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59

I would do the following. Note this is also found on my blog here . Using one page sketch a world or continent mapLabel important regionsWrite one page of background giving no more than a handful of sentences to each region.Pick an area roughly 200 miles by 150 milesGrab a 8.5 by 11 sheet of hex paper. The scale should be so that it represents a 200 by 150 ...


57

You've got a blank sheet of paper, and you want to play ASAP. Excellent. This is what I've done successfully: Decide with your players what kind of setting it should be. You can skip this if you're playing in the assumed setting of your game. Otherwise, find out what elements your players want to explore. Should there be firearms? Political machinations? ...


50

This isn't a science, it's an art. You'll get better with practice, and nobody's process will work for you except your own. That said, here's some of my precepts and guidelines. Please keep in mind the order I'm presenting them has no bearing on importance or chronology: it's all a big jumble of sorta-thinking that I let bubble around in my head for a ...


46

It's ok if it's ok with you. But from your question I'd say you are not 100% cool with it. D&D, like many RPGs, boils down to a conversation between the DM/GM/Narrator and the player(s). The DM describes the scenario. The player describes what his character does. (Possibly dice are rolled) The DM describs the results, how the scenario is changed. This ...


37

From the ever-essential Medieval Demographics Made Easy, I find that: A square mile of settled land (including requisite roads, villages and towns, as well as crops and pastureland) will support 180 people. This takes into account normal blights, rats, drought, and theft, all of which are common in most worlds. From Medieval Manors I learn that a ...


34

There are a few games with reasonable economics: Runequest (2nd or 3rd ed, not the Mongoose versions) and Pendragon (all editions). Fantasy Wargaming, for all its derision as a game, has decent econ research. Later versions of Chivlary & Sorcery also do reasonably well at it. Several supplements for Hero System also have decent price lists. There are ...


31

Well... first the world needs to have an ancient history to call on. If you haven't given the world a history, you'll need different strategies to give the impression of one. That's what made LotR work in this way; Tolkien had all that history at his fingertips and could refer to it casually in passing. Pulsehead's answer provides one way to accomplish this. ...


31

Security is always a function of risk mitigation. Specifically, it must cost less to secure the goods than the total value of the goods, and make accessing the goods a cost higher than the total value of the goods. What compounds this problem is that you're talking about doing this in a game that is designed to let "good guys" penetrate the defenses of "bad ...


29

I would say that you want to have a sort of reverse-donut shape for the detail-level of your campaign: Lots of detail at the top levels, lots of detail about the areas surrounding the players, and not as much in between. Think about how the information will be used by the players. Obviously the lowest-level stuff (inside-out) is vitally important... That's ...


29

I think a good question should be "why are they going off-map?". You're running a sandbox campaign, so you're generally waiting for the characters' own motivations to lead to the next adventure. These motivations can be one of several things: they can be hunger for adventure, gold or power - in which, case, you're in control, since you determine where these ...


28

TL&DR: So I'm asking, is this appropriate to disallow this? TL&DR: Yes, it is appropriate to disallow them creating things ex nihilo in the game world. You are the DM, you run the world. D&D is a cooperative story telling effort; the DM and the players have different roles. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the ...


27

I think the most likely explanation of the phenomenon is that fantasy is normally in a medieval setting, and when we think "medieval", we think of kings, not of theocrats or magocrats. In other words, what limits clerics and wizards is our imagination. If you're looking for in-game explanations, I can think of three Tradition: If the people are used to ...


27

Obvious note from a theoretical ecologist: if females have several times longer lifespans than males, and nothing else changes to compensate, that's going to significantly skew the sex ratio (several times more living females than males). That suggests that (at least) one of the following options should hold: If the society is monogamous and the birth sex ...


26

What's important to the setting? Rude words are rude only because we decide they are. The word and phrases that a society feels are inappropriate say a lot about the people and culture, so you're going to need to start with a solid understanding of the values and beliefs of the society. Consider what is commonplace in your setting, what's sacred or ...


25

There's two ways that I can think of. If you want a really simple solution? Declare that "Common" is a common second language. It's by no means universal - and as you move further away from major borders and trade routes it can completely disappear - but it's common enough that almost anyone could know it without straining plausibility. In mechanical terms, ...


