Saturday, September 10, 2016

Day 10: Mood and Culture

Today is a bit of a heavy exercise; it doesn't really sum up very well. It involves referencing the results of Day 3, and Days 6-9. Basically, it's about having them all line up together and make sense, and tweaking or removing anything that doesn't.

I recommend going over to Bryant's website and reading up on Day 10. To try and sum it up, here's today's task:

Settle on the overall mood for your story if you haven't already. Look through your timeline, political groups, and language notes and mark for revision anything that doesn't fit your mood. If you have time, revise those things. Otherwise, leave them for later.
So let's start with the mood and setting I'm trying to present, back from Day 3. This led to several climates that matched with these moods.

Oppressive: Tundra, Bayou, Badlands
Monolithic: Rocky Mountains/Alps, Ocean
Energy: Urban, Savannah
Defy: Settled on Urban, Outback, Volcanic, Marianas Trench. Upon further consideration, asteroid bases, colonies on barren planets, and space stations near stellar hazards work too.

Thinking on it, this is a pretty monumental task. I'm about to settle on the mood and tone for an entire campaign setting. Not just a game, but the whole damn setting.

Bryant has a tip for this heavy decision...

Having trouble really identifying the mood again? Finding that your mood and your language don't match at all?
Take a deep breath and think "When I read this story, I want to feel....." what? Amused? Thrilled? Important? Angry? Frightened? Dark? Confident? Angsty?
When I present this campaign setting to my PCs, and anyone else I want to share this with, what are the themes I want them to feel? When a PC plays this game, I want them to feel heroic. I want them engaged. I want them to feel intimidated, but also defiant. I want them to desire a better world, a better life, which means I need to give them a world that needs improving.

I think The Union is not going to end up being a United Federation of Planets analogue, I think they're going to end up more like the Terran Dominion from Starcraft, and arcing somewhat closer to the Galactic Empire from Star Wars.  Maybe they started like the Federation, but politics and ambition got involved. This logically means that there should be an alternative for the players to support. Alternately, there could be something the players could create to combat the Union.

But then we've got two other forces at play that the Union is really needed to hold back; the Drachon Clans and the Bathal Host. The clans are formidable, they're entire planets of warriors who are spoiling for a fight or at least to prove themselves at almost every waking moment. The Bathal Host is on a different mission, to purge heretics from the cosmos and spread the power of their Church. Given those two threats, many planets signed on to The Union, which gave the Union more power and influence. Vicious cycle, and all that.

I think everything lines up for now; I feel like it's all in a good spot. I've got a mood and setting that aligns with my culture and language; maybe not perfectly but enough that it's only tweaks and adjustments rather than full re-writes. This mood will affect everything going forward; Trinary isn't going to be a nice place, but it's ultimately worth saving.

Tomorrow looks like a really creative day; where I'll be focusing in on one or more aspects of Trinary.  Maybe I'll work on a few more than the exercise states, since it's a Sunday and I'll possibly have the time.

We'll see.

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