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- Don’t stress out.
- Your players are going to surprise you, so don’t railroad them, and embrace it when they don’t go where you thought they would.
- Let them feel like their characters are alive, and make sure that their choices matter.
- The story is the thing, so reward good role playing. Sometimes you don’t need to make the dice the final arbiter of things.
- Play regularly, like once a week, to keep the momentum going.
- Have fun!
Good basic advice. Let the players tell their part of the story, even if they take the plot in unexpected directions.
Nothing says “I love my friends” like spending all week planning the campaign session it will take them all of fifteen minutes to completely derail.
God.. You are so very right.
Sometimes. I’m fortunate in that they don’t actively _want_ to derail my campaign session.
A rare and beautiful gift…
HEY WRITERS OF ALL KINDS AND AGES AND MAYBE EVEN DNDERS OR TABLETOP GAMERS ARE YOU READY FOR SOMETHING SUPER RAD? I HOPE SO ‘CAUSE
EDITING FEATURES AVAILABLE
IT DOESN’T REALLY DO LAND MASSES OR ANYTHING BUT IT SURE AS HELL WILL MAP THAT CITY/VILLAGE/SHIP/DUNGEON/WHATEVER THAT YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO MAP OUT FOR YOU
You know, for some reason, I don’t think that would work out too well.
When it comes to world building, I am less experienced than others you might find. However, in the worlds that I have built, I find it important to allow the players to find what they will find to be interesting and search more based on that interest rather than my attempting to tour guide the points of interest.
There are things that I know are cool, because I know my players and that they will find such places/events “cool”. Then there’s the rest of the world. Perhaps the players will be really interested in Shrine A as opposed to Cave B, despite my efforts to steer them towards the cave.
In the end, I’ve found the best thing to do (and unfortunately the most work for you, specifically) is to craft everything with the same amount of detail. Make your world have a distinct history, and understand every moving piece to such a degree that you can answer questions about anything.
Then, put your players in the middle, saddled directly next to a point of interest that can reasonably hook the group, and allow their minds to wander.
They might not be interested in everything. They probably won’t be interested in everything. However, the parts that they are interested in will be ultimately rewarding for them as a player, and for you as a creator.
My two big tips for world-building:
1) Neither the players nor their characters ought to know the world. Think about it: you don’t know the whole world you live in. You probably know a great deal about your house, a little less about your neighborhood, still less about your town, even less about your country, and your actual knowledge of the entire world could barely fill a thimble. This should be reflected in any player character: they know a lot about their immediate surroundings at the beginning of an adventure, and almost nothing about the world outside. Cultures, countries, languages, professions, geography, history, mathematics, you and I and every other average person knows just enough to survive. A level 1 character should know maybe just a little less (unless they’re playing a high-Int mage/sorceror/scholar type). Let the players discover along with their characters.
2) Let the players build it, too. It’s so tempting to just charge ahead and construct every government, capital, religion, pantheon, culture, map, city, and forest. But since the players SHOULD know their immediate surroundings, let them build off of that.
The 4th Ed d&d campaign I ran a few years back was largely based upon this. Before we got started, I asked the folks that were going to be playing what their plans were for race & class. Several of them had already started working on backstories (Wizard school droupout, Tree-hugging hippy ranger, etc). I used their backstories to build the world, making it as much theirs as it was mine.
They didn’t need to know everything going on every continent, they just needed to know that they felt over-taxed because of some longstanding war with a country they barely knew anything about, or that the slave trade was technically illegal but nobody was going to do anything about it in this part of the country. They only knew the parts it made sense for their characters to know. The rest they got to discover as we played.