The Player Test!

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Soulserenity20, May 15, 2016.

    Hello there, friend.

    I've been on iwaku for a couple of years now and I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two about a thing or two. I've been GMing one long term RP for 2 years on this site, though its been up and down for 3. It took about a year for it to catch on the way it did here.

    In my short, humble time as a GM I've learned a few things. Okay, I've learned A LOT of things. But the most significant of all is this:

    No matter what you do, how much you plan, or what rules you follow, nothing tests your world like having it put into action. Nothing will test the quality of the fabric of your world like having a bunch of players prodding at it with burning torches and pitchforks.

    This simple exercise will be aimed at getting you one step ahead of the game when it comes to world building. It is here *jabs flag into ground* that I will offer you allllll the annoying questions that you may very well get in your roleplay when your first wave of players come barreling in to see what's what.

    You might think this is dumb. You might not.
    But I'll tell you this: when I had players asking me things like "what do the buildings of this town look like, and why?" I realized I hadn't developed the town. When I had players asking me "how long would it take to reach this place by foot or on horse back?" I realized I hadn't developed a scale of my continent. When I had a player ask me "can I use blood in place of water for my water magic?" I realized my players were crazy and I crawled into a hole for a bit. While I was in that hole, I realized I hadn't explored the extent of my mana system and its capabilities.

    Let me be that crazy player.

    Here's how it works!
    • You post your description of your race or culture.
    • I ask questions you aren't going to like.
    • You answer them.
    • You gain development points for your world! Yay you!

    I will be posting another of these into the world and setting section of the world development forums so look there if you have questions about setting and worlds in general, etc.

    You'd be surprised what you don't know about your world until people start asking questions.

    Note: I encourage you all to ask each other questions about what's posted as well. After all, the more opinions offered, the better this whole thing becomes!
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  2. Greetings @Soulserenity20

    First I would like to remark that it is saddening that none of the fine Iwaku World builders have posted here yet.

    Let me be the first.

    While I will not directly post my world on this page, as what I have is rather extensive, I would love to have you prod me with your magic fire stick...

    Damn, we might have to move this discussion into the Libertine section after that one..

    Either way. At the moment I am developing the newest adaptation of a world I originally thought up years ago. It has had many variations, and is now much more defined than the original. My goal is to see it be successful and I currently have 6 rather extensive blog posts explaining concepts of the world in what I believe to be a linear fashion.

    So please, if you find time, mosey on over to and read up on the actively developing world of Elym.

    I would love to be tested by you on what I have re created so far.
  3. Well I thank you for your words! However several players are posting in my worldbuilding section and their races are being reviewed there as a bit of a catchall for the world XD But I am directing some of them to come here to work on their races more specifically. I expect/hope this thread to liven up a bit!
    Tee hee, maybe. But let's focus on the task at hand. THIS IS ALL BUSINESS SIR.

    Now, this is a fine goal, but lacks detail: successful in what way? As a book? A roleplay? Simply a world to be appreciated? :)

    I will mosey on over there as soon as possible and offer my questions and feedback :) Bear with me until the weekend though because the work week is a bit draining and I do most of my staff stuff on the weekends ^_^ Though I do like to read all the wicked things the iwakuians are making up these days so I might get to it sooner!
  4. Ooph! I will ask that you pick one blog entry to submit at a time! I'll be reading and quizzing for weeks if I decide to go after ALL that you have written in your blog :) Now, because this is the race/culture setting, I ask that you focus your submissions there. I will do basic world reading to get a good idea of how the races fit in, but for major world-building questions and inquiries from me, pop on into my corresponding thread in the world-building content section and post which blog entries you'd like for me to start with there :)

    Happy writing and I look forward to reading what you've created!
  5. Well I thank you for your words! However several players are posting in my worldbuilding section and their races are being reviewed there as a bit of a catchall for the world XD But I am directing some of them to come here to work on their races more specifically. I expect/hope this thread to liven up a bit!

    Lovely to here my boy, lovely to here (#supcomreference). Also, you are welcome

    Tee hee, maybe. But let's focus on the task at hand. THIS IS ALL BUSINESS SIR.

    Business is pleasure, if you really want it to be *Wink*

    Now, this is a fine goal, but lacks detail: successful in what way? As a book? A roleplay? Simply a world to be appreciated? :)

    I actually answer this question in my first blog post, read up Senpai.

