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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Creating A World

    Hello, playground. I got some Pathfinder books for my birthday over the weekend, and I decided to take a stab at running a game. I have only ever played 4e before, but after running a quick session with a few friends, I think I can adapt to the system easily enough. My real problem is this: I've only ever DMed one thing before, a 4e Dark Sun campaign.

    Since the DS setting is already complete, I've never actually created my own campaign world before. One of the books I got was the GameMastery Guide, which has a very nice 90-page section on world creation, but since most of you guys are much, much more experienced than me, I thought I'd ask the experts:

    Do you have any tricks/special methods you use when creating a campaign setting? Any suggestions? Any cool sories about interesting/unique campaign worlds you've made/played in?

    Having read Crystal Cantrips, I really like the idea of an archipelago-style world, with several islands, each of which houses unique cultures, so I think I'll use something like that. So far, I have a pretty good idea of Human, Elven, Half-Elven, and Dwarven societies, but I'm kinda stuck on Gnomes, Halflings, and Half-Orcs.

    Thank you in advance for the awesome suggestions/tips I'm sure you guys will give me

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Steal. Steal as much as possible from as many different sources as possible. It'll be easier than making everything from scratch, and with enough mixing, it will be diluted enough, to not be a carbon copy.

    Personally, I found some random map of a small island continent, and used it for my campaign. I then edited the map a tiny bit, to make it more interesting. On top of that, I took bits and pieces from other settings to make my world complete and interesting. Airships from Eberron, mini-quests from other DMs from various forums, suggestion from my PC, etc.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    I house rule a heck'of a lot in my games, but here are two I've done that probably wont help you much.


    Spoiler
    Show
    9,114,899,673 AD/9673 PUA [Post. Universal. Apocalypse.]

    The Earth is no longer in existence, in its stead lies Infidisk.
    Whats this you say? Post Universal Apocalypses and Some strange Planet(?) named Infidisk?
    Why, I said no such thing. Infidisk is the New reality in which existence rests. Did I confuse you further? Then I shall start from the beginning.

    9,114,890,000 AD in our current time Humanity was the supreme essence of the universe. They reached beyond imagination within the Universe, meeting other races and even other branches of Humans. They made a Multi-galactic empire encompassing Centillions of light years in all directions from its home planet, Earth. They used Sciences unfathomable to minds of our era even as magic. It was in this year they went to war with an opposing super power they had just met, it was instant hate. The beings called themselves The Elder Gods, there forms when seen brought madness to the minds of the "mortals" they sought to destroy. They were powerful, the Standard military power of the Humans was hopeless, until an experimental weapon that bends the rules of reality to its whim turned the tide with vast effects. The Humans spear pointed it straight into the heart of the Elder Gods empire where they met a being titled The Sayer whos slightest whisper alters the universe. By now the technology was used by all the armies forces, and so it took to slay the Sayer. however with its death Reality seemed to cave in Color rapidly changed, space seemed to wither and warp at random, Time loops and wormholes riddled the universe. great white fissures of utter nothingness snaked across the expanse of Space. It was surely the end of everything. Or so anyone would have thought. The Sayers corpse inverted on itself exposing a black heart that sucked in all light around it into a small point becoming a singularity, it rippled for a moment as the Last known human stood, the very same that landed the killing blow. before her eyes she watched the Universe Concentrate itself. Planets collected together like water droplets masses, unifying into one in an endless chain of Recreation occurring within moments. When it was done the woman beheld an infinite plane of flat land, The black orb flickered and started to fade, it wobbled in the air and moved around as if searching for something before it died, it instead shot toward the woman, melding into her form sending her into deep unconsciousness. as she dreamed, the expanse around her grew mountains, forests, and great oceans spawned from her subconsciousness. humans reappeared, as did the animals. But from her mind also grew demons and creatures of what was previously myth. The Universe was no more, it had restarted as what new scientists years later dubbed The Infidisk. Whos to say its a disk however, its all theory as is everything one way or another. It retains a Sky like field that carries on on many millions of miles before you think you find new land, but find yourself staring back at where you started, assuming you lived long enough or traveled fast enough to reach that point. its much the same way with digging down. you can dig and dig but are only met by suddenly finding the way clear and you are now falling at extreme speeds, you can look behind you but theres nothing there. eventually you find yourself seeing the Infidisk from a birds eye view moments before you perish unless saved. (However it is worthy of note that No one has ever ever ever done either of these)
    your probably thinking "how the hell is it lit?" or something similar. No matter where you are in the Infidisk, unless it is blocked from view, the east, west, north, south horizons always have what looks like an orange setting/raising sun. and there is always one directly above. However, no matter how hard you try you can't get a closer look. Telescopes, scanners. they all see it as the same size or not at all. as the day goes by the suns slowly look like their being replaced by a moon. There are no stars.

