Should You Use a Map for Worldbuilding?

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Do You Need Maps to Worldbuild?

When worldbuilding, you may wonder whether or not creating maps for your world is necessary. The short answer is that having a visual representation of your world can help you generate regions, filling those regions, and ensuring that you have a lived-in world rather than big gaps where nothing is happening. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of creating a map for your world. 

Why Creating a Map Can Help Your Tabletop Campaign

Those who want to worldbuild for a tabletop campaign can find that generating a map for their world is extremely helpful. Before you start your campaign, create a few different maps. The first should be your continent. If you’re already using an existing world, then simply find a map of the continent. They likely have one. Those who are homebrewing their entire campaign, including the world, should start off with designing their continent. 

A map of your continent allows you to easily break it up into regions or kingdoms. You can include certain land barriers like large lakes or mountains to break these regions or realms up. Seeing your world as a whole gives you a visual representation of the kind of scope your adventurers are going to be placed in.

From a large continent map, you can then start to make region maps. These are similar to the continent map in that it still lacks the details of a city or town map. However, it grants you the ability, as the dungeon master or game master, to know what towns, farms, cities, dungeons, and other dangers lurk within the region. 

I love using region maps, myself. This is partially because I’m a visual learner. I need to see it in order to remember it and find inspiration from it. Region maps are also helpful in determining distances. One of the hardest parts of setting up a campaign is informing your adventurers how long it’s going to be to travel to a certain location. While you can always break up the travel with some bandit fights or side quests, you may also want your adventurers to arrive there as quickly as you can. 

A region map keeps your distances ordered and helps you make sense of the various distances that your adventurers will be traveling numerous times within that region. 

Region maps can also give your adventurers a sense of mystery. When I run a campaign, I allow my adventurers to see the continent map. It seems logical to me that they likely would have seen a map of the country at some point in their lives (with rare exceptions, of course). I do not, however, allow them to see the full region map if their characters have spent most of their lives in a single city. 

Instead, I’ll make a map with a fog over certain parts of the region where they haven’t explored. That sense of mysterious, a desire to explore, will encourage them to seek adventures in the misty unknown and further fill out their map. 

The final map that campaigners should create is a city or town map. This can help you as a world builder because it gives you a general layout of the city or town. When you need to describe it, the map can be extremely useful. It may even be something that you give to your players if they manage to find one or ask someone to create one for them. 

City or town maps can also help you create several quests that exist throughout the city. Even if your adventurers never unlock some of them, the map can contain a few secret DM notes to yourself on where those quests are located and what they involve. 

How Creating a Map Can Help Game Designers

Concept art exists for a reason. It gives game designers, animators, and other cogs in the game maker mechanical wheel direction. Maps are just another form of concept art, although they can certainly be used in the game itself. Creating a map for game design is just as useful as it is for those running a tabletop campaign. Except maps can also serve a more technical purpose for game designers.

Just like tabletop games, game designers should have a continent, region, and city/town map for reference. Yet game designers can also use these maps to physically mark where they want quests to take place or where they want specific levels to be. 

When it comes time to  create said levels or quests, your entire team knows where to just place them visually. It can also help with art design. A continent map can inform your designers that one part of the continent may be a bleak desert. As a result, the region and city/town map should reflect that. 

Designers and developers don’t want to create a lush city of trees and grass in a region that is known for its wasteland. Maps can keep everyone on the same page. 

Why Novel Writers Should Create a Fictional Map

Novel worldbuilders can also benefit from the use of a map. While I don’t always plan out a detailed map for a city or town that my characters visit, I do like to sketch out a continent or region map. Again, because I’m a visual learner, I like to see the journey that my characters are taking as I write it. 

In particular, I print out a large region map and place it on a pegboard. Then I use thumbtacks to mark off notes where cities or places of interest are located. From there, I use a string to mark the path of my characters. Not only does it help me keep track of their story so far, but it also helps me fill my world. 

