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Author Topic: The Worldbuilding Thread!  (Read 3574 times)

Acanthus117

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The Worldbuilding Thread!
« on: August 03, 2010, 03:40:38 am »

(HERE IT IS GUYS)

Lately, I've been trying to make a setting for a novel I'm trying to write, and was simply wondering if anyone would like to see what I've dreamed up so far. I've noted that my work ethic improves considerably if there are multiple people who have seen my work and expect moar.

Even if people totally ignore this thread, at least I've managed to make one more in my life here at the forums!

So, let's get down to business.

The fantasy setting I am currently working on is currently unnamed, to keep things simple. Here's a map!

(hey, it's just the basics, I'm no cartographer/artist!)



The idea is that all three of these... landmasses (yes, I know, B should be labeled 'Archipelago') was once dominated by a expansive empire similar to the Roman Empire. It was considered by most peoples of the world to be the most successful and advanced civilizations in the world ruled most of the known world for several millenia.

Over the centuries, its people pioneered in dozens of fields, developing all sorts of fancy stuff to make life easier and making conquering the neighboring kingdoms/republics/whatever easier. Their greatest innovation was magic, which enabled them to subdue the surrounding nations with ease.

I've not done much about the magic system just yet, but I guess I can expound later on. Moving on...

For all its armies and magicians and stuff that the Empire had, it slowly collapsed over a hundred year period due to civil war, several natural disasters, corrupt and inept rulers and a final disaster only known as the Cataclysm. Most people claim that the Cataclysm, punctuated by earthquakes and savage plagues that flooded the Empire was merely a coincidence, and that is the accepted view nowadays.

The Cataclysm was in fact a terrible mishap by the Imperial Arcanists, the foremost magicians in the world. Their goal was to find the source of magic, and to somehow bind it to their will. Instead of doing that, they managed to blow shit up. A lot of shit. So much shit was blown up, the capital of the Empire is nothing more than a lonely, deserted husk of burnt-out dwellings and a massive crater.

As is per usual with empires that have suddenly lost all of their leadership in one fell blow, the Empire was in chaos. Thanks to the fallback plans that this paranoid bunch of weirdos had, the provinces that made up the Empire were (mostly) able to keep together. Slowly, though, they degraded into hundreds of warring states, all at each other’s throats for land/gold/grains/WIMMENZ (joke)/etc.

So, what do you guys think so far?

In the next part, I’ll expound on the cultural differences between Landmasses A, B and C, as well as the fallout from the Empire's destruction.
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andrea

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 04:43:00 am »

in which landmass is the capital?

wold you mind giving some more geographical information, about rivers mountains, cities and such?

lately I am working on fictional cartography, and if you want I may try to draw a map for you.

ECrownofFire

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 05:07:07 am »

What's to the east and west of those landmasses? What races are there? What are the current political borders? What's the general climate like? Are there any deserts? Do those deserts follow the prevailing winds, or are they just wherever you feel like putting them? What's the scale of the map? Is this world as small as my thumbnail or is this the entire planet? Where are the rivers, mountains, cities, forests, towns, lakes, and other features?

MORE DETAIL IS NEEDED.

(Also, that Cataclysm is kind of parallel to a certain large event in Warcraft, the explosion of the Well of Eternity.)
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Josephus

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2010, 05:10:21 am »

Where doin this man where makin this hapen.

Archipelago, eh? Hehe. HEHEHE. HAHAHAHAHAHA

(Take a look at your home nation's fractious history - there's some good shit there. Good enough for inspiring your world's later social unrest.)
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Muz

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2010, 08:48:56 am »

Ok, WTF? I designed a world a few days ago, and it turned out almost exactly like that. A huge all-powerful empire to the north, archipelago in the middle, and some warring tribes of big islands to the south. Cept I modeled my northern empire based on China, and the south was a little more like Medieval Europe. And nothing blew up, the Empire just got lazy and complacent and didn't bother to conquer anything southwards.

My game focuses mostly on the Landmass B part, though, with the player getting adventures from the crossfire/trading from north to south.


Anyway, back to your story, yeah, it needs more detail. I think cataclysms are some kind of trope. I still haven't seen why they're fighting over land and such. Where are they getting loyal soldiers? Why aren't they happy with their share of land? There's always a few people with infinite ambition, but a mega-empire that just split would have a lot of lazy people who are happy with their tiny spot of land.

There should be some reason why they want more. Resources? Manpower? Lost technology? Luxury is a very poor excuse, because people would normally be more comfortable laying on their asses than mustering up an army to own a bigger piece of land :P Historically a lot of people warred for religion or cultural unity, that would also be a poor excuse if you split from a mega-empire. Security would be a good excuse - the best defense is a good offense, and being bigger than your neighbor makes you safer.
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Fishbreath

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2010, 09:37:24 am »

There's always a few people with infinite ambition, but a mega-empire that just split would have a lot of lazy people who are happy with their tiny spot of land.

