East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

November after-dinner project: worldbuilding and roleplaying

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Breaking a finger was not a good idea.
Right now the finger’s doing well (thanks for asking), the doctor likes what he sees in the X-ray shots, and I’ve made froends with the X-ray technician, so everything’s for the best.
BUT, writing is a drag.

Right now I have a full right hand and two fingers and a thumb on the left – but I must go carefully, because i don’t want to hit or press the broken finger. So, I’m writing slow – or at least slower than my standard.

This would not a problem were it not that I am to deliver a full RPG campaign by the end of December, a full fantasy novel by the end of January, and more or less between those two, a 20-pages piece of geographical/historical worldbuilding for another RPG.

Three very exciting projects – I’m having a blast, writing them… well, sort of a slow-mo blast.

And because I am doing all of these things… why not get something else on the cooker, just to make sure I won’t have a moment for myself?

A few days back, while I was looking around for a birthday gift for a friend, I bought a few books (yes, I know, I know…), including a guide to the peculiarities of Dutch society, a book about Victorian freakshows and, most important for our discussion, a book called 30 Days of Worldbuilding, by Angeline Trevena.

I think you can guess where this is going…

November is coming, and with November, NaNoWriMo will hit us. As I often say, I do not do the NaNoWriMo because writing a lot is my 24/7 job.
But what if I were to do this 30 Days of Worldbuilding thing?
One hour per day, after dinner. Keeping it short and sweet, but laying the foundations for a full fantasy/SF world. One I might use for stories, and for games.

I was thinking about a sword & planet sort of venue…

And something else surfaced – I found a nice little RPG engine called Shatter6. You can find it on DriveThruRPG ad a Pay What You Want pdf, with a suggested price of about two bucks.

It is VERY lightweight, it’s built for cinematic/pulp action, and it’s distributed with a Creative Commons license.
In the words of the author Scott Malthouse, this is

A system that begs to be hacked
As an open system, anyone is free to take SHATTER6 and do what they like with it. Create new settings or alter the rules and publish for others to play.

And that’s exactly what I will do.
I will design a compact setting in one month, and then plug in the Shatter6 engine and release it.

As I mentioned, I was planning to use the end product of my November experiment for stories and games.
I was thinking about the Basic Roleplaying as my engine of choice – with Savage Worlds a close second. Both systems are simple, flexible, and I am familiar enough with both to be able to adapt them to the setting with a minimum of fuss.
And I might get around to using one of those systems (or both).
But right now, I want to give Shatter6 a spin – with four pages of system, I could not ask for anything better.

The November experiment will be about speed, economy and efficiency.

I am going to start on the first of November, and go on for the whole month, posting each day’s worth of worldbuilding on my Patreon. A good way to keep me focused.
I will post snippets here, too.
It’s going to be fun … surely more fun that playing solitaire after a long day spent writing.
Now all I need is to get my left hand back in working order…

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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