    It is now 9673 PUA. There are no records of previous reality before the Universal Apocalypse, but science has evolved far enough again that they are studying their Infidisk, they theorize it to be an Infinite stretch of land and thus named it the Infidisk. they Theorize that something caused it, similar to how many believe the Universe came from the Big Bang here in real life. Science in the area of the Infidisk we will be playing at is more advanced then present day technology me or you the player have. It consists of advanced holograms that can have a physical effect, Energy weapons, defense and tools, Teleportation, advanced robotics (not as desired as the Physical Holograms, but still cool and less expensive as well as more widely used) and cybernetics as well as Regeneration like healing.

    Now, there is the world. Now for the story.

    Through science, Humanity believes they are picking up on energies from the Last. sometimes called the Dreamer. this knowledge and data has been leaked and shared. Now there are many parties seeking to find the source and meet their creator face to face. Several have banded together under one goal, to corrupt the Dreamer and use her for their plots. Several Others are seeking to awaken her to have a goddess to rule over the Infidisk and maintain an order throughout, making everything a better place. and lastly, there is a group who believes they found data suggesting the End of everything should she awaken, thereby no longer maintaining the Infidisk and either slowly or suddenly erasing all of existence. they seek to find her and protect her from awakening.
    These three groups now wage wars and work to sabotage one another from finding her using weapons of mass destruction, Mecha, battlesuits, Mobile Fortresses and secret weaponry unique to each division:

    Rokalda
    Death Walkers. Owned by the Rokalda.(the ones who want to use the Dreamer for gain) the Rokalda possess Five of these mighty machines that shake the earth as they slowly walk towards their targets. Highly immovable, they await dormant guarding five different major cities of the Rokalda. the image says it all with these guys. Giant arse laser cannon in one hand. Millions of defense turrets along its body, and Self Repair systems. as if it needed any, it could destroy whole cities by walking all over them.

    the Rokalda also have the Ace Squadron.
    The Ace Squadron are advanced mecha that are highly theft resistant, when they are taken down in combat they implode into tight balls of metal, preventing reverse engineering. The Ace Squad is Unique from other standard mecha used all around the Known Infidisk because they are capable of Flight at extreme altitudes using wing like extensions made of energy, Stealth systems, high agility, and can run for 24 hours on high output (such as when fighting) Flying consumes twice as much energy however, and can only run 12 hours of flight and only flight, not counting extra uses such as firing energy weapons or using advanced maneuvers.
    About 34 Ace mechs are built.



    Templar
    Gravity Warriors. Owned by the Templar (the ones seeking to take the Dreamer as a goddess over Infidisk)
    these specialty troops are highly dangerous in combat. they wield the forces of Gravity harnessed through injections of billions of Nano machines that together generate Gravity altering frequencies. Special training is required to prep the body to receive the machines, then to handle and control them, and then to fight with them. Gravity Warriors tend to spend up to sixty five years in training. ( expanded lifespan of Humans on Infidisk makes this equal to 16 years of our lives in relation to how much of their life is used as well as looks ) They are often recognized for their use of archaic weaponry, amplified by their gravity control which is further enhanced by the massive battlesuits they wear to be able to cleave armored tanks in two. Out of suits they are more limited but still beyond human. About fifty are trained a year.

