(a broadside)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dawn of Worlds: We are as gooooods

Four of us gathered together with only a pdf of the Dawn of Worlds rules set and a leaf of 15x15 paper, blank but for this outline (or a close variation of it).

That is, if you're interested, a modified drawing of a methane sea on Titan. I'm fond of using interesting natural/extraterrestrial shapes as map outlines.

First things first. As we were supposed to be gods creating this world in our respective images, we thought we'd go a little bit beyond the scope of the rules and give ourselves some spheres of influence. How we came to these spheres was created and decided by the lot of us, and quite neat in my opinion.

Dawn of Worlds divides the timeline into three ages. The First Age is largely land form creation and tends to be very long, with each turn being approximately 500 years. The Second Age is the big time civilization period, with each turn being approximately 100 years. The Third Age is the recent timeline, each turn being anywhere from 1 to 25 years.

We decided that, for the First Age, we would each randomly roll for two spheres of influence. We decided on eight spheres that we thought of as universal enough to be the basis for budding, prehistoric gods.


The combinations were . . . interesting. These were:

Light and Water
Nature and Darkness
Earth and Wind
Death and Fire

I rather liked how this turned out. These are not typical combinations for most gods you find out there. They do, however, set the imagination a'going as to what kind of world this is gonna be. Nature and Darkness? Man. That right there told me that the natural world is probably going to be at least slightly hostile and twisted.   Earth and Sky gives me the image of an Earth Mother sorta goddess. Light and Water? Would not have seen that coming, either. And, of course, Death and Fire (which was rolled up by none other than lil' ole' me). That...that's just awesome. Oh, the mind churns all sorts of wonders that could arise from that!

We would each bear these two spheres for the first age, keeping in "character" with our decisions as we forged the earth. More on that later.

At the turn of the Second Age, we decided each god would, in turn, decide upon a new sphere to give to him/herself. We appraised our actions of the First Age, the results being:

Light and Water and Change
Nature and Darkness and Conquest
Earth and Wind and Strength/Endurance
Death and Fire and Conflict

...it was a mean First Age.

The (highly tumultuous) Second Age came to end, and we decided to add a final sphere to our portfolios. This time, however, the other three gods would decide amongst themselves as to what would be an appropriate sphere. 

Light and Water and Change and Pride
Nature and Darkness and Conquest and Corruption
Earth and Wind and Strength/Endurance and Vengeance
Death and Fire and Conflict and Fertility

...yeah, the rest of the game wasn't much nicer, actually.

Stay tuned for an abridged version of the actual game play, and how we each earned these appellation. Feel free to guess in the meantime.

An Experiment in Collaborative Creation

     I often say to my players that, "if you don't tell me what you like, I'll give you what I like, which may be completely at odds with anything you're remotely into." Left to my own devices, I'm prone making campaign settings filled with needless amounts of historical background, scads of the walking dead, and overwhelmingly gloomy . . . 'cause that's what I'm into. I'm a fan of horror, history, pulp and shlock.

     I've had people go into one of my games, voicing no opinions as to what they'd like to see, and then have them become disinterested and/or drop the game because it wasn't what they were looking for. 

     While I will continue drawing up fantasy worlds at the drop of a hat and for my own pleasure, I've been inspired recently to engage in acts of collaborative world creation with prospective players. The animus for such an idea came from the Dawn of Worlds game (found here) and by the excellent Dogs in the Vineyard (found here).

     To nutshell it, Dawn of Worlds is essentially a game of world creation. You get together some friends (preferably people who'll be playing in this setting), pretend to be gods for a few hours, and use a turn based point system to build a world up from a blank map outline to a thriving campaign setting. A campaign setting where the players all know the history of the world. A setting where the players themselves have an emotional investment because they built a good portion of it. Dogs mainly inspires me here by way of its "say yes or roll dice" philosophy. Don't stifle player creativity because it may not fit into your image of things. It's their game, too, after all.

     A few weeks ago (sorry for the lack of updates, O my public), I introduced members of my university geek club to the idea. They chomped at the bit for an opportunity to engage in the experiment. I'll be making a series of posts recalling the results and the findings of the experiment shortly.