I've been reading the rules for spinoffs to help deciide whether to start a project, and there are some ambiguous things that relate directly. It's obvious that a pasta based on another one is a spinoff, but my specific thing is a little different- I want to write something loosely set in a world already created by someone else, specifically the Innistrad plane from the Magic: the Gathering lore. Is that allowed under the rules of the wiki?
A general rule of thumb is that if it directly references someone else's IP (characters, places, traditions, sangromancy, etc.) , then it requires a Spinoff Appeal to be posted on this wiki as it's using content that you are not the creator of. If you're looking for a place to post it in the meantime, I'd suggest the Spinpasta wiki.
Definitely make sure to drop me a link as I'd be interested to see how you handle the Innistrad project.
See, that's what's tripping me up. If there were one author who created Innistrad and all its lore, or if there was a book written about it, then I would know it was a spinoff because I'm not the content creator. But unlike a lot of things in Magic (planeswalkers, planes, leonin, etc.) most of the thing on Innistrad aren't anyone's invention. WotC doesn't own vampires or werewolves or demons or ghosts. They do own Sorin Markov and Arlinn Kord and Ormendahl and Saint Traft. So if I'm using the former but not the latter, and if Innistrad is just a jumping-off point to get all of those things into one place, am I still violating rules?
You're right that they don't own folklore like zombies, werewolves, vampires, etc., but if you are referencing locales like: Gavony, Nevalia, and Devil's Breach or events that occurred in the MtG timeline or relics that hold importance there, then you are using that creator's/creators' intellectual property.
TL;DR: If you use Innistrad as a starting point (generalization: a cursed Gothic-inspired country from the 1700's or so that is infested with vying factions) then it's not likely going to be a violation of our spinoff rules.
What if I were to explicitly state "It's Innistrad, it's after Avacyn but before Emrakul," in a preface? That way, I could provide context for anyone who wants it, but ignore the "official" Innistrad storyline and create my own characters, locations, etc. instead of just renaming things that already exist.