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Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding

***** (based on 2 ratings)
OPDKGWBE
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The Essential Elements for Building a World!

Roleplaying games and fantasy fiction are filled with rich and fascinating worlds: the Forgotten Realms, Glorantha, Narnia, R’lyeh, Middle-Earth, Barsoom, and so many more. It took startling leaps of imagination as well as careful thought and planning to create places like these: places that readers and players want to come back to again and again.

Now, eleven of adventure gaming’s top designers come together to share their insights into building worlds that gamers will never forget. Learn the secrets of designing a pantheon, creating a setting that provokes conflict, determining which historical details are necessary, and so much more. Even take that creative leap—and create dazzling worlds of your own!

Essays by Wolfgang Baur, Keith Baker, Monte Cook, David "Zeb" Cook, Jeff Grubb, Scott Hungerford, Chris Pramas, Jonathan Roberts, Michael A. Stackpole, Steve Winter, with an introduction by Ken Scholes.

"For anyone who’s ever had the drive to create a fictional place, whether in a game, for your novel, or just to pass a rainy afternoon, the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding will spark some new ideas and help you add the proper doses of verisimilitude and outlandishness." —io9.com

“Class is in session... The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding SHOULD be considered a textbook on intelligent setting creation.” —Dave Hinojosa, The Gaming Gang

"A fantastic resource" —Skyland Games

“While the book is aimed at the RPG crowd, a huge percentage of the material would be just as valuable to an author writing a novel set in an original world. . . . For anyone who’s ever had the drive to create a fictional place . . . The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding will spark some new ideas and help you add the proper doses of verisimilitude and outlandishness.” —Ed Grabianowski, i09

Praise for Prior Design Guides:

"Highly recommended for gaming nerds everywhere.”—CityBookReview.com
“If you’re an aspiring pro this book is a must. If you’re a rules hacker like me, this stuff is solid gold.”—Berin Kinsman, UncleBear Media
“A fantastic collection...a solid 5 star rating.”—Joshua Gullion, AdventureAWeek.com
“An amazing collection...from some of the best designers and writers creating role-playing game material today.”—Brian Fitzpatrick, BlogCritics.org

Product Availability

Print/PDF Bundle: Will be added to your My Downloads Page when your order ships.

Print Edition: Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 7 business days.

PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

KOBKGWB


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Product Discussion (65)
1 to 50 of 65 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

The .pdf is now available over at drivethru rpg. Will it also be for sale here at paizo?

Liberty's Edge

I'm sure it will!

Webstore Gninja Minion

It will be! I'm waiting for a few things to arrive from the kobold courier, and when that happens *poof*—you'll have it!


Thanks. I'm ready to buy. The first two books in the Game Design series were excellent (haven't read the third yet).

Marc, quit surfing the boards and get The Sunken Pyramid finished!!!
:-)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Would love to see a print + PDF deal...

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Kobold Courier is on her way to the Paizo warrens!

Webstore Gninja Minion

Sweet loot! PDFs and books! Amazing! :D

Liberty's Edge

The essays in this are AMAZING! Trust me, everyone needs a copy of this book!


Bought this today. LOVED the first essay. I'll suggest that Kobold make that essay available as a free download.

I think a book of essays seems kind of vague to RPGers. Modules, map books, world guides, monster manuals: these are items someone has a pretty specific idea about when they but it. A colletion of essays is a bit different.

Get that first essay in their hands and the reader will understand what this Guide is really all about. And realize the quality of the advice.

I know that I was a bit uncertain about the first book of the Game Design trilogy when I ordered it, but after I read that first essay I was completely hooked.

Another helpful product. Love these types of things!

Contributor

I don't have the book yet, but from the Table of Contents, I believe a few of the essays from Steve Winter appeared in recent Kobold Quarterly issues. Readers familiar with the magazine may have some idea of what this book will be like.


Is this book written for would-be industry professionals? Or would it be equally valuable to homebrew GM's? I'm not interested in how to write professionally, but I'm always looking to be a better writer for my home games.

Contributor

The audience is both, Wildebob. I know Steve Winter's articles were aimed at GMs in the magazine, and all GMs would be well served in gleaning what the pros consider when building their worlds, many of which started out as home campaigns.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've been reading this at work for graveyard shift and man, this book has some meat on it. I definitely like the first five essays I've read.

Liberty's Edge

Wildebob wrote:
Is this book written for would-be industry professionals? Or would it be equally valuable to homebrew GM's? I'm not interested in how to write professionally, but I'm always looking to be a better writer for my home games.

