How to Write a Campaign for a Group That Loves Combat

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Any time you play a tabletop game with a new group, you’re learning about what kind of players they are. These are players that love to roleplay and immerse themselves in the world and story that you create. And then there are players that prefer to fight and enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies it. 

Planning your campaign should start with determining what kind of players you have. In the event that your players prefer combat over roleplaying scenarios, then here’s how you should write your campaign.

Establish a Setting Heavy with Conflict

One of the best settings for any group that loves combat is war. It’s relatively easy to write, too. All you need is two different factions, at least, and a reason for the war. Perhaps it’s over territory. Maybe it’s a resource war. It can even be as trivial as a perceived threat or offense to someone’s daughter.

Your setting doesn’t always have to be as grand as a war either. Even a smaller scale feud between neighbors might be enough to launch the players into a combat-heavy campaign. Perhaps a nearby bandit camp is wreaking havoc on the village. Maybe there’s a marauding band that regularly terrorizes those within their territory. 

There are tons of settings you can customize your fit your player’s characters even more. Having the right one can launch a successful campaign that satisfies your players and makes DMing that much easier.

Encourage Your Players to Choose the Right Skills

When it comes to combat, character balance is important. The party that has their bases covered tend to live longer. That being said, you should never discourage a player from playing a character that they’re invested in. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the party has a healer or a tank if everyone is having fun.

You can help your players make combat-oriented characters by choosing the right skills and backgrounds. Whether you’re playing Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Warhammer, or any type of wargaming, you have tons of options and builds to try. Your players should emphasize things like strength, dexterity, and constitution based on the weapons they want to use and their style of play.

Magic users should dump most of their points into their magic-based attribute and anything else that will help beef up their defenses. 

Certain skills like Survival or Medicine may be more useful in a combat-focused campaign than others. Your group likely won’t be doing a lot of persuading or history checks in this particular campaign. Help them choose skills that will actually benefit them in the story.

Dig Deep Into Character Backstories for Conflict

One final tip you should use to craft a campaign for combat-based players is to have them create in-depth backgrounds. Even if their character is all about tackling and defeating the biggest monsters they can find, they should still have a reason for it. What launched the character? 

Perhaps their family was killed by an unidentified monster. Maybe their loved one was killed. Perhaps they’re on some sort of Rite of Passage that requires true acts of heroism, bravery, or military prowess. 

Once your players have designed their characters with a juicy background, you can use it to spark further ideas for conflict. You can still make your campaign personal for your players by using their character’s history. This just adds another layer of making the combat more rewarding and thrilling. 

Start Planning Your Combat-Heavy Campaign

These tips can help you write a campaign that focuses primarily on combat. They can satisfy those players who just love to hit things. Do your players prefer combat or roleplaying opportunities in their campaigns? Got any more tips? Let us know in the comments! 

Marvel to Release Tabletop RPG Rulebook

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Love superheroes? Love Marvel? Love tabletop games? Then your dreams are about to become true because Marvel is releasing an official tabletop ruleset. 

As an avid tabletop RPG fan myself, I was already looking to convert the standard 5e DND ruleset into something appropriate for the Marvel setting. My friends and I are huge fans of Marvel and wanted to play our favorite characters in a campaign and story of our own making. Lo and behold, Marvel clearly heard my wishes for an official ruleset because they’re publishing one in early 2022. 

Here’s what we know so far about the Marvel Tabletop RPG rulebook. 

What System Does the Marvel Tabletop RPG Use?

Marvel is inventing its own system for its ruleset. It uses what they call the D616 System. That’s a reference to their comic universe Earth 616, by the way. What those rules entail, we don’t know currently. However, it does seem as though they use an Ability tree similar to DND. 

There are six abilities for your character to invest in. They include:

  • Might
  • Agility
  • Resilience
  • Vigilance
  • Ego
  • Logic

Those are quite similar to standard DND abilities. Might is Strength. Agility is Dexterity. Resilience is Constitution. Vigilance may be Wisdom. Ego is Charisma. Logic is likely Intelligence. It makes me wonder if the rest of their ruleset with mirror 5e rules similarly.

The makers of the rulebook state that their system is easy to learn and accessible. It’s made for newcomers and is a familiar set-up to veterans of tabletop games. 

