RPG Design Journal #0: Lore, Myth, and Worldbuilding

I’ve wanted to do a post about the inclusion of “lore” in storytelling – mainly, but not exclusively, in games – but I haven’t been able to come up with any sort of point to make. I know a lot of these posts are just me rambling on with little rhyme or reason about things that interest me or tick me off, but I honestly couldn’t find anything to say about lore development. For a while I though it might just be that I didn’t have any real experience in developing lore, after all I’m not a professional game designer. Then I realized – I develop lore all the time!

I’ve played D&D since I was about 10 years old, often fulfilling the role of Dungeon Master. The groups I’ve played with very rarely used pre-made campaigns and adventures, so it usually fell to me to make up a new game world for them to interact with – and that means making lore as well.

Considering this, I thought that maybe it would be nice to look at this topic from a hands-on perspective. For the last year I’ve been developing a new game world, one that’s significantly larger (well, its actually geographically smaller, so … “deeper” may be a better word…) than my previous creations. So as I continually develop it I’m going to post about it and discuss my process of development specifically looking at the development of the world history, mythology, and (of course) lore.

A few disclaimers:

  1. This game world does rely primarily on the d20 system released under the 3.5 Open Gaming License by Wizards of the Coast. It also utilizes materials released by Paizo for Pathfinder and White Wolf Publishing’s Swords and Sorcery also released under the d20 system.
  2. This game world is something I’m making primarily for myself as an exercise. It is not being developed for commercial purposes.
  3. It is not my intention to infringe on anyone’s intellectual property with these posts.

Now, I’d also like to point out that I’m not an expert when it comes to game design. There may be things I do in my development process that aren’t the best decisions, but that’s one of the reasons to put this out here. This is also a chance for me to reexamine the kinds of choices I’m making in my own designs.

This was a pretty boring post, but I hope others will find the process of worldbuilding interesting.

That’s all for now.

Thanks for reading,

-PH

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