What is this?
Theonosis is a project to create a free and open fantasy setting. You may, for example, write a novel using this setting without getting permission from anyone. For the exact legal terms, see Theonosis:Open Setting License. For more of a layman's explanation, continue reading this FAQ.
What kind of stories can I create?
The world is designed so that any fantasy story could be set here.
There's a lot of talk on this website about Deities, but you may totally ignore that and just write your book. If you need to alter the laws of physics or magic in order to tell your story, Deities can explain how that happened. Your book does not have to explain anything in particular, but the existence of Deities means that you can explain most any change by attributing it to their actions. For example, let's say you write about a tribe of amazons on an island. You don't have to interact with this website at all, but if you do, you'll need to find a place to set your story. There is no such island that meets your needs. A sufficiently powerful Deity can create the island and populate it. If your story requires that the amazons have lived there for thousands of years, you can say it was hidden from the rest of the world until now by the magic of a Deity for reasons unknown to man. You can make your amazons human and make them cut off so they aren't aware of the existence of non-humans, and your Deity could even affect their perception of space and time such that they think they are inhabiting an entire world. In this way, you could write a novel about a group of human amazons who travel around an entire fictional world, in which there is no magic, no men and no nonhuman races, and this won't contradict the website, even though the vast majority of fiction set in Theonosis will presumably have magic, men and nonhumans.
- See Theonosis:Time. Since others are participating in this setting, time must pass at a regular, predictable rate (1 month=1 Generation=50 years). You may include time-travelling in your stories, but don't expect to require others to participate. You can't just force every user of the website to undo everything from the last few months, for example. So far-reaching effects of time-travel are not acceptable unless they are undone within the span of your novel.
- For the same reason, you can't go making empires that take over the actual world or anything like that. We may create collaborative world-wide stories, see Theonosis:Future, but don't expect others to participate in your storyline just because you want them to.
- If ordinary mortal races like elves and dwarves have life spans different than humans, it makes many calculations regarding the passage of time and the changes in Deific power more difficult. Accordingly, all normal races should have a lifespan more or less equivalent to a human. It's okay to make exceptions to this rule in limited areas, just remember that collaborators are going to want to create new people, empires and storylines - if all the characters live for a thousand years, it will be difficult to create the kind of dynamic environment a many-authored setting needs.
- Modrobene is a universally worshiped Deity, whose Zones of Fate, Death and Time are considered Theonosis:Limited Zones. Within the fictional universe, Modrobene is so powerful that he can prevent other Deities from taking over those Zones. In the real world, his purpose is to explain away anything that requires massive power. If you are GMing a game, for example, you may need Modrobene to explain why a player can not do something. Modrobene can also explain parts of the world in which there are no Deities, or where all the Deities are greatly limited in some way, because he is powerful enough to lay down those sorts of restrictions and enforce them. While Modrobene controls his Limited Zones tightly within the fictional universe, he operates on a much longer and larger timescale than other gods, so you can basically use Limited Zones freely; see Theonosis:Modrobene and Theonosis:Limited Zones for more. Though he is like an overgod for the setting, he is just as universally adaptable as any other part of the setting, and you can use him in your own works in whatever capacity you like.
- Finally, remember that this website is rather like Wikipedia for a fictional universe. Just like Wikipedia, the website can be wrong or contain several dueling versions of the facts. So if you really can't come up with any way to explain the events or setting of your novel, you can always just say that the story is legendary. This website could "correct" the events of your story. Since all of the stories on this website are fictional anyway, it makes little difference if yours is fictional even within the fictional world.
In any case remember, the rules are not important. Do not put off working on your novel because you don't know where in the world it should be set, or what kind of Deities you should include. Just write your story and worry about it later (or don't).
Why should I use an Open Setting?
- It's useful. You and other authors can each promote your own works, and you can each bring in your own kind of readers. For example, Bob might write a horror fantasy novel and bring in a certain group of fans who are writing additional horror fantasy. Alice might create a film that's a romantic fantasy story, and bring in a whole new set of fans. Some of Alice's fans might decide that Bob's work is interesting, and vice verse, so both Alice and Bob can promote each other's work.
- It's fun! You can work with others to come up with new creative ideas and get instant feedback. You can share ideas with creators from all around the globe.
- It's free, as in beer. This website doesn't cost you anything and never will. Everybody's works will get advertised in the site banner, and this site's operator (Modrobene) is currently promising to donate free advertising to anyone who publishes Open Setting Work.
- It's free, as in liberty. This means that you can continue to use Theonosis content on your own website, or in any other context you like, as long as you abide by the Open Setting License and/or Creative Commons License.
- It's revolutionary. It transfers powers from the handful of elite authors, publishers and companies who control the handful of very popular fictional settings and gives it to a completely open and free project that anybody can join.
- It's universal. Theonosis.com is capable of being a setting for literally anything that fits into the pre-modern fantasy genre. ThirdFleet is capable of hosting literally any science fiction creation. The Open World League can host any other settings, and new wikis can be created for additional popular Open Settings any time.
How do I use Theonosis content?
The Open Setting License allows you to use characters, places, events and other setting elements in any way you want, as long as you allows others the same privilege with your own setting elements.
Can I use Theonosis content in a role-playing game?
