Lore and World Building

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Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:53 am

These are two things that are often brought up in discussions and while I understand some of the appeal, I don't get the zeal for what is ultimately just exposition. Feel free to explain what you love or don't love about them.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Lord Beerus » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:21 pm

Lore and world building has it's place in a story, but only once you properly define the character(s) that occupy the world you've created. It's the character(s) that the audience get invested into, not the world they live in. And lore and world building is NOT a substitute for an actual narrative. It's the character(s) that tells the story, not the lore.

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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Doctor. » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:36 pm

They're important because they provide opportunities for interesting scenery and locale, and diverse character dynamics. Freeza has such impact as a villain because of the lore surrounding him and characterizing his relationship with Goku and Vegeta. Likewise, Namek stands out as a setting more than any other arc. So lore and world building are important when they complement a premise to an arc or character dynamics. I agree that merely an infodump (like Dragon Ball Online) is useless on its own; at best it's cool new information that was never realized.

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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Kunzait_83 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:56 pm

Doctor. wrote:They're important because they provide opportunities for interesting scenery and locale, and diverse character dynamics. Freeza has such impact as a villain because of the lore surrounding him and characterizing his relationship with Goku and Vegeta. Likewise, Namek stands out as a setting more than any other arc. So lore and world building are important when they complement a premise to an arc or character dynamics. I agree that merely an infodump (like Dragon Ball Online) is useless on its own; at best it's cool new information that was never realized.
Am totally on board with this. As cool and interesting as the lore and world building behind the Freeza Empire was, it wouldn't have meant shit if we didn't first and foremost already care about Goku, Gohan, Kuririn, Piccolo, and the other main characters and were fully invested in them. But we already had a solid story and characters acting as a foundation, and thus the "lore" and "universe building" behind Freeza and his army, Namek, Planet Vegeta, etc. all ended up helping to further enrich what was already a solid story with likable and fun characters driving it.

Lore and world building CAN indeed be important, all the more so especially within any form of fantasy or sci fi... but only provided you have a solid storytelling foundation from which to utilize them. And even then, their purpose is to COMPLIMENT the characters and their story that's being told; not as the main point unto itself, with characters and narrative merely a threadbare excuse for having it.

Lore/world building is just a tool or ingredient of a story: its not a story all in itself. Its but a means, and not an end unto itself; certainly in MOST cases at least. That generally makes for unbelievably dry, dull, and unrelatable fiction that is generally only of greatly insular interest, and is thus where a LOT of negative stereotypes regarding nerd culture and nerd media stem from (fictional media focused primarily on impenetrably dense fantasy worlds without any relateable humanity or themes around which to anchor and focus any of it).

The one major exception that I'll make here is within the realm of Pen & Paper/Tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and such. Because the context and framework there is that of a game and is thus interactive and of course TOTALLY the reverse from most forms of "passive" narrative fiction (books, film, TV, etc.) whereupon YOU, the audience/players, are in fact creating your own unique and original characters and stories from wholecloth, and are simply being provided (via source books and other supplemental material) with a setting and lore from which to draw from and build it all upon. In cases like that, obviously lore and world building are and should be THE main focus and concern of those writing and crafting the books: you, person playing the game, are responsible for filling in everything else character and story-wise and will be making it all up as you go along, with the setting and lore provided for you as a baseline to work from.

But yeah, generally speaking, in most forms of non-interactive media, while lore and world building certainly have their place and can be vital tools to help enhance and supplement a narrative, particularly in fantasy and science fiction (and Dragon Ball certainly uses them very well for exactly such purposes)... they are not and should almost never be seen in most cases as the core ends unto themselves. I've done more than my share of time on a great many books and TV shows and whatnot where the "world building" is clearly the main, overarching focus at the expense of all else... and in 95% of those cases, the results are just painfully, painfully boring and pointless.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by KBABZ » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:23 pm

At the risk of getting into a circular argument, I'll bite.

For me the world building is what makes the world of Dragon Ball so unique and memorable to me. The first and third arcs in particular were fantastic at this because the plots has the aspect of exploring the world around him. He's the classic fish-out-of-water character that we see the world through, and we discover arabic towns, inuit villages, Jetsons-like cityscapes and even a native american camp. No other arc matches these two in how much they flesh out the world and make it really feel like there's more going on outside of what's been written for our protagonists to encounter (the early Tournament Arcs get a notable mention, though). The Dragon Ball search arcs are fantastic for this because they push the characters into new lands to keep things interesting, even the early Black Star Ball arc. The Namek ac failed at this though because Namek was really more of a monotonous, consequence-free battleground for all the heroes and villains to destroy as they fought each other. Combined with the constant daytime, Namek is probably the least-interesting environment in the series.

