I've been thinking about exploring ideas.
I make roughly one world setting every two months - that is, a fully realized setting for a game or story. Drawings, descriptions, rules if it's a game, the works. It's fun.
One of the reasons I do it is because I'm curious to know how far a given concept can be pushed, and in what directions. This is the sort of thing that an author means when they say "I write SPECULATIVE fiction, not SCIENCE fiction!"
As you create these worlds, you find some things you consider to be real gems. See, designing a world isn't just making a world that holds together. The point of designing a world is to make a world that says things, that shines at people. Anyone can create a world where the politics of the elven kingdoms make sense... it's far more difficult to make a world where anybody gives a shit about the politics of the elven kingdoms.
I guess you could say that the point of a world is to clutch the human mind, not to be rigorous or clever or even interesting, although all of those are often helpful at keeping your grip.
So the more recent of my worldish creations have mostly been about providing a scaffold: clear marks and leads stretch across the world so that players or storytellers can follow (as loosely as they prefer) and see what the world has to offer. All the pretty and ugly things I came up with when I was thinking up things that followed from the basic ideas of the world.
Is there any kind of common understanding of this concept? This idea of worlds as a scaffold, as a guide book? Is there any forum for people who want to trade worlds and fragments and explore and write down what they find? A kind of improv storytelling where the idea isn't to do stand-up, but to explore?
Because there are many worlds, and many concepts. And even within a world of my design, there are things I didn't think of.