Practicing the art and skill of building worlds.

Posts tagged “worldbuilding

Worldbuilding Day 3: Mood and Setting

30 Days of Worldbuilding: Day 3

This is one of those exercises that can be difficult to apply to a large setting with varying moods and atmospheres. In a case like that, you might want to divide your setting into a few “sub-settings” and do this for each one. In some cases, there’s just really no way to make this fit. Them’s the breaks.

An elf markswoman from the Wesnoth fantasy set...

It's not that kind of fantasy. For once. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My “climate list” is built with high fantasy wilderness adventuring in mind (because let’s be honest here — I do everything with high fantasy wilderness adventuring in mind) so it’s really not a big use to me in this project.

I want this campaign to be set in a huge metropolis in an area where I can get a good mix of weather — snow in the winter time, maybe heat in the summer. I’m wanting there to be a large body of water nearby, as well. A general sort of overcast would be a plus, since my concept is a tad morbid overall.

For once, it’s not terribly important to me to be geographically accurate. Maybe one day I’ll world map this thing, but for now, I’m content to keep it contained.

Just for fun, I’m going to do the exercise at the bottom. What kind of atmosphere do I want to give my players?

  • Adjective: run-down
  • Adjective: dark
  • Verb: investigate
  • Noun: city

According to the exercise, there are pine forests in my future. Maybe I can work with that, haha!

What kind of atmosphere do you like to give your settings? Does it vary by story or campaign, or is there a particular one that you like best?


Worldbuilding Day 2: Physical Planet

30 Days of Worldbuilding: Day 2

“Physical Planet” is kind of a funny name to give an exercise that deals primarily with weather, but oh well. Day 2 is another exercise that you only have to do once if you want to — making a list of weather-related plot devices.

My new setting, though, is throwing me a curveball — Morbid Magics takes place in a relatively modern city! What kind of weather-related plot devices are applicable to that kind of setting?

  • Flooding — makes travel difficult, damages property
  • Snowstorm — makes travel difficult, fun day in the snow, trapped out in the cold
  • Heat wave — annoying, AC broken down, heat stroke
  • Fog — good for sneaking around, getting lost in the fog and ending up somewhere unexpected
  • Thunderstorm — power is knocked out, fear of lightning strike, dangerous while in a boat

I don’t really like this exercise (I’m so bad at it, hah…) and I have plenty of resources on the subject, so I’m going to leave off at 5. Hmm? What’s that? But I was supposed to do 10? It’s my 30 Days and I’ll do what I like with it! And I recommend that you do the same. If an exercise is boring or doesn’t seem applicable to the world you want to make, skip it. If you feel like you need to do it later, do it later. This isn’t school. Have fun.

It’s really more important to build a list of these than it is to come up with them yourself. If you find yourself at a loss, check out Wikkid Woman’s excellent list of weather-related plot devices and of course, TVTropes’ list of weather and environmental tropes.

Can you think of any interesting weather-related plot devices?

Worldbuilding Day 1: Climate and Variety

30 Days of Worldbuilding: Day 1

Climate zones of the world

Climate zones of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 1 of 30 Days of Worldbuilding is an exercise in relating different types of climates to words that describe what sort of feeling or atmosphere that climate provides.

For this exercise, you only have to really do it once. No matter how many worlds you build, this is probably going to yield similar results. It might be a good idea to keep a list like this (and update it from time to time) as a reference for later worldbuilding projects.

For me, I’m going to take the results from a previous time that I went through this and go over it to see if anything needs clarifying or changing — it’s been a year or two, and perceptions change over time.

  • Arctic/Tundra — lonely, empty, stark
  • Swamp/Marsh — lost, scary
  • Mountains — sharp, hostile
  • Savannah — wild, hunted
  • Desert — hot (heh), exhausting, endless
  • Jungle — paranoia, exciting, exotic
  • Forest — mysterious, adventure
  • Pine Forest — dark, dangerous
  • Tropical Beach — relaxing, breezy, fun

Do you think I missed any important climates? What kind of impressions do they leave on you?


As an aside, it has been brought to my attention that has a series of articles on worldbuilding! I don’t know how good they are, but they generally have some neat stuff, so let’s check it out sometime. One must wonder how I missed it.


30 Days of Worldbuilding

30 Days of Worldbuilding

Don’t be fooled by the humble (well… wince-worthy) site — this is a great resource for anyone who has trouble figuring out where to go from their initial concept.

30 Days of Worldbuilding does not necessarily take 30 days — some steps can be skipped, and some combined. Some involve some reading, but only take about 15 minutes of actual work; others take a few hours of full-blown creativity. All in all, it is fun and low-stress, and I highly recommend it.

I thought this would be a good link to start the blog with, since for my first series of posts, I’ll be going through 30 Days of Worldbuilding with my new world concept, under the category Morbid Magics. Other runs through 30 Days of Worldbuilding, should I post them, will be under the world’s category as well as under the 30 Days of Worldbuilding category.