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Monday, May 23, 2011

Free "World Building" Tools

This weekend I started doing a little bit of prep work for a paper and pencil fantasy RPG I hope to run in the fall or spring. Yeah, it takes me a while to prepare...

Which is why a couple of tools I found online are so cool! They help cut a ton of time (and potential cost!) out of building a world for your paper and pencil RPG campaign.

The first is a Town Generation Tool. More accurately, a town population tool. Just feed this online tool some info about the town you want to populate. Choose from options including size, military level, setting, alignment, economy, and political type. Then with one click your town is populated with numerous types of characters of appropriate levels, stats and abilities, each with their own name! Populate courtyards, taverns and merchant districts instantly!

Of course populating a town without any kind of physical setting is a bit pointless. So for town maps you can download this City Map Generator, which allows you to instantly create town maps after feeding it some basic information (population, setting, etc).

Free dungeon adventures are pretty easy to find, so these two tools have been an awesome way to help me create a campaign world without spending any money. And yet I still need all those other details to come together in order to have a world that's sufficiently realized for my players when they emerge from their latest dungeon crawl.

Unless you already read novels associated with a fantasy campaign setting (Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, etc.), reading campaign books can be lengthy and boring. (Especially for a guy like me who reads fantasy primarily for the story and characters, not the world they live in.) But the wild world of Wiki's, (and the help of tools like those above) makes it possible to create a campaign world for free without spending time and money on products that give you WAAAY more information than you need.

RPG video game wiki's can be a great source for world-building. Adventure in the world of Dragon Age or see what might happen in Cyrodil between Elder Scrolls 4 and 5! And if you want the world to be your own without putting in all the work, just take the ideas, change the names of places, gods and people and presto! A new(-ish) fantasy world for you and your players!

Dragon Age Wiki

Elder Scrolls Wiki

Forgotten Realms Wiki

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