1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    World building

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Edward, Jan 19, 2008.

    So, how many of you have done some serious world building that extends beyond the bounds of your story?

    What I've done so far [[Also, this should give anyone interested in world building a few good ideas of what to start with (And do start it. It makes for an awesome hobby. Though, when people see you drawing a map of a place that only exists inside your brain, they look at you a little weird)]]
    I've created nine continent/countries
    (tentatively named Alfheim (the hook in the east), Vanaheim (smack dab in the middle), Dokkalfheim (The island to the west), Nidavellir (near the top crater), Utgarde (Beneath the bottom crater), Muspel (Hawaii over there), Jotunheim (Above the bottom crater), Thrymheim (everythign below Utgarde), Eden (the subcontinent between Utgarde and Alfheim), and Niflheim (Above Nidavellir, and the northernmost continent/country))
    [​IMG]
    six to eight major races, roughly corresponding to a trope race. Very roughly. None of them are Always Chaotic Evil for example. the Dwarves live on the mountains, not in them; the Elves use magic like we use electricity.
    (in the same order as above: Alvain ("elves"), Vanir ("humans"), Svartalf ("drow" or "dark elves"), Dwyrin ("dwarves"), Urkai ("orcs"), my current favorite children, the Trow ("trolls"). My last favorites where the Urkai and the Dwyrin, and the Risar of Jotunheim ("giants", but the Norse kind, not the large kind. Though they are the tallest race. And Risar is another word for Jotun, making them the least creative name I've come up with.). I'm not sure whether to add the Kobalin ("goblins") to the "Major" races category...
    A myriad of other races
    the Kobali, maybe; The Sidhe, insects that look a bit like people. Almost every type of Sidhe is based on a Celtic faerie creature, such as the Bean Sidhe, or Banshee, or the Washer Woman; Dragons, which unlike their usual firebreathing counterparts are closer to the Chinese dragon-in-human-form dragons; Vampires and Werewolves, which are actually just people infected by a virus. There's a long list of symptoms, and they may not get all the symptoms, i.e. a vampire might not have photophobia or haematophagea. They might just have Anemia. Or just photophobia. Werewolves end up like the hulk, adrenaline makes them change.
    A few new spins on a few old fantasy creatures
    The Wyvern, for instance. They're the only thing close to real dragons, but they're more like the Wyvern from Monster Hunter, pretty much limited to "two legs and wings", beyond that there's a large range of species difference. Like the difference between an eagle and a sparrow. Hell, they're practically a separate branch of the animal kingdom; There's also the Wyrms, the other thing most like a dragon. They have four legs, long bodies and grow and grow and grow. The big kind attack kingdoms; Then there are the Behemoths. Large creatures like a cross between an elephant and a rhinoceros or something. Smaller ones are used for transport. They're the Children of Bahamut. The Wyvern are the Children of Ziz, and the Wyrm are the Children of Leviathan; There are the Barometz, large sheep like plants, used for their meaty fruit and their cottonlike wool; And lets not forget that Dinosaurs aren't dead. There are Styrax and Donta all over the place, not to mention that Raptors are as bad as wolves in some places. Cera are raised like cattle.
    Beyond those A very sketchy version of the world's book of Genesis
    That's a bit long to list here, even for me. Short points of interest: There was the Goddess who just woke up one day with the world all around her and created the life in it, and then vanished. Then there were the Old Gods, the Titans: Bahamut, Ziz, and Leviathan. They fell from space and created three massive craters in the world. They fought amongst themselves for a bit. And then came a group of Gods who sealed them up, and eventually those gods split into two feuding groups that due to my mismatched use of placeholder names I'm calling the Aesir and Jotun. They wared, the Aesir won, a few Jotun became Aesir. Others went to Helheim and became the equivalent of demons. The Aesir returned to Asgard, but a few stay behind as the Grigori. Some of the Grigori are worshiped and occasionally go bad.
    Damnit, that wasn't short at all. Well, the original is three pages of one line entries.
    and I've got a good 10-20 years of war and political intrigue
    The Alvain framed the Vanir for the assassination of an Urkai official, and vice versa, creating a war. When the Alvain sent a missive to the Risar for assistance it was intercepted and it was discovered the war was a sham. Unlike the discovery of the Zimmerman Letter that I so 'cleverly' based that off of, the Risar actually did join though, and a biological weapon was released that turned a good chunk of the population of Jotunheim into zombie like Wights. One war was ended and another began.
    Hmmm... I hadn't meant to drone on and on like that... I just have the information flow out of me. I mainly want to know what other people have done. Though feel free to ask me more questions about mine.
    Don't ask questions. I'll talk type your ear eye off. Seriously, ask and you'll get more than you ever needed to know about Dokkalvian New Year or Dwyran holidays and Alvainian culture
    Basically what I did was take fantasy hallmarks such as elves and orcs, and turned them on their head and made them more real. In real life despite what we may think, no country or race is evil, and none of the races here are. They may have grudges, but they aren't evil. Elves aren't the haughty arcane demi-gods of Tolkien inspired works, but scientists, albeit science powered by magic. Orcs are very religious, poetic people. Dwarves are gruff, but usually sport the sort of halfshaved look Jack Shephard seems to somehow maintain trapped on an Island.

