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Advice/Help Roleplay Settings and Character Advice

Knightborne

Praise the Sun!
Hey folks,

I would first like to say that I don't know if the prefix (Advice/Help) is correct for this thread as it might also fit into the world building prefix, please let me know if this is wrong and I will change it (if I can, still unfamiliar with the website).

I'm still new to roleplaying so I am hoping for some advice. My friends are wanting me to create the next roleplay setting (steampunk, fantasy, modern etc) as well as the races, classes (if there will be any), outfits (if it's a school setting).

Does anyone have advice on how I can create something like this? I was thinking of doing a fantasy/modern hybrid but I am not sure on how to get that type of setting right and if I can actually pull off something like that.

Thank you,

KB.
 

rae2nerdy

Ultra Nerdy
Urban Fantasy is actually pretty easy. As you are using the real world as your base you already have the setting down. You can use real towns/cities directly or make up your own city based on an existing one.

For instance in New York there is a Town known as Lily Dale that is home to all kind of psychics and mediums. I will use the concept to make my own town for witches/wizards.

Now as for magic/races I find if your starting out it’s best to base your ideas on a book or TV show your familiar with in the urban fantasy genre.

Harry Potter is a good entry point for this. You can say your world has witches and wizards as well as werewolf’s and vampires. They are all hidden from no magic people. Magic is done by using Wands and saying spells.

*Note you don’t have to use Harry Potter series that’s just as an example
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
Helper
I'll just be adressing the setting matter, since the character one is more of a task for the individual players.

So, in general terms, the things you absolutely need for a good setting are two:
1. A reason to care- What about the elements of the setting would get us to be invested in the setting, what is meant to spark our imaginations about it, what's the big thing about it. This will usually be one or two things, but depending on the extent of the worldbuilding it can grow much wider. In Harry Potter, since it was brought up as an example, this selling point is on wizards, people who can use magic of all kinds with the flick of a wand and a few magic words. The idea of a secret world with people who use magic and live surrounded by it, and of a school where such people are specifically learning magic can be quite enticing, and although you do see a lot more from that universe in the books, the focus is always placed on the wizards and exploring more about the wizards. In Percy Jackson, on the other hand, the way the mythology is mixed up and linked to the modern world is the primary focus of the setting, seeing the equivalents and modernizations and the like is the selling point.
By contrast with both of these examples though, Tolkien's Middle Earth was world built to such an extent that the setting itself became too distinct for just a few selling points.You could name any number of points of interest, but you wouldn't be able to name a central one. That said, whether one, two or how ever many, there must be points of interest.

2. Consistency- Admitedly more debatable, it's very important if the players care about the setting, but if they don't really care about it then it's easily overlooked. Nonetheless, if you want to make a good setting then consistency is crucial. There are two types of consistency, consistency of internal logic and consistency of consequence.
Consistency of internal logic means that whatever rules you establish, or facts you establish, you stick with them. If you establish that it is physically impossible to fly in your world, then you can't have birds going around in the sky, nomatter how pretty an imagine it might seem. If you establish something kills you and there is no way to come back, but then invent a Mcguffin that ressurects those people or they were randomly able to resist the death for no appearant or established reason, then that will cheapen the rules and setting, and make readers/players loose trust in those rules.
Consistency of consequence means that the things you estalish have causes and effects that exist within your setting's internal logic. If a kingdom declares war on another, there should be a reason for that. If someone goes under a traumatic experience, this should affect them.
But consistency isn't just a limiting factor that improves the quality of the content is covers- it's also potentially a content generator. After all, if you have a consistent logic to your world then you can use it to help produce what comes next or came before, to shape more of the world whether by directly producing things from it, or by looking at what gaps are left yet to explore.

Beyond those two rules, I would say the general aspects of worldbuilding then fall more into individual choices. Those choices then have their own ways of being done better or worse, but first and foremost one ought to make them.

In this case, since you want to create an urban fantasy, we can broadly divide it into two categories: Hidden Urban Fantasy (a setting which is like our world, except there is a hidden magical world that isn't perceived by most people in it, and generally has little impact or direct interference with our world) and Incorporated Urban Fantasy (a setting where the magical aspects of the world are common place and integrated into society as we know it). The difference mainly falls on whether the general public is aware of the magic, how much access said public has to magic, and the way magic affected society.

The Hidden Urban Fantasy world is the easiest and most common type, because you can create a separation between the magical aspect and the modern aspects of your world. If you want to make one of these worlds, you can just make the two separate aspects individually, and just need to add these three questions:

1. Why is the magical world hiding from the non-magical side of the world?
This one can present a pretty big plot hole if not adressed. Normally you're going to have character that genuinely care about the non-magical side of the world as well, and just as often the magical world is in a clear advantage over the non-magical world. As such, it becomes important to figure out a good reason why they en masse choose not to get invovled.

2. How are they keeping the secret?
Are there laws for it? What systems are in place in case there is some sort of leak? What methods do they have access to monitor such things? Etc...

3.How much influence does the magical aspect of your world have on the non-magical side of your world?
Even if hidden, a magical world is still part of your world, and could still be affecting certain aspects of the non-magical side. How much, where and so on are important things to be aware about.

Incorporated Urban Fantasy worlds are a whole other beast. They can still be done, and personally speaking I much prefer those, but that's cause I'm a worldbuilding passionate who loves seeing how the magic systems affect society and such. Speaking of, that's really the crux of the incorporated urban fantasy, in just what way, to what extent is the magical aspect of the world an influence on the non-magical aspect. If in your world everyone can easily produce lights with magic, then candle makers would have gone out of business- or in a modern sense, anyone in the business of selling lightbulbs. If you have a world where everyone can be born with a radically different size and shape, then the capability to customize clothing is much more valuable than efficiency of mass production. Not just economical aspects though of course- culture, history, food, mode of living, transporation, housing, depending on what the magical elements of your setting are, everything could be different, radically so even.

I hope this helps. Best of luck and happy RPing!
 

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