Homebrew GMs will get a LOT out of this book!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am a fan of the Kobold Game Design books. A strength is that each essay offers a few "take aways"; nuggets that will be of use in the future.

The single best writing book I've ever read is built on that concept: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

Chief Kobold Wolfgang Baur wrote the first essay, What is Setting Design?. I'm going to mention two nuggets as examples of how good these essays are:

...you need to take a hard look at the space and elements available and maximize the impact of every character, location, and mechanic.

I love writing fluff. But if my campaign involves the players clearing out the Droskar's Crag monastery in Crown of the Kobold King, they don't need a five page history of the fallen dwarven sky citadel in the Hold of Belzken and the Ninth Batallion's desire to reclaim it. UNLESS it's relevant to the campaign (and that's going to be quite a stretch to validly claim).

My Guide should include the history, characters and locations relevant to the campaign I'm running. So even though I'm using Paizo's Golarion for the campaign, the essay's advice on setting design is helpful. And when I go ahead and set up my own area for an adventure, that same advice will be useful.

A second nugget:

If everything is defined (somewhere), the GM has no latitude to invent his own material. If everything is documented, the GM needs to know and master those huge reams of material just in case the party goes there. There are no mysteries, and there is no room to maneuver.

"No room to maneuver." I love that! Don't fill in every bit, as fun as it might be to think about and write.

Looking back, I now realize this principle was the genius of Judges Guild's Wilderness setting (some of you are too young to know what I'm talking about..). The guide books had very short descriptions of different places ('hexes' back in the day) and left if up to the GM to flesh out and use. JG created a sandbox with limitless opportunities. They gave you the crayons and a bare bones map and said, "Go color it yourself."

So, there are a few nuggets from the first essay. I'm sure I'll find something to take away with me in every essay.

I'll add that I would have bought this book just for Chris Pramas' essay on creating Freeport!

Liberty's Edge

Well said Mr. HolmesandWatson!

There is a very nice write up from the book's editor over at the Kobold Press site:

The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding: Words from the Editor’s Desk

Sunken Pyramid adventure :
...and to set the record straight, Mr. impatient ... LOL ... I actually finished writing The Sunken Pyramid adventure a few months ago:) It's now in Raging Swan's very capable hands going through the rigorous final developing and playtesting stages they are known for. I'm REALLY happy with this one and very excited to see what folks think :)

It should be coming out very soon now! That said, I do need to put the finishing touches on a supplemental bit of writing that will go hand-in-hand with the adventure

Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.
HolmesandWatson wrote:
If everything is defined (somewhere), the GM has no latitude to invent his own material. If everything is documented, the GM needs to know and master those huge reams of material just in case the party goes there. There are no mysteries, and there is no room to maneuver.

This is why there are purposeful gray areas in Golarion. :D

Contributor

HolmesandWatson wrote:


The single best writing book I've ever read is built on that concept: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

I LOVE that book!

HolmesandWatson wrote:


Looking back, I now realize this principle was the genius of Judges Guild's Wilderness setting (some of you are too young to know what I'm talking about..). The guide books had very short descriptions of different places ('hexes' back in the day) and left if up to the GM to flesh out and use. JG...

Yes, to those books, as well! Good stuff.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I did a brief radio interview about the book with BJ Shea's Geek Nation podcasting crew, and yeah, some sharp cookies over there.

I will post the link for it on Monday!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

In the meantime, here's Keith Baker (one of the authors of the Guide to Worldbuilding) interviewing me about the Guide.

Rather a good interview, I think, and just 6 Questions.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

In the meantime, here's Keith Baker (one of the authors of the Guide to Worldbuilding) interviewing me about the Guide.

Rather a good interview, I think, and just 6 Questions.

Gotta say, I finished this book last night and your essay on Kitchen Sink settings was an eye opener and makes me worry about Golarion now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

After reading, and loving, the Kobold guides to Game Design, I already had pretty high expectations for this one. I was not disappointed in the least. There is at least one solid take-away to be found in every essay.

This book should be a must read for anyone who has played the game for a few years and is ready to delve into the craft of world building in a serious way. I wish I had this book fifteen years ago. While there are larger, more complete, surveys of demography and climatic issues, I have never seen such an effective survey of the topics that really matter, and make the difference, in delivering a quality game world to your players.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Ayronis, thank you for your review! I appreciate the coverage and critique.

Liberty's Edge

Just saw that this is number one on the Top Selling Non-Paizo Print Product list and number two on the Top Selling Non-Paizo Downloads list!

Huzzah!


Congrats! I bought another copy to give to my friend. He's an aspiring video game developer but I figured this would still be relevant information.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Odraude wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

In the meantime, here's Keith Baker (one of the authors of the Guide to Worldbuilding) interviewing me about the Guide.