    Agis
    the Immortals. Owned by the Agis (the ones who want to protect the Dreamer from awakening). Know one knows how they did it, but somehow the Agis created a version of the regeneration serum, its high cost and low amounts limit the use of it into a specialized group of soldiers. The "Immortality Serum" can regrow limbs, heal at noticeable speeds, bring back the dead with only a few seconds of delay. if that wasn't enough, the Immortals have had their genetics spliced with select creatures ranging even from Dragons, Dire-animal, Basilisks, and porcupines. the Immortals can retain a human form, a Hybrid form for several hours, or a True Form for several minutes. while already being durable and tough form the Serum, just being in human form the Immortal is twice as strong/fast as before. in Hybrid, x4 times human form. in True, x8. abilities vary on their Animal. Naturally, the Immortals don't age. About 25 are trained a year, not because their better or worse then Gravity Warriors, but because they use rare substances in their creation. they tend to last longer anyway. simply because it takes a lot more to finish them for good.



    Players can start in different sects if they wish. events bring them together away from their sects missions and out of contact. It would start off the bat with a boss fight against a large monster uncovered in their quest for the Dreamer. they have to work together to bring it down, when it dies its body becomes a gateway and takes them to the Dream (the alternate dimension in which the Dreamer truly exists). In the Dream there is the Messenger awaiting them. The Messenger tells them They will surly meet a fate worse then death if they do not work together, the Messenger gives them a small bit of information about the Infidisk's dark history of total war against all races and quest for Universal Domination. It tells them they must discover the rest on their own or it would mean nothing. They Players go on through the realm finding fragments of the forgotten history fighting past monsters yet to be released to the Infidisk and eventually finding the Dreamer herself.


    I do not have the stats for the different classes I mentioned here, I had them for some time, but they've been lost. just craft em up ye'self.


    Spoiler
    Show
    3012 AD, one thousand years after the predicted end of the world.
    Cities now cover most of the well-off countries, America, Japan, Canada, England, France, and China have layered cities reaching up to 30 miles into the sky. Artificial sunlight and Sky looking illusionary effects prevent claustrophobic on Sub-Levels. There are few "3rd world" countries now, and previously struggling countries have either grown or been absorbed into the other superpowers. America has doubled in size, China has grown by 30%, Japan has tripled, France, and England are now the size of mexico working together in a tight peace to grow with each other in an attempt to overpower the other super powers.
    As if imminent war was not enough, reports are flooding in from all over Japan and America both of strange occurring events and strangers displaying what could only be explained as Magic.

    What could be the cause of these new powers? New stage in human evolution? Granted powers? Mutations? or does it have something to do with the strange events happening over Japan and America including fascinating light displays in the night sky at random, shared dreams and an increase of Ghost sightings by 300%


    For the Player:
    Your character wakes from a dream, in the dream they saw a red sky, a black sandy land and giant eyes that seemed to replace the stars. all of them staring at the character. the dream them shows a scene from what they feel is Earth, but many, Many years before anything Historians have found. Cities and castles dotted the landscape and dragons flew high in the sky. But that wasn't what the vision was about, before the character they watched as a person was being chased by an black figure. The figure cornered the victim and the dream ended...

    The next day he/she wakes up to find him/her to be the exact lookalike of the victim! a little animal stared from the foot of the bed for a moment before speaking up and explaining the story...

    Your characters have been chosen by a Word. the Words are fragments of an ancient language the gods used when they first walked the Earth. each Word holds power over what they represent. the Words have now become active once again and with their own level of intelligence have chosen Champions for their cause. Just waking up the Words are limited in power... thats where the Champions come in. Their Champions must find and destroy the champions of the other Words to gain their power. At first the Players wont be to strong, but after victories over Other players or NPC under Yours or My control (don't spam "weak" NPC's at yourself, thats just distasteful) The Word will grow more powerful and its champion will have more access to powers and abilities.
    a Catch? to access the Word's domain and abilities, enhancements they must first activate their form! they can change back and forth between Champion and Mortal forms, well. at first it will seem random, then only when certain conditions are met, THEN they will have control. Champion form is always force transformed into when ever near another champion.
    Multiple Champions for the same element can and does occur thus forming teams. Gifts from the Word vary as well. one Fire Champion could use flaming swords and another blasts fireballs for example. They don't have to be pure flame, it could be enhancements to an otherwise standard Katana or combat knife for example, or a handgun could be infused with the power of the domain as well. first level bullets from a gun user would look normal until they hit, when they have an incendiary effect (if fire) for further example.