One problem with attempting to worldbuild without a map is that you end up with a lot of dead space. In some cases, your characters or players may not notice it. However, if you only have a few regions with sparse adventures to be had there, then they’re going to start to notice and feel that the world is quite small. 

Novel writers should create a continent map and region maps. Whether you use it to track or just help fill in the gaps with towns, wastelands, or just undiscovered country, you’ll find that having the visual before you can really help with your inspiration and keeping track of your lore thus far. 

Start Creating Your Worldbuilding Maps!

Clearly, creating and using a map can help any facet in which worldbuilding needs to take place. If you’re able to keep it all in your head, then all the power to you. For those who are like me and prefer visual representations, a map is your best friend. We’ll go into detail about the different ways you can create maps later. For now, start with a simple sketch and let us know in the comments some of the things you keep in mind when creating a map for your world, region, or city/town.

The Throne Room Battlemap

Even wood elves need a nature-based throne room! Whether your adventurer are just visiting the woodland realm or they’re sent to a ruin buried deep within a forest, this battlemap may just what you need!

You can download the map at the link above! Let us know what happens in your adventure in the comments!

Stuck at Home? Try These Tips to Stay Productive

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How to Worldbuild When You’re Stuck at Home

Thanks to COVID, the mundane flu, or a transitionary period, you may find yourself stuck at home. This can make worldbuilding or creating difficult. If you’re like me, then being home means you’re open to about a million distractions. How can you enjoy the benefits of creating at home without being delayed by the various distractions and demands that exist there? Here are a few tips on how you can stay productive when you’re stuck working at home. 

1. Schedule Your Time Slot

Sometimes working at home can be as easy as simply disciplining yourself. Don’t know how? Start with scheduling a time slot that is specifically for creating or being productive. Perhaps it’s an hour after you’re finished with your normal work. Perhaps it’s during your actual work hours if your project is professional. Perhaps it’s just after dinner. 

Whatever time slot you have available, let it be known that this is your time to be away from everyone else. Most importantly, be sure you don’t give in and binge another episode of the latest hot documentary or movie on Netflix. 

To boost your productivity even more and ensure you’re able to use your time slot to its fullest potential, you might also want to consider downloading an app like Freedom. I use Freedom to block the internet while I’m worldbuilding. I already have all my notes together. I just need to make sure I’m not being hounded by dozens of messages from my friends as I try to create a world for our next DnD campaign.

Freedom can be used in a variety of ways and offers several different features, too. You can sync it across various platforms as well to ensure you’re staying focused no matter what device you’re using. 

2. Distract the Distractions

Another big problem you’ll face when working at home or trying to be creative at home is the number of distractions just waiting to lure you away. Aside from TV, video games, and other entertainment distractions, you’ll have to deal with social interaction. Whether it be family, friends, roommates, or even your pets, there’s likely someone or something at home waiting to grab your attention.

In my case, it’s a friendly, if not distracting, dog. He’s never happy unless he’s either close to me or if I’m throwing his ball around the house. The problem with both is that I need my lap and hands to use the laptop in order to create. You likely have a similar problem.

Perhaps you have a wife/husband or kids that require you to cook them dinner or entertain them. Perhaps your roommates want to game with you or watch a movie. We’ll be addressing how to politely tell people to give you space in another post. For now, here are a few ideas you can use to distract those distractions in order to be productive at home. 

For family, you can start with informing them that the specific time slot you established earlier is your time to yourself. You can rely on your partner for this to help shepherd the children away. You can even put up a do not disturb sign to let everyone know that you’re busy at work. 

If you have loud roommates, then the solution is clear. You need to soundproof your creative or work space. While you may not have the funds or ability to properly soundproof your room–or the whole house–you can make it so you’re able to enjoy your own quiet space. The answer is with noise-cancelling headphones. 

