The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

We left our old worlds, each of us. This is it. We can't go any farther. This is The Edge.
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Idabrius
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The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Idabrius » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:15 pm

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): "Piazzaworld" was an old working title for "The Edge" and is no longer used. This post is being edited for clarity.

As per Chimpman's suggestion, this thread is to discuss the major themes and ideas behind Piazzaworld The Edge. I agree with his analysis - Postapocalyptic fantasy in search of lost Eden or somesuch. That's my take on it anyway. Let's start hashin this stuff out!
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Havard » Fri May 01, 2009 1:07 pm

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): "Piazzaworld" was an old working title for "The Edge" and is no longer used. This post is being edited for clarity.
Idabrius wrote:As per Chimpman's suggestion, this thread is to discuss the major themes and ideas behind Piazzaworld The Edge. I agree with his analysis - Postapocalyptic fantasy in search of lost Eden or somesuch. That's my take on it anyway. Let's start hashin this stuff out!
The idea is that this world could be a sort of analogy to this forum and the members here coming to the Piazza because we lost our home on Gleemax, right? Keeping with this line of thinking, how about putting a more positive spin on it and making this world a kind of parallell to the early settlements by the Pilgrim Fathers in America? The races travelling to this world have different reasons for leaving their homeworld behind (wars, famine, persecution, appocalypses), but they share a hope in making this a better world. On other worlds, the "Piazzaworld" The Edge would be a thing of legend, that adventurous or desperate individuals would be inspired to seek out.

Going further with this analogy, the world before the settlers arrive would have been a fairly empty world, though there could be some native races here as well. Some friendly and some hostile. This is more of an analogy to US history than to the Piazza I guess. I didn't see anyone here when we arrived? If this is an empty world though, the question is, why is it empty? Was there something here before? What destroyed what existed before? Are there things hidden beneath the promising surface?

And: Was all evil left behind? Or did the settlers bring something with them?

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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 4:20 pm

I dug up the old setting proposal form that WotC used in 2002 when they held their contest to find the next setting to publish. It might be of some use to us. I agree with Thorf though... we need to start posting our Creative Commons license disclaimer at the beginning of each of our posts here. It might be better to trash this thread and start a new one with the CC license included before we go much further.


Fantasy Setting Proposal Template

1. Core Ethos Sentence. [A sentence that describes the core ethos of the world. For example, Forgotten Realms is a world of sword-and-sorcery adventure, where heroes battle monsters with magic.]


2. Who are the heroes? [Brief description of heroes central to the setting. This need not be a comprehensive list.]


3. What do they do? [What are the main objectives of the heroes, and what steps do they take to achieve those objectives?]


4. Threats, Conflicts, Villains [What is the main danger to the world, and from whom does it come?]


5. Nature of magic [What is the source of magic? How abundant/scarce is it?]


6. What’s new? What’s different? [What makes this setting unique?]
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Big Mac » Thu May 07, 2009 5:56 pm

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): "Piazzaworld" was an old working title for "The Edge" and is no longer used. This post is being edited for clarity.
Havard wrote:The idea is that this world could be a sort of analogy to this forum and the members here coming to the Piazza because we lost our home on Gleemax, right? Keeping with this line of thinking, how about putting a more positive spin on it and making this world a kind of parallell to the early settlements by the Pilgrim Fathers in America? The races travelling to this world have different reasons for leaving their homeworld behind (wars, famine, persecution, appocalypses), but they share a hope in making this a better world. On other worlds, the "Piazzaworld" The Edge would be a thing of legend, that adventurous or desperate individuals would be inspired to seek out.
Hrm. While this is a valid thing for a planet (after all it was done with the Forgotten Realms), I wonder if it is the best "killer concept" for a fantasy world.

I love the transitive thing that you get with Spelljammer and Planescape, but not everyone does. That would mean that you are saddling this world with a concept that some people might find a bit off-putting.

Maybe you could achieve the same sort of multi-cultural thing without making the travelers come from a different world. How about (for example) having some sort of complex planet (with as many varied cultures as the Earth) and then have people "kidnapped" by some sort of "Bermuda Triangle"-like effect and transported to a new continent.

