Setting, what it doesDecember 11, 2007
(between working full time and studying for my license exam)
Setting exists to help get everyone on the same creative page.
The point of it is to help everyone get the same idea of what you all are making in play. If your setting either is too vague or too unwieldy, and the players are having conflicting ideas of what they ought to be making in play, then it needs help. It’s a lens to focus play.
The other part, is that setting sells players on the game. It’s like telling someone about a movie or a book in a way that gets them excited. You can’t necessarily tell them “a story” but you can paint a world in which they already are imagining cool things happening.
So keep that in mind- you don’t need to list out the population rates of your world unless it makes a better game or helps people make a better story- and if the players don’t bother reading it, it does neither in the end. All game groups find ways to fill in gaps in a setting, while few game groups manage to successfully, identically wield settings that get too large.
(anyway, expect more stuff after my exam this week, and me playtesting more during the holidays)