The joys of game world building

For one job, I spent six months stationed overseas. In that situation, there isn’t much to do besides work, sleep, and work out. Fortunately, a few weeks in the heroic men and women of the MPS delivered a large notebook and a set of pencils. With the little time left each day, I hid away and scribbled out my first game world. It was a wonderful experience, to build the races, history, geography and stories related to an imagined location. I learned an incredible amount during the process, having to rely on history and geography lessons as part of adding realism to the setting.

Notebooks for the Tarkh game world

Now, I never did run a game set in that world. Instead, the stories started to take on a live of their own. Slowly and shakily, I embarked on a new adventure – writing! I spent months reading about writing and watching Brandon Sanderson’s writing lectures. Finally, after months of agonizing, I started to write. Just as building the game world, creative writing is an all new experience that’s led me down many new paths.

In this blog, I’d like to share tips and advice on building your own world. I’ll also share some of my original fiction – short stories and chapters from a longer novella. I hope that you enjoy them, but even more, I hope you are inspired to embark on your own world building journey. It’s an amazing experience!

Introduction to the World of Tarkh

The Tarkh project begins with a simple premise. What if a fictional world created using the D&D rules did not assume equality between the races or classes? In addition, how would this world look assuming a generally lower level of abilities or levels amongst the population?

The Tarkh game world takes this very approach. A single race has dominated for much of existence and in the process they discovered the nature of arcane and divine magic as well as engineered the creation of other sentience races to serve their needs. In this process, they wiped out much of the threat from lesser species and magical beasts.
Here, the GM and players can explore an unequal, politically fragmented, and violent landscape that echoes with the forces of rebellion, intrigue, control, and desperate longing for the powers of a distant, glorious age.

A Short History of Tarkh

tarkh global map
Global Map for the World of the Tarkh

The Heartlands contain the oldest known civilizations. It is here, among the Inner Seas, that the Tarkh (“The People”) first settled. The first Tarkh Empire emerged following centuries of constant tribal warfare among the plains, hills, and waterways of this land. Once harnessed to a single authority, the Tarkh rapidly turned outwards to claim new lands, but this region remained a center of Tarkh culture and society.

Numerous empires rose and fell, for the Tarkh never learned to temper their need for dominion over others. In time, several powerful tribes and families gained an advantage over all others and there arose the Greater and Lesser Families. These families developed into an enduring autocracy, which has ruled in some form for the last thousand years in the great Imperium.

With the end of the Second Era the Tarkh Empire fragmented into three regional powers, the Heartland, the Northern Confederation, and the Eastern Empire. After a period of terrible conflicts, the three regions again reverted to diplomacy and formed the Triumvirate Divos. Backed by the dogmas of the clerical authority, the Divos, the regions maintained internal sovereignty and agreed to end all wars of reunification.

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