I’m a huge fan of noise-cancelling headphones. Not only do I use them to game or listen to music, but if my dog is being a pain in the you know what, then these headphones are a gift from the Gods of Productivity. I tend to go with quality to ensure I get the kind of service that I need. For that, I go with Bose over other brands. No matter how loudly my dog may be barking at some poor mailman or jogger, my headphones help me stay focused and productive. 

If you’re not a fan of over-the-ear headphones, then you may find satisfaction elsewhere with these ear buds from Samsung

Finally, when it comes to pets, there’s one sure way I can always keep my dog busy to allow me to work. Chewable bones. While there are tons of different kinds of bones you can find for your dog, I prefer something safe that isn’t prone to splintering. That’s why I feed him WoofWood bones. They last for some time and are made from natural ingredients. He can chew to his heart’s content and leave me in peace.

Those who have cats will find distracting their feline friends even easier. Simply place a sheet of paper on the floor or put a box down. Your cat will immediately move to lay on it or in it. 

3. Create Your Space

Our final tip to being more productive while you worldbuild or create at home is to create a space for yourself. While your home may be yours, if you share it with others or perform certain tasks in certain rooms, then it may be difficult to disassociate yourself from those tasks or feel productive in a social place. Sitting in front of the television in your living room, for example, may lead you to wondering what’s on your favorite channel rather than focusing on your project. 

To amend this, you need to carve out a space just for yourself. Perhaps that means transforming an unused room into an office. You can hang all of your notes on the wall and be surrounded by things that inspire you and keep you motivated. Perhaps that means you need to curtain off a corner in the bedroom when you’re in full creative mode. Heck, maybe you want to even take a tip out of Harry Potter’s cap and transform an unused closet into your new work space. 

Others may enjoy the idea of using a small shed in the backyard to be their area. While sheds have started to become popular in use as a secondary place to entertain or unwind, you can also use them as a place where your worldbuilding or creating takes place.

Keep On Creating!

It’s easy to use the excuse that because you’re home, you don’t have to be as productive. Doing so will only delay your projects. To ensure you’re more creative this year while battling the many distractions that reside at home, be sure to follow these tips.

If you have any other tips on how you can be more productive at home, then let us know in the comments!

Inspirational Area Map of a Mountain Village

High above the mountains dwells a small village that has made its home within an enclosed valley. How long have they lived there? What is their culture life in such a remote place? The only way to travel to the village is either by airship or by climbing along a dangerous set of stairs that winds along the faces of the mountain.

This inspirational region map is yours to use to develop a unique village for your players or characters to explore. What sort of dangers will they find there? What lurks within the pit? Let us know what you come up with in the comments!

2021 New Year Resolution Ideas for Creators

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2021 New Year Resolutions for Creators

2020 was rocky. Although many of us ended up staying home, those who partake in creative fields may have found the adjustment difficult. Some creators rely on others to give them feedback in the moment. Others thrived, enjoying the peace that their home provides to come up with fresh ideas. Now that 2020 is at an end, it’s time for wordbuilders and creators to start the new year off right with some new year resolutions. 

Here are a few 2021 resolutions you should make as a creator. 

1. Make Time to Create

One thing that I think we’re all guilty of is that we lost a lot of time creating last year. Even as a new strain of Coronavirus makes its way through several states, we continue to hunker down and wait it out. This can make finding time to create difficult. For one, we’re stuck with our loved ones. While this is great for extra bonding time, it can take its toll on our creative juices. 

This year, we should make a resolution to make time to create. This might mean that we need to cancel social plans (we should be cancelling those, anyway.) Perhaps it means we need to lock ourselves in the bedroom for an hour or so. 

A common excuse that creators use is that there isn’t enough time. We create time. It’s far easier to lose ourselves to distractions than it is to admit that we chose to use our time unproductively. Let’s not fall into that trap this year.

Instead, let’s make the plan to set aside an hour every week, if not every day, to devote to creating. It doesn’t matter what kind of creating it is. We just need to get the ball rolling. Even if you can only devote an hour to it every week, that’s still a lot more progress you’re going to make than if you chose not to do anything at all.

