Worldbuilding for TTRPGs vs Novels

The way I think of it is worldbuilding in TTRPGs is a conversation, a constant back and forth. The players do as much as the 'author' or game master.

Worldbuilding in novels is a firestarter. The author starts the story and the reader finishes it but there is not that constant interaction. It's far more guided so your world might be that wide open 'ecosystem' of a game but you need to curate a slice of it. Dumping a reader in with no direction and lots o 'hooks' would just be boring when in a game that is great. Readers want answers and surprises, players want rewards for their answers.

Gaming is also far more forgiving of improv. I have run sessions with zero idea of where things are going and changed stuff on the fly and that's grand. On the other hand, worldbuilding in novels rewards going back and tying things together and consistent themes.


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