View Full Version : New World Project

2008-06-01, 11:21 AM
Inspired by the Giant's ongoing world build project, and wanting to share my own thoughts as I went through the process, I will be posting my own world project on these forums. I'm originally writing everything down in notebooks, and I'll be copying them verbatim to these posts. I'm hoping to get several a week, probably not possible, more likely it will be one a week. I tend to ramble a lot when creating new settings, so bear with me if you are interested. I'll appreciate any feedback, and consider suggestions. And like I said, I ramble, so if I start on one thing, switch, topics, then end on another, it's just my brain working faster than I can type.

2008-06-01, 11:22 AM
Read over GITP’s gaming page again. Still (slightly) struggling with the enormity of task of world-creation. Haven’t been writing, either. Probably not good for the creative mind.
But still I understand that the best way/place to start is to start.
Themes are the object of today. I need a theme to build my world around. Shamanism keeps recurring to me – probably because my newest (and favorite) character on WOW is a shaman. So maybe it’s not so good.
Let’s do a list. Common conceptions of D&D on one side, contradictions on the other:
1) Most settings are medieval with lower-end technology.
1) Magic replaces technology, and is well-developed enough to do so.
2) All classes are equal.
2) A well-played wizard is the most powerful class at higher levels.
3) A “medieval-ish” government structure is in place (feudalism, monarchy, etc.)
3) Characters have a lot of freedom. Power structures vary greatly.
4) Humans dominate.
4) All other races are represented for “flavor”.
5) Adventuring is profitable.
5) %*(^ing no one else does it!
6) Organized, intelligent monsters are a persistent threat.
6) “Goodly” races dominate, rarely see “monstrous” kingdoms.
7) Adventurers are out for themselves; gold they find is theirs, etc.
7) PCs inevitably effect, and are effected by, the world.
Seven problems are enough for now.
How to answer them? Should they be answered, or are they just part of the play experience? Players do not seem to care. Several do need answers, most importantly 7, 6, and 1. So:
-What is the role/status of magic? (arcane and divine)
- What constitutes a “monster” and what is an intelligent being with an alternate agenda?
- How large is the setting? How much impact do the players have on world events?
So, back to Themes.
The idea of a “birthplace of the world”, or center of the world holy site intrigues me. A mountain, or some sort of sacred site that acts as an umbilical cord tethering the mortal world (which I’ll label “W” for time) to the realm(s) of the god(s).
That brings up all new, interesting questions, huh? Like, holy and infernal gods? Nature of gods? Status of divine realm.
Let’s reel off a few answers and see if we can stick to ‘em. First, yes, it connects to all gods, good, evil, and neutral. It was put there at the beginning of time, by some unspoken entity. The gods are creations themselves (they didn’t make it, world or universe) and are set to oversee certain parts of the world.
So the gods aren’t all-powerful/knowing, and regularly interfere in the mortal world to influence events as each sees fit. The center of the world is the source of their power, and thus their cleric’s too. Arcane magic is learning how to tap these lines of energy (I’m just gonna rip-off WOW here) and manipulate the raw power into spells.
Good flavor, so far, with nothing to limit game mechanics. Problem, though…. What about CHA-based spellslingers? I’ve got an idea, get back to it in a sec.
Thinking of arcane magic being seizing and twisting latent energy (conducted through the world by “lines” of power) got me thinking on druids. Originally, I had an idea that clerics got their mojo from the center (“C”) but I need to keep divine power divine; clerics, therefore are still granted spells by the gods. Druids, however, do derive their powers from C (as the focal point of creation it is the most natural spot there is).
Back to CHA-spellslingers. Call ‘em the Touched (thinking divine), born over lines of power, magic is in their blood – making said blood useful, valuable – a recipe for ADVENTURE!
And somehow combine sorcerers, bards, and clerics into a priest caste. Clerics are actually divinely gifted and motivated, but since everybody thinks CHA are the “real” agents of the gods they have a lot of pull too.
Damn, that’s a lot of decisions for just thinking up a theme! Next time I’ll focus in even more on Society, try to dig up some specifics.
Actually, I should probably finish up (or, ya know, start) races and classes, huh? Okay, that then!

2008-06-03, 06:27 PM
Actually, I should probably finish theme, huh?
Alright, time period. Let’s go classical. Several (big) empires rule the known world, fending off upstarts, dealing with each other, and maintaining their iron grip on the “barbaric” people with armies led by daring generals. But, there are still some free peoples, cast as heroes, but in truth everyday Joes just trying to survive. Assassins, plotting noble houses, wars, and magic, all run rampant. Many crazies with a sword are out, for fame and fortune.
Let’s keep steel (good for fighters) in the main empire where’ll I’ll focus in on, but have the barbarians be pretty backward – more so the farther you get from the capital. The capital (and other main empire cities) are cared for, almost utopias, but outside this shining city? It’s the Dark Ages, where NPCs can’t read, have varying attitudes towards “ME” (main empire) and rebel occasionally even. There’s also the state religion, druids, and wizards.

Right now, let’s define what “empire” means in my world.
The Roman Empire is what I’ve got in mind. Not Holy Roman: Roman, straight up classical. I get to fit in more “low fantasy” (my preference) that way. After reading several Conan books, my adventures definitely tend more towards Conan that Tolkien (as do my player’s tastes).
So what is this empire? I said big, but that’s misleading; it doesn’t cover the known world or anything. It’s the seat of civilization in that particular area. I’m thinking a main city, with nobles or “governors” administering conquered towns. These towns are too new to be assimilated fully, so there is plenty of unrest, guards in each town (garrisons), and still plenty of problems out in the wild. Making sellswords very useful.
The empire is lawful neutral. I want that down now, and I’ll expand on what it means for the empire later. For now, let’s summarize the thesis in a list, see if I’ve missed anything:
1) World is split between barbarians and civilization.
2) There are no “intelligent” monsters; goblins do not wait around in little camps for PCs to kill them – they get societies too.
3) The world is untamed – monsters rule the wilds, and people are obviously frightened of them.
So, two things: cosmology (gods) and style. Okay, I can do these right now:
1) There is a “center of the world” place of power; it grants the gods their powers, who grant the clerics theirs. Lines of magic energy run throughout the world, which wizards learn to draw upon and sorcerers can use naturally.
2) Gods are tough for me. I hate the racial gods so they’re out. They eliminate too many choices when it comes to racial interaction. I’ll cobble together my own pantheon from Deities and Demigods. Some can take a shine to particular races/nations/whatever, but they just administer the world, they didn’t make it.
Conan-esque. Multiple villains (I dislike campaigns based on thwarting some dick’s nefarious schemes; it takes too much focus from character development and makes DnD “winnable” rather than a continuing story). Next, at long last, come class decisions. I’ve already made a few in these posts, but I’ll set em in stone in the next post.