Fantasy World Building. The art of creation; the ultimate achievement in imagination. At least, I’d like to think so.
FWB is simply creating unique places from scratch. Often based on vaguely medieval or futuristic elements, these places are as detailed or simple as the creator wishes, and can be used for anything – from nothing, to video games, to book universes, to hobby projects.
I first got into FWB because of a story I was writing. It needed a setting, and certain – ah – magical elements prevented me from setting it in the “real world.” Ergo, I made up my own.
While I am aware that the tried and throttled “Medieval World of Magic” thing has become more stumbling block cliche than artistic extension, there is still value in creating a loosely inspired universe. As always, however, there are things to avoid, dos and don’ts to consider, and a whole whack-load of information to sift through. More on this in the future.
In working on my personal little world, I have done extensive research on different world building elements. Please keep in mind that I’m by no means an expert in anything. At all. However, I’m one heck of a researcher and I promise that the excerpts, designs, and facts I post are always thoroughly researched and not just pasted off of Wikipedia. Any specific work posted will be my own unless otherwise referenced and credited.
My world has no name, because naming things is hard, but it does have a rough landscape and two defined countries, as well as a detailed city (with more to follow).
This city layout is one I drew up last year. Inspired by a type of flower called a Protea, this design has concentric walls accessed by bridges (not seen in this picture). The street design is perhaps a bit too linear, but it does look quite dramatic from a bird’s-eye view.
Although a lot of my layouts are done on paper, I have also started experimenting with drawing software. Though my work here is hardly worth showing as I don’t have much experience, I do want to say that fooling around on programs like GIMP is awesome.
This second map is a much larger scale depiction of one of my countries. Thanks to an incredibly helpful tutorial by RobA from Cartographers’ Guild, it actually looks almost decent. The link to his tutorial is posted below.
For anyone interested in more information, here are a few sites that I’ve found useful. From demographics calculators, to some basic world building information, to a bit of cartography, these sites are some of the first I got into when I started creating my world.
“Medieval Demographics Made Easy”: Sometimes it’s all in the name.
A general conglomeration of interesting links.
Note: some of the links on this site are broken or outdated. The ones that work, however, are great.
Note: yes, you read correctly; this is indeed from Dungeons and Dragons. However, most of it is really great information. So it’s on here.
A handy demographics calculator. Just in case crunching numbers is (or isn’t) your thing.
Cartographers’ Guild‘s map making tutorial. If you want to go in depth, prepare to spend a lot of your time.