Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Posts tagged “World Building

World Building Is Just Window Dressing

So What Could Be More Important?

You’ve been struck with inspiration for a wonderful idea for a tabletop RPG campaign. Deities, pieces of landscape, ideas for brand new races – all of these are flashing through your mind at breakneck speed. The inside of your skull is now an incubation chamber for a continent, a planet, or even a universe. You have a clear idea of concept, of theme, of the kind of adventures that you want to run in your newfound playground.  (more…)

Fantasy Story Writing

SFF, Science Fiction & Fantasy, is an art-form which has long been in our literary history. From the classics such as Frankenstein, to the questionable genres of The Epic of Gilgamesh, literature has been there for us all. Whilst we’ve all grown up reading or listening, perhaps even just watching the works of wordsmiths, we rarely talk about writing stories. Today, we’re focusing purely on Fantasy, all because I’m in the process of writing a series of short stories. I will post all of the short stories on this website for free, before I put out an eBook version.


Side-Quests in Games

Vivi races Hippaul

I love a good side-quest, to the point where whenever I make a tabletop campaign, or work with modding tools, I add in side-quests. They’re fun and they build upon a story beautifully. Recently, I’ve been replaying through Final Fantasy IX, my favourite game in the series and remembering all of the incredible minute details it presents. Join Timlah as we discuss the importance and the joy of side-quests and what makes a game linear.


Timlah On Writing: World Building

Literature, novels and stories can be a wonderful fantasy, allowing you to escape into a world which entrances and captivates you. But the process of building a world isn’t a quick and easy one. Join Timlah as we look through a few examples of well known worlds that can be summed up easily in just one word.


Remaking A Classic – Fantasy Worlds

Haven’t done one of these in a while.

I’ve griped and grumbled plenty about Lord of the Rings but even as someone who doesn’t enjoy it I recognise all too well that at the time it was highly original. Tolkien set the stereotypes that I have grown bored of and that makes his work special in its own right, his opus has become the very classical depiction of elves, dwarves, dragons, hobbits/halflings and a host of other fantasy staples besides. The problem as I see it now is that I have seen it done and over done and get a little tiresome.

I was raised on the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, so I saw all of these stereotypes torn apart and analysed to death before I saw them presented in their original field. When I came to Dungeons & Dragons and its contemporaries I found myself once again immersed in the classic stereotypes, but saw places where the limits had been pushed and guidelines broken, and the very concepts of what makes a world broken down into simple rules. (more…)

NaNoWriMo Epilogue – Getting Started

Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResHuge thanks to everyone who took part in the vote for my NaNoWriMo entry. It all began in earnest on Sunday, and my work has already begun, albeit slowly, this weekend has been busy, and as well as writing a fifty thousand word novel this month I’ll also be keeping up a slightly diminished posting schedule here (and holding down a new, more demanding job).

For those of you who may have missed them, here are the articles that lead up to this stupid, stupid plan… (more…)

Game Design With Timlah – The Story

Last time on Game Design With Timlah, we thought about the protagonist and the antagonist. We thought about the motives of the protagonist and now that we’ve had some time to flesh it out, it’s time to figure out the theme of the game along with the story. The next Game Design With Timlah which will be in a fortnights time, we will have some assets made for the game and begin looking at Unity on how we’re going to make the game work using some stock assets.

One thing that the last edition taught us: We’re going with a relatively risky theme. We’re using religion and possession as the two major themes of the purpose of the game. Let me break down this religion, the research I’ve done and initial concepts.

The religion

I didn’t want people to feel like I was mocking a religion. I also didn’t want real religion, in any case. A game of this kind isn’t a smear campaign against, or even a campaign for religion. Instead the major focus of the game is about a persons faith in general, about what one will do to stand up for what they believe in or what they’re willing to stoop to. As such, the first (and possibly most important) element of this game is the motivation. Why does your character step out of his or her cosy role as a brother/sister of their religion, to go and pursue some bad individual?

I wanted this to be a relatively silly game, but I wanted it to have a serious undertone. As such, the world the characters live in will have a fair bit of politics. Before you all think this is going to be a heavily political game, that’s not right either: I just want the state of the world to be quite obvious and a much discussed element of what goes through these characters minds. The religion is of significant importance to this world, so they would be discussed outside of the holy grounds.


Hopefully they don’t pray for this!

Whilst designing the religion, I decided to do some research into four real life religions, to see how they would impact our in-game one. Check out the super cool table below to find out more!

