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Building Worlds 2


Worldbuilding is essential to good roleplaying, regardless of the genre or medium. It creates the context for the player characters and their adventures. The information necessary to understand antagonist motivations, story goals, and the stakes, are all tied up in elements that have been established and explained. Your specific worldbuilding elements make your setting unique.

Throughout the system-neutral toolkit series, I’ve been an advocate for worldbuilding with a purpose. While creating a setting can be a fun activity in its right, it can quickly spin out of control. When working on the campaign background, it can turn into a distraction. You can cut down on preparation time by focusing only on the details necessary to provide a feel for the world. Give the player characters a connection to the game through the elements you create for their origins, motivations, and goals. Develop only as much as is essential to generate the conflicts that support the adventures you intend to run.

This book assumes that you’ve already got the broad strokes down and are looking to fill in the details. You want to develop the things that create interest, support some degree of immersion, and help establish an emotional connection between your players and the world, its characters, and its adventures. The prompts in this book provided will serve as food for thought, asking questions that you can answer your way at the comfort level and degree of detail of your choosing.

This book includes:

  • Setting Matters: How you intend to use the world has significance to the building process. The scope of the campaign you intend to run will affect the level of detail you need.
  • Fundamentals: This section covers a broad overview of worldbuilding processes. It discussed fundamental setting elements like genre, place and time, tone, and even the theme of the adventures you plan to run.
  • Nature: The core elements of the physical world, including geography, climate, and life forms, as covered in this section. The choices you make here can affect everything else in your setting.
  • History: Key events that have happened in your world’s past will help to shape what the setting is like in the player characters’ present day. It can also create the context for those characters and their adventures.
  • Culture: Ethnicity, species, and even national identities will develop within your world. There are religions, traditions, and politics to consider. Work out what makes one culture in your world distinct from another.
  • Community: People band together in various ways for common and predictable reasons. The communities and within your world influence character backstories and plot hooks.
  • Infrastructure and Economy: Money makes the world go around, no matter what genre or context you’re using. This section fleshes out how people use and manage resources.
  • Daily Life: As you develop your world, you’ll establish what an average day looks like for the regular people that live in it. This category includes all facets of ordinary living.
  • Individuals: No matter how you plan to use the world you create, the details will affect the player characters. This section covers how the setting can inform their backgrounds.
  • Wonders: Whether your world has magic, superpowers, or advanced technology, you’ll need to know how those wonders work. This section covers the potential impacts that unusual items and abilities can have on the rest of your world.
  • Characters and Worlds: A look at how the question and elements within interact with the player characters, antagonists, and supporting cast of your setting.
  • Adventures and Worlds: How adventures and campaigns might inform your worldbuilding and vice-versa. The two must work together for the best roleplaying experience.
  • Systems and Worlds: Ways that game mechanics provide opportunities and limitations to worldbuilding. Work with the system for the best expression of your ideas.

System-Neutral Toolkits

Building Worlds 2 is part of a line of system-neutral creative aids for all tabletop roleplayers. Use these bestselling books with any system, genre, or setting. Adapt and apply them to any game. Each volume focuses on one element, like character development, worldbuilding, or adventure design.

Lightspress Media

Lightspress Media is a tabletop roleplaying company with a lo-fi approach. Utility of content takes precedence over ostentatious production value. Graphic elements should enhance the message of the text, not act as page filler and eye candy. Physical books need to be compact, portable, and sturdy. This minimalist aesthetic results in powerful toolkits that are both useful and affordable. After all, tabletop roleplaying isn’t the book. It’s the creativity and collaboration that takes place around the tabletop. Our mission is to give you as much as you need, then get out of your way.

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Berin K December 17, 2020 2:17 pm UTC
A print-on-demand version is in the works. Everything moves at the speed of pandemic, printers, and postal carriers.
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File Last Updated:
May 03, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on December 17, 2020.