Worldbuilding is a cornerstone activity for writers and gamers alike. Without it, our characters would not have a place to live or props to tell stories. This short primer will show you how to make a basic planetary concept with just a few basic ideas.
One of the first places to consider starting is with a species, then a planet, and then possibly their language. You name them, then design small aspects of each of them.
With species, start with the basics and get a clear vision of them in your mind. This can be anything from skin tones, eye colors, legs, arms, hair colors, and if they have unique abilities such as tremor sense, telepathy, or empathy. Are they a matriarchal or patriarchal society? Do they value gender equality? Do they have deities? What is their main cultural focus, like music, education, art, mining, etc.? Once you have these, you can move on to creating their planet.
The planet, like the species, would be unique to the game or story. Make sure the climate type you choose for the bulk of the planet and the water/land ratio is appropriate to sustain the life you’ve built there. Add in terrain types to match the climate, and visualize a generalization of what you think the houses on your newly created planet would look like and if they would be in small villages or big cities. You should also decide what kind of government runs the world.
The language of the species you’ve created probably won’t mean much most of the time, but it can still play a critical role if you let it. Decide if it’s words or pictures or a combination thereof.
How you build your planet, language and species are up to you, and this is just a fraction of the worldbuilding required to flesh out a world as large and vast as most fictional worlds – such a those found in books or even Star Trek. The key is to use your imagination, and you could never go wrong!
What can you do with your species after you’re done? Talk to your commanding officer! Many things can be done with them from using your species as a mission specific group or even submit them to the Captains Council and turn them into a playable race.
Want to see more amazing species and peoples to give your creativity a boost? Why not check out UFOP: Starbase 118 RPG’s very own Intelligent Lifeform Index. It is a comprehensive collection of species that appeared in the Star Trek universe and full of inspiration. The possibilities are endless so create!