Quoted For Truth

I was catching up on my reading and came across this from James Wyatt:

Did you ever read a novel where the world was a barrier? Maybe you felt like you had to earn a master’s degree in the history of this fictitious place to make sense of the story you were trying to read, or you had to keep referring to a glossary in the back to keep track of all the made-up names for the most mundane details of the world. “What the heck is a Quelarian star-fruit, and why do I care? Why doesn’t the hero just eat a banana?”

I’ve read that book, or tried to. And I’ve run that D&D campaign, or tried to. It turns out that my players didn’t have any more interest in the campaign than I had in the novel. This time around, I’m letting the world get out of the way and concentrating on the big picture: the themes.

I wholeheartedly agree. I’m currently running the HPE series, and there’s really no setting to speak of in our games. I once referred to the world as Generica as a laugh and it kind of stuck. A great setting can really help colour in the game, our occasional Eberron game being a great example. But sometimes too much ‘world’ gets in the way.

I’d recommend reading the whole article I’ve snipped that quote from. You’ll have to be a subscriber, but the entire Dungeoncraft series is worth checking out.


1 Comment

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One response to “Quoted For Truth

  1. Yeah, that starfruit example is what I call the k’jinn problem: http://blogofholding.com/?p=493 Don’t rename common objects.

    I think there is a place for purposeful exoticism, but it should mark something as being exotic to the main character (be it a PC or a novel protagonist):

    NPC: Have a Quelarian star-fruit!
    PC: No thanks, I don’t like foreign foods. I’ll stick to my bananas.

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