Questions tagged [world-building]

For questions about world-building, the process of creating a complete, coherent and convincing world to use as a setting for RPG adventures.

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8 votes
1 answer
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Canonical Competitive Sports in Pathfinder

I've been looking around the online resources to find some sort of list of competitive sports that may be played by citizens in the Age of Lost Omens. A full, digital list would be great. Bonus points ...
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

In a world without a Shadowfell or Feywild, which player options would be changed/removed?

I am in process of building a world for upcoming campaign. As I already know some things in D&D rely on the fact that the Shadowfell and the Feywild are present. But what would be the consequences ...
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12 votes
6 answers
1k views

Do wizards not cast spells in their free time? [closed]

So the common consensus seems to be that spell slots and the restrictions that come with them are an in-universe truth that characters are aware of, to varying degrees. But that implies a few strange ...
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2 votes
0 answers
117 views

Environmental storytelling : a centuries-old isolated child [closed]

This question might be better suited for World Building SE, but because of how specific it is, and how it is meant to be shown through gameplay, I thought that it would be more on topic here. An ...
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5 votes
2 answers
166 views

How can I balance deadly world with things happening?

My world setting is based on the movie “A quiet place”. Background is fantasy based on Pathfinder for Savage Worlds. The main plot is as follows: some time ago the Raan appeared, creatures (alien like)...
3 votes
0 answers
166 views

How to change crucial worldbuilding aspects midgame? [closed]

In my roleplaying game, I've realized I need to change a certain crucial aspect of the world: one of the laws of magic, because it would essentially cause anyone who became powerful enough to ...
4 votes
1 answer
148 views

How to manage both high-strategy and combat encounters? [closed]

New poster here, so any help is appreciated. As a DM, I have 2 main groups of players in my game; the ones who like very, very high strategy (as in commanding armies on the battlefield), and the ones ...
14 votes
13 answers
3k views

How can I tell my players that necromancers are not bad guys? [closed]

I'm running a homebrew campaign where a group of necromancers made a town into their own base of research. World Context: The town was abandoned many years ago and the country had no more any form of ...
5 votes
3 answers
9k views

What are the rules for mixing races?

As a DM I want to build an immersive and memorable, but also logically coherent world. I have a question about races. What are the rules for mixing races? For example, is it possible to be half elf ...
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6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can characters travel between permanent teleportation circles? [duplicate]

The Teleportation Circle spell (PHB pg. 282) states that in order for the spellcaster to "target" a remote teleportation circle he or she must know that remote circle's unique sigil sequence....
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

How could you maximize food production with magic items and spells over a long period of time?

As a player over a period of in-game years, what magic items and spells would allow me to create as much food as possible for a large town (~1000 people) assuming most of them are farmers/could help, ...
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23 votes
5 answers
5k views

Can only Wizards become Liches?

I am in the process of world building for a new game. My ultimate antagonist is going to be a lich, but the bit of research I have done so far all refers to liches having to be wizards, due to the ...
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11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Sustainable farming of humanoid brains for illithid?

I'm worldbuilding an illithid empire. The Lords of Madness book states the dietary needs of an illithid. A mind flayer must have a minimum of one fresh brain per month. Any less than that and it ...
19 votes
8 answers
6k views

Is there need for messengers in DnD 5e, if spell Sending exists?

In my campaign (DnD 5e) I would like to send players on a quest to save a kidnapped person. The person has high value information. He/she was ambushed and taken prisoner. My question is: is there a ...
1 vote
0 answers
100 views

Feasible engine for a world like Earthsea? [closed]

I am building a world emphasising on balance and chaos (where pretty much two sides of one coin), kind of like Earthsea. As a consequence, the magic in D&D doesn't work quite well with it. (...
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42 votes
7 answers
9k views

How do I get a new player to stop rewriting my game to match his favorite fiction?

I have a D&D 5e game that I've been running for a year that is on pause because some players don't want to play online or go outside (stupid plague ruining my tabletop). So I offered my son and ...
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16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Mechanics of a town where magic doesn't work

I'm planning a campaign and I want to have a village where magic doesn't work. You can't cast spells, magical items lose their ability, things like that. I am fairly new to the lore and mechanics of ...
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10 votes
4 answers
635 views

How can I drop hints that a seemingly innocuous gnome village is secretly evil?