    I'm going to shut up now and give someone else the stage.
     
  2. Bluemouth
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    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love how you've set out this post!

    When I have the time, I'll come back and do a full read of this. It's really interesting!
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Edward I must say I am impressed. I too go beyond the bounds of my story to describe the world and characts mostly because I enjoy it (Plus if I elarned anything from Star Wars, you can had millions to your revenue with Expanded Universe Content). It allows you to explore aspects of characters, events, and places that your story may have prevented you from doing which is great.

    May I ask how you made your map? Was it hand drawn, made with a computer program? Its nice. You've also clearly thought out a great deal of info you haven't even put up here. Very nice.
     
  4. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    For me it's not so much an Expanded Universe as the story takes place in a Condensed Universe. I'm lying, there's barely any story. It'd make a pretty decent MMO though...

    I drew the map on a sketch pad earlier this week, scanned it in four parts because my scanner and my sketchpad don't synch up size wise. You should see it after I try photoshoping it. It'll look like a multicoloured piece of crap. And yes, there's a lot of crap I didn't include because I'm not curious to find out if there's an upper limit to posts.
    For instance Utgarde is covered mostly by the massive July Desert, in the South Eastern corner of which is the Sextilis Saltflat. The November River runs through the desert like the Amazon and in the delta is where the capital is, Christmas City, Jewel of the Desert. The mountains in the south are known as Martius, and the large rainforest in Thrymheim I didn't get around to finding a way to show is name the Avril Jungle. I like Theme naming.
    In Jotunheim there's Ouranos, a large marshland, with a similarly named port town. Between Jotunheim and Nidavellir is a tract of land called Redrock Dale, a burnt valley full of geothermal energy released when an archaeologist excavated up something. A cult has formed there.
    Muspel is a chain of islands created entirely out of volcanoes, much like Hawaii.
    Eden is where the Goddess first woke up and unconsciously willed life into the world and where her dreams shaped the animals. It's also like Madagascar, in that it's got no connection to the rest of the world and things have evolved differently. Outside of Eden is a large gate built by the Aesir, Bifrost. On the other side of Bifrost, leading between Eden and Utgarde, is a desert valley known as Charybdis, the most difficult place on the planet to get through. Surrounding the valley is a set of mountains known as the Scylla. They're covered with ravenous monsters. Not many people make it to the Bifrost Gate.

    The three very large craters in the west are from the Titans falling. Of the three moons, Morpheus, Phantasos, and Icelus, Phantasos was destroyed and created a lite ring around the planet (metaphorically shrouding the world in fear).
     
  5. Bittersweet
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    Bittersweet New Member

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    That's fantastic work. I can tell there's a whole lot more, but you don't want me asking for more details - really. Otherwise we'd soon find out the maximum character limit on posts. I'm a complete geek when it comes to these things (Heard of Mass Effect? I've wasted hours reading all the details in that game!), but pretty useless at making them myself. And I have tried many times, often with the intention of doing what you did and messing with the conventional ideas.

    Include as much of this stuff in your book as you can, and I'd sure read it.
     
  6. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Well, I've never played Mass Effect, (yet) but I have played the Star Ocean games. They take place in the far future and on undeveloped alien planets, and have a lot of new terms, such as Creation Engine, Expelian, and Symbology, terms that aren't explained in the dialogue. The game gives you a sort of Omnilingual Super-Pokedex thing though, and every important word is in a different font colour. Each font colour roughly corresponded to Person, Place, or Thing. The Dictionary from the third one alone has a good five hundred entries ranging from minor named Characters, small towns, Planets you'll never go to, and Galactic Governments. And these are mostly things that you wouldn't care about or need to know under most circumstances:
    Creation Energy (Scientific Term)
    Research on this completely new type of energy system began after a
    discovery in the second half of the 4th century SD, and practical
    applications based on the system first appeared in the first half of
    the 8th century SD.
    This system, which was discovered in an ancient ruin on the planet
    Milokeenia, describes a system wherein part of the energy that exists
    in imaginary number space is drawn into three-dimensional space.
    Theoretically, this type of system could produce an essentially
    infinite amount of energy.
    Of course, since no type of material or electromagnetic shield can
    withstand the tremendous amounts of energy created by this system, the
    use of creation energy is strictly limited to special areas of space
    surrounded by space-time displacement shields.
    While my world my have little in common with Star Ocean, I want there to be such a dictionary, if nothing else for myself. I've already started one a while ago
    Runeography (Thaumaturgy)
    Under normal circumstances people not born with a mana bladder are unable to use magic, and are limited to Alchemy, but through the use of Runeography (discovered 692 by Gabriel Grey) an individual trained in alchemy can perform magic. In Runeography runes of Numina are tattooed onto the skin and Alchemy is used to subcutaneously activate it. As the runes are used they lose colour and turn gray.
    Runeography is primarily used by non-mages, but it is not uncommon for a mage to tattoo themselves with their own numina.
    A Simple Circle Array is all that's needed for Runeography, though many Runeographists will create intricate patterns to enhance the efficiency of the array.
    That entry actually goes on for a bit more, but I'm going to stop.
     
