D&D General Your favorite ways for players to participate in world building?

Which are your favorite ways for players to participate in world building?


BookTenTiger

He / Him
That's why you shouldn't establish too much information. You can't--even in principle--establish everything. Establish only what is needful, what is useful, and keep loose and flexible with the rest.


Only if you try to fill in every inch of the map. You might be surprised how liberating it is to, as they say, "draw maps, leave blanks."


Why not? I'm genuinely curious. I do this all the time, both because Dungeon World tells me to, and because I enjoy doing it. Sure, a lot of the setup came from working with the players, but (for example) the good-guy thieves' guild organization, the Silver Thread, only came into existence because the Bard said that's the group he ran with back before his family got their big break.

As long as the expectation isn't incredibly over-dramatic, it's almost always possible to get it in. Yes, the player should have realistic expectations, but "realistic expectations" is a very weak requirement in most cases.
I think there are just different styles of DMing. Some like to spend time fully detailing their world, others find joy in building it "live" during the campaign.

I'm definitely a blank map DM. I usually figure out the starting location and a few key features of the campaign world, and then fill the rest in as we play. During Session 0 I'll plop some guild halls, temples, or cities onto the map based on character backgrounds or backstories. I really enjoy the collaborative, improvised feel of building the setting as we go!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I think there are just different styles of DMing.
Oh sure, not all methods are for all people. I'm just responding to what sounds like excessive skepticism about the very idea of the whole "draw maps, leave blanks" approach--that it's mostly unworkable or only works in an extremely limited and narrow sense.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Oh sure, not all methods are for all people. I'm just responding to what sounds like excessive skepticism about the very idea of the whole "draw maps, leave blanks" approach--that it's mostly unworkable or only works in an extremely limited and narrow sense.
Oh I have no issues with the draw maps leave blanks conceptually but (and i say this as someone who doesn’t DM (or even get to play)) I value a setting that is constructed coherently and with deliberation and intent, and there being blank spots that will be filled with anything someone wants to be there because it’s free space to create in runs counterproductively to that in my mind.

Having a single architect to turn all the world building ideas into a single product is preferable IMO as they know what all the cards on the table are and how they relate to one another, a player while having no ill intent when they ask ‘hey can i put a thieves guild here’ does not know what adding that would mean for anything else in that city.

EDIT: i'd much rather the situation of 'hey DM, is there a thieves guild available in the world for my backstory?' 'not currently but i can find an appropriate place to fit one in somewhere for you,' rather than 'hey DM, i took the liberty of inserting a thieves guild into this city for my backstory' 'what? that city? one of the most notoriously strict law enforcing places in the continent?' 'uh, i didn't know that but sure, just figure it out for me somehow'
obviously exaggerated but you get the point
 
Last edited:

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I think there are just different styles of DMing. Some like to spend time fully detailing their world, others find joy in building it "live" during the campaign.

I'm definitely a blank map DM. I usually figure out the starting location and a few key features of the campaign world, and then fill the rest in as we play. During Session 0 I'll plop some guild halls, temples, or cities onto the map based on character backgrounds or backstories. I really enjoy the collaborative, improvised feel of building the setting as we go!
This sounds like me, main area is fairly well detailed, but areas outside that might just have some sort descriptor, I have a continent which is effectively "Here be giants". It ties into the backgeound of my world, but doesnt need much in the way of detail, unless the players undertake a sea voyage...
 

aco175

Legend
I would love to have some backstory to weave into the main plot along the way, but it hardly happens. If I run a campaign book, then the whole plot is there for levels 1-15 or whatever and it becomes harder to weave something in. The other problem is that a lot of the PCs come from far away and their whole family is dead from whatever and now they are all alone in the world.

I wonder if I look for a background starter to hand out to the players. It could have something where they list a friend, family, enemy, etc... Then I would have more to go on.
 

DrunkonDuty

he/him
For years I've been encouraging players to contribute to the world building. With mixed results. But my current game is going very well (except for the scheduling.)

For my current campaign our session 0 was a brainstorm about the game and the game world. What sort of adventures were wanted. Level of seriousness. Themes. And of course diegetic things such as organisations, individuals, the sort of supernatural beings that exist.

Then with character creation the players got to add more details - NPCs, places, organisations, etc. from their backgrounds.

This all went very well. Everyone had fun doing it. Everyone has been very happy with the results.

During play people have thrown out ideas for NPCs, some new, some pre-existing, that have been incorporated.

Our last session wasn't even gaming per se. We had a chat about things we were liking. What other things they would like to see. What they'd like less of.

Doing this has really increased player buy-in for the game. :cool:
 

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
I've actually changed in this respect, becoming less collaborative over time. I used to be more excited by the idea of a world with shared ownership and everyone's tastes represented, but it was just never that fun or coherent, and litigating creative control and tone was consistently painful.

Maybe with the right other people it would be more fun, but right now I want to focus on my own worldbuilding with only the additions necessary for fulfilling play (personal elements to the characters.)
 

I always let the players freely add rumors, stories, legends, tall tales and such. Though they get no grantee that it will be an "offical" story or whatever, so NPCs won't know it. And sometimes stories might be true in one way or another. Generally based on the quality the player puts into it.

For really good trusted players, they might just feel creative and makes something like an location or a NPC they might do so and just give it to me to use. Sometimes they will ask to make something.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top