Or maybe you could just go for a multi-culture world, so that people could use the individual areas for Oriental RPGs, African RPGs, Indian RPGs, European RPGs or whatever.
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by night_druid » Thu May 07, 2009 6:20 pm

Big Mac wrote:Hrm. While this is a valid thing for a planet (after all it was done with the Forgotten Realms), I wonder if it is the best "killer concept" for a fantasy world.
Its probably a good enough concept for our purposes. We're creating a fan-driven world, not a commercial enterprise meant to compete with the Forgotten Realms or Warcraft.
I love the transitive thing that you get with Spelljammer and Planescape, but not everyone does. That would mean that you are saddling this world with a concept that some people might find a bit off-putting.
So long as the people participating enjoy it, I don't see the problem. You'll never please everyone; we just need to please the people who participate ;)
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Havard » Thu May 07, 2009 6:35 pm

Big Mac wrote:Hrm. While this is a valid thing for a planet (after all it was done with the Forgotten Realms), I wonder if it is the best "killer concept" for a fantasy world.

I love the transitive thing that you get with Spelljammer and Planescape, but not everyone does. That would mean that you are saddling this world with a concept that some people might find a bit off-putting.

Maybe you could achieve the same sort of multi-cultural thing without making the travelers come from a different world. How about (for example) having some sort of complex planet (with as many varied cultures as the Earth) and then have people "kidnapped" by some sort of "Bermuda Triangle"-like effect and transported to a new continent.

Or maybe you could just go for a multi-culture world, so that people could use the individual areas for Oriental RPGs, African RPGs, Indian RPGs, European RPGs or whatever.
I see what you mean about Transitive settings, David. Good idea about a multi-culture setting within one world. Or maybe the focus of the setting isnt the Bermuda Triangle place, but about people trying to find the Legendary City of the Piazza? ;)

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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Ashtagon » Thu May 07, 2009 7:39 pm

I don't see this setting as written so far as particularly "transitive". While there is an implication that many people (including adventurers) may have come from somewhere else, there is an equally strong implication that they can't go back, nor is there any particular interest or desire in going back. It's a destination, not a means of getting from A to B.
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Idabrius » Thu May 07, 2009 8:14 pm

I agree with Ash - it's more like a dumping ground for folks from all settings. They now have to make the best of their new location, because those "settings" no longer exist as worlds for them to return home to. From colonists to refugees to survivors of various cataclysms, the folk that come to Thalassa are stuck. They need to live in this culturally relative land of new opportunities and strange magics.
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Chimpman » Thu May 07, 2009 8:27 pm

Yeah, in my mind a transitive setting is all about "the journey" and as Ash said, this setting is all about "the destination". Frankly I would prefer a setting that was less quiltwork and slightly more rigid - with a limited and defined set of races, cultures, nations, etc... however I realize that kind of setting may be less suited to being designed by a large group (such as this one).

Having the setting be as open as it is allows any one of us to pick his or her favorite race/culture combination and start writing away. You want to tie it to a real world culture, check. Real world mythology, check. Created from whole cloth, check. Who knows what else, check. You want your people to be transported here after a disaster, or stumble upon a portal by accident, or crash land on the planet in a space craft... you can do all those things. This kind of setting addresses the problem of too many cooks in a kitchen, but might open up other problems later on (the main one in my mind being that nothing fits together).

I think we can strike a happy medium in there somewhere - applying just enough limitations so that our works can all mesh together well, without stifling the creativity from folks who might wish to contribute. But I think in order to get to that point we need to come up with at least a minimal settings bible.
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Havard » Thu May 07, 2009 9:04 pm

Chimpman wrote:I think we can strike a happy medium in there somewhere - applying just enough limitations so that our works can all mesh together well, without stifling the creativity from folks who might wish to contribute. But I think in order to get to that point we need to come up with at least a minimal settings bible.
If we stick with the Destination concept, we could have a large number of races/cultures etc, but we could still have a limited set of Dominant Races. I can definately see the advantage of having some major defining features to the setting rather than having it all be a mesh.

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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by yellowdingo » Fri May 29, 2009 1:45 pm

So is it to be a dumping ground for folks and critters fleeing from all the Corporate cartel settings? or New?

In that whole search for an Eden theme, I always considered Catal Huyuk (agricultural/neolithic/clay brick buildings) to be that 'eden' but apparently five thousand years further back, they found a settlement of buildings of cut stone. So there is always something further back. Something more sophisticated and pre cataclysm.

