D&D: Never ending worldbuilding

December 12, 2018

I just finished watching The Dungeon, by Matthew Colville's. It talks about how worldbuilding for D&D can be an endless endeavor and how we can break it down into smaller bits by focusing on building a few dungeons, a few levels and rooms at a time. I'd like to share with y'all my feelings after watching it.

"A D&D campaign can include an entire world. This can be so overwhelming, many people who want to DM start building a world... and never finish, never start playing. They never feel ready because the task they've set themselves is insurmountable. Creativity needs boundaries." - Matthew Colville

You've just accurately described my experience with D&D. I've spent months planning a world map (or concepts for different regions, at least), races, classes, custom monsters, a pantheon of Gods, locations, NPC's, guilds... and I don't seem to be getting anywhere 'cause I keep changing my mind about the decisions I had already made. I've watched literally hundreds of YouTube tutorials on the most diverse subjects, studied the medieval period, cartography, biology, religion... and I'm not even started on politics. I've compiled several documents with notes that I share with other DMs. I've even published a few small PDFs with some of the custom content I've created for my world so far. I can tell that, if I keep this at this pace, it'll take me years to flesh out the campaign world. For me, it's not so much of a problem because my family doesn't get D&D (it's not at all known in my country) and won't allow me to play, so I know I have all the prep time I need until I get a job and save enough money to move out, but I see how this could be an endless snowballing trap for other people.

I'm not so worried about having my world finished to DM though. While preparing a long-term campaign is my favorite kind of challenge, I wouldn't mind just running a small adventure in a localized regional area, or even one-shots totally not related to one another, with different characters, different settings, different stories. Plus, there's lots of content out there, both "official" and homebrew. Never DMing because your world is never finished is kinda sad.

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." - Matthew Colville
This pretty much sums up how I feel.

What about you? Have you ever tried worldbuilding for D&D or any other TTRPG system? Let me know in the comments below.

Go ahead, treat yourself to something else:


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