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January 6, 2010 / jadettman

Broad Strokes

I finished reading Diaspora not long ago and one of the interesting things that it does is take the idea of cooperative character creation at the table that was in Spirit of the Century and extend that to the setting too. Players each create a planetary system in the Cluster they will be using as their setting.

It’s interesting because it creates (or should) a high amount of investment in the game for the players. This is their setting, created together, and because of that they should be interested in exploring the game all the more.

This is the same reason that Microscope jumped out at us as a great setting building tool the first time we played it, too.

The (entirely theoretical) problem that I see with both systems is that there is a lot of possibility for things to go awry if everyone isn’t in the same zone when it comes to the feel of the game that they are looking for. Of course, a lot of this problem is solved socially. Everyone just stops what their doing and talks about what they want, in terms of feel, from the game. As long as all of the participants are reasonable and capable of compromise (and why wouldn’t they be if they are friends playing a game) then solving thing socially should work just fine.

The upshot is that I’ve been thinking about shared setting design vs the solo GM design recently so I’ll probably be talking about this more later. I’m liking the sharing, not least because it also takes some pressure off the GM, but there are still things to like about the solo route.

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