Beyond Kings & Castles in Fantasy Worldbuilding

Erin Roberts, Kelly Tran, Pam Punzalan, Luis Loza
  • Panel
  • Topical
Date: Apr 1
4:10pm (duration 00:50)
Taverns. Bandits. The City Guard. Fantasy, like all genres, is filled with worldbuilding and storytelling tropes, many of which have become go-tos when creating new TTRPG settings and adventures. But these familiar storytelling elements are far from your game’s only options. This panel will discuss the approaches, challenges, and possibilities that come from bringing less predominant story and world elements to TTRPGs – including a few practical tips on how to incorporate new inspirations, backdrops, and themes into your writing and your table.


Erin Roberts (she/her) is a writer of stories and games. Her recent game writing has appeared in Journeys Through The Radiant Citadel (D&D), Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen (D&D), Hunter: The Reckoning 5th Edition (World of Darkness), Lost Omens: Travel Guide (Pathfinder), and Interstellar Species (Starfinder). Her prose fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, Podcastle, and The Dark. You can keep up with her latest thoughts and escapades by checking her out every week on the Writing Excuses podcast or following her on Twitter at @nirele.

Kelly M. Tran (she/her) is a former academic turned game designer and writer. She is especially interested in integrating story and gameplay. She enjoys playing videogames, traveling, and meeting people's pets!

Pam Punzalan (she/they) is a queer Filipino designer whose personal work explores themes of intimacy, rebellion, loss, reclamation, and the many different shades of violence. Beyond design, she is an editor, sensitivity & cultural consultant, and advocate for RPGSEA (Roleplaying Games Southeast Asia). Participating in the building of multiple, diverse tables for the tabletop game industry is a deeply important engagement for her, and she has had the pleasure of being part of the organizing teams of Play Without Apology, a queer-centric collective in the Philippines, and Session Zero Online, an RPGSEA-centric convention for Southeast Asian game designers and enthusiasts. She has written for Evil Hat, Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, and Renegade Games Studio.

Luis Loza (he/him) is Creative Director for Pathfinder Second Edition at Paizo, Inc. He spearheads the creation and expansion of the game's setting through the Lost Omens line of setting books. Luis has a passion for storytelling and creating evocative, enthralling, and inclusive worlds.

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