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A Thread for Worldbuilding Helps&Ideas

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author

beast_regards

Well-known member
Author
I have a few tips when it comes to worldbuilding too:

Figure out what kind of story you want to write, what it is going to be about,

Not all information is going to come up in the story, and some may be entirely irrelevant, or there are a lot of things the protagonist will never know. In medieval times, the vast majority of people had no education whatsoever, and those few which did had very limited knowledge about the world at large as information traveled slowly, and most people didn't go far from the place they were born in as travel itself was also very difficult. If the story is taking place in the fantasy universe, figure out how fast information spread. It may even be slower, due to everpresent monsters, but it can be much faster, due to common magic. It can go either way, it's your setting, but the ability to learn meaningless trivia is based on it. Your story might be also taking place in present-day or futuristic settings, with widespread literacy and good access to information, but even then there is a lot of information the protagonist never bothered to search for on the Internet (or futuristic variant of it). You don't want to fill your story with info dumping - not only it is one of the first advise you get about writing, but it will also make your audience bored quickly so they might not read everything you did write, you need to figure out how to hand the information about the world in a natural and interesting way throughout the story
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
https://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/eksqo5
Worth looking into when designing armor, although I don't agree 100% with it. Shaped armor and boob plate, for example, are perfectly reasonable, considering their existence in RL, albeit for male body. The culture with the same appreciation of body physique as the Ancient Greeks, but extended to the female body, would have such armor.
 

Alias

Bean Daddy
Moderator
Why is there so much controversy over shaped armor and boob plate?
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
A fantasy worldbuilding idea:

Introduction/Concept:
A Post-Tolkien Fantasy, in a sense of exploring the world in an era equivalent of the Fourth Age of Arda, after the great battle against the ancient enemy and the passing of the gods. Exploring the changing world, the emergent new technology like firearms, and new thoughts and religions. And of course, dealing with the legacy of the Gods and the Shadow.

Brief History:
It is the dawn of the fifth century of the Third Age, after the last great war. Although victorious, the world is scarred and people are cast adrift in the new world. It will take great courage and foresight to try to take control and make their own destiny, and many will still fail as this technological and cultural change will be extremely difficult and full of hardships. Some will fall back to the seductive familiarity of the Shadow, others will retreat from the world, trying to resist the change or perhaps to quietly die away from others' eyes.

It should be noted that, while the ancient enemy, who was the primary architect of the Shadow, is gone, it doesn't mean that the Shadow is completely defeated as well. It is now a part of the workings of the universe, as much as the night is to the day, and it has a life and a will of its own. It will rise and rise again, starting an awful fight - an era of horror, death, and change through chaos, before driven out again and taking up new forms. In the forms of cults, Orcs, and those willing to answer the Shadow's call for whatever reason, it will live on, as a shadow of the world under the light, befitting its name.

But it is no longer being controlled and directed by a malevolent will as a tool for their ultimate victory, and that's what makes the Third Age different.

Civilizations:
I don't really have deep knowledge of Islamic Feudalism, but from what I can understand, it is more of a tax-farming and payment system rather than the 'true' feudalism. Of course, in time of weak central government or disunity, it became a de facto feudal system, but even then it was more of a local warlord and strongman defying the centralized authority and asserting his own rule, so technically an aberration rather than the norm.

This being modeled after Middle East-Central Asia, nomadic tribes are a must.

While the regions are not known for democracy or republicanism, it is an intriguing possibility. And well, one of the themes is a change, and it would be interesting to explore the idea of republicanism and democracy in the world of divine royal blood and right.

ME-CA is known for religion, and while certainly carry the risk of racist stereotype, theocracy is also an interesting possibility. Perhaps a great kingdom ruled over by powerful and well-learned monks and monastic orders, or a secret cult manipulating the rulers behind the scene. Perhaps even a Mystical Democracy, combining Sufi-like ascetic mysticism and an idea of democracy.

Races:
Elves are world spirits/Softwares sleeved into human bodies, having a form of the hive mind. They live no longer than humans, but their collective memory and hive mind allow them to clearly remember the past, giving humans the impression of long-lived people, although this also gave them a species-wide permanent PTSD since they literally can't forget. They are known for creating a living technology via plant manipulation, which they use to modify their own body. They have been most badly affected by the departure of gods, having cast adrift without purpose.

