Let’s Build a World: Part Six: Cosmology and Mythology

With the establishment of our pantheon complete, the chapter moves on to the cosmology and mythology section.

Normally I don’t do much with this one but I felt it would be interesting to have a look at for the purposes of giving the guidebook a thorough examination.

The cosmology section has charts so you can roll to determine such things as the astronomy of you system, the number of planets and moons, their sizes and types.

Firstly there is the astronomy to deal with – the laws of physics that govern the separation of the worlds from the void.  Does it follow real physics, does it have Wildspace as in Spelljammer, is there an aethereal void, as in light and air goes on forever, or is there something else, subject to the DM’s creation.

On a D8 we roll 4 – Wildspace with spheres.  So as per Spelljammer.

Next is system organisation – is the sun (or suns) at the centre of the system, or is the primary world at the centre with the sun (or suns) revolving around it.  Is the world a flat earth or is there something else, subject to the DM’s creation.

On a D8 we roll 1 – Heliocentric, 1 sun.  There is only one sun in the system, and that is at the centre of it.

After that we roll a D12 to see how many planets there are, and for each planet D8-3 for the number of moons, with an additional D8-3 if you roll a natural 8.  And after that you roll for each planet and moon to figure out what each world type is, according to the general AD&D view of worlds.  Are they earth, air, fire or water worlds, or something else, which could range from para-elemental, quasi-elemental or anything else according to your imagination, such as giant world-trees or the body of dead deity.

And when you have done that you roll to see the size of each of the worlds and planets.

That is a lot of work and a potentially a lot of dice rolling for what is essentially background information that may never actually impact upon your campaign, which is why I don’t tend to do it.

But for the sake of completion, I am going to do it for this setting.

The dice say there are four worlds in the system.

World One – Enormous (80-100K mile diameter) Air Planet.  A gas giant.  It has two moons, a tiny (800 mile or less diameter) earth world and a terrestrial (800 to 16,000 mile diameter) earth world.  This later one falls into the size range of most campaign worlds, the size of which can be rolled for back in the worlds and planetology chapter.

World Two – Terrestrial Air Planet. Another, small, gas giant.

World Three – Terrestrial Water Planet.  That looks like it is our campaign world.

World Four – Tiny Fire Planet.  It has two moons, a tiny water world and a terrestrial other world.

This last world seems a little weird, with a strange moon orbiting around a tiny world of fire, almost like a tiny second sun, and that strange moon is larger than it.

But I think I can make something of it, tying it in to the mythology of the system that we generated with the pantheon.  It reflect the battle between the pantheon and the Darkness, in miniature.  The fire world represents the sun, the water world the pantheon and the other word the Darkness.  It is a shadowy world of darkness and the fact that it is larger than the water world reflects the relative strengths of the two sides, that the Darkness is, right at that stage, the stronger party.  As the balance between the two sides ebbs and flows, so too does the size of the two moons relative to each other.

After the section on cosmology, the book goes on to discuss planes and myths and legends.

There are no charts here to roll on, just a series of suggestions for outer planes and creation myths and divine myths and sagas and the like, and what they may or may not contain.

Is that kind of detail important?  Possibly.  It does depend on what type of campaign you are running and the type of players you have.  If they are hack and slash dungeon delvers then maybe it won’t come up much, if at all, but if it heavily based on the intrigues of temples and political manoeuvrings between religions it may be very important.

Given the nature of the world as it has developed so far (and my delusions of being a writer) I will, over time, be actually making up a lot of this over time.

And with that done, in our next part, we shall be moving on in the chapter to history.

Lets Build a World: Part Five: Expanding the Pantheon & Revered Ancestors

In our last part, I built the pantheon of deities, uncovering some interesting disputes and hooks and plot points for the world.

I have been thinking it over a little, and want to add a little more variety.  As earlier established, the pantheon is meddlesome.  While some, such as the Storm Lord and his daughters, are well fitted for that, the others have less inclination to get involved except for against that trio.  There need to be some further intrigues going on to explain their meddlesome nature.

