Sunday, 20 May 2012

RPG World and Setting Building : My initial thoughts

I am going to start a series of articles on my blog, to record the efforts of myself with the help of my games group creating a setting as we play within that world. This is mainly going to be a fantasy world centric series because I'm making a fantasy world, so be forewarned.

Sources of Inspiration:


There are already many wonderful and rich settings out there put out by fantastic games companies for you and your group to play in:

Dungeons and Dragons (Wizards of the Coast):

- Greyhawk
- Forgotten Realms
- Dragonlance
- Eberron
- Planescape

Everway (also Wizards of the Coast):

- A multi-dimensional setting (can't remember the setting name... can't be bothered getting it down either...)

Pathfinder (Paizo):

- Golarion

Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press):

- Immoren

Exalted (White Wolf):

- Creation

And many, many more.... (Hey... I feel lazy alright... I was just looking over at my bookcase then got bored... Stop looking at me like that and go look around yourself...)

There are also many thousands of literary settings from incredible authors out there:

- J.R.R.Tolkien
- Terry Brooks
- Michael Moorcock
- Anne Maccaffrey
- Robert E Howard
- Terry Pratchett
- Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Neil Gaiman....
(You know what? I don't think you're dumb enough to have missed out on some of the greatest literature filling the bookshelves of this world... But... If you have... GO TO A BLOODY LIBRARY!... For one thing they are a one stop point for any fantasy inspiration you may need, for another they really need our support these days, many have been closed down due to lack of use and it will be a sad day to see them go...)

Movies and cinema are also great sources of inspiration. Don't just stick to the newer slick Hollywood offerings, look out for some old classics, the effects may look a little dated (for those of you that care about that), but many have very rich stories that may inspire you further. Here's just a few of my favourites in no particular order:

- Willow
- Krull
- Dragonslayer
- Labyrinth
- Beastmaster
- Hawk the Slayer
- The Dark Crystal
- The Princess Bride
- Legend
- The lord of the Rings
- Excalibur

Although you can take inspiration from other genres too, from steampunk and horror, to mystery, comedy and more.

The Plan... Probably:


World creation is quite a monster task to take on and I don't claim to be an expert on the subject. I'm more an enthusiast, that, and I love creativity in art, writing, gaming etc. My gaming group is full of creative and talented people, this is an opportunity for us to build something together that we can use and add to more and more. We will be creating the setting, lands, peoples, gods and anything else we remember or when it crops up. At some point, anybody that wants to within the group may run campaigns in different locales adding more to the world, then many of us will be able to experience the setting from a player's perspective or at the helm as GM.

My campaign wiki is being hosted on the Obsidian Portal website and is entitled Beyond the Wardwall, we will be keeping record of the adventures our parties experiences and eventually all the other details of that world.
Our campaign is using the Pathfinder system, but may end up slightly modified to tie it to our setting. For instance, I'm looking at a the modification to healing magic presented in the Iron Kingdoms setting, which makes it more dangerous to excessively heal due to the scrutiny of the Gods, which will works quite well with the way I am intending on presenting the gods of the setting.

I will be keeping track of the work that goes into creating the setting both here and on my campaign wiki. And just to round off this introduction I'll end with a list of things I intend to possibly work on (subject to change, whim, time allowance.... fading memory etc...) and add to my series of articles and campaign wiki.

Setting and Locations:

This will include cities, landmarks, countries, continents, maybe planes and other such places to set the stage of the world.

Gods and Pantheons:

It didn't feel right using gods from the Pathfinder core book in this setting, so we're undertaking the task of creating Gods that actually fit the feel of it.

Races and Creatures:

Looking at various settings to decide what core races to include and what the wild creatures of the world will be like, maybe just lifting them from other settings and doing as little as just skinning** them for this setting.

Magic:

As discussed earlier in this post, I am looking at magic and how it may be presented differently and the prevalence/availability of magic items in this setting.

History and Society:

Society models of all the locations/cities created... Currency, government, religion whether the races are segregated or it's a more cosmopolitan location.
And the history of the locations and people therein.

That's about it for now... I'll start to post more as the work is done.

Take care,

Jonah

**using the mechanics of something in a game setting but describing/dressing it to represent something else.