Thursday, January 10, 2013

The World of the Dragon's Dream

The confluence of two events has spurred me to begin writing down an exercise in world building for T&T. The first is the impending release of the Deluxe T&T rules. Nothing like a new game to get the creative juices fired up.n the second is my discovery of a pool of local gamers who I hope to lure into playing T&T.

The Dragon's Dream is partly a response to Ken St. Andre's "Trollworld" setting. I have nothing against his world, but it is his, not mine. Part of the attraction of RPGs for me has always been the freedom to create your own worlds and adventures. This is not the first world I have created for gaming. I created my own version of the Starship Warden for Metamorphosis Alpha, including some changes to the backstory explaining how the ship came to be filled with strange mutants and berserk robots. For ten years I ran a home brewed variant of D&D in the world of Archen, a disc shaped world on a pillar of adamant in the void. There have been others not as fully detailed, and I have run in many other people's worlds.

For me different game systems require different worlds. The game mechanics help to define the "physics" of the world. They delineate how "reality" operates in that setting. Magic systems, psionic powers, what races or species are available as player characters, how Faster-Than-Light travel works (if at all) in a Sci-Fi setting, cosmic alignments of good and evil and law and chaos, the existence or absence of "real" gods and supernatural entities. All of these can have a profound impact on the shape of a game world and the games played within it.

To begin, it is important to know that the Dragon's Dream is explicitly a fantasy world. This is actually part of the existential make up of the world. It is not "real". Not even an alternate reality or different dimension. This world is purely a fantasy. The existential cosmic reality of the world is that it is a dream. It is the dream of a great sleeping dragon. The question of the existential nature of the Dragon, whether it has itself any "reality", what world if any it exists in is a separate question, one I have not really explored. For purposes of this world it is enough to say that the Dragon dreams, and that Dream is the world.

The fact that the world is a dream, a fantasy, with no intrinsic or extrinsic objective reality is known only to a very few of its inhabitants. A few philosophers and sages speculate about the nature of the dream and what happens to the world when the dreamer wakes. To most of the inhabitants though the world is just as solid and real as our world is to us.

Being a dream world and a fantasy does have some profound effects on the nature of "reality" within the world. Reality is not a fixed, constant and stable objective thing the way it is in our world. Instead, reality is mutable. The world can change and remake itself. The inhabitants usually are quite unaware when this happens. The way the world is to them is the way it has always been. Magic exists. Magic is raw dream energy, the stuff of which reality is made, called "Kremm" in the T&T rules. The ability to work magic is the ability to reshape reality. Magical energy is gathered and shaped causing the Dream to be reshaped. For some this reshaping is very subtle and almost unnoticed in its effects. Warriors reshape the Dream very subtly and gain increased benefits from weapons and armour in combat by doing so. Dragons reshape the Dream and gain the ability to fly in apparent defiance of natural laws. The world is populated by Elves, Dwarves, Men, Trolls, Urooks, Hobbs, and a thousand other Kindred.

The world of the Dream is as big as it needs to be. No complete map of it exists or is possible. Reality and the world with it are defined in broader and broader loose sketchy strokes the farther from any particular observer one moves. It is entirely possible that one part of the Dream contains worlds that are planets orbiting stars while in another part the world is an endless plate floating in an endless ocean. The world is slightly surreal and phantasmal because it is fundamentally a dream or fantasy.

This is the skeletal framework on which my T&T fantasies are hung. Come with me and let us explore the Dream together.

1 comment:

  1. I love the world of the Dragon's Dream, H'rrrothgarrr. I wish I had been half as creative back at the beginning of Time when Tunnels & Trolls went from just being a game to being a game with its own world.