    There would be Legendary Words, Greater Words, Lesser Words, and Trick Words.
    Legendary Words would be things like;
    Energy
    Life
    which encompass vast amounts of versatility. Life could do many things, Make plants grow, wood control, control body functions. while Energy could be fire, light, lightning, sonic, ect.

    Greater Words would be things like;
    Fire
    Water
    Light
    for example, which can encompass a wide array of abilities.
    Light could blind people, illuminate, warm people and act alot like fire, while fire could also act like light. Water as a greater word would also be quite potent, as at this stage it could be any form of it Gas, Liquid, or Solid.

    then Lesser Words like;
    Locks
    Strength
    Speed
    Locks would function as Opening or Locking, Strength as Lifting, Throwing, leaping
    and Speed as Quickness, Agility, reflexes, Running ect.

    Trick words;
    Opening
    locking
    running
    lifting
    throwing
    blinding
    deafening
    ie, very specific words.

    If you choose to have your character start with say a Trick word, they could grow into a more powerful word as their word gains power and evolves into something similar. Blinding could evolve into Illuminating, to Light, then to Energy for example.


    Just use specialized Elemental Mages/Psychics, or craft custom classes like I did.

    My Homebrew

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Use Dawn of Worlds and make one together with your gaming group

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Quote Originally Posted by Otacon17 View Post
    Having read Crystal Cantrips, I really like the idea of an archipelago-style world, with several islands, each of which houses unique cultures, so I think I'll use something like that. So far, I have a pretty good idea of Human, Elven, Half-Elven, and Dwarven societies, but I'm kinda stuck on Gnomes, Halflings, and Half-Orcs.
    If you can't think of any good ideas for Gnomes, Halflings, and Half-Orcs, then don't use them. Just because they're in the book, that doesn't mean you have to include them in your world. Sometimes a world is best defined by what it lacks than by what it has. It's better to have 3 races with well-defined places in the world than 3 well-defined races and 7 races that are just there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossblade View Post
    Steal. Steal as much as possible from as many different sources as possible. It'll be easier than making everything from scratch, and with enough mixing, it will be diluted enough, to not be a carbon copy.
    "Stealing from one source is plagiarism; stealing from many sources is creativity." I find it's best to use two or more very different sources for each culture in your world. For example, use the cultural style from one source but the aesthetics of another. You might have one island that has a culture based on Iron Age Ireland with druids, bards, high kings, and human sacrifice but replace the woad and iron and cattle with the trappings of the Aztecs. The Gae Bolga isn't an iron spear with 13 barbs, it's a wooden spear with 13 obsidian blades mounted along the business end. Instead of bards wearing dyed wool clothes to indicate their status, they wear colorful feathered headdresses. Instead of killing people on a pyramid to make the sun rise, they kill people on a hilltop henge and throw their bodies in the bog to ensure a good harvest. When they ritually kill their high king every 7 years, they don't just seal him away in a barrow mound. They install him in a throne room with a bunch of other dead kings where his successors can go to commune with their spirits. Instead of iron and bronze torcs and hair spiked up with grease, high status warriors wear gold pectorals and put feathers and flowers in their hair.

    By mixing different sources this way, you ensure that your new cultures are familiar and players can relate to them, but they aren't direct copies so you don't have to deal with players saying things like "My character's a Japanese samurai. I mean, uh, he's a budoshi from Zappan... but really he's a Japanese samurai." This also avoids having players argue with you about your own setting. If you make a direct copy of Japan, like the "Empire of Zappan" for example, and you want to do something different with it, you're players might resist and argue that "The Zappanese wouldn't do that because the real samurai would never..." That doesn't come up when "Zappan" is clearly more than just "Fantasy Feudal Japan".

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    From my experience creating worlds, don't try to get into too much detail. Create an outline of the history of the world, major cultures, and other things of interest. For mapping, focus on notable dungeons, locales, and cities that are within roughly five-hundred miles of the PC's, including up and down. This is because PC's are slippery little bastards, and will attempt to squirm their way free of your well-designed area if you give them the chance.