Anyways, I personally have always felt that while Dragon Ball has certainly expanded its world upwards, what with exploring space, the afterlife, and now other universes, there has been very little sideways expansion where we get to really occupy and "sit in" the worlds its presented to us. We haven't really had moments like Goku wandering around West City, or getting new clothes sewn at a tailor, since the RRA/Baba arcs. Even just sitting around eating food at the Tenkaichi Budokai added some character to the world. Places like Other World and the Land of the Kais, at least in the core anime/manga works, are mostly flat and barebones; the Land of the Kais is basically Namek with a purple sky! And for me Goku's early world-building experiences of meeting new people and seeing new places helps justify why he cares about Earth and other people, at least to a certain degree.

Despite all that, I do agree that lore and worldbuilding don't mean jack if the characters aren't interesting at all. Despite being the vessel through which we experience Dragon Ball's Earth, Goku is a unique character to do that with, and part of the fun of his childhood adventures is seeing how he'll react to the next thing he comes across. Will he understand snow? Does a house with electricity fascinate him? How will he handle navigating a giant city? It's all part of the fun for me. Likewise, part of expanding Frieza's empire is part of building up his hype because we as an audience just know that there'll be a big fight with him eventually, and further it solidifies his connection to the Saiyans, and thus to Goku and Vegeta. That's important to me because it'll culminate with Goku honouring Vegeta's death and Saiyan pride and ultimately fighting for the atrocities Frieza committed to his race, even if he doesn't like them (although I know there are other reasons beyond that of course).

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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Kunzait_83 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:44 pm

KBABZ wrote:The Dragon Ball search arcs are fantastic for this because they push the characters into new lands to keep things interesting, even the early Black Star Ball arc. The Namek ac failed at this though because Namek was really more of a monotonous, consequence-free battleground for all the heroes and villains to destroy as they fought each other. Combined with the constant daytime, Namek is probably the least-interesting environment in the series.
Disagree very much with this assessment, and always have whenever it gets brought up.

First of all, the type of story being told on Namek is very drastically different from the Pilaf and Red Ribbon arcs: while those were stories that heavily emphasized exploration of this vast, whimsical fantasy world being built, the Namek Dragon Ball hunt is far more of a deadly cat and mouse game between three competing factions (including our heroes, who are of course hopelessly outmatched and overpowered by the other two parties: Freeza and his minions along with Vegeta), with an emphasis on stealthily sneaking around, fighting dirty, and playing mental chess games, with each side trying to outwit and trick the other out of their Dragon Balls.

At its core, the Namek DB hunt is very, very different in terms of tone, stakes, and narrative goals from the previous DB hunts: its much more of a tense, nerve-wracking thriller than it is an "explore this fun-filled world" romp. At times it almost/sort of has more in common with a slasher film, between the heroes constantly on the run from vastly, frighteningly stronger villains who can easily slaughter them, and another antagonist (Vegeta) isolating and picking off victims one at a time in increasingly graphic/brutal ways.

But different in this case does not equate to inferior or lesser: just different. Which I see ultimately as a net positive, both due to how well the Namek/Freeza arc is executed in itself, as well as how much sheer scope of variety it adds to the tonal flavors of the series. That there's room for something as harrowingly brutal and violent as the Namek DB hunt within the same story and same fantasy world as the Red Ribbon DB hunt (which itself takes a more brutal turn near the end with Tao Pai Pai) makes DB all the more varied and unpredictable. Its a fantasy world that has an incredibly broad range of what its willing to allow itself to tackle in terms of tone and storytelling styles without letting itself be boxed in or pigeonholed.

Also I disagree with the Namekian setting being uninteresting in and of itself (the eerie "otherness" of it lends it a foreboding and ethereal feel to it that goes well with the mounting sense of doom and dread in the arc), and I certainly don't see it as "consequence-free" as its positively littered with innocent Namekian bystanders (adult and child alike) being ruthlessly slaughtered in the crossfire, along with our heroes' lives in constant jeopardy at every turn.
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Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by KBABZ » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:10 pm

Kunzait_83 wrote:
KBABZ wrote:The Dragon Ball search arcs are fantastic for this because they push the characters into new lands to keep things interesting, even the early Black Star Ball arc. The Namek ac failed at this though because Namek was really more of a monotonous, consequence-free battleground for all the heroes and villains to destroy as they fought each other. Combined with the constant daytime, Namek is probably the least-interesting environment in the series.
Disagree very much with this assessment, and always have whenever it gets brought up.
Oops. Yes, obviously I mean the first two, the Namek arc has a very different personality due to the chess-like nature of shuffling the Dragon Balls around.
Kunzait_83 wrote:Also I disagree with the Namekian setting being uninteresting in and of itself (the eerie "otherness" of it lends it a foreboding and ethereal feel to it that goes well with the mounting sense of doom and dread in the arc), and I certainly don't see it as "consequence-free" as its positively littered with innocent Namekian bystanders (adult and child alike) being ruthlessly slaughtered in the crossfire, along with our heroes' lives in constant jeopardy at every turn.
Well I meant consequence-free in terms of the battle locations. Similar to when Goku and Vegeta go to an empty rocky location, or The Land of the Kais, and stuff like that, Namek is basically one big battleground you can do whatever in. There are moments where villages are brought up, but those are more locations to get Dragon Balls, and there's never a sense of concern during any of the big battles that anybody might accidentally hit one of them. With the exception of the Grand Kai's tower, there's not a single moment where a good guy has to go "hey could we take this somewhere else?".

