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Cooperative Worldbuilding Challenge #1


IsabellaRose

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IsabellaRose

Here's the challenge. Let's cooperatively build a world, a new setting for a roleplay. I do this all the time as a creative exercise, but it's so much more fun to do with others. I find the practice of putting forth an idea, listening to how it inspires ideas in others, then having those ideas in turn inspire more of my own ideas, in this ever-snowballing process of cooperative creation to be fascinating, inspiring, and so much fun! Let's try it. 

I have a random generator to start out with a random ideas, but let me just toss a pile of words out and see who wants to select a few to use as the basis for our new world. My generator spits them out so it looks like a pile of cards.

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You don't have to use these... they're just to help generate ideas. But let's see what we can come up with.

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Aura

Ohh I like the concept of Show Biz, actually. I suppose it's more of a plot than world-building per se, but perhaps you could explore a business-driven world of economic corruption? Oppressive city streets lined with neon lights and alcohol. Advertisements everywhere. The voices heard everywhere you go are the voices of those with the most money and influence who will buy and sell you without you ever even knowing.

The story could follow a young girl, an idol innocent and naive to the cruel way this world of business and financing will treat her. She cares for her fans and is willing to do anything in her power to make them smile. Something her higher-ups see in her and are willing to exploit for as much as they can. Before she knows it, the agency she works for is bought out by a larger company who sees profit in more risque performances. Before she knows it, she's found herself far from the innocent idol she once wanted to be, loved for graceful song and dance, as the men she works for only see profit in her sex appeal. She and many other girls with similar stories have to try and find their way out of the piles of contracts that cover up their effectively legal enslavement before they're in too deep... Or perhaps it's already too late? 

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IsabellaRose

I like to take two that don't seem related at all and mash them up. Like... kaiju romance.

...and now I feel like I have to make up a kaiju romance. What if we had a world threatened by monstrous kaiju, a world where humans (of course) made powerful, kaiju-sized mechs in which to battle these invading monsters. But one mech in particular isn't threatening. For some reason, the particular configuration chose for this mech doesn't frighten or enrage the kaiju like so many of the others do. This one sets off a romantic reaction. One kaiju in particular is intent on making this mech her own. She pursues him and uses her standard kaiju courting rituals, which badly damage the mech. When the pilots try to escape, she saves them, only to try to put them back in the mech. She knows it's not real, but she wants the fantasy. When they finally figure out how to communicate with her, they find out the kaiju weren't invading, they were just out looking for a date!

meh, that's not very exciting to me. I could probably do better.  

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Aura
21 minutes ago, IsabellaRose said:

I like to take two that don't seem related at all and mash them up. Like... kaiju romance.

...and now I feel like I have to make up a kaiju romance. What if we had a world threatened by monstrous kaiju, a world where humans (of course) made powerful, kaiju-sized mechs in which to battle these invading monsters. But one mech in particular isn't threatening. For some reason, the particular configuration chose for this mech doesn't frighten or enrage the kaiju like so many of the others do. This one sets off a romantic reaction. One kaiju in particular is intent on making this mech her own. She pursues him and uses her standard kaiju courting rituals, which badly damage the mech. When the pilots try to escape, she saves them, only to try to put them back in the mech. She knows it's not real, but she wants the fantasy. When they finally figure out how to communicate with her, they find out the kaiju weren't invading, they were just out looking for a date!

meh, that's not very exciting to me. I could probably do better.  

You say Kaiju and romance don't seem related, but isn't that exactly what King Kong is? 

If you were to combine Kaiju and romance, it definitely feels like cheating to just say "romance while a kaiju is attacking" or anything along those lines... It also feels like cheating to just say "romance between kaiju" as well. But I suppose striking these simple answers makes it an interesting challenge. Thinking more on it, it kind of calls to mind a scenario almost like the arcade game Rampage in which normal people mutate into Kaiju. Perhaps the story could involve a soldier whose wife ends up transforming into a kaiju through some sort of nuclear accident or alien abduction? Maybe the woman only transforms under certain circumstances and is unable to control her destructive tendencies as a kaiju, so the story could involve her lover desperately trying to keep her from transforming without allowing the government to find out about her. 

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IsabellaRose
Posted (edited)

Yeah, the easy answer would be "romance while a kaiju is attacking" which was why my brains slid right past it. I guess I just looked on the surface and didn't think of Kong or anything else. There are actually a lot of "kaiju/unexpected genre" stories out there, once I start to think about it. I mean Kipo is like kaiju/coming of age. The movie Colossal was kaiju/slice of life, and I know there are more anime variations than you could shake a fish at (Neon Genesis, Attack on Titan, etc.)

I guess in my head I saw kaiju and went right to "Godzilla" and romance seemed like the one theme that didn't fit with any of the Godzilla movies. Like I said, I know I can do better. If the idea is world building and trying to come up with a place for people to write a roleplay, I think a kaiju falling in love with a mech and it's pilots is probably a bit too niche for mass appeal.

Maybe I need to use a different deck. Those cards definitely suggest plot ideas for a story, but not necessarily ideas of greater world-building. Let me see if I can narrow the criteria for my random generator.

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Aura

It can still work! In my experience, if you're going to challenge yourself to work with a random set, you'll get more creative results if you stick to the initial set you got rather than randomizing until you get something you're comfortable with.

Perhaps, "Lost World" and "Criminals"? Maybe there's a world that dangerous criminals are thrown into through some sort of mystical portal and left to die, and nobody knows what lies in wait for you on the other side. Perhaps the fear of this world has grown so great by word of mouth that the dangers inside could never actually compare. Perhaps that world could even prove to be safer than the original, and throwing all the criminals in there creates a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, or perhaps even has an ironic positive effect on the criminals! There's a lot of ideas to explore in such an environment, I'd think!

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IsabellaRose

Mythology/Western/Invasion

It's 1849 and the California Gold Rush is just kicking into high gear. But in this world, demigods walk among us, descendants of gods of various pantheons. Celtic, Norse, Greek, and Roman demigods have spread across European colonies, and many are popular and well-known throughout the expanding United States. Mythological heroes from indigenous tribes stand against the expanding Americans. Yoruba and Fon mythological figures from Africa have accompanied the people sold into slavery and assert themselves in the American South and explore westward. Chinese immigrants are accompanied by their own mythological figures, and those from Aztec mythology move north while Inuit mythological figures move south. The gold calls them west, calls them to California. 

But it also calls the aliens. They need the gold for <reasons> and they found a massive source of it here on Earth. Their technology is advanced far beyond that of Earth, but they don't have the demigods and figures out of mythology. Sixguns and Demigods clash with alien invaders to see who will claim the gold in them there hills!

(that seems like a setting for a group roleplay!)

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