World Building.

I put this in the comments, but want to pull it out here because it turned out to be really significant to how I’m designing.

One companion piece to the monster builder is the geomorph stocker project I’ve been working on for many months. One of the sticking points was the deep sigh that came with realizing I was going to need to make a huge bestiary to really realize my vision for how the stocker would work. Then I hit upon this plan–the monster randomizer.

Now I think that a DM can build a working bestiary with time and continuing adventure in a setting, just as the creators of D&D did. Minions and toughs (guards) are easy, and you can add a single talent if re-skinning isn’t distinctive enough. If you have cool ideas for monsters, write them up! If you want to use the resource of the monster builder (but not randomize) it is a toolbox. And if you get stuck creatively, roll something up and make a home for it in the world. (I’m also going to make a swarm and vermin generator.) Keep what you make, mythologize it, re-use it, riff off it, grow your world.

Wrenching loose of the idea that I need to do a whole bestiary to finish my stocker has been tremendously helpful to my creative process.

The middle ground I think I’ll take is to work up a default setting for Fictive Hack and begin that mythologizing and stocking process for that default setting. That can be the center or jumping-off point for a new campaign, or it can serve as inspiration to show how it is done.

This is the middle ground I offer. It doesn’t require the pure gush of creativity and sensibility for game design that Old School Hack requires. It also avoids the set, published, player-accessible prefabrication of the game world. In this middle space, you’ve got a lot more tools to make your world, but it’s still your world to make.

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