  7. Odinschild
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    Odinschild Member

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    If your world is called Midgard, my brain will probably explode.

    This is like an amalgam of actual Norse and Greek mythological terms, and classical fantasy archetypes.

    Not necessarily a bad thing, mind. I've done something pretty similar to it... albeit a different world. The Orcs in my world are more like Druids, and they come in five different colors. The Elves are backstabbing a-holes, for the most part. The Nergaliss are planetary parasites, and the humans are mostly just trying to survive in the middle of everything.
     
  8. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I usually don't do complex world building for things I'm going to write stories about. I just smooth out enough background details for my story to work and save world building for an on the side hobby. 'Cause if I don't the world gets too complicated and the story gets bogged down as there's too much information.
     
  9. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Well, most of them are just placeholder names, but you might want to get a bib. The world is Middengard.

    I'm not a one trick pony though, usually only the names are straight from Nordic mythology. Most of the world is based on other civilizations, and in between they blend. The Dokkalves are based on Japan, with a little bit of Korea and China thrown into the mix. They have Samurai, they're all about honour, and they live on an island separated from the rest of the world. The Trow are like the Norse though, big burly men who enjoy a good fight, but they're more Warrior Poets, skilled as with a pen as they are with a sword. The Urkai are based off of the Middle East, though albeit a sort of glorified Araby Middle East Cairo like in Prince of Persia and Aladdin. There's desert cities with huge aqueducts and crowded street bazaars.

    The Risar, now that is a race that's gone under major revision. At first they were just another orc race (i.e., they had two little horns on their foreheads) but now, now they're unique. They're still an orc race though. The women are buff and skilled fighters, standing at least a head above other races, and the men are demure and feminine. When the Risar mingle with with other races and cultures, the male Risar take the female place, wearing dresses and using the feminine tense of Koine (the common language. I think I took the term from a greek word, but it's been a while.)
     
  10. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    Heh, that orc race sounds cool. It never did make sense to me that every species ever followed the human pattern of 'masculinity' and 'femininity'.
    You're going to end up sucking me back into the World Building sphere. Though, I typically stick to human races/cultures.


    Do you conlang at all?
    That's how I got started on World Building...seeing what fun things I could do with language.
    Like the Tochao (pronounced 'toe-chow', and is a combination of 'Toc (rhymes with 'stoke') and 'Hao' (how)...Toc meaning 'people' and 'Hao' meaning 'central'. If a 't', 's', 'c' or 'r' precedes an 'h' regardless of the root words the pronunciation combines them. Such as 'jithoi' (th as in "those") combines 'jit'(insect) and 'hoi' (small) to get 'gnat'.
    Then there are colloquialisms, native accents (the north tends to speak in a sort of 'updated' archaic), foreign accents (foreigners tend to pronounce the 'th' too harshly or can't pronounce it at all), common puns/sayings ('paoxi ni xaopi' is both a pun and a saying, basically,"diplomacy before the sword" (pun lost in translation)).

    language is fun. 8-B
     
  11. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I haven't actually made a language, but I've made a script. At this point though it's just a cipher with a few things I never use, like single symbols for the sh ch zh th sounds and accents for the vowels instead of full letters, sort of like japanese kana. I have, though, thought of how I'd use the language. Sort of like how The Lord of the Rings is supposed to be translated from Sindarin or whatever. I'd have the occasional footnote saying that in the original Basani two words sound the same or are spelled the same. I'd looked up Chinese slang to come up with ideas for things. All I can remember though is that buns=breasts, based off the steam buns, which also lead to me creating the paolai, a steam bun like foodstuff.