With that in mind, I wanted to add two more deities to the roster, one a greater lawful evil deity and one an intermediate neutral evil deity.

Fifth intermediate power:  I roll twice for this deity and come up with 23 – oceans and 61 – love.  A NE deity of love.   And of the oceans.  Oceans as a portfolio can also include other waterways, such as rivers, springs, lakes etc.

I give this one a bit of thought before coming with some answers.

The dice say that they are female, so what I decide is that they were once a good aligned goddess of the sweet waters, of springs and rivers of the land, and that she was also the goddess of love and beauty.

But something went wrong.  Terrible wrong.

She became twisted, turning into a goddess of lust and debauchery, of the baser emotions of love.  In addition she became associated with madness, and there are springs around that to drink will drive the imbiber mad.  While still the fairest of all the pantheon, she is now a siren rather than a graceful spirit of the waters.

And the cause of her madness, and possibly also of the Storm Lord and his daughters?

The other power.

Second greater power.

To give some conflict to the setting we need a power that troubles the pantheon, a big bad that is the reason that they are so meddlesome.  Something that is not part of the pantheon, but is opposed to it and wants to destroy it.

To get some ideas for that I make some rolls for its portfolios, even though it isn’t technically a deity; 46 – darkness, 63 – magic and 48 death.

After a little bit of consideration, I think I can make a way to see how that works.  This power wants to see the return to how things were before creation, which is sees as an inherently chaotic state of being.  It wants the perfection of the dark and the grave; stillness, silence.  They want to remake creation, to reshape it into endless, frozen perfection in which life has no part.

To that end it has corrupted and twisted, trying to subvert the pantheon, and has indeed managed to break some of them from their intended rolls, causing division among the ranks of the pantheon.

And it has its own source of magic, the magic of death and darkness.  Necromantic power comes from it, and the undead are of its design.  The intelligent undead, the vampires, the liches and the like are its agents in the world.  Warlocks make pacts with it for the powers it can give.  The ambitious swear to it, for much has been promised to them in That Which Will Be.

As a result, there is a battle going on for the souls of the living and the dead, for as long as the souls remain in creation then the Darkness can not undo it, but should enough slip into its grasp then it has the power to do so.

Which does help explain some of what the other outsider power of Death is doing – he opposes the Darkness and his priests are trying to keep the souls of the dead in creation, and to give them a chance to return to life and earn themselves an esteemed role, one in which they can not be poached from.

And that is a position of an Revered Ancestor.

Revered Ancestors

There is one final addition to make to the pantheon, in the form of the Revered Ancestors.  Consider them saints if you will.  They occupy a place beneath the demi-goddess, in that they have no divine powers, can not grant spells, answer prayers or the like.

They are simply mortals who have transcended beyond the lot of normal mortals due to some great skill or act of faith, and have been accepted into the house of one of the deities, where they become the patron of some lesser aspect of their patron’s portfolios.

For example, Revered Ancestors of the Goddess of those who earn their living upon the sea may be the Patron of Sailors, the patron of Fishermen, the Patron of Merchants, the patron of Ship Builders, the Patron of Net Weavers and so on.

In this manner, if gives a lot more options to have the pantheon be meddling, with various Revered Ancestors able to interact and influence the world, on behalf of their deity.

Technically they are dead, but they have earned a place where they can not be touched by the Darkness, and each one who becomes a Revered Ancestors strengthens the Pantheon in their battle.

For the moment we will leave the pantheon and the powers behind for now.  There will be more later, names and descriptions and proper write ups, as well as matters such as myths and legends.

But for now we move on, in our next part, to cosmology and mythology.

Lets Build a World: Part Four: The Deities

In our last part, we established the parameters of our pantheon.

They are a universal pantheon, followed by everyone, regardless of culture or species.  That isn’t to say that they don’t favour some over others, but they acknowledge the existence of all.

They are on the small side for a universal pantheon, but still number eleven in total.

They are actually a family of deities, tied to the natural elements of the world.

And they are meddlesome.  They like to involve themselves in the affairs of the world, and that, no doubt, makes trouble for the heroes of the world.