In the D&D 4e game I run, I am planning on soon having my players go to the Feywild on an adventure. Something I'd like to try to pull off during this is to have a subversion of expectations. ...
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8 votes
2 answers
260 views

How can I write a historical timeline for my campaign's magical world?

I'm writing a campaign and I'm a big fan of history and I want to write a history of my campaign's world. The problem is, I have no idea how to do this. I am aware that I should bullet point wars ...
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3 votes
0 answers
127 views

What makes a convincing mafia? [closed]

I am currently in the process of creating my own world, in a Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution/Steam Age setting. It's not overly steampunk but light elements of it are acceptable, as well as some ...
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2 votes
0 answers
98 views

Cities and Players, what to prepare? [closed]

So this is going to be a very open-ended question about city design(/description) and what players tend to ask about their surroundings. In my experience, players tend to be extremely curious about ...
6 votes
2 answers
262 views

Is it ok to tell players how their character feels in this situation?

I know it's generally considered poor form to tell a player how their character feels. I should show, not tell. Show them the orphans and widows, not tell them they feel bad for murdering those guys,...
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8 votes
3 answers
1k views

As a new DM, should my focus when creating a campaign be on developing locations or NPCs?

A group of friends and I have decided to play D&D. Since I was the one gathering everyone and the one with the most previous knowledge, I became the DM for the group. I had never actually played ...
6 votes
0 answers
171 views

What could prevent players from leaving an island? [closed]

I am currently building a campaign for DnD. The main plot plays out on an island the heroes are stranded after their ship goes off course and sinks. They discover that this island is ruled by ...
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1 vote
0 answers
75 views

What events, tests, and troubles could a party trying to establish a nation expect to face [closed]

My players have decided to establish a new nation which consists of Phandalin, Triboar, Red Larch, and all lands in between (per their own highly unofficial declaration). I'm trying to come up with ...
8 votes
1 answer
326 views

Best practices in portraying racism and its effects in a game [closed]

This question and its fantastic answers help answer NPC interactions with PCs. However, the question doesn't really touch on a immersion level involving NPCs. I don't anticipate my players playing a ...
1 vote
0 answers
276 views

Fixing/Improving My Model of Reciprocal Economies [closed]

I’m unsatisfied with how things like reciprocal economies are usually handled in RPGs. I've come up with a homebrew mechanic of my own, but it's also far from perfect and I’m trying to improve it. In ...
18 votes
3 answers
5k views

What are the ramifications of creating a homebrew world without an Astral Plane?

I'm currently working on a homebrew world for a campaign of mine, which is currently on hold indefinitely, so there's no time pressure. Overall design intent: I don't want my world to be a clone of ...
23 votes
5 answers
5k views

How can I deliver in-universe written lore to players without it being dry exposition?

I DM for a D&D (5e) group in a custom campaign setting which I worldbuild as we go. One of my players is very much interested in the history and lore of the world and often tries to find out bits ...
1 vote
0 answers
101 views

Can a kingdom be destabilized by an influx of enemy gold? [closed]

A few years ago I read a role-playing game supplement that described a cold war between kingdom Good and kingdom Bad. Both kingdoms used metal coins with silver as the most common followed by gold. ...
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10 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do I make it difficult to dispel a teleportation circle?

Based on the question How hard is to dispel spell that was made permanent by casting it every day for a year with different spell slots?, it follows that a simple casting of dispel magic could ruin a ...
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to handle anti-magic fortifications? [closed]

Suppose players get to refurbish, repair or straight up build their own fortress. Since it is supposed to be a safe place, a sanctuary, how do I let them protect themselves against magical threats? ...
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0 votes
1 answer
451 views

Are all Eladrin CR 10?

