For the next few columns I’m going to be exploring the dysfunctions and conflicts in the worlds we create. Not conflicts brought about by our mistakes as worldbuilders (though those can become fuel for deeper worldbuilding as noted), but what happens when things break down? Sure we’re all busy building our world, but things go wrong inside the worlds as part of good worldbuilding, and we have to figure out the implications of the crises we create.
In fact, as repeated several times, conflict is actually part of the process of making a world accessible and interesting. People want to hear stories and play games about things that happen, and that often involves conflict. Not always of course, but often enough it warrants its own section here in a series of columns by a slightly-mad-scientist of randomizing ideas.
Now everyday conflicts are one thing; arguing over a tab, not being able to find dragon dung at the alchemist’s shop, and so on. Let’s talk about the big ones, the ones that are epic and horrible, the ones we write about – and the ones that in real life make us wonder why the hell they happened.
So let’s go and find out just how things break down and go wrong. We’ll start with how it stays together in the first place – well, how our cast of characters and people keep it together. After all, they’ll be the ones you’re writing about or your players are playing.
Also they’re probably the ones causing the problems . . . (more…)