This month’s blog carnival topic is worldbuilding. How do you get the worlds you use for your game? Do you create your own or use a published world? If you create your own, where did you start? What do you like best about building your own settings? What suggestions and resources do you have for teaching others how to build worlds of the their own? What are the pros and cons of building your own world? Where do you get the inspiration for your worlds.
It’s a broad topic, I know. I’d like to stick to the whys and wherefores of building worlds, rather than details of the worlds themselves. Instead of telling us about your world, tell us how you created it and why, as well as sharing any tips you may have for others who’d like to build their own game world, but don’t know where to start.
I’m looking forward to seeing your posts; just put the URL of your post in the comments section below and at the end of the month, I’ll do a wrap-up post listing everyone’s contributions.
Over at the Guang Keshar website, I’ve created a survey. Okay, the survey’s really at SurveyMonkey, but there’s a link to it from rpgGM.com. Even if you don’t plan on using a new campaign setting anytime soon, please stop by and let me know what you look for in a game setting.
It’s short. Only these five questions. That’s all — and I promise it won’t hurt
I’ll be posting the outcome of the survey on the Guang Keshar website.
Here it is — the final post of our What’s in a Name? series. Today we’re talking about alphabets.
Well, actually not about alphabets. While you can create a whole new alphabet for your language, it’s a lot of work to do just to create names. Especially since unless you’re writing out all of your game materials by hand, you’ve got to create either a true font or a set of dingbats to represent your new alphabet.
You can actually create something unique by using Roman letters. After all, most languages in Europe and the Americas all use some variation of Roman letters and they all manage to look different.
Remember the list of sounds we made back on the Day 2? It’s time to pull that out. What you want to do is assign one letter or letter combination to every sound you have. What you’re creating here is actually called an orthography.
Now, you can mix up the letters and sounds — but I wouldn’t recommend it. What I mean by that is, you can assign the “sh” sound to the letter “a”. I wouldn’t recommend it because it’ll be a constant headache for you and your players. You’ll constantly have to look back and forth between your names and your “alphabet” and I’d be very surprised if your players didn’t revolt by the second game session as they try to remember that “Shewsberry” is actually pronounced “thantcamms”.
What you do want to do though, is settle on one way of writing each phoneme you have. Even though in English (for example) “c” can make an “s” or a “k” sound and more than one letter in the alphabet can make the same sound, for simplicity’s sake, I’d recommend one sound, one letter combinations. That way, you know that “Cebunclane” is always pronounced “ke-bunk-la-ne” and not “see-boon-clain”.
One obvious way to make your language look different is by using a lot of diacritics. But this can also create a huge headache as you have to remember how to type them or pause frequently while writing to use the “insert special character” (or equivalent) function of your computer. And if you ever want to post your names online, keep in mind that HTML has a very limited set of special characters it supports.
You can actually get a very different look to your names just by using combinations of letters not normally found in English and peppered with a few very common diacritics. Here’s some examples:
Have fun with this. It can be some work, initially, but once you’ve created it, it really does help give your world a unique flavor. Then, if you decide you do want to create a full language for your world at a later date, you’ve already laid some of the foundation work.
This article series was inspired by Mark Rosenfelder’s Language Construction Kit and I’ve drawn on it heavily as a resource. If you’re interested in a creating a language of your own, his site is a great place to start.
It’s day 3 of our series on creating a naming language and today we’re talking about stress. Not that kind of stress — this is the emphasis we place on one syllable over the others within a word or name. Setting a set stress pattern for names can help keep your language from sounding like English with funny pronunciations.
In English, we learn which syllables to stress on a word-by-word basis. Indeed, different regions of the English speaking world can stress different syllables of the same word and names are no exception. Changing the stress pattern of word or name can change it’s pronunciation. For example, most non-natives will pronounce my home region of Oregon’s Willamette valley as WILL-a-met or-EE-gone, when it’s actuality pronounced will-A-met (to rhyme with “damn it”) OR-e-gun. Another example is the word “laboratory”. In American English, the stress is on the first syllable (LAB-or-a-tory) while in England, the stress is on the second syllable (lab-OR-a-tory).
Other languages are more regular. Hungarian stresses the first syllable, while Polish stresses the second-to-last syllable. Other languages can have more complex stress rules, depending on vowel placement within a syllable or length of syllable. My language slightly stresses the last syllable of a word.
You certainly don’t need to set a fixed stress pattern, but it can help make your language sound distinct
Next time: Pitch
Other Posts in this Series:
It’s been a long-time coming, but I’ve finally done it. After nearly thirty years of kicking the idea around (and thanks to the guys at the Gamer Lifestyle program), I’ve finally take the plunge and started my own small-press game company, rpgGM.com.
This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now, but just never really was in a position to do before. At least for now, rpgGM.com will focus on publishing my own original game world, Guang Keshar. The world is going to be published for sale as PDFs in a modular format — that way you only have to buy what interests you. If you want something about the Great Houses and the ruling Council, you can buy that. If you’re interested only in the geography of the world itself, then that’ll be available too.Many of these smaller products will be gathered up and published as larger compilation products (with some new material thrown in for good measure ), which will give you a price break from buy each one separately.
Soon I’ll also have a newsletter going out dedicated to the development of this world. It’ll contain exclusive content, development news, sneak peeks at products, game world tips and much more. The first issue of this should come out the end of December or beginning of January. You can sign up for it now on the company website. The site will also have free information, company and product news and tips, as well providing a place for you to provide us with feedback.
I’m really excited about this and can’t wait to share my product with everyone. But don’t worry about loosing this blog — I’ll still be posting here at least once a week (I’m trying for twice, but we’ll have to see what time permits) with the same type of content I’ve been writing all along. The newsletter Beg, Borrow, and Steal will still be published, though I may have to go to once a month, rather than once a week.
[Sales pitch over, we now return you to our regularly scheduled ponderings ]