World-building is something you can do endlessly. Dozens of books can be written about pretty much any given setting – and dozens of books were written. Descriptions of entire continents or individual cities, important locations that served as sites of grand battles or arcane rituals, various organizations ruling the world from shadows, important people and signature characters – all of these and more were crafted by creative people to enhance the illusion of a living world, to make a fantasy just a bit more real. History, politics, geography, culture, economics – all of these topics and more warrant some attention, for they can provide plot hooks for your games or serve as background flavor to enhance your game experience.
But, of course, there are practical limitations on the amount of world-building that’s actually done. There is only so much information players would be willing to absorb in preparation to a game and there is only so much information that’s actually needed for the game to function. In urban fantasy, for example, while you can spend your pages just describing a given city and its notorious landmarks, it’s not really necessary. The information is available for those who want to know it, so it’s more productive to focus on differences from our reality: supernatural elements lurking in the shadows. In regular fantasy, you do generally need to describe the world at large, but you generally don’t need to, say, describe every local holiday and associated traditions. That would just bloat the book and probably won’t be all that useful for most GMs.
Then, of course, there are physical limitations. If you’re publishing your book, you may afford only so many pages to print before the price would go too high to hope for profits. If you have only 50 pages to spend describing your world, you probably shouldn’t spend them on details of local trade routes.
Ultimately, what is and isn’t described about a setting should depend primary on the focus of the game. A game focusing on adventures in exotic places should, of course, include descriptions of said places, while PCs’ home towns may be left relatively abstract since they’re here only for the PCs to rest to buy supplies. A game focusing on court intrigue would need to focus on politics and economy, various factions and their agendas, while stuff like old dungeons with ancient evil inside would probably be just distracting, so they don’t need to be included. Some settings are left deliberately abstract for the players to add their own ideas to the world. In this case, it’s more important to focus and themes and tone of the setting as a whole rather than on specific details. And so on.
So, with all that said, let’s get to the next section of DragonRaid titled “The World of Talania,” which, naturally, describes the eponymous continent and serves as a foundation of knowledge about the setting for both players and AMs. How long is this section, you ask.