Sunday, January 3, 2016

Other kinds of worlds

This is something I've been thinking about blogging for some time now (since my vacation back to America last summer) and I'm finally getting around to it now. Procrastination (prepping a Chanbara adventure for my first round three play test this coming Saturday) can be a powerful tool!

Anyway, on to the content. We've all seen plenty of various campaign worlds. There are the official ones, like Greyhawk, Toril (Forgotten Realms), Krynn (Dragonlance), Athas (Dark Sun), Eberron, and of course the good old Known World/Mystara. There are plenty of worlds from other game products -- Glorantha, Harn, Golarion. There are of course alternate Earths, and worlds taken from fiction like Middle Earth, the Hyborian Age, and the lands of the Wheel of Time (all three may actually fall under "alternate Earth"). Hundreds more, not even counting worlds created by various DMs.

What's something most of them have in common? They're all scientifically plausible (if sometimes unlikely) planets.

But Ancient and Medieval thought about the nature of the world and the universe could make for some fun gaming, could it not? I don't think I've ever played in - and I'm sure I've not yet run - a Flat Earth world. And while I've used the Great Wheel (AD&D) and the Astral Bubbles (BECMI) and a few other things for planar cosmology, I've never used the idea of the Celestial Spheres. Why not?
Wouldn't it be fun to have a world in which you literally could sail right off the edge? That's a temptation that would be too strong for most players, I'm guessing. Eventually, they're gonna try it. And what happens next? They fall into the void forever, passing the turtles that go all the way down? Is that how you travel to the Astral Plane from this world? Do they end up in the Land of the Lost? All kinds of fun potential there.

The Celestial Spheres are maybe not such a font of awesome sauce, but it could still be cool. If you take a Dantean bent to it, it would be possible to travel on foot or by mount from sphere to sphere, rather than requiring magical means to go from plane to plane. It could allow for some lower level planar hijinks, without the gothy emo overtones of Planescape.
I'm sure someone's done both of these ideas before, just not in any campaign I've ever played in. Maybe, after I get done testing Chanbara, I'll run a flat fantasy world and see how it goes.

5 comments:

  1. Havinghad a few flat world campaigns overthe years I can confirm PCs are drawn to the edge ofthe world like moths to a flame. Players want to experience the fantastic as longas it doesn't get in the way of expereince points and GP.

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    1. Good, thought so. [Never too early in the morning for an obscure Jack Burton quote.]

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  2. As I recall, RuneQuest's Glorantha is a lozenge-shaped flat world floating down the river of time. I have no idea what happens if adventurers go over the edge.

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    1. I've never played RuneQuest, so I had no idea about the cosmology of the setting. Thanks for letting me know!

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  3. Wait. The world is round? Nice article.

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