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I'm not talking about campaign settings either, but in cases of specific scenes or locales such as big finales or plot development (RPG style).

Example questions would be "How can I best inspire a sense of doom in my PCs when introducing them to the dark overlord in his lair," or "how can I make a castle dedicated to a god of chaos appear more chaotic?" They aren't questions about game mechanics necessarily, but I could see either answer fitting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason you believe they are not on topic to where you have to ask this? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Sep 12 '12 at 11:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you concerned about them being Too Localized and closed? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 12 '12 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, after mis-asking my last two questions quite spectacularly I'm a bit more cautious in the asking now. I could see how they aren't on topic, being non-game mechanic related and instead more literary, but I'm not a member of any writer's groups on stackexchange. \$\endgroup\$ – LitheOhm Sep 12 '12 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your question asking problems have nothing to do with topic or being too narrow; just read on the FAQ a little and then reread your question and ask if a) someone other than you could understand it and b) if there's such a thing as a best answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Sep 12 '12 at 23:21
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These are fairly narrow, but to my mind they're not "useless to anyone else"–narrow enough to be closed as Too Localized. I'd say go for it. How to set a scene with a fairly general but specific goal in mind can be useful to many people. The trap to avoid is refusing to accept answers unless they take into account the very particular details of the exact scene that you're trying to set, rather than scenes with similar goals.

Two things you can do when asking a narrow question:

  • Make it about the general thing you want to do rather than your particular setting's details:

    • Yes: Inspiring a sense of doom upon meeting a Big Bad
      No: Inspiring a sense of doom when meeting this specific character who has all these relevant tiny details which must be taken into account
  • Broaden it so that the "right" answer helps you but also gives a wider range of useful information:

    • Yes: How can I narrate the PCs' experience of a supernaturally or elementally chaotic place?
    • No: How can I make this castle dedicated to [very specific god of chaos] appear more chaotic during a Chaos Eclipse while the PCs infiltrate a summoning ritual in progress?

Obviously I'm exaggerating somewhat for effect! But note how the two ways of making a question more general – focusing on the thing you want to do divorced from your setting details, or focusing on a wider question that just so happens to answer your particular problem – makes for a question that is more appealing to a wider number of answerers, and suggests that it will attract solutions that can be applied to a variety of related problems.

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