    To make the world seem a little more like your own, I would suggest going through the monster manual and eliminating any monsters that don't match the overall feel of your campaign world. After all, it wouldn't make much sense to be fighting iron golems in a world based around floating castles.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Build a few important dungeons rather then lots of pointless ones. Its okay to have little mine shafts and the like but some worlds tend to be nothing but holes in the ground, each one filled with a pointless maze and some goblins. People remember dungeons that have a purpose (like guarding a dragon egg) rather then not (one a friend made for the sole purpose of having allied oozes and rats).

    Same thing with wilderness crawls; don't make 5,000 forests that randomly hav orcs or trolls in them, make three big forests that each have a theme (one with Fey and Treants, one with giant spiders and other Vermin, and one with Lycanthropes for example).
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    random generation can sometimes help with just creating big chunks that don't need detail, as well as inspiring you with new ideas.

    instead of stealing try to synthesize concepts, read a lot of fantasy books, and look at what settings have in common.

    another good idea is to draw from religion and mythology outside D&D.
    Your players might get a kick out of a reference to a Norse god in the Dwarven culture.

    Also, have fun and make it your own!
    Creating content is one of the great things about D&D.
    Last edited by Popertop; 2010-12-22 at 02:59 AM.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossblade View Post
    Steal. Steal as much as possible from as many different sources as possible. It'll be easier than making everything from scratch, and with enough mixing, it will be diluted enough, to not be a carbon copy.
    Yes. Almost every good world and story starts with "I think I could do that better".
    Everyone uses the same basic components, but it's how you put them together and create a story around them, that makes them unique.

    I started my setting about six years on my setting, which began as: "I like the background story of the High Forest (Forgotten Realms). Let's make a campaign that plays there -4.000 DR."
    The only parts that remain of this are a large forest, an elven kingdom, human barbarians, and sorcerers making pacts with demons.

    Some people like to make a setting by combining lots of ideas for countries and civilizations and throwing in a bunch of gods. Forgotten Realms is one candidate, as is the Pathfinder setting Golarion. They have their fair share of fans, but they leave me rather cold. I much more prefer settings that focus on a smaller area, but are more defined by the power groups and the interactions between them. Like Planescape or Eberron. You don't need to put all things you like in fantasy worlds into your fantasy world. Limiting yourself to those elements that contribute to the major themes of the setting has many great effects.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    If you can't think of any good ideas for Gnomes, Halflings, and Half-Orcs, then don't use them. Just because they're in the book, that doesn't mean you have to include them in your world. Sometimes a world is best defined by what it lacks than by what it has. It's better to have 3 races with well-defined places in the world than 3 well-defined races and 7 races that are just there.
    That's exactly what I mean. I already have gnomes, but I don't know what dwarves and halflings would add to the setting if I include them. They would just fill the same roles that gnomes already do, so I leave them out.
    I also don't like orcs as pillaging murderers, but I have also created a race of strong mountain warriors who are rough but not evil. Including orcs would be just the same, so no orcs.
    Last edited by Yora; 2010-12-22 at 03:48 AM.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    instead of stealing try to synthesize concepts, read a lot of fantasy books, and look at what settings have in common.
    Or better yet, pick a few good fantasy books and look at what they do well. "A lot of fantasy books" are crap and taking the lowest common denominator from them will just be distilled crap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    another good idea is to draw from religion and mythology outside D&D.
    Your players might get a kick out of a reference to a Norse god in the Dwarven culture.
    Or they might just yawn because Norse dwarves are really overdone. They rank right up there with Scottish dwarves. How about something different like Shinto dwarves? Or even further afield, how about some elven deities with the names changed? The dwarves love smithing, but metal is dead and lifeless. They worship the goddess of growing things because she provides the trees that form the hafts of their tools and weapons, the beams that support their mine shafts, the logs for their hearths, and the charcoal for their forges. It's the trees that give their lives to transform dead metal to living tools and weapons. The dwarves revere their great metal and stonework as living things with spirits, but those spirits came from the trees that formed a holy partnership with the craftsman to imbue those spirits into the metal and stone. It's an idea common in many cultures so it's not too hard to understand, but it's not usually used with dwarves so it's much fresher and more interesting that yet another "Och! Ye best be praisin' Thor, laddie!"