Normally greater and intermediate powers have 1d3 portfolios, lesser powers have 1d2 and demi-powers have 1 portfolio, but I am going to make some arbitrary decisions here.  That is one thing that the book does stress – if you don’t like results from dice rolls, you can ignore or change them, or just pick ones you like.

For our pantheon, the greater power will have 3 portfolios and the intermediate ones will have 2-3.  And some choices I will be selecting for, rather than rolling.

The Greater Power.

The first portfolio for our greater power I will be choosing.  Given the nature of the setting, they will have Oceans as one of their portfolios.  It makes sense seeing as how we are dealing with a water world here, or at least for the part where we are concentrating on.

There is no mention made of choosing gender, but I am thinking of a female, the Mother of the Oceans, progenitor of the world and the other deities, as well as those who live upon it.

I make two other rolls – 98 – prophecy and 64 – magic.

So from that, we can get an idea that magic comes from the sea, and that prophecy is closely linked to it.  As the progenitor of all things, it makes sense that they would originate from the Mother of the Oceans as well.

For her alignment, she can have any.  There is no actually method given to determine alignment beyond saying what ranges they can and can’t be.  So I have been using an early table for social alignment of kingdoms in a previous chapter to work out the alignments of deities.

A roll of 72 gives chaotic good.

The Intermediate Powers.

Next come the four intermediate powers.  They will be the first born of the Mother of the Oceans,  Each will have one aspect of nature and one to two other aspects, some chosen and others rolled for.

I had already decided on two arbitrary choices for the first intermediate powerearth and fire.  He is the Lord of Volcanoes, Father Earth, the one who caused the lands to rise up from out of the oceans that allow people to dwell on.  He has one sacred island, the first island, where his temple is and often he can be found.

Earth can have any alignment, though fire tends to non-lawful.

Rather than rolling, I arbitrarily select neutral-good for him.

The second intermediate power rolls 2 portfolios; 93 – lightning and 43 – war.  I decide to add thunder to it, as well as elements of wind and sky as well.  They shall be the Storm Lord.

Alignment wise they can be anything, except for sky, which is non-lawful.

A roll of 47 gives us neutral-evil.

This gives us a wild god, motivated by self-interest, who rages at will and provokes conflict and strife.  By the sounds of it, he could be in conflict with his mother, Mother Ocean, and possibly his brother, Father Earth.

The third intermediate power rolls 2 portfolios as well; 27 – seasons and 35 – sun.

As the sun waxes and wanes in strength, so do the seasons turn, so the two of them fit well together.  I add a third portfolio as well – time, for the passage of the sun marks not just the seasons but the years as well.  There are aspects of fate to his position also, the acceptance of what must happen.

Alignment can be anything.

A roll of 57 gives us true neutral.

Somewhat of an oddity among the rest of the pantheon, the Sun Lord cares little for the fate of mortals.  While they see the sun’s light as a blessing, as it brings warmth and life, for him it is merely a marker of time and seasons.

The fourth intermediate power rolls 3 portfolios; 39 – plants, 7 – animals and 60 – love.  The last one I decide to change from love to fertility.

A coin toss gives us a female goddess, the Lady of Life, who brought forth the birds and beasts and fish, the trees and seaweed and all in between.  While she understands all must make a living, she prefers the wild places of the world and strives to keep them protected.

Her alignment can be anything.

A roll of 79 gives us chaotic-good.

The Lesser Powers

With our major powers established, and a nice conflict brewing already, we can move on to the lesser powers, possibly children of the other gods through mortals, depending on what their positions are in the pantheon.

Lesser power one rolls 2 portfolios; 68 – mischief and 30 – sky.  A trickster deity of winds, but not storms, who delights in mischief.  A child, perhaps of the Storm Lord.

They turn up to be a female, and their alignment has to be chaotic.

Rather than rolling, I decide on chaotic-neutral for her.  While she delights in pranks and making fools of others, she is not malicious like her father, but that does not mean she sides with the others against him either.  Blowing a ship off course and causing it to arrive late is more her style, rather than causing a storm to shipwreck them.

