The Gms Character: you only get one

World building.  A lot has been writen about it and there is probly a lot  more to be said. In this series we are going to look at the world building as a form of character creation.  The world is the Gm’s character the history of the world is the backstory, your plot is just the plans for the character development. Important NPCs are abilities and the map is your character description.

It is important to note that there are major differences between building world for fantasy, sci fi and modern games.  In fantasy games you need to start building the world from whole cloth.  in a modern or historic setting you are not so much building a world as you are tweaking and rebuilding what is already there based on a changed event or premise.  And with sci fi you are mostly back to whole cloth but with a basic foundation of reality if you chose to use it. We will look at each of these types of worlds indep and in there own time.

The purpose of world building no mater what the genre is the same to create an exiting and completing place for your story to play out.  how detailed and complex you make it is up to you however I strongly recommend maintaining a middle of the road approach. A world that is to detailed will leave little room for the players to be effective while a world with to little detail will feel gray and bland.

Some things that must be considered no matter what type of game you are running.

Tone: are you planing a dark game or a comedic game? this will have a direct effect on the history of your world.

Style: both the style of play of your group and your style of Gming should be taken in to account when building a world.  if you love flavor text and description of settings them make sure you keep this in mind as you build the world load it up with place that are a feast for the senses. On the other hand if you have a party that will start hacking while you are still talking don’t wast your time. Instead fill the world with beasts and dangers and your players will be happy.

Theme: Theme will dictate were you put the time and detail in. A game set adored a space station for instance should be vague about the rest of the galaxy while being detailed about the different areas of the station in detail. A story of an epic quest across the world will need general thought put in to all areas were the party is likely to travel.

Remember the idea of world building is to create an interesting and exiting backdrop for events to happen.  As the Gm the world is not your oyster but your character and you are as responsible as the players for making your character come alive.

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Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Excellent post!

    I like this point of view, and I feel that GMs will benefit more from this way of thinking than trying to force a GMPC into their campaigns.

    • That was actually one of the reasons i struck upon the idea was to reduce the need for GMPC, the other is that a GM Should love there world like a player loves there PC.

      • Agreed.

        The more work you put into your setting, the more it will show. Players might not notice right away, but cursory digging into a history of a place or a character in the setting is rewarded when the GM puts more than just passing thought into it.

  2. Well written! I think there should be a lot of focus on the world that the players are in, and I like it when there’s a lot of attention to detail.


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