Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Worldbuilding: Organic Growth

Good evening, gentle readers!
Last week, I wrote about how I'd found a creative outlet in the D&D game I was Dungeon Master-ing.  I told a little about the world I'd built; about how it was a Bronze Age setting, not the typical Medieval fantasy world most gamers are familiar with.  I described it as a young world, with a few scattered cities, separated by vast swathes of dangerous wilderness.  Travel in the Known World occurs mostly via water, as civilization has evolved and expanded around a trio of seas: The Cradle, the Sea of Splendors and the Sea of Trials. There are 22 deities, 13 cities and 4 races.
And that's all great.
But when you DM a new setting, when your worldbuild, you keep adding new details.
There were four languages when we started; one for each of the core races (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling and Human). That didn't include things like Thieves' Cant which I forgot and Druidic, which inspired me to authorize Temple Languages, unique to the clergy of each deity. And then, a player asked if he could speak a Pigeon dialect that might have arrived in marketplaces. This seemed like a fine idea, so I said "Sure!" And then I decided there was an original language, the Old Tongue, the four races spoke before a Tower-of-Babel like incident scrambled their languages. Most of the cities in the world are named in the Old Tongue.  And then, last week, a wizard joined the party, prompting me to authorize a Wizard's Tongue.
So, suddenly I have gone from 4 basic languages to 32 separate languages.
Which, from a creative outlook, is fucking awesome!
It demonstrates how settings like this can become organic and take on a life of their own.
And now, heaven help me, there are regional dialects popping up.
I introduced a character last session from the North who speaks with a faux Russian-esque accent and now everyone from that part of the world will speak the same way.
Fun, but requiring notes. 
Lots and lots of notes.

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