Lesser power two rolls 2 portfolios; 19 – oceans and 96 – messengers.  The bringer of messages, a sailor upon the seas, travelling from port to port.  There could very well be a source of tension between them and the trickster, especially if she keeps blowing messengers off course.

They turn out to be male and chaotic-good.

Lesser power three rolls 2 portfolios; 87 – crafts and 58 – hunting.  A little bit of thought can make this work.  They are the deity of sailors and fishermen, those that earn their living from the sea.  They are the builder of boats and sails, of nets and harpoons.  To their portfolios I add trade as well.

They turn out to be a female deity, perhaps a daughter of the messenger god, or perhaps a lesser daughter of Mother Ocean.  Maybe in some myths she could be both.

The tables in the guidebook suggest she can be any non-evil alignment, and the roll for it comes up chaotic-good as well.

Lesser power four rolls 2 portfolios; 53 – fire and 45 – war.  A child of the Storm Lord then, who delights in violence and the destructive nature of war, of sacrificial victims set aflame and burnt offerings.

Not a nice deity at all.

Unusually they turn out to be female.  Rather than roll for their alignment, I select one – chaotic evil.

While her father can be tolerated, as storms, while wild, are not necessarily unwelcome, this goddess has no redeeming features.

For lesser power five, I decided to arbitrarily create him, rather than to roll for him.  He is a god of death and the husband of the Lady of Life, for life and death are linked.  he brings comfort to the suffering and solace to the bereaved.

Even though it isn’t an option to roll for, I assign him the portfolio of ancestors.  His priests care for the ancestors and commune with them on behalf of the living.

On a whim, I make a roll for another portfolio for him, and come up with music.  His priests not only care for the dead, but compose and perform music for them.  It is possible that there is a reason for that which I must consider.

Rather than roll for alignment, I choose for him, selecting neutral-good.

The Demi-power

And now we come to the last of our pantheon, the lone demi-power.

They only have the one portfolio, for which we roll 41 – war.  Another war deity.  No wonder there is so much strife going on in the world.

After a moment of thought, I give them two more portfolios to work with – guardianship and redemption.  A defender of the weak and vanquisher of evil.

Her backstory is that she was a great hero who became sick of the destruction wrought by the two evil gods of war, and vowed to stand up to them and bring them down, a course of action that has sparked off a religious war.

Her alignment has to be of a good alignment, and the roll comes up as 10 – lawful-good.

The other deities, though sympathetic to her plight, are somewhat of mixed views, as the other gods are family and if they were brought down, it may mean the rest of them could be vulnerable too.  But they can not just strike down one of so noble a cause and nor exactly can they aid her, least it spark a war amongst the gods as well.

So there we have a rough sketch of the pantheon, and the spark behind the troubles of the land.  At some stage I will do a more detailed write up and expand upon it.  There may be more deities added at some point if any particular need is found.  The exact relationships amongst the deities will also need to be worked out, but it provides a good basis to work upon.

Part five of this project looks at expanding the pantheon.

Lets Build a World: Part Three: The Pantheon

So far we have established the hooks for our world, or at least the part of it that the action takes place in.

We have an archipelagic region of hundreds or thousands of islands, while the people who live there are balkanised into dozens of minor nations, none larger in size than a city-state, and the place is either on the verge of or plagued by major warfare.

Before delving into the look of the place, the cultures and races and nations, I am instead going to try and figure out why it turned out this way.  And for that I am heading for Chapter Six: History and Mythology.

There is no correct order in using the book so you can skip around the chapters like this, building it as feels best for you.

The first part of the chapter deals with designing the pantheon or pantheons for your setting.

It all starts with figuring out what pantheon type you have.  Is there one universal pantheon for you whole world, or does each major culture have their own one?  If so, do they have contact with the other pantheons, or do they overlap?  In that situation, there is a singular god of war, but he is known by different names in different cultures.

Our dice roll is 32 – One universal pantheon.  In this situation, all deities in the setting belong to a single pantheon, regardless of racial or social divisions.  Several gods may share responsibilities (or squabble over) important portfolios, such as war, leadership or love.

