Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 59: Worldbuilding 201

Main Topic

We are revisiting Worldbuilding which we talked about in Episode 57 and that will be gracing the blog soon with an ongoing series! Whether you do Top-Down, Bottom-Up, or thread the ever elusive needle between the two, you should put some thought into some specific questions about your world:


  • Who is in charge? At a macro level or at a micro level, what is the name or identity of the person that makes the decisions that impact the players? Did you have a gang leader that is the de facto chief executive of this block’s inhabitants?  In a post-scarcity science fiction setting, is there a communal social media voting platform calling the shots? Maybe representatives of the prominent trade guilds are setting the port’s policy?


  • What is the current conflict? Roleplaying games are not about routine and ordinary lives – roleplaying games are about dynamic and moving stories which means there is some kind of conflict.  Your overall theme may inform you about the kind of conflict that the players will face but let’s break it down just a little bit more. It doesn’t have to be violence or actual fighting.  


  • How do the Players fit into the setting? Even when it is a Top-Down designed game, your player’s will have some kind of connection to the setting.  These are not only role playing cues for your players, and your NPCs (See Episode 45), but are also plot threads the GM can pull at or weave into the larger story.  For example – Is your dashing close combat expert a graduate of a well known school of fighters?  Did your starship pilot get drummed out of a major empire’s military? Is the fraternal organization that gave your mage a scholarship actually a secret society out to conquer the world?


  • Define your first Boss fight and sub-bosses.  Related to the current conflict question, what will be the first major hurdle or boss the PCs will face?  It could be something less tangible, especially in a political or social game where there are political ramifications, but there will be direct people or things to face off against.  Is there a raiding tribe of humanoids encroaching on the village? Has a resource crisis forced the neighboring star empire to start rattling sabres and sending a named operative into your area?


Stat Blocks

Zendead-  The Dark


As the darkness flows over the area the creator of it sits quietly waiting for it to finish.

The creator known as The Dark waits after years of slowly working on this revenge plans for the final stage to activate. As those final stages start to fall into place she remembers what lead her down this path.


People always think it is the lost of a child that drives women to turn in to the darkness. Or of the family but what if it was something that isn’t the cliche? What if killing a person’s dreams pushed them to this path.


When the king pushed his kingdom into the forest he pushed those that had made it their homes. Before she was known as The Dark she was just called Malia and she was a protector of them, all of them.  Her dream was to be a great protector and she lost that not to the king but to his champion and lover. The king was fine with moving a few people around but not all of them. His champion thou wanted to have land for his family so he pushed harder and forced people to run. He killed anyone that got in his way. Malia came to stop him one day and the champion stopped her by almost killing her. He left her to finish dying but she didn’t she was a survivor. The king fell first and fast once she started her plan.


Selling yourself to the darkness was the thing she did as she laid there. It told her how to bring about the fall of the champion. She put it all in place as she could it took time. Years in fact. The Darkness is complete and in the end it consumed it all.


Guard-a-Manger – Sally Streudel


Sally smiles quite a lot when she is home.  She seems to be one of those eternally pleasant, eternally cheerful, and contended women who loves to make a home.  Her dark hair is pulled back into a ponytail, but not in a ran out of time way but a carefully considered way as her hair is just between being cut short and having grown out.  You would swear she always has that same blue shirt on when you come over, and it seems always to be perfectly pressed.

It’s odd, though, as you don’t remember how you met Sally.  You don’t recall if it was church, or work, or the park … you just know she asked you to come over for some tea.  It’s a perfectly arranged home, with just a hint of clutter, a hint of last minute cleaning. The pie baking in the oven permeates the house with the smell of fruit and spices … sugar and lard.  You are sure that the pie is going to taste like a breath of fresh air …. A piece of summer in a slice of dessert. Sally’s smile is so distracting, so wide and full, like she had extra teeth in her perfectly shaped head.  

Just when the tea is being poured and pie being sliced, the doorbell rings and Sally steps away …. Just when you have one last chance to make good on the promise you made yourself last time you were here.  The promise to stop Sally.

Joules- “Bob’s Pipe”

There’s a strange artifact out there.  It’s not a bracelet or necklace. It’s not a weapon of any kind.  It’s a pipe. A gentleman’s pipe with a black mouthpiece and a polished ebony bowl.  This pipe once belonged to the world’s greatest salesman. A man who made millions playing the stock market over the phone.  It was rumored that even when he failed, he still made a million dollars. There are many photos of this gentleman from his time as a photographer’s model and all include his trademark pipe.

After his death (veracity of which is still under debate), the pipe went “missing.”  Rumors abound as to its current location. But tracking it down is nigh impossible. It shows up when and where it’ll bring the deserving luck and the undeserving chaos.


“Bob’s” Pipe is said to bring luck to anyone who clamps it between their teeth.  The person can cross an 8 lane highway during rush hour, find a winning lotto ticket in the median, and then emerge unscathed on the other side.  They can tell their boss what they really think of them, while the big boss is walking by and then receive a promotion for speaking truth to power.  Heck, rumors say that they can evade the blue shell in Mario Kart with no special items.

The longer the pipe is held, the stranger the effects become.  Over time, the “luck plane” becomes visible and starts to overlay with reality.  The smoke from the pipe changes from the expected gray to a strange blue green colour and doesn’t seem to dissipate.  It hangs in the area. anyone who comes into contact with it will have a noticeable change in personality. Think a case of the fuck its with no depressive influence.  It seems to make the populace stop taking itself too seriously for a while while the holder laughs at the whole inanity of existence.

With enough of a shakeup and the joke coming to a natural end, the pipe once again disappears.


But wherever it turns up, you can expect luck, slack, a dash of chaos and some sublime self delusion.




noun  vain·glo·ry  \ ˈvān-ˌglȯr-ē , ˌvān-ˈglȯr-ē \


Definition of vainglory
1 : excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one’s achievements
2 : vain display or show : vanity

Origin and Etymology of vainglory
Middle English vaynglorie, borrowed from Anglo-French veineglorie, from veine, feminine of vain, vein vain + glorie 1glory, after Medieval Latin vāna glōria


First Known Use: 13th century


Popularity: Bottom 40% of words


Closing remarks

Zendead-  Pathfinder 2 Playtest


Guard-a-Manger – Fresh and Local Tomatoes

Joules- Church of the Subgenius


Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp


Find us

Show- Email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Zendead- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Joules- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Nulloperations-Email, Twitter, Facebook

Guard-a-manger- Email, Twitter, Instagram


Find us on Patreon

Liked it? Take a second to support Zendead on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *