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A week or two ago I started a thread talking about making a fantasy heartbreaker. By the time it wound down, discussion had wandered into the field of collective setting design, and how to implement that in a game. The thread is here.
I'm still working on it, and think I want to try a new tack, inspired in large part by the character creation system from Breaking the Ice.
You've got everyone sitting around the table. You've got three big sheets of paper or posterboard, one labeled "The Web" at the top, one labeled "The Codex," and the other with a compass rose. These are, respectively, The Web, The Codex, and The Map. You've got pencils and good erasers.
To start things off, the GM writes a single word in the center of The Web, preferably something evocative, like Desert, Snow, Moon, Knights, Demons, or Valley. They circle it. Then people go around the table counterclockwise taking turns.
On a turn, you can do one of three things:
Until the Web contains at least 15 entries, nobody can do anything but add to The Web. Yeah, even if you have a really fucking awesome idea and want to expound upon it in The Codex or draw it up on The Map. Let the kernel of the setting germinate into something before you start getting specific.
If someone doesn't like a Codex or Map entry, they can call BS. They must be able to offer up a reasonable explanation of why they don't want the addition to be made. The group then votes, everyone casting for the change, against the change, or abstaining. If the against votes outnumber the for votes, the player must do something else with their turn.
At any time, anyone can call for the setting creation to end. If nobody objects, setting creation ends. If there are objections, then creation continues until all objectors have taken a turn, at which point you may attempt to end setting creation once more.
Thoughts? I'm hoping this would create something organic and sort of unexpected for everyone involved, with the initial Web-only phase giving focus to the project before people start coloring in between the lines.
Has anyone thought about or seen similar systems before?
Any weaknesses to smooth over or cool improvements that could be made?