Friday, August 31, 2012

Past the Point of No Return

No, not the Phantom of the Opera song.

In case you're wondering what got me into D&D to begin with, it was A Reader's Guide to R.A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt. I must have flipped through it a dozen times before I decided to pick up the book series and from there I was well beyond the point of no return into true geekdom. I poured over the maps of Forgotten Realms (because the book came with a big fold out map) like this
Faerun World Map

And frankly, who couldn't help but drool over Todd Lockwood's incredible art? Drizzt Do'Urden, in my mind, will forever look as he does on the cover of The Silent Blade. Deadly stealth, waiting to spring from a silent crouch. Scimitar gripped tightly, ready to do its bloody, methodical work. (clears throat) Sorry, kinda got lost there for a second.

I can't recommend this fantastic book series enough. You could start with The Crystal Shard, but I'd advise starting at the very beginning and go from there. It paints such a better picture of who Drizzt is and what he can become when necessary. The first 3 books have been called some of Salvatore's best writing to date. It would be very hard to disagree with that statement. Having just finished the non-Forgotten Realms, The Crimson Shadow trilogy, those 3 books (mine was one volume) are right up there among my favorite fantasies I've ever read. It has a much more "real world" feel, probably because it's so obviously based on the United Kingdom post-Roman occupation.

In case you're completely unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms, these fill it out in every minute detail
Forgotten Realms Wiki

Forgotten Realms Index

Dig in. Don't look back. Stay hydrated. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Share and Share Alike

I'm a hobbyist. No more. No less. I do this because I like to - nay, because I love to! Maybe someday I'll design a game or write a book, but for now I worldbuild just to give my imagination and fingers something to do. It makes use of an anthropology education I don't otherwise feel gets made use of.

I have been posting my links and favorites and tools and goodies with the hope that someone stumbles across them and can use them. We geeks like to pay it forward and network - despite the stigma of having a complete lack of social skills. That being said "successful" worldbuilding is as much about education, imagination, and connection as it is about timing, luck, and incredible discovery.

The point I'm rambling along and trying to make is, CHECK THIS OUT! You must, your world(s) and imagination need it, demand it, and will thank you for it. Once you finally do you will kick yourself for every moment you knew of it and didn't listen.

My buddy Nils over at has linked to the phenomenal (but sadly over and done with) podcast Shakespeare & Dragons

I'm only on Episode 4 and it's completely blowing my mind! I'm sitting here mapping and doodling as I listen and Episode 3 alone gave me a glorious headache from the sheer volume of information and concepts and suggested exercises. Needless to say, I will finally proceed to check out on with Guns, Germs, and Steel that's been sitting in my cart for weeks.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

D&D Deluge

Last time I promised D&D links. So here you go.

First off you need to know what to call your character. I have to have a good name....nay, a great name. Once they have the right handle, the character builds themselves.

D&D Character Name Generator

Then you have to figure what they're going to do. They can't just float in the void or hang out in the tavern - unless that's their schtick and what you were going for the whole time.

DM Adventure Ideas
300+ adventure ideas - especially useful for DMs. If you can't find something here that gets the juices flowing, I have horrible news friend, your imagination is broken. Finito. Kaput.

If you need a little more than a one liner to get going, try this

Adventure Hook Generator
I especially like the Bare Bones version because I tend to outline this way. The intro to the D&D Classic is pretty catchy too.

Just for added fun, take the quiz and see who you would be in D&D. Who says you have to create an avatar to play? You know you (well, maybe). How would your persona transmogrify into somewhere like the Forgotten Realms? Find out here.

D&D Character Quiz
I always come out a ranger druid, I guess that's just my inner Aragorn.

Let's say you're more into by the book D&D character creation (but you don't really buy the book), without getting into the raging war of which edition is best, I present to you

D&D 4E Character Creation
The Dummies How To of 4th Edition character creation - I especially like the starting gear pack, but you can nit pick through the Players Guide goodies if you wish.  

