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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    What are some things that you do to flesh out the campaign world a bit, things you would consider above and beyond the norm? Anything that you think makes the world feel more immersive, more lived in, more dynamic than just what you have written in your notes and what you describe while playing the game.

    Many years ago when I was in a Star Wars d20 campaign, the GM created a message board for the game, even though it was an in-person game. It became a place where we could chat about the game, or the GM could post current events that were going on elsewhere in the galaxy. There were even private RP boards for each character where we could do 1 on 1 roleplaying between sessions, such as interacting with NPC's in between adventures or away from the other PC's.

    When I started my last D&D campaign, I took this idea and expanded on it. I made a forum for the D&D game, made private RP boards for each of the PC's (including one friend who wasn't part of the regular game at the time, but had a side game going on in the same world until he joined the main game). I posted descriptions of places they visited, NPC's they've met, and background history of the world. I created a topic tracking the current date in-game to mark the passage of time (it's especially important because one of the PC's got married and is awaiting the birth of his first child).

    I even created an in-game newspaper and write monthly issues full of short articles, sometimes including the adventures of the PC's themselves or other characters they've met. It helps keep me focused on the game between games (we often have to go months between sessions), and lets me practice my writing a little bit.

    What are some extra things you like to do to make your world feel more alive?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    Work out its political economy

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Belgium
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    I tend to use music extensively.

    All towns, cities and important locations have their own thematically appropriate music. So do the major organizations and some very important characters. I use different, increasingly bombastic versions of the same battle theme to indicate to players how tough of a fight they're in for, with appropriately jubilant victory tunes if and when they win. And then there are the three multi-floored megadungeons much of the current campaign's main quest revolves around. They have their own battle/victory music and some other musical cues, which are shared among the three, but each also has their own main theme, with each floor getting a different version of that theme, averaging to 8 variations per main theme.

    All in all, that's a soundtrack of about 250-300 pieces of music.

    I also share a homebrew setting with another DM, and we have created quite a bit of lore and info on characters, locations organizations, etc, over the years, including things like country/region demographics, religion or the make-up of their economies and militaries. To keep an overview oof all of it, we collected everything into a wiki, some parts of which are open to players, others are only accessible to DMs.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Professor Chimp View Post
    I tend to use music extensively.

    All towns, cities and important locations have their own thematically appropriate music. So do the major organizations and some very important characters. I use different, increasingly bombastic versions of the same battle theme to indicate to players how tough of a fight they're in for, with appropriately jubilant victory tunes if and when they win. And then there are the three multi-floored megadungeons much of the current campaign's main quest revolves around. They have their own battle/victory music and some other musical cues, which are shared among the three, but each also has their own main theme, with each floor getting a different version of that theme, averaging to 8 variations per main theme.

    All in all, that's a soundtrack of about 250-300 pieces of music.

    I also share a homebrew setting with another DM, and we have created quite a bit of lore and info on characters, locations organizations, etc, over the years, including things like country/region demographics, religion or the make-up of their economies and militaries. To keep an overview oof all of it, we collected everything into a wiki, some parts of which are open to players, others are only accessible to DMs.
    Not only is that a ton of music, that's a ton of music with very specific relationships to one another. Are you a composer?

    Edit: I like languages and love sticking them into the campaign setting. I've only really fleshed out the grammar of one language for one setting, but I will often come up with enough vocabulary and derivative morphemes for toponyms.
    Last edited by VoxRationis; 2017-05-04 at 07:50 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Akron, Ohio

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    Maps and an explanation for why the world exists as it does. If the world is Red vs. Blue, why do they fight? If the world is flat, what made it be so? Where do the animated pottery spirits come from?

    Sometimes I expand on the maps with explanations of what is in the cities, exports, imports, what have you, but usually it doesn't go that far.

    Music in the background tends not to work in my games. Bill Nye even less so.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    May 2017

    Post Calendar Writing

    Creating a calendar.

    Its really nice to be able to describe an event or holiday tradition to your party as they wake up from a long rest. Especially in the heat of adventure, sometimes the realization that other people may be celebrating with family or having a festival in the nearest town can give meaning to the violence. Also having specific days for deities creates great RP opportunities for your Paladin and Cleric.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Milo v3's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    I was making a wikidot to have all my setting information, really helped me format the information so much easier for creating and for player readability... but they changed how the password system worked so now I cannot log in and wikidot wont answer any emails.
    Spoiler: Old Avatar by Aruius
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    raygun goth's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Orlando

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    I do calendars, props, and sometimes even cook the food PCs are going to be eating (I use a lot of vinegar and a lot of shrimp, because fantasy settings are big on their giant bug monsters, so I cook with bug monster products).
    "Scary magical hoodoo and technology are the same thing, their difference is merely cultural context" - Clarke, paraphrased

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: "Extra" things you do to flesh out your campaign setting?

    For my next campaign I plan to give a 10% XP bonus to all players who put a report of their last adventure online. Since it's a campaign about explorers searching for ancient magical wonders it's something that their characters would be likely to do to create records of their discoveries. Exploring ruins is their profession and keeping records helps them to analyze the new information they gained, so it makes them better at dealing with obstacles in the future. So it really is a fully appropriate source for faster character advancement.
    There's also going to be a separate 10% bonus for making maps.

    It also saves me the work of keeping absent players in irregular groups up to date with what's going on.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor
    Undreamed Ages - A forum for Sword & Sorcery literature and art

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