As someone who prefers their rulesets to be simplified and easy, I’m very curious to see if their claims hold up. I’m also curious to see if they’re leaning towards dice rolls like DND or if they prefer the tagging system in Fate Core and other rulesets. 

What Characters Can You Play As?

As an RPG, you can’t help but wonder how Marvel intends to set up its game. Are you able to play as your favorite superheroes? Or do you have to create original characters? According to the snippet given to us by Marvel, it looks like you’re able to do both.

It states that players are going to be able to access profiles in order to play as their favorite superheroes. Some of the heroes they list are:

  • Black Panther
  • Spider-Man
  • Storm
  • Wolverine
  • Captain America
  • Captain Marvel
  • Thor
  • Ms. Marvel

They also add that there are several more. It makes me wonder if this is going to be a situation in which they release more profiles with later books. Similar to DnD that publishes books that expand their existing classes, races, and campaigns, Marvel may do something similar. They may publish new books that give profiles to other characters like Iron Man, Daredevil, or The Wasp. 

I’m not sure if this is the path they’ll take, but it’s always a possibility.

I’m also very curious about how their original character creation is set. Are there going to be classes? Races? Does the MCU tie-in at all or is it strictly set on their established comic universes? 

There are a lot of questions I have about their character creation process, and I hope they release more information about them soon. 

When is the Marvel Tabletop RPG Rulebook Coming Out?

Currently, the tabletop rulebook is set to have a soft release in spring of 2022. They’re using it as a playtest to see how their players enjoy the rules and if anything needs to be changed. Marvel states that you can purchase the playtest rules at any location in which books or comics are sold. 

The official release of the finalized ruleset is slated for 2023.

Are You Going to Buy Marvel’s Tabletop RPG Rulebook?

Since I already planned on making a Marvel tabletop game for my friends, I definitely plan on purchasing the ruleset once it comes out in 2022. I’ll be giving a full review of the playtest then. If any more information is given about the rulebook, then I’ll be updating everyone as I learn of it. Do you plan on giving the official Marvel tabletop RPG ruleset a try? Do you already play a Marvel tabletop RPG? If so, what system do you use? Let us know in the comments!

3 Ways to Improve Your Worldbuilding

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Worldbuilding is a skill. It can always be improved. Here are three ways you can improve your worldbuilding abilities. 

Whether you’re worldbuilding for a novel, video game, or tabletop game, you need to hone your worldbuilding skills. The better your skills are, the more lifelike your creation is going to be. Luckily, there are a few ways that can help you improve your worldbuilding. Read on to find out how thematic layers, maps, and cultural evidence can improve your worldbuilding.

1. Use Thematic Layers to Build Consistency

Thematic layers refers to a consistent theme that exists in an area. It may refer to demographics, geography, cultural identities, or even geophysics. When you use a thematic layer to describe a town, an area of land, it sticks with your readers or players. It also stands apart from other locations that you create thematic layers for. 

Those areas become enriched for your readers and players. It’s easier for them to immerse in that area because they can see it clearly. They can smell, taste it, and even hear it. 

It also makes logical sense. A world that only has one thematic layer throughout it is boring and unrealistic. The environment shapes people and the people shape the environment. Themes exist based on needs. 

Using thematic layers can enrich your world and keep it from feeling bland or the same throughout it. 

2. Maps Organize Your World and Help Players Digest It

Most people are visual in nature. They understand things better after they see it. The same goe for worldbuilding. Your worldbuilding can be improved when you use maps. One of the reasons maps are helpful is because it helps you stay organized. You can physically see where the cities are, where environmental challenges like mountains and lakes are located. This can help shape your story and adventures. 

It also helps your readers and players. Without a map, they have no way of understanding what the country or world looks like. They don’t understand the distances between towns or the kind of landscape that exists between settled grounds. Making maps and giving them to your players or readers helps them to immerse in your world. Once they can see it, they can feel more a part of it. 

3. Cultural Evidence Brings a World to Life

When developing your towns or settlements, you should always include cultural evidence. This refers to small details that are easily overlooked but help enrich an area all the same. It may be banners or heraldry. It may be newspapers discarded in the mud. It may be an ad scrolling along the side of a skyscraper. 

Cultural evidence is little snippets of the day-to-day culture that exists in that space. It offers readers and players a glimpse into what it’s like to be a regular denizen of that area.

