So the castle of last night's crawl had an unusual configuration: a new castle built around an old one in the center. Natch the old castle is haunted and its occupants hostile to outsiders.This set up some faction play and glimpses of the deep history of the inner castle.

But why was the outer castle built around the inner one instead of knocking it down and replacing it? And whence the animosity? I didn't really know when putting it together, but trusted I could answer it when/if it came up.

(cont.) ...It didn't actually come up.

This is an example of "draw maps, leave blanks" in that I don't feel like I need to rationalize every detail I put out there, instead we can "play to find out" the answers. This increases the amount of detail and atmosphere I can add because I don't have to spend all my time writing detailed backstory that the players likely will never hear.

I haven't mentioned the system, though you can probably guess, because I think this approach is system-neutral.


(cont.) Further, I'm not even really afraid of contradicting myself when I do eventually answer how and why questions, provided that the conflicting answers/interpretations at least make sense in the setting.

Information about the world is imperfect, contradictions are invitations to investigate further, we play to find out the real story.

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