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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:19 am

The idea is that this world could be a sort of analogy to this forum and the members here coming to the Piazza because we lost our home on Gleemax, right? Keeping with this line of thinking, how about putting a more positive spin on it and making this world a kind of parallel to the early settlements by the Pilgrim Fathers in America? The races traveling to this world have different reasons for leaving their homeworld behind (wars, famine, persecution, appocalypses), but they share a hope in making this a better world. On other worlds, the "Piazzaworld" would be a thing of legend, that adventurous or desperate individuals would be inspired to seek out.

Going further with this analogy, the world before the settlers arrive would have been a fairly empty world, though there could be some native races here as well. Some friendly and some hostile. This is more of an analogy to US history than to the Piazza I guess. I didn't see anyone here when we arrived? If this is an empty world though, the question is, why is it empty? Was there something here before? What destroyed what existed before? Are there things hidden beneath the promising surface?

Then it seems to me that you'd want to design, to one degree or another, five or so different worlds: a "promised land" and at least four (for variety and symmetry) different postapocalyptic worlds from which the new settlers are arriving. Each of the "old countries" has a different apocalypse that devastated it, but characters can travel back to the old country as well as the new - they may seek to right whatever went wrong in the old lands, seal shut the portal letting new pilgrims and invaders in, or open more portals to welcome in new refugees and allies.

Each of the Old Countries might be accessed by different means. One you might have to get to by flying through the depths of space, one you have to boat down through the River of the Underworld, one you travel through moongates created by a lost empire of fey, and one you journey through a jagged wound in the fabric of space and time. There are any number of other possible ways, of course: a city that exists on multiple worlds at once, a fiery portal created by the forces of Hell, a misty stretch of ocean that leads to alien shores, a giant stone monolith with two open-mouthed faces, a cave system, giant worms that tunnel through dimensions, a rainbow bridge, and a sungate formed from a stone circle that only opens during an eclipse.

I think the number of Old Countries should be kept to a relatively small number so that there's time and space enough to develop them adequately and tie them together. For now, I suggest there are four.

I think some worlds may have contributed multiple races. Every one of these worlds should be new, not something someone else owns.

Possible examples:

A world ruined by greed.
A world ruined by war (possibly an invasion from one of the other worlds).
A world ruined by ice.
A world ruined by fire.
A world ruined when its moon fell from the sky.
A world that is a future version of the New World, where things went wrong and refugees have come back in time to warn people.
The New World's own past, where people are escaping an ancient cataclysm by fleeing to their own future.
A "false afterlife," where souls wrongfully imprisoned in a kind of Limbo have found a way to the New World, where they can live again.

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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Ashtagon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:32 am

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): "Piazzaworld" was an old working title for "The Edge" and is no longer used. This post is being edited for clarity.

If we started envisioning a series of ruined worlds from which the peoples are migrating, I think we run into a number of problems.

* It greatly expands the amount of work involved.
* It risks turning the world into a transitive setting rather than a setting in its own right.
* This feels like it conflicts with the theme of "accidentally stumbling upon" piazza world The Edge (a la Bermuda triangle style entries).
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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:14 pm

I think those are definitely some smart things to keep in mind, Ashtagon, and important guidelines. The main world certainly shouldn't be made to feel like a transitive setting, and people need to prioritize how much work they put into things. I really don't understand your third comment, however. Where's the conflict?

That said, I don't think developing other worlds would necessarily cause one to run afoul of your warnings. A world that touches other worlds isn't just a "transitive setting" if it has its own unique powerful themes. As for the amount of work involved, it's up to the individual contributor how they decide to apportion their effort. I think it's fair to say, "You probably shouldn't put a lot of work into something we're barely (if at all) going to use." And "maybe you should cut down your treatise on the sociology of the rani-men to something less than 50 pages." Ultimately, though, people should work on what they feel most inspired by - I think that's the best way to encourage good work. If some of it needs to be cut, or none of it gets used, that's what "web enhancements" are for.

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Re: The Edge Mission Statement and Themes

Post by Vile » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:43 pm

It doesn't seem to me like you really need to detail the apocalyptic "homeworlds" for The Edge to work as a setting. Since there's no way of going back, a simple backstory would be all that's ever needed. That sort of thing could be plugged in whenever it becomes relevant. Fleshing out Thalassa itself would appear to have greater priority.

I feel compelled to spout my favourite Japanese garden design quote again:

"A garden is complete when there is nothing more which can be taken away."

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