So, if you are like me, and you have been Role Playing for some time, you have probably taken a shot at getting out of the Player chair and going behind the screen to GM a few games. If you are even more like me, you tend to get drafted into the GM spot fairly often. I have been gaming since early high school and I would say that the vast majority of that time has been spent acting as the DM for various incarnations of Dungeons and Dragons adventures.
Once you get that DM bug, it is hard to get it out of your system. I really enjoy this role, but not so much from the time spent at the table. For me, role playing is all in the anticipation, or in this case, the preparation. Being the DM provides a wonderful creative outlet that most players only get through character generation (and playing the game of course).
Let’s say that game prepping for games is an addiction. In my mind there are stages to that addiction. The first stage is getting sucked in, at this point, you are probably using prepared materials such as published adventures. From there, as the game prep addiction takes hold, you begin to make your own min-adventures, stories filled with combat using the monsters you get out of the books you buy. But from there, the addiction grows deeper, you start to tweak these monsters to become a bit more interesting or challenging; then, even deeper, you start home brewing your own monsters that are tailored exactly to your needs and maybe even start building a city near the dungeon for your players to visit and get some good role-playing in.
However, in my mind, the final step in this downward spiral of game preparation and home brew is when you finally decide that the published worlds do not fit your needs and you take it upon yourself to build a fully developed sandbox world that your players can explore and delight in.
I would say that most of us get to this last step pretty quickly.
The addiction that is world building can be a very deadly one, if you don’t do it right, but if you don’t let it overwhelm you, this addiction can be very, very rewarding.
Over the next several weeks, I will be providing some insight regarding world building and the creation of custom homebrew campaign settings. Right now, I am currently in the throes of a project just like this. I will be providing some insight into this process based on what has worked for me, and conversely, the mistakes that I have made that I actually learned something from (because we all know that these are the best kinds of mistakes you can make).
You can follow what I have been doing in my current campaign setting project for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons at my personal blog, The Dump Stat – http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com.
If you would like to contact me, you can reach me via e-mail at: