Posted in World Building

WB04.2 Kingdoms and Sociology (Physical Cartography)

Kingdom size

You may have already generated the borders of kingdoms, if not this list is from table 26  Random Kingdom Size. If you already have borders there is no need to regenerate new ones.

  • City-State
    • 1d8  hexes on a regional map ( regional map hexes are 100 miles across on an earth size world)
    • 10d10 miles approximate diameter
  • Small Kingdom
    • 3d6 hexes
    • 10d10 x 5 miles
  • Medium Kingdom
    • 4d6 hexes
    • 10d10 x 8 miles
  • Large Kingdom
    • 6d6 hexes
    • 10d10 x 10 miles
  • Empire
    • 8d8 hexes
    • 10d10 x 20 miles


World size and Kingdom size

Medieval kingdoms are severely limited  in their maximum size by lack of efficient overland communications and reliable sea travel.

No matter how much land a world has, kingdoms generally remain about the same size. If a world is unusually large  or has a great deal of land area kingdoms will generally increase in number before increasing in size.

If you are using a system that has advanced technology and/or magic then this guideline may be irrelevant.

Coasts, Seas and Lakes

First sketch out the coastlines and any major body of water within the borders. Here’s a list from table 27.

  • Archipelago-Kingdom is scattered across chains of fairly small islands, each are within a day’s sail 25-50 miles
  • Major Islands-Kingdom occupies most of one or two major islands, bordered on all sides by the sea
  • Coastal with offshore islands-A major portion  of the kingdom border is a coastline, may have inlets, peninsulas and offshore islands under control of the kingdom.
  • Coastal, no islands-A major portion  of the kingdom border is a coastline with no significant offshore islands.
  • Multiple coastlines-Kingdom borders on two or more major bodies of water, with coastlines on several sides.
  • Landlocked with an inland sea-Kingdom has no exterior seacoasts but includes a major body of water. The inland sea is 6d8 hexes in extent on the kingdom map.
  • Landlocked with major lakes-as above  but kingdom features 1d4 major lakes each 4d6 hexes in size.
  • Landlocked, no significant water-No major bodies of water exist although minor lakes (1 hex or less) and rivers may be common.

The sections below will be updated later with additional information, there are links to other sections with information on the topics.

Mountains, Hills and Topography

  • Mountain Ranges
  • Foothills
  • Rolling Hills and Tablelands
  • Depressions and Gorges
  • Plains and Plateaus

Refer to WB03.1 for more information on  geography concerning the above topics.



  • Climatology-For more information see WB02.2
  • Prevailing winds and humidity-see weather patterns in WB03.2 for information.
  • Terrain and Ground Cover
  • Rivers and drainage


Posted in World Building

WB04.1 Kingdoms and Sociology (People and their culture.)

WB04.1 Kingdoms and Sociology, people and their culture.

There are four basic steps for describing a kingdom, we will be breaking this down into 3 parts and combining steps 3 and 4.

  1.  Detailing the people and their culture within the kingdom (Part one)
  2. Charting the physical boundaries and terrain within the kingdom (Part two)
  3. Describing how the people live in the terrain and where they have changed it, built cities or farmlands etc. (Part three)
  4. Populating the region with monsters, fantastical ecologies and adventure possibilities (Part three?)


Detailing the people and their culture within the kingdom .

Who lives in the area? What are they like? How do they get along?  These are some of the questions we will answer as we create a culture for the kingdom.  Culture  in reference to the guidebook is a broad generalization of several gross characteristics  which include:

  1. Race
  2. Language
  3. Technology
  4. Government
  5. Social Alignment
  6. Situation
  7. Class and kit biases

Cultural Archetypes

It may be easier to use existing preconceptions of certain cultures  then to completely invent an imaginary one from thin air. Use any cultural model that you think fits your need but the guide book has a table (table 21) and descriptions  with the following cultural characteristics.

  • Aboriginal
  • African
  • Arabic
  • Aztec/Incan
  • Barbarian
  • Central Asian
  • Egyptian
  • European
    • Renaissance
    • Middle Ages
    • Dark Ages
  • Indian
  • Oriental
  • Persian
  • Roman
  • Savage
  • Viking


  • Race  besides human, kingdoms and realms can be built by demihumans, humanoid or monstrous races.
    • Number of Races, primary and secondary races, who are they?
      • Small kingdoms
        • 1d2 primary and 1d4+1 secondary races.
      • Moderate kingdoms
        • 1d2 primary and 1d6+1 secondary races
      • Large kingdoms
        • 1d3 primary and 1d8+1 secondary races
      • Empires
        • 1d4 primary and 3d4 secondary races
      • Primary races comprise 25-50% of the total population
      • Secondary races account for 1-10% of the population
      • Sub-races can be substituted for different races.
    • Race Status and position, how do they get along?
      • Table 22 lists possible situations
        • Completely intermixed
        • Common communities, separate districts; one race is dominate over the others
        • Common communities, separate districts; one race is dominate but secondary race is considered equal
        • Separate communities, one race is dominate over the others
        • Separate communities, one race is dominate but secondary race is considered equal
        • One race enslaves the other
    • Good vs Evil races
      • Normally good races find it easier to cooperate together, share a realm and get along.
      • Evil races seldom run together unless when command to do so by a more sinister power.


  • Language – how do they communicate?  this is an important marker in cultural boundaries.
    • Language as a social distinction
      • When one race subjugates another language can be a mark of distinction between rulers and subjects.
    • Common tongue
      • This can be the tongue of the dominate race in the region and thus can change  from region to region or you can have an actual universal language that is common.
    • Literacy
      • Possession of a written language is a key characteristic of a culture.
      • In the absence or a written language a strong oral tradition of memorized epics can serve as an alternate for recording tales.


