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Monster Defined Settings

February 8, 2015

One of the best ways to set up a fantasy setting is to have a single monster, or class of monsters, that changes the way everything in your world works.

Years back, I had this idea of a giant flying beast, wingspan large enough to cover valleys – it flew slowly, it never stopped flying, and any human caught under it’s shadow – died.   So all of human society was built around having these roofed way points and hiding spots for when it would come around.  The point was that the monster forced everyone to have to crowd up and deal with each other more, exacerbating personal drama between the characters in the community – pretty similar to how zombies work in a lot of zombie stories.

Videogames like Final Fantasy X also did a great job of presenting an uber-monster (“Sin”) that the entire society, religion and world was revolving around.  Recently, anime like Attack on Titan have become popular – again, a single type of monster – the horrific Titans, altering how everyone lives.

I remember seeing an RPG.net thread where they talked about a city built around a captured Tarrasque – it constantly would regenerate, so they could keep harvesting bits from it…

It’s a fun exercise to create a fantasy world that is different with a simple starting point and creates some interesting pressures and problems beyond “army of undead/orcs” or “random lich/dragon” problems.

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