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    ...Except Dwarves as used are from the Norse religion. Celtic Dwarves would be leprechauns, and would be more like Gnomes. Remember, D&D bows before Papa Tolkien, and he bows before Skurri.

    My personal way of doing it is to make mostly isolated regions and then focus on the depth of each region. I have spent 2 years on my current campaign though, so YMMV on if it is cost effective. Though I now have everything placed within its own context. Including Planes, an alternate dimension based on psionics where space is relative, time travel, and I am starting to work in lesser gods whose powers are weaker then a strong mortal.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    The Giant has a pretty good series of articles on world creation in the Gaming section (scroll to the bottom).
    "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." - Will Rogers

    "What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent. Others can be broken." - Morpheus, The Matrix

    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    ...Except Dwarves as used are from the Norse religion.
    So are the elves, but they've developed far from their origins. Elves are always given a very Celtic "sidhe" quality, but Tolkien had more Nordic and Finnish roots in mind for them. Orcs were originally a kind of sea monster, but Tolkien didn't take anything from them except the name. The fact is that the standard fantasy races have taken on a life of their own now and are no longer characters from "Norse myths" or "The Hobbit".

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    So are the elves, but they've developed far from their origins. Elves are always given a very Celtic "sidhe" quality, but Tolkien had more Nordic and Finnish roots in mind for them. Orcs were originally a kind of sea monster, but Tolkien didn't take anything from them except the name. The fact is that the standard fantasy races have taken on a life of their own now and are no longer characters from "Norse myths" or "The Hobbit".
    ...Description of orcs from D&D is straight from Tolkien, Halflings are hobbits (right down to the burglar thing from The Hobbit), the Elves were forest-people from the start, and wizards still solo Balrogs (Balors lol). The descriptions of races occasionally differ from those invented by Tolkien, but its still based on him. If you feel like deviating from that fine, but saying "they are overdone" because they follow the roots they came from is a little bit extreme.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    InaVegt's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    ...Description of orcs from D&D is straight from Tolkien, Halflings are hobbits (right down to the burglar thing from The Hobbit), the Elves were forest-people from the start, and wizards still solo Balrogs (Balors lol). The descriptions of races occasionally differ from those invented by Tolkien, but its still based on him. If you feel like deviating from that fine, but saying "they are overdone" because they follow the roots they came from is a little bit extreme.
    Except burglary was very uncommon for hobbits, who were very much a british stereotype, unlike the races of the wild halflings who have more in common with gypsies.

    The forest elves were forest people yes, but the high elves definitely weren't. Rivendell was a city, sure one with a lot of green, but it wasn't a forest hideout.

    And Tolkien wizards would definitely be tossling balrogs. They are most comparable story and themewise with the ultimate angels, Solars.

    Edit: Almost forgot to adress the orcs thing. Tolkien Orcs are thematically closer to Dark Elves, being corrupted elves.
    Last edited by InaVegt; 2010-12-22 at 05:33 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    I find that for any game setting, all you need to start with is a general plot to hang all your adventures on, and a style idea (like "Medieval Pseudo_European", or "Post-Apocalyptic Oriental") - then everything else falls into place.

    You need to decide on a very few things at the beginning of the game:
    • Who does everyone think of as the bad guys? (Think of the East/West divide in the real world Cold War...)
    • Who are the real bad guys? (They may or may not be the same as the perceived bad guys - some of the most fun Cold War adventure stories were about outside threats dealt with by collaborating agents of East and West)
    • How do I get my players into the big plot? (This includes thinking about the way they party comes together, what sort of background you want people to have, and so on.)


    This should lead you to invent a home land and town, a few key figures (like the local Mayor, the ruler of the land, local high priest, neighbourhood wizard, an inn keeper, smith and assorted other personalities as you see fit - you only need sketchy details for these), and the antagonists (who you need combat stats for at least).
    You can name a few other lands around the region where your action will take place, and list some distinguishing feature for each - in Samarkand it is hot and dusty, silk and spices come over the desert... that sort of basic broad detail.