    I will mosey on over there as soon as possible and offer my questions and feedback :) Bear with me until the weekend though because the work week is a bit draining and I do most of my staff stuff on the weekends ^_^ Though I do like to read all the wicked things the iwakuians are making up these days so I might get to it sooner!

    Oh, I can definitely bear with you.

    Tee hee.
    #5 Ner0, Jun 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  6. It shall be done.

    #6 Ner0, Jun 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  7. Good madame, if you will.

  8. @Soulserenity20

    While it's not much of a concrete world yet, perhaps you can check out that which me and my fellow roleplayers are building together? The link is in my signature (just click the picture). Maybe you can offer some insight into what we have so far.
  9. OKAY. So I've been MIA from this project for a while. And with good reason. My days are basically just 5 blinks from morning to evening lol. But the semester starts next week and once it does, I should have scheduled time each day to work on this, as well as my other projects. So, starting September 12, I will reopen these. I will ask for a limit of submissions to about 1000 words per submission, give or take, to allow me to get through more submissions in a timely manner. I'll be starting fresh so please post your submissions after I post a "Submissions Welcome" post on the 12th! Thank you all for your patience and I look forward to reading your beautiful work.


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  10. I have a culture concept that I was developing a few tears back for a novel.

    Throughout the series there is an emphasis on thermodynamic balance. A magic trait develops in certain individuals over the course of the history of the world, and then following the abuse of that magic a restorative counter-magic develops in certain individuals. Ignoring the bunch of different cultures this applies to, and just looking at the one I want to talk about today...

    This culture lives on the polar cap of this world, Oulmanir. Imagine the arctic - very cold, and dark, snowy, and unforgiving. Life is hard there, and then one develops who's skin emits light and heat, allowing for the growth and careful cultivation of plants, warming of the people, and development of infrastructure during the otherwise unworkable cold seasons. This trait to emit light does a few things to the host. It makes her (always women) burning to the touch, extraordinarily brilliant, lightweight because of the loss of energy/mass from her system, and blind because no light is brighter than what she is projecting.

    To balance this, a male is born who absorbs heat and light from the environment at roughly the same rate. He is by contrast heavy, freezing to touch, shrouded in darkness, and blind because no light reaches his eyes.

    Neither of the two produce an indefinitely stable environment and so the two (source and sink) must travel together to weigh out the effects of the other. In fact, they must care for one another as ordinary citizens cannot err close enough without suffering heat- or frost-burn. In addition neither of these two classes of people feel the cold due to their unique traits, so at least that's something.

    The light source - as would be expected - is lauded as the savior and matron saint of this culture. She earns her 'please' and 'thank you', and gifts of produce, and a shrine and attendants following who wear blindfolds to mitigate the brightness (I think they just want to stay warm o3o). Whereas her pair, the light sink, is used as a tool of the people for construction, hoisting, demolition, hunting, etc. He gets no education and noone likes to talk to him beyond giving orders of 'barge that way.'

    While the light source may have any name really, not following convention - for instance Weyra and Larial - the light sink is defined by his relation to his one unique partner he follows around - San Wey and San Lara, respectively.

    As a general rule, the first magic that is adapted into society is an aberration that helps the people deal with the situation they are in. So when the counter-magic develops, it is criminalised or shunned, undoing the work and effort of what had been done to date.

    Not important, but interesting - because the counter-acting units are the only ones who can touch, they also take care of each other.
    #10 Draugvan, Nov 23, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  11. Where did the culture get its name?
    So this race is a glowing race?
    Why always women? Is it known in the IC to the race? If not, do you know as the GM?
    Host implies some kind of parasite. Is this a genetic trait or a different living organism that is uses the Oulmanir female as its host? If the former, when did this trait appear? Is it a random mutation or is it passed from generation to generation?

    I wonder all the same questions for the counterpart male: what caused this? How is it passed on? Is there the role of gods in this some how? How are they treated in the culture?

    Other major questions I have:
    What does the race look like? What language do they speak? When did the light and light sink come to be? How long do they live? How does the culture sustain itself (i.e. agriculture?).