However, cultural evidence is also easy to overdo. You may find yourself mentioning detail after detail. That can quickly saturate the scene and make it difficult for readers or players to focus on the important details. Any detail you place in the scene should have a purpose. Perhaps it’s to steer them in a certain direction to follow your hook. Maybe it helps them solve a mystery. It can also be used to introduce new factions, individuals, and religions. 

Using cultural evidence can enrich your world, improve your worldbuilding, and make your world feel lived in. 

Start Improving Your Worldbuilding

These three methods can help you improve your worldbuilding. Have you used any of them before? If so, let us know how it helps you worldbuild. If you have any more tips on how to use the above method effectively, then be sure to let us know in the comments as well! Otherwise, use these methods and start building immersive worlds. 

Tabletop Kickstarter Spotlight: Into the Mother Lands

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Into the Mother Lands brings a refreshing and diverse culture to science fiction tabletop games. In this RPG, you get to experience new species, adventures, conflicts, and characters that are unlike anything else. 
After browsing Kickstarter for the latest tabletop games being pushed, I came across Into the Mother Lands. It’s gained a lot of popularity and interest since first being posted, and I can certainly understand why. Here are a few reasons I’m excited to back Into the Mother Lands.

1. Unapologetically Black

One of the initial aspects of Into the Mother Lands that drew me to it was the fact that it’s about black characters and it was created by a POC team. The tabletop market needs more diverse voices, so I am always excited to see something like this get a lot of attention. The game calls itself an Afrofuturist genre. That sounds interesting as heck to me!

I’m not black. However, I am eager to support POC developers and just as eager to see the kind of lore and worlds that a POC dev team has come up with for this project.

2. Mix of Star Trek and Wakanda

The game also describes itself as a mix between Wakanda and Star Trek. As a big fan of both of those things, I’m itching to get my hands on the sourcebook and start seeing the similarities between the two. I’m expecting a slightly solarpunk aesthetic in the model of Wakanda with the exploration drive from Star Trek. 

I’m definitely ready for both of those things in my life.

3. Diverse Species

Into the Mother Lands starts out with 5 different species from which to choose. You have the standard human, a few different human hybrids, an android, and a furry alien species. Yes, you furries out there, you can play a hyena-like alien that takes on the role of the scholars in the world. There’s something for everyone!

Personally, I’m all about that android life. From David 8 in Prometheus to Andrew in Bicentennial Man, my love for androids knows no bounds. I am very eager to see what they’re all about!

4. New Classes

There are also 5 different classes from which to choose. They seem to include healers, fighters, and mixes of the two. One particular class, the 10-2’s is geared towards those who want to play their own Lando (or Han Solo). It encompasses pilots and “speed junkies.” 

Smuggler life, here I come!

5. Great Lore

Lore is important to me. I can never get into a game, movie, or book unless it has interesting lore. Into the Mother Lands has extremely interesting lore. The story follows the descendants of those who were mysteriously taken from their voyage to The New World. The initial group of explorers was tasked with finding and exploring The New World by Emperor Mansa Munsa. They instead vanished and found themselves on a new homeworld that would come to be known as Musalia.

The game takes place several generations after the fact. I’m not entirely sure what the relations are between all of the species or the conflicts that exist in the world, but I imagine there’s some juicy drama just waiting to burst.

Put Into The Mother Lands On Your List

If you’re looking for a new science fiction tabletop game, then I encourage you to consider Into the Mother Lands. It looks fresh, diverse, and may scratch an itch you didn’t even know you had. Are you excited about Into the Mother Lands? Let me know what aspects you’re excited about the most in the comments!

How to Make a Horror Setting for Your TTRPG

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Sometimes scaring your players is a lot of fun. Pulling it off successfully isn’t as easy. Here are a few tips on how to make a horror setting for your tabletop campaign. 

As a DM/GM, I always like to give my players new experiences. These experiences are always within their comfort zones. For one of my groups of players, I wanted to take their perceived understanding of the world and turn it upside down. That campaign features a lot of Lovecraftian horror and mythos that I’ve spun into my own thing. 

It keeps my players guessing as to what is coming next and compels them to think carefully about their character, their strengths, and most importantly, their weaknesses. 

If you’re interested in creating a horror setting for your own campaign, then here are five tips you can use.

