GURPS · Worked Example

World Creation 9 – The Eastern Riverlands

(Note: this post is part of my Example of World Creation series.  For a full index to the series, head here

The full world map, without any Realm or Region names, is here.)

In our effort to name all the realms and regions, let’s continue East, following the Rulerun river up towards its source in the mountains.  Here’s the territory we’ll be working on today:

World Creation 9 - The Eastern Riverlands - Unnamed

As you can see, we have two Regions to discover: the long “semi-civilized” region that stretches along the river valley, and the tiny “civilized” Region in the hills to the south.

Let’s start with the big semi-civilized river valley.  Who lives there?

(Rolling for Population Type now…)

Result: Humans.  Ok, sure.  I don’t really know what to make of these guys, so I decide to roll for a random theme, rather than choosing one.  I roll 2, 4, which means “Historical.”  Ahah!  Now I’ve got something to build on.   Maybe these guys are living in the ruins of what was once a much larger civilization?   That might explain why the region  is still just semi-civilized, even though they have quite a few towns strung out along that river.

Dungeon Entrance
A valley full of ruins…

That all helps.  Building on it, let’s say that there used to be a human empire here, back in ancient times, but nowadays the valley is inhabited by a relatively small community of simple farmers who live and work down by the riverbank.

As you travel up the river you glimpse all sorts of ancient ruined towers, crumbling castles, and so on perched high up above you, amongst the crags – but no-one really goes up there anymore, since the good farmland is all down by the river.

There are three very old towns along the river, but they’re just the faded remnants of what they once were:  crumbling old stonework, once-proud but now half-fallen city walls, and so on.

In short, it’s a perfect landscape for adventure!

What’s it called?  Well, we probably need a name for the valley itself, as well as a name for the river, since I think perhaps the Rulerun is known by a different name up here. Let’s begin with the valley.   I’ll start by rolling for a  name element appropriate to this region’s “Historical” theme.  (If you don’t get what I’m talking about here, see the naming tables!)

(Rolling for a name…)

Results: I get a choice between “Elder” and “Occluded.”  I like “Elder,” so let’s call it the “Elder Vale.” – and then round it off to “Eldervale.”

For the river itself, I roll up a few “River” and “Historical” name elements and end up with one I like: the Cairnflood.  That sounds just right to me, for a river that flows through a valley full of old stone ruins.

What about that little “Civilized” region?

Moving on, what about that tiny “Civilized” area just south of Eldervale?  It’s more civilized than Eldervale, but somewhat paradoxically, where Eldervale has three towns, this tiny region doesn’t have any.  Who lives there?

(Rolling for Population Type…)

Halflings of the Riverlands

I get “Halfling.” Excellent!  That makes sense of the lack of a town – hobbits live a very “civilized” life in little hamlets and villages, and they don’t like the bustle of big towns.  It also goes very much with the “heartland” feel I’ve been considering for this part of the world – in the fantasy tradition, nothing says “heartland” quite so clearly as a little Shire-like Region full of hills.

Safe as houses.  No, wait – safe as hobbit-holes.  Much better..

Given the direction this seems to be going, I don’t roll for a theme for this little Halfling Realm: I just declare its theme “Safe”. It’s a sheltered area.  As for a name, I head to my Halfling place name generator (which, I ought to add, simply remixes place name elements actually used by Tolkien)  (You can find it here if you’re interested)

(Rolling for a name…)

The first roll gives me “Haymoot”, and the second “Haymarch”: I like the latter.  Welcome to Haymarch!


That’s it for the Eastern Riverlands.  Here’s how this area looks now:

World Creation 9 - Eldervale and the Eastern Riverlands

In my next post, we’ll head North up the other tributary of the Rulerun, to see what’s up there.

Here’s the big world map again, in case you want to see where we’re headed.

Worked Example - Stage 7

Here is a bigger, zoomable version of the map.



3 thoughts on “World Creation 9 – The Eastern Riverlands

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