Wednesday, August 24, 2011

World Building: The Basics

First of all, not everything I'm planning to use in this world has been released under the Open Gaming License (OGL). I'd rather avoid any possible legal problems, so I'll try to avoid being too descriptive on non-OGL material. A searchable database of what is covered is available here.

Now that that's out of the way, there's a little back story before we get started. While attending Emerald City Gamefest in Fall of 2009, I played in a Pathfinder adventure run by Seattle-based author Erik Scott de Bie. The shear creativity exhibited inspired me to concoct my own world. I will admit, some of this is inspired by my experience with his game but over time my ideas have morphed into an independent creation. And I plan on naming a major NPC after him. I'm really hoping he decides to publish the setting.

Overview of the world:
The campaign I'll run will focus on a land we'll call "Gygax" for now. Fifteen years ago, the human king was overthrown. Whether it was a baby son or daughter smuggled out in the night, or a distant relative of the king, rumors that an heir to the throne still exists are not uncommon. I realize that this invokes several common tropes, but it adds some tension and drama to the world.

At the time of the revolution and ensuing civil war, the king was advised by several wizards. When an extended drought hit the land (may become an earthquake, volcanic eruption, flood, or some combination thereof), the citizens looked for someone to blame these problems on. Troublemakers directed that public ire toward the aloof wizards. My working reason is that the instigators claimed certain deities were blocking the rain since magic is an "unnatural abomination." The fear of job loss due to these tireless magical golems recently developed by the politically-powerful wizards pushed the general apprehension toward magic into a pure frenzy of hatred. When this coup succeeded, casting spells or possessing magic items became punishable by death. Anyone using spell-like abilities faces the same punishment. A few casters are allowed to go about their business as clerics of certain deities. The nature of these deities have yet to be determined.

When we return to the world building series, races that are staples of the D&D product line are put under the microscope. Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, Gnomes, and others find their roles in society.

Next week, I anticipate a Search for Shiv post.
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