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World Building for Role-Playing

admin on June 18th, 2008

Almost all game masters of role-playing games at some point want to create their own world for their group to have adventures in. It sounds like a neat concept because you can set up all the rules, have your own races and gods, whatever cultures or other ideas you think would be fun to play in. However creating it can also be daunting because you may not know where to begin. It might be much easier than you think.

World building can actually take years depending on many factors. Time, effort, how creative you can be each session you work on your world and various other things can determine just how long it does take you to create your own place. Building a world does not necessarily mean you hope to write the next best seller, but it might be a dream. It is a personal thing when you build a world; you are the highest god in this place that people will one day inhabit.

There are two basic ways to start and neither is better than the other. One is starting with the world itself and going to smaller and smaller sections as you create. The other is beginning with a town or city and expanding out. You can, of course, go with a combination of them; it is all up to the creator.
The best book I ever found to help is the Advance Dungeon and Dragons World Builder’s Guidebook. It is invaluable, I think, for when you get stuck or to give you ideas you might not have otherwise thought of. I am not sure if this book is still available, or has been updated for the newer editions of D&D, but it is here that I still go to create my own world for both role-playing and writing.

I will have several blogs on this topic. There will probably be several things you did not think of yourself and could even spark a new idea for a whole new world or something unique for the one you are already creating. I will use excerpts from the World Builder’s Guidebook, because as I said, it is the best I have seen. So stay tuned for more help to create the perfect world for your players.