Your first 2021 New Year resolution idea should be to set aside a set day and time that you disengage from everyone and everything else and just spend time worldbuilding, drafting, painting, whatever it is that you need to do. 

2. Regenerate Creative Juices

If you were on the opposite side of the spectrum and were able to use COVID as a time to create even more, then you may feel as though you’re running on empty. Every creator has their own stamina. It’s important not to push yourself over that limit. Doing so can seriously impact how productive you are in the future. 

You know you’ve taken things too far when you start to burn out on your project. Burning out is a creator’s worst nightmare. Not only is it difficult to get back in the flow of things, but it may even spell the end of your project forever.

To avoid burning out and keep feeling motivated about your project, you need to make a resolution to set some time ahead to regenerate. This shouldn’t just be creatively either. It may be socially, for your work, or even your relationship. 

Just like setting time aside to create, make sure that you set some time aside every week to just unplug from everything and allow your creative juices to refill. If you’re one of the many people who decided that their resolutions were going to include exercising more and sticking to a diet, then taking a brief break from creating can allow you to pursue those resolutions or other 2021 New Year resolutions that you have. 

3. Research More

No matter what kind of creator you are, you need to do some kind of research. Worldbuilders, DMs/GMs, novelists, even game designers should research history, other cultures, and other culture’s history. While learning about culture is always best done in-person, this isn’t always feasible for everyone.

To make up for it, you need to research. A lot. Not only can this spark some new ideas for conflicts, characters, and political organizations that you create, but it can help you grow as an individual. Personal growth should always be a New Year resolution. 

There are a few years you can start researching new cultures. The first is simply to search everything you can about them on the internet. Be wary of only visiting a single site for your information. Depending on the culture you’re studying, you should keep in mind that history is always written by the winners. You’ll want to seek out several sources in order to understand the culture from various viewpoints. 

Another option is to watch a few documentaries. Just like histories, documentaries are also written and shot with a biased perspective. Try to keep a neutral mindset while you learn and fact-check the documentary later. 

Should the COVID-19 lockdown on the world ever rise, you may also want to take a vacation to the area where the culture exists. There are tons of benefits you can experience by living in a new culture. At the very least, you’ll have a great time and go home with some new and original ideas for your project. 

4. Get More Organized

Let’s be honest, as a creator, you sure know to make a creative mess. Staying organized means you can be just that much more efficient in your work. While 2020 may have been a dumpster fire, you can make 2021 a little bit easier just by keeping yourself organized. 

Depending on your project, there are a few ways you can improve your organization. For those who like to take physical notes or work with physical creations, you’ll love using color-coded folders. Not only are they flashy, but you can keep your work organized based on the color that it corresponds to. Even better, you won’t have papers, artwork, or notes scattered across your workstation anymore. 

Those who need timelines or a few notes to refer to often will enjoy keeping themselves organized with a pegboard. I happen to be a very visual person. I need to see things physically before me in order to make sense of them. That’s why I have a pegboard above my workstation. Whether I’m creating an outline for my next DnD session or working on some props, I have my notes and pictures or references pegged on the board for me to quickly look at and refer to. It saves me so much time and clears up my work table for the actual project I’m working on.

Those who prefer to take their notes virtually will enjoy using an app like Simplenote. As its name might suggest, it allows you to simply jot down notes as you need. It also allows you to refer to those notes on any device that you might have. Perhaps even better, the app is free to use. 

Finally, if you need a timeline of events, then you may enjoy using Storyboarder. This app allows you to create a storyboard for free. You can easily make a flowchart or a visual network of your notes, projects, and other things. 

5. Have More Adventures

There’s a common belief that you can only write or create that which you know. If you’re someone who typically spends all day at home, then you’re not taking part in many adventures. You don’t have to go far to have an adventure either. Simply take a walk or drive to the nearest town or even out of your town. Take a hike. Attempt an Escape Room. Go see a movie in a drive-in. 

