World Building for Budding DM's
by, 11-12-2010 at 07:52 PM (7995 Views)
After a question from Blud about how to create a campaign world, I decided to create this to show folks just how easy it CAN be... if you LET it be easy.
I started with a Google Map of a town with which Blud may be familiar (it's his hometown!!), Republic, Missouri. I start with a new name... and welcome you all to Morlic (twisting the actual name around)!
I then get a screen shot of the map version of the town, and decide which direction the local port is, and which direction the next major town is in - PURELY to orient the map in a different manner. Arbitrarily, i will decide that Wassarfount (liberally twisted from HORRID German and imagination, it means, "Springfield"), is to the north and the port is to the south - so I will rotate the map 90 degrees to the left, like this.
Then, using a simple drawing program (Paint, Gimp, Photoshop, Whatever), I create a simple line drawing of the town, with roads, river, walls (if any) and land-borders (if any), like this.
Then I white out everything other than what I drew, like this.
My last step in mapping is to add some major landmarks and a legend... like this.
Now, I have an entire village - with a keep, one major temple (complete with cemetery), two market places (arbitrarily, the one to the north has more food, the one to the south has more wares/goods), a wizard's tower, and a bunch of farmers' fields - at least for the more wealthy farmers. Since I said that the major port in the area is to the south, we know that the river flows from top to bottom on the map, and Wassarfount is upriver. PLEASE keep in mind that the pics are crappy because of bandwidth!!!
Now all I need to do is to populate the place with the various people that are sure to be met/known. Note that their names are twisted variations of the actors that portray the characters. You can do the same thing with relatives, teachers and others... just twist the names enough to make them unrecognizable.
1. Ruler: Easton Shine - Fighter, old, speaks in a raspy, throaty voice that sounds VERY menacing when he wants it to. White hair, very slender (he's Clint Eastwood!!).
2. High Priest: Rickala Alman - Cleric (duh!), speaks VERY condescendingly and seems aloof. Black, greasy hair and wears long robes (Professor Snape). He's got ONE acolyte (named Wenham Dav) that has tonsured hair and seems forever bumbling (priest/monk from Van Helsing). (all these guys need is a deity, and the temple is done!)
3. Smith: Duncan Clarke - A HUGE man, bronzed by the heat of the forges. Speaks very slowly and it's obvious that he has little formal education. Will NEVER take action to harm another. Makes armor better than weapons (John Coffey from The Green Mile).
4. General Merchant: Siyra'ah Billay - Middle-aged man, long hair and "soul patch" beard. He seems simple but has a big heart. Always wants to entertain visitors with a song about lost love. He'll never be rich because he just can't take advantage of people like a rich merchant needs to. Has very pretty daughter (Billy Ray Cyrus - from Hannah Montana).
5. Wizard: Rappala Sint - Red haired wizard that looks WAY too young for the title. He's capable but his successes seem almost "accidental". Speaks of a beautiful goddess of a sorcerer that he wants to marry one day... if he can work up the courage to tell her his feelings. (Ron Weasely from Harry Potter).
6. Captain of the Guard: Davis Orusa - Older man with reddish blond hair. Speaks haltingly as if he's searching for exactly the right words. Continuously plays with his helmet visor (Horatio from CSI:Miami).
This has taken me just over one hour - and that includes creating an Imageshack account and uploading the pics, deleting a bunch of pics from Photobucket (I'm multi-tasking!), and typing all this up... it could have been done in less than 20 minutes - and could have been done in about 10 minutes had I printed the map and traced it with markers instead of using Gimp/Paint.