View Full Version : World-Building Tools

2007-10-19, 12:48 PM
This seemed like the place for a survey...

What to people use for their world-building? Mostly, I'm referring the the physical entity. How do you come up with your map? hat do you use to set it on paper? I'd especially like to hear from those who are, like me, severely artistically impaired.

2007-10-19, 01:03 PM
Microsoft Paint is your friend.
No really. All it takes is some simple shapes to represent what you want. Mountains? Just use triangles. Volcanoes? Cut off the top of a mountain and add a red circle. Towns? Simple dots. Rivers? Blue lines. They don't have to look super real or detailed. All you have to get across with the map is the basics.

As for making it geographically realistic-ish, read Rich's Geography article. (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/xO3dVM8EDKJPlKxmVoG.html) It sure helped me.

Lord Zentei
2007-10-19, 01:08 PM
I am old-fashioned and use pencils and pens. And occasionally rulers.

2007-10-19, 01:24 PM
Would if I could, but I can't even dear breath,. :P

2007-10-19, 01:44 PM

2007-10-19, 02:19 PM
Yeah, that would be great if it was actually usable...

Edit: NEvermind, I seem to be able to use it...

2007-10-19, 02:26 PM
Photoshop, for every part of the creative process, the last time I had a crack at mapping a campaign world, I did the outline and main points on paper and then uploaded them to photoshop to work on fine detail, that was ultimately a waste of time. This time I started in photoshop and because it allows me to work in ridiculously small detail, I can create a better map with more information for me to use as a dm.

[Note: The following image is roughly 30% of the size of the original image I'm using, it details the starting nation for my campaign party, a relatively small kingdom called Enessa, it's only 75% finished, as I'm trying to work on a second campaign at the same time, based in a different nation.]


The dashed lines represent shipping routes, Green being relatively safe routes, Red being somewhat risky, black representing certain death. Red lines on land mean national borders, whereas Blue lines represent administrative border (i.e. where one lord's sphere of influence ends, and where patrols of the Enessian Guard are likely to end. Thin black lines represent +500ft intervals of altitude, whereas thin red lines represent -500ft in altitude. City size is very roughly represented by the size of the black dots, and dungeons/ruins/etc are marked by red dots and text. The green splodges are forest (duh).

2007-10-19, 02:38 PM

I like AutoREALM. :D It has fractal lines, which are good for islands and coastlines that look realistic/believable. It takes some playing around to get good with it.

2007-10-19, 03:13 PM
I tried Autorealm, and I can't get it to from my continent.

2007-10-19, 03:41 PM
There's a really good pamphlet (book really) that I got my hands on, that can take you through the step-by-step of world building. The stuff is really indepth, and can be used to design everything from weather patterns, to ecosystems, to food chains. Of course, you can also just brush by the really deep stuff, and just glean enough to get by with what you need. It's on my hard drive at home right now, but I can get it uploaded in about an hour, and supply a link. It's worth the wait, trust me.