The Value of a Setting Bible and Its Contents

A book of arcane knowledge, open on an old, wooden, desktop reading easel. The pages are covered in symbols. A drawer is open. A key next to the book.
A book of arcane knowledge. By Belissa Minomi.
Do you have a Setting Bible? What’s in it? Do you even know what I’m talking about?

Regardless of how you take notes, I’d love to sell you on the value of creating a Setting Bible for your group’s campaign.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a Setting Bible is used by novelists, screenwriters, RPG designers, world-builders and creative collaborators to record the various “truths” about a shared setting, or world, they are building.

It can…

  • Describe the people, places, organizations and things that populate the setting.
  • List facts and ideas about how the world operates.
  • Provide consistency and, by doing so, supports a greater sense of realism throughout the stories that are told.

A Setting Bible is not a play log – though it may at first seem like one.  It is also not a GM Notebook filled with spoilery notes and ideas to explore during prep. A Setting Bible is a great place to lay out the group’s expectations about the fiction of the setting, the mechanics that will be used and the social contract everyone agrees to enforce at the table. Hand it out to new players to bring them up to speed on the setting.

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