World Building Tips

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Seven
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:40 pm

I had a pretty good idea of what my world setting would be: this tower, and that castle and that garden, and that village and those vast forests and these patrolled roads, and those lakes, etc...
Of course, I had to write the names down so I didn't forget them.

I've read some campaign materials on Greyhawk, Mystara, the Forgotten Realms, Krynn, etc.
It always seem to me like there is too much material and not enough adventures.
And you look at something like the Temple of Elemental Evil, for example, it seems to barely fit and you don't really need any material other than what the adventure provides.

I've read a bunch of Fighting Fantasy books, back in the day, and most of those are all set in the same world and the later books reference some of the features, places and characters from the earlier books. That's pretty much all you need. Just a bit of glue to tie things together as you go. Which doesn't mean you can't build more if you want to.
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Metroknight
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:32 pm

I don't post much but just felt like expressing my view.

Build what you want, it is your game. If you want to create a large world then go ahead and do it as it is your game. You want to keep focused on a small area starting out and create as the player's explore then go for it. Again this is your game and all anyone else can do is offer suggestions.

Now for me when I started game back in the 80's, all I did was focused on the starting village and surrounding lands as there was no way to travel long distance in a fast manner, no way for information to be spread over long distances. Sure there was a wizard or few that could teleport or send messages but when or why would they do something to enable their civilization to grow?

Basically get an overview idea of how big of a world you are going to need, make a note or few to give the players hints of distant lands but don't worry about some city thousand of leagues away until you need to. Work with what your player's want and like along with a little bit more so you have room to work in.

That's a couple coppers from me so take it or leave it. Have fun and let the dice Roll
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LleijS
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:01 pm

Solomoriah wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:47 am The point is: Sure, read the articles. Read our responses here. But don't do what any of us say, just because we said it. Choose the method that speaks to you, that works with your imagination and your collection of cognitive abilities. If your method is different from any of ours, that does not make it "bad" or even "inferior." The only judgement of your method that matters is yours and your players'.
I think we agree more than we disagree, and well said. :)
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teaman
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:20 am

Another approach to throw into the mix: use your PC's backstories and goals in your worldbuilding.

Now, not every player gives their PC's a story or goal, but if they do use it to your advantage. For example, suppose you have a cleric who spent time in an evil cult, now they are working on changing themselves for the better. Just from that, we might:
  • Have the cult attack the party to get back an evil spellbook
  • Have the party go on a quest to recover a holy relic that will help the cleric repent
  • Have the party complete a mission for a local temple that will help instruct the cleric
A missing family member is another possible backstory bit. From that, I could see
  • An evil group has enslaved them and the PC's must free them
  • They are found but without their memory, so the PC's must search for a magic item/spell to cure them
  • They were killed by a dragon, and the PC can hunt the dragon and his kin who are now moving towards the south
Just some thoughts. Be curious what people think.
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Seven
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:35 am

I personally like that kind of stuff. Something like giving each PC a secret side objective--that they can share or keep to themselves--and awarding XP whenever the PC does something towards that objective. That adds continuity and that leaves hooks in place wherever the PCs decide to go.
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teaman
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:13 am

Seven wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:35 am I personally like that kind of stuff. Something like giving each PC a secret side objective--that they can share or keep to themselves--and awarding XP whenever the PC does something towards that objective. That adds continuity and that leaves hooks in place wherever the PCs decide to go.
Thanks Seven. Plus it provides "buy in" for whatever the DM has cooked up. All the best.
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Sir Daggerford
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:05 pm

teaman wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:20 am Another approach to throw into the mix: use your PC's backstories and goals in your worldbuilding.
I'm a big proponent of this approach. Arguably the best campaign I feel I've ever run had multiple arcs centered around particular characters and their back stories. Those also ended up being some of the most enjoyable arcs, both for myself as a GM, and the players. I frequently try to build my games around what my players are interested in, and even if that involves some modification as the game goes on, things usually turn out pretty well.

In general, when it comes to worldbuilding, I personally like to develop quite a bit, both because I enjoy writing as a past-time, and because I often use the worlds I develop for games as the setting for short stories and such. That being said, I can understand why some GMs prefer the less-is-more approach. In the end, to agree with what others have already said, it really is a matter of personal preference, and doing what works best for you.
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teaman
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:25 am

Sir Daggerford wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:05 pm
teaman wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:20 am Another approach to throw into the mix: use your PC's backstories and goals in your worldbuilding.
I'm a big proponent of this approach. Arguably the best campaign I feel I've ever run had multiple arcs centered around particular characters and their back stories. Those also ended up being some of the most enjoyable arcs, both for myself as a GM, and the players. I frequently try to build my games around what my players are interested in, and even if that involves some modification as the game goes on, things usually turn out pretty well.

In general, when it comes to worldbuilding, I personally like to develop quite a bit, both because I enjoy writing as a past-time, and because I often use the worlds I develop for games as the setting for short stories and such. That being said, I can understand why some GMs prefer the less-is-more approach. In the end, to agree with what others have already said, it really is a matter of personal preference, and doing what works best for you.
All good thoughts, Sir Daggerford. One of my players told me that the best sessions were usually those that centered around a particular character's backstory or goals.

One problem that can come up (and has at times) is when the player you have geared your adventure towards can't make the session. This is generally because of circumstances beyond their control. But if you've been waiting for the "big reveal" where the prisoner is their long lost relative, well, that can change matters.
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Solomoriah
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:44 am

Spread it out. Make sure that multiple characters have subplots running, so that any one can come forward as needed.
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Tazer_The_Yoot
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Re: World Building Tips

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:43 pm

Jeff Rients has a really good brain fuel blog post for Game Masters called "20 questions for your campaign world" or something very similar that covers things players tend to ask about or search out in a game like these. I think it's a really good starting point. Stuff like "Are there any guilds I can join?" Or "What is there to eat around here?" If you have a campaign map and can come up with answers to questions like these, you'll be ready for a lot of scenarios that might come up, and can more easily wing it if things veer way off from your prediction for their next course.

I'm on mobile and it's not easy to link on this format, but Google "Jeff Rients 20 questions" and you'll find it.
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