Elves can fall under the influence of the Shadow, but their hive mind means the others can quickly realize what is happening and fix the problem. Thus, no Elves ever fought willingly for the Shadow.

Dwarves have rejected both the gods and the Shadow, and are responsible for many religious and philosophical ideas, although often it was the humans who carried and further developed them. Have a strong, collective longing for the past and desire to reclaim lost glories. Having long-studied the works of the world (which is described by them as a great clockwork), and possessing an intuitive understanding and ability to 'communicate' with the stones, metals, and gems, they can unlock the potential and manipulate the environment for their likings. They are also famed for their ability to create semi-intelligent mechanical servants, which accompanies them all the time and perform all sorts of tasks, although they are not interested in creating true sophonts.

Some Dwarves have been seduced by the Shadow. They are probably the most dangerous Shadow cultist, and often take up the leading position.

Humans can be mundane at first glance, except that they are hardier than the Elves or the Dwarves, while simultaneously regarded as sensual by them. Perhaps this is true, but being mundane is an advantage, as they are free of negative side effects of other races' gifts, and have adapted much better to the world after the gods left. Is gifted in prophecy and responsible for the development of astronomy (here, the distinctions between astronomy and astrology are purely arbitrary), as well as known for being great record-keepers.

Also, according to Elves and Dwarves, Humans are attractive, and this is why Elves use human-like bodies. Honestly, I am not sure what to do with them.

Orc is more of spiritual malaise than a race, a form of mass insanity and toxic ideology that drives one to cruelty, depravity, fanatical ignorance, pointless destructiveness, and wicked creativeness, a fantasy Fascism. Some amoral and insane are trying to manipulate this, to create a 'master race' or 'super soldiers', and they themselves are infected by this.

Technology:
Roughly comparable to the 14-15th century Islamic world, but some advanced knowledge, up to the 19th-century level, especially the fields that OTL Islamic world was famous for - clockwork*, physics*, mathematics*, astronomy**, (al) chemistry, and medicine, are known and can be applied via magics.

*Seen as a way to explore and replicate the workings of the world.
**People looked up to heaven to see where the gods went, and if they are coming back.

Gunpowder is a signature technology of the Third Age, and while firearm technology is still at the bombard-handgonne level, they are popular in battle and siege.

Religion:
The gods have all left the world. Perhaps some of them are still here, but if so they are hiding very well. They also locked up many of their secrets and domains, until 'we are ready'. Approaching these is suicidal, as they are very well-defended.

Religion has to adapt. Mysticism focusing on personal salvation and enlightenment is popular, while some people have turned to worship the One God beyond the lesser gods. Most polities are secular (in the sense of something like Confucianism, not modern secular), but most people still do seek out personal spirituality. The Shadow Cult thrives in this environment.

The bad news is that, even as a Korean, I don't know much about the central theme and beliefs of traditional Korean religion, except for bits and pieces. To be fair to me, it is neither the most well-studied subject, nor as well codified as Greco-Roman mythology. Additionally, a lot of them have been mixed up with Buddhism and other religions. Being almost entirely composed of oral tradition, with attempts at writing them down started only recently, it also permanently lost many stories during our turbulent history.

The good news is that I am somewhat more knowledgeable on Islamic beliefs, albeit focused on Arabic than Iranian or Turkic.
 

Vikram

Well-known member
Well, sub idea. As in, it's a smaller part of a larger world.

A cold desert. Volcanoes under the ground, and ice over it. Little to grow and few trees to cut, but more fish and the resultant economy in ivory, whaling, and trade. The little arable land is used to grow just enough food for the waves and waves of settlers.

But why waves and waves of settlers? Because this irrelevant little rock that's frozen half the time....has in it a mineral that provides energy to vast empires and nation states in the larger world, and has enough of it that settling it is economical.

Problem is, not only humans settled here.

The original inhabitants, who lived easily in the frozen wastes and fed on whatever fish and whales they could find....were dragons.

Dragons of a more Nordic persuasion to boot, based on the inverse of Fafnir. They are powerful mystical creatures that can transform into humans, and are as intelligent if not more. Living in small tribal communities at first, the settlers forced them into feudal kingdoms in a quest to survive the invasion of their lands.

