1. Tenelen
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    Tenelen Member

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    A world building exercise

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Tenelen, Dec 12, 2011.

    I'm I wanted to gain more input on an idea I have been working on.

    I am trying to build a community to develop a world with. If you would like to find some more information about Khaterra you can check out mainly this link here. I have also created a thread about this that you can find here.

    Anyway; I am trying to gain help in two aspects. I would love, of course, if we had more people who participated in building Khaterra.

    The main thing I need help in is developing an outline for world building. Has anybody here ever put together a world, or even an outline for a world? What I have so far is this:

    10 Random Things about the world
    The Gods of the world
    What inhabits the world; wildlife (Creatures, Animals, etc)
    What inhabits the world (intelligent life; races, ect)
    If not already determined; what stage of development is the world in (Space age, tribal, industrial, etc)
    Political Structure + Realms (Cities, Villages, Democracy, Dictatorship)
    Factions (if any)
    Main Character Creation (Leader of Factions, Political People, etc)
    Secondary Character Creation (Characters created by anybody, whose story is told and developed by you)

    What do you think? Anything that you would add or remove and what order would you put them in?
     
  2. blandmanblind
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    blandmanblind Member

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    I think before you even consider any of the random things you mentioned there are few other fundamentals. Is it a world like a planet, a Ringworld, a Dyson sphere, a disc that sits on the back of elephants that ride an enormous space turtle?

    After that you really need to think of the terrain. Is it familiar continents and seas, is it all ocean, all covered in ice. Do people live entirely in balloon cities in the sky? Even if you have it plainly earth-like, a map is fairly crucial. Just remember water flows down from mountains into the sea, and major cities are generally built near important bodies of water.

    Also, you should consider the plant life before the animals. Are they green? If not, what is the reason. Is there even grass on the ground? Are there forests? What are they like. Look at bamboo forests for examples of something that is really alien looking next to the European standard model.

    Then you could go into animals, sentient species, civilization. Depending on how much is already completed, the notion of factions, gods/religions, and important characters shouldn't really be brought up as you really want people to focus on these things in the beginning. From there the rest will more naturally spring from such a firm foundation.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Over the course of the seven book series I am writing now I will have to come up with six completely different worlds.

    I start out with my outline being Earth. Then I change everything about it bit by bit.

    Literally. Everything. About. It.

    It is much more simple (for me at least) to start out with something I already know.
     
  4. Tenelen
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    Tenelen Member

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    Your comments have been, at the very least, extremely helpful. I have been struggling with details on the world creation idea, and I couldn't understand why. I knew I was kind of overlooking over important things.

    World building guide:
    What is the world? (a planet, a Ringworld, a Dyson sphere, etc?)
    The universe around it (is there a sun, moon, multiple, none; a different form of energy)
    What are the laws of physics? Are they like the Earth or are they completely different?
    What kind of Terrain consists on this world? (Sand, Grass, Oceans, Ice, something new, etc)
    Can we build a map? What does the world look like?
    What types of Plants are in the world. Foliage in general. (the color, how they grow)
    Who created this world? Are there Gods? Who are they?
    Animals and Creatures that inhabit the world.

    I added a few things, but other than that you feel as if I should eliminate the ideas of factions and whatnot for now so that the focus in more on the world? I left in animal life, as I thought it added to what the world was as well. Knowing what kind of creatures live on the world is something that I feel is necessary.

    That is definitely an interesting take on how to create a world. Essentially I think what I am trying to do here and what do is similar, the only difference being that I am trying to outline what I am going to do before I go about it.

    The only reason I am trying to do it this way is to outline the idea so that others can see the steps that we are going through when we create a world as a community project.
     
  5. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I kind of think it depends on the story.

    If you're going into really far-out high fantasy stuff like Discworld and such, then your questions sound perfect. But I have several distinct worlds where the answers to most of those questions would be exactly the same as each other and the earth. For the less weird fantasy settings (low fantasy, lower high fantasy) the questions might be more like:

    What races/factions exist? Where do they live? How do they interact?
    What kind of magic exists, if any? What rules does it follow?
    How much do the different groups know about each other (eg is there a Masquerade)?
    What range of power is present in your world? (Check out the Super Weight scale.) Are there gods, or just beings with superpowers?

    Of course, non-fantasy settings would have different question sets altogether.
     
  6. Tenelen
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    Tenelen Member

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    I was thinking that this would be a higher fantasy world, but of course because of the nature of this exercise I don't want to limit anybody. At the very least, it will be slight fantasy though. I want the community that is building this world to be able to choose if they want the world to be much like Earth, or something altogether different.

    I will add a few of your ideas to this; after sleeping on it I believe that factions and the industry of the world are definitely factors that need to be applied.

    World building guide:
    What is the world? (a planet, a Ringworld, a Dyson sphere, etc?)
    The universe around it (is there a sun, moon, multiple, none; a different form of energy)
    What are the laws of physics? Are they like the Earth or are they completely different? (Magic, etc.)
    What kind of Terrain consists on this world? (Sand, Grass, Oceans, Ice, something new, etc)
    Can we build a map? What does the world look like?
    What types of Plants are in the world. Foliage in general. (the color, how they grow)
    Who created this world? Are there Gods? Who are they?
    Animals and Creatures that inhabit the world.
    What is the Political Structure and Age that the world is in?
    What are the Factions; where are they located? What is known about them. By the reader, by other groups?

    The range of super powers scale is extremely interesting. Thank you very much for that! I will elaborate with that when the time comes to build both Gods, and normal characters.
     
  7. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    Oh man, oh man. Don't get me started on worldbuilding.

    So I'll give your web browser a nudge in the right direction. First off, check out the Cartographers' Guild -- you will find everything you need to know about creating and mapping the physical world, and more. Second, look for information on campaign setting design for role-playing games. Bat in the Attic's "How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox" is worth a look-over.

