Over the weekend I mentioned to my Pathfinder group that I still had my copy of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. This prompted a discussion about the 3.5 book by the same name. Did you know that in the Chainmail game legions of ghouls were cheap and units of elves were expensive which is how elves came to be immune to paralysis.
Having mentioned it, I had to dig it out. Because I was being domestic yesterday, I didn’t get too far into the book. Even so it is rather incredible how much things have change. I’m not even talking about Mechanics here (Although in retrospect THAC0 really bugs me). Instead I was most struck by some of the world building assumptions inherent in the game.
The game makes no assumptions about theology and goes out of its way to say they’re avoiding the subject. No matter what a Cleric is devoted to however, they belong to an order. “Your DM will tell you what orders are available in the world.” So step one for me as a DM, I’m going to want to make some orders. Honestly, under this assumption my desire is to build a Monotheistic religion with different orders dedicated to different aspects of the Goddess. Althernatively, everyone worships ‘The Pantheon’ with clerics belong to ‘The Order of Zeus’ and ‘The Order of Hades’.
And it isn’t just clerics. Fighters aren’t just people who know how to fight. They’re knights. Thieves belong to guilds. Magic Users have a bit more independance but with no Bards in the game, I really want to set the world up with colleges of magic.
Demihumans (Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings) on the other hand organize themselves into family units called Clans. I haven’t read too far into these but I imagine they play out pretty similarly to the other groups. As the DM I’ll let you know that the Bronzebottom Dwarf clan is the most common in the area but the Flintbeards are a close second.
So much of this is tied up in the roleplaying with no mechanical benefit. I want to toss on some FATE aspects just to reward some deeper attention to world building.