World Building 301

Let’s continue building our new world. Last month we took our world map and zoomed in to create a continent map. This month we’re going to determine the various cultured scattered around our continent. Using the World Builder’s Guidebook (WBG) I decided to randomly roll the number of cultures and then randomly determine which creatures will live on the continent. If you’re building a D&D world this works as detailed in the WBG, however I’m building a human (mostly) world. So the different cultures that I randomly rolled are actually different human cultures.


After the random rolls I had 10 different cultures to spread across the land. Of course the first culture I assigned to a spot on the island were the Orithians. The story is about them and their cultural southern neighbours, the Silver Sisters. That left an additional eight D&D cultures to assign locations. The story also includes a pack society, like bipedal canines so I placed the kobolds south of the Orithians. The remaining seven cultures are to be all human but very different. The Aqua Elves becomes a an aquatic society loosely based on the Vikings, living in the flooded remains of an ancient asteroid strike.

The goblins become a nomadic society of horsemen who ride the central state plains, following the migrating herds. The gnolls is a small kingdom who are isolationists with walls around the few towns to keep others out. The dwarves living across the strait and the Viking-like sea people are at war and have been for a centuries making the mountain men very war-like. The ogres are barbarians with no real leadership beyond simple tribal warlords. Along the eastern mountains the final two cultures live deep in the mountains, rarely coming to the surface. The durro dwarves are an evil society that worships evil. They believe that the great evil is buried in the mountains and they have spent centuries looking to free it. Finally the hook horns is a rich mining society that have large trade ships that travel east over the horizon.

With these thoughts in mind open a new file in Scrivener for each of the ten societies and start building the details of each society. I decided to first tackle the kobold culture. The first step is to give the creatures a true name. I decided to name the race ryndlu. A couple of my town names start with ry- and this name follows an established naming convention. The ryndlu are pack creatures; individually, the ryndlu are weak and easily defeated in battle, but in packs they become a formable enemy. They are savages not much better than wolves, but the difference between wolves and ryndlu is the use of weapons while on their hind legs. Like many pack creatures the ryndlu live in packs of 25 – 35 while the most powerful male is the alpha male. From time to time other males feel they are ready to lead and they attack the alpha. The winner leads. At times neither male survives and other males may choose to fight for leadership. This process continues until there is a new alpha male. The woman raise the young as a single unit and they often do the hunting, much as female lions do. The ryndlu dominate a narrow band of the island from the northern to the southern shores Which means the Orithians and other cultures in this area of the island often interact with the ryndlu.

Continue building your other cultures. Human cultures need to have their government determined as well as how the people live. Is it a kingdom or a republic? Are there a number of smaller leaders or is there a single council in change. This process will take some time, so just take your time and enjoy the process.

In April we’ll start detailing the main area to appear in the story, including building the map that will be used to develop the story. See you then.

– Stephen


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