A shadow of fear passes over the village. Menace drifts on leathery wings. Circling the mountain, it lands on the jagged peak and releases a bellowing roar with a gout of flame. DRAGON! - D&D Dragons
Types of dragons in D&D - and one of the best one-stop-shops for all things scaly and toothed that I've ever come across.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What to Wear: Suit Up When Stepping Out

** Great news: is back!**

I hate it when I find broken/outdated links in my favorites list. I used to visit all the time for reference and ideas. But now it's apparently defunct, which really super sucks because it was an awesome site. I'll link it anyway in case it comes back. I know it changed ownership not too long ago and was under construction for a while; hopefully it's coming back bigger and better. (fingers crossed)

The bright side is I found this going through the web's other suggestions - Fantasy Armor

It's a great article that's right up my alley because I always try to steer clear of overdone anime/Final Fantasy style armors. I think Lord of the Rings resonated with me so much because of how realistic it was in terms of visuals. The armor, weapons, architecture, etc all seemed very feasible....given the expertise of elves, dwarves, wizards and ancient cultural foundations ;)

Don't miss out on cruising the rest of I can't speak for all of it yet since it's such a new find for me, but what I've seen so far is fantastic.

This is another fav that has survived the test of time.

Elads Fantasy Armor

I especially like the Drizzt armor based on the incredible Todd Lockwood's art. What can I say? I love me some R.A. Salvatore stories. In fact, next post I'll drop a bunch of D&D links.....and I mean a BUNCH!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Worldbuilder Toolbox

There are lots of questions a worldbuilder must ask when setting out to create. Some are involved, some are very involved, and some are so obvious that you wouldn't ever think to think of them. The list goes on and on. That is primarily the reason I created this blog in the first place. I want it to be a resource toolbox for anything and everything a worldbuilder would need.

Like anyone with a creative spark and internet access, when I sit down to do something I usually end up doing something else. As such I have found many many worldbuilding sites, which now crowd up my favorites list and bookmarks. I'm going to share those with you. About a dozen such links are already scattered through older posts if you care to scroll through the past.

Today I present you with these: - Fantasy Worldbuilding

SFWA Worldbuilding Questions

Worldbuilding Strategy

This is what I'd hope my blog to be. Helpful, insightful, well written.

Because honestly when I am looking for worldbuilding resources I just Google "Worldbuilding". Best of luck fellow builders. Whether you find it here or elsewhere I'm just glad someone somewhere is crafting other someones somewheres.

I know how much (aka how little) this blog is visited and I figure that's because I'm not really out there. Well I am now! I finally broke down and joined Facebook, with Pinterest soon to follow. [Insert resigned sigh here]

Curse you life-sucking social media! Bless your potential usefulness.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spend Some Time in the Real World

So you're the Creator? You spend your time and energy contemplating the Void (the web), occasionally you have a spark of clarity and inspiration (you find a good worldbuilding/name site), this leads you to pour order into the swirling chaos (you refill your coffee mug), and finally you shape a world.

Now before you go on to create a timeline, pantheon, solar system, languages, and currency exchange....log off and go outside! I know, I know, you're the Creator. The unblinking, omnipotent, invincible Watcher! An hour to you is days, years, ages in your world. But still, a little fresh air and time away is good for you. Even God rested on the 7th day. Odin had to sleep sometime. 

If you absolutely refuse to interact with the real world and find the very notion vile and abhorrent....well then, you are a true geek/nerd and I give you a tip of my hat. I guess you wouldn't be escaping into a concocted world if you were an immense fan of the actual one. Nothing wrong with geeking out.

Do not totally shirk the real world because you will be cheating yourself from a wealth of information and inspiration. There is so so much to draw from. It's a whole wide world out there. Open yourself to it, even if it means taking a book or idea pad to the park. Take a wander with a notepad in your pocket. Stare up at the clouds/stars. Look at birds, bugs, trees, etc....really consider them. Think of what they are, what they do, what they mean. If you open your mind to the questions most others gloss over it's amazing the stream of thought it will lead you through. Sit up on a hill/rooftop and watch traffic patterns. Think of why cars move the way they do. Why are the roads laid out like that? Is the timing of traffic lights significant? Where is everyone going? Destination and motivation is extremely important.

And if you still won't do any of that and insist on wiling away the hours in the hypnotic lambency of your monitor, at least check these out:

History of the

FREE Physical World Maps
I swear, the real world is interesting and you will get something from it.