Up to this point in your campaign bible, you should have a general concept of your world on a macro level, on a large scale. We have been generally getting more and more specific, a micro level, as we progress. This is one of two methods you can use to tackle world building. Some people enjoy looking at the world on a smaller level first, fleshing out a region where the players are going to begin their careers and then build outward as they travel. While this is perfectly fine if it suits your preference, there are a few things that are lacking by doing so. One of which is important figures and places that are not directly conflicting with the players at that time but are affecting the world as the players journey through it. These are famous nobles, politicians, monarchs, wanted criminals, famous bards, and the like.
A very strong method of bringing more life into your world is to have things occurring elsewhere during their campaign. I often will provide news and events to the players as we go along, usually in between sessions or prior to just starting one. This can be anything from an illness in royal family, a major heist that took place in a far off city, an assault on a castle, a war that broke out, or tension that is building between the wood elves and the nearby orc tribes. It’s important to make notes of these events and not just make them up and forget about them later. Your players may very well remember them without you and bring the event up some time later when they reach that area. Don’t underestimate the memory of your players.
For now, I started with the most well-known figures in my world of Zatra, those running the Dwarven Kingdoms. Since the world has fallen to a horrible curse called the Touch, the dwarves have shown to be the most resilient against it and, therefore, the best place to be protected. The dwarves in general are governed by a supreme king with two other kings reigning over two of the three kingdoms. Essentially one rules all of them while maintaining a governing body over a third of the dwarves. With this, the three kings are vastly critical in the world for two reasons. First, they hold the knowledge on how to leave the sealed Chambers through the secret passage back to the surface. Second, they are the only governing body among the dwarves who can grant permission to send messages between the Chambers via a message spell. One of the options for the players is to have their character come from one of the Chambers. Since this is the case, they will ultimately have to talk face-to-face with one of the kings, depending on which Chamber they choose. So it is important to have the knowledge of who the three kings are.
The following figures play prominent supporting roles or significant peripheral roles in the campaign:
His Grand Highness, Superior Chancellor and King Wolvar Thunderharm. Although three kings in total reign over the three Dwarven Kingdoms, one of these is King Wolvar Thunderharm who holds total authority over all dwarves. His words become law, and his governing is overruled by no one. Few know how old Thunderharm is, but he states claim that he was among the first dwarves on Zatra to wield and strike with a hammer. If this is the case, he has received special treatment or aid by non-magical or magical means to give him longevity in life as the oldest officially recorded dwarf was 387. These days, Wolvar Thunderharm spends his waking hours either entertaining his 8xGreat-Grandchildren or locked away in his private library as he pours over volumes of lore that was written around the time believed to be when Koz first became a reality. Wolvar Thunderharm reigns over the First Dwarven Kingdom of Gungrak.
Her High Holiness, Grand Pontiff and King Syldi Tarndark. She is one of the three kings that reign over the Dwarven Kingdoms and carries the highest rank within the Holy Order of the dwarven religion, Vagnarock. Vagnarock is considered sacrilege among all other races in Zatra for they worship an imaginary god. Syldi Tarndark leads the order and proceeds over laws that are dictated by religion such as time of worship, Sabbath days, official scripture interpretations, and so on. Her masculine title as king is an official ruling that was added to the Law after equality rights were decided among the dwarves. The Law can never be changed, but interpretation can be changed by amendments. In this case, the Law clearly states “Only a king may reside over a Dwarven Kingdom.” By giving the same title to a female dwarf, the Law is not betrayed. Syldi Tarndark reigns over the Second Dwarven Kingdom of Solitude.
His Royal Highness, Battle Warlord and King Krog Dragongrind. Battle scarred and showing little emotion, Dragongrind has little fear. His list of battles is legendary, taking days to recite completely. Beyond military skills in tactics and warfare, Krog is capable of wielding any weapon placed in his hand. He has Grand Master titles on over 200 melee and ranged weapons. From a personal level, he does not follow Vagnarock as he believes it is a false god. His title gives him the freedom to follow his own faith, but most dwarves criticize him behind his back. There is a very few number of followers of God within the Dwarven Kingdoms, and almost all of them converted to the faith after Krog took reign over his kingdom. Of those few, all of them reside in his domain. He will take any opportunity that is given to him to passionately warn that following a false god like Vagnarock will lead to retribution and believes Koz’s existence was the direct result of too many followers against God. Krog Dragongrind reigns over the Third Dwarven Kingdom of Balakork.
This list progressively gets bigger and bigger as you come up with more noteworthy figures. Once the campaign begins, it still will be necessary to continue expanding it to keep track of everyone. As the campaign gets longer and longer, the list of NPCs will grow substantially long. Having a nice database of who’s who will help keep the memory of them fresh in your mind.
As I like to keep these blogs around a 2 page length, I will put the important places section on the next blog as my material for it covers 3 pages by itself. Breaking it down and explaining the section, its importance and recommendations will only add to the already lengthy bit, so stay tuned for Part 6 where I’ll include that section.
Until next time, lie about your dice roll as much as you can get away with. Thanks for stopping by.