  • Technology – what level is it?
    • Four basic categories in AD&D following a European model
      • Ancient
      • Dark ages
      • Middle ages
      • Renaissance
    • Kingdom technology level (table 23) also breaks down additional levels
      • Stone age
      • Savage
      • Bronze age
      • Roman
      • Dark ages
      • Crusades
      • 100 Years war
      • Renaissance
    • Other technologies
      • If you are referencing a specific cultural archetype you can also pull from their technology level or as always create what works best for the story or campaign .


  • Government – who runs the kingdom?
    • Table 24  provides some possible options
      • Autocracy
      • Bureaucracy
      • Confederacy
      • Democracy
      • Dictatorship
      • Feudalism
      • Geriatocracy – reserved for the old or very old
      • Gynarchy -reserved to females only, paired with another type
      • Hierarchy
      • Magocracy – wizards
      • Matriarchy
      • Miltocracy – military leaders, martial law
      • Monarchy
      • Oligarchy
      • Pedocracy – scholars or sages
      • Plutocracy –  wealthy
      • Republic
      • Satrapy –  conquerors and representatives of another govt.
      • Syndicracy
      • Theocracy


  • Social Alignment – like individuals a city or kingdom can have an alignment describing the way people get things done. Can affect the laws of the land  and unwritten codes.
    • Table 25 provides these options
      • lawful  good
      • lawful neutral
      • lawful evil
      • neutral evil
      • true neutral
      • neutral good
      • chaotic good
      • chaotic neutral
      • chaotic evil


  • Situation
    • This is a catchall for any kind of scenario or fantastical element you want to add into the immediate campaign or story.  Examples could be:  disorder, unusual organization, unusual laws, mature of magic, persecution, plane-walking and spell-jamming as examples


  • Classes, Races and Kits
    • Are there any special character considerations to be aware of?  Examples: if you have no oriental cultures the samurai or ninja characters would be travelers from a far away land, or if only one human kingdom in the world knows the secrets of magic then human mages should be from that kingdom.
    • Look at all the classes, races and kits and determine what would be considered native to that kingdom.


Next part we will look at the physical cartography of a kingdom.







Posted in World Building

WB02.1 Worlds and Planets

I’ll be breaking the second module, Worlds and Planets, into the following two sections

02.1 Shape/Size and Hydrography is this weeks post

02.2 Seismology/Tectonics and Climatology will be next weeks post

First off, if you already have world components built don’t toss them away, adjust the characteristics you want for your campaign or story.

The guidebook is mostly set up to make an earth like world, complete with real world like physical laws. feel free to sub out or remove any system explanations and create your own.

Shape and Size

Now what is the shape and size of your world or how can you create it?

The world for your campaign or story can be any shape or size, for mine I chose an earth like shape and size to make mapping easier, using existing blank forms. Your world doesn’t even have to be a planet, it could be a dimension, a plane or whatever catches your interest.


One of the easiest methods is too look at you’re Polyhedral dice,  here’s a quick link on Polyhedrons. See a die shape you like, make that the shape of your world. Want something more along the lines of a plane of existence? take a pierce of paper,  use it as is or make random rips and tears until you find a shape you like.  Maybe you want something irregular shaped,  mutable even….. well grab some modeling clay, play -doh or for artists use a kneaded eraser. What ever is interesting to you for your campaign or story use it.



There’s also world generator sites that can do that for you, a few in the resource section,  or check the NASA links and get inspiration from the universe.


After you have the shape worked out now figure out the size. For an earth like planet it would be spherical, roughly 8,000 miles in diameter and have an approximate 25,000 mile circumference.

Using the tables in the guidebook shows the following

Diameter  8,000

World map hex size  500 miles

Region map hex size  100 miles

They say there are roughly 700 hexes on the blank world map in the guidebook, I’ll take their word on that.  Also it seems to be a 5:1 ratio for scaling as opposed to using a 6:1.  You could also compare your world size to existing planets in the NASA link.  If you have a non-spherical world start by determining the size and number of hexes you want to use. That will give you a miles per hex  for the world and region. For polyhedral worlds divide number of hexes  by the number of faces.

Book example:  a cubical world with 700 hexes would be divided by 6 faces for  116 (116.66) hexes per face. You could round up to make it an even 121 (11 x 11.)If your world hex size is 300 miles then each face would be 3,300 x 3,300 miles each.

Just remember  if you don’t like it adjust it or make another one….



Technically it’s the distribution and mapping of water but I’ll use liquid  since your world may not be water based.

So determine what percent of your world is liquid based. As a reference earth is 70% water.  you can roll on the table, randomly pick a percent, roll percentile dice, use  the world hook  to address it  or any other way you feel works for the campaign or story. Since my world was based on yin yang shapes it’s going to be 50%.

Next it’s time to place continents major islands ans inland seas. Feel free to freehand it or use the chart form the guidebook. I already had a shape to determine the placement for my world and you can do that as well. think skull island etc is there a shape or icon that fits your campaign or story? There’s also a few links to sites that have generators for almost anything including terrain.

Not sure where to place what? the blank map in the guidebook has 20 sections(handy)… count up your sections and assign a number and roll or generate a random number.

Well that about covers the basics for this week, I’ll try to create a randomly generated world from the guidebook and post my results here.

Feel free to post comments or tag me if you have questions, recommendations etc on your world or world building. I’ll be updating my world project Harmonia based on this post.


Next week we’ll jump into the final sections covering Seismology/Tectonics and Climatology