World Building Questions

Rule System

Are we using Dnd? Which version?

Are there any limits to races and classes? Do any of them work differently?


General

What is the primary area? Where do we want most detail?

How is civilization distributed? Large clumps with wilderness on the borders? Points of light? Is the border sharp or diffuse? Is there a reason for that?

Can the humanoid races (orc, goblin, etc) be civilized? Why/why not? What is the difference between orc/goblin barbarians and human/elf barbarians? How many human/elf barbarian areas are there, and do they intermingle with the orc/goblin ones?


The World

Are the laws of nature and physics actually different in this world, or are they the same as in real life? How does magic fit in? How do magical beasts fit in? How much hand-waving are we gonna do?

How does this world differ physically from earth? Is it the same size (same density, same gravity), same ratio of land/water, same atmosphere, etc.? Does it have more than one sun or moon? Rings? Are there spectacular constellations/comets, etc. visible at night or by day?

Is the axial tilt and orbit the same — i.e., does the world have the same seasons and same length of year as Earth? If there is more than one moon/sun, how does this affect winds, tides, and weather generally?

Are there other continents? Do we have contact with them? Are they weirder than our starting continent?

Are there non-human inhabitants of this planet (elves, dwarves, catfolk)? If so, how numerous? How openly present? Are they limited to specific areas, or do they mix more or less freely?


Magic

What magic do we have? Arcane magic? Divine magic? Psionics? 

Is arcana magic and external energy like mana? Internal like the personal willpower or life force of the magician? The action of demons, spirits or outsiders? Is it alive in its own right? Is magic an exhaustible resource? Is it different between the different clases, or a unified source?

Do different races/species have different sources for their magic, or does everybody use the same one?

What things can magic not do? What are the limits to magical power? How do magicians try to get around these limits?

What is the price magicians must pay in order to be magicians — years of study, permanent celibacy, using up bits of their life or memory with each spell, etc.? Does anyone ever try to get around the price of magic?

How organised is magic? Are there colleges? Are you required by law to be part of a guild? Do wizards distrust each other and keep to themselves?

Can anyone become a wizard, or does one need to be born with some special talent or gift?

How normal is magic? How many magic users can you expect in a city, a town, a village? 

How much is known about the laws of nature, physics, and magic? How much of what is commonly known is wrong? How different is the level of knowledge between magic users, educated people/nobles, and commoners?

How do various religions,if any, view magic? Do any forbid it? Why or why not? Do any require priests/priestesses to be magicians? Do any forbid magicians from holding some or all religious offices?

Is magic a profession, an art, or just a job? What is the status accorded to magicians in this society? Are they the equivalent of shyster lawyers, politicians, and used car salesmen, or are they considered average working stiffs, or are they looked up to and admired?

Are magic casting for sale? Magic items? Why?

How much does magical healing/resurrection have influence on the world?


Geography

What kinds of animals / magical beasts do we find in different areas? Are any areas known for a type of animal/beast that lives there?


History

Can you divide history into ages, and if so, which? (Age of the Titans, Age of Myths, Age of Man) 

How long have there been people on this world? Did they evolve, were they created by the gods, or did they migrate from somewhere else? If there are non-humans, how long have they been around and where did they come from?

Where did civilization begin? What directions did it spread? How was its development affected by the presence of magic? The presence of non-human races, if any? The actions or direct interventions of the gods?

Have sentient activities affected climate, landscape, etc. in various regions? How? 

How far back are there records or tales of historical events? How widely known are these stories?

Do average people believe old tales, or do they dismiss some that have a basis in fact (e.g., Troy)?


Culture

Which areas are the most fertile farmland? 

Where are mineral resources located?

Who has what spices?

Where do we see war (current or recent)?

Where do we see trade?

Which peoples/etc. are considered the most civilized?

Where do we have barbarians? Who are they? 

Which are most technologically advanced? Least advanced? Why?

Which are most magically advanced? Least advanced? Why?

Which peoples/countries/races have traditionally fought, allied, traded, or been rivals? Where are there still hard feelings about old events?

Is there a single, generally accepted calendar (including time measurements), or do different countries or peoples or races have different ones?

How many languages are there? Which ones are related (e.g., the Romance languages) and why? Which languages borrow words or phrases from other languages? Which is likely to be most widely spoken?

Is there a “trade language” that facilitates commerce between countries that don’t speak the same tongue? Is there a “universal language” spoken by educated or noble persons, as Latin was in the Middle Ages?

Is the law different for nobles/priests/wizards than commoners? In what way?

 

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World Building Questions

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