Thursday, April 27, 2017

Living With a Compromise

Our next series of word comes from Brittany Balcom. This is the kind of set that I really anticipated being a problem. They aren't instantly evocative, they don't make good names, and they tend to function better on the personal scale than the setting scale.

Coordination, manufacture, insubordination, envy, solace, fecundity, compromise

Given that Brittany is a huge GoT fan, and I haven't done epic fantasy yet, I decided to give it a go. Given the vast array of D&D worlds and fantasy novels out there, epic fantasy also has a really deep well to draw from, which gave me a bit of a crutch when dealing with a tricky set.

It turns out to have been far too effective of a crutch. After a slow start, I had all seven words incorporated at the macro level of the setting. There still wasn't enough setting to really play in. I had races and gods, but very little for characters to interact with. So I doubled down on the challenge. I kept the macro level, gave myself another 24 hours, and used the same set of words to build the micro level.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, though it still needs more fleshing out and much better organization.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Wheel in the Sky Keeps Turning

My lovely friend Liz clearly looked at her bookshelf to generate this list of words. As such, it's a fabulous list for our purposes:

Dune, game, code, hunger, wheel, wizard, stranger

I'm trying to avoid pulling any of the original titles in as inspiration, which is harder than you might think. The obvious answer is to go for a super-shiny sci-fi setting, like you'd frequently see in the 80s, but still avoid Dune. Fortunately, "game" took me to a different bit of 80s fiction, and I totally stole a piece that I love from Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Again and Again

This was a decidedly challenging set, primarily because it was a sentence rather than a group of words:

The Devil went down to Georgia ...again

A couple of these are easy (Devil and Georgia). A couple are really hard (I still don't like what I had to do to make "went" and "down" work). But once I saw "...again" I knew I had to pull out the time travel trope. Especially as we've been watching Timeless and Time After Time recently.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Hellebore Society

And back to the final set from my kith, when he finally stopped screwing with me. And so we get a set of proper words, that are wonderfully, instantly evocative:

Blonde, hellebore, melee, nervy, rising, drinking, tink

I don't know about you guys, but I went immediately to a stylistic 1920's adventure vibe, that could lean either noir or pulp. It was Tink, though, that brought that touch of magic.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Three is a Magic Number

Today we're getting away from the really weird sets of words and back to the kind of set I was expecting. We have:

Contemplate, poison, triangle, outrage, perplexed, resilient, allegiance

For an RPG setting, there are a couple of easy words there. "Perplexed" gave me some trouble, as it doesn't lend itself well to the kind of macro level interaction you need in a setting. But it was "triangle" that really kicked off the core conceit.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sharing is Caring, Always

I mentioned in my last post that I got a couple really terrible sets of words from my kith. Today's post is the second of these.

I, sharing, oh, you, always, warning, PETA

This is considerably better than yesterday's batch. There are only two pronouns and one interjection. I can't use the same device for "I" that I did yesterday, because that would be cheating. Fortunately, I came up with a different solution, balancing off PETA. "You" was incredibly difficult, though. I still feel like I kind of flubbed that one.

The inclusion of PETA makes me want to make it a modern setting. I haven't done an urban fantasy yet, and I love those. (Fair cop, I cribbed a bit of this from another urban fantasy setting I've been poking at.) And "always" kicked off the thought process...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This Land is My Land

So my loving kith chose to hit me up with a couple really annoying sets of words. This is where I really noticed that I should have been more specific in my request.

I, my, he, such, um, yes, daw!

How the heck am I supposed to craft a setting around a bunch of pronouns? Sure, I could tweak a couple of them by making them acronyms. But what am I supposed to do, create a guy who goes by "I"?

Hey, wait. That gives me an idea for a Lewis Carroll/Neil Gaiman type of setting. I can work with this...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Enclave

Facebook popped up with a memory, and reminded me that I never finished my setting challenge. Let's get going on this again, huh? The next one in the list was:

frustrating, angry, remote, forever, freezing, beyond, control

The trickiest word was definitely "frustrating". It doesn't make a good name for a place. It's not an eponym that either a villain or hero is likely to take. It's far too long to be an acronym. It just doesn't have a clear place. Then I had an odd epiphany, and cheated a little bit. I added in a bit of system instead of making it pure setting, though the word is used in-setting.

I'm also not entirely happy with this, because it ends up being a fairly static setting. As written, there's just nothing going on. This can obviously be fixed just by adding faces. I probably should have done that.