Now that we know the type of pantheon, we need to work out how big it is – small, medium, large or huge.  As we have one universal pantheon, it is larger than usual, so we add 25 to the d100 roll.

Our dice roll is 12 +25 = 37 – a medium pantheon.  This will result in a pantheon that will be smaller than the classical pantheons of Greece, Rome or the Norse, but still a reasonable number of deities.

So time to roll them up.

Our rolls give us 1 greater, 4 intermediate, 5 lesser deities, and 1 demi-god.  The greater god is most likely the head of the whole pantheon, while the sole demi-god gives us some interesting options.  Is he a new comer and the spark of the war?  The result of some illicit affair?  A great hero who has been rewarded for their deeds?

With the numbers of deities worked out, next is to work out how they all fit together. Are they a family, are they aspects of nature or elemental powers.  Perhaps they are merely stewards of the realm for a yet higher power, or a bureaucracy.  Or maybe they are a mix of organisations.

Our roll is a 90 – a mixed organisation.  To find out what exactly it is, I roll a couple more times – 12: familial and 62: natural.

Family pantheons are composed of one extended family, each with roles or portfolios generally related to their position in the traditional family hierarchy.  The Greek pantheon has a strong familial organisation.

Natural pantheons have major aspects of nature represented by the deities of the pantheons.  Portfolios found in this type of pantheon might include animals, plants, mountains, seasons, weather, seas, dawn or sunset, wind or even particular species (a bear-god, a wolf-god, etc).

The gives us a working base for the pantheon – a family of deities linked to the natural elements of the world.  I am still thinking that the demi-god is an outsider in some manner, one that might be at the heart of the troubles, and not of the natural elements of the world.

Our next step is to resolve how involved the pantheon is in the world.  It could range from oblivious, where they are completely unconcerned with the world, to direct, where you wouldn’t be surprised if you bumped into a deity in the local pub.

For out pantheon, we roll a 83 – meddlesome.

Meddlesome powers take interest in even the fairly minor events or situations concerning their followers, and the manipulation of their temples’ fortunes is the primary means of discourse (and field of rivalry) of the deities.  Moderately important followers receive advice and guidance, and the highest-ranking followers are in frequent communication with their patron.  Deities create avatars at will in order to interact with their followers and meddle with mortal affairs.

I’m getting a real Greek mythology vibe here, especially along the lines of the events of the Illiad and the Odyssey.

The last step is to work out the portfolios and alignments of the deities.

But that is for next time.


Lets Build a World: Part Two: World Hooks

Lets start making a world.

As previously mentioned, it is going to be done using the World Builder’s Guide, a AD&D 2E accessory.

For those who don’t have a copy, I thoroughly recommend it. If you don’t mind it in PDF form, you can grab it fairly cheap over on DrivethruRPG.  There are always copies up on Ebay, but they come at a much higher price.

This first part is going to relatively simple – we are going to generate the World Hooks for the setting, a factor that is central to the entire design effort.

For example, Athas of the Dark Sun setting has hooks of a desert world, psionics, unusual magic in the form of defiling that has ruined the world and of course ancient, extremely powerful kings who ruled over a scattered handful of city-states.

The chart for world hooks given a number of categories, those being Climate or Landform, Sites of Interest, Cultures, Situation and Historical.

Climate or Landform can result in archipelago worlds, desert worlds, subterranean worlds or worlds with wild or unusual weather as examples.

Sites of Interest deals more with what the PCs in a setting will be dealing with; cities, dungeons, ruins, wilderness or the like.

Cultures establishes what the principle culture of the campaign setting will be like, based on real world cultures, such as Arabian, Barbarian, Renaissance or ever Seafaring.

Situation covers a wide range of factors that may influence the setting, such as if it is a dying world, or if there is an unusual technological or religious situation or if a deity plays an unusual active role in the world.

Lastly in Historical, were some past event has left a legacy upon the world.  There may have been crusades of mass migrations, or the primary culture is caught in a potent civil war.

When rolling up for a hook, you could roll just one, or you could roll for a number that could provide an interesting mix, even if at first they don’t seem like they could work.

