Let’s Build a World: Part Nine: Planetology

In our return to the world building through AD&D 2e’s World Builders Guidebook, we are going back to the beginning, to the Worlds and Planetology.

Specifically, we are going to look at what the world itself looks like. From our early cosmology section, we rolled up a terrestrial water world that appears to be our campaign world.  But as we go through the next stage that may or may not be the case.

The first part of the chapter deals with the shape and size of the world and the first table deals with the sizes.  Is it a regular planet shape or something else?  A disc, a polyhedron or something even more bizarre.

On a D100 we roll 26 – a sphere.  So basically a normal looking planet.

Next comes the size of the world – anything from 800 to 16,000 miles in diameter.  Earth is about 8,000 miles for comparison.

On a D100 we roll 25 – 4,000 mile diameter.  In effect our world is only about half the size of Earth, or around the size of Mars.

After that comes hydrography – how wet the world is.  We know that the setting is archipelagic in nature so rather than rolling I select 80% water.  This gives us only around 20% of the world as land, which is still a lot of land as it comes out to maybe a third of Earth’s land surface.

Table 5 in the book deals with the starting of the mapping stage of the world, giving an outline of how much land and water each section of it has when mapping out on a 20 section polyhedral map. Even though I aren’t going to use a polyhedral map, it does give some decent indications.  At 8-% water, 8 sections are water, 6 sections are water with a few minor islands, 4 are water with major islands (around 25% of the section) and 2 are water and land sections, with about half and half of each.

We have an idea of how much land and water there are, but what do they actually look like?  The book moves on then to the continents, islands and coastlines part of the chapter.

If you have a water dominated world, you roll to see the number and size of continents you have and vice versa if it is land dominated.

For our world, we have only 2 regions that are at least 50% land so we have 1d2 continents of 1-2 regions in size according to table 6.  If we were at only 60% hydrography, that would give us 9 regions made up of 1d6 continents of 1-8 regions in size.

The roll gives us 2 continents which means that each will be of 1 region in size.  The other regions with islands in them will be scattered around.

Now to placing them.  If you are using the polyhedral map you just use a D20 and roll to locate where the continents or seas are to go.

The first roll is a 7, which is in the centre of the middle latitudes while the second is a 4, placing it up in the northern reaches.

Next time we will start doing some maps of the regions, basic ones, and work out other matters of planetology, such as tectonics, mountains and climates.

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