Last time we covered 4 helpful tips to help you with your world building. Today, we will finish it off by giving the last 3 tips that helped me when creating my world. If you would like to take a look at the first part of this article, you can find it here.
Let’s pick a theme, we’ll say imbalance. Our big bad wants to use a powerful artifact to snap away half of all existence so that there can be balance back in the world. How can we implement that theme throughout the campaign? What things represent imbalance? Class. You can have a few towns and cities where the poor are really sick and diseased. Meanwhile, the rich sit high upon ivory towers with an overabundance of everything. Granted this is a well known trope, but it is so for a reason. The parties missions can involve helping to fix these inequalities. You can also have an event in which one of the regions is tearing down all the trees in an ancient forest, which is taking away homes from the creatures there and causing them to defend their lands and attack. Maybe several of the creatures the party fights are due to this event. This theme can be spread throughout your campaign, and now when your players fight the big bad guy they understand fully where he is coming from because they themselves have witnessed the inequality and imbalance in the world, but they still have to stop his genocidal plan. So take a look at your story skeleton timeline and pick spots to sprinkle in these themed events and battles; toss in a theme based monster or two and boom you’re done.
Culture is a personal favorite of mine. In order to get this effect across simply think of the different regions and/or races and give them separate but distinct cultures. Let us take another example, why don’t we look at elves. High Elves and Wood Elves. How can we differentiate these two? For one, you can have them live in completely different regions. Maybe high elves live in golden city where they stay far away from others while wood elves live in forested areas in the wilderness. Our haughty high elves can have a yearly festival where everyone shows off their fine clothes and jewelry while our wood elves have a yearly tradition to go on a massive hunt for the biggest game. Our high elves might have poor social skills with outsiders and our wood elves might have become adept at swinging from tree to tree. All of these things can be a part of someone’s culture. These can be as creative as you like, and are guaranteed to make each region in your world really stand out.
Here me out… make a calendar, maybe even holidays and seasons, and most importantly…a timeline. Don’t freak out, none of this is necessary. If you have no interest in these then simply don’t do them. But I will say, I had no interest in making a timeline or a calendar and now I don’t know where I would be without them. A lot of these tools help to make the world feel more real. A timeline of past events is such an important world tool and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Just make one long line as you are building your world and as ideas of a history come, fill it in. Maybe your wood and high elves are separate for a reason, maybe they had a war. Maybe the human kingdoms suffering from inequality are this way because of a specific event in the past, put it on the timeline. In no time at all you will have your world’s history in an easy-to-understand format so that when a player asks “Hey I’m curious, I am going to ask the barkeep why everyone in this town is so sick” you can look at the timeline and tell them.
There you have it, the best tips I have to give on building your own homebrew world. Don’t stress out, remember that any amount of work you put in will show. Most players will just be happy that you are dming for them. There is no real right way to do this and the limitations are only as far as your imagination. Trust your gut and go with what feels right to you. And although this will be your world that you built remember that without your players it will never be anything more than an idea; it is because of them that your world goes from an idea on paper to a living and breathing world. Try not to forget that this is something you build together in the long run; they can’t start it without you and you can’t continue it without them. Hope this helped and have a great day my friends. Now go and build your world!
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