To create a compelling world that feels magical and interesting to players in a role playing game can be daunting, especially if it is your first time as a game master. There are a lot of game systems available including paid virtual tabletop game platforms that feature digitized versions of traditional pen and paper games, or free game platforms like USOR Games that are entirely web-based and feature the ability to create your own world and content based on a pre-existing platform. These systems can help you gain a good understanding of what an interesting fantasy world should be like. Here are some tips to help you create an interesting world for players to play in:
- Determine the layout of the world – create a map
Mapping out the world will help give a concrete sense to both the game master and players of where the story will take place and what the geography and environment of the world is like.
You can draw your own map, download a free one from public domain websites, or use existing maps from a game system you are currently using.
- Decide the setting of your world.
Since imagination is all you need to create an interesting world, the possibilities are limitless provided the game system you are using can accommodate your ideas. It can be created in a historical setting such as medieval times or the stone age. Or, it can set in the far future such as mankind in outer space. It can even be a modern setting. It is completely up to you. Players often pick the game they want to play based on the setting alone. So, make it an interesting one.
- Set the mood of the world
While the first two steps describes the physical aspects of the world, mood is important too.
Is this a dark, dystopian world that is very serious and gritty? Is it a wonderous and beautiful world full of magic and mystery? Or is it a light and comical world?
A setting is nothing without the proper mood to accompany it.
Different values in the world will influence characters’ behaviors and even the character creation process.
- Make your world consistent
A world can be fun and creative but it must also have a consistent and recognizable set of rules to it. This will let players know what kind of environment to expect and gives them the chance to let their characters logically interact with the world. If you created a chaotic and lawless world, events and characters within it should behave accordingly. Alternatively, an organized and civilized world will have dire consequences for characters that frequently do not adhere to its strict rules and laws. Either way, players should be made aware of these rules in advance as their characters may have been living in this world for their entire lives but the players certainly haven’t. It is unwise for a game master to assume that any given player will know exactly how the rules of a given world will operate.
- Be spontaneous with story telling.
Story is what makes life interesting. While rules can keep consistency, a good plot in story telling can create unpredictability and twists and turns necessary to keep players engaged with the game. A good game master can craft a story that is so full of suspense and excitement that players will want to keep playing the game for days, months, and even years in the future. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous!
There are many great role-playing games out there within which a compelling world can be created. We encourage you try them out for yourself. Also, you can try this link to create your own world for free at USOR Games.
Good luck and enjoy!