After the last adventure, in which the players finally fought off the advancing horde of Orcs, Ogres, Dragonborn, and Dragons, which had attacked their train bound for the capital of Jiyuland, the players have now exited the linear section of adventure that I had planned out. The literal railroading which I had plagued them with is coming to an end and now they are moving into the open world.
This is the scariest thing I have had to deal with as a DM up until now.
The problem I have is that we are playing in a world that isn't finished; it is my homebrew setting and it is very much still under construction. However, now that the player's have a bit more freedom and are able to roam around, the ball is now in my court to make the world vibrant and complete enough for them to have fun in it (well, at least the little corner of the world which they are in).
I drew up a map of the world a long time ago. You might have seen it on my blog or on Obsidian Portal. It took a long time and I am very proud of it. Now, I just need to flesh that map out.
I have a general idea of where things are and how things will work, but putting my thoughts down on paper is always harder than I think. Right now, even figuring out how to format a nation as I am writing it up is a real challenge. I have been looking at the older published settings and the newer ones in order to adapt the kind of information I should present.
Knowledge about the area should come first, followed by Important Places, and then finally leading into Organizations, NPC's, and finally into Adventure Hooks. But, looking at the 4e settings of Eberron and Forgotten Realms, you really lose some of the most important summary information that you had back in 3rd - i.e. Population, Ethnicities, Languages, Governmental Structure, Capital City, etc. I will be including these things as well.
The first area that I will be working on is the biggest, most prominent country in the Southern Kingdom - Jiyuland. From there, I will work on the border countries of Trobosk and Harinval. Although I chose to have a bit of an asian influence when it comes to look, I decided that sticking with fantastic names seemed like a better idea (just because the setting is inspired by the Far East of the Real world, doesn't mean it all has to sound the same).
Am I forgetting anything? Let me know.