Setting Building
Game Mastering
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March 12, 2006, 1:26 am

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I personally always recomend creating your own game worlds for your campaigns.  It makes the game your own, rather than something you are just using.  Most people will not run characters that other people create. why should game worlds be any different.

I personally always recomend creating your own game worlds for your campaigns.  It makes the game your own, rather than something you are just using.  Most people will not run characters that other people create. why should game worlds be any different.  

I love creating game worlds. It comes from being a Fringeworthy GM, where you had to make a new game world every week or so, for your IDET people to explore.  So unlike most game masters, I am used to creating worlds. 

For the rest of you, it is always better, as a GM to create your own game world.  You need to know it and “feel it” to give it versimiltude. 

First and Foremost: Talk to your players.  Find out what kind of campaign they want, what sort of things they want in it, and the kind of adventures they want.  If you go into the world building processes with a list of these from each player, you campaign is off to a great start. 

Now, it is actually fairly simple to create a world. Don’t let the size of the task daunt you. Take it one part at a time and don’t get bogged down.

There are two ways to create a world DIP and DAS. DAS is Design at start.  It is the best way to create a setting, as you can make all the decisions at your leisure.  DIP is development in play.  No matter how much you do in the begining, you will have to do world building as the campaign progresses.  Every game setting is a combination of these two… the trick is finding the right combination for you.  I recommend to make all the big decisions and decide upon some general themes before the game starts and do a lot of “big picture” DAS. That way you will have a framework to fit all the DIP into. 

There are books on creating worlds and sites as well… spend a little research time.  Many of the books on creating settings are for fiction writers.  That makes it a faster, simplified process for gamers. 

Base your game world on what you know. If you know a period of history, set your game in a world similar to that period.  If you know a book series very well, make a world similar to that book series. 

Some general info on world building:

MoonHunters Tips on World Creation

Links active as of 01/01/05

Vesanto’s world section
   The Site.  Check the info related to the site and the links… very useful info on world building.

And what would be a MoonHunter post without showing off my link collection…

Hit the Articles There are many that are good. 

Burning Void  
Four’s Site
Fantasy Library  
At Fantasy

Uncle Figgy’s
Black Hat Mat
Blue Room
Dr Staat
Afira’s RPG Book 

Cool world Building stuff hidden away  
RP Guide 

Vesanto’s page is good  
Writing Page

RPG World Directory  

No matter what setting you choose create a world pack.  Part of the packet should be information explaining the campaign setting. This should all the information they the players need about the game environment and the world it represents. This does not have to be in large, long, encyclopedia like sections. It can be a collection of important pieces of information, in simple short sections. GMs: Include as much as you are able, as it will save you having to explain things in the future.

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Comments ( 11 )
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December 15, 2005, 17:35
Now being someone who creates quite a few worlds, how do you do it? Do you have a set of guidelines you want fleshed out before you consider it completed enough to adventure in? How much do you borrow between worlds? How much to you map?
December 15, 2005, 17:40
Now being someone who creates quite a few worlds, how do you do it?

See World Building 102

Do you have a set of guidelines you want fleshed out before you consider it completed enough to adventure in?

Besides the ones in World Building 102? I want something filled out in every category on the world build sheet. I will also create any major city or social center I will be centering my campaign around. That worksheet will need to be filled out in every section. Then I look at what I have. I ask myself, what could my players need? Then I fill in those gaps.

How much do you borrow between worlds?

As much as needed. Very few worlds are totally unique. I borrow elements from various historical places, similar worlds I have already created, ideas from any source. It is not the source that is important, but how well you intergrate the pieces together.

How much to you map?
Very little. I might make a big map. However, I do not emphasis precise mapping. Most travel is narrated through, rather than played through in uptime. Even dungeons (or such) are not fully detailed out. By not emphasising maps in my description or play, my players feel they don't need them. If they feel comfortable about it, then I don't need to do it. See, isn't that a wonderful time saver.
December 15, 2005, 17:41
Depending on your style, you can probably see that the balance between DIP and DAS very much depends on how well you can improvise and how easy you find it to put some time in developing at a later moment in time.

