Canon, Right and Wrong

Posted by on Jul 8, 2010 in Design, RPGs | One Comment

Chris Sims has a post up today at Critical-Hits.com about how RPG designers and developers often use canon badly, inventing background and backstory for their games that’s pointlessly limiting, unfun, or worse. His section on how to do canon right—”Defining Differences”—dovetails nicely with Justin Achilli’s recent worldbuilding post about defining the core of what’s weird in your world and leaving the rest of it alone.

Chris’s piece is definitely worth your attention if you’re a developer or designer, and provides an interesting bit of publisher-level perspective to GMs and players as well.

1 Comment

  1. Trilly Chatterjee
    July 10, 2010

    Returning to my perennial fave setting, Mage: The Awakening, part of what made it good for me was the sense of openness to create within the bounds of the game’s core premise. Though both WoD and Mage’s own canons were well establised, I always felt Mage’s central idea was greater than any part of that canon, so I had licence to ignore it when I had a better or different idea.

    I really don’t like having to memorise tons of setting detail, or obligate players to have done the same. Providing them with a sense of place, peril and possibility, and then letting them run with it is how I generally prefer to run things. Maybe its the LARPer in me talking, but I tended to find that more fun than having things overly delineated for me and my players

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