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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33
votes
7answers
6k views

Fortifying & Defending a shop in a city

When they're not adventuring, the PCs in my campaign own a magic item shop in a very large city. They have a staff, inventory, marketing, and in general it operates like you'd expect an item shop to ...
10
votes
8answers
12k views

How can I make weapons of differing quality? [closed]

I'm building a fantasy world for D&D 5th edition, in which different races have different crafting abilities - the human kingdom has a monopoly on the creation of magic items, but they're trading ...
21
votes
6answers
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 ...
3
votes
9answers
5k views

Can we add trains in D&D without breaking the world

Question upfront: Is there a way I can add trains to the core world of D&D 3.5 (Greyhawk/Oerth) without “messing up” the world or its economies? Reason: 1st: Mainly, it makes no sense to me ...
1
vote
0answers
56 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. (...
41
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7answers
8k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Looking for resource material for a dream world [closed]

I have started working on a world that is set in a dream realm. I am using it to create one-off gaming sessions that I can do in a single day and pull in any characters that are currently being used. ...
52
votes
10answers
12k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
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 ...
20
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
510 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Stats for a Sorcerer King in 4E's Dark Sun?

I am in the middle of building a campaign and part of it takes place in the Athas. I am wanting to present the party with an actual threat towards the end of their stay in the hellacious world of Dark ...
9
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
106 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
89 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
207 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,...
8
votes
3answers
857 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
1k views

What happens in adventure locations between adventures?

I'm running a sandbox with several adventure locations that have been visited, but not entirely cleared, and ones that have been left open for new residents to arrive. I'm looking for a method for ...
6
votes
0answers
145 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
73 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
1answer
302 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 ...
58
votes
6answers
32k views

How to randomly generate a village or town for old school D&D game?

There is a lot of material written on random generation of dungeons for play. But inevitably characters have to return from the to spend those ill-gotten gains. And where else but a nearby ...
1
vote
0answers
249 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 ...
49
votes
10answers
9k views

Is it appropriate to disallow the players building the world?

I finally made it to host my first session of DnD. We had a lot of fun and no one appeared to be one of all these kinds of problem players I read here about every now and then. All had fun and told me ...
10
votes
1answer
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 ...
116
votes
11answers
19k views

Given powerful low-level Clerical healing, how can sick, crippled or otherwise unhealthy people exist?

In my attempt to make a more harsh, uncaring setting, I’ve hit a stumbling block in terms of the ease with which even low level Clerics can treat the poor and the sick: A 1st-level Cleric can bring ...
33
votes
12answers
3k views

How to have a realistic set of languages without making adventuring prohibitively difficult?

"Do you speak Common?" "Of course I do! Everyone speaks Common..." My group is starting a somewhat experimental campaign. We're using a setting that is neither canon (e.g. described in a book) nor ...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

How can I prevent my Good-aligned spider deity from being confused with Lolth?

I have been working on a custom campaign setting for D&D 5e for a while now, and one of the key themes of the setting is "the races aren't what you think they are at first glance". The drow in ...
18
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
91 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. ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
33
votes
4answers
1k views

Giving a setting a feeling of ancientness

I'm creating a world for my next game and I want it to feel like a very ancient world with multiple fallen empires and wars in it's history. I want to build a very detailed setting and have my players ...
8
votes
3answers
508 views

Incorporating smell, taste, and weather underwater

Related to this question and this question. I am interested in building up the atmosphere of my aquatic campaign, and to do so, I would like to incorporate all the players' senses. But I am at a loss ...
8
votes
3answers
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? ...
0
votes
1answer
380 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 ...
33
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
901 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
425 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, ...
37
votes
7answers
6k views

Has anyone produced a drop-in well-reasoned economy for a fantasy game? [closed]

I've seen so many attempts to justify this or that crazy thing in various fantasy RPG economies, but they don't tend to hold water as far as I've seen. I realize that suspension of disbelief is ...
27
votes
7answers
989 views

How to make players care about a community

I've built a lot of villages, some towns and a city or two but I've failed to bring them to life and make the PCs feel like they belong there (maybe not much belong but to just make them care about ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Adding Magi-Tech to 5E

I am going to be running a 5th Edition campaign set in a future of a previous campaign. I want to add "magi-tech", but very sparingly. My question is: Are there any official sources for this type of ...
21
votes
8answers
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
89 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
263 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
764 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
125 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
908 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
583 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
132 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 ...