Real-World Religion

How it influences ours


Christianity Prayer and a “holy building”, wine, One Lord (Trinity, see notes) The Holy Trinity is represented in this game by the God of the game being an unspecified being. Instead, although it is just one God, it does have several “states”.
Deism No miracles, One God There’s not much to say about Deism. It was a bit of an old school religion and I thought I’d look into it. It seemed interesting and it shared the concept I had in mind, of “One God” that wasn’t specified.
Taoism States of being, defining good and evil, alchemy..! Taoism is about inner harmony, peace and longevity. As such, our religious folk enjoy the company of one another, sharing their food and drink as well as providing natural remedies*
Wicca Dance, Sharing food and drink Wiccans believe in the God and the Goddess. To address this, our One God is genderless and can be represented however. During ceremonies, our people come together for dance and to share in good food and they drink responsibly.

With all of this research done into existing religions, I’ve got to design what our religion is going to look like, but how will they be referred to in game? I was going to make a name for it, trying to bring the notion of unison into the name of the religion. After much deliberation, a friend said “how about Unity”, to which I retorted: “Yes, I’m using Unity to make the game.” This confused them for some time and it gave me the idea to refer to the religion in game as “Those of Faith”, or “The Faith”. Faith would always be capitalised, allowing people to make the religion whatever they wanted to.

Our people come together in prayer and dance every week, so it’s obvious to me the game should start by introducing us to The Faith. Those of Faith will come together in The Sanctuary and a player will be able to see what they get up to when they all come together. This gives the player the incentive that: Okay, this is what my character likes to do and in fact, they work at The Sanctuary as a brother/sister of The Faith.


I’m no professional animator. I’m also no professional artist. Heck, I’m certainly no professional programmer either. I’m sticking to simple sprite sheets to help with this part, which will have a way to skip the scene (and ask for the player to confirm it). If someone has played it once before, sitting through the starting scene might not be too exciting. Our order will have a divine symbol which they pray to, rather than a traditional book to read from, or scripture of any kind.

How the world perceives this

There’s going to be three major splits with The Faith. There’ll be Those of Faith, then there’ll be those who oppose The Faith and finally those who are on the fence. Of course, we’ll not be spending the game trying to recruit anyone, that’s besides the point. Instead, the information people will provide the player, along with how the player interprets the information will determine the future of the characters belief in The Faith.

Now, it’d not be me if this was too serious. As if the picture of the great Flying Spaghetti Monster above wasn’t self-explanatory. I’ll be adding in my own sense of humour here and there, so hopefully it’ll translate well in the game. If it doesn’t, then so be it! Our character is going to be optimistic, but depending on the actions you take throughout the game, your character may change slightly.

I am far too serious, aren't I?

I am far too serious, aren’t I?

The antagonist is going to be stealing your faiths Holy Symbol, which affects the ability to pray. No one has ever stolen the Holy Symbol before, under the belief that humans are all inherently good beings, with only some corrupt individuals being the root of all evil in the world. This gives our character the drive to go and retrieve the Holy Symbol, whilst the rest of The Faith are in blind panic over the loss of their relic.

How does this sound as a concept so far? Have I thought too hard about the religion, or do you think that since it’s what drives the game, that I’ve done just enough research into religions and the likes? Do we want more political views of The Sanctuary throughout the game? Comments in the section below, over on Facebook or Twitter and give me some ideas for this game. If you have an idea that can fit the themes of the game and I like it, I’ll let you know I’ll be implementing your idea and you’ll be in the credits of the game. Thanks as ever for reading, see you in a fortnights time!

DMing 101 – The Campaign pt. 4


After a particularly interesting vote, the party are following the van. First things first though, they’ll need a vehicle of their own. A dust storm is approaching, and the tracks could very well vanish if the group aren’t quick about it, so the best option is to talk kindly to some local criminals. (more…)

DMing 101 – The Campaign pt. 3

Welcome back to the Campaign. Before reading, you may want to remind yourself of the cast of characters here, and the scenario here. Keep an eye out for your chance to shape the future of the campaign down below.


Following the events of our first sessions‘ climactic scene our group has a difficult decision to make, and some very differing opinions on how to make it. With a van disappearing into the distance, Jack and Jonathan may be keen to get onto its’ tail in the hopes of a lead on their own personal mysteries, whereas Sir Isaac and Grace might prefer a more reserved approach, and Frank “Clanky” would likely follow someone else’s lead until something more compelling catches his eye.

So here’s a quick summary of how that conversation might go. (more…)

DMing 101 – Breathing Life Into It

In DMing 101 I’ll be giving generalized advice on how to run a tabletop role-playing game. The articles will not presume any knowledge, except being able to read. And maybe knowing what dice are. And paper. And a computer. Maybe some other stuff. I’ll also presume that you can remember that DM means Dungeon Master. Some people call it a Game Master or GM, but I don’t. Suck it up.

There are a few quick start guides on how to DM out there, but DMing 101 will offer a fairly easy set of tips that a novice can follow to make his/her games something truly memorable.