Phoenix (The Mythical Beast, Not The City)

In the immortal words of Frank Zappa:
This is the Central Scrutinizer again. Hey, it's me! I'm back!

We'll consider the past few months an extended hiatus and start getting ideas flowing again. Be thou warned that I'll be a father sometime in the next 2 months, so things may get a little spotty with no warning whatsoever.

It's all in where the attention goes.

Which brings us to today's topic: How do you handle background events in your world?

You've got a few options:
1) The PCs are the end-all be-all of the world. Basically nothing happens without them. If the PCs are "on stage", then nothing ever happens "off stage" of any consequence.

2) The PCs are peons who hear about world happenings second-hand. In this opposite case, the PCs have very little to do with the world-shaking events and get caught up in their own little adventures. It feels like actual medieval life in a village would follow this model.

3) A blend of the two extremes.

Granted, most people will end up in bin #3, but I'm more interested in how you decide what happens in the world. Do you let the PCs choices have a large effect on the world at large (as in case #1 above) or do you have a preconceived plan of events that will unfold no matter what the PCs do (as in case #2 above)?

And how do you get the ideas for your world-wide news and rumor? I can't have the only curious player running a bard in my game...

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