For the purpose of this world, we are going to make three rolls.

So drum rolls please.

83 – Situation

88 – Historical

14 – Climate or Landform

For Situation we roll Warfare

For Historical we roll Balkanisation

For Climate or Landform we roll Archipelago.

That gives us an interesting picture of the world, and one that gels together nicely.  Not all rolls might work together so well.

So let us see what we have, using the descriptions given in the book.

Warfare: The primary culture of the campaign is locked in a cycle of warfare.  The conflict may be internal of external. Military expeditions, espionage and sabotage are a principle source of adventures for the heroes.

Balkanisation: No powerful empire has ever united the central culture of the campaign, leaving a world littered with hundreds of counties, baronies, estates, principalities and city-states.  Shifting alliances and strife between rivals and neighbours creates many adventure opportunities.

Archipelago: No large continents exist, only countless islands (Ursula K Leguin’s Earthsea is a good example.) Kingdoms could be limited to one island apiece, or multi-island trade empires could be prevalent.

From that we can start to get an idea of the region we are working with, of many islands, each independent, locked in struggles with each other.  It doesn’t mean the whole world is that way; in fact most of the world could actually be arid, with one large sea on which is scattered the archipelagos.

But it does give us a starting picture, that may include pirates and hidden treasure, sunken cities and shipwrecks, of wild storm-wracked seas.  Or maybe viking style raiders, of cold, grim islands with ruined towers of past ages upon them.

As we progress we will find out more about it.  Are we dealing with classical style triremes, or medieval caravels or even age of sail tall ships?  Are there those who have tamed sea monsters to aid their causes, or fly across the sea on carpets or dragons?  What races live there and how do they live?  Are there aquatic races who live beneath the sea, and how do they interact with the surface dwellers?

As we continue on, we will work that out.  And more.

In Part Three we take a look at the Pantheon.


Lets Build a World with AD&D 2ed World Builder’s Guidebook: Part One

Amongst my many flaws is that I’m a gamer.  One of the old school style.  As in pen and paper RPG gamer.

I’ve played many different systems over the years – and own even more.

One of my favourite was AD&D 2ed.  Yes, the one with THAC0.  I much preferred it to 3ed, but more of that on another day.  AD&D 2ed had one of my favourite world settings of all time, that being Dark Sun.  Again, something that I will discuss in more detail at another time.

Among the many accessories that were released for 2ed was the World Builder’s Guidebook.  Pretty much anyone who has DMed an RPG has thought about designing their own world and setting at some stage, and this book was designed to help that.


My copy of it has seen so much use over the years that it has become rather worn.  One of these days I am going to have to get a replacement that is in a little bit better condition.

The book goes through a step by step approach as to how to build a world, starting at the top and working down, or starting at the bottom and working up.  Or either starting in the middle and working in either direction.  There is no right or wrong way to do it – the book simply provides the tools for you to do what you want.

It is also crammed full of many handy charts that you can roll on to generator all manner of information for the world, for anything from cultures and religions, to racial make up of the world and even the type of world and the cosmology it inhabits.

The book is split into six main chapters.

Chapter One deals with approaches to designing your world – and the all important world hooks that make it up.  Are you designing from a character driven approach, a sociological approach, a macroscopic or microscopic approach or even a mix of then and others.

Chapter Two covers the Worlds and Planetology – designing the whole world, its size and shape, hydrography, tectonics, climatology and basic look.

Chapter Three covers Continents and Geography.  Starting with a continental sized region of the world, you fill in its landforms, its climate and weather, terrain, waterways, and where the main races of the region live.

Chapter Four is Kingdoms and Sociologies.  Starting with a single kingdom or region, you work out who the inhabitants are and their culture, their government and technology, the physical cartography of the region, such as cities and towns and roads, its population and resources and settlement patterns.

Chapter Five is Cities and Provinces.  There you start with a single city or major population centre, and its surrounding region, more details on its cartography, the populations and services available, and the monsters and ecology of the region, as well as any sites of interests for adventures.

