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    Re: Fashion in the Flanaess - Furs (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Thu, April 06, 2006
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    Hi Crag,

    Thank you for the very thoughtful critique.  I agree with all of your points.

    I left out industry and trade routes for two reasons.  I more wanted to open up possibilities than anything else and felt that industry and trade routes etc. were beyond the scope of what I had in mind.  I also did not want to pin DMs down or dictate to them.  This goes to your second point.

    Hunting grounds were largely left out because I felt they were fairly obvious or probably would be to each DM, depending on their own campaign.

    All these topics could have been discussed.  They still can be if anyone would want to explore them.

    I really appreciate your comment on the lack of uniquely fantasy elements.  This is fair comment and then some.  It boils down to how I play the game.  A couple personal notes.

    I dislike fantasy elements in my games more than is absolutely necessary to establish the fantasy.  With respect to most "common place" topics, I prefer to adapt real world facts to the fantasy setting rather than to imagine the fantastic equivalents or companions of the real world elements.  Opinions will differ but I feel my approach helps establish a verisimiltude that I find harder to create and more important to my game than establishing the fantasy.  For me, the fantasy largely takes care of itself and I concentrate on getting those little details down (and translated to the setting) that say "real world" to players - verisimiltude. 

    I'm dating myself but, all the same time, I recall when D&D was often said to "teach" players, by which was meant a larger vocabularly and math skills.  I've always found that proposition somewhat overstated but I've nonetheless found something very real there but along a different track.  By adapting real world elements to the setting without mixing in much fantasy, I have learned a lot about a lot of things - those real topics I adapt to the setting.  So have my players. 

    For example, when one of my players decided to have their PC take an interest X, I would go out and read books on X and introduce more detail.  When the player would raise questions on a particular application related to X, I would advise that this was appropriate to X in the real world and that I had adapted it to the setting.  The player would then go out and read books on X and return with their own ideas to add to the game.  Both the player and I then learned about X, where we might not have otherwise.  The other players, even if only by listening to the byplay also learned more about X.  This pattern has repeated endlessly for me and my players.  For us, using this "realism" approach rather than more fantastic additions, we have all learned things we might not have otherwise ever explored or inquired into.

    Certainly, this is not the only way to go.  Nor is is the "best" way.  Nor is it "better" than any other manner of proceeding.  But it is what I use in my game and my posts tend to reflect this.

    To further illustrate, I have always been somewhat uneasy as a DM when my players go into a tavern or restaurant and want to order food.  "What's on the menu?"  I fumble around too often in answering for my taste.  Sure.  Its a small detail in any game but it nags at me.  Its worse at times because when a game may take on an extreme social component where banquests, feasts etc. add to the questions about "what is there to eat?"

    For the longest time, I've had in mind to "solve" this little problem.  To do this, I have read books on gastronomy, taking copious notes.  I am now finally starting to put all those notes together in some useable order.  When done, I will have a "tavern" menu generator/resource and a larger "cuisine" generator/resource with speciific regional notes.  In the process, I have learned a ton about cooking, food and gastronomy.  Some things have suggested whole new lines of possible adventures to me.  Some things have seen me say to my wife, "Honey, we are going out to eat!" or "Let's get this at the grocer and try to make that."

    Again, this does not have to be for everyone but it is part of how I approach the game.

    So, you are correct when you note a distinct lack of fantastic elements.  Rather than create more of the fantastic, my preference is to translate/adapt the real to the fantastic.  This is what you are correctly seeing and pointing out.

    Thank you again for the thoughtful comment! :-D

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    Re: Fashion in the Flanaess - Furs (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Mon, April 10, 2006
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    Hi Crag,

    With respect to the "fur industry" please see my holiday article - the Great Western Rendevous.

    IMC, this is THE substantial source of furs, with local trapping providing only a much smaller fraction of the total.

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