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Writing advice: static setting vs fill in the blank

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  • Writing advice: static setting vs fill in the blank

    So I’m working on a murder mystery campaign for a while. The original setting was in LA. I did a lot f research on places I thought would be good to take over as domains. Having lived in San Diego I seriously reassessed if I could swap the location there and keep the same NPCs.

    A player suggested that it didn’t matter where. The elements were there and could be interchangeable. In a book, would it be work or fun to fill in the blank and have storytellers and players come up with the areas for the game should I simply give some pre reqs?

    For example: Clan Gangrel owns a larger isolated area adjacent to a source of water away from the main city. Or the bossiest Ventrue owns the tallest building in the center of the city. Etc.

  • #2
    I think you have to fill in the blanks -- even if it means doing a little research.

    Your theoretical readers are either going to have the knowledge of Los Angeles to fill in those blanks or not. If they do, they can decide to mix things up whether or not you leave "blanks" like that.

    If they don't, though, they're just going to be screwed and frustrated. That seems non-optimal.

    So flesh it out. It'll be rewarding for readers and, frankly, for you.

    (FWIW, the nastiest Malkavian -- and the nastiest vampire in the city -- controls the Library Tower in my game. The Ventrue are punks. )

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    • #3
      I did research for both cities.

      I think more along the lines of making the story interchangeable with any location.

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      • #4
        I would probably make it setting specific. It gives a story a better feel, and it's really easy to convert just about any adventure to anywhere so I wouldn't make it generic

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        • #5
          Well, LA is nice, but I am a fan of fictitious cities so I created, "City of Angels", to mirror LA. The city can be whatever you want it to be. No one will know and if they dissent, site, "Creative"; WoD". I would prepare a static-setting, but be ready to, "Fill-in-the-blanks", as needed for the story. You never know what the players will do.

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          • #6
            For the vast majority of cases in most games, things are interchangeable. It's all based on generic attributes of a setting. Very rarely do you have anything that is actually dependent on specifics of a location. And when you do, it is still rather generic - if you need a desert outside a city, then you can't use Detroit or Chicago. Most likely you'll need to place it in Phoenix. Although very likely Las Vegas, Tucson, Santa Fe, and El Paso could also work.

            But if you need a large entertainment industry, then it has to be a LA. Although if it is not really that important, and you just need something along those lines, then you could use Broadway and TV shooting locations in New York City. If you just need one theatre or a local television station, it could be anywhere. Certain industries are like that.

            About the only time when a setting becomes necessary, it isn't about the geography - it is about the history. Events can sometimes be very specific. And you can weave a history of your chronicle through them. That can be much harder to change over to a new city. Although even here, most elements like that are something for the ST. Only very rarely will PCs become enraptured enough in the setting to really deep dive into it.

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