close menu
The Game Master’s World Building Blogs-To-Read List

The Game Master’s World Building Blogs-To-Read List

No matter the genre of RPG you’re the GM for, if you want to give your players the most incredible adventures their characters will ever experience, it’s up to you to provide them with two fundamental things.

“A well-designed and well-run world seems to flow around the adventurers, so that they feel part of something, instead of apart from it.” D&D5E DMG, pg4

A well-designed and well-run world are critical elements for a fun and engaging RPG world. The sourcebooks of your favorite RPGs probably (hopefully) have a chapter dedicated to covering at least the basics, but due to their limited design, they simply can’t cover everything. So let’s take it to the Internet, and allow me to share five epic tier blogs for GMs that’ll help you become master world builders.

World Builder Blog

2017-05-14 22_54_05-World Builder Blog _ Just a man and his homebrew worlds.

World Builder Blog won the 2016 Gold ENnie award for Best Blog, which speaks to the quality of content here. The blog is run by James Introcaso (@JamesIntrocaso), who works as a freelance TV writer and producer when he’s not writing award-winning blog posts.

For the first two years on WBB, Introcaso wrote about his homebrew world of Canus, set in his Exploration Age campaign. Exploration is one of the cornerstones of RPGs, and his blog posts cover the aspect in great and interesting detail. Past topics carry with them an overall attention to the importance of letting players explore and discover your world by their choice. He’s created and written about a plethora of unique creatures, weapons, tools, locations, and other D&D material that make excellent encounter rewards for a party of exploring adventurers.

This year, Introcaso is writing about a new world called Enora the Black Sky, with posts that possess a renewed energy on exploration and the wonderful discoveries that come from it. So if you’re looking for information on how essential exploration is to world building, or how to emphasize exploration in your world, this is the blog to read.

The World Builder’s Inn

2017-05-14 22_56_10-World Builders' Inn

Inns and taverns are classic common locations where players can meet, associate, and collaborate with the NPCs of your world. The World Builder’s Inn takes those same aspects and applies them to building RPG worlds. Gregory Vangilbergen (@BuildersInn) runs the site, and writes posts that mix his original ideas with other ideas resourced from fellow RPGers.

The focus at the Inn is to show GMs that you don’t have to create all new people, places, and things for your world entirely on your own. If you have even just a small idea about something you want to create, you can ‘borrow’ the rest of what’s needed to complete your idea from other RPG sources. The blog doesn’t yet have a great many posts, but within the posts that are here are some insightful world building thoughts and ideas from Vangilbergen and other RPGers, including a two-page adventure called La Meraviglia, crafted from some requested and creative public input.

World Building Academy

WBAbanner2casca1

The majority of RPGs exist in genres that do not include present day modern life, or factual history. The worlds we mostly build and play in are highly fictitious, and yet still have to be believable. Believable fiction is the heart of what the World Building Academy aims to teach.

The World Building Academy is the creation of fantasy and science fiction novelist Deborah Christian (@Teramis). From August 2012 to August 2015, Teramis wrote extensively about the methods of making everything in your world fit perfectly within its genre, while at the same time being something characters and players could understand and accept. Teramis made sure to cover every facet of world building, including politics, music, folklore, history, society, religion, and more. Sadly, Teramis is no longer updating the Academy, but the three years’ of info available here is worthy of researching and using.

Playing D&D With Porn Stars

header_dnd

This blog is from the phenomenal and fascinating mind of Zak Sabbath (@ZakSmithSabbath). Zak has here probably the most distinctive RPG blog I’ve encountered.

If there’s one dominant reason GMs work so hard on our worlds, it’s because we want to create something that’s not yet been created and infuse that world with our own style and spirit. In many respects, world building is an art form, and this blog treats it exactly as such. Since 2009, Zak has written abundantly about his homebrew fantasy world of Vornheim, which contains characters, locations, monsters, and ideals that range from sublime to beyond macabre. He’s also doing the same thing with his newest RPG endeavor, Demon City. Be sure to read up on both for a thorough understanding of the RPG as art mentality.

Mythic Scribes

mythic-header2

“Mythic Scribes is a community of fantasy writers who are passionate about storytelling.” Change just a couple words in that sentence, and you will have the same sentiment about the community of game masters who create RPG worlds. It all comes down to wanting to tell a story.

Storytelling is the GM’s incentive for designing and running an RPG world. And while you don’t have to be an amazing writer, it still helps to know important storytelling techniques that will give your world the solid structure it needs to be built upon. Mythic Scribes is one place to learn that from. The posts, forums, and member portfolios are stocked full of superb articles and information on the art of storytelling, everything from inspiration to the minute details of simple and advanced techniques. Plug Mythic Scribes into your RSS feed so you don’t miss a single post!

World building can be both tremendously fun and a gut-wrenching ordeal. I hope these resources help lessen the ordeal part of it for you and let you experience just as much fun making your world as your players do playing in it.

What are your favorite world building resources? Share them with us in the comments!

Featured image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Image Credits: World Builder’s Inn (screencapped by Teri Litorco), The World Builder’s Blog (screencapped by Teri Litorco), World Building Academy, Playing D&D With Porn Stars, Mythic Scribes

Critical Role

Critical Role One-Shot: Once Upon A Fairytale Cruise

show
Critical Role Fan Art Gallery: Art of the Heist

Critical Role Fan Art Gallery: Art of the Heist

article
Critical Role One-Shot: Trinket's Honey Heist

Critical Role One-Shot: Trinket’s Honey Heist

show