A fictional world is more than just the physical setting and the biological and psychological nature of whatever inhabitants it may have, it may also be filled with people, each with their own personality and history, some of whom may have a profound impact on that fictional world. There are times when a world's future may hang on one person's decision.

So, the question: Are questions about an individual (who may be fictional, or who may be a real person placed in a fictional situation) in a particular world on-topic?

This could be "What would X do here?" or "What sort of person would I need to do Y here?" questions, or other questions involving a specific inhabitant of a world, whether defined yet or asking for a definition.


I think questions about people collectively (sociology, politics, etc) are on-topic for Worldbuilding, but I hesitate to extend the line to people individually. The distinction between world and story is important. We are not a plot-generation site nor a critique site nor anything else that fits better in a forum. Further, it seems likely that these questions would be very subjective, and not of the "good subjective" variety.


I think that somewhat depends on what we say about Chad's idea here. Basically do we want to have storybuilding questions on this site? I personally think that would be good, because there isn't a site for that on SE yet, and worldbuilding and story building almost always go together.

Quickly heading off a discussion, RPG questions about stories would be allowed, but not RPG questions about mechanics or RPG specfic things (i.e. would be applicable in a book).

  • $\begingroup$ I agree that questions about RPG rules should be in RPG SE (I'm a member there myself), but worlds (and stories) have broader applicability than just RPGs. But what about characters? Are they and their actions part of world building and hence on- or off-topic? $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Sep 24 '14 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ @MontyWild I think unless we allow story building, then no. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Sep 24 '14 at 11:14

During the definition phase this came up and at the time we decided that questions about individuals would generally not be on topic. The one potential exception we discussed is major, world altering recurring characters. People like Elminster from DnD or The Prophet from Warcraft.

My thoughts are that a world's history is relevant and major players in the universe, individuals who had truly global impact should be on topic, but only insofar as it relates to building the world.

For example: Knowing that, FirstName the adjective, conquered the known world from west to east over the course of a decade, insert a question.

  • $\begingroup$ Consider: is the fact that this individual did it more important than that someone did it? It might be for the people who inhabit the world, but is it for the world? Replace "FirstName the adjective" in your sample with "The great leader" or "The great tyrant"; does that change dramatically alter your question? If not, consider whether naming the character is necessary in the first place, or whether you can skip that part entirely and just leave it at a reasonably nondescript "someone". Part of what turns a question from good to great is knowing what to elide. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 6 '14 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ If that change does dramatically alter your question, consider whether the question is really a good fit for the worldwide audience and long-term access of Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 6 '14 at 15:23

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