This is always the most difficult part of any project, isn’t it? No matter how many campaigns I run, songs I put together, crafts I craft… It never gets easier to actually take that first step.
Seriously, those two sentences took one episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt each to get out. Anyway, this is hopefully going to be a place for me to put new maps and resources as I run games and build my current world, Alsa, which you can see a political map of below.
A crappy scan of the known world of Alsa.
This world was created to be a fresh start for my game group as we picked up the new(ish) Dungeons & Dragons 5e system. I was rather familiar with 3.5 and Pathfinder, and some more obscure systems like Tephra, but 5e just intrigued me with its intense emphasis on character background and development. I wanted a world that was more vast for my PCs to explore as they increased in power that would have lore natively compatible with the new D&D system and that had a wide range of cultures, geographies, and climates so that they could take advantage of this more story-driven system and a variety of settings.
When I made the decision to start work on a new world I was playing Minecraft. Now, we all know that one of the core features of Minecraft is its random terrain generation; it was actually the feature that drew me to the game back in the days of Infdev. I decided rather than using some of the methods I had used in the past to generate islands, and continents, and worlds (dice rolls, random squiggles, donjon) that I would make a new world in Minecraft, craft a very big map, and trace that for the coastlines and mountain ranges of my fictional world. I had to try a few seeds, usually just a string of random letters, before I found one that I liked (and had enough ocean biomes to look like continents) and I eventually settled on “also” which became Alsa, the name of this new tabletop world.
So cool, I’ve got my land masses. Now what do I do? At this point one has to ask themselves, “why am I making this world, and why would someone use this instead of another one?” Fortunately I had already answered that question; I want this world to be natively compatible with the 5e system, but I want it to have unique lore and add a depth to certain aspects of the system that might not be there in the core books. This means I need origin stories and home locations for every race/subrace, I need cultures to populate these spaces that fit in with said origin stories, and I need these cultures to not only be compatible with the information in the core rulebooks for 5e while also adding more depth to that information.
Next time I’ll explain how I approached those goals and give you some actual information on what those random splotches of color are on that political map! DFTBA – Joe
EDIT: Here’s a threshold adjusted version with higher saturation, if you prefer that kind of thing…