’ve dotted all your i’s and crossed your t’s without a lot of paperwork, especially in a world without the internet. But hey, maybe you can make it less racist someday? Maybe?

Also, Robin, I totes think you should do a worldbuilding course. The structure and complexity of your worlds is just stunning. Right now I’m thinking about those crazy birth charts you did for Frost’s universe. And if you’re worried you don’t have anything useful to say on the topic, quit it right there. I think you can really talk about unique ways to think about your worlds and visualize them, like the model you built for Ley Lines. Also meaningful character design and stuff…
Basically, Robin, build a course.

Oh man oh man oh MAN I am loving this! =D

Also: seconding the worldbuilding notion. A specific question, though: how do you set the groundwork for “open worlds” like in OSTs or D&D sessions? When you’re making things from scratch rather than pulling from a published source?

I think it depends on the type of game you’re envisioning. Some GMs want to run a very role-play heavy game, steeped in culture. In which case, there needs to be culture to draw on. Unless players are incredibly comfortable (or prefer) drawing from whole cloth on their own. If that’s the case, then flexibility in setting can be very useful and emphasis turns instead to structure and mechanics. If the mechanics are sound, they can be adjusted to any sudden turn the players or GM may wish to take.

In an ideal world, both are present, but such a system can take years and years and years for a single individual to build, which increases the likelihood that A) it will never see the light of day and B) if it ever does get shared it will be an over-complicated and impenetrable result because the creator was steeped in it too long without input from the outside world.

For home-brews that I have personally made, I usually take a favorite existing mechanical system (in my case, L5R) and adjust it to suit the world-building I’m working on. As a GM, I tend to be very hand-wavy about the strict rules, but very heavy on character and setting. So that’s naturally where I put my main effort in building, letting the mechanical gaps be filled in by existing systems that both I and my players are familiar with. Sometimes I’ll simplify rules, or add in/remove rules that I particularly like/dislike.

If you’re setting out to build the mechanics as well, you enter into another realm of complication, because you need your mechanics to support your story. Extra Credits has talked a bit about tone and mechanics for video games, but many of the considerations are similar. Here’s one on Mechanics as Metaphor and another on Mechanics and Tone. I think these aspects of mechanics are worth thinking about, as it becomes the underpinning of how players will experience the game.

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