Absolutely! Theonosis can be a setting for any fantasy game. You can coordinate with other gaming groups and include shared villains, events and monsters. You can be as creative as you like with this, and you can add content in-character, you can include primary source documents, you can add pictures or maps, or anything you want to help make the game come alive. You can coordinate Shared Gaming Settings here.
At present there is one Theonosis role-playing game in development, Collabor. It is a creative worldbuilding and role-playing game.
You may use copyrighted game terminology in the context of explaining how a particular piece of content (such as a class, monster or race) can be used in the proprietary game system. Wholesale copying of copyright game books are prohibited, of course, as is publishing on this website a guide to translating Theonosis content into the systems of copyrighted games.
How do I write a story or make a movie using Theonosis content?
- See Theonosis:Authorship.
If you use the Open Setting License, you may release your derived work under any license, including an exclusive one. You must, however, allow the free re-use of setting elements such as people and places from your work by others. For example, you may use the fictional races on this website in your book, and make a hero of one of those races. Another person can then use the hero in his own work, even though the hero did not come from this website.
How do I find a Province for my novel, game or film?
- See Theonosis:Geography for more.
Right now very little is developed because this project is new. If you want to choose a well-described Province, Crikland is your only choice. Otherwise, you'll have to make something new.
Remember that a Province may be a geographic region, a city or a network of inhabited caves. A few Provinces (5-12 on average) constitute a Region, and 12-25 Regions constitute the average Setting. You can see a list of Settings or make a new one.
How does the Open Setting License work?
Will I lose the rights to my work?
No. If you publish your work, you will retain the rights to it, except for the exclusive use of any setting element. What is a "setting element"? You'll have to read the Open Setting License to know exactly, but it's basically everything somebody would need to use to create a different work using the same setting. This includes everything from the names of people and places in a novel to the distinctive costumes of a culture featured in a movie.
One important distinction is that some entire works could be considered setting elements. For example, if you write an epic poem, and publish it with a note explaining that, in the fictional world of Theonosis, this epic poem is performed at every holiday in the king's palace, then you have defined your own work as a part of the setting. A person creating a movie set in that palace during a holiday will need to be able to use that poem. Thus, your epic poem is considered a setting element, and may be re-used by others in their own works. You must actively purport that your work has some significant existence within Theonosis for this to apply, merely publishing a poem that seems like it might be performed at courtly functions does not suffice, nor does writing a book that is formatted like a diary, nor recording a song that refers to fictional characters and events.
What about titles and trademarks?
You may not use trademarks to stop people from using Open Setting Content. For example, there is a city called Crikburg. If you write a novel and title it Crikburg, you will not be able to enforce your trademark against others who use that word. You may title your novel Return to Crikburg or The Vampires of Crikburg, as long as you don't stop anyone from re-using the word "Crikburg" in any capacity, including in titles.
Will people give me credit for the content I create?
People do not have to give you credit by name for the content you create. However, they may not falsely claim credit themselves. If your content is used in a Creative Commons work, you may be credited as "Theonosis" or "Theonosis contributors".
What about sequels, movie versions and translations?
You control the rights to the title of your work. Accordingly, no one can call their own work a sequel to your own, nor may they call their work a movie version of yours. However, specific characters, events and other elements are Open Setting Content. This means that people can effectively make a movie version of your book or a sequel to it, they just can't call it that - it's really their version of the same events described in your book, or their continuation of the lives of the same characters subsequent to the events of your book.
How does the Open Setting License interact with the Creative Commons?
All Open Setting Content may be used as part of works released under any of the Creative Commons licenses. That's explicitly written into the OSL. This website is dual-licensed, so if you want to release your work under an exclusive license (e.g. you want to go with a traditional publisher) you can choose to use it under just the terms of the OSL, and not the CC. That means you can only use setting elements like the names of characters or places, you could not just reproduce swathes of the website or entire articles. Somebody could then re-use the Open Setting Content in your work in their own works, which might be Creative Commons or might not be. The OSL requires that you allow the free re-use of your content,
So if Bob writes an OSL/CC novel, and Alice adapts it under the CC, she does not have to accept the OSL, right? That is correct. This website wouldn't recognize her book, and it wouldn't be accepted as canon, but she is allowed to do that. She could use any Open Setting Content, even those derived from works not released under the CC (because the OSL specifically allows for all OSC to be re-used in CC works). Users of the OSL who do not want to CC their works as well would not be allowed to use any of her content, which is why this website won't recognize it.
Alice very probably won't do that though, as there is no benefit for her in doing so. Without this website to participate in, she would be forsaking part of her potential audience. If she wants, she can make a Setting or even a hemisphere in which all of the recognized works are CC/OSL, so if she has a philosophical preference for the CC's freedom, she can still do that. If she does it just to make things confusing, it will only confuse her readers, who will find that it is derived from this website but not a part of it. Those of us who follow the OSL can easily ignore her and her content.
Can I base my work on something created by somebody else?
No! This would violate the law. To help enforce this, you may not, in any capacity, refer to any fictional universes or works of fiction on this website. Any usage of titles, characters, races, monsters or episodes of published works may be edited to be removed, and will be deleted from the article history as well, without notice or recourse.