    I have about ten million (okay, more like five) worldbuilding projects in various stages of completion; some for writing stories in, some for running RPG campaigns in, and some just for the enjoyment of building the world. I usually start small and "grow" my idea. Here's usually how I do it:
    1. Get an idea. What's your "big idea"? Is it an urban fantasy set in a pocket dimension not far from Earth? Or a world of high fantasy set in another universe? Or a whole galaxy for a worlds-spanning space adventure?
    2. Decide where you need to focus. How big is the area you need to focus on? Is it just a city? A whole country? A continent? World, solar system, galaxy? Etc.
    3. Draw a map. It'll help you keep it straighter in the long run. If you're thinking that you can't draw... don't worry. Use all the resources you need to flesh out your map -- what kind of climates exist? While you're thinking about that, what kinds of plants grow there? What kind of animals eat those plants? What kinds of animals eat those animals? Etc.
    4+. After this, it's on you. Decide what influences (gods, magic, unobtanium) are present on your new world that aren't on ours, and think about how they affect everything. I don't start on the human element until after I've built the world, in most cases, but keep in mind how your speculative elements will affect human cultures, technology, etc.

    Some things to note:
    • Climate, flora, fauna, religion, political structure, culture, level of technology, and factions will all vary from place to place. Don't think you can just say, "the whole world has medieval technology," and that'll be the end of it. Really; what are the odds the whole world will be the same all over the place? (And at that, for the love of god, don't get sucked into the "ice planet," and "desert planet," cliches we see in a lot of bad sci-fi.)
    • Also, please consider the effect on, uh... the whole planet if you decide that your world needs to have more than one moon. It's more than just tides and a funky-looking night sky.

    ...Gah! I got started on worldbuilding. There's so much more to say but... I must... stop... procrastinating...! Good luck!

    Edit: If you want to chat about worldbuilding, have questions, find cool resources (I always love to learn something new!), whatever, send me an IM! Or a PM. Or an e-mail.

    P.S. Wikispaces.com! A wiki is great for a worldbuilding project!
     
  8. Ross M Kitson
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    Ross M Kitson Member

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    There's some really good advice above and probably little to repeat. I've designed a number of worlds in detail, mainly for RPG , but also for my current fantasy trilogy. Two key aspects for me are magic rules (if you have it) and impact of magic on progress and history within the world- do they rule? Are they servants? Feared? Persecuted? How are wars fought? What laws govern them?
    Secondly don't forget technology. It's very easy to think of the world as a static dark ages fantasy world, but by the darn ages the Romans, Greeks, Chinese and Arabs had suprising levels of technology, philosophy and science that was largely forgotten (over in Europe anyway). Far more interesting a fantasy world wrestling with the impact of printing presses on culture or religious practice or literacy than everyone being dumb serfs in a field, scared of them thar witches.
    Good luck with it- might check out your site soon.
     
  9. Ross M Kitson
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    Ross M Kitson Member

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    There's some really good advice above and probably little to repeat. I've designed a number of worlds in detail, mainly for RPG , but also for my current fantasy trilogy. Two key aspects for me are magic rules (if you have it) and impact of magic on progress and history within the world- do they rule? Are they servants? Feared? Persecuted? How are wars fought? What laws govern them?
    Secondly don't forget technology. It's very easy to think of the world as a static dark ages fantasy world, but by the darn ages the Romans, Greeks, Chinese and Arabs had suprising levels of technology, philosophy and science that was largely forgotten (over in Europe anyway). Far more interesting a fantasy world wrestling with the impact of printing presses on culture or religious practice or literacy than everyone being dumb serfs in a field, scared of them thar witches.
    Good luck with it- might check out your site soon.
     
  10. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    What about the economy and financial systems of said world?

    i like the world building part myself
     
  11. Tenelen
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    Tenelen Member

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    Magnificent! I didn't realize the resources that were already out there to help build a world! I will definitely be keeping everything in mind that everybody has said as I go about this project. I will probably change a few things up, as this is not exactly a normal idea that I am trying to go about.

    The Wikispaces I actually had already set up and are waiting to bring in information.

    I am currently working on writing a new post about the new rules and outline of what is going to happen as we build this world. I will post here (or edit this post) once that has been posted so that anybody who would like to participate can.

    EDIT:

    Part 1: The Outline

    Part 2: The Universe


    Both have been posted and are awaiting your input! Check them out!
     
  12. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    No im lost. Been trying to start building up the world of Terra and put all my ideas on paper but i have no idea on HOW to start. I want to start with all the major factors, but those don't work. Does anybody know of a another way to develop a world such as Fantasy on paper? I know how to start the very basics but i can't nail down these steps. Im not making it for a RPG, im making it for my novel.
     
  13. Tenelen
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    Tenelen Member

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    Haha. Well as you can see, it's seems to be very subjective. It seems to work different for each person. If you are interested in the full outline I have put together (How I am going to create my world) I will post it here for you.

    I see that you quoted my first post though, I would recommend you read through at least the second to last post of mine, but it would be a great idea to read through all of them for some great ideas.

    I think the best way to create it is to take it from the ground up. Is your world a planet? Pick out what type of similarities it shares with Earth (IE: Physics, Suns, Moons, Laws of Physics). If they have little to no similarities create the new ones. From there you can build the world's outdoors; the creatures, the plants, the animals.
     
  14. Tenelen
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    Tenelen Member

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    Why so many double posts!?

    Sorry guys.
     
  15. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    I've just remembered! For some ideas, you could check out 30 Days of Worldbuilding, which is a sort of worldbuilding crash-course intended for NaNoWriMo writers. It has some great tips in there for anybody, though. :D
     

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