Worldbuilding for GMs

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minibit, Aug 5, 2013.

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  1. It can be stifling to play in a world with too many rules and not enough room for creativity.

    On the other hand, if it's too unstructured, the world can become confusing as the story goes on and new players with new interpretations of how things work join the game


    • How specific do you like a game-master to be when designing a universe? Give examples

    • Do you like a roleplay to start with everything set out and designed, or do you prefer to figure things out as they come up?

    • Do you like the GM to assemble everything, or do you prefer players to throw ideas out and have them added to the roleplay's canon?
  2. I prefer a GM to specify the types of people, level of technology, and level of fantasy available in the world, but not to have every single country or ethnic group listed out. To be specific, let's say there's a world where Elves & Humans are the two primary races, though there are a few Fae endemic to the enchanted forest. Humans have progressed to steampunk tech, but Elves are still strictly middle ages, though they make up for it with the usage of magic, which humans are incapable of. The real masters of magic are the Fae, but they are almost completely uncivilized and have no real tech to speak of. This lets me introduce a character from an ethnic group and background of my choosing, but one who won't be technologically/magically dissimilar to xir peers.

    I want to know where I'm starting and where I'm going, but not what happens in between. For example, I'd love a plot that sets up our characters as adventurers meeting in a tavern, who will eventually find the lost staff of king whatsisface. A plot with the open-ended "our characters are like totally adventurers lulz" without any direction could be annoying as it means everyone will be competing to have their ideas be heard, but it's equally annoying to have every stop of the journey planned out so there can't be anything unexpected. I think of it kinda like planning a road trip. It's fun if you know your start and finish, but if you have to be certain places at the exact minute, you're gonna have a bad time thanks to traffic, roadside opportunities, and just life in general.

    It's the GM's job to lay out the skeleton of the world and the plot, and then to let players bring it to life. If the player is just a puppetmaster, it's shallow roleplaying without the full depth adding to the universe can provide. But if there's not a basic canon already in place and one person to steer it, it's just collaborative writing and not really roleplaying at all.
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