And now, they are powerful enough that the settlers, who don't want to live there anyway, have reluctantly been forced to cut a deal with them.

The dragons, who have now unified into a single monarchy with a parliament of tribal chieftains, are currently in a golden era of despotic decadence. Wealth from their mineral treasures and taxes on lucrative trade have made them the wealthiest royalty in the Third World.

But now, the humans have gathered enough strength that they intend to rectify the draconian problem....one way or another.
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
I am doing an Original Fiction worldbuilding/story-writing, and was stuck until recently when I played old Fallout 1 again and struck an inspiration.

My current story idea is to make the setting a post-apocalyptic, post-magic world. The Golden Era used to have powerful magic and divines, but they are all gone now. In their place, survivors had to build up new, less-than-magical civilizations, with the technology similar to the 18th century East Asia - Matchlock Muskets and likes, making this a kind of East Asian (well, mostly Korean) Flintlock Fantasy.

Wild magic and magical monsters are rampant, like how radiation and FEV mutants are rampant in Fallout. How to use and control magic is mostly forgotten, partially because of the loss of knowledge and institutions, and partially because magical casting had to be re-created from the scratch due to the fact that previous method tend to produce explosions and other horrible mishaps due to the oversaturation of magic after the apocalypse.

Societies and polities are still struggling to rebuild. They consist of a few surviving 'remnant kingdoms', petty-kingdoms and chiefdoms, confederations of cities, and ungoverned wilderness.

Like Fallout 1, the story will be about the main character from an advanced, but isolated and sheltered community going to the outside world. Unlike Fallout, the world won't be a nuclear desert, but more like an overgrown land reverted back to a pre-human state... and overloaded with magic.


Naming convention: I like the Roman names, so I decided to use their naming convention, albeit not done in Latin. The pre-apocalypse naming follows the Roman Tria Nomina - praenomen, nomen, cognomen structure.

After the apocalypse, while some places (mostly the equivalents of Vaults and BoS) and families kept the old convention, most changed to follow something like the Late Imperial convention - nomen (signifying the person's social class), cognomen (now used as an actual personal name), and signum (nickname and alias).

I wonder I should use the straightforward 'Matchlock Fantasy' title or go with 'Kingdom of Iron and Rust' (a reference to Cassius Dio). Even if I don't, I will use the latter as an in-universe phrase.

As for why I use the Romans as a reference despite creating what is ostensibly a Korea-inspired setting... well, it's because I want to.


The nature of the apocalypse is something that I am still thinking of. Magical Nuclear War is an obvious one, considering that I have been inspired by Fallout.

Alternatively, magic may have become uncontrollable by the existing sorcery, leading to the explosion of wild magics.


Speaking of Fallout:

Probably no Enclave equivalent, although the remnant kingdoms might fit the position well.

The equivalents of the Vaults are not some sadistic social experiments. Instead, the quirks for each vault will simply be a result of isolation and divergent historical developments.
 

Vikram

Well-known member
I am doing an Original Fiction worldbuilding/story-writing, and was stuck until recently when I played old Fallout 1 again and struck an inspiration.

My current story idea is to make the setting a post-apocalyptic, post-magic world. The Golden Era used to have powerful magic and divines, but they are all gone now. In their place, survivors had to build up new, less-than-magical civilizations, with the technology similar to the 18th century East Asia - Matchlock Muskets and likes, making this a kind of East Asian (well, mostly Korean) Flintlock Fantasy.

Wild magic and magical monsters are rampant, like how radiation and FEV mutants are rampant in Fallout. How to use and control magic is mostly forgotten, partially because of the loss of knowledge and institutions, and partially because magical casting had to be re-created from the scratch due to the fact that previous method tend to produce explosions and other horrible mishaps due to the oversaturation of magic after the apocalypse.

Societies and polities are still struggling to rebuild. They consist of a few surviving 'remnant kingdoms', petty-kingdoms and chiefdoms, confederations of cities, and ungoverned wilderness.

Like Fallout 1, the story will be about the main character from an advanced, but isolated and sheltered community going to the outside world. Unlike Fallout, the world won't be a nuclear desert, but more like an overgrown land reverted back to a pre-human state... and overloaded with magic.


Naming convention: I like the Roman names, so I decided to use their naming convention, albeit not done in Latin. The pre-apocalypse naming follows the Roman Tria Nomina - praenomen, nomen, cognomen structure.