Chapter Six is History and Mythology.  Here you can design the pantheons of the setting, the cosmology the world inhabits and the history of the world.  it isn’t quite to Dwarf Fortress level, but it is good for a starting point.

You can jump in at any of these chapters and design a world.

And that is what we are going to do over the coming weeks and months (though hopefully not years.)

In Part Two we deal with World Hooks.

What I Write – Nobledark

So what do I write?

It is a mix of things, of fantasy and urban fantasy, a little bit of sci fi, and others along those lines and sub-genres of them. Some short stories, some novels, some webfiction.

Also some RPG related material.

Well, there will be when it gets finished.

There are a few projects that have been started, and more with notes and ideas that have been made.

In style, it is what I would call nobledark.

If you haven’t heard of that name before, it may not be surprising, as it is fairly recent.

It all grew out of the grimdark descriptor, the origins of which comes from Warhammer 40K, and its tagline – ‘In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.’

As one can imagine, it was not a pleasant setting.

But some people began to wonder what the polar opposite of WH40K would look like, a noblebright version of it as it was called.

And that in turn spawned a spectrum made of two axis – the noble/grim axis and the dark/bright axis.  The gave us four descriptors – grimdark, nobledark, grimbright and noblebright.

The Noble/Grim Axis

The noble/grim axis describes how much agency characters have upon the world and how much they can change it.  This refers not just to heroes, but villains as well.

A noble world is one where the actions of a single person can change it, for good or for woe.  A hero can save the world or a villain may destroy it.

A grim world is one where, no matter what you do, you have little to no impact upon it.  The world keeps right on going, ignoring your efforts.

The Dark/Bright Axis

The dark/bright axis describes the state of the world, the tone of it.

A dark world is a horrible place of misery and death, of schemes and backstabbing and often a big bad lurking in the wings waiting to wipe out all life.

A bright world isn’t one where bad things and death don’t happen, but it is one where people go adventuring for the thrill of it, to see the Crystal Caves, to explore the Elven Forests, to visit the Dwarven Holds, to see the wonders of the world.

Putting it all together

By combining the two axis, you come p with the four types of settings.

Grimdark worlds are places of death, destruction, despair and misery that will never change, no matter what anyone does or tries.  The universe will just chew you up and spit you out and roll on without noticing.  Warhammer 40K is the perfect example of it, though not the only one.  Game of Thrones is often considered to be it as well.

Nobledark takes place in worlds that, while a nasty and brutish place at times, there is a glimmer of hope, where people can make a difference, to make the world a better (or worse) place, but it takes much blood, sweat and tears, not to mention sacrifice, to do so.  If they fail then the world falls.  The Lord of the Rings is actually a good example of this.  If Frodo fails in his quest, then Sauron takes over the world and brings in an age of darkness.  As does the work of one of my favourite authors, David Gemmell.

Grimbright world are an interesting, and rare ones, where there are amazing vistas and people to see and meet but that your action have no impact on the world.  The best example of this would be Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.  

And lastly, Noblebright, worlds of wonder and high adventure, where heroes abound and perform great deeds, where good triumphs over evil.  Think Star Trek, Narnia, the Belgariad and the like.

So my work falls into the nobledark side of thing.  Hard worlds to live in, harder to change, but it can be done.

At least, that is the way I see things.  Others may have slightly different views on how to categorise things or the descriptions of the various categories.

A Beginning….

Welcome to my corner of the world.  Or worlds as it may be.

I am a reader, a writer, a gamer, a geek and more.

What do I write?

Mostly along the fantasy/sci fi lines, and mostly ones that touch on the darker and more macabre side without being totally grimdark.  More along the lines of nobledark.

In coming days and weeks and years I plan to start sharing some of it.  Or inflicting it on the unsuspecting depending on your point of view.

When I am not writing or reading, I tend to be gaming, of a wide variety of sorts.  Expect to see plenty of that mentioned and posted about on the blog as well.  I enjoy poking around with many different systems, to see how they work, to explore their mechanics and more.  Given I have more systems than I can play, and indeed, many that I have never played, I plan on exploring some of them, making sample characters and maybe even showing them off a bit on here.