    These bare bones will be enough to get going. You fill in the rest as you go along, whenever the adventures need it.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Quote Originally Posted by Otacon17 View Post
    Thank you in advance for the awesome suggestions/tips I'm sure you guys will give me
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    When you decide to make a world map, draw things in this order and the terrain will end up making sense:
    • lines dividing ocean from the land
    • Mountains, hills
    • Rivers
    • Lakes
    • designate forest, desert, grassland, winter wastelands, etc
    • towns, cities
    • roads
    • countries and borders
    • landmarks, dungeons, special areas


    Get a random name generator and your world is complete.

    For playability, you need to prepare prepare one 'significant NPC' with their own story and quest opportunities for each town and city the PCs are able to reach. More is better, but not time-efficient; you should be able to make up other NPCs 'on the fly' from the party's interactions with the main one. Then make a big stack of versatile encounters (include boss encounters!) for all conceivable situations. This is all my campaigns start out as.

    For the longest time, at the start of each campaign I kept trying to make a story that the PCs start near and would be easy for them to become involved in, but they veer off the rails so fast that it was just a waste of time and I wound up a little unprepared for where they did go. Save your story for a novel you write some day. This is theirs.
    Last edited by FMArthur; 2010-12-22 at 08:17 AM.
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    • Warlock Power Sources [3.5]: Making Hellfire Warlock part of the base class and providing other similar options for Warlocks whose powers don't come from devils.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Start small.

    Don't get carried away mapping an entire continent for a third level party.

    First; start with a vague plan and some 'world rules' like 'magic is very rare and all spellcasters glow pink'. Then makes sure that there's a pantheon that's reasonably fleshed out (no need for depth at this stage... don't write down thirty god's details, just the details of the one that a player follows!), and that you've decided what houserules will be used.

    From there... start small as I said. Fully detail the village the PCs start in, and just hint at the rest of the county. When the players are starting to head out in the world, you can flesh that out and start dropping hints about the country they're in. There's NO point in designing towns 500 miles away and the culture of the distant Elven Kingdoms until the players are ready to head that way. Until that time you can make do with just having a few lines of rumours about such places.

    Too many campaigns die early. And then all the work is wasted. To many campaigns also die early because the GM has spent so long writing authentic poetry of his realm that he didn't write decent adventures, or bothered detail the pub the party meet in.

    Basically: Focus on what's of use, not the distant future.



    Edit: Don't draw a map yet for the world. You don't need one, and it only ties things down and sets them in stone. Keep the details outside of the PC's experience fluffy. If Pratchett can create an immersive world without recourse to a map, then you can, too.
    Last edited by Psyx; 2010-12-22 at 08:19 AM.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the help!

    Right now I'm trying to keep it fairly small, I haven't really done any big world-mapping; I just want to get the basic feel of each race down so I can say, "this is a Dwarven city," and my players will have something of an idea of what to expect.

    I was considering making Halflings part of a caste society that tried to distance itself from other cultures, but maybe I'll make that the Gnomes instead... 2 of my players already made Gnome characters, so I can't just leave them out, but I could certainly abandon Halflings instead
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    A couple more links:
    30 Days of World building was written as a tool for writers, but has been a great help to me.

    And some maps!
    Blog for my latest (and hopefully last) campaign world: Thargothras!

    Some less overused ways for your PCs to meet

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    What works for me:

    1)Know the great big picture: By this, I mean your world's creation myth and cosmology. Especially in a world where divine magic exists, these things strongly influence the way the people interact.

