World building: Why

This afternoon, whilst sat on a train, I was pondering (as one does) on how I could achieve any of the way-too-many projects I’m juggling in my head, and how I’d love to get back into writing more again.

In case people don’t know, this is not my first or most prolific blog. But it has, much like its Eve Online-based counterpart fallen oddly quiet. I more often than not use this little corner of the interwebs as a kind of ‘dumping ground’ of my random musings, game related stuff, work rants (ohh so many work rants…), and general shenanigans.

But one of the reasons writing anything down tends to fall by the wayside for me is because I am always working on something.

Emotional nonsense stuff follows. Thus ends the disclaimer – feel free to skip the next paragraph if you want a less baggage-laden read.

I’m not a very happy person. Unless I’m busy. It doesn’t matter what I’m busy with, as long as it’s enjoyable for me. It operates as a decent distraction, and works in essentially the same way as a lot of drugs: escapism, (sometimes) euphoria and (obviously) addiction. So keeping busy is good, and if you ever ask me how I’ve been, and my response is “busy”, then it’s a better sign than you might be thinking.

So… back to the something. Why it took me this long to work out a solution, I’m not sure, but my intention now is to document whatever crazy scheme I am cooking up to keep myself in that lovely state of “being busy”. Yes – actually write about what I’m up to; not get upset that I’m not writing anything anymore. I’m a genius!

Which leads on to the real point of this post…

World building

That was a hell of a preamble, no?

About a year ago, I started playing the excellent Dragon Age: Inquisition, and being the jump-the-gun kind of fellow I am, I started wondering about porting the world of Thedas into a tabletop roleplaying ruleset. D&D 5e had just come out and was gaining very good reviews, so I latched onto that. Little did I know that a game system for Origins already existed and an updated version was already in the works – d’oh!

This led to a bit of stagnation for me. I wanted to create something that could be open source, but I definitely didn’t want to end up stepping on anyone’s toes. Least of all anyone with an official licence to use the IP. Plus, porting over rules and systems for magic in Thedas… I could already foresee that this would be giving me a headache.

So rather than attempting to massage one world into the 5th edition rules, I decided instead to craft my own world and build up a campaign using the core rules.

Making this switch has given me a lot more freedom to be creative with my world and my storytelling, since I don’t need to worry so much about a lot of fiddly details. Having a highly active community of both players and DMs, as well as masses of source materials to feed off means that I never need to worry about things. Things like how would The Fade fit in with the various planes of D&D?

And so, I want this to be a series of entries about my process for world building. I imagine that a fair chunk of it will be visual, since I am currently ploughing a lot of hours into map making. But I want to document the process, since this is all entirely new for me, and that means if I can do it, anyone can! 🙂


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