Outsourced Worldbuilding

One of the things I loved the most about Fate Core when I first picked it up was the emphasis on collaborative world-building – the creation of Aspects for the setting and attaching Faces and Places that the players come up with in concert with the GM.

Image by Jessie Therrien

I do most of my roleplaying online these days using Roll20, Hangouts and/or Skype and two of my players were interested in starting up a Fantasy campaign using Fate.   While they’re both seasoned veterans of PlayByPost and even some magnificent LARPS with casts of hundreds and spanning years in the forests of Europe they’ve never done Tabletop before.   I figured that sitting them down and trying to explain Aspects and some of the rulesey stuff about Fate (even the approachable Fate) might not be the best way to start, but I did want to involve them in the creation process so I hit upon a compromise idea that turned out to pay dividends.

I created a questionnaire for them with a few leading questions in there – not leading in the sense that I had particular outcomes in mind, but in the sense that they opened the door to a variety of tropes – and then I left it with them both to discuss between them.

It worked well, and I can recommend it as a great way to get the creativity going in a group even before sitting down together to play, with the beautiful bonus that everyone is invested in the results and knows the setting much better than if they’d simply been presented with a sheaf of pages of background material from the GM.

The questions are reproduced here.  In the next post I’ll share some of the answers they came up with which formed the basis of the world we’re now playing in.

How many years is it since the great capital city was abandoned?
What led to the fall of the royal house?
What price do magicians have to pay for their magic?
How many of the noble houses of the realm fell into dark ways?   How did the others respond?
Why are priests shunned by wise folk?
Which of the gods is still revered by the common folk and why?
Why is it hard to reach the elvish lands?
What weapon is the weapon of the nobility?
What non-combat skill is a true nobleman or woman supposed to master?
What do people swear by when they really mean it?
Have the trolls gone for good or might they return some day?  Who or what defeated them last time?

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