But if you leave things too open, every campaign ends up in the same Tolkein-cum-Gygax fantasy world and people starts saying things like “dwarf cleric” and “elven assassin” and you could not be more bored.
Here’s a tool which will, I hope, help tread the line between special snowflake and rote boilerplate.
(Link to an Excel file)
It’s focused on things your players will need to know in order to imagine their characters. These are the weapons they’re familiar with, the authority they need to contend with, and the monsters they’ve heard stories about. Your players can suggest things that aren’t on this sheet—can I play a Samurai centaur?—and you can discuss.
This is creativity via restriction, like haiku and twitter.
Don't worry about being complete—this is a point of departure.
Write up a couple. Make each one a super-dense diamond of evocative detail, and see what grabs your players.
|Infinite University Precís|
I dunno. I think this is helpful. Wanna try it out?
Write up some campaigns and link ‘em to me on G+. I’ll repost them here. And I send an original drawing based on my favorite submission to its creator.