Beginning a world of your own can be scary. Even if you know how you want it to be, actually creating it can be daunting to the best DM. Of course you may only have a small idea what you want to create or just want to attempt this new venture so none of your players know the rules better than you. If you have no idea where to begin, a specific approach might be the key.
There are seven basic approaches according to the World Builder’s Guidebook from Wizards of the Coast. They are macroscopic, microscopic, sociological, character-based, situation-based, historical, and literary. Some of these are self-explanatory and others might be making your scratch your head. Let’s explore them a little so you better understand the approaches. Besides you might want to use one way now but find another that sparks other ideas. This could even mean you end up creating more than one world. And of course you can combine approaches to make the perfect world for you and your gaming group.
The macroscopic approach is where you would have the least idea what you want to do. You want to create a world and that’s all you know. If that is the case, keep watching my blog for the guide to do just that. The microscopic approach is almost the exact opposite. You start with a town, bog, something small that the PC’s will be moving around and build up. Some DM’s will even take an adventure they have played that is not affiliated with a specific setting and use it as their starting point. This way they don’t have to come up with the whole beginning. Or they change one aspect and go from there.
Sociological worlds are for someone who wants to base their world off a type of society or culture. Seafarers, nomads, Egyptians, Romans, etc are all examples of this. You can base the world off of a specific character or characters. This method is sort of a combination of other approaches because you will have a specific society or setting to focus on for the character.
If you want to use lots of hooks and concepts to grab a PC, the situation-based world is for you. Something unusual to make the PC’s go out and be adventurers. It could include magic working funny, dinosaurs, or other oddities that you may have only glimpsed in your gaming. Then there is the historical world. This is similar to situation-based but a little more specific. Here events that occur actually shape the world much the way a river will change the land it flows through. The literary approach for world building is the one where you want to use something from your favorite fantasy book in a campaign setting. Flattery is great so go for it. Just be careful of copyright infringements if you attempt to publish later on.
Of course which approach is best for you is the question you must answer. You can even combine more than one. You could have an oriental world where vampires rule. This would be an example of both the sociological and situation-based world combined. And yes you can use that if you want. I haven’t but it would make an interesting place to play. The creation is about what will grab your players and make them want to put a PC in this new, strange world and let them roam around meeting people and defeating bad guys. As the DM, it’s all up to you.