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World Building tips

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1 World Building tips on Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:19 pm

Anyone got any tips or strategies for world building?

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2 Re: World Building tips on Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:26 pm

Depends, what is the world for Bartz? Are we talking creative writing, tabletop RPGs, video game design document, or what?

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3 Re: World Building tips on Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:11 pm

Try not to make everyone white Smile

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4 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:33 am

TheSterlingZ wrote:Try not to make everyone white Smile

I disagree with that advice. There's nothing wrong about having all your characters have one skin tone. As long as it's plausible why they're all one skin tone. Even then, it's up to the writer to give an explanation.

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5 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:50 am

Bartz the Man wrote:Anyone got any tips or strategies for world building?

If you're writing fantasy, I suggest using online generators like the Donjon website. Take something that is randomly generated and put your own spin on it.


Formarin: An elemental world of vast chasms, rocky wastes, and sapphire seas. The world is primarily populated by demons and dragons. It is also the location of the Elemental Academy, a bastion of conjurers and summoners.

Ask yourself questions like: Who built this Academy in such a foreboding place.

Maybe this world isn't the hellhole it appears to be. Maybe it was once green hills and blue skies until the demons invaded.

Are the dragons really dragons or are they ancient artificial golems that look nothing like dragons.

Maybe this elemental world is myth for the people that live here:

Doline: A medieval realm of green hills and rough-hewn valleys, beneath an azure sky. The realm is mostly populated by elves, though with large numbers of other races.

Random fantasy generators can provide a baseline for your world.

Here's a challenge.

Use your creativity to flesh out this city:

Woodbluff: Population 19000, mixed human and dwarf and gnome. The city is a labyrinth of winding, narrow streets and dark alleys. It is ruled by a tyrant, the human lord Rancent Rysell, though an order of knights and warriors is the real power behind the throne. The Academy of the Sorcerous Arts is located here.

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6 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:17 am

Write down the series of question, like Where does food come from? Why do they do what they do? How do different cities interact? Where does the labor come from? etc and answer them in a plausible manner

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7 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:31 am

Easiest place I found to start was making a bare-bones history of the world. You'll have a rough idea of the relationship between different groups of people and the cause-and-effect cycle of events that change that setting.

Once that is done; pick a point along the timeline, and start the questions that OmegaSpruz suggested.

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8 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:49 am

Thanks, I probably should mention that the world is for a video game.

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9 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:39 pm

Be ye warned. Here be walls of text.

Bartz the Man wrote:Thanks, I probably should mention that the world is for a video game.

Honestly, as mundane as it sounds, my advice for crafting video game worlds is this. Ask yourself what the inhabitants of your world eat. No, really, I'm serious. What do they eat? Use this question to build entire areas and infrastructures in your game, to give it more believability. Let me give you a couple of contrasting examples: Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas.

Bethesda, for all their accomplishments in outstanding open-world design...kinda floundered when it came to the believability of Fallout 3. Now, I'm not talking about the 50's sci-fi thing, with alien blasters and an unrealistic portrayal of radiation or...well, just WHAT the world would look like 200 years after the fact. I'm talking specifically about the locales here. As interesting as they were to visit...where are the signs of an actual rising civilization? Sure, you could argue that they eat the brahmin that they use to carry their equipment, as well as the various hostile creatures of the Capital Wasteland...but what do those brahmin eat? What do those hostile creatures eat, aside from the occasional human who wanders to close to them? There's no grain or vegetables of any type to feed the herbivores, let alone a large majority of humans. The world is slightly less believable and doesn't hold up as well under scrutiny as a result. Not saying Fallout 3 is a bad game for that. Hell, I love that game so much that it's in my favorite games of all time list, right alongside its sister game, New Vegas. It's just not as believable as it could be, even compared to Bethesda's other games, like Oblivion or Skyrim.

Meanwhile, take a look at Fallout New Vegas. Obsidian has always had top-notch writers, and one of the ways they show that is through world-building. So, what do THESE people eat? Well, outside of New Vegas itself, there's an enormous amount of area devoted solely to farmland, to feed the city's large population. Even in smaller towns like Goodsprings or even the small hideouts, you'll see this sort of flavor as well. Farms filled with grain and vegetables, ready to feed the inhabitants of that world. You'll also see solar arrays ready to power the numerous towns (or being used to power a satellite cannon, if you're a sadist), and currency to flesh out exchange and trade from an in-lore perspective. Instead of relying on bottle caps, both the NCR and the Legion have developed their own currencies in order to further accelerate societal regrowth. Arch has actually done a video on the importance of currency in Fallout New Vegas, as a mechanic that adds flavor and fleshes out the lore:

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10 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:10 pm

One thing that works well are off-handed remarks and details that make it look like you put a lot of thought into things when in reality you don't even know what you're talking about. Something like mentioning events or stories that are well-known to the inhabitants of your fictional world and may or may never be revealed to the reader.

"The streets were flooded by the rain, which had been going on for days without break. Looking up there was nothing but pure blackness, just like 14 years prior during the battle of the dead valley."

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11 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:36 pm

The "what do they eat" and currency points are excellent and I echo them. Don't get hung up on names, create racial concepts and worry about names later, find reasons for different races. For me I had an idea that grabbed me, in my case it was a city wide circle of protection, and then developed a world that made this necessary. I also needed a back story to this world. The interesting part was I GMed a prequel game to the story world I wrote. The party failed, their failure led to other failures, which forced the circle of protection. Always consider consequences, take good notes, and realize how connected the world is, nothing happens in a vacuum.

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12 Re: World Building tips on Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:43 pm

No one ever went wrong building a world around strong personalities. Figure out who the leaders are, both good and bad, in your setting, how and why they organize things, what they want, who their friends and enemies are, and the rest will largely take care of itself.

If King Goron I of Hirax wants to capture the silver mines of Tir Ula to pay for his war against the Pashas of Harun that shit has started writing itself. You end up with a series of questions to answer that will help you fill out your world immensely.

Why is Hirax at war with Harun? What kinds of troops does he use? How does he pay for the war right now? Where do their weapons come from? What kind of land is Hirax? How tenuous is Goron I's hold on power? And on and on. It's a great way to systematically fill out a world.

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13 Re: World Building tips on Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:14 pm

 Video games are made on a specified time table.  Time is needed to code detail into a game.  Time is also needed to create that detail.  During production time you are only going to have so much time to design a world.   Smile

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