    P.s. sorry this took so long to reply to! I saw it, said I'd do it later and completely forgot about it XD Very interesting concept though :D I haven't seen anything like it before :)
    Ah, here's an answer to part of my last question.
    Why is he treated differently. Can you elaborate on his role?
  12. Haha I really asked for it, didn't I? Standby.
  13. So the continents (and book titles) in this series follow a trend: Temanir, Durandir, Oulmanir. There are also three other continents that may interact and form another series if I wanted. For a large part I choose names that feel right. Unless the world requires, and is sufficiently enlightened enough, to form a codex, I tend to name things gibberish. I only use easter eggs and referential names when I can't be banged.
    The civilised race on all the continents are 'human', with the addition of some genetic mutations for survivability. These are things like sickness and poison immunity. No other races have such culture. Aside from the humans, its all animals, bugs, and the rest of a normal ecosystem (with some genetic get the idea). Only the light-emitting-person is glowing, but they are glowing all over with a yellow light. The light-sink looks like he is shrouded in shifting shadows. And everyone else look like everyday humans.
    The magic in this universe is 'will' based, but cannot be sought. Emitter/sink is defined as a magical trait. The traits will affect random zygotes as they develop, and is not transferable through any consistent means. It is provided by 'fate' or not, it is a roll of the dice.
    I tend to write high-concept. This series looks at the balance of extremes on the meta-level. Among others, this particular instance investigates gender tropes of women being nurturing, bright (figuratively, but now literally), respected, expressive, and bond-forming; and of men being stoic, insulating, unfeeling, protective, unexpressive, and self-destroying to their basic level. This gender disparity is highlighted in the emitter/sink pair by showing how much the emitter has, and how much the sink lacks. It is a negative commentary on the current gender roles.
    The people of Oulmanir (note this is the continent's name, and not the people's. Maybe they are Oulmarin?), the people of Oulmanir are aware that that only men and women receive their respective trait. But because the recipients of these traits are random, I don't think the knowledge has any effect on the culture.
    I say 'host' because I was running out of words to say. It was a flourish of the language only. As said, the traits are entirely magic based and generated on 'probability' I guess. There is no parasite that causes emitting/sinking, though that does propose an interesting idea.

    Also there are no gods in this world. In fact one of the main issues explored in the series is the mistake of academic certainty for religious piety. While knowledge of a former world was retained, the lessons, experiments, and research of the former world was not. This leads the people to simply accept the facts as observation, and try to come up with their own explanation as to 'why?'. For lack of a better system and tools with which to verify their beliefs, the simple people are left with religion to explain previously scientific findings. Then centuries of proliferation set the people's belief into faith, and the rest is history.
    Our kind of human. Probably dark-skinned, though the emitter stands out in my mind as pale.
    I do not know when they emitter/sink trait came to be. As a rule, society in each of the world's areas did not kick off until their magical traits developed. So I imagine there is little to no record of their primordial culture.
    The emitter/sink have slightly longer life expectancies because they receive preferable treatment over normal citizens, but on the whole they have a normal human life span. About 30-50 years I think for a reasonably developed culture.
    They hunt polar bears and seals and stuff. However a large emphasis is placed on their agriculture, spending most of their time tending to these large, flat plants with broad leaves (like pak choy or rhubarb, but flatter), and painstakingly nurturing these plants in a snowy environment that just does not want anything to grow.
    He is viewed as a tool. Its not that noone wants to talk to him, its often do you speak to your shovel, or your washing machine? In a way, the sink is a drain on society because he cancels out the light and heat they so dearly need. Society has to put up with him, so they will use him, while at the same time interacting as little as possible.
  14. MY GOODNESS. I need to dust this thing off! Thanks for the interesting answers to my questions @Draugvan !
    This can be incredible important, it helps people feel at home in the world if the names of the regions feels natural. I applaud you for paying mind to that!
    The magic system can be make or break. I recommend you create the system with as much detail as you can and try to explain how it can be used in day to day life, combat, what its limitations are, its strengths and weaknesses, its risks, etc. Let me know if you want to chat about the mana system. You can PM me about it if you'd like, but I'd rather keep it out of this thread as it's a bit off from culture development.
    Well, my gut instinct is that this wouldn't be the case! If they're like humans, issues of gender identity and roles will come up. I suggest you spend some time writing about how the gender differences work, recording thoughts about a possible masculine female and how the dynamics of her role might work, or vice versa with a feminine male. You might even want to consider the ideas of the various genders between and beyond the dichotomy if this is something that might come up in your world. If you're doing a criticism of gender norms, I suggest you brainstorm ways that it's going to come through in the society you build. A criticism can be a powerful thing and the dynamics played out in your story will tell people what you think. Be careful about being precise in how you portray the gender roles and criticisms present in your world!
    Thank you for clarifying. Be wary of vocabulary :)
    THIS is a cool concept and I'd love to see it when it comes to fruition :)
    This is something that is going to need some explanation when you go to write your books because you're now connecting a magical trait to the evolution or intellectual development of humanity. You need to at least have your own understanding of why they didn't evolve or develop their society without this trait and think about what life was like prior to it. The people couldn't have just appeared once the trait did, their history didn't just start when the trait did. There was something before and even if you dont' tell your readers or pay mind to the notion in your writing, I think you'd do well to ask yourself some questions about that early stage and how this trait played a role in the development of the culture in primitive times.
    I think this has the potential for some VERY interesting dynamics in your plot. It reminds me of Yin and Yang. The notions of darkness, coolness, and passiveness and the notions of warmth, brightness, and activness, though reversed in regard to gender for yours. The idea that one is revered while the other ignored and walked on is quite an interesting dynamic. Ask yourself what this says about the society. This is a society that values the light, without even thinking about the fact that the light only exists because the darkness exists. They are denying the necessary duality for the presence of their great light. This sounds like the society thinks little of the bigger picture or the value of the second half to the whole. This might manifest in a major rift in their social structure, after all, if they view a magical being as holding only instrumental value, how do they view the workers (farmers) and the lower class folk who serve to meet the needs of society? Is there major class segregation? Is there an abundant lack of value on those without instrumental value? Are the weak and old deemed useless? See, in systems like the hindu caste system where there is a class of Dalits, or Harijans, that are literally "untouchable" in the tradition, the hindus still value them because they recognize that they have the very crucial role of preforming funeral rights. Even the lowest, most ignored class is respected and treated with a level of value for what they serve. In this case, the Sink seems to be treated as a tool, but not valued, and I think you need to have a brainstorm about what that says about the overall worldviews and perspectives of your culture.