24

Start with what you know you and your friends like. You should establish a basic setting and campaign focus, depending on the themes you know your players will enjoy. Decide if its going to focus on combat, investigation, exploration, etc, and if the setting fits or inverts that style of play. For example, a campaign that takes place in Rome during the ...


24

I was in exactly the same boat as you a year ago: introduced to Fate with Diaspora, loved it, and then wanted to capture than in a fantasy setting. This is where I went with it: Dresden Files RPG has a comprehensive, flavourful, flexible, and very Fate-like magic system that easily translates to a fantasy setting. For an incredibly-good explanation of its ...


24

Eberron has maglev trains Eberron, which was originally written for 3.5, has the so-called Lightning Rail, which is basically a magical maglev train. It’s a fairly major part of the setting, and certainly doesn’t ruin anything. Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk don’t have trains, or, apparently, mages who think As you say, considering the ...


23

Give them unique resources/opportunities. This may seem callous and calculating, but a town that gives discounts to the adventurers has a special place in the heroes' hearts (and pocketbooks). Services and opportunities help disguise the ploy a little better; perhaps the town is unusually good at generating cool quests or provides unusually good legal ...


22

Latin (and to some extent Greek) used to be the lingua franca during the middle ages. Later on, French became the language of diplomacy and nobility. Everyone that mattered [1] speaks a local variation of said language which should still be understandable by another speaker. For example, Quebecois and French or American and English. So, you could have ...


21

Yes, the name/class/level relationship was originally an in-game term depicting a level of power and social status. Some in-game effects of this were the limitations on level advancement for AD&D(1e) Monks and Druids (details below), or prohibitions against Assassins (Blackmoor) having followers. Originally, the Name Level threshold opened up new ...


21

You have gnolls working with goblins, kobolds, and ogres. Does the party perhaps have a human, elf, dwarf, and gnome? Because that’s exactly the same level of variety. I’m serious, it can help to think of things in those terms: the “bad guys” can be just as cooperative as the “good guys.” There’s nothing wrong with this at all. Best is if there is a good ...


20

Three basic techniques come to mind: keep a "Big Enough" map keep the edges really unpleasant keep the central areas really interesting A couple more are more "corny" but can work... a literal barrier at the edges Wrath of the Gods at the edges End of the world at the edges Have your players agree not to go off the map Some expansion on these ...


20

I don't see a problem with it, as such. If it's made sufficiently clear to the players what will happen, it gives an interesting dilemma for them. Stop the unimaginable horror of prince Orcus letting his horde of undead loose, or keep the ability to Raise Dead. Not every campaign has big (and I do mean BIG) choices like that.


20

First of all, a "warning": Many computer RPG worlds have way more background info available than the casual observer might hope for at first or second sight. Google is your friend, as usual, in this, if not your BFF. Search for game-world specific names (locations, NPCs, creature and equipment names) and look for wiki-like sites among the hits. (Wikia, for ...


20

From the very beginning of the DMG: The DM creates a world for the other players to explore,[...] As a storyteller, the DM helps the other players visualize what's happening around them... One of the roles of the DM is to describe what PCs see (or, more generally, perceive). This is an important aspect of your role and it has to be clarified from the ...


19

Directed towards your second question, assuming you aren't running a real world campaign, make sure you clearly detail not only the differences between your world cultures, but perhaps the background / history of the differences. Create cheat-sheets for players playing characters from those cultures, which you (and maybe with the help of the player) update ...


19

I have to reverse @Phill.Zitt’s opinion, personally. The males are young, brash, short-lived, less to lose. I see the females as not needing to reproduce on a regular basis. I could see the males having situations where most of the females he knows aren’t interested in anything “right now” for the entirety of his life. As a result, ...


18

Someone did write a book about this! It's called Grain Into Gold: A Fantasy World Economy, and it answers all your questions to various degrees. If you're interested in learning more, this review archived by the Wayback Machine is very informative. It most answers your first question, by detailing a fantasy world economic model based on raw materials and ...



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