A project done out of self-interest and desire to engage friends. I used the Dungeons & Dragons game system and races to create a new world and in-depth lore for a group of six players.
The campaign is centred around concepts such as multiverses, caste systems, and serenity. I chose to support these concepts through a seemingly perfect justice systems, in which the world would be cloned into parallel realities and people would then be sorted based on their criminal records.
In order to achieve my desired atmosphere, I researched heavily into existing systems of oppression and created characters that the players could meet, interact with, and grow to love. To ensure they felt complex and whole, I created their own character sheets as if they were a player too.
A realm split into five parallel realities. A universe where karma is seemingly omniscient and instant. It'd be wise to stay on your best behaviour.
When developing the idea, I started typing up a document which would allow me to organize my thoughts and reference key pillars as I continued to develop for it. Using the core concepts and the desired setting, each of the castes had their own overarching atmospheres. Then it was time to move on to the more specific settings of each location in the world.
In order to create cities and kingdoms, I went through the list of playable races on the Dungeons & Dragons website and chose which races would populate my world. I then created a world history that would support having each of the races exist in the same world and reasons some of them developed as they did. Stemming from this, I had come up with two names to call the world, which lore-wise depended on which race you chose to play. The world would be called either Valnor, or New Donaria.
After the races were chosen and the world history made, I moved on to developing the culture of each kingdom and the main populations which would inhabit them. While developing the cultures, I made sure to communicate with all my players extensively to find out what type of characters they wanted to play and how they would fit into the world. I used their backstories to support the culture of each kingdom in order to have each character feel fully immersed.
To allow the players a sense of freedom over how they started the campaign, yet still ensure they end up as a party in a way that didn't feel forced, I allowed them to start however they felt was right so long as they all began in the same Kingdom. I still allowed them to start in different caste-verses, as long as it fit the character backstory. From there, they could roleplay freely for a period of time before I began a chain of events that would eventually group them together.
Allowing them time to roleplay gave them the opportunity to find their voices as their character and explore the world they would be playing in. After ending the day in game, a sudden event would lead them all to find each other and have them work together, whether the characters got along or not.