Planning A New World

New year, new projects! I wanted to start planning a new world from scratch so that I can explore a different genre and learn some new worldbuilding techniques.

These are the steps I took when preparing my new African Fantasy world, Orubia.

I took some inspiration from World Anvil‘s video on Tips For Starting a New World, in which Janet recommends planning out six key aspects of your world before getting stuck in. These are: motivation, genre, scale, mood, theme and conflict. I grabbed my trusty notebook and scribbled down a few ideas.

Motivation

I want to work on this new world for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s my favourite creative hobby! I love doing worldbuilding for fun! Secondly, I want to set up this world as a setting for a D&D5e campaign. I’m very new to RPGs and I want to learn more about the game at my own pace, so I’ll be including GM’s notes, monster stat blocks and dice rolls to all of the articles in my world. Lastly, I will use this new worldbuilding project as an opportunity to showcase my creative skills and improve in different areas as I go!

Genre

I’m going to play to my strengths here and stick with good old fantasy, BUT I’d rather not do the usual medieval/renaissance european settings that we all know and love. This time, I’ll be exploring a genre mash of African Fantasy, high magic and dinosaurs, in a vibrant and colourful world.

Scale

The scale of this worldbuilding will be limited to a large tropical region, from the edge of a great desert, spanning across a savannah teeming with life (and dinosaurs), all the way through the fringes of the lush deep jungles.

Mood

I want my world to be full of colourful environments and culture. With this in mind it would not fit well with a grimdark setting, and I’d like to keep things fairly positive and go with a Neutral or Noble Bright setting.

Theme

One of the main themes of my world will be magic vs technology, as the natives have always had a great deal of magic in their lives and have not needed to develop their technology.

Conflict

Gnolls (hyena-like creatures) have crossed the desert and are invading the native fertile lands. They are finding it difficult to defeat magic with brute force alone and are having to rapidly develop their technology to overcome this…

In addition to this basic conflict idea, I revisited Guy the Great GM’s video on campaign plots, as he explains a fantastic method of creating conflicts in a setting. Using his template, I came up with the following opening sentence:

“Gnolls want to conquer Orubia before their leader dies and are having trouble achieveing this using their own forces alone because the native settlements are heavily defended with magic users and tamed dinosaurs.”

Exploring this further, I realised that the Gnolls would need to develop their technology in order to combat the use of magic, and so – steampunk gnolls began to emerge.


The next steps

Now that I have the absolute basics for my world, I will be gathering some visual inspiration, exploring the theme and genre further and then setting up my world on World Anvil!

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