If history has taught me anything, it's that there's rarely a shortage of ambitious successor states after a large empire crumbles.

eerr

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2010, 09:44:01 am »

ignore crown of fire and make the world donut-shaped.
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Lucus Casius

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 12:43:30 pm »

EVERYTHING IS SQUARE! :o

Waiting for more information before I start making suggestions.
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Retro

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 01:02:19 pm »

Right now, no matter how much detail you currently have, everything can be considered a very loose general history/setting. What you need is a world. Once you begin to incorporate elements of each continent, probably by starting big and then zooming in in more and more detail, you can begin to assume the relationships between groups and where might not be safe to travel and who would end up being richer and all that stuff, and that's what gives the story depth-- its real-world, day-to-day detail.

I highly recommend Holly Lisle's fantasy map-making workshop, and also her in-depth documentation of her own world 'Matrin' from conception to final proof.

I think cataclysms are some kind of trope.

'Course they're a trope - you mean to say it's a somewhat generic, overused one. I agree with all your questions for Acanthus; definitely good to help define the world (and a map cough cough cough).

alway

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 01:44:58 pm »

When naming events, if you ever name them something similar to any other event name in another fiction, especially still-active franchises, they WILL be compared to one another. So either A: come up with a name which is unique, or more likely B: ensure what ever other fiction said event occurs in, is absolutely nothing like yours. Calling it the Cataclysm might be okay 5 years from now, but with a WoW expansion called The Cataclysm showing up in every gaming magazine every other month, one can't help but compare yours to Warcraft history.

Secondly, start with a fully fleshed out geography. One can't properly begin populating a world with people without knowing exactly what sort geographical barriers will be in there. Had Italy been an island rather than a peninsula, the entire history of the Roman Empire would be changed dramatically, if there was even a Roman Empire to begin with. History is grown out of organic circumstances, not invented without regard for the world in which it sits. Motives must be created before actions.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 01:47:00 pm by alway »
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abculatter_2

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 02:51:54 pm »

I'd be willing to make a map for you if you don't want to. Actually, I may end up dragging my tablet up here and doing it anyway just for fun...

Also, what do you think of this for the magic system:

Within every human being is a kind of 'energy-being' which either attaches itself to a human at birth or is made in the process of conception (Choose one). This 'energy-being' isn't actually sentient or even similar to a living thing, and is more a near-infinite well of energy then anything. These beings are directly linked to a human's body and can, with sufficient will,  training, or sheer luck, be manipulated to emit some amount of corporeal energy, and in some cases the person can even control this emition (sp?) beyond simply turning it on and off. This happens through special linkages with the energy-being and the human, which are created and determined at a stage in conception and can be connected to nearly any part of the body (though the ones who have these connections in a dangerous, often-used, or sub-conscious place tend to not live very long due to the inherit volatility of unpredictable energy). It is also possible to modify the body to allow better use of magic, though doing so runs both the inherit the risk of surgery and the risk of making a mistake and loosing the ability to perform magic altogether (or modifying it in an unknown, unpredictable way).

These beings also don't really exist in the physical universe, but rather float around in a kind of "Space between spaces."

 This system could also be linked to the Cataclysm, as the people who were searching for the source of their power either a) 'pushed a wrong button' and made a their being send out an insanely powerful burst of energy, or b) made their being come into the corporeal world, destroying it and causing it to explode in a massive explosion.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 02:55:47 pm by abculatter_2 »
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Retro

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 03:09:28 pm »

Actually, I may end up dragging my tablet up here and doing it anyway just for fun...

I know how you feel. Mapmaking/worldbuilding are impossibly fun :|

Well, hell, I'll do it if you do it.

abculatter_2

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 03:53:42 pm »

Here's a generic bunch of scribbles I just made, which may to one with a wild imagination appear similar to the landmasses you require for your world. What do you think of it?

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Lap

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 04:13:02 pm »

Not really focusing on this specific world, but it is amusing to see how much of our world seeps into these fantasy creations. The number of world's I've seen that have Nord like ice people to the North, desert arab likes in the Southern deserts and oriental types in the far east makes me laugh.
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Acanthus117

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Re: The Worldbuilding Thread!
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2010, 10:38:28 pm »

I'm thinking of starting... smaller.

The main focus of the story will be the city-state of Azerou, which is found within the Archipelago.

(I'd love it if someone could make a map for me... It could even affect the story. I'm not too picky about it, as long as the basic concept of the three continents stay the same.

If anyone is interested: Landmass A is hilly/mountainous, the Archipelago... is an archipelago of dozens of small islands and a few bigger ones and Landmass C is grassy/desert-y.)

I'll start on that... now.

Will be back with updates on Azerou... later!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 10:49:42 pm by Acanthus117 »
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