August is here and we have the opportunity and honor of hosting the RPG Blog Carnival. As you can deduce from the title, this month I want you to challenge you to write about the most important locations in your game.
«Location, location, location» is the real estate agents’ mantra. You’ve probably heard the phrase very often and may wonder what inspires agents to say the word three times. I guess it just means that some properties can experience large increases or decreases in value due to nothing else but their location, and it’s repeated for emphasis, turning it into the number one rule in real estate.
The setting of a campaign is both the time and geographic location of it, but for this month’s topic, we’ll focus on the second one. The locations in our story worlds are selected for context, society, or simple surroundings. Its elements may include culture, historical significance and geography, playing along with the plot, characters, themes and style, to conform the fundamental components of our game’s storyline. Sometimes our setting becomes a character itself. Considering all this, a geographical setting can exist in three different levels:
- The natural world, or anywhere we consider «outdoors»: The world and its natural landscapes may play an important part in our narrative, along with living creatures and different times of weather conditions and seasons.
- The cultural and historical background: Regions and nations are where our stories reside and come to life. Past events that have impacted the cultural background of characters or locations are significant in this way.
- The inner sanctum: any public or private place that has been created for our characters to live while growing up.
The location you can write about can belong to any of these three levels, so feel totally free to choose what to share!
Are you a player?
- Where is your current/favorite character from? Why did you choose or create such a place?
- Where is your character going? Does he know for certain, or does he have to find out first?
- Does he have some kind of headquarters? Is he planning to? Has he been given lands from some authority thanking him for him service?
- Think of where your character spend downtime between adventures: Does your barbarian or ranger have his own outpost far from the city? Does your fighter have access to the local barracks? Does your monk or paladin belong to a sacred temple? Does your sorcerer, warlock or wizard gather fellow arcanists in a tower? Does your cleric or druid pray in particular temples or shrines? Does your bard or rogue visit a well-known tavern?
Are you a DM?
- Where is your campaign placed? Why did you pick such a region?
- Do you start local and grow up, or have players go around a whole kingdom from the beginning?
- Does your mastermind villain has a lair? How have you customized it?
- Which of your created dungeons is the one you are proudest of?
These are just basic ideas to spark your creative juices. If you want to write about something else related to a location, please do so! As usual, to be part of the Carnival, don’t forget to link your article in the comments below: I promise I’ll read them all, and before the month ends, I’ll make a special article with mentions and reviews for all of them!
Until next time, think of your campaign’s setting just as a realtor would about the best property in their portfolio. After all, it’s all about location, location, location!