Panel Discussion for "Creative Writing in an RPG Campaign Setting"

scheduled for Sunday, 26-June at 1800UTC (2PM EDT) to 1930UTC (3:30PM EDT)

Planned Panel Questions and Timing

Following is the proposed itinerary for our panel discussion. The "panel questions" and the approximate amount of time alloted for answers is provided. I will run through these questions in this order. Please review them all, try to make notes for yourself to avoid answering a question before it's asked.

If you think I left anything out, or have any issues with anything, Discord me ASAP !!!!!

Please note that the time "targets" listed for each question are for the total time for all panelists to hit the question. They are NOT your personal time goals!!! Let's try to keep all panelists engaged as equally as possible! If there is a particular question/answer that you feel you will need lots of time to discuss, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP so I can adjust the rest of the proceedings around it!

The panel slot is 90 minutes long - THIS IS A HARD TIME LIMIT!!!

INTRODUCTIONS - The Topic, the Panelists, Housekeeping [10 minutes]
RPGDinosaurBob will welcome viewers and introduce the topic. Then each panel participant will be asked to identify themself. Plan on giving the name you desire to use, your pronouns, whether you're focused on creative or RPG work (or both), where people can see (or purchase) your work, and how they can contact you (social media, etc.). After all panelists are introduced, RPGDinosaurBob will make any "housekeeping" announcements that the CONduit organizers want made.

This will include letting people know that they can use 1 channel point to "Ask a Question", and that we'll try to get to all of the questions at the end of the session.

QUESTION: Writing in an established campaign environment (either your own or someone else's) saves you the trouble of creating a whole world for your setting. It may even save you the trouble of developing some characters. So one reason for wanting to do this is to save all that time and trouble. But what are the real reasons you'd want to do this in the first place? [5 minutes]
Are you hoping to reach a broader audience? Are you trying to expand interest in your own campaign world beyond just the folks at your gaming table?

QUESTION: Having background scenery and even minor characters can be great, and if it's a world you originally created yourself for gaming, that's great. But if it's somebody else's world - especially if it's a commercially available one - there are many pitfalls. How do you know what you can and can't include from your chosen setting? [15 minutes]
This question introduces the concepts of the Open Gaming License, other Creative Commons licenses, and System Reference Documents. We should also try to include some discussion about Fair Use and how much it applies (if at all).
QUESTION: The "G" in RPG is for "game", and games have rules. RPGs have lots of detailed rules about how characters interact, how spells and magical item -- or ray guns and FTL travel engines -- work. How much of "the rules" needs to be explained in your creative writing project? [20 minues]
There are a lot of angles to cover here. When should you ignore the details of the rules and instead worry about creating exciting narrative? Will it matter (to your story... to your audience...) if you "break the rules" to tell a better story? How do you keep your story from reading like a game session report?
QUESTION: When you do need to "explain the rules", how do you do it without sounding like that's what you're doing? [15 minutes]
How can you use descriptive language to mask rule specifics? What other things should the author be cognizant of?
QUESTION: Now that we've discussed a lot of "do's" and "don'ts", let's try to answer a question that a lot of Gamemasters and Players who have not yet taken their first steps toward "Author" probably have on their minds. What's the best way to get started with all this? [10 minutes]
We can discuss backstory development and player journals for Players. For GMs, it's session reports, but it may also be more descriptive (and less rule-based) narrations during game sessions.   QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE [10 minutes]
I will let people know that any questions we don't have time to answer will get answered - somewhere in the CONduit Discord. If there are any unanswered questions, I will ask you to help answer these some time after the panel is finished.

WRAP-UP and RAID OUT [5 minutes]
I'll include a brief, "You've been listening to..." outro here, and will rerun the shoutouts in the chat window before raiding back out to the CONduit lobby.

Stuff below this line is the planning material that I'm keeping here for reference (and posterity).

Discussion Points / Concepts to Explore

Following is a list of potential points to explore by the panel:

  • Game Rules
  • Using rules to define a character's choices
  • Preventing your work from turning into a game session report
  • How much rule detail is too much? (Spellcasting... combat details... non-combat activities...)
  • Using the rules without it looking like "the rules"
  • Knowing when - and how - to ignore "the rules"

  • IP considerations
  • What can you use... and what can't you use!
  • Using the Game System SRD as a reference
  • Understanding "fair use"

  • Challenges (and freedoms) for creative writing by GMs and Players
  • Control of the action and outcome (finally!)
  • Appealing to an audience wider than just players in your setting
  • Capitalizing on the familiarity of players with your setting

  • Using RPGs to kickstart creative writing
  • Session reports
  • Player journals
  • Comments

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