With the release of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes we get more information about the Eladrin and race options. The Eladrin listed are CR 10. For someone who knows very little about Feywild lore, are ...
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4 votes
4 answers
1k views

How can I handle the concept of evil temples in the larger world? [closed]

In an evil region or country, what is the motivation for people to follow evil gods? I get the whole worshiping-out-of-fear thing and the idea of appeasement, but are there any other models of society ...
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5 votes
4 answers
456 views

Simulating a "Living" world [closed]

One of the classic things a GM wants to do is have his game world react convincingly to the actions of his players, as it adds a sense of consequence and verisimilitude to the world. If, for example, ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

What do lizardfolk villages look like?

I'm working on a D&D 5e campaign's setting that includes a lizardfolk village in a relatively central location, in or near a deep jungle city ruled by dragonborn. Based on previous D&D ...
33 votes
4 answers
6k views

How can player characters get by with daily necessities during a delve into Hell?

Recently, one of my players (a barbarian) had to make a pact with Lady Fierna of the 4th to avoid losing one of his friends. He agreed to offer his soul to the disposal of Lady Fierna after he dies in ...
21 votes
8 answers
4k views

How can I involve a PC's backstory in a campaign that's set exclusively in a distant or foreign location?

I like my players to have a firm idea of their characters' backstories, and I like the idea of being able to draw on these (NPCs from the past showing up unexpectedly, etc.). However, in our next ...
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3 votes
1 answer
92 views

Political house ready cash (cityscape)

Basically, we are trying to find out how much "ready cash" in the political house entry in Cityscape refers to. I have a guess, but I want to be sure. Is it the "normal amount owned by a 6th-level ...
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1 vote
2 answers
307 views

What is a "House" in politics? [closed]

I'm making the politics of my world and I've seen the word “House” being use in politics (like the House of Representatives) and in other fantasy media (Harry Potter and its four houses). I wanted to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
869 views

Does supplemental Crucian information exist, and if so, where is it?

As part of a new campaign, the table has decided to challenge itself by having a world populated with somewhat more non-traditional races. To that end, I am trying to find and use races which have ...
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22 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the general education level of people in the Forgotten Realms?

Do people in the Forgotten Realms have any standardized education? Do children go to school? How much education would people have in general? I can't say I know or understand how schooling in our ...
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1 vote
1 answer
164 views

What mundane process or spell effect is required to artificially create or modify gemstones?

In real life, we have the technology to grow crystals through several methods such that anything from alexandrite to zirconia, including diamonds and emeralds that are of higher quality than their ...
  • 1,808
19 votes
1 answer
942 views

Is there any rule preventing the ghost of a slain creature from existing while its animated skeleton exists?

I'm aware I can just GM fiat it if I like, but I'm curious to know if in the rules-as-written there exists language that prevents Tom's ghost from existing at the same time as Tom's animated skeleton ...
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the fineness (purity) of gold coins in D&D? [closed]

Preface: I am not tagging this for a specific edition, because the subject is very narrow. I believe it has not changed much through the editions. If the reviewers find that an edition is required, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
151 views

GM seeking good reference material on magical fungi, spells that cause plants to grow explosively

I'm crafting an eco-terrorist cult. This cult has recently swelled in followers due to the senseless destruction of the forest and disruption of the natural order by an upstart kingdom. Their goal is ...
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4 votes
1 answer
367 views

Why would Shadowrun's cities be as cyberpunk as those of other, non-revitalized CP worlds? [closed]

If the world of Shadowrun is (partially) re-emerged and its nature is re-vitalized -- vast forests regrown, magic returned, etc --, why would the setting's megaplexes be as super-polluted, over-...
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2 votes
0 answers
160 views

How can I turn a game idea into an actual game? [closed]

I've been wanting to create a role-playing game for a long time. I've had tons of ideas but I haven't been able to turn those ideas into something real. I've even thought of different kinds of ...
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22 votes
6 answers
5k views

Could a lone wizard act as a city's law enforcement?

A sufficiently powerful wizard could singlehandedly wipe a city off the map, but what if they wanted to settle down and maintain the public order instead? Could a single high-level wizard feasibly ...
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54 votes
10 answers
14k views

How can I use powerful NPCs without overshadowing the player characters?

I’ve been playing P&P for years and have taken my first tentative steps into DM’ing over the last year, mostly leading One-Shots. I am also a passionate world-builder and so I jumped at the chance ...
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