GM Toolbox Series: How I Craft Living Worlds and Settings for RPG Campaigns, Introduction

Welcome to the GM Toolbox series, where we’ll delve into the tools I rely on to craft dynamic and immersive worlds for my RPG campaigns. While my system of choice is Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, many of these tools can be adapted to suit other systems as well. When building my campaigns, I often employ random generators as a foundation and then expand upon them based on the narrative I wish to weave or the players’ interactions with the world.

I prefer to start with a top-down approach by creating the world first and end with the smaller local scope the players will start to interact with. This series will mirror this approach by introducing the tools I employ at each level of detail.

In the first part, we’ll explore the tools I utilize to establish the world itself and shape the campaign setting. As drawing and geography aren’t my strong suits, I rely on these tools to generate initial maps and then tweak them to suit my vision. Additionally, I’ll share the tool I use to keep track of all the generated content throughout this series.

Moving forward, we’ll shift our focus to the municipal level, providing players with a vibrant environment to explore and interact with. During this stage, I typically generate or create a handful of pivotal NPCs who bring the town, city, or village to life.

In the final installment, we’ll delve into further character development by fleshing out additional NPCs within the town. Moreover, we’ll start brainstorming introductory adventures to set the stage for an engaging campaign.

Join me as we embark on this journey of world-building and storytelling, armed with a diverse range of tools to enhance our RPG experiences.

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