Thought Cauldron

Home Brewing an RPG and Tabletop Gaming Blog

How To Start World-Building For Your Campaign

Alright, you’re finally going to play a role-playing game. You bought the books, you learned the rules, you made a sample character. You’re all ready to DM your first campaign.

Or are you?

I’ve heard from a good amount of friends that they would like to GM a game, but they have no idea how to world-build. They’ve asked all their favorite DM’s, but they receive conflicting advice, and in the end, they are left just as confused as when they started. Well, luckily, the reason for that is not only benign but downright motivating.

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Kogim Colony Spotlight (Oakenhowl)

Welcome to the Kogim Colony Spotlight. Today, we’re looking at Oakenhowl! Have a look around, and please, enjoy your stay!

Contents

Places

Characters

Kogim Names

Ship Upgrades

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Random Thoughts: My Dream Man of Steel Sequel

So this post has nothing to do with rpg’s, homebrew, or world-building but I’ve been motivated by a few videos (originally Wisecrack’s video on Man of Steel, which I don’t completely agree with, and then later Nando v Movie’s amazing video on improving Batman vs Superman’s third act/) to write my own opinion.

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Logs from the Valkyrie: The Story Thus Far – Part 6 (An Oasis in Space)

Imagine floating in a damaged spaceship stuck in a spacesuit until it arrives. It probably looks something like this.
Derelict Spaceship by Hakob Minasian.

(Continued from Part 5.)

As time dragged on, doubt began to grow. Ludovico had confidence in his engineering skills, but to most of the crew, he was still a stranger. He repaired what he could, but they could only do so much. He explained while removing his gloves.

“There’s the lack of spare parts, of course. The Space Whale has bit off nearly half the ship. Fuel, food, tools, tons of it was released into space. Without a pit stop or money, any issue that slows our momentum could strand us.” He began to head towards his bunk. “I’ve done all I can. Keep an eye on the sensors. I cannot permit myself to starve to death out here without finally achieving my goal. I am so close to that Stone-”

“Don’t worry!” Captain Elias slapped Ludovico on the back as he walked past him. “Out here, we’d all be killed by pirates long before that happens.” He gave an evil smile, “Or worse.”

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Valkyrie Spotlight: PC Races

Valkyrie Campaign Setting PC Races (playable character races) are primarily humans. The Sartha affectionately refer to the section of space the base setting takes place in as the Human Sector. Therefore, the majority of the population are humans. The few alien species the humans have met up to now have been immigrants, refugees, tourists, and conquerors. The one exception is the Xai, who were sleeping on the human planets long before they arrived.

You will notice one common theme when reading about the alien PC races is that they are all societal outsiders. If you are looking for ideas for humans characters, one suggestion is to create outsiders as well. They didn’t have to start out that way, they may have fallen from grace, or become isolated through success. Have them find out how to find your humanity in the cracks and alleys of the universe. Tell the story of people who have fallen, the difference they can make, large or small.

This will be a brief overview of the races. I will write detailed spotlights on specific races as time goes on. Just remember to vote in the sidebar polls!

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Jason Borrows a House Rule #2: Schmoops and the Wheel of Fun

Once again, it’s time to present a random house rule that can be used in your rpg campaigns – and this time we’re using schmoops . One thing I like about this rule is that it can be used in any turn-based rpg, however, it’s especially useful for those kinds of systems where players have a lot of options. When players have to decide between a lot of choices, it can make turns take too long, such as Dungeons and Dragons (esp. 4th or 3.5) or Pathfinder.

Today’s house rule is brought to you by u/Jurph on Reddit.  It encourages players to take their turns quicker through the use of a carrot, rather than the stick.

So time for me to take out some schmoops and take my turn to explain Jurph’s house rule: Schmoops and the Wheel of Fun.

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Logs from the Valkyrie: The Story Thus Far – Part 5 (Gambling on Strangers)

(Continued from Part 4.)

Blue Heaven

The crew of the Valkyrie had just barely escaped a planet being overrun by the Infected (humans transformed and turned mindless by the alien species known as the Vruex). Harook and Galahad were injured, and they still had a way to go before their final destination, so they decided to rest up and restock.

The closest refuge was Blue Heaven, a space station famous for catering to the rich. However, like any space station out of Central Government control, it was filled with criminal activity. Those who arrived may not notice, blinded as they were by the lights of the hotels and casinos where white collar criminals, bureaucrats, and celebrities alike all schmoozed. Meanwhile, in the streets right next to the wonder and splendor was the seedy underbelly. Grifters sold stolen art, pickpockets found tourists, and con men took advantage of addicts to make a quick buck.

Space Station dreamed up for Playboy and Virgin Galactic

Thomas Tenery/Playboy Enterprises

While the mega-corp businessmen and women patrons gave the satellite an air of legitimacy, the truth was that the neon lights only served to blind the truth: Blue Heaven was just as rotten as Kingdom Come, but for a higher class of criminal. Which only meant higher stakes.

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Favorite GDC Talks for Homebrew RPGs

For some strange reason, I have been watching a lot of game development talks lately. It’s because many are extremely informative. Huh. Guess the reason isn’t that strange.

But they can also be fairly long for those that don’t have the free time to watch them all. Most are about an hour and others are even longer. Who has the time for that with Game of Thrones and Marvel flicks to catch up on? I know I don’t. But I’ll do my duty as a humble homebrew rpg blogger by giving you an updated list of my favorite GDC talks (Game Developers Conference talks) that I find so you can be sure you’re finding the ones related to tabletop gaming. Because you’re worth it.

I hope you’ll find all the videos below very insightful. If you have any other good game dev or world building talk suggestions, I’d love to hear them so feel free to leave links in the comment section below or email me. Without any further ado, here are my current 5 favorite GDC talks for board games, card games, world building, storytelling, and RPG homebrew.

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Logs from the Valkyrie: The Story Thus Far – Part 4 (Ghost Town)

Continued from Part 3.

The Valkyrie continued to their next planet, the sparsely populated Whitaker 7. Orbiting over one of the many extensive grasslands, they detected a distress beacon a short distance from their destination. The crew looked at each other and nodded.

Art by Yuzhou Xingxing Xinguang

In the wilderness of space, people try to adhere to certain codes. You help others, and others help you. Everyone tries to pass it on. However, as much as common folk attempt decency, not everyone is so polite without the law looming over them…

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Thoughts on Improving League of Legends Strategic Diversity

This is a text post I was going to post to the League of Legends subreddit, but it has ended up turning kind of long, like a blog post. So I’ll post it here, too. State your thoughts on the questions it brings up in the comments below.

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