Monday, December 27, 2010

How much Fantasy in your FRPGs?

I am still thinking about world building in my game and I was thinking about Oerth, the Greyhawk world.  In Greyhawk the sun goes around the world, as it did in some dark ages beliefs.

Now here is the thing.  Or two rather.  First, in today's age we tend to think of ourselves as very progressive and smart and forget that a lot of the things we know now, people also knew then.  Sure there are some "fantasy" style beliefs.  After all the Greeks knew a lot about Astronomy and even knew the size of the Earth (and the fact that it was round) as far back as the 4th century BC.  Sure today some people still think the world is flat or created by magic, but for the most part people are and were smart.
Secondly I like my universe to make some sort of sense.  Afterall I still would like to play a Greyhawk 3000 game someday and that might be harder if  my sun is really just a burning mountain going around a flat earth.

So yeah, I like magic, vampires and ghosts in my games, but draw the line at Earth-centered cosmologies.
Maybe I can have parallel cosmologies.  If one goes to the sun via magic, they find the realm of Pelor there, but if you launch a probe, it is just a ball of nuclear fusion.

What do you all do in your FRPGs?  Do you even bother?   What is your cosmos like?


Trey said...

I've done the gamut, I think. Historically I've preferred "realistic but for magic" worlds inspired by the likes of pulp "forgotten prehistory" worlds like those of REH and CAS. As I get older, I've lightened up a bit, and utilized more mythological or fantastic cosmoses (cosmi?) inspired by Glorantha and Exalted's Creation. I've also sort of employed the idea your talking about--wherein all the physics work as if the world is like ours, but player's glimpsing it by magical means would see something altogether different.

Porky said...

That parallel cosmologies idea is a concept and a half.

I'm happy with anything that has at least internal consistency. The burning mountain flat earth approach is fine if the lead is being taken from somewhere, and it can be spun out further.

Anonymous said...

In my current fantasy campaign, the Sea of Stars, which is self-consciously high magic the sun really is The Sun. As in the God of the Sun, who is let out of his divine jail cell every morning and marched across the sky (which make sunrise and sunset look like eclipses as the jail door is opened or closed).

Timothy S. Brannan said...

My world has two suns, a large reddish-orange one and a smaller blue one. I also have three moons. I wanted my world to look fantastic, but still be somewhat grounded in reality.

Alternately my larger sun has been a red-giant and the castle of the sun god.

woðbora said...

Uhmm... Didn't you know we currently live INSIDE a hollow earth?

Pontifex said...

I tend to go very very ignorant in my games. People don't know the cosmology and don't know where to start looking for answers most of the time. They just accept the answers provided by religious figures.

One day though, I am going to have the party reach the literal end of the earth. Where the water flows off the table and into the void. Oh, it will be a glorious day when I get to see those faces.

5stonegames said...

My game world is highly scientific just with added magic from extradimensional sources with different natural laws

I do tend to ignore the HP issue a bit in pathfinder/D&D/Etc but thats par for the course with that type of rules set.

Narmer said...

I like my games to be realistic with just a seasoning of magic. Magic is very mysterious and uncommon but with potential for great power. If magic is too common then it can effect life on a daily basis. Boil the tea water, etc. It would essentially replace technology as a way to get things done. Then you lose the Medieval flavor or whichever era you are playing in.

Sean said...

On my world, The sky is the inside of a shell. The sun is a phoenix and the moon a great worm. This can be seen by the naked eye (but don't look directly at the Phoenix, you'll ruin your eyes).