World Building Part 1 – Playing God During World Creation

Where To Start

I have always loved the art of story-telling. From childhood on through adult life, comic books and Dungeons & Dragons have been consistent  tools  to let my imagination flourish. Now that I am on my quest to bring my own world of Revilo to life I wanted to share my journey with you.

In this series of posts I will explore the process of building my world Revilo.

Revilo has been the underlying theme of my work for a number of years. When I began making larger sculptures I decided that they all needed to come from the same world. Each creature’s back-story expanded the world adding depth. Below are the steps I am taking as I continue to build out my world.

Step 1 – Creating Inhabitants

For me, the fun part is creating all of the creatures and species that live in the world. Because this is the art that I gravitate towards making, it naturally became my first step in world building. To date I have roughly 36 different species from Revlio that have been sculpted, with many other ideas lurking in the back of my mind.

Step 2 – Drawing Your Map

Once I had a handful of creatures I realized it was time to create a map of the continent (if only for my own sanity.) I started sketching out the continent where all of my critters would live by drawing the areas in which I already had an idea of location, such as the Valley of Despair and the Forest of the Dead. I then continued sketching Revilo by expanding outward from there. I did this until I felt like I had at least one area on the land mass representing each of the climates I wanted present.

Below is not a final map for print, but it’s good enough to keep things moving forward. My friend Ross recently pointed me in the direction of Fantastic Maps where I will be gaining the knowledge to make a really solid map of Revilo soon.

Step 3 – Building Your First City

I want this world to be a playable campaign setting for Pathfinder and D&D, so after talking with some friends we decided there needs to be one main city where most people would start their game. Thus the port town of Murk’s Hallow was created. This will be the only human/humanoid settlement in Revilo at this time. It is similar to a frontier town in a wild fantasy world.

Step 4 – Enriching the Cultures

With a main city underway and regions for the creatures to live, it’s time to understand how they interact with each other. In this step, I am beginning to develop the different societies, social structures, and major conflicts in the world.

I find it helpful to come up with a dozen potential conflicts as they add dramatic flare to storytelling and allow for a richness to evolve as concepts begin to intertwine.

Next Installment – How I Keep Organized

On the next post I will go into how I keep the world building process organized.