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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by The S » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:39 am

I feel like world-building is extremely important for making a work of fiction feel alive, like it could actually be happening on some plane of existence. Without that, you've just got a collection of characters.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:32 am

The S wrote:I feel like world-building is extremely important for making a work of fiction feel alive, like it could actually be happening on some plane of existence. Without that, you've just got a collection of characters.
But to what extent do you build?

A collection of characters in a world that isn't fleshed out can still be compelling, but the opposite isn't true.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Mister_Popo » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:58 pm

It's very important but not essential. The way how characters interact and how you feel about them are vital, along with the plot the interaction creates.
You can make a good story within a very narrow setting like a room or a building.
It's however not easy, definetely not within the category shounen.
There has to be a 'framework' for the characters to "fight" and interact in. The framework of a larger divine world gave actual sense for Goku discovering new grounds.

It's the characters that make the story intresting, characters like Beerus, Whis, Zamasu, Gowasu ..., but it's the lore and world building that give epicness and scale.
Another fine example of this within fantasy: Tolkien adds lot of the epicness to his story via lore and world building, apart from the characters and plot that are great as well.
If done right, it enhances the story greatly.

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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:31 pm

Tolkien's mixed. His books have WAY too much lore and world building. I don't need 30 pages of backstory on the ring before telling me it needs to be destroyed, nor do Tom Bombadil and Old Man Willow add anything to the story. I like enough world building to get the sense that characters and world had a life before the story began, but not so much that it grinds the story to a halt.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ulisa » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:43 pm

ABED wrote:Tolkien's mixed. His books have WAY too much lore and world building. I don't need 30 pages of backstory on the ring before telling me it needs to be destroyed, nor do Tom Bombadil and Old Man Willow add anything to the story. I like enough world building to get the sense that characters and world had a life before the story began, but not so much that it grinds the story to a halt.
I’d argue that the lore used in LOTR may not be needed but it adds to it. You’re right; you don’t need the whole history of the ring to know it needs to be destroyed but knowing it was forged out of Sauron’s malice who was himself a Maiar and had trained with the Gods etc does give some more weight to the story and expands on the danger of what they’re dealing with. Tolkien does a lot of info dump which can be distracting and Ill agree with you on Tom. Even Tolkien himself said later that Tom felt out of place.

I think world building can be used to give more weight to either a plot or a character. The world a character lives in is going to influence how and why they act a certain way. Knowing how the world works and is set up can make for some explanation on limits and what not. The issue with Dragonball though is that it is a very “anything goes” type of story so the rules are always changing. It’s hard to do consistent world building when most of your rules are open to debate.

I think there’s also different kinds of readers/viewers. Some are entirely present driven so the past really doesn’t interest them which is fine. Some people just don’t like world building. Some do. Personally I love it but there is definitely a way to do it. Making it more subtle and not so “info dump” is certainly a better way of keeping people engaged.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ekrolo2 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:34 pm

Kunzait_83 wrote: I've done more than my share of time on a great many books and TV shows and whatnot where the "world building" is clearly the main, overarching focus at the expense of all else... and in 95% of those cases, the results are just painfully, painfully boring and pointless.
This is my primary issue with things like One Piece: people are so in love with how big an expansive everything is they really don't care or stop and think on how the people its being done to are boring or annoying as piss. Seriously, there are no characters in One Piece: just evil bastards or 50 shades of "my life was so shit before meeting you guys!".
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:50 pm

I'm fine with some backstory. It doesn't guarantee depth, but it can add to it. Freeza and his history with the Saiyans adds quite a bit, but he was interesting prior to us learning all that. The stuff about Maiar spirits works for me insofar as it concretizes the scale of the threat in Lord of the Rings. I like flashbacks, but they are but one storytelling device.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:27 am

Apparently there's a quote by Stephen King where he says that every character has a backstory; none of it is interesting. I would have to see it in context, but I think there's a good amount of truth to it. Keep the backstory short and too the point. Flashbacks are fine, but again, keep them brief. If the backstory can be delivered by a character in the present, it's usually best to do so. Let the actors and the performances carry the scenes.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ekrolo2 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:07 am

ABED wrote:Apparently there's a quote by Stephen King where he says that every character has a backstory; none of it is interesting. I would have to see it in context, but I think there's a good amount of truth to it. Keep the backstory short and too the point. Flashbacks are fine, but again, keep them brief. If the backstory can be delivered by a character in the present, it's usually best to do so. Let the actors and the performances carry the scenes.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Bebi Hatchiyack » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:28 am

For me having a Franchise with a good lore and world building is detrimental for me to enjoying it.