    Focus on the small stuff: Events in far-off lands will generally only have far-off implications to the storyline. Things happening the next block over matter now. Particularly if you're starting a new world with low-level characters, you'll be better served knowing the layout of the 6 - 8 blocks where your characters live and all the NPCs that populate that area than you will by trying to fill in every world event and ruler for every island. You can use a name list and a random event generator (keep track as you pick names and create events) to fill in those details as you go.
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    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    What works for me:

    1)Know the great big picture: By this, I mean your world's creation myth and cosmology. Especially in a world where divine magic exists, these things strongly influence the way the people interact.
    On the other hand, you don't have to start at Adam and Eve. Mythology can be very important to explain how things in the world are as they are. But you can also have worlds in which the people don't know what happened at the dawn of time and all they have is mythological stories that some people believe to hold some truth, and others not. When your world is not about demons and angels and deities that take direct intervention in the world, you don't need such information.
    And one big thing that makes a lot of fantasy world a bit boring to me is that they lack any mystery, because there are no uncertainties and all magic and the deities are well known facts. In this area you can leave a lot of things open on purpose and instead have people in the world discussing or even fighting about what's actually true.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Adam and Eve aren't the creation myth for Earth as I understand them, the existence of gods or a divine presence doesn't have to preclude discussions and arguments about what is actually true, and, as I said, that's just what works for me.
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    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    It's a figure of speech around here. It means to start at the very beginning as early as possible. Or rather not doing this, because it's usually not neccessary.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Or better yet, pick a few good fantasy books and look at what they do well. "A lot of fantasy books" are crap and taking the lowest common denominator from them will just be distilled crap.



    Or they might just yawn because Norse dwarves are really overdone. They rank right up there with Scottish dwarves. How about something different like Shinto dwarves? Or even further afield, how about some elven deities with the names changed? The dwarves love smithing, but metal is dead and lifeless. They worship the goddess of growing things because she provides the trees that form the hafts of their tools and weapons, the beams that support their mine shafts, the logs for their hearths, and the charcoal for their forges. It's the trees that give their lives to transform dead metal to living tools and weapons. The dwarves revere their great metal and stonework as living things with spirits, but those spirits came from the trees that formed a holy partnership with the craftsman to imbue those spirits into the metal and stone. It's an idea common in many cultures so it's not too hard to understand, but it's not usually used with dwarves so it's much fresher and more interesting that yet another "Och! Ye best be praisin' Thor, laddie!"
    i meant the fantasy books that are well written, and by a lot i meant more than you usually do if it isn't a lot

    and I meant more of hidden reference they can discover, like the arrangement of the gods, similar power struggles and endtime prophecies, and the tropes also found in the mythology. they can all be duplicated and changed to be a lot less obvious than a cleric of thor, not that there's anything wrong with that.

    One of my best friends loves Norse mythology, so I know he would like either, but he also appreciates well thought out additions to a story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Focus on the small stuff: Events in far-off lands will generally only have far-off implications to the storyline. Things happening the next block over matter now. Particularly if you're starting a new world with low-level characters, you'll be better served knowing the layout of the 6 - 8 blocks where your characters live and all the NPCs that populate that area than you will by trying to fill in every world event and ruler for every island. You can use a name list and a random event generator (keep track as you pick names and create events) to fill in those details as you go.
    You should focus on the small stuff if it is important to the story and fits the scope. Flesh out the people that will be important with backstories and personality. If they are commoners, sure. If they are kings, okay. As long as they will play a bigger role shaping the story that you have in mind. Don't spend time designing something that likely won't have a lot of screen time though. If your players have a tendency to stay in one area for a while or actually interact with the locals quite a bit, then sure, build the starting area or local area a little more. Really spend time on what will benefit the players, since the goal is to get them involved and interested.
    Last edited by Popertop; 2010-12-22 at 06:09 PM.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Creating A World

    double post
    Last edited by Popertop; 2010-12-22 at 06:10 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Creating A World

    Think of the mood and feel of the world, but also think of playability. For exemple, for making a world feel forsaken, cancelling gods makes sense. But many players would like to play clerics.
    Also, use themes. Overall themes are good ways to add depth to things without much thought. For exemple, all humanoids could be fallen angels, each representing a sin, and their culture is based on it. So if dwarves are greed based, most merceneries would be dwarven, also a lot of dwarven thieves etc. That alone makes them quite diffrent from the stereotype, and it took me about 5 seconds to think about it. That`s the power of themes.
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    In a world ruled by small birds, mankind cannot help but wonder how this state of affairs came about.

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