In this post: My plan for this blog, and a little bit of info on what the Canopy project is.
My current plan is for this blog to become a lot more active. I’m transitioning this to a more general-purpose personal blog, away from the one-off prose poetry project that it started out as (although that still might be posted sometimes).
So what will this blog be then? For my friends and family who read this blog, part of ROW80 is posting updates on goal progress to the ROW80 site and their Facebook group on Sundays and Wednesdays. That means that twice a week you’ll see an update regarding my writing process in general.
In addition to that, I’m going to start posting about Canopy itself. Even in the Facebook group dedicated to it, specific setting details have been fairly vague so far, intentionally so. I was afraid of putting out too many concrete details, both because I was afraid many of them might change, but also out of a slight paranoia about people plagiarizing my ideas. In actuality the finalized setting books should have enough inherent value in terms of finalizing those ideas and drawing them all together into a greater whole, and such articles can only really work to the projects benefit. Plus, if people copy me that just means that I’m doing something right. I am going to start putting together essays on the people, sites, and dangers of the canopy as a way to both inform people who might be interested, as well as get a more fluid place to put my thoughts together to decide on what all goes into the finalized books. Full disclosure: These ideas are not necessarily final. What goes into the final books may be modified from what I post here.
As far as how I’m holding to my goals so far (30 minutes a day on the project, 5 sentences complete) I have been struggling, but I have found that my mind is on Canopy more and more throughout the day. I have been getting some ideas for it driving to work, preparing meals, and brushing my teeth. So it’s already started paying dividends there, and the actual measurable goals of it are getting a little easier.
Since this post is aimed at the ROW80 folks, I figured I would clarify exactly what it is I’m doing in this post as well. I’ve received quite a few questions about the Canopy project, and I quickly realized that the idea of a tabletop role-playing game supplement is a little alien to most people. For the uninitiated, tabletop role-playing games are essentially story-telling games. You might hear it described as improv, but with dice. To me, it hearkens back to the days of our ancestors sitting around a fire telling stories: a live, collaborative, creative activity. The one most people have heard of is Dungeons & Dragons. You have one game master, and usually between 3 to 6 “players.” The game master (or GM) describes a situation–“Your party enters a cave and sees a small band of goblins guarding a treasure chest”–and the players take turns describing what their character does in that situation–“I try to sneak around and see what’s in the chest” or “I attack!” The players or GM then roll dice to see if they succeed, and play continues from there. It’s a way for participants to act out the roles of different characters, with a framework of rules that provides structure and probabilities to their choices.
Canopy is a setting. Back in the early days of the hobby, all that existed was Dungeons & Dragons (it was the first). It had a bit of an implied setting that the stories took place in; you had elves, dragons, hobbits (known as halflings), goblins, and a set of magic spells named after great wizards. Aside from that though, it was mostly open. Game masters were expected to make up their own maps and dungeons and backstories and castles and villages for their players to adventure in.
Over time though, companies saw that many groups were interested in playing in other peoples’ worlds, where they wouldn’t have to do all the legwork. They started to put out supplements to the rules that detailed adventures and settings that people could play in (many of which started out in their own homes for their friends). All the maps, locations, and backstories were detailed in advance, so GMs could decide to play in that particular world and hit the ground running.
So there are really two main types of products for RPGs: Rulebooks, which tell you how to play, and supplements, which detail where the adventures take place.
Canopy is a supplement. It will detail the peoples, the important locations, the history, and the villains of my setting. It will allow other people to play in my world in their own homes. The ruleset it is based on is called Savage Worlds (which you can find here), which is a set of rules that are designed to be generic and fit in wherever you need. So you use their rules, to play in my world. Canopy will also offer some new rules and modifications to rules that will make it more unique to my world, but that will be detailed in other posts.
Feel free to ask me any questions about the Canopy project, or RPGs in general, down below. I am very passionate about this type of gaming (I use it in my work as a residential counselor with youth to help in skill building) and love to talk about it! Also, keep in tune to my blog for any updates on Canopy in the future. The next post I hope to give a general overview of the setting itself.