Essentially, do new things this year. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that life can be stopped at any given notice. By sharing more adventures, you can appreciate life more and come back to your project with fresh ideas and a better understanding of how your characters might react in a given situation. 

Make your 2021 something to write about. 

What Are Your New Year Resolutions for 2021?

Did you decide to make any New Year resolutions for 2021? If so, let us know in the comments what they are! If you have any tips for your fellow creatives on how to make their 2021 more productive and enjoyable, then be sure to share them in the comments, too! Together, we can make 2021 something incredible.

Shipwreck Battlemap Part 3/3

This week marks the end of this series of shipwreck battlemaps. Part three covers the lower deck of the ship. With everything slowly sinking into the ocean and wood becoming more eroded as time passes, your adventurers will face several challenges trying to reach their quest marker. You can download the map by clicking the link above!

Let us know in the comments how you use this map and what happens in your adventure!

Cyberpunk 2077 Review

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Cyberpunk 2077: A World Review

There’s no question that Cyberpunk 2077 received a lot of backlash upon its release. Yet if players can tough it through the numerous bugs and glitches, then they may discover an incredible world to explore. In this review, we’ll be focusing solely on the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay and the world that CD Projekt Red created. 

Is Cyberpunk 2077 Actually Cyberpunk?

One of the first questions we need to ask ourselves in reviewing Cyberpunk 2077’s world is if it lives up the genre. According to Britannica, cyberpunk features characters that are largely part of the stigmatized or antihero class. These characters are trapped within a world of cutting edge technology, dehumanized society, and deep class divides. Cyberpunk 2077 has all of these variables, and then some. 

There are two main characters in Cyberpunk 2077. Spoilers ahead, so beware. Obviously, the first main character that you play is V. There are three main backgrounds that you can select for your V. Other than the corporate background, the other two feature characters who are antiheroes and belong to a stigmatized part of society. The second main character is Johnny Silverhand. Though he belongs to a time before the world got as dirty as it is currently, he still can be classified as antihero since he’s a “terrorist” punk singer. Granted, whether Johnny becomes a true villain or retains his antihero title is largely left up to the player and their choices in the game.

The second factor is a dehumanized society. As soon as you enter Night City, you’re immediately aware of just how low human society has become. For one, you learn about how corporate wars have more or less destroyed the country everyone once knew. More than that, they even destroyed parts of the world with nuclear warfare. 

Besides that, sex is rampant and is its pursuit. Thanks to things like braindances, citizens of Night City–and likely those across the world–are able to live out any kind of fantasy that they desire. Yet how Cyberpunk 2077 portrays the immoral decline of its society is done in a true, cyberpunk, way. Advertisements.

They’re everywhere.

Because corporations are a core of the cyberpunk genre, and of Cyberpunk 2077 in particular, they have advertisements everywhere. And it’s clear that these corporations know that vanity and sex sells. The only things that matter in this world is pleasure–and getting more of it–and profit–and getting more of it. Each ad promises you either a pleasurable experience, a way to increase your wealth (or at least appear as you have) or sell you something that can further make you more machine than human. 

Let’s not forget that Night City also promotes gun ownership among children. If that doesn’t say dehumanized, I’m not sure what else does.

Class divides are just as obvious. The world, itself, is built up into boroughs or neighborhoods that show a steady incline or decline in wealth. Even the ghettos have ghettos. You’ll find people sleeping on the streets, making camp in the local green zones, and even roughing it out in the landfills. Then there are those who live in incredible and towering penthouses. It’s a race to get as much money as possible and join the others at the top. And your character is stuck in that race as well. 

In terms of setting itself up within the genre of cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2077 certainly gets it right. 

