Cooking the Cosmos – Part 3: Choosing a System

Welcome back to Cooking the Cosmos. My apologies for the extended delay on getting this posted, over the last few days my internet access has been incredibly unreliable, and I ended up frustrated to the point of giving up until it decided to start playing nice again. Now that the worst of it appears to be over, I figure it’s time to get back in business.

As I said last time, this update will focus on choosing a system for your campaign setting. I find that it’s best to choose a system as early as you possible, as it gives you a framework of game mechanics to build within. There are three major questions to consider when making this decision, so I’ll be using both the Project Helleborus and Urban Magic campaign settings to help demonstrate the process.

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Cooking the Cosmos – Part 2: The Basics (Continued)

Hey guys, welcome to Part 2 of Cooking the Cosmos, my series about world building for role-playing games.

I’ll be kicking this update off by creating a second campaign setting to use as an example throughout this series. After that I’ll discuss ways to expand on the details of your setting, and deciding on what you want your characters to focus on when first introduced to the world.

So, first up, let’s get another campaign setting going here. I’ve decided that I’d like to move away from the fairly traditional fantasy setting that I am using for Project Helleborus. I’ll still be using fantasy, but I’m looking at a modern-day urban fantasy setting, inspired by the Urban Magic series by Kate Griffin. I can not recommend this series highly enough, if anyone is interested in giving it a read please see the end of this post for more information.

Concept: A modern-day city with a hidden society of magic users and supernatural creatures. Magic has adapted to modern society, drawing power from industry and society rather than from nature.

Themes: Changing nature of magic; Hidden society; Urban magic; Clan warfare; Maintaining humanity; The pursuit of power; Keeping magic secret.

Now for a quick back story:

Magic has always been a part of the world, hidden from mainstream society. However, magic as a force is a mirror of the state of humanity and its environment. The shift from a rural society to urban living has had severe effects on the nature of magic and the methods used by practitioners. Where once sorcerers would summon vines to entangle their enemies, now they summon barbed wire. The herbs once used for warding away ill intent have been replaced with a spray painted image of a stop sign.

In the hidden magic societies within each city, there is a truce between the various tribes and clans of practitioners, as well as the supernatural creatures. However, relationships are strained, and small flare-ups are common. Sitting outside of all of this are the sorcerers, the rare natural adepts who are born with magic in their veins. They belong to no clan, but are respected, and often feared, as their powers are unpredictable and near unimaginable. Now though, someone is hunting down the sorcerers, and drawing together lesser magic users using fear and the promise of power.  Those who resist, die.

I’ll be coming back to this setting whenever I need something to use as a comparison or contrast for Project Helleborus. For now though, I’ll leave it as is and move onto demonstrating start fleshing out the details for your world.

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Cooking the Cosmos – Part 1: The Basics


Welcome to Cooking the Cosmos, a series of articles about creating your own campaign setting, a process commonly referred to as World Building. This will be updating on a semi-regular basis, with hopefully at least one or two articles added each month.

For the first two or three updates, we’ll be starting with the basics, namely, coming up with a concept and basic outline; choosing a system; and starting to develop the ideas. To help demonstrate what I’m talking about, I’ll be using two example settings with different themes. The first of these is a setting I am already developing for a home game, under the working title Project Helleborus. The second will be a new world that I create specifically for the purposes of these articles. As the articles continue, I will ask for input from any interested readers who would like to help shape the second setting.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions discussed below are entirely my own, and may not work for you. This is just how I work when it comes to designing a world for my players, but there are many ways to go about it, and none of them are the “wrong” way.

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