    Overall, great ideas, you're well on your way to a masterpiece and I wish you all the best in the further development of your culture!
  15. Holy hell you are quite thorough D: Thank you very much for the insight. I want to say that this culture comes from my very first attempt at novel planning, well before I learned to make things concise and focus on smaller, digestible criticisms. The elements are all jumbled together as one big whole, and reading now, I think that makes them unclear and subtracts from both the narrative and the criticism. I will definitely need to rework a lot of this and I'll keep your comments in mind if/when I do.
    Mana is entropy. While I haven't explicitly limited the magic's use, I suppose when the local environment is too far changed by the magic, they will be unable to use it, while their counter-power grows stronger.
    On the whole this is not a story about gender differences. I was just throwing it in there as a jab at mundane RL culture. As it is, I don't think this is the narrative to comment on a gender non-binary system - that would easily be a whole novel in itself o.o. As I rework it a lot of things will need to be dumbed down or removed. I would say that the novel elements as a whole are entirely acidic and not constructive, insulting mundane culture but not discussing viability of alternatives.
    I am hesitant to reveal the pre-plot owo and I don't know if I did above cos its been so long. But the entire modern world was destroyed nuclear fallout. This novel occurs some ten thousand years later. A very slim portion of the population survived either above ground or in fallout bunkers with limited resources. Living on the surface came with many challenges and their magic developed to help as per each situation. My thoughts are that they had left the fallout bunkers and lived a struggling life on the surface for long enough time that the bunkers faded from memory. I suppose there is some culture in that way of a struggling society :/
    I just really like this comment and I think it is the dominant consideration when determining exactly what criticisms this culture is making. At the moment the source and sink are two mini-castes, and the remainder of the population are not brought into things. If I really wanted to flesh things out, this will be the discussion I will focus most on.
    #15 Draugvan, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
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  16. I did decrease the word limit and this forces you to be more concise than perhaps is ideal. I recommend next time that you submit only one subject at a time to allow for a more clear description of what's going on, but I do understand the excitement of offering up your brain-verse to someone new and getting feedback!
    Well, glad to see something came of all my scrutiny! You truly have a wonderful and very impressive, creative world coming along here. I look forward to seeing what comes of it!