Characters and Citizens of Cyberpunk 2077

The next aspect of our worldbuilding review of Cyberpunk 2077 is the characters and citizens that fill the world. In regards to the characters that V can regularly interact with, you mostly run into fixers, a few love interests, and enemies. When building a world, whether for a tabletop campaign, book, or video game, it’s essential that you keep any characters that the protagonist runs into fresh and interesting. 

Cyberpunk does this to a degree. The fixers, in particular, are well-written. Each one has a personality of their own–although that does tend to become a bit bland and generic when they text you–and feel as though they have actual histories that led them to where they are now. 

One of the issues that CD Projekt Red didn’t handle so well is the love interests. Granted, I come from a love of Bioware and their incredible romance storylines. When another game states that it has love interests, I typically hold Bioware’s love interests as a standard. The problem that Cyberpunk 2077 has with its love interests is that there’s too few. 

This is particularly problematic considering the world the love interests are in. With the many ways to change your body, sex, and appearance as a whole, one would think that the general population would be a bit more open-minded. This isn’t to say that concepts like heterosexuality and homosexuality are erased. After all, people love who people love. The real problem is that there’s just too few love interests and those that are available seem a little too strict in their likes and dislikes than a cyberpunk world should be. 

Again, considering that you can literally change your appearance and gender in a cyberpunk world, concepts like gender and sexuality are pretty moot. Romances should be based on attraction, and for some that might mean a male or female presenting appearance, which is certainly valid. Yet it’d be nice to see a game that chooses to take a long route on the road of romance. 

That’s an entire blog in itself, however, so let’s make this succinct by stating that Cyberpunk 2077 drops the ball with the number of romances. If you don’t like the one character that is attracted to your V, then you’ll just have to tough it out like I did. 

As for the denizens of Night City, Cyberpunk 2077 did a good job here as well. Considering how large the map is and how filled it is with NPCs, the fact that they took the time to create small plots for some NPCs you just happen to walk by is wonderful. It’s these small details that make a world feel alive. 

They also created an array of different characters. Sure, you’re bound to run into familiar faces–sometimes only a freet apart–but who’s to say those two individuals didn’t stop at the same store and buy the same face? You’ll find NPCs of various ethnicities, weight, temperament, and class. 

Stumbling upon some clandestine conversation in a back alley is part of the joy of playing a game with an engrossing world. Creators and worldbuilders should take note of how Cyberpunk 2077 fills its world with minimal characters and gives just enough of them a history and simple plot to make players feel engrossed in the world. 

The Language of Cyberpunk 2077

One aspect of worldbuilding that some beginners forget is language. While English speakers will likely stick to english as the language, you need to also think about slang. Cyberpunk 2077 clearly took great care in considering the slang and language that would exist in its world. Because of that, we can’t help but rate it high on its time spent thinking up new words and slang that makes sense within its world. 

Language changes. How we speak today will not be how we speak a century from now. One only needs to look at our history to see how much our language has changed from the 1800s to today. 

One of the biggest words you’ll hear in Cyberpunk 2077 is Choom. It’s basically a new word for “buddy, dude, friend, man,” and so on. You don’t have to understand where the word Choom comes from or how it came about. It makes sense in the world and enough people use it in the world for it to feel natural.

Cyberpunk 2077 excels at this because it doesn’t give you a dictionary of its new language. The designers and developers expect you to pick it up as you go along. It’s a part of the lore of the world and when it comes to these kinds of things, I certainly prefer that it’s up to the player to feel comfortable with the language rather than just having it explained or having it force-fed to us. 

Lore Delivery in Cyberpunk 2077

The manner in which you uncover the history of the world in Cyberpunk 2077 is perfect. It gives you a few different ways to learn about the world. The first is by listening to the radio or the conversations around you. It informs you about events happening in Night City, the world, and before the events of the game. This is an organic way to learn about the world without making the player feel as though they’re just that–a player in a video game world.

