Even before I made the decision to go forward, I pretty much had a solid view of the world I wanted to build for the game. It is a combination of four main themes over a medieval fantasy world:
Teutonic/Viking – No surprise here. Nearly everything I’ve ever worked on has some sort of Teutonic influence. I say Teutonic instead of Viking, to include other northern European influences outside of Scandinavia. Since this is for the kids, a lot of the aesthetic will be reminiscent of How To Train Your Dragon—a huge area of interest for the boys right now.
Not Too-high Fantasy – This land is not going to include dragons and flashy wizards, goblin armies and wild magic, though I may edge into that territory at times. I am more drawn to the monsters of ghost stories and regional folklore, so the scale will tend towards the frontier-level, with events affecting local farms and towns. The monsters will be a little more fairy-lore and less world-ending. Magic will be very present, but I’m going to try to keep it more like the runes and curses of the sagas and less standard D&D.
Pirates – The other design aesthetic will be pirate-influenced. This is another area that the boys like, and I think it will be interesting to meld the Viking and Pirate designs and tropes.
Academy – Finally, with the boys deep into Harry Potter, I will also be including some elements from the academy style stories. The primary setting for the game will be at a school to train young kids to use their skills and deal with the problems (usually monsters, and maybe pirates) affecting the areas around them.
I like the school theme because it includes various things that the boys are currently dealing with. It makes it nice to have a base of operations and lends itself to stories and adventures are episodic in nature. Plus, it allows for fun recurring characters and more social dynamics than dungeon-crawl and murder-hobo campaigns.