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The Plan

Our overall goal for the first project is to create a role-playing game setting for use with one primary system. By bringing together the community, we will be able to build something of overall quality with the the contributions of many people. For the first project, it is a three stage process.

Stage 1: Determine a setting concept

From research and experience with similar efforts, we have found that in order to have a successful group effort to design a setting, you have to have a common theme to tie it all together. This theme is called the setting concept. Anyone interested will be encouraged to register on the site and submit a setting concept by using and online submission form.

Whether you submit a setting concept or not, you are encouraged to review and comment on any and all of the concepts. Since this is a group effort, constructive criticism is best as authors will be able to edit their concept until a couple weeks before the close of reviews. Once the deadline is reached, the setting concepts will be scored on factors including reviews and buzz.

Status: Complete!

Stage 2: Determine a default system

While we hope to be able to create a setting that can be used with many RPG systems, it will be best for the Swarm to choose one system as the default. Contributors will be able to add components to all the aspects of the setting for other systems as well. The default system is there to focus our efforts. Everyone will be able to vote on which system they think works best for the setting. You will have the opportunity to vote on more than one system, so you will not have to vote on just one. The systems available will be ones that have free licensing options for publishers and fans to use.

At this time, we are aware of the following licensing options. If you are aware of others, please post them as a comment on this page. In order to be considered, a system license must include the ability to publish online and in print, and it must not limit the publishing rules for other systems. While each of this is possible, they are not necessarily going to be available for use.

Cast your vote now!

Planned Completion: March 2010

Stage 3: Build the setting

Now that we have a theme document to use as a foundation and a system by which we can create our setting, we get down to the nitty gritty. People will have many different opportunities to contribute to the project. You can write up the descriptions, backgrounds, and descriptions of NPCs. You can document the history of a city or town. You can create a map for a region to serve as inspiration for other contributors. If you have trouble getting your own creative juices going, you can vote and give feedback to other contributors to make the setting better for everyone. What you contribute and how you contribute is completely up to you as part of the Swarm. All of it will be open for feedback through voting and comments so that we can improve the entire work of the Swarm.

We'll be starting almost immediately after the system is elected in Stage 2.

And beyond...

Since success is something we all want to achieve, it is important to define how we can judge our efforts to be a success. These are just a handful of ways in which the Swarm will be successful.

If we end up with a fun, playable setting that people enjoy, we'll have succeeded.

If we take the best of the best to create hard copy books or PDF editions to sell and are able to make sales, we'll have succeeded. In this case, contributors for the compiled form will receive most of the revenue from those sales.

If individual contributors get contracted to freelance for another game publisher or even hired full time, we'll have succeeded.

In the end, we will all have a share of what the Swarm has produced. The only thing stopping us from succeeding at one or more of these goals is ourselves. Let's work together and have some fun in the process!


Rabbitball's picture

Can do all of your genre settings simultaneously...

...through Torg (West End Games). I have no clue what Eric Gibson's plans are for Torg, but he has released Open D6 license. With a bit of manipulation, d6 can become Torg, and if necessary I can perform those manipulations. May be worth investigating.

mikeb's picture

Link to Open D6?

I've been trying to track down the Open D6 license but to no avail. Do you have a link or know where it's listed?

protoswarm's picture

Added Burning Wheel

Added Burning Wheel to the list after talking to Luke Crane and others at Gen Con.


Does the initial project have to be fantasy-based?

Given the default systems you've listed, I'm just worried that we'll produce another "fantasy heartbreaker" of a game/setting.

Mayhaps something Space Opera, or even something Modern Day (conspiracy, espionage, Delta Force, etc.)?

Just a thought...

mikeb's picture

No, but...

I'm of two thoughts on this question.

First is that, no, members of the Swarm will be able to submit concepts for any genre. This is the genre list that I have planned for the options:

  • Cyberpunk
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Modern
  • Science Fiction
  • Steampunk
  • Supers

The second thought is that fantasy will probably be the easiest to make because it's something that most members of the Swarm have been involved in and also have played in at some point. My hope would be thought that there's something new added to the usual Tolkien-based fantasy setting, and I think those types of fantasy settings that add something creatively new are the ones that will be popular.