Tag Archives: world design

City Government Power Bases – Land

What forces govern your city? In many societies, landowners have great power. With all the economic, defensive, military, and strategic benefits land provides, most governments use this as a starting power base for their regimes. For high fantasy games, consider land as an abstract concept that encompasses many possible dimensions. Land can be the ground, the clouds of sky realms, the flames …

City Government Power Bases – Religion

What forces govern your city? Religion, spirituality, and ideology make excellent government power bases because they are powerful sources of influence, prestige, and affiliation. Religion and cosmology varies from campaign to campaign, but it’s likely gods do exist in your world and they imbue certain, devout followers with spells and special powers every day. Even if your current campaign has …

City Government Power Bases – Magic and Psionics

What forces govern your city? We resume the city design series this week with thoughts about how to use magic and psionics to build interesting city government power bases. For the purposes of this article, magic and psionics are treated the same. Your game system might make this thinking incompatible, but hopefully you can take the thinking that follows and apply…

How To Cast A Spell On Your Campaign And Polish Till It Gleams

The dead will not always give you clear answers In part one, you saw how spell details can inspire encounters . In part two today, we continue to walk through the plight of poor Halcos and who the PCs’ enemies plot to prevent them from casting Speak With dead. We also offer tips on how spells can help you design game worlds and regions…

How To Cast A Spell On Your Campaign And Make It Sparkle Like Gold Dust

One spell can change the complexion of a campaign If two people are casting Speak With Dead on the same body, does one get a busy signal? In my Riddleport Pathfinder campaign, an NPC named Halcos was assassinated as the PCs were dragging him away to be interrogated. In reaction, the party plans to bring the body to an allied temple for a Speak …

City Government Power Bases – War and Military plus Software Giveaway

What forces govern your city? A strong military is real, solid power. A city with a skilled, well-equipped and well-led army can protect itself, fend off its neighbours, go on a conquering binge, and keep its own citizens under control, though not necessarily all at once or in that order. A politician with a private army can often get away…

City Government Power Bases – Social Leverage, Marriage and Wealth

What forces govern your city? A power base is an asset you can use to achieve goals. It serves as a foundation or tool. You can wield it like a weapon, use it like a tool or draw upon it like a resource. Governments are typically boring game elements. However, design a power base for each government or government agency, and you turn them into NPCs of…

Grave Problems – The Dead in Your Game

Image by vasta My wife and I had a conversation about death recently. More specifically, we talked about what we wanted to be done with our bodies when we died. A morbid conversation, maybe, but one that got me thinking about the same issue in role playing games. I’m not a simulationist gamer, but I do like to add little touches and flourishes to my game…

City Government Power Bases – Leadership

What forces govern your city? Popularity Being popular earns a government a lot of power, though it is always a fragile thing. Think of popularity as a form of temporary affiliation . Popularity is often restricted to a subset of urban society – you can’t please everyone. Strengths With a large amount of consent, a government can rule with fewer objections and roadblocks. The will of the people can …

City Government Power Bases – Law and Affiliation (plus NBOS software giveaway)

What forces govern your city? In the introduction last week I covered the goal of this series, which is to use the idea of power bases – where do fantasy governments, government officials and factions get power and influence? – to make your cities interesting places to adventure. Each part in this series will cover two or three power bases in detail…

City Government Power Bases – Overview

What forces govern your city? The topic of city government causes GMs big yawns. Other than picking a government type, you find it a difficult city element to make interesting for game sessions, adventures and city design. However, it is an important part of urban environments that should not be ignored. And it does not have to be a difficult or boring thing. The key is …

Stiff Upper Lip: Thinking about nations in RPGs

I’m interrupting my series on Psionics to bring you this timely post on sports and nation-building… As I write this, the local TV host is replaying highlights from the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Since Johnn is Canadian and I am Australian, both Commonwealth countries, we find our respective nationalities on opposing sides. It’s a somewhat interesting …

Stiff Upper Lip: Thinking about nations in RPGs

I’m interrupting my series on Psionics to bring you this timely post on sports and nation-building… As I write this, the local TV host is replaying highlights from the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Since Johnn is Canadian and I am Australian, both Commonwealth countries, we find our respective nationalities on opposing sides. It’s a somewhat interesting event, this time…

Lessons From The West Wing II: The Psychology Of Maps

Credit: Eurobas at en.wikipedia It’s time for another of my occasional Lessons From The West Wing . This draws heavily on concepts put forward in a single episode, Episode 16 of Season 2, “Somebody’s Going To Emergency, Somebody’s Going To Jail” . Some people have decried the episode as one of the weakest in the West Wing’s repetoir, others found it illuminating. As it happened, it…

Pulling That Lever: The Selection Of Leaders In RPG Societies

Nobles from ancient Mede Okay, so for the first time since we started this online magazine/blog, one of us has missed getting a post up. Johnn struck problems with his planned post at the last possible moment, and then tried to rewrite it but missed the deadline; thought that he would be able to get it up a day late, …