View Full Version : World Building

Emery Bratton
02-10-2014, 08:34 PM
So you want to build a world of fantasy? Good. Role playing games are a passion of mine and nothing is funner then running a group of my closest friends through my very own campaign. Of course you could always design your campaign around a world that already exists which is fine but, if you're reading thing I'm going to assume you want to make your own world.

Here's the best part of building your own world. You have all the creative rights to yourself, you can forge your world into whatever you want it to be, and that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

You can divide your world building into four different elements ranging from the largest element to the smallest. These elements are as follows.


Physics are the natural laws of our world, like gravity. In most worlds it's important to follows the laws of physics but, these laws can be ignored in certain situations. Most likely your campaign will take place in a realm of fantasy and if so then these are one of your situations. Where the real world operates using the laws of physics, fantasy realms operate on the laws of magic. Magic and physics can coincide with each other, and be interchangeable. For example, usually a river flows South towards the ocean, in some cases you can make worlds where they flow in towards the North. With magic anything is possible, so you don't have to worry about physics too often.

Cosmology has to do with our stat systems, and our interactions with other planets. In our world we have a solar system, within a galaxy, within a universe. Our Earth revolves around the sun, but that doesn't have to be the case in your world. You could write the whole universe if that's your goal but, for know lets not focus on such a huge picture.

Geography will probably play a larger part in your world then Cosmology. Geography refers to the layout of our world...Earth, or any other world in the universe. When you first create a world you'll probably start by making a map. You draw out your world, position the countries how you want them, space them apart, create mountain ranges, rivers, oceans, and plains. Geography and Climate go hand in hand, they dictate the actions of a character in multiple different ways. If you live in an area of the world closer to the equator (geography) then most likely the CLIMATE will be hotter, if that area is landlocked (geography) then it will most likely be hot and dry or Arid. This is just an example of how geography and climate work together. The roles these can play on people can be called adaptation. In a world of fantasy, maybe I decide to create an arid region with harsh living conditions. I can naturally eliminate who lives there and comes to the conclusion of Reptilians. Because of the geography and the climate, I can make a create a whole community, and their everyday life.

Culture is the last slice of the world building pie. Culture is the most detailed part of the world and as such, makes the world a much more vivid place. Culture can embody everything from the government, to a religious organization, to even a sports team. Basically if there's a group of people who share ideals and a way of life, they've created a culture. Technology is a giant part of culture too. This modern day worlds culture is very technology oriented, every single person who gets on the internet is part of that internet culture. Cultures in the pushing force of many things that happen in the world, like war.

This is just a snippet of an article I wrote on Squidoo, in the actual article I also provide an example by creating a small nation.

I also have a few other articles about world building if you're at all interested in them, you can just ask and I'll show you to my squidoo lenses.

05-09-2014, 11:46 PM
Thank you for your input into world building. I find it is important to breakdown by category as well from bigger picture to smaller details. People often forget the rules of unintended consequences when it comes to world building and breaking the details down into groups helps diminish (but not eliminate) these. There will always, and should always be unintended consequences to how the world is built. It helps add another tool for creating conflict and resolution in our story telling.

05-09-2014, 11:50 PM
A side note to your geography as just a quick correction. Rivers don't care what direction they are flowing (N, S, E, W) they only care about falling down. Gravity doesn't run south it just goes from highest elevation to lowest, therefore the highest point of a continent will have their rivers follow away from it. The highest point in South America is all the way on the west coast, so the rivers run to the east. If the highest point is in the middle of the continent, rivers will spray out like a clock face (but they can be all curvy and pretty!)

Logan Petty
05-29-2014, 05:52 PM
I like this post. I've been playing tabletop for about six years, most of them as GM. I have developed a few worlds over the years that have really fleshed out well. Just as an addition to the culture part, having a solid history with plenty of legends and myths makes your culture even more believable. All the good adventures start with a legendary treasure or a young protagonist who grew up listening to all the stories of the fabled hero of his or her people.