Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding Paperback – December 23, 2012
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- Item Weight : 6.2 ounces
- Paperback : 124 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1936781115
- ISBN-13 : 978-1936781119
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.28 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Open Design LLC (December 23, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #115,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book has nineteen chapters (including the intro), and each takes a slightly different look at the broad topic of world building.
There are two clear audiences for the book, and it acknowledges and services the needs of each. First, there are the fantasy and science fiction (mostly fantasy) writers who are looking to create immersive worlds for their readers and computer gamers. The second category is game masters who are either servicing the needs of their own gaming groups, or aspiring game masters who are hoping to write or improve the material they write for consumption by gaming groups in the broader community.
Mileage will vary from chapter to chapter, and the layout of the book is both logical and useful. The first chapter by Monte Cook talks through the various types of world builders and how each type has different needs. Good start!
The inside out versus outside in approach is a restatement of the "bottom-up versus top-down" approaches to world building, and then the chapter on "how real" to make your worlds is a direct application of the Stafford Principle of world design.
The provenance for the chapters is well defined and solid.
This is not a book that you should feel compelled to read cover to cover. This is more like a buffet where you nibble at what is interesting to you at the time, and you might be interested in a different chapter or chapters the next time you come back to the book.
All in all, this is a very good, practical book for both authors of books and games as well as across the spectrum of game masters.
Now, you can find broader or deeper discussions of these same topics online, and other world-building topics as well. You can look at various RPG systems for different approaches to world-building. If there's a target audience now, it's inexperienced world builders who'd like having these essays in one package instead of having to search for these topics separately.
The essays mostly engage in generalities and conceptual discussions. The only step-by-step procedure is the chapter "Here Be Dragons: On Mapmaking," which walks you through some general steps for laying down terrain, weather patterns, realms, and so on, at a relatively high level.
If you're expecting a "guide to worldbuilding" to have tables where you can roll up governments, cultures, religions, factions, guilds, etc., you'll be sorely disappointed. These are all essay questions, not multiple-choice.
The essays often give you anecdotes about the authors' experiences or designer notes on their published works. That might be a plus for some, but for me it's just extraneous material. It's not why I bought the book.
There's no integration between essays such that your "output" from one essay is your direct input to another. Off the top of my head, I recall only one essay even mentioning another. One author wrote seven of the 18 essays. Ten authors wrote the other eleven. That's a plus if you want different vantage points, or a minus if you were hoping for an integrated approach to world-building.
Unfortunately, I don't think I found anything new (to me) about world-building in these essays. It's all stuff I've found elsewhere. The material I've found elsewhere was of more practical use to me as well.
If you're new at this world-building thing and you're trying to wrap your head around it all, these essays could prove helpful to you. However, if you've been at it a while, or if you're diligent about searching the topic online, I'd say this isn't the book for you.
There are some subjects I wish were covered a bit more in depth, but may have been too esoteric or needing a wider range of expertise than was available (such as calendar design, language design magic systems) but there are other books that do cover some of these as well as videos from the Kobold series and from other internet sources.
To summarize: If you are interested in building worlds for games, you will not regret this purchase.
Top reviews from other countries
Pensavo fosse un po' più generale nei contenuti ma è comunque molto interessante. Ne vale decisamente la pena anche perché tante cose possono comunque essere estese a contesti più generali.