So… I’m in the last week before I actually start running a Dungeons & Dragons game, and I’m… worldbuilding.
Which means: drawing maps, creating characters, deciding on stories, and setting them all together, like dolls in a house, so that the other players can come over and play around in my world and, hopefully, change it for the better. And we’ll all have a great time. That’s the goal – to enjoy ourselves.
And I’ve been scurrying around, trying to make it all work and all come together, as the time ticks down to Thursday 5 PM, and I feel the press of the deadline and want to have it all done… so that the players feel like it’s a real world. At least as much as a world with Elves and Dragons and magic wands can be, anyway.
Did you see this post on IO9? Josh Friedman was the producer for the Terminator TV show (that was awesome, by the way, if you ever get a chance to watch it on DVD) and in this article he talks about “worldbuilding” and, because I’m in the middle of worldbuilding myself, it really resonates with me. Especially about how some of the world is always going to be fuzzy no matter how much work I do. It will always be bigger than I can imagine it, because it’s a freakin’ WORLD.
Which lead us to this: there will always be a point in your world-building when the world you’ve built outgrows the scope of the story you’re telling. The edges are fuzzy; the next town over is mysterious. Perhaps you’ve hinted at something which suggests something else, which would really turn things on its fucking head IF you were to go down that path BUT YOU ARE NOT.
Not now. Not yet. And possibly, never. If you’re world-building well, your world should feel full and alive and bustling in the corners, even if you’ve never actually made it over to the corner to see what the fuck is going on there. The world is true to your vision, but there is ambiguity and mystery and things undiscovered. I can know a thousand things about my the world I’ve created, but if there aren’t a thousand others just outside of my creative periphery, then I start getting a little sketchy and bored.
This is how I feel lately: every time I turn my attention to some part of my D&D campaign, there’s always something more to be decided, or detailed, or written down, or rolled up, or named. Always. No matter how much work I do, no matter how much effort I put in. There’s always going to be a part that’s overlooked.
I just want my players to feel that, no matter where they look, they see something that’s a part of the whole.
Yeah… I’m probably going to have to let go of that want. ‘Cause I barely have time enough for this world… Let alone a whole ‘nother one.