Nowaday I can't stand show that we shove into todays kids such as paw patrol or another exemple Dora the Explorer, I find them dumb and dovoid of interest. It's almost a rince and repeat episode and it's make me cringe that we shove this kind of show in young kids.

As far as I remember I always loved show that have world building such as Dragon Ball during the early year of Goku, M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) to some extent G.I.Joe and even show us as The Care Bears are way league ahead of todays kids show at least I never felt being treated as a stupid kid.

As for why this appeal me it is because the more a show have a great and awesome world building the better I can feel it real, let's take for exemple Ulysse 31 this show is amazing to build its world, you have great planet with each planet having its lore and backstory compelling character and all of that floured with Greek mythology IN SPACE damn. If ever they do a live action Ulysse 31 I want Liam Neeson as Ulysse ^_^

Also having a great lore and world building for me is great because that's allow me to dive into this world and dissect it. For exemple the Strangereal world of Ace Combat, when you see the world map of this great game you want to know where the tectonic plate are situated which country are more subjected to monsoon, if they have unique species like birds or somewhat wolf like species. You want also to know more of each nation backstory for exemple Yuktobanian to which extent its backstory mirror our real Russia one ?

You see Lore and World Building make a call to your curiosity and make you wonder how the world is build and how you can compare it to our real world.

As for Dragon Ball I think there was some misoportunity in world building for exemple after Frieza, I would have loved to have a cross story with Vegeta on one side and Goku on the other side, for Vegeta we would have seen him exploring space to search for Goku, he would have fought countless battle and that would have allowed us to visit new world, and for Goku we would have been able to dive into Yardrat society and meet new face and new friends for Goku's to make. An opportunity to make Soba canon for exemple.

Hope I've made myself clear on this subject and provided enough exemple as to why for me Lore and World Building is important for a show/franchise/licence to be taken seriously.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:02 pm

Here's the direct quote “The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.”

So he didn't say 'none'.
As for Dragon Ball I think there was some misoportunity in world building for exemple after Frieza, I would have loved to have a cross story with Vegeta on one side and Goku on the other side, for Vegeta we would have seen him exploring space to search for Goku, he would have fought countless battle and that would have allowed us to visit new world, and for Goku we would have been able to dive into Yardrat society and meet new face and new friends for Goku's to make. An opportunity to make Soba canon for exemple.
I find none of that interesting beyond what we saw in the filler.

I find that a little goes a long way.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by Bebi Hatchiyack » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:31 am

ABED wrote:
As for Dragon Ball I think there was some misoportunity in world building for exemple after Frieza, I would have loved to have a cross story with Vegeta on one side and Goku on the other side, for Vegeta we would have seen him exploring space to search for Goku, he would have fought countless battle and that would have allowed us to visit new world, and for Goku we would have been able to dive into Yardrat society and meet new face and new friends for Goku's to make. An opportunity to make Soba canon for exemple.
I find none of that interesting beyond what we saw in the filler.

I find that a little goes a long way.
Maybe for you but for me and few others that I know, we would have loved that, and beside that would have been the logical follow up after frieza arc. To explore more of the now known Universe 7 expand it and see alien worlds instead of going back to earth with a planet we know already.
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Re: Lore and World Building

Post by ABED » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:42 am

Bebi Hatchiyack wrote:
ABED wrote:
As for Dragon Ball I think there was some misoportunity in world building for exemple after Frieza, I would have loved to have a cross story with Vegeta on one side and Goku on the other side, for Vegeta we would have seen him exploring space to search for Goku, he would have fought countless battle and that would have allowed us to visit new world, and for Goku we would have been able to dive into Yardrat society and meet new face and new friends for Goku's to make. An opportunity to make Soba canon for exemple.
I find none of that interesting beyond what we saw in the filler.

I find that a little goes a long way.
Maybe for you but for me and few others that I know, we would have loved that, and beside that would have been the logical follow up after frieza arc. To explore more of the now known Universe 7 expand it and see alien worlds instead of going back to earth with a planet we know already.
There's no need for a follow up. Freeza's gone. His closest subordinates are all dead. The story has closure. Both your examples are little more than exercises in exposition. Where's the drama and the conflict?
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" - Michael Scott
Happiness is climate, not weather.

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