Lore: Unnecessarily Necessary, but Necessary.
I've seen many a world that are RPG maps. These maps have their own kingdoms with kings, leaders, guilds, and so fourth. Although nice and whatnot, they lack a lot of lore. Sometimes, you will see maps that have some more extensive information in their maps, sometimes containing backgrounds, histories, even cultures of the map's inhabitants. With this guide, I will attempt to go much further than that.
Spoiler for Hidden Content:
I have been enveloped in my own lore almost for as long as I have played this game. It is no where as detailed as it could be, but nevertheless, it's something I've been sitting around with for 3ish years now. A little bit of lore is crucial for RPG maps. For the few players who really want to dive into your RPG worlds, they need this to understand what their stand point is. Most of what I will be talking about is for setting up entire worlds that many stories can take place in, but can easily be transferred into your lovely 1km by 1km maps!
The two important things to know about here are: What is essential in your absolute lore, and mapping out your worlds.
Your World's Culture
There is a lot to be spoken of here, as lore can get extremely detailed, your most important things will be the following things. Of course, you do not need all or any of these to get the lore you wish. You may use what you want or seems necessary to you. Again, most of this is more for book writing and scene setting, but some of it can be useful for maps.
More information regarding each of these points will be added as I continue writing. Starting with more important and fun things to write for your lore, then continuing to lesser and lesser things. (Unless of course one of you directly asks me to write some more stuff for a point.)
This deals with the aesthetics and styles of your buildings and overall settlement layouts. Think about the materials your world uses to build their structures. Think of defensive structures or walls. How will your streets be laid out? If you really want to go into deep details, think about ways your map's inhabitants dispose of waste.
Designing calendars are always fun! You can think of how your map deals with the fact that their world orbits around a sun! How will they divide days and nights into various weeks and months? Will the calendar just be as simple as looking at what phase the moon is in?
This one is pretty useful for figuring out the sort of environment your map inhabitants have learned to live in. Even more so is you can actual alter the climates of your map thanks to scripts. Will your people be living in snow caped mountains where it never gets above freezing? How have they built to deal with this?
Crafts deal with the sort of materials in the local area of your inhabitants. It can also be about the sort of technology your map has. This really helps decide what sort of time and era your map takes place in.
What are some of the common crimes that take place in your world? Are there any underground criminal groups that hide from the law? Is there any illegal contraband that gets into your world under the watches' nose? If you plan to make a fantasy setting, are there any illegal magic?
This is where your mobs and baddies come into play. What sort of native beasts threaten your people? Are there any plagues and diseases that haunt your world?
This is about the coinage and employment about your world. What sort of currency is used in your world? What are some of the major and more important jobs and sources of employment in your world? How wealthy are your people?
If you really try and think, you can get into a very deep detail about the government of your map. Maybe "Host", "Co-Host", and "Admin" are just too basic and unrelated to the lore. Think about the sort of government rules your map. Is it a monarchy? How do people come into power? How is land controlled and divided?
You can write books and books worth of history for your maps. Think about how everything came to be it is today. Why are countries or kingdoms here now? Think of some family dynasties and trees. Any important wars that shaped the future?
Go here to learn more about getting your own custom languages for your map to speak in! PWRBTTN is a great person to speak to about this sort of stuff.
This can be as simple as your map rules, or even more in depth with punishments, payments, and overall dealings with wrong-doers.
Secret Societies/Mystery Cults
A huge chunk of this came from here. I am expanding on this blog post heavily.