World Building


This is a game where the players take on the roles of characters, much like actors in a play. Such a game is called a role playing game. Using this analogy the director of the play (and principal author) is called the Game Master (or simply GM). The game is played in the imaginations of the players using these rules.

Each player will determine the actions and responses of one or more characters in the game. The GM will control all characters and encounters not being played by the other players. The GM mediates all situations where there is any uncertainty as to the outcome. And the GM makes all rule interpretations wherever necessary; these interpretations are final.

In order to play Borigon you will need to have a setting to play in. This setting is called a world. You can use an already established game world (such as the Borigon game setting) or you can set your game in any world of your creation. The Borigon game setting is itself a world of mythological high fantasy. You need not set your game in such a fantasy world; worlds of modern intrigue, science fiction, horror, the old west, or whatever else you want to play can be created.

If you decide not to use an already developed game world then you will have to invent your own world (or at least modify an existing game-world to be used by the Borigon system). The remainder of this chapter describes, step-by-step, what you need to do in order to begin building your game setting. Throughout this book examples will be drawn from the world of Borigon.

Step One

The first question you need to ask when creating a game world is, "What genre of game you want to play?" The genre of your game tells the players in broad terms what they can expect from the game. This decision also gives you a focus for developing interesting adventures for the players to participate in. The Borigon game system allows you to use any genre you and your players like.

The second question you need to answer is, "How big is your world?" The third question is related, "Is your world part of a larger setting?" These are questions of how extensive you intend to make your world. Beware of biting off more than you can chew; starting with a smaller part of a larger setting might be the best way to begin because it gives you room to grow and allows you the time to do it! This is also where you will decide upon the larger framework within which your game will be set.

The fourth question is, "How did the world come to be?" The creation of the world is also a many-faceted issue. The literal creation of the world might be important for a fantasy game. In games of a more limited scope the origin of the current situation of the game setting is more likely to be important, and thus qualifies as how the current world was created.

The fifth question is also two-fold, "Do magical, psychic, religious, or spiritual powers exist? If they do then what role will they play in your game?" Such special powers are interesting, but they can make challenging tasks too easy if you do not consider such things in advance. Beware the temptation to give too many powers away, unless you are planning to play a mythological-level game. Magic can quickly get out of hand.

Step Two

Write down the name of your world. This may be the literal name of the game world, or it might be the name of a series of adventures; this would be similar to the name of a TV series, a set of novels, or movies. In any case the name will lend atmosphere so choose it carefully.

Step Three

Draw a rough sketch map of the world. This need not be a work of art; just enough to give you an idea of where things will be.

Step Four

Decide on how many character races there will be. If multiple races are not appropriate, then you might want to consider various ethnicities or factions as races. Remember, this is not reality so you can use stereotypes where it seems appropriate. Design each race using the Creature-Building rules later in this book. Place the location of each character race on your sketch map. Determine the order in which the races developed.

Step Five

Develop any animals likely to be of importance to your game using the Creature-Building rules. This can include beasts of burden, pets or guard animals, game animals, dangerous animals, and monsters where appropriate. Determine, roughly, where such animals can be found on your map.

Step Six

Of the races you have developed, determine how many of them have built nations. Develop these nations according to the Nation-Building Rules. Place each nation on the map.

Step Seven

Decide which of the races have developed secret societies. Develop each of these societies according to the Society-Building rules. Locate the areas of influence for each secret society.

Begin Play

You now have enough background information to start developing adventures. Many new details about your world will come out through adventure design and the decisions you make during play. Consult the Adventure-Building chapter for ideas about how to create adventures for your world.

It is also likely that your player's characters will have an impact on your world. Be sure to be open to changes in the world based on character actions. New resources, facilities or projects can be begun and completed by characters that would otherwise not be available.

The World of Borigon

Throughout this game book there will be examples of how to use each of the concepts mentioned. It is a practical impossibility to be comprehensive in such examples. The genre of this example is epic high fantasy. This is a game where powerful magic is in play and the adventures have grand themes. The land where the game takes place is a huge disk of water atop a sea of primal chaos. Within this disk is a large rectangle of land 4,000 kilometers long and 2,000 kilometers wide. This rectangle is divided into four roughly equal regions by four intersecting mountain ranges oriented along the compass directions. The world was created by an emanation of order within the primal chaos.

Powers do exist and they play a significant role within the game, though such powers are not common in normal day-to-day life.

The name of the world varies from race to race, but will be called, "The World of Borigon."

This description goes with the map below. As mentioned above there are four regions. The southeastern region is a plain that becomes more forested as you head north or west. The land becomes more hilly as you approach the mountains. The southwestern quadrant is a sand sea that becomes gradually more rocky until it becomes badlands near the mountains. The northwestern quadrant is a tundra that becomes more hilly and more arctic as you get closer to the mountains, where huge glaciers line the slopes. The northeastern quadrant is a watery swamp filled with dangerous animals and plants that slowly becomes tropical rain forested mountains.

To return to the Borigon home page.