Experience Points: World Building 101
Welcome to the first ever entry into the Experience Points blog. This will be the new home for all my reflections on narrative in fiction, games, and more. Right now I’m working with the kickass creator of Open Legend RPG to bring Amaurea’s Dawn to life along with some real life legends.
Let’s level up our world building.
World Building is not the place to immortalize your playgroups adventures into legend, get revenge on your ex, or give every NPC an anagram of your own name - no matter how tempting. And whatever you do, please don’t give me a story.
If you’ve already told the story of your world --what’s left for the players? World building when it’s at it’s best begins a story and then leaves the juiciest parts for the players to explore.
When you develop a world, you’re creating the context and tools for conflict to arise. You can and should weave potential stories in with the history and current institutions, but ultimately the GM and the players will write the story. You’re creating the armaments for storytelling, not waging the war. Give them with vivid details, cultural quirks, and enough tension to all but guarantee a clash of ideals or armies.
Anticipate and create space for players and GMs alike to imagine and create alongside you. Don’t hog the narrative.
If Frodo already dropped the One Ring into Mount Doom then you don’t really need to gather the Fellowship, do you? Find the end of your stories and then pull them as far back as you can until you’re back in the Shire and there’s a knock on the door. Or consider this. How close to the edge of Mount Doom can your stories start?
The adventure begins.
Thanks for checking out Experience Points. Share your experiences on Twitter or send me a line via good ol’ fashioned email. Be sure to check out Open Legend if you’re looking for a new set of rules to spice up your adventures. It’s free! I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on with you all when the Kickstarter of Amaurea’s Dawn kicks off October 18th!
P.S. I have to admit writing a story that takes place after the One Ring is destroyed and Frodo sails off into retirement and all the heroes return home but they no longer fit into their old lives actually sounds like a great prompt. We’ll explore that idea in a future Experience Points.