DISCUSSION WORLDBUILDING How "unique" must an original world be for you?

sun.

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By this I mean, what degree of "otherness" do you find most appealing in original creations. To perhaps clarify what I mean, I was working on a roleplay and I created a pretty massive world, with its own continents, oceans, nations, species and ethnicities. I then went on to create a character sheet, and when I hit birthday, I realized I was sort of self-evidently using January-December for dates. I never really considered making own names for the time-keeping system in this world, even though linguistically that doesn't make sense at all. Technically, a lot of slang words and such also don't logically should be used in original-world roleplays, even if you overlay English as "this is the common tongue".

There are also fictional worlds/settings that are not really Earth, but heavily imply they're a state (fictional past or hypothetical future) of our world, such as animes like Naruto or One Piece, where there's a bunch of stuff that doesn't exist IRL, like superpowers or animals or countries that have never and don't currently exist, but the world at large emulates our fauna, our surrounding stars/planets (hi Moon) and many systems such as medical/physiological stuff, idioms, naming conventions etc. Naturally you could argue it's just that our real world is the easiest and most common inspiration and comes easier that making EVERYTHING from scratch, but I think it can also be an intentional choice when drawing up your world.

So, what do you think? What do you prefer? What do you advise people to go for to make the most fun roleplay that balances uniqueness as well as accessibility?
 

One Who Tames

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I prefer not having to learn new months. A completely original world would be neat but it also seems like such a massive headache. I give my sincere congratulations to anybody with the time and drive to make it happen but I would not demand that level of detail from anybody.

What matters to me personally is internal consistency with the world, it’s people and its mechanics. If I have that and a dash of dynamic politics in the background then I am usually happy.
 

Reina

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I think it has more to do with what you're trying to accomplish in the role play. You'd have to concentrate more on what story you want to tell and what that means for the characters involved.

How important are dates to the characters? Unless you're planning on celebrating someone's birthday, the month, date and year don't really come into play during the game. It will probably only show up on the character sheet and never make it to the actual role play so making up a whole new calendar would be an unnecessary detail. Same with units of measure. How often are your characters going to need to measure something? Minuscule details such as these can be easily directed towards what we already known are units of measure so it doesn't take away from the true goal of the story.
 

Nemopedia

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To me the world building must be engaging. If I can’t imagine myself having all sorts of adventures in there, or just walk around, then it isn’t engaging enough yet. The degree of ‘otherness’ may vary as long as I can still recognise the world/place as unique.

For roleplay too many of such details can be intimidating, though. While you are entirely familiar with your own world the rest aren’t. You will need to explain a lot, but since most are lazy readers whole essays and studies can be intimidating. Keep it short, keep it to the point. Or introduce some of the details later on in the story, similar to how it is done within series and books with more complex worldbuilding. When the readers/players are already familiar with the world as you introduced it. That way it won’t feel like an infodump either.

Your own months, days, and years can add in some great detail, though. Definitely don’t be afraid of that. I find that especially in Fantasy settings the use of an unique timetable system can add into the culture and whole mood of the world. Our months and days are often named after deities and historical figures with an ego. They probably don’t exist in your world so it makes little sense to use them since the people in your world can’t relate to them. Though there again I would take caution in overcomplicating things. Keep it simple, don’t go all out on the frills and ribbons. Make it relatable. Just having different names is unique enough already, but don’t do it just to be ‘different’, but because it fits.
 
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Rumpleteaser

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For months, I usually use the seasons as a guide - midsummer, early spring, midwinter, etc.
 
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