This is something that I wanted to write for quite awhile, but had not yet decided that I was experienced enough to write it. It was only a few weeks ago I realized that nobody is truly experienced when it comes to creativity and that it is trying that improves the art. So, here I am penning a tutorial/essay about designing settings for Fudge.
Now the first thing I do want to point out is that setting and world are interchangeable in the community. For this tutorial a setting is a small collection of information encompassing something small. A world or a city, it is something that does not take up massive volumes and is easy for the GM to read over and get ready. A world by my definition is is a collection of settings make the playing field more epic. A world could be a group of star systems with a setting set for each planet or just a massive fantasy world. Again though I want to point out these terms are interchangeable and could mean something different to other people. So, with all the technical stuff out of the way, let us grab a tablet, notebook paper, or whatever you feel the most comfortable writing with and get to work.
1.Decide What your Setting is Going to be About.
The first thing you want to do is decide what you want your setting to be about. This can be anything from a new gritty scifi world to a fantasy land. What I find the best thing to do is come up with a tagline or one sentence description that embodies the world. I'm designing a setting with you at the same time as I write this so you have something to compare what you have with what I am doing. Keep us all on the same page.
2. What is in this Setting?
First of all you probably want to have an idea of what you want your setting to be about. The way I like to start is come up with a small sentence to describe your universe. My entry is: "An empire of merpeople living in the oceans of Earth."
There is a lot of thinking that goes in to making a good setting as you need to flesh out the setting in your head so you know what you want to do. This sentence gives you something to work with and what you want to make.
3. Creatures, and Things That Go Bump in the Night.
A world is empty and useless without characters and things in it. I personlly believe the hardest part of creating a setting is putting in the variaty of people and creatures to catch the reader's attention. In this case, I thought about the people of Mer under the water and tried to imagine what there life would be like. This I have found is a very good way of coming up with creatures and characters.
4. A Labor of Love
A setting is nothing that you can just come up with in one setting. Writing and designing is an art and art never should be rushed. One of the things I learned is the story is more important then just the setting. A good story will always bring people back and that's what you want in your setting. Stories for the players to play.
5. Feedback and a thick skin.
Another good thing to know and understand is that once you release your setting is to welcome feedback and also expect criticism on something you put in there. A thick skin is important as though the words may sting when someone points out something they don't like or think is a flaw in your work, you need to realize that the majority of the time the person who is critiquing your work is trying to make it better and to help you out.
Take his words in to consideration and decide if you agree with him/her or not.
Well, that's all for this blog entry. I hope this gives you many ideas about what to do with your setting, but also give you a blue print in case you are not sure how to proceed. If you have any questions you can either post it on the forum, on the yahoogroups, or email me at: Morg223 AT jtworld DOT net.
Here is the link to the People of Mer I made as an example: