Everything You Need to Make a Spectacular World

This is going to be a guide to help do some world building in dnd. We are going to start with the very basics and work our way up. This is all based on the premise that you are writing your own campaign module and not using a published one already.

Starting a Campaign

My advice for starting a campaign is not to bite off more than you can chew. Especially if you are starting your players at level 1-4. They aren’t likely to travel very far. So you only need a beginning region for them to play around in.

Work Your Way Up

My suggestion is to create your characters starting town. Whether you decide to start them in a wilderness with only a few sparse settlements or a large city or town for an urban adventure is entirely up to you. Go to the page on Building a City for more extensive information.

Start Getting a Map Put Together

After you get the town set up your next best bet is to get the immediate region filled up. Like I said remain small, to begin with. Maybe a region that’s only 30 or 40 miles big. Add in a few towns perhaps that are only 5 miles big and few dungeons to keep the players busy.

For more information on how to build proper maps head to the Map Building page.

Get the Players Going

After you get the region sorted out, fill your town with some NPCs and a couple of quests here and there. There are plenty of town modules out there if you need some help getting that figured out.

If you want to build your own from scratch check out this Building Cities page for more information.

The end goal though is you probably want to get your players into a dungeon to keep them preoccupied for a while. This will give you more time to flesh out the long term adventure plan.

Before you Start the Session

Some GMs do a bit of a “pre” session discussion with their players when starting a new adventure.

This helps give the players a bit of an idea on what the world you are making for them can be like. This is the part where you can establish your rules for this adventure like:

  • what kind of races are not a part of this world
  • what backgrounds the characters have coming in
  • is the world rich with magic or not
  • what type of campaign they might be expecting
  • and whatever other pertinent information you deem necessary like NPC identities, character knowledge of the region, possible rumors

Here’s a piece of advice though that I find the most compelling is to have the players find out most of the information on their own for more organic gameplay and less metagaming.

That’ll get you going

With that, you should be able to get started. Here are the materials you’ll need to help get you started long term though. As well as more in-depth explanations of the world-building concepts.

  • Map Building