chapter  5
13 Pages

Secondary World Infrastructures and Tabletop Fantasy Role-Playing Games

ByNeal Baker

This essay underlines the importance of secondary world infrastructures in tabletop fantasy role-playing games (RPGs). As defined by Mark J. P. Wolf, these infrastructures are “organizational tools” for world-building, like maps, timelines, genealogies, charts, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other related material.1 To varying degrees, the infrastructures contribute to the representation of imaginary world nature, cultures, languages, mythologies, and philosophies. Their use is commensurate with what historian Michael Saler has chronicled as the rise of “fantasy realms presented in a realist mode, cohesively structured, empirically detailed, and logically based, often accompanied by scholarly apparatus such as footnotes, glossaries, appendices, maps, and tables.”2 Sparked by Wolf and Saler, I survey world infrastructures in the two preeminent tabletop fantasy RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and Pathfinder.