gamerpsych, designmumblings , and brainspew

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

itty bitty hiatus

I'm going to be visiting family for the next week or so, so there'll be a bit of a break until I get back and settled. See you in a week-ish with the rest of the worldbuilding article series!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

baby's first geography

Top-Down Worldbuilding, Fourth Bit: Ludicrously Easy Cartography

But Afniel, you say, drawing is hard and I have two left thumbs and my crayons used to cry when they saw me coming in kindergarten.  What is this bull you are spouting now, about cartography being easy?

Just that.  In seven ridiculously simple steps, you're going to be perfectly able to draw at least some of a map for an Earthlike planet/plane.

Bring a pencil and paper, and maybe colored pens or markers or something if you're feeling really fancy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

up with people

Top-Down Worldbuilding, Chapitre Trois: Imagine All The People

Today we continue to build a setting, starting huge and zooming in one step at a time on the various details that take it from a neat idea to a living, breathing world in which you and your players can immerse yourselves.  Now that we have a general space in which things can live, we're going to need to create some things that live let's get to it!

A little bit of a note before we really get going: the next several sections can be taken in whatever order strikes your fancy.  We'll get to going over the details and smoothing out the bumps in a later step.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

interlude: GMPCs

Awesome, Acceptable, or Asdfjkl;?

I lied.  The next post in the series will be up tomorrow, but in the meantime, have a few thoughts that are near and dear to my gaming heart.  By this I mean the oft-abused tool of the GMPC.

Raise your hand if this has happened to you: there you are, adventuring merrily in your setting of choice with your ragtag group of compatriots, when suddenly an NPC embroils him or herself into your ranks like some Clingy McGuffin with a character sheet.  It is at this point that many gamers would probably chuck a Monster Manual at the GM's head, if it weren't for the fact that said GM provided this week's pizza.

This is probably the most common scenario when an NPC crosses that dreaded line to become a GMPC.  Why do these characters cause such foaming at the mouth, anyway?  Is there a use for them other than cannon fodder and pack mule?  Should they just never happen, or can they be not only acceptable, but even liked?

Friday, October 7, 2011

right where we left off

Top-Down Worldbuilding, Part Deux: Phenomenal Cosmic Power

Yesterday we kickstarted things with the beginning of a discussion on setting-building concepts and caveats.  Today we pick it up again with the middly bits: the first broad strokes and general decisions that will turn your vague idea into a still-vague but developing world of its own.  Let's get right back into it with some discussion on power sources and cosmology and watch the dust settle into something a little less like a stick figure and a little more like a rough draft.

Mind the jump.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

starting with a bang

Top-Down Worldbuilding, Part the First: The Concept

Ladies and gentlemen, orks and elves, halflings and...whatever that thing in the corner is...I'm Afniel, this is Chaotic Awesome!, and I am going to kick this blargh off with a bang. A big bang. Let's talk about making worlds.

While creating the setting is hands-down my favorite part of being a GM, it's a daunting task.  In this series of articles I'm going to explain how I tend to approach it, from the beginning concept of what the world is like all the way through to the finer details of resources, power centers, and various cultures -- and most importantly of all, what these things mean for your game.

Let's begin.