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Thread: Brewing a new World

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    Brewing a new World

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    I want to begin building a homebrew campaign setting / world for D&D 3.5 rules. My main purpose is to allow role playing newcomers to become more comfortable with RPing. Thus I am following the K.I.S.S. philosophy (keep it simple stupid) and planning to keep several of the stereotypes for the fantasy genera. However, I want the world to feel real and be worth keeping around for use with more experienced gamers later on. (i.e. more than a generic high or low magic world) This line of thought brings me to my question.

    How did you come up with your homebrew world and what do you like most about it?

    Do people most often: alter an existing or given base world, start from scratch, or base it on a movie or book series.
    When starting out, what aspect do you try to tackle first: Races, Religion/Pantheon, History, Geography, etc.?
    How much input comes from the players?
    Any suggestions?
    ~Envikin


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    I can say some stuff for the classes.

    In unearthed arcana, they have options for "generic" classes. It is pretty nifty.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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    best and funnest thing you can add to a game world to make it really live is add customs, superstitions, and traditions to the cultures at large. This in the end will give the people that they players play more flavor and allow them to stick out a bit more.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

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    First of all, there's a bunch of stuff in this thread.

    You'll see that there are a wide variety of approaches, and that GMs will use different approaches at different times. You'll have to experiment to figure out what feels right to you and works with your strengths.

    Do people most often: alter an existing or given base world, start from scratch, or base it on a movie or book series.
    I start from scratch although I might steal ideas and file off the serial numbers from elsewhere. I avoid movie/novel settings because I want the PCs to be the focus of the game and don't want to have to explain why so-and-so is or isn't saving the day. As for other published settings, they often come with Mary Sue characters of their own, non-functional geography or politics and other irritating things. It is also often hard to find a world that has the same level of focus that you want.

    When starting out, what aspect do you try to tackle first: Races, Religion/Pantheon, History, Geography, etc.?
    Of late, I start by deciding what the focus of the game will be. How much travel? What themes and moods am I looking for? What will the story be about?

    Then I start figuring out what will complement and what will clash with the basic concept. Yes/No/Maybe. What is of core importance to the game needs to be figured out in more detail, other stuff can be left to off-hand colour descriptions. Who are the key characters?

    Decide how big the sandbox is and put your effort into that. It doesn't matter what's across the sea if the game is about an army of undead advancing on a city. History is a lot less important than what is going to happen in the next three months. Once you've played through those three months, then you have history that your players will actually be interested in.

    How much input comes from the players?
    In general, as much as they want to give so long as it doesn't conflict with the established premise of the setting. If they have ideas for a military or religious order that fits with game, then sit down and hash out some details, make up some tenets and symbols. But, if the game is about the oncoming army of undead, "I want to be a vampire," is going to be a less welcome suggestion.

    In game, players are free to invent rituals and taboos, nicknames and racial slurs, names of taverns and shopkeepers. Write them down so that you can remember them for later.

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Lightbulb

    1) Use our planet and place the game somewhere in history that best represents the time period/feel you're looking for. By using an alternate history with something your players are already familiar with helps pull them in.
    2) To keep it KISS, you really dont need a huge amount of classes, perhaps just the basics, then tell everyone to share only what they want to about their characters to the rest of the group.
    3) Extension to #2: Then let their roleplaying determine their class title. For example: Thieves: they can be cut purses, cat burglars, assassins, scouts, spies, etc. I could come up with at least 20 different kinds of thieves, which could be based on their personality quirks, beliefs, etc. You see my point? This way no two characters would be the same, even if they held the same title. This encourages creativity in roleplay. This rule, or course, could apply to all the classes.

    Best of luck.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    I ran a homebrew a long time ago and I started with a single village that I had put a lot of detail into. I tried to focus other details on what exactly the PCs would know. Nothing specific but more general knowledge. When the PCs grew and traveled well we developed the campaign world together.

    I kept lots of notes. Those were the days of AD&D of which we had modified the hell out of it.

    Now if I was to do it all over again I would use GURPS as I have moved beyond the Class system. In GURPS your players can be what ever they want (with in the guidlines of your campaign).

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by cmac View Post
    I ran a homebrew a long time ago and I started with a single village that I had put a lot of detail into. I tried to focus other details on what exactly the PCs would know. Nothing specific but more general knowledge. When the PCs grew and traveled well we developed the campaign world together.

    I kept lots of notes. Those were the days of AD&D of which we had modified the hell out of it.

    Now if I was to do it all over again I would use GURPS as I have moved beyond the Class system. In GURPS your players can be what ever they want (with in the guidlines of your campaign).
    We did the same thing. Good times, and good memories. I still do it, to varying degrees, but using WFRP rules.

    I fancy that tesral did the same thing, kept all his notes, added and updated them, to what he has now, a massive tomb of his world, with rules, monsters, races, etc. I asked him for a copy of eveything ever printed, but i think he realizes that i would have it bound.
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 04-06-2009 at 03:50 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    There are two ways to go about creating your own. Start from the top and go down, or start from the bottom up. The top down method requires a lot of work before you even start the game, as you need to have a rough idea of the world at large. The bottom up is a little easier because you just start with on specific and detailed spot. Everything else is kinda vague and can be filled in later as the game progresses. I've done things both way, and each has it's own rewards and headaches.

    I would keep the same basic archetypes that the game starts with, but I would also alter some of the minor details of each character class to make it more unique and interesting. No major overhaul, just a fresh coat of paint to make it look new and shiny.

    Oh right, the Prometheus Project link is an example of a top down project that I started last year.

    *edit* Okay, maybe not a good example, but an example anyway.
    Last edited by kirksmithicus; 04-09-2009 at 11:27 AM.
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    Brainstorming is another good idea. Just start writing down what you want this setting to be about and what you want it to achieve. Think about what the point of the setting is and why anyone would want to play in it.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

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    Quote Originally Posted by Envikin View Post
    How did you come up with your homebrew world and what do you like most about it?
    Do people most often: alter an existing or given base world, start from scratch, or base it on a movie or book series.
    When starting out, what aspect do you try to tackle first: Races, Religion/Pantheon, History, Geography, etc.?
    How much input comes from the players?
    Any suggestions?
    How came up:
    Read too much Tolkein, and played Final Fantasy (I) a lot.

    What's likable:
    The world is designed to follow common sense rules, so players don't have the occasion to think "man, that's retarded!" For example, there are no invincible town guardsmen. And kings don't hire "adventurers" to solve their problems, they just send in the army.

    How it started out:
    History came first, to answer questions like "why are there different races," "why do elves hate dwarves," and "why are there certain types of monsters roaming the land?"

    How much player input:
    Players are welcome to inspire pretty much anything...as long as it doesn't upset the common sense balance. However, they're usually just happy to have monsters to kill and puzzles to solve.

    New world suggestion:
    Don't bite off more than you can chew - keep a list of maybe 10 things that will need explaining (maps, people, objects) each session.
    Use whatever fantastic hooks you want, just make sure they're rational (even if not immediately so).
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