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Chapter 2: Tools / Building Worlds / Design Approach

Top Down

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 122
The top‑down approach is great if you have a lot of time to dedicate to world building. When designing a setting from the top down, your initial focus is on the big picture. You may already have an idea of the big movers and shakers of your world or your multiverse. You may want to chronicle a thousand years or more of the setting’s history. You may have already sketched out a world map with continents, nations, and trade routes spanning the globe. This approach begins with broad generalities that get more detailed as you design and during play.