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World Building for Writing Practice

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series World Creation

Okay, here’s the deal, I am doing this to get some writing practice in. this is an exercise in world creation using the World Builder’s Guidebook by Rich Baker. It is a long one, and so I’m putting the post itself behind a cut. we start with the metaphysics.


Ki (to give it a name) uses real physics. Which is to say it is a scientific world. That is, it is understandable. But it is not understandable the way a magical world is. With a scientific world understanding can be taught. It is also imperfect and can be improved. However, it cannot be perfected because the world is imperfect and anything that is in and of the world is therefor imperfect. With that in mind we can continue with the post.

Since I like messing around with instructions and guides I came up with some supplemental charts for real physics worlds like Ki. These tables use a d20 for determining things, starting with…

System Organization
1-13: One Sun
14-19: Multiple Suns
1-15: Two Suns
16-19: Three Suns
20: Three Suns +
1-12: +1
13-17: +2
18-19: +3
20: +3 and roll again
20: Other
1-19: Non-Solar
20: Other
1-17: Dyson Sphere
18-20: Ringworld

A roll of 16 on the chart above tells us that we  have multiple stars in the system. The next roll is a 20, which means we have 3+ stars. The third roll is a 13, so we end up with a total of 5 stars (3+2). To keep this simple we have one large star orbited by one medium sized orb and three small stars There may be a number of brown dwarfs, but that depends on further die rolling.

We now go on to the number of planets each star has and the planet’s size. For now we’ll focus just on the charts, saving the die rolling for later. Because the size of a planet apparently depends on its distance from its sun, I decided to divide each system into two groups; those planets close to the star, and those far from. thus the table looks like this…

World Size
Near Sun Far From Size
1-8: 1-2: Tiny
9-12: 3-5: Small
13-17: 6-10 Terrestrial
18-19: 11-18: Huge
20: 19-20: Enormous

A tiny world is about the size of Pluto or Ceres, a small world Mars sized. A terrestrial world is the size of the Earth, while Uranus would be an example of a huge world and Jupiter would exemplify an enormous world.

As noted before we’ll be rolling for world size later, for now we’ll be rolling for the number of planets each star has. The large one we’ll give 4d4, the medium sized one 2d4, and each of the small stars will get 1d4. so the first star has 11 planets, the second star has 6 planets, and the last three stars have 4, 2, and 4 planets each.

World Type by World Size
Tiny Small1 Huge Enormous
1-11: Earth 1-16: Earth 1-17 Air 1-13: Air
12-18: Water2 16-19: Water2 18-19: Earth3 14-15: Earth3
19-20: Other 20: Other 20: Other 16-19: Fire4
20: Other
  • 1Also Terrestrial sized worlds
  • 2Earth world near star
  • 3Air orbiting and Air world
  • 4A brown dwarf

Type refers to what the world is mostly made of. Using real world terms an Air world is made a gas giants, an Earth world is rocky, a water world is largely liquid, while a fire world is a failed star. Finally, “other” indicates a world made of something unusual.

Finally we come to the matter of how many moons a world has according to size. Before we get to that keep in mind that the largest any moon can be is equal to the size of the world it orbits. In which case you have a double planet around which other moons might orbit. For now the number of moons and their size can be determined using the following charts.

Moon Number and Size by World Size

  • Tiny
    • 1d4-3 moons
    • Size: Tiny
  • Small
    • 1d6-3
    • Size
      • 1-19: Tiny
      • 20: Small
  • Terrestrial
    • 1d8-3
    • Size
      • 1-15: Tiny
      • 16-19: Small
      • 20: Terrestrial
  • Huge
    • 3d8-3
    • Size
      • 1-14: Tiny
      • 15-17: Small
      • 18-19: Terrestrial
      • 20: Huge
  • Enormous
    • 6d8-3
    • Size
      • 1-14: Tiny
      • 15-17: Small
      • 18-19: Terrestrial
      • 20: Roll again
        • 1-19: Huge
        • 20: Enormous

If at any time you roll a double planet result consider the rest of the moons you rolled originally to be tiny if of Terrestrial size or larger, or asteroids if of small size or smaller. This ends this long and involved post.

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