Rather a good interview, I think, and just 6 Questions.

Gotta say, I finished this book last night and your essay on Kitchen Sink settings was an eye opener and makes me worry about Golarion now.

Golarion is clever, it's actually a lot of mini-settings under the one name each with it's own theme. Ustalav is its own gothic horror mini-setting alongside Nirmathas/Molthune's war setting alongside Varisia's classic adventure setting alongside The Shackles pirate adventure setting. It's a kitchen sink setting but the sinks are geographically and thematically diverse so that GMs need not include what they don't want.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you to everyone who made this the #1 bestseller at Paizo last week!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Comment from reader A. Bear on the Kobold blog:

A. Bear wrote:

I received my copy of the Kobold Guide to World Building on Saturday. It’s an excellent resource. It has shown me a new way of looking at certain things, and has helped explain why I do some of the things I’ve always been doing because it seemed right.

This is the book that I wish had been written years ago. Great stuff – thank you very much.


I actually have a question I've been wondering for a long time. Let's say you want to publish a setting, like Midgard or Golarion. How would you go about with copyright or trademarking it? Thanks for any help with that.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Both great questions!

You own the copyright to your own work and don't have to take additional action to secure it (in the US), though you can register a work with the library of Congress.

Trademark is trickier. You can generate the trademark and register it, but it's somewhat expensive to register. More here. Neat fact: the oldest still extant trademark may be Löwenbräu, their lion trademark dates to 1383.


Yay beer!


Keep making cool stuff Wolfgang!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Thank you! And also, this book is now available for Kindle.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Both great questions!

You own the copyright to your own work and don't have to take additional action to secure it (in the US), though you can register a work with the library of Congress.

Trademark is trickier. You can generate the trademark and register it, but it's somewhat expensive to register. More here. Neat fact: the oldest still extant trademark may be Löwenbräu, their lion trademark dates to 1383.

Interesting, thanks.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just saw that the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding print edition is one of the Top Ten Non-Paizo Products!

The PDF version is NUMBER 1 on the Top Downloads From Other Companies list!

Huzzah!!!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

That is awesome news, and yes, the word of mouth on this has been excellent.

The bad news, as it is, is that the first printing is just about sold out. There's just one error to fix in the second printing.

Contributor

I received my softcover copy today--complete with a nice note from Wolfgang. The article on world bibles immediately stole my attention, as I'll be putting one together soon for the Rogue Mage project. I already know I'll like the Zeb Cook and Steve Winter articles that appeared in KQ--good stuff! I'll be tearing into this book this week between working on edits.

This book is an absolute GEM! Well done, Kobold Overlord!

Liberty's Edge

Cool! I'm really anxious to see how the print version of this bad boy looks!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I blew the weekend reading this online and my PB copy arrived today to read at work on break. Great work and a boon to those who do it themselves.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Thank you! And also, this book is now available for Kindle.

Any chance of the PDF and Kindle versions being bundled together, either here on Paizo or on DriveThruRPG?

I have a Kindle, laptop and desktop, so I would love to be able to use it on all formats.

Olaf the Stout

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Olaf, that's possible, though likely at a slightly higher price than PDF-only. I'll need to talk to the Paizo folks about it.

Thanks for the suggestion!


I can understand a slightly higher price compared to PDF-only. However, I personally wouldn't pay too much more than the PDF-only price.

So I guess it would come down to a question of how much more.

Olaf the Stout


Interesting, but not sure if to pick up...


It is definitely worth the buy.


Icyshadow wrote:
Interesting, but not sure if to pick up...

You should. All of the Kobold Guides to Game Design should be required reading for anybody wanting to break into designing games, or if you're a GM looking for tips from long-time pros.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Thanks for that vote of confidence, Lilith!

As another possible data points, the series has won both Origins Awards and a Gold ENnie award, as well as a great deal of praise from readers.

It's meant to provide help to any Game Master, and especially to those looking to improve their homebrew or break into publishing their work.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wooot! Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding is the #1 download at Paizo this week!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Wooot! Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding is the #1 download at Paizo this week!

For the second week in a row in fact!

The print edition made the Top Ten Non-Paizo Products list again too :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The only suggestions I would add are a checklist and pages for notes. Damn! It's going to take a month of reading and re-reading to fully absorb the bits! And I'm still reading it the first pass!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey hey! The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding print edition once again made the Top Ten Non-Paizo Products list!

And ...the PDF version is NUMBER 1 on the Top Downloads From Other Companies list again! I think that's like three or four weeks in a row.

Woo hoo!

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