World Building Pt.1 – Addiction and Acceptance

So, if you are like me, and you have been Role Playing for some time, you have probably taken a shot at getting out of the Player chair and going behind the screen to GM a few games.  If you are even more like me, you tend to get drafted into the GM spot fairly often.  I have been gaming since early high school and I would say that the vast majority of that time has been spent acting as the DM for various incarnations of Dungeons and Dragons adventures.

Once you get that DM bug, it is hard to get it out of your system.  I really enjoy this role, but not so much from the time spent at the table.  For me, role playing is all in the anticipation, or in this case, the preparation.  Being the DM provides a wonderful creative outlet that most players only get through character generation (and playing the game of course).

Let’s say that game prepping for games is an addiction.  In my mind there are stages to that addiction.  The first stage is getting sucked in, at this point, you are probably using prepared materials such as published adventures.  From there, as the game prep addiction takes hold, you begin to make your own min-adventures, stories filled with combat using the monsters you get out of the books you buy.  But from there, the addiction grows deeper, you start to tweak these monsters to become a bit more interesting or challenging; then, even deeper, you start home brewing your own monsters that are tailored exactly to your needs and maybe even start building a city near the dungeon for your players to visit and get some good role-playing in.

However, in my mind, the final step in this downward spiral of game preparation and home brew is when you finally decide that the published worlds do not fit your needs and you take it upon yourself to build a fully developed sandbox world that your players can explore and delight in.

I would say that most of us get to this last step pretty quickly.

The addiction that is world building can be a very deadly one, if you don’t do it right, but if you don’t let it overwhelm you, this addiction can be very, very rewarding.

Over the next several weeks, I will be providing some insight regarding world building and the creation of custom homebrew campaign settings.  Right now, I am currently in the throes of a project just like this.  I will be providing some insight into this process based on what has worked for me, and conversely, the mistakes that I have made that I actually learned something from (because we all know that these are the best kinds of mistakes you can make).

You can follow what I have been doing in my current campaign setting project for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons at my personal blog, The Dump Stat –

If you would like to contact me, you can reach me via e-mail at:


Hey everyone! I'm a gamer, husband, and father living in Japan. I teach High School English to Japanese kids. I started playing games about 13 years ago and have been blogging about gaming for the last 5 years or so.

3 thoughts on “World Building Pt.1 – Addiction and Acceptance”

  1. That's nifty, gonna be tuning in to that one. I myself am quite a bit "addicted" to world building, as one look at my blog will show. And it pretty much followed the same pattern. I'd played Generic D&Dland, Medieval Fantasy Europe and Forgotten Realms stuff for so long I just got completely sick of it. I wanted some new flavors, so I set out to make my own drinks.

  2. My name is Roberto and I am a compulsive Home Brewer! (Took the first step, now looking forward to this…)

  3. I took a slightly different route into this hobby/addiction. Two of my younger cousins introduced me to D&D when I was 19 or 20, I hadn't heard of it before then (I grew up in a very small town), and my initial understanding of what was "easy" or "hard" I took from them.

    They made up adventures, campaigns and worlds as they needed them, changing or discarding homebrew material as the whim suited them. If they felt like a city game, then they made up a city on the spot. Admittedly, it wasn't the most… developed or coherent RPG city that ever was, but the idea that impromptu homebrewing was somehow harder or more advanced simply didn't occur to them – and by proxy it didn't seem so to me either.

    Similarly, they casually and almost randomly passed around the GM role with no more fuss than making a new character. Again, taking my cue from them I assumed that being a GM and creating a world on the fly was just part of how one played D&D. It was probably my fourth or fifth time playing that I took a turn as the GM, homebrewing as I went. The game was a free-for-all buffet of randomness, but we all had fun!

    Imagine my surprise years later when I began reading Dragon magazine, and later still via usenet's (yes, I'm old, I know!) , and I saw people talking about how hard it was to GM and how much more advanced it was to make your own adventures & settings. I thought it was strange that most people used published settings. To my skewed perspective that seemed harder than making it up. All that studying of existing material! At least if you 'rolled your own' so to speak, you knew what was in it! 🙂

    Due to my method of induction I feel that I was doomed to be addicted to GMing and worldbuilding! To continue your addiction analogy, my first experience wasn't sharing a draw, it was running my own meth lab! LOL!

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