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Old 09-04-2014, 04:32 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default Cosmology and game mechanics for Dream Worlds

Greetings, all!

Suppose that a significant minority in a setting can access a Dream World of sorts. Whether by personal ability or by proper use of equipment is not relevant. The point is it's used, and they're in. However, questions arise when it comes to making a coherent cosmology for the world, topology, and mechanics for representing both.

First, it seems traditional for Dreamworlds to include both a personal dreamsphere, and something more global where the various fantasies and fears of different people are given existence. Or maybe even exist independently, seeping into people's individual dreams occasionally, in a lesser form. What's the best way to handle the barriers (if any) between the global and the individual territories of the Dreamworld?

Second, like the Inner Astral, the Dreamworld has a funny relationship with distances, at least on the global scale. Nonetheless, it would be nice to maintain a meaningful topology of some sort. The way I've seen it done at least somewhat playable was in a computer game called The Void / Turgor / Tension, where regions had an entry point (usually not far from the centre of the region), and exit areas pretty much everywhere as soon as one moves outside the borders of a region. And the regions had abstract connections (two regions either had a direct connection, or they didn't, in which case one had to go through multiple regions); sort of a gate-network. There was more or less no way to take a turn once a path has been chosen - stopping halfway from here to there was not an option outside the regions. Speed-of-travel is an interesting problem to ponder. Oh, and all this can be hard to handle with the issue below.

Third, the issue of congestion. Let's say that the number of people capable of visiting the Dreamworld reaches a million very fast, and after that will be growing to a number comparable to the number of Internet users. That (a) requires either an already-large, or a gradually-expanding Dreamworld and (b) creates issues if entry points in regions are too small. I'm wondering if making entry points in regions sufficiently large, and placing individual entrants randomly, would solve congestion . . . but on the other hand, it will likely result in people getting lost much more regularly. What are the better solutions?

Of particular interest is the issue of where the entry points into the Dreamworld should be located. Making it a single entry area would feel wrong. Making the entries correlate with geographical location in the real world would seem banal and undreamlike. Making them random each and every time would result in too much confusion. Making them depend on some totally different characteristic, such as the aspirations or the mood of the character, would have a high risk of breaking up parties of adventurers trying to enter the world together. I'm not sure how to balance the different worries against each other and whether there is a way to address all of them.

Finally, an issue related to the one above is the issue of number and location of phantasms or whatever one calls local denizens of the dream. At the start, there would seem that there are too many locals; but as time passes, there would be too many members of the 'Eternal September'. This almost demands new locales to open up gradually, but I'm not quite sure.

Thoughts? Advice? Ideas? Questions?

Thanks in advance!
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dream, dream projection, dream world, dreaming, dreamworld

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