Thursday, January 13, 2011

Open World Gaming

Michael Curtis over at the Society of Torch, Pole & Rope blog has really and truly hit the proverbial nail on the head in his Welcome To My World post. Chris over at the Hill Cantons blog likewise has been posting about Open World Gaming, and he has launched a wonderful Domain-Level Campaign playtest that has developed into a live example of just the sort of Open World gaming that used to take place way back when the whole gaming thing was still too new to even really be mocked by the hipsters.

Curtis, author of the Stonehell Dungeon & the Dungeon Alphabet, has also made a couple of other posts that bear on the topic of Open World Gaming--including an excellent piece on The Immigration Policies of Kinan M'Nath, and some advice for those considering Visiting Kinan M'Nath. It is also very thoughtful of Mr. Curtis to point to an excellent online example of how Dave Arneson used to do this same thing way back in the early days of the hobby, as recounted by the one and only Robilar himself.

Johnathan Bingham of the Ostensible Cat blog has just made his Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow an Open Source artifact that can appear in other people's campaigns, games and settings. Once Johnathan has the Basalt Keep ready for release, Netherwerks will be running a game through it as part of the Zalchis project. Game Session Reports will be posted to the Netherwerks blog. We're also launching a special Zalchis play-by-email micro-campaign for a playtester to enter Zalchis from a fairly standard Greyhawkian D&D/LL sort of world. That should get interesting...

Dave Hargrave used to engage in this sort of Open World gaming with his Arduin, and we've been regaled with tales of the misadventures of a certain disreputable pirate distinguished nautical enthusiast and kindly merchant who once sailed-over from a particular tropical pocket universe paradise to Blackmoor and back from Jeff Berry. In some ways the whole notion of Open World gaming feels a great deal like the creative efforts of H. P. Lovecraft and his circle of correspondents as they built the Cthulhu Mythos as a new type of shared world.

So, perhaps developing an Open World megadungeon across a group of freely collaborating blogs and making it all one big sandbox people can contribute to as they will, borrow from as they like, and just generally have some fun developing apart from the crass commercialism might just be worth considering after all. Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all.

Just take a look at what Zak is doing with the notion of an Open World built off of what he calls Gygaxian Democracy--Gigacrawler. Wow. Gigacrawler is one of the most exciting and hyper-collaborative projects to ever hit the RPG community in a long, long time. The creativity that emanates from this effort is like electricity crackling all over everything the way we as kids always thought it really ought to when something was this fresh, new and amazing...

We're going to spend some quality time getting to know Gigacrawler and hopefully we can contribute, participate, cheer the process on from the sidelines, whatever...this is a radical New Thing that seriously kicks some major axe...