OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Base your game on a world people can relate to

Lord of the Rings world

If you’re creating a new roleplaying game, you might have given a lot of thought into the game you’re creating and the world where it all takes place. This might involve you doing a lot of worldbuilding to create a really imaginative but believable fantasy world. But remember that if you’re the next Tolkien or George Lucas, your members might not have the time to read the 10 pages of backstory and description about your world, how it was created and who each of the species are who inhabit it.

Base your game on an existing world

Many GMs get around this problem by basing their game on an existing world. By using a world already described in a popular TV series, film or book, your members will already have an understanding of the world and will likely be able to start taking part immediately. Also it’s likely that they’ll be able to find out more information about your game’s world from many other websites, without you having to write pages and pages of background information. There might even be maps created for the world that you can use.

An existing world means an existing audience

Many people struggle to get players to join their games, but if your game is based on an existing TV series, film or book, it’s likely it will have many fans already. These fans are all people who might be interested in playing your game. Also if there’s already a place for these fans to socialise and chat online, this would be an ideal place to advertise your game to them.

Cîty RavenCrowe from the Era of the Triple Moons RPG recommended recruiting new members based on what they were interested in rather than fans of roleplay.

If your game is based off of something, find a discussion forum to go find and chat up people from, and then pitch the idea of an RP to them. A lot of people have no idea what written RP is, but would love to do it if they were given the chance.

Cîty RavenCrowe, Era of the Triple Moons RPG

If you want to base your game on an existing world, see my article about TV series and films that would make great PBEM games.

Make your game easy to understand

If you still want to go ahead with creating your own bespoke fantasy world, make sure that it’s not too difficult for your players to understand. You might be lucky and get some really imaginative players who want to join your game, but also there will be many people who see the huge learning curve as a barrier for entry into your game. Don’t force all players to read pages upon pages of information about your world before they can write a post themselves, and try to make sure the world you’ve created isn’t incredibly complicated.


So by using an existing world you’ll appeal to more players who will be able to understand the world of your game without much reading. You’ve also got access to an existing audience who might be interested in your game, even if they’ve never played in a roleplaying game before.

What are the best worlds for roleplaying that you’ve encountered? Please let us know in the comments below!