GURPS · Worked Example

World Creation 18 – The Frozen North

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

(If you want to see where we are, the full world map is here. )

The far North of the Map is very cold: in fact, it’s all Arctic terrain – an endless plain of tundra, leading up into pure white snow and ice.

Who the heck lives up here?

World Creation 18 - The Frozen North - unnamed

Here is a bigger, zoomable version of this map.

Let’s start with the Wilderness region in the West, and then work our way East.

The Snowsprawl.jpg(Rolling for Population type…)


Ok, clearly the Elves of Nilithrildel can sometimes be found traveling across this Region. Why?  I’ve got no idea.  But  perhaps the Region’s Theme will tell us…

(Rolling for theme …)


Ok, that’s very odd.  Why would this Region be “oppressed”?  No-one lives here, and it’s in the middle of nowhere.  Hmmm…

Now, I could re-roll this, but in this case I think it might be more fun to imagine a way to make it fit.  Who is being oppressed here?  Let’s roll up a few more “population types,” just for inspiration…

Yeti vlllages were once common in this Region.  Now, no more.

(Rolling some extra population types…)

Wildman; Elves; Seal-folk; Undead

How to interpret this?  Ok, let’s read the tea leaves this way: let’s say that up until very recently, this Region was home to a substantial population of both arctic wildmen (A.K.A Yetis) and seal-folk – enough of both, that the Region would have counted as “Semi-civilized.”  But in recent years the yetis and the seal-folk have been all but destroyed – only a few survivors remain, in hiding.  Who is responsible?  No-one really knows – reliable news from this remote Region is pretty hard to come by.  The elves of Nilithrildel have been mounting expeditions over her to investigate; so far their results are inconclusive – but there are rumors of some sort of undead winter-spirit creature(s).

That’s enough for now – it’s a good plot hook to hang a few adventures on – maybe even a whole phase of a longer campaign.

Now, to name the Region.

(Rolling for a name)…

The Snowsprawl

That works!  So the North-Westernmost corner of the map is known as the Snowsprawl. Let’s keep moving!

What about the next arctic Wilderness region to the East?

Who lives here, I wonder?

(Rolling for Population Type…)


Again!  Wow, that’s a great roll, and works really well, since the elven realm of Nilithrildel looks out right onto this Region. What about a Theme?

(Rolling for Theme…)

“Choose any or none.”

Well, since Nilithrildel is “Magical” in theme, let’s make this arctic region “Magical” too.

Twilit Tundra.jpg
The Twilit Tundra.  Here the magic of the elven realm of Nilithrildel spills over into the Northlands and runs in wild colors through the sky. 

Let’s say that the elven magic of Nilithrildel spills up into the North, giving the snow here an unearthly glitter.  Ice here naturally forms itself into odd shapes that suggest runes or letters, and the night sky is rich in auroras and polar lights.


Now for a name.

(Rolling for a name…)

The Twilit Tundra.

Perfect!  I can just imagine the magical lights making the twilight glow…

The North-West is now done.  Now it’s time to explore the two semi-civilized Regions in the North-East.

Godfrost 1.jpg

The Two Semi-Civilized Regions in the North-East.

These look like the same Realm to me.  Who lives there?

(Rolling for Population Type…)


(Rolling for Theme…)


It seems these are a hardy, scattered, superstitious people who live on the tundra in the far north, and spend time worshiping strange gods.  This seems like a good homeland for a mysterious druid, cleric, or shaman PC – or even a superstitious barbarian from the Frozen North.  The name of this Realm? I want something really foreign sounding, so I’ll mix some Elvish with some Dwarfish.  (Though to be honest, I’m not really sure how well this will work!)

People of Tal Irizad – the Godfrost.

(Rolling for a name…)

Tal Irizad.

Hey, that worked ok!  What about a translation?

(Rolling for a name…)

The Godfrost.

That sounds good – let’s run with it!

Well, that wraps up the Frozen North – and since this was our last area, it wraps up the map, too!  Take a look.

Here are the Regions we just fleshed out:

World Creation 18 - The Frozen North

Here is a larger, zoomable version of this map.

And here (at last!) is the World Map in all its glory, complete with all the new names and features we’ve been adding over the past ten posts or so:

World Creation 18 - Complete Map

 Here is a bigger, zoomable version of the complete map.  Scroll around and check it out!

All in all, what’ we’ve created so far is a fairly rich little fantasy world, with a bunch of dramatic things already going on, and plenty of hooks on which to hang more.  And we’ve created it entirely using a procedural system, that can be used to generate rich fantasy world again and again!

Stay tuned for the next updates in the series!

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