Another way in which Cyberpunk 2077 devs reveal lore is by allowing your character to access the internet and reading up on the news. This also makes sense. The lore is placed on websites that have links to the town’s history as well as the region’s history. Just like you might click on any link on a web page to learn more about what’s happening, this felt like a natural method to learn more for me. You can also choose to sit back in V’s apartment and flip on the TV to learn about the events of the world and of Night City.

Finally, there are certain lore pick-ups that you can find scattered throughout the world that reveals more information. Some may be archived conversations held between a few people. Others are excerpts from biographies, documentaries, and interviews. Placed on items called Shards, you can refer back to whenever you want to review a piece of history. This system is similar to a codex that is popular in a lot of games. 

In regards to lore delivery, Cyberpunk 2077 does a great job of offering different ways to learn about the world. It rewards exploration and uses methods within the world that makes gaining lore feel organic and realistic. 

What Worldbuilders Can Learn From Cyberpunk 2077

There are a few lessons that worldbuilders can take from Cyberpunk 2077. The first is to enrich your characters with a history. When NPCs in your world have a history–even a small and simple one–it can make interacting with them more enjoyable for your players. You may also find that it’s easier to roleplay them. With a set history, you can quickly decide how it would impact the NPC and how it might make them react to certain choices that the players make. At the very least, each of your NPCs will feel different and unique. 

You should also think about inventing slang or vernacular for certain regions within your world. Even if everyone speaks the same language, you can be sure that accents may vary with enough distance and isolation. With accents also likely comes slang that exists in that region that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Using slang words can differentiate your regions and the citizens that reside within them. 

Finally, you should think about the ways in which you deliver your lore. For tabletop games, lore delivery can be difficult. Some of your players may not care. Others may want to know every detail. Using unique ways to explain and deliver may satisfy both parties. In medieval settings, you can always rely on books, plaques attached to statues, or even make a quest that takes your players on a tour of the city. Urban settings set in the modern or future world can mimic Cyberpunk 2077 in releasing lore through news broadcasts, websites, or displaced phones with intact messages. 

What’s Your Review of Cyberpunk 2077

In summary, Cyberpunk 2077 gets a solid 9/10 in terms of the world it created. With a little bit more work done on the love interests, it would have received a solid 10/10. Otherwise, players should prepare themselves to explore a rich and inviting world that offers plenty to do and plenty of fun and interesting characters to meet. If you’re looking for a cyberpunk experience, then Cyberpunk 2077 won’t disappoint. 

What do you think about the world of Cyberpunk 2077? Do you have any suggestions on how they could have made their world and lore better? Let us know in the comments!

Shipwreck Part 2 Battlemap

Part two of our shipwreck battlemap series is here! The battlemap features the Captain’s cabin. With plenty of broken furniture for your adventurers to take cover behind–or become hindered by–what sort of traps and enemies will they encounter? Take a look at the map below and either use it or take inspiration from it!

You can download this Dungeons and Dragons battlemap or tabletop battlemap at the above link. Let us know what happens during your adventure in the comments!

Worldbuilding an Atompunk World

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How to Write an Atompunk World

The next sub-genre of steampunk and cyberpunk that we’ll be exploring is atompunk. When it comes to understanding the aesthetics involved in atompunk, you only need to look at the Fallout series. Yet if you want to put your own spin on atompunk or you’re wondering how you can use it in your tabletop campaign, then here are a few ideas and tips to keep in mind. 

What is Atompunk?

Before you start developing your cities and NPCs, you first need to understand what atompunk actually is. The world of atompunk consists of a style that is called retrofuturistic. It overlaps slightly with dieselpunk in terms of when atompunk is set. Atompunk was first considered in the late 1940s as the war was wrapping up. Where dieselpunk focuses on diesel engines, atompunk instead turned towards an optimistic future based on nuclear power.

The idea behind it was that if humankind was able to split the atom, then they were capable of doing anything. This sense of optimism and ingenuity prompted the early invention of flying cars, technical weapons, and shining cities. 

