I have created game worlds before, starting from other sets of basic principles, but now I’m going to create one based on a different thought experiment. D&D has come out with a new edition that I predict will be very successful. I’m thinking it will also have some form of OGL as well. This time I am designing a world around the idea of “representing” D&D rather than trying to make some other model fit.
One of the most important things I want to try this time is to think, more profoundly, about what a D&D world really entails in terms of the building blocks of the setting. There are some fundamental mistakes I think many game world designers make when trying to create an interesting world for their games. (I know I’ve made a few of these myself.) If we pause for a moment and consider the influences on the game, the feeling of the standard settings, and the ramifications of the rules themselves, we come up with some pretty surprising and informative departures from what I believe most people think a D&D game setting is really about. I think that most people get these following four critical nuances wrong and that in turn makes for a number of problems when they try to create a setting for the game.
Here then are my observations about the four critical issues that I think most game world designers “get wrong” and which will thus inform my development of a setting where I try to “get it right.”
I’ll expand on each of these later, but below are my main points.
(Note: As I’ve written follow-up articles, I’ve embedded links to them in the headings for each section below. To read more on each idea, just click the link.)