Creating Kalopia, world building with Amazing Tales

Jospeh Wolf took Amazing Tales to KublaCon 2019 and ran an awesome session of Amazing Tales that mixed world building with adventure. Here’s his account of what happened, and check out below for the map the kids came up with and a whole Gazeteer you can download detailing it.

The world of Kalopia. Watch out for the Araknos (Spider Monkeys) and the Matzecoatls (Feathered Serpents) and the Penguins – the Penguins have a plan…

“Oh whatta journey! I just got back from KublaCon 2019 and even though I’m weary and worn out, I’m compelled to create. Well, as they say, no rest for the wicked. Time to get to work and hammer out a manuscript so the kids and parents can revisit our peril-filled yarn.

I’ve been doing this for a while. I got my start when I was twelve, by my ogre-math that’s around 36 years of which means I’ve been gamemastering for around 35 years. I’ve attended too many conventions to count sometimes as player but usually as a gamemaster. I guess you could say I’m most comfortable behind the GM screen.

Well KublaCon took a lot out of me this year. I ran 20 hours of games in just three days, ten of those hours were on the same days as the Amazing Tales kids game. You’d think I would be sick of it, not so. I ran many games that weekend but the kids game was special for a lotta reasons. Unlike many of my games, this required a lot of preparation. Running games for kids isn’t the same as running for adults, not by a longshot. You have to be more patient, more nurturing, you have to watch your language (something I struggle with), and reign in 35 years of hardwired gamemaster instincts. You have to strike a balance between Sithlord and loving nurturing English nanny.

Well call me Darth Poppins. When gamemastering for kids, you’re making an indelible mark on those young minds, every act and word has an impact good or bad.

So yeah, preparations but not just mental ones, I had to pull together a lot of equipment. So in addition to the laptop I brought along a projector, cords, and all the cables. This setup allowed me to project our evolving world map in real-time as we built the playspace. It worked far better than I could have imagined. The kids were totally into it. True some wandered in and out but whenever they sat down they were keen to contribute and boy did they have opinions! It was structured chaos and I loved it. It was wonderful to just turn them loose.

Generally, I’m a bit of a lone Wolf (snrk!) used to doing a lot on my own. I prefer it that way but sometimes collaboration can be a joy. So while I worked the digital stylus and keyboard and asked guiding questions the kids did most of the heavy lifting. Ultimately, this wasn’t MY world, it was OUR world. We hashed out most of the continent in less than 30 minutes. Yeah, those kids were creative dynamos.

Once we had the rudiments of the world, it was time to populate our world with people and creatures the kids would enjoy playing. Now with all the media available to kids, it’s a challenge to get kids to actually create their own stuff. Inevitably kids draw from what they’ve seen so tabletop roleplaying games frequently feature orphaned wizards, magic arsenal wielding ninjas, transforming robots, and adorable animal gladiators. As a creative I urge the kids to bring new content into our games by taking their ideas and interests and tweaking till it has the flavor but not the exact shape of the inspiration. The kids did not disappoint me.

So once we had characters and some truly great art on the character sheets (I just love adding crafts to my games) we embarked upon the adventure one featuring a nefarious lizard wizard who was stealing all the clouds creating droughts and hardship in a bid to conquer the world. Our young heroes would not stand for such selfishness and cruelty.

Yup, quite a journey. So the long and short of it. What follows is a brief taste of a very rich world. As designer and cartographer, I took a few liberties, added and tweaked here and there, a few coastlines changed but everything the kids came up with is here, and more.

I hope you enjoy exploring the World of Kalopia.”

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