Campaign Log 01 - Starting to Build a World
Updated: Aug 25
When I started with Penny for a Tale just over a year ago, I thought I would be just a one shot player and that would be that. I love roleplaying games, so why not have a little fun. But Mitchell and I got to talking about all of the fun and obscure games that we’ve played or wanted to play, and I knew I’d met someone who would become a great friend over time. One year later and I play recurring characters in [p4t]’s Age of Ashes and Kult: Black Madonna campaigns, I have been a GM for several one shots, and now, I’m running my first campaign.
I couldn’t make this easy on myself and go with a game that has a world fleshed out, and lore, and all those things that make long term campaigns so satisfying as a player. No, I chose a game by one of my favorite designers that is a set of rules, and a mild setting, Static Dawn. I love the game! The mechanics are easy for me to memorize, the rule book is short (great for me since sitting down to read is difficult for me), and the character creation was a lot of fun. But I forgot the thing that I take for granted in all the games I’ve played previously, world building.
I’m going to bring you along with me as I figure out what I need to write for this game, how I organize it, and present it to my players. This week I’m starting with creating an outline and fleshing it out a little.
Static Dawn has a great system of world building, where you can roll to decide key aspects of the world your story will play out in. I think these are key questions that everyone who is building a world a campaign should consider.
What is the population of your city/ town/ community?
How dense is the population? (Is it a congested major metropolis? A spacious rural community?)
What is the wealth of the population?
How much crime is there?
What kind of government is there?
What is the appearance of the world?
Is the population diverse?
How is the pollution?
How much growth is there?
How do they feel about outsiders?
I think that’s a good jumping off point for now. Building a sandbox for my party to play in is a bit overwhelming, but I’ve got some tools to help me organize all the tangled and chaotic ideas. This includes a program called Archivos, which is a great story development tool for writers of all kinds, including GMs. As I go through and build up this world I will write out things that were helpful to me, and what I struggled with. Share your world building starter ideas in the comments.
Catch our game of Static Dawn - Silicon Zion, on alternate Mondays at 8:30 pm ET on Twitch.tv/pennyforatale