1. Establish Player Interest for a Horror Setting

Running a horror campaign means you need to know the limits of your players. Are they even interested in horror elements? If not, then nothing you do will encourage them to get into the game. They won’t be interested. They’ll sabotage your attempts either knowingly or unknowingly.

Once you’re sure that your players are interested in a horror setting, then you need to know their limits. What’s going too far for them? For example, are they okay coming across dead or maimed children? What about zombie dogs? Does the presence of nooses trigger them?

You need to avoid these triggers and limits to keep your players engaged in the setting and story. Going too far can make a player never return to your table. It also helps you figure out what’s okay to add to your stories.

2. Establish Ambience and Limit Distractions

Setting the mood is essential for a horror game. Lights should be dimmed. Can’t see the board? Use candlelight. Playing during the day and have too much light coming in through the windows? Either close the curtains or hang a blanket over them. You want it to be dark. 

The next important way to establish the right ambiance is to use sound. This includes sound effects and music. You can find tons of horrorscapes on Youtube, Spotify, and on sites like Freesound. Adding these audio cues can increase the tension, especially if your players have a small amount of time to make a decision. 

Distractions also need to be limited. For this particular session, you shouldn’t encourage snacks. You want your players focused. Phones should be prohibited as well. Because it requires a lot of focus and attention, you’ll likely want to keep your story concise. At most, the session should last only 2 hours. 

Anything longer than that can make players lose focus.

3. Remove Control

Players feel safe when they have control. You need to remove control from them. The best way to do this is to determine what makes them feel safe. Is it a safe haven? Burn it down. Destroy it. Have the villain infiltrate it. Without a safe place to lay their head, the fear starts to grow. 

Is the party particularly strong at this point? Then consider making your horror story about a creature that infiltrates people. They may never know if a fellow party member is truly themselves or the monster. This sense of uncertainty can cause strife among the party. Because every member is strong, they’ve essentially become their own worse enemy.

Perhaps they overly rely on certain weapons, spells, or abilities. While you shouldn’t remove all of them, you should find unique ways to limit their capabilities. If they feel as though they have to fight for their life, then you’re on the right track. 

Another great way to establish a loss of control is to kill off a powerful NPC that the party knows well. If the monster or villain kills the NPC with seeming ease, then your party will get the idea that this entity is powerful and caution needs to be considered.

4. Limit Physical Visuals

While the use of terrain and minis has become standard for many tabletop campaigns, a horror campaign is actually one where you don’t want to use many physical props. To truly frighten your players, you have to engage their imagination. 

One method you can use if you’re determined to use terrain is to only reveal tiles as your players cross them. Keep the lighting extremely low. The darkness should consume light. By not knowing what’s ahead of them, it can quickly increase the tension in the room. 

Your monsters don’t always need minis either. Once your players see the mini of the monster they’re encountering, then that sense of mystery is gone. Keep the image of the monster in their heads to keep it terrifying.

5. Be DESCRIPTIVE

Nothing will make your horror campaign succeed or fail more than your ability to describe. You need to be able to craft a sensory experience for them. They don’t need to just know what a room looks like. What does it sound like? What does the air taste like? Is the atmosphere oppressive? Ancient? How does it smell? 

All of these details can set your players’ hearts beating. If details aren’t your strong suit, then I certainly suggest creating a template for yourself and a script. The template should include the five senses. Write down what the player perceives with those senses when encountering a room, person, or monster. 

Then have those cue cards ready when your players encounter them. You can also encourage your players to ask you questions. It may help you come up with a detail that you missed originally.

Craft Your Horror Story

Running a horror campaign can be a lot of fun when done successfully. It’s a complete change from the standard fantasy tabletop campaigns, although you can easily run them parallel to one another. If you found these tips helpful, then let me know in the comments. Or if you have tips of your own, then let me and the others know in the comments as well! I’d love to hear what story elements and methods you use in your storytelling!

New Content Coverage Coming Soon!

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Hello, dear readers! Worldbuilding101 has seen a lot of growth, and we’re excited to see it grow even more during the rest of the year. To encourage growth and to take part in other exciting nerd news that we’re eager to share with our audience, this blog has decided to expand its coverage!

While you can still rely on useful tips for worldbuilding and creative story-telling, Worldbuilding101 will also stretch into other content like DMing tips, Player tips, Tabletop news and review, and a few video game reviews here and there. As always, our focus is always on story and what crafts a great story and immersive world. 

