Experiments in Ontological Relativism

and Other Brain Farts

Archive for April, 2012

A Conversation on Deiculture

Posted by Jason on April 26, 2012

“So this is where you, er,” I began, “this is where you grow… gods?”

The old man scratched absently at the stubble on his chin and leaned on his hoe. “Yep, this is where we grow ’em, all right. These here cosmoi been in my family, oh, ten, twelve generations. Been a god-farming family since long afore the rest o’ the town sprang up these parts.” He fell silent in contemplation for a moment, taking his straw hat off and fanning himself with it.

I blinked, not entirely sure what to say to that. “I had no idea the… industry went back that far.”

“Oh sure!” He brightened. “Deiculture goes way back. Weren’t no civilization afore it started. ‘Course, it weren’t like this back then.” He gestured toward the finely delineated cosmoi, each neatly squared off from the others and surrounded by split-rail wooden fences. “Was mostly as folk’d drop a wild idea or two into whatever cosmos they’d happen to be passing, come back later and find a god or two’d sprung up in the meanwhile.” He chuckled. “Weren’t much to speak of, them gods. All wild ‘n’ animalistic. You’d barely even call ’em anthropomorphic! But we’re smart critters. We figgered it out right quick.”

“So, uh, there’s a lot to it, then? To growing… gods?” I resisted the urge to shake my head. Or maybe pinch myself, I wasn’t sure.

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Jason’s Wiki Game That Needs a Better Name: Rules (First Draft)

Posted by Jason on April 10, 2012

In a previous post, I discussed my thought process and inspirations for designing an asynchronous, collaborative, semi-competitive worldbuilding game played using a wiki. Now it’s time to get down to the delicious crunchy bits and actually lay down some rules.

But first, fun with caveats! This is my first draft of these rules. They haven’t been playtested or reviewed. They’re probably full of holes and bits that don’t work as well in real life as they do in my head. Also, though I’m a long-time avid gamer, and rules make me squeal with boyish delight, this is my first attempt at writing a game of my own. Parts of it may not make sense to you and may need further refinements, but that’s what the comments box is for, right? Last, I also tend to over-caveat everything. Uh… hm. Maybe I should have put that one first. Anyway…


1. Accumulate a group of players.

You don’t want too large a group, as things will quickly become difficult to keep track of, but more players means more opportunities to build on. I’m going to guess you need at least 3, and probably no more than 10.

2. Set up a wiki.

This isn’t terribly difficult, and there are lots of good instructions around the interwebs. If you don’t have your own hosting site, there are a number of very good free wiki hosts (e.g., PBWorks, Wikia, Wikkii).

3. Decide on a genre and general theme.

I was tempted here to steal adapt Microscope‘s palette creation rules here, but I’m not sure that something that formal is necessary. If you are familiar with Microscope and wish to use those rules, please feel free! The important thing, though, is that the group collectively decides on a genre for the game — for example, science fiction, high fantasy, Lovecraftian horror, space opera, pulp, noir, spy thriller, and so on.

If there are any specific elements that anyone would or would not like to see included, note those too. I’d also recommend choosing a general theme or mood for the game, whether that be serious, silly, gritty, tongue-in-cheek, dispassionate, or some combination thereof. This gives everyone an idea of what to expect and can probably help avoid problems later on. This may also affect whether you…

4. Choose In-Character or Encyclopedic style.

See below for more information on these two styles of play. I had originally envisioned the Encyclopedic option as being the default, with In-Character as an optional rule. But the more I considered it, the more I realized that there is a lot of fun to be had either way, and it’s largely a matter of preference. Choose as a group which one you will pursue. Alternately, if some players strongly prefer one and others strongly the other, it is possible to mix and match with some players writing in one style and others in the other. Again, it’s up to group consensus as to whether this is allowed.

5. Generate the seed text.

The seed text is a sentence (or a few sentences) which gives a jumping-off point for the players to begin writing. Let’s look a little bit more at that…

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Posted in Games, Non-Fiction | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »