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The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal $6.95 $5.75
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/22/2016 09:49:26

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this product for the purpose of this review. I did not receive any of the physical versions.

All right, let's dive right into this, shall we? This product is Fat Goblin Games' worldbuilding set, most valuable for Game Masters and anyone else who wants to create their own place for adventures. As a secondary function, it's also good for novelists, scriptwriters, and other people who need to create a fictional land for any reason.

Now, this product contains several files. The first file I opened was the "Form Fill" version, which is basically a shorter version of the main content that can be edited on your computer. (You'll probably want to create a duplicate of the file first, of course.) This is essentially a 57-page notebook that you can fill out and reference as-needed, even going as far as to print it out and reference it at a table or give to your players so they can know more about the world. A do-it-yourself campaign setting book, as it were. The content covers everything from how many hours in a day to seasonal festivals, world history, deities, major geographical features, and more. Basically, it's all of the nitty-gritty details that help bring a world to life.

There's also a blank, non-fillable version if you want to print it out and then write details in.

The other main file is... big. It's an 840-page(!) tome, and so massive as a journal that it actually has its own table of contents. It's broken down into ten chapters. The first is an overview of the world, and is followed by eight blank copies of regions and kingdoms (comprising the huge bulk of the content) before wrapping up with a make-your-own-appendix section, allowing for things like custom maps and random encounter tables. I repeat - this is basically a blank campaign setting book, and you are totally expected to write things into it. The sheer bulk of this is why the non-PDF versions are so expensive - I have other RPG books of comparable size to the physical version of this, and seriously, it's probably going to shake any table you drop it on.

Did you think we were done? Nope! There's one more part to all of this file. In addition to all of the above, the digital version includes single sheets (which are fillable on the computer) for when you only want to discuss certain things. For example, maybe you want to print and bind a journal for your players but take out things like legendary items, adventures and plots, and random encounter tables. These help with that, and they're a very nice touch.

Now, clearly, this product isn't for everyone. Worldbuilding is one of the most challenging parts of creativity, and people have different preferences for how they do it. This is a version for people who like writing things down - or at least typing things into forms and printing it off. Now, I'm going to be frank with you - you probably shouldn't get any of the versions that don't include the PDFs. At the moment, it's a $2 difference (this may or may not change - I don't control the pricing!), and having extra copies of things you can print out is well worth the cost. Even if you don't think you'll need it, it's good as a backup.

For those who are looking to dip their toes into worldbuilding, the digital version of this is an outstanding value. You're getting literally over a thousand pages in PDF form, although in practice, you're probably going to focus on the form-fillable versions so you can write out your ideas, delete them, write them out again, edit them, and come back to totally change them again at a later point when you have a flash of inspiration. It's also a good way to make sure your ideas will actually fit if you ever decide to get the full tome and write them in.

Ultimately, I feel this product is very solid at what it sets out to do, and it's particularly good for GMs who want to pass out information to players or have a hefty sheaf of notes for themselves. It's not the method I personally use - I prefer Realm Works - but I recognize a useful product when I see it. If you want to have stuff printed at your table, this is a good way of doing it. I'm giving it 5 stars because I feel like it does exactly what it sets out to do, but this is fundamentally a creative aid - it does some of the work for you by separating things into sections and encouraging you to think about them, but ultimately, you'll have to invest the time in filling things out if you want to get the full value from this product. Of course, if you're like me and you enjoy worldbuilding, a lot of that time is going to be fun. Basically, it's what you make of it, and you should know that going in.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
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