Starting next week, you’ll start to see new content based on this shift. We hope you find the addition as exciting as we do and continue to learn along with us! 

While our brand name shifts from Worldbuilding101 to something a bit more expansive, you can still expect the same high-quality and valuable content. 

Get your nerdiness ready!

Should You Worldbuild Before Creating Props in Tabletop Gaming?

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Should You Worldbuild Before Creating Props in Tabletop Gaming?

I have a problem where I like to take on more than I actually do. I have an original world created and full of life. I have the first kernels of some encounters for my players to take part in our DND campaign. The problem is that I find myself adding lore as I create terrain and buildings for them to explore. Is that a problem? Is that something you find yourself doing as well? After some reflection, here’s what I came up with.

It’s Okay to Add Lore as You Build

If you’re someone like me that builds buildings and terrain for their campaigns, then you may find yourself changing the story to match your builds. That’s okay to a point. As long as it doesn’t change the core concepts of your world, or break your history, it’s okay to change certain details about a city or town based on what you come up with as you build.

Here are a few reasons why you may end up changing your lore because of what you’ve built.

1. The Architecture Doesn’t Match the Species That Inhabit the City or Town

A common fantasy trope is that certain buildings are built in certain styles based on the prevalence of the race that resides there. For example, a dwarven city would have mostly dwarven architecture that makes up its buildings. An elvish city would have elven architecture.

You may realize that you’re building architecture that is either more realistic in nature or doesn’t mix well with the common race that lives there. You may have to invent some lore on the spot. Why does the particular building look the way it does? Perhaps there’s a unique story behind who built it and why. The building could end up being an entire encounter on its own.

2. The Materials You Use Don’t Mesh with the Technology Available

If you’re making a poor village, then the majority of your buildings shouldn’t look like stone. Poor villagers usually have homes made of wood or mud. If you realize that you made a bunch of stone huts for your villagers, you may be at a loss of how to use them.

Instead of scrapping the village you made, you can change the lore a bit. Perhaps this particular poor village is only poor on the surface. Maybe they traffic in something that might bring them some scrutiny. Perhaps the stone is special and can only be found and applied in that particular region.

There are a few tweaks you can use that can change your existing lore based on the builds that you make.

3. You Need More Pieces Than You Made

One advantage of worldbuilding before you start your terrain or building process is that you already know what pieces you need for your encounters. For example, if you build without any lore or plans set down, then you may end up without a map or area for your players to use.

If you decide to worldbuild and plan your encounters beforehand, then you know exactly what you need to make each time. This can save you time, materials, and ensure you have everything you need for each session.

The Advantage of Building First

Because I like to play devil’s advocate, there is an advantage you can have if you choose to build all your terrain and buildings before you sit down and start to plan out the world and its encounters. That advantage is that your builds can inspire you. If you already have a vivid and creative imagination, then building a forest or a tavern without any context may allow you to build on that foundation when you do create your lore.

It may even make your buildings and terrain seem more organic. They make sense in your world. It also means you’re free to create some seriously original designs. The lore you make afterward can make it all make sense.

Which Method Do You Prefer?

Are you someone that loves to plan out everything beforehand, then build their terrain and buildings? Or do you like to take a more creative approach and build terrain and buildings first, then create lore about them when you’re finished? I’d love to hear which method you prefer to use. Let me know in the comments and if you have any cool buildings or terrain pieces, feel free to show them as well! I love seeing builds.

How to Build a Convincing Steampunk World

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How to Build a Convincing Steampunk World

If you’ve gone past the standard fantasy genre and want to bring a new setting to your players or readers, then you want to give Steampunk a try. One reason why fantasy is so beloved is that it’s familiar. It draws on tropes and history that everyone has some understanding of. Steampunk does something similar. Here are a few steps on how to make your steampunk world convincing.

1. Create a Solid History

Steampunk describes a world in which steam power overcame electrical power. While there are sub-genres within Steampunk, the parent genre itself is all about steam-powered inventions. It’s an industrial revolution built on the power of steam. 

It’s also typically set in the Victorian era with the appropriate culture and clothes attached.

In order to make your steampunk world convincing, you need to firmly establish a point in history where your world branches off. Take a look through the busy historical events that occurred within the Victorian era. If your players or readers are well-versed in Victorian history, then you’re free to choose an obscure point in time that they may recognize.

