I have my doubts over the tag, it's only used on a couple of questions but for me it steers the site towards application over creation.

Let me explain, I believe World Building should focus on the creation of realistic (or at least feasible environments) which can be used in literature, film or games. I think it's a real cross discipline site with real potential to bring in people with a lot of different interests.

However, when we start to design worlds for a specific purpose see the story building question) I think we start to drift away from that.

We shouldn't need or want to know about the world's application, whether it's an RPG a first person shooter or a hollywood blockbuster. I feel like tags like this drive us towards categorising for use rather than design.

  • $\begingroup$ I know this isnt easy but: Area51 -> Proposal for Story Building? Is there anything like that? i think the RPG tag and many other related questions could be easily redirekted to such a Site. $\endgroup$
    – Fulli
    Sep 19, 2014 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Fulli sounds like a good idea - may be a very hard one to define, give it a go! I'm trying to push the Agile one along but it's certainly something I'd follow! $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Sep 19, 2014 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ With my poor english skills i would not survive the proposal phase. Maybe in the next year or so XD $\endgroup$
    – Fulli
    Sep 19, 2014 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Fulli this is why there's an edit function - seriously, your English is better than you think! I'm more than happy to help you draft the few sentences you need to $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Sep 19, 2014 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ Liath, semms to be there is already a community in Beta named "writers". It will be hard to not collide with thier proposal but i will try on the weekend $\endgroup$
    – Fulli
    Sep 19, 2014 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Fulli I think you'd be ok writers.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic but the hard part would be proving there's a space that fits between here and writers. It's almost a plot development Q&A site... $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Sep 19, 2014 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ I think we absolutely should want to know about application. We want to know as much detail as we can. $\endgroup$
    – KRyan
    Oct 1, 2014 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ Asking about RPG in specifics should be done at Role-playing Games. However, RPG can still be a decisive element of your world and therefore seems like a reasonable tag. $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Oct 5, 2014 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


I disagree with removing the tag, on two counts:

Firstly I think it's too early to start deleting tags, we need to see how things pan out for a while first. In particular tags may only have 2 uses now but the most popular tag only has 11!

Secondly the application can be relevant to both questions and answers. When writing a novel (for example) you have control over where the characters go and if they suddenly go an unexpected direction you are able to pause and create that area. In an RPG though (especially one where you need to prepare maps and stat encounters in advance so improvisational play is harder) then you need to have those areas fleshed out before the players hit it. In a computer game this is even harsher - if a player is going to do something you need to have considered it and programmed it in advance.

The use to which a world is being put does influence how you build the world, what features you need in the world, and what levels of detail you need in what locations.

  • $\begingroup$ However, the use the world will be put to doesn't necessarily affect its final structure, only the order in which it will be built. Thus answers would usually be equally valid whether the world was a setting for a RPG or for a work of literary fiction. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild Mod
    Sep 21, 2014 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ @MontyWild I'm not entirely comfortable with an rpg tag myself, but I can imagine there being simplified worlds with rules and physics and layout influenced by the restrictions imposed. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2014 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ A tag "book" or "movie" wouldn't make much sense, as those media do not place restriction on the structure of a world, only on how it is described. The tag "rpg" does restrict. I can't see an argument for removing the "rpg" tag unless there is an argument for also removing the questioned tagged by it. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2014 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @githubphagocyte That's patently false: most any DVD commentary or behind-the-scenes about a low-budget fantasy or sci-fi film should reveal that worldbuilding is closely tied to "what can we put on screen and have it look okay with our available budget and skill?" Guardians of the Galaxy changed the Nova Corps in plot-re-defining ways because it was easier to render hundreds of spaceships than hundreds of flying people in the final battle, while many monster movies design their monster's habits to avoid bright light where the prop/costume looks bad. $\endgroup$
    – BESW
    Oct 2, 2014 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @BESW I've also changed my mind since writing that comment. It occurred to me that in a book there are many decisions on background that do not need to be made as the reader can fill them in, whereas in a film/movie everything that happens to be visible whether relevant or not is a decision. However, I maintain my point about the rpg tag. For as long as we have rpg questions it makes sense to have a tag since there is a significant difference. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2014 at 2:35


To me, the test of a tag’s worthiness is whether or not you can imagine using it.

So, why would someone use the [RPG] tag?

Well, if I’m building a world for an RPG system (whether it be an existing one or for creating a system to go with the world), would searching for all questions tagged [RPG] be useful to me? I absolutely think it would! That way I can learn about the process, about the particular wrenches that RPGs throw into the system, about issues I didn’t even think to ask.

Might I favorite the tag? Definitely! For one, the same way I wanted to peruse existing questions on the topic, I might want to keep abreast of new thoughts or problems people have run into, and hey, if I’m serious about doing this, I may have some insight to share.

Searching and favoriting are basically the two things that tags enable you to do. This tag is useful for both.

But! Be careful about usage

The RPG tag is only useful, as described above, if it is used for questions that are distinctly and uniquely about RPGs. As in, the things that RPGs, in particular, affect and change and make issues when they might not be otherwise.

If someone tags their question [RPG] just because the world they’re building happens to be for an RPG, but that fact doesn’t affect the question in any special way, that tag should be removed. It might be useful information, I encourage question-askers to include it in their questions, but the tag should only be for questions that come up because of the world’s use in an RPG.

The existing usage is good

There is only one question, as of this writing, that uses [RPG]:

This is exactly the kind of thing that [RPG] makes a good choice for: the gameplay of a roguelike requires certain truths about the world, truths which are, on their face, very odd and quite different from how things generally work in the real world. But if you want to make a roguelike, you have to keep these tropes for the sake of the gameplay. This is a very valid question, and it is directly influenced by considerations of the setting’s use in a game.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think we would need to very carefully monitor usage of the tag, lest we be left with a major cleanup effort down the road like RPG's new-gm tag $\endgroup$
    – Bobson
    Oct 1, 2014 at 21:55

I think the rpg tag is only going to be of significant value if the question specifies a rules system. For example, someone says she's designing a world to be a setting for an Ars Magica game; this tells answerers a great deal about the constraints involved. If it's completely generic -- "I'm designing a world for my fantasy rpg" -- then it makes no real difference that it's an rpg: it's just a world, and all we know from this statement is encapsulated in "fantasy."

As a long-time gamer, I would certainly look up rpg questions to address, but they'd have to give me some actual information about the system.

So: I'd say keep the tag, but ask people who use it to specify the game system or else remove the tag if the game system isn't relevant.

  • $\begingroup$ Would using the rpg tag make more sense than a ars-magica tag, though? I'm not sure we should have tags for each RPG system/world, but if I'm looking to create an Ars Magica-like setting, then finding rpg questions about redoing the Shadowrun setting won't be very helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Bobson
    Oct 1, 2014 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ I doubt there are going to be so many system-specific questions that an ars-magica tag would be useful. If that should happen, it would probably be only one system that keeps coming up, and then we could give it its own tag. I'd file this under "cross that bridge when we come to it." $\endgroup$
    – CAgrippa
    Oct 1, 2014 at 21:53

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