45 – Using Tropes In Your Worldbuilding

Everyone’s afraid of being unoriginal. I mean, it’s understandable that we want to stand out. We don’t want our world-building to be hum drum filled with the same junk that we see day to day. But we needn’t fear the humble trope because it’s like salt. Too much and it’s poison but just the right amount can really pull the dish together. Tropes serve as a short hand for your players and readers. They allow someone to get caught up quickly with what you’re trying to say. When a character arrives on the scene in a menacing cloud of black smoke cackling all the while we can safely assume that we’re dealing with a villain and save some exposition in a scene that needs some pace. We can always build upon the character later or choose to subvert the trope in a unique way but just now we’ve offset some exposition labor on our world building and laid it back on the trope for a minute and our visitants will thank us. Join Seth and Marcos as they explore how to make the most of this powerful tool in a world builder’s arsenal.

Key Takeaways

  • Tropes set expectations in your world and can be a short hand for exposition.
  • Good tropes are molded to your world but bad tropes seem to come out of nowhere or carry baggage that you don’t want.
  • Repeating information (the inn keeper is a jovial fellow) sets expectations which operate like internal tropes that you can then use to attenuate your visitants to important information (when the inn keeper is gruff and dismissive they know something has changed).

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