Instant world builder – Part III: Gathering data

Table of Contents

This article is part of the Instant World Builder series.

Instant world builder #3: Data

You could spend weeks gathering information about the world you’re creating – poltical system, level of magic, climate, fauna, how awesome red dragons are, etc. So how do you determine what is valuable information and what is just irrelevant fluff?

Gather data for your players

Since all the information about the world you’re creating will eventually be unloaded on your players the details of your world should matter to them and their characters – you need to make sure that you find a way for that information to be of value to your players.

The coolness factor

I’m always surprised when I read my players’ notes to see what they thought was important. Very often they’ll remember what they thought was cool, unique, or what they think I think is important – hurray for meta-gaming!

So if you want your world building work to pay off make sure you include some unique and cool ideas and concepts in it. Phil – the Chatty DM – has bludgeoned his readers with the very, er, cool rule of cool.

Build on assumptions

There’s no point in building a whole world from scratch. Your players will assume a lot. For example, my players will assume that there are always goblins or kobolds to be found, that dragons are rare, that the climate is temperate, and that they’ll get extra XP if they pay for the pizza. By building on your players assumptions, you’ll save a lot of time.

Where to find world building ideas

I was about to make a list of world building resources and I realized that the list looked a lot like this one.

5 thoughts on “Instant world builder – Part III: Gathering data”

  1. Great tip on focusing on what the players’ need when building the world. I tend to go overboard (I’m waay too detail oriented), so I often refer back to an article from the Roleplaying Tips newsletter, issue 308. It’s called “Baby steps in Campaign Setting Design”, by Mike Bourke, and it helps me focus myself on making sure the parts of the campaign I need for actual play are all available.

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