World Building 2013 – All Roads Lead to…TSR?

I have been using some of my free time to pencil in some ideas for a bout of world building.  The old pink binder of my first homebrew world (Codename:  Lanotia) has resurfaced, both literally and metaphorically, so I feel that it is time to see what I can do.  Yet, the task seems monumental and paralytic, for all roads to something new and innovative lead back to previously published material.  Here is a glimpse of some of the roads that I have been down thus far:

Track 1

  • “I have taken a lot of Latin…*Bing* Roman-themed, with a testament to political, technological, and philosophical greatness housed within a decaying empire.” 
  • “Wait, this seems familiar…” [Looks over at Arcanis]
  • “Dammit!”

Track 2

  • “Hmmm…Why is Dune in my queue of things to watch?”  
  • “…Desert Campaign World FTW…”
  • [Sad Face] “I’ll guess I can call it Dark Qadim.”

Track 3

  • “Hmmm…Martin doesn’t have the quintessential rights to dark, gritty fantasy, right?  I can do that.”
  • “First off, let’s use this nifty software to build some banners.”
  • [20 minutes later]  “It has a lion on it…”

I am starting to wonder what new ground is out there to explore with a fantasy, let alone a tabletop setting.  With science fiction, the possibilities seem boundless and fruitful for exploration, yet with fantasy, the capacity for endless combination exists, but somehow it feels difficult 1) to escape the sacred cows (i.e. elves, dwarves, and halflings; unbeatable magic; that damn starting tavern, etc.) and 2) to chart out unexplored terrain that has not been licensed (and likely Starbucks-ed).  What is truly left to explore and what is truly new? It seems that new wave mainstream and indie games that are breaking new ground tend to focus on the mechanics rather than the setting, though I must say that the concepts behind Greg Stolze’s Reign do make me feel giddy.  Perhaps a good moment of world building must start with a crowd-sourced question:  When it comes to fantasy after a resurgence of fantasy in all forms of media, where do we go from here?

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Day 1 of January 2013 – A Plan of Gaming Action

Well, as per usual every year, I make a lot of commitments that I cannot keep, and this blog has been one of them.  However, a new year has dawned, and with it, so does a new day for this endeavor.  I am not going to spend of lot of time outlining everything that I will be doing over the next few weeks, but rather give an indication of my first project:  a look back on the most influential tabletop games that have occurred since I began gaming consistently in late 2003.  It is important to note that I am not necessarily looking at flawless games, but rather games that gave me pause, caused me to reconsider, and transformed my outlook on gaming.  I hope that they make for interesting reading, and I hope you stay tuned to read.