The questions you pose, are next to impossible to answer in general. I know that all I need to start a adventure is just the map of a single city or town, but I do have to say that I had a general idea of what my players wanted before I started. I had been playing two sessions with my gamers before I started.

If you go to my website, I can give you a general idea of what I developed before play started. (www buton)
I developed the general concept of the world (History of Teolin), including the calender. (I needed the calendar, as that indicates the amount of light during the nights)
Besides that I developed the entire Pantheon, but that is actualy expanding...
In the world section I developed two islands.
I developed one ship, as I needed that for a adventure.

After character creation, I created another four islands, from which the different adventurers came and because of an error I made when developing Mercantie, I had to add another island where the sea-people meet the bi-pedal land dwellers.

From then on, it has been work in progress (i.e. DIP)

For me that works very well. But I know that the player that used to be DM feels this is a terible approach.
The big difference is that I have no fear for "winging it" where as he needs the knowledge as a assurance that everything will work out fine.
If we talk about a island during a session, I sometimes just come up with some basics for the island and then jot them down over session and create the island after the players landed there (happend once) Now my player would end the session before leaving for the island, as he did not yet know the name.

If my players would feel that things get out of hand, because I tend to wing it too much, I know they would tell me and I would change my style to prepare more, but so far it works very well for all of us.

Again, I have to warn you here. This works for me. It may very well work different for other people.
December 15, 2005, 17:41
As a DM, I wing about 80% of our gaming session. I know the monsters, map and treasure but how to get them there, the descriptions and NPC interaction I do on the fly. For me, I don't think this works well with world creation. I want to give my PC's something more solid for them to wrap their imaginations around.

My problem is that I am not organized and if MoonHunter had some form of set guidelines he uses to create worlds, I would be thrilled if he would pass them on.

I am not looking for anything too fancy, just maybe an outline of sorts.
Voted Mourngrymn
January 12, 2006, 14:32
This is one of the submissions that is not for everyone. If your looking for ideas to help create an adventure this isn't the place to go. This is a one stop shop for what you need to flesh out your entire worldly system.

I have found different sources on the net that tell you different views on how to create a world that is the best way.

No way is the best way, but take from each one and you get something that will help no matter what level of GM/ creator you are. This is one of those guides.

Hats off Moon. I should have voted on this ages ago.
Voted Cheka Man
January 14, 2006, 17:28
I will find these links very useful, I am sure, as I strive to bring Aqua and my other worlds together into one huge one. 5/5
Barbarian Horde
July 2, 2007, 10:05
Hi there! I just wanted to update one of those links. Burning Void has moved to its new home at . Same content; much-improved navigation and design. Thanks for the mention!
July 26, 2007, 16:35
COOL! I was wondering about that.
Voted Chaosmark
October 12, 2008, 17:41
Only voted
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
March 7, 2009, 4:02
Voted valadaar
December 7, 2012, 14:23
A nice bit that deserves bumpage. Have not clicked through all the links to see if they work. Maybe later.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Michael Jotne Slayer

The nations of the Kolm surpasses all other barbarians in their wilderness of life. Thoug they do just bear the likeness of men, of a very ugly pattern, they are so little advanced in civilization that they make no use of fire, nor any kind of relish, in the preparation of their food, but feed upon the roots which they find in the fields, and the half-raw flesh of any sort of animal. I say half-raw, because they give it a kind of cooking by placing it between their own thighs and the back of their horses. They fight in no regular order of battle but by being extremely swift and sudden in their movements, they disperse, and hen rapidly come toghether in loose array. They spread havoc over the vast plains and flying over the ramparts, they pillage the camp of their enemy almost before he has become aware of their approach. They are the most terrible warriors for when in close combat with swords and flails they fight without regard to their own safety, and while their enemy is intent upon parrying the thrust of the swords, they will entangle him with their chains so that he loses all power of walking or riding.

Excerpt from "The peoples of the world" By Taklamarian court-scholar Guliman Amon.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | February 15, 2011 | View | UpVote 3xp

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