Atompunk art typically harkens back to the 1950s. In fact, atompunk, itself, features the culture and styles of the late 1940s to 1965. Pin-ups wearing spacesuits and advertising some products are common. 

The clothing of atompunk is another important feature to get right. If you’re someone who likes to offer clothing options for their players, or you need to be sure you can accurately describe atompunk clothing in your book, then you need look no further than clothes that were popular in the 1950s. That means bright colors, modest necklines, and a few space-age twists. 

As anyone who knows 1950s history understands, advertisements were everywhere. With a radio in practically everyone’s home and TVs slowly following suit, companies took advantage of being inside of people’s homes to hawk their wares. The Outer Worlds is another great example of using advertisements to bring your world to life. Considering it was made by the same developers who made Fallout: New Vegas, it’s no wonder that The Outer Worlds did an incredible job of portraying a new kind of atompunk world–one controlled by corporations.

Atompunk Conflicts

Every great campaign or story needs conflict. They can be small in scope or massive. One interesting historical event that you can play with for your campaign is The Cold War. This is a period of time in which subterfuge and stealth were the orders of the day. Set in the world of atompunk, you could still have the main forces be between the United States and USSR if you wish. 

However, you can also bring it a bit closer to home by pitting corporation against corporation. Or perhaps city against city. While atompunk focuses on a utopian society, humanity is anything but capable of handling utopia. You may even have the cold war break out into a hot war that sweeps your characters up into it. 

Because atompunk encompasses a modern setting, your characters may even have jobs. What sort of drama can be found in each of their professions? Are they career-oriented? If so, then you can give them tests and encounters that they need to accomplish in order to please the boss and work their way up the ladder. Modern settings offer an array of new challenges and adventures for your characters to face. Of course, you can still throw in radiated monsters that plague towns on the fringe of society. 

Atompunk Characters

Finally, you’ll need to consider the NPCs that make up your world. Your players or readers will need to either create their own atompunk character or connect to the narrator of your story. When designing NPCs and other characters, it’s important that you understand the culture of atompunk. Because it’s set in the 1950s, there’s an emphasis on good manners, polite language, and the strict structure found within the nuclear family. That means the men are in charge and go to work and the women stay home to take care of the children.

Naturally, you can always put your own spin on this dynamic. Perhaps it’s the opposite. 

The 1950s was also a time when slang was tossed around like no one’s business. You can rely on the staples like “bee’s knees,” “ain’t that a bite,” and “flick,” or you can do your search by looking through The Fifties Web to give you even more ideas. Once your characters start using some of this slang, you can make your world come to life. 

Style was everything in the 1950s. Your characters and NPCs should take their hair and clothes seriously. It was a serious time of “keeping up with the Joneses.” They need the best car, the best house, the best yard, and the best family dog. Appearances are everything. Yet, just like with any restrictive and repressive society, the cracks are likely going to show eventually. How do the NPCs in your world deal with the stress? Drugs? Sex? Good ole rock ‘n roll? 

You can easily develop factions in this world as well. Gangs, mafia, and scientific organizations abound. Don’t forget, too, that this era takes place just after World War 2. Many of your characters, if they were old enough to serve, may have some trauma from the war that puts a damper on their, otherwise, shiny and utopian mindset. 

Create Your Atompunk World Today!

Let us know in the comments the kind of ideas, characters, cities, and encounters that you use for your atompunk world! If you have any other ideas or tips, then let the others know as well!

Shipwreck Battlemap Part 1

Battlemap for a Shipwreck

Today’s Map Monday features a shipwreck! Recently, I had an encounter that took place on a wrecked ship. My players had to navigate their way into the broken ship and discover a way to their target location. They were wise to bring potions of waterbreathing!

This map is part one of a three-part series. Part one, as pictured above, displays the exterior of the ship. Part two and three will be the interior of the ship.

If you want to send your players to a shipwreck, then we hope this map comes in handy! Let us know what happens on your adventure in the comments!