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A Light System for Collaborative Worldbuilding

Earlier this week, I got an email from N. Bob Pesall [1] with a link to a free PDF that he developed, Dawn of Worlds [2] (830 kb).

In a nutshell, the idea is that your whole gaming group sits down with a blank sheet of paper in front of them, and you use Dawn of Worlds as a framework to build a shared campaign world from scratch. The PDF is short and sweet, and I really dig the concept.

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5 Comments To "A Light System for Collaborative Worldbuilding"

#1 Comment By rick the wonder algae On May 4, 2006 @ 5:51 am

That sounds really neat from a theoretical viewpoint. From a practical viewpoint, I’m FAR to much of a control freak to ceede control of the game world to other people.

It’s too tastey of a tool NOT to try though…
Just not today.

#2 Comment By N. Bob Pesall On May 4, 2006 @ 6:30 am

Thanks to TT for the free press. As for maintaining an extra level of control, I’ve seen GM’s tweak the rules a bit, taking maximum points per turn, for example.

Another factor to consider is how much detail the GM puts into any “starting map” the group will use. With these two tools, a GM can pretty much set-in-stone the essentials of his campaign world without divesting the players of their ability to shape it.

#3 Comment By John Arcadian On May 4, 2006 @ 7:44 am

Wow. Damn. That’s just a nifty concept. I’ve seen it played out in games like risk, etc, or age of empires the board game but the thought of having total control over the world and much more free form is kind of neat. We’re having a board game night this saturday and I’m definately putting this to the group then.

#4 Comment By xcorvis On May 4, 2006 @ 1:15 pm

I’ve actually played this game. I got a copy from some folks I met at CONvergence. I found it quite fun, but there were some minor issues.

1. Don’t use too big a sheet of paper. I think the rules assume you use an 11×17 sheet, or something close. We had a 3’x3′, which was just too large. If you use a bigger sheet, increase the area affected by each power.

2. Make sure everyone is on the same page, thematically. Some of us were aiming at high fantasy. Others were making sugarcane-growing ferret people who get so hyper they can run on water.

#5 Comment By Martin On May 5, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

I was bummed that I couldn’t get my group to give it a shot — I’d love to hear some actual play-type stories from those who have. (Perhaps over in our Open RPG forum.)