Those who aren’t well-versed in Victorian history may need a broader and more general point in time where your world makes its own bold tangent. 

Once you have that point, it’s time to create your world’s history. How does it differ from real history? Who is responsible for emphasizing steam-powered engines and inventions? What’s kept the society from further advancing into electrical power? What does the political structure look like? 

Having a few key points in your world’s history can help you give your world a legitimate background that feels real and convincing.

2. Make Distinct Social Structures

Steampunk differs from fantasy worlds in that the stories are mostly in an urban setting. The adventures in a fantasy world have players exploring tombs, dungeons, and distant lands. Steampunk worlds focus mainly on the city or cities, themselves. While you may be zooming through a war-torn wasteland on a steam-powered motorcycle, it’s likely that most of your story takes place within the city, itself.

That’s because the city should be huge. 

It should also consist of blatant social structures. You should have the ruling class, the nobility, the merchants or tradesmen, the common workers, and the poor. Each one should reside within their districts. While there’s likely going to be transitional areas, you can make your world feel more convincing when your NPCs react to a player or character who doesn’t quite belong in the district they’re traveling to.

Each social structure should have their own clothes, hairstyles, the architecture of their homes should be different, and even the syntax or vernacular they use to speak with should vary slightly. 

All of these details can make your steampunk world convincing and feel real. 

3. Make Zany Inventions

A hallmark of steampunk is the incredible inventions that are made. They don’t have to make sense. They just need to be flashy and loud. You can always include standard steampunk tropes like steam-powered airships, Gatling guns, and eyepieces, but this is the moment where you can unleash your creativity. 

Perhaps there’s a central engine that powers your city’s lights and electricity. Why not come up with some incredible invention for that? Perhaps it’s a steam-powered man or woman that’s been tricked into slave labor. What consequences will the city face if your players or characters choose to free the engine and remove central power from the city? What kind of chaos will ensue? 

Why not have fun with your players by inventing incredible weapons for them to use? Or inventive enemies for them to face? 

Inventions that are out-of-this-world, based in steam power, and are just a lot of fun to use can make your steampunk world more enjoyable to be in and appear more convincing.

Build Your Steampunk World Today

Worldbuilding a steampunk world can be a lot of fun. It requires a different kind of creativity than typically used to build fantasy worlds. Following the above tips can help you build a steampunk world that is rich in life, fun to be in, and seems realistic. Let me know in the comments some details of your own steampunk worlds! 

What Worldbuilding Mistakes Should I Avoid?

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In the world of creativity, it can be easy to say nothing is ever wrong. That’s the art of creation. There are no wrong answers. That’s not actually true. There are a few mistakes you can make when worldbuilding. Here’s how to avoid them.

1. You Don’t Do Enough Research

Even if you plan on making a completely original world, you’re going to be borrowing from other cultures. It’s just how creativity works. Mark Twain put it best. How you write about an idea may be original, but the idea, itself, is not. 

That’s why research is crucial. It isn’t as important for the sake of making sure certain details are copied over correctly, but more so to ensure you don’t adopt stereotypes or racist charactictures in your worldbuilding. That isn’t going to do you any favors. 

It may take extra time, but when you do proper research on the kind of concept, culture, architecture, whatever, that you want to adopt, you can avoid problematic portrayals. 

2. You Don’t Record Your Lore

When you’re in the throes of worldbuilding, it can be easy not to make references to certain parts of your lore. After your session of worldbuilding is over, you may turn off the laptop or close your notebook and leave the world for a while. When you return, you may jump back in, but you’ll quickly find that you’re losing track of the lore that you already created.

Not having a reference for your lore is an easy mistake to make. It can also be a sign of amateur worldbuilding. Any time you create a concrete bit of lore, whether it be a war, a deity, a King’s lineage, a foundation of a realm, you should record it in a separate reference. 

This allows you to quickly refer to it to ensure your dates are correct, your names are correct, the geography is accurate, and you’re not duplicating deities. Not having a reference means you may have plot holes, your history may be incorrect, or you may be doing more work than you needed to. 

3. You Worldbuild Too Much

What do you mean I worldbuild too much? That isn’t possible! Actually, it is.

Sometimes, you need to let the world build itself while you create. For novel writers, that means letting their characters build the world through their actions and relationships. For game designers, it means doing the same with their players.

