The university group will game tonight! We should have at least four players, with a fifth likely to make it if he can switch his work shift. I am excited!
With no real way to tell how long this game will last and with spare time at a premium for everyone, I am loathe to invest lots of time into setting design. Yet, I love world building. Thus, I am going to get my players to help me a bit, in an organic and improvisational way. I'm calling in Three Sentences.
One thing I always love to do as a playeris to improvise small world details at the table; I've been known to just throw out names of kingdoms, powerful long dead mages, ancient artifacts, or local inns while speaking in character. The best DM's I've gamed with love it; they try to then incorporate those things into the game, at least as window dressing. As I DM, I love it. It gives me more grist for the setting mill.
With character creation happening tonight, I am going to ask each player to write down Three Sentences about their character on an index card. Not so unusual, but I am also going to mandate that each sentence include at least one proper noun (that's not their character name). Thus "I'm a fat dwarf who likes cheese" would not be acceptable. "I'm a fat dwarf from the Caverns of Vrain who likes the cheeses of Rogest" would. I'll then take those persons, places, and things and use them to sketch out a setting. The players are already invested, since they came up with this stuff in the first place. The nice thing is, there's no real pressure to develop everything about everything all at once. We already know something about Rogest: he/she/it makes cheese. Other details can follow as needed and as I or the players have more time to develop them.
I now feel compelled to provide three sentences for my players. Here they go:
The Sultan of Mariq looks east, over the Grim Peaks, now that he has dealt with the Ferazzi Nomads.
The Grim Peaks, indeed all the Border Range, are honecombed with caverns and tunnels left behind by the Peoples of Hrim.
Here, in the town of Weyland, one waits weeks for carvans from Aldejas to make their way along the bandit infested Rotter's Road.