Dawn of Worlds

 

Dawn of Worlds is a collaborative world building system for use with RPGs, novels, or anything else for which you’d need a world.  It’s system neutral which makes it useful for anyone, and it’s a lot of fun in it’s own right.

My new campaign is starting this weekend, and my group opted to make use of Dawn of Worlds to design the game world.  Dawn of Worlds is a collaborative world building system for use with RPGs, novels, or anything else for which you’d need a world.  It’s system neutral which makes it useful for anyone, and it’s a lot of fun in it’s own right. We used Dawn of Worlds for a number of reasons, and coming away from it, I can say I’ve learned a few things about the best use of the system.

The basic concept of how Dawn of Worlds works is like this: Each turn, each player gets a number of points. Points are used to buy things in the world from terrain features to races, to world-changing events. Turns are grouped into eras. Within each era, costs are balanced differently. In the first era, terrain and climate is very inexpensive, while the second era features inexpensive races, advancements (technologies and similar advantages) and avatars (powerful influences), and the third and final era features inexpensive organizations, armies, and wonders.

Dawn of Worlds spreads the labor of world creation out amongst the whole group, so it makes world creation faster and the end result more complex than if one player were doing it. It also makes sure that players are familiar with the history of the gameworld without having to bore them to tears with endless exposition or giving them a novella to read.

Dawn of Worlds promotes player investiture by inviting all players to add things they feel are exciting or they’d like to play into the world.  If you have a player that likes the idea of gunplay, they can feel free to add a civilization of gunslinging tinkers. If one of your players fancies the idea of a race of kobold paladins and priests being the greatest force for good in the world, they can contribute that. If one of your players wants a giant civilization with merchants, diplomats, and civil engineers, there’s nothing stopping them. Everyone has the ability to put something in the world that they want to see or play.

In addition, the result of Dawn of Worlds pulls from the collective imaginations of a group of players, not just one. That means that you, as game master aren’t required to come up with everything in the world all by yourself, and that everyone’s best ideas are at the table. These ideas will quickly build off of each other as well. If that race of good kobolds comes to power by overthrowing their masters and driving them out of their city, someone else might make another order of kobolds dedicated to retaking their homeland from the usurpers.