The same goes for DMs and GMs worldbuilding a campaign for their adventurers. At some point, you need to understand that too much history isn’t going to interest your readers and players. They need enough to understand the background. Their true interest is changing the world, themselves.

You need to be able to walk the fine line of worldbuilding for them and worldbuilding for yourself. 

4. Worldbuilding Without Maps

This worldbuilding mistake may be more of a matter of a preference, but it can injure your process. Unless you’re able to keep a map of your various kingdoms, realms, cities, and continents in your head–which you are clearly god-tier if you can and I respect the hell out of you–you may want to scribble down a map. 

Maps are useful in terms of figuring out distances during each journey. Does it make sense for your characters or players to be able to reach their destination in a certain amount of time? What happens during that long trek? 

Not using a map can quickly make figuring out distances extremely difficult. Unless you have forgiving readers or players, you may be called out on it at some point. 

Maps can also help you keep track of geography and may even influence the culture that resides there. Those that live in the mountains, for example, likely have a very different culture than those who live in a desert climate. 

Avoid Worldbuilding Mistakes to Create a Unique and Practical World

Avoiding these worldbuilding mistakes can help you create a world that feels real, makes sense, and is easier for you to manage. You can avoid plot holes, discrepancies, and ensure that everything is tidy and believable. If you have any worldbuilding mistakes that you’ve made in the past, let us know about them in the comments below!

How to Build a Convincing Fantasy World

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How to Build a Convincing Fantasy World

This series will offer tips on how to create certain worlds that are realistic and convincing. As a writer or tabletop worldbuilder, your readers and players won’t be convinced of the world they’re in if the world doesn’t make sense. This can break immersion completely. In this post, you’ll find out how to build a convincing fantasy world for your book, game, or tabletop campaign. 

1. Determine Laws of Magic

Every fantasy world has some form of magic. If you’re going for historical fantasy and don’t intend to include magic, then you can skip this step. For the rest of us, it’s vital that you lay out how magic works in your world. Is your magic strictly elemental-based? For example, do magic users have to hone to a specific element (water, fire, etc.,) in order to cast their spell? 

Or does the source of magic rest in some deity? Once you understand the source of the magic, you can then write down laws that govern it. What is and isn’t possible with the magic? Is it widely accepted? Or are there cities and kingdoms where magic isn’t allowed? 

Once you have that written in stone, you can write NPCs, characters, and even larger cities with a more natural and organic relationship with magic. You won’t be pulling things out of a hat. This removes the chance of seeming like you’re using magic as a matter of convenience rather than it being a natural part of the world. 

2. Use Your Own Slang

Every world should have its own slang terms. It gives credibility to the world. No one ever speaks in perfect English or diction unless one is trained to do so. Even then, such diction is likely only used in the presence of other nobles or royalty. That being said, your commoners should have a lot of syntax and vernacular that’s used exclusively for them. 

The slang should also make sense. You can think about slang that we use in our own world to guide you. “Cool,” “that’s lit,” “cash me outside (please don’t use that one),” “salty,” “ghosting,” and so on are some common and modern slang terms that can be converted into slang that makes sense for your world. 

The important part of using slang is that it needs to be done convincingly. The terms should be used consistently among those who use it. But you shouldn’t force certain dialogue just to use the terms. It also helps to have grammar snobs look down on the use of such slang terms. These smaller details can make your fantasy world more convincing.

3. Have a Set History

Figuring out how to deliver your world’s lore isn’t easy. But it has to be done in order to make your fantasy world convincing. Sometimes that may be as simple as including a map of the world or region. Or you may want to toss in some family trees for the readers or players to consult. However you choose to deliver your lore, you need to have a set history for your fantasy world. 

Even more importantly, it’s a history that your characters or NPCs need to acknowledge. While the expanse of their knowledge may differ based on their education level, everyone likely knows some part of the history of the world. Referring to historical events or people from history can make your fantasy world feel entrenched in reality. 

It makes it feel as though it has existed for several centuries rather than it being just made up a few months ago. 

Keep Practicing

To make your fantasy worlds seem more convincing, it takes a lot of practice in the art of worldbuilding. By following the tips listed above, you can start off with a strong foundation for creating a world that makes sense and seems real. Do you have any other tips on how to make a fantasy world more convincing? Let us know in the comments!