    Then I've got names (well, mostly terms) for things I made up. The paolai of course, and then Soul Blades, magicish weapons regardless of whether they're blades or not due to a misunderstanding of the Dokkalvian term Sorai Buraido which if I remember right means something like Magic Weapon. Though I realized after a while that Sorai Buraido only sounds like Soul Blade if you're speaking english...

    I get xaopi ni paoxi, it's like the Latin phrase "War is because it is not beautiful", or something like that, coming from the similarity between bellum and bella.
    Also, I did that on purpose.

    Language is harder than mapmaking... I salute you.
     
  12. Guybrush Threepwood
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    Guybrush Threepwood Senior Member

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    I've done this, before. This one time [at band camp], I noticed there were bits of tape all over my desk at school. I started picking away at the edges with my pencil, then noticed that the lead left outlines and they looked kinda like islands. So that's how I create islands, now. Never get the same one twice, eh? I also made the northwestern part of a continent, but it looked too much like Washington State, so I decided to scrap it. :love:
     
  13. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    Woo, the pun is not completely lost. I got the 'reverse word pun' idea from Vietnamese which makes jokes that way a lot.

    Conlanging isn't so bad. All you really need is a syllabary, that's the sounds a language has (Japanese doesn't have a 'v' or 'l' so someone from Japan would have trouble saying those sounds the same way an english speaker would have trouble with the 'ry' sound), and then the grammar/syntax (that's whether sentence order should be Subject-Object-Verb or maybe S-V-O or O-V-S etc. (and a few other things but that's the basics)), then the long boring part is writing the lexicon which is pretty much a dictionary.

    I actually don't have a map of my world though I have a general idea of where things are. Which countries are next to which ones...but drawing the actual geography I always want to stick rivers or deserts or tundras where I know it makes no sense to have one.
    I probably should draw a finalized map some day.
     
  14. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Well, I started a lexicon, but it was pretty much three or four words (all I can remember are adam for man, and kitsun for fox...) and their conjugates or whatever. Adama was man, Adame was manly, etcetera, and of course kitsune was foxy. Adam is less obvious to most people, but it's stolen from the hebrew word for man. Pretty much every noun could become an adjective or adverb. And then there were the tenses.

    How did you come up with the words? I had the idea once to look through the dictionary and sort of do an English-Basani version, but that would be tedious and would be difficult with conjugation. Well... I guess I would add it after the entry, that's what dictionaries do if I recall... and then there are the little runners...

    To make a map make a shape you like and then erode it away in your mind. Also look at maps of the world and video game and fantasy maps and steal things use them as reference. I have a few places because I looked at the World of Warcraft map and thought, hmmm, an area that's a swamp? Hmmm, a volcanic area? jungle islands? most places hit on the same basic areas anyway. Hell, since Tolkien everyone and their mother has had a Mordor place where nothing grows and the sky is black. Though Mordor apparently had very good fields tended with volcanic ash. Also look at the real world and steal things. I've got the UK, the Pacific Northwest, New England, Canada, the Sahara, and South America. Also Japan and some kind of Hawaii/Finland.
     
  15. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I come up with words by thinking of sounds I consider "soft" like 'l', 'r', 'y','a','e','qu','hr','hw','w etc. and then if the word I need to make up has a "soft" association I'll use those letters. "lylqua" for "water", "hrali" for "cloud", "quuni" for "mud"...and also letters that sound "harsh", 'k', 's', 'ts','sh','ar','or' etc. and use those things like 'tsiti' is an 'icicle', 'kalork' for 'rock', 'shar' for 'black'.

    Or I come up with a syllabary, 'wo', 'wa','wi', 'we','wu', 'bo', 'ba', 'bi', 'be', 'bu' etc.
    Then just randomly combine sounds. "baga" is "old person", "wopani" is "child".

    Or if you meant ,how do I choose which words should be in my lexicon, I have an old lexicon template that I has the basics of what words I need. So I just fill that in and I add words as I think of them.

    Yeah, I got the 'Adam' thing, my religion leaves me well acquainted with hebrew. : )

    I've actually got a part of a map that's looking pretty good so far (except that I stuck glacial markings in an area that there shouldn't be any...but they just look cool...maybe there was an ice age on my world :B)
     
  16. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    I've also started to make up a language for my book. I've got symbols fro letters and numbers, and the way you say numbers. Now onto the task of making verb infinitives! WooHoo;)

    I haven't really got a map as such for my world, but do you think it would work if I spent a week writing my book and then a week making the map of the areas mentioned, adding in all the information ect. ?
     
  17. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    If your world building is for a book that's probably the best way...if you're making up a map first I imagine it'd be difficult (or at least plot constraining) to continuously follow your map.
     
  18. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    I'll probably write the book, then go back and make a difinitive work of everything in it.:D
     

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