After the apocalypse, while some places (mostly the equivalents of Vaults and BoS) and families kept the old convention, most changed to follow something like the Late Imperial convention - nomen (signifying the person's social class), cognomen (now used as an actual personal name), and signum (nickname and alias).

I wonder I should use the straightforward 'Matchlock Fantasy' title or go with 'Kingdom of Iron and Rust' (a reference to Cassius Dio). Even if I don't, I will use the latter as an in-universe phrase.

As for why I use the Romans as a reference despite creating what is ostensibly a Korea-inspired setting... well, it's because I want to.


The nature of the apocalypse is something that I am still thinking of. Magical Nuclear War is an obvious one, considering that I have been inspired by Fallout.

Alternatively, magic may have become uncontrollable by the existing sorcery, leading to the explosion of wild magics.


Speaking of Fallout:

Probably no Enclave equivalent, although the remnant kingdoms might fit the position well.

The equivalents of the Vaults are not some sadistic social experiments. Instead, the quirks for each vault will simply be a result of isolation and divergent historical developments.
What about food production? The remnants of the older civilisations, do they still retain much?

What was the level of societal collapse? Bronze Age?
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
What about food production?
Largely subsistence-level.

The remnants of the older civilisations, do they still retain much?
Some, but as I noted, old spells tend to produce explosions and other horrible mishaps due to the oversaturation of magic after the apocalypse. Or working too well and too much.

What was the level of societal collapse? Bronze Age?
Clise enough, but with additional magical cataclysm and the gods going insane due to too many aspects being created, and too many people feeding them (often contradictory) prayers.
 

Vikram

Well-known member
Largely subsistence-level.


Some, but as I noted, old spells tend to produce explosions and other horrible mishaps due to the oversaturation of magic after the apocalypse. Or working too well and too much.


Clise enough, but with additional magical cataclysm and the gods going insane due to too many aspects being created, and too many people feeding them (often contradictory) prayers.
They're screwed then. And by that I mean that disregarding massive changes in climate that increase crop production and/or allow for greater centralisation, the human race will literally never recover to even Classical Greece level.

And I thought *my* world was a dystopia. Keep it up!
 

Terra Novan

Well-known member
Author
They're screwed then. And by that I mean that disregarding massive changes in climate that increase crop production and/or allow for greater centralisation, the human race will literally never recover to even Classical Greece level.
It's not that they can't, just that most of them haven't been able to yet.
 

<Reaper>666

Well-known member
First of all. you cannot do without the map.



Secondly, you need a knowledge in the given area, you want to write. Given our esteemed board, it is most likely industrial scale depictions of butchery with a lot of bourgeoisie heroes, then knowledge about policymaking, warfare, emerging technologies, biology, physics and some basics of IT security will be needed.


Here are the absolute basics, a good thing to familiarise yourself with.
Then some field manuals (US ones are avaiable en masse for free from state websides), or just punch the relevant problem with additional "field manual" into Google and, here are the results:

.

And I just have asked about ops in urban terrain.

Such things, and other scenario based prediction should guide your thinking processess.

Also, becouse most people have problems with writing about war, warfare and policymaking, they usually end with very . . . interesting "ideas" on how conflits start.

I. Profile of the Conflict

- the nature of the conflict (type - civil war, interstate, internal or internal internationalized conflicts)
- parties to the conflict (combatants, external support, etc.)
the subject of the dispute
- resources and resources involved
- geopolitical conditions
- geostrategic conditions

II. Conditions

- sources of conflict
- reasons in the strict sense
- goals (political and military)
- open
- hidden
- impulses (what causes)
- catalysts (escalation)
- the course of the conflict
- phase of dispute
- phase of crisis
- conflict phase
- post-conflict phase
- completion phase

III. Consequences

- material
- human

Use that matrix, it helps not only with conflict analysis and conflict creation.

Also Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual is a must for mil s-f. Why? It is the only piece that holistically have tried to create a manual dealing with interstellar warfare, surprisingly familiar with writings (real ones) about transformation of armed forces in XXI century. Authors have succeeded to certain degree with that, but also rise many valid points about power projection, net centric warfare and automation.
You can get it from here:


Or read here:
 
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