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Thread: Worldbuilding

  1. #1

    Default Worldbuilding

    As I have loved creating fantasy worlds since I was a kid and have created numerous board/paper wargames to fight I them I wished to open up an exchange of ideas for my benefit and enlightenment. Feel free to discuss ideas and theory or related thoughts.
    One thing about doing historical is that one does need to be accurate. We enjoy the 'what if' situations a lot BUT, different systems of warfare, different armies and methods evolved as a response to many influences, such as terrain, politics, economy, history, etc. So to me when dealing with fantasy warfare it has to make sense, no medieval armies battling and then someone rolls up in a tank, unless you have time travel lol. In other words there have to be rues and things have to work constrained by them.
    There's also economic considerations. Can the kingdom afford to raise, train, pay and supply those troops. And do the troops work well together as a force. Politically, can the kingdom keep that army in the field for however long its needed etc etc etc.
    Anyway, just a few beginning thoughts, add as you will. Would love to see a book or site comparing the armies and warfare of different fantasy worlds, any suggestions appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2
    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    If you are doing a fantasy world, it is all good for some things to make sense and be realistic. However, to add that air of the mystic and mysterious, some things need to be "just because". I had a period during my D&D days where I strove for realism. The problem was, I got so focused on realism, my world started losing some of the magical wonders that make fantasy worlds so likeable and awesome. So, I started ignoring realism (within reason) and going for things and situations that added that sense of wonder back into my campaign.
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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    The thing you have to remember, which touches on Gregoshi's part, is reality is in the eye of the beholder. Each and everyone of us has a different reality which different constructions, affiliations and interpretations.

    This means that sometimes you ignore some realities because it would be normal to do so. Raising the price of fish may make things expensive for some people, but some people don't like fish and they are unaffected. Perhaps some people think the raising of the price of fish is related to the octosquid conspiracy, a minority but vocal group of people, but in general, no one has ever bothered or even heard about it.

    I found it is always best to have 'general themes' then go deeper into them when needed. So army size may be based on general 'call to arms', Kingdom wealth and population. You would get a headache if you tried to get all nittygritty on the exact numbers on the days people enroll or end up leaving the service.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregoshi View Post
    If you are doing a fantasy world, it is all good for some things to make sense and be realistic. However, to add that air of the mystic and mysterious, some things need to be "just because". I had a period during my D&D days where I strove for realism. The problem was, I got so focused on realism, my world started losing some of the magical wonders that make fantasy worlds so likeable and awesome. So, I started ignoring realism (within reason) and going for things and situations that added that sense of wonder back into my campaign.
    yep my realism means within the confines of the system. There is magic but it works n a certain way, no just pulling a rabbit with a nuke out of a hat lol. I want it to be believable even tho its fantasy.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    The key to me I think is to reveal only what you need to. Create a general structure for the beginning and flesh out the plan. But the reader/viewer only sees what you want them to see. Maybe this leaves things open to their interpretation, maybe you can lead them in a direction only to spring a surprise. :)

  6. #6
    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimeola View Post
    The key to me I think is to reveal only what you need to. Create a general structure for the beginning and flesh out the plan. But the reader/viewer only sees what you want them to see. Maybe this leaves things open to their interpretation, maybe you can lead them in a direction only to spring a surprise. :)
    Exactly what I was meaning!
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    Great minds think alike :)

  8. #8
    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    Regarding books and such, track down the D&D Battle System (AD&D box set w/counters & cardboard buildings or the 2nd Edition book versions). They added a number "battle" type spells and adjustments to existing spells for the battlefield. It might give you some ideas for battle magic.

    Part of the problem with going to fiction to draw ideas is that you are usually dealing with world-shattering magic powers - far beyond the powers of, lets say, the typical D&D wizard. Guess it depends upon what your fantasy world is for. If you are building a world for an epic, one-off Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter/Thomas Covenant world-is-about-to-end type adventure, the books can be a good source for inspiration. If you want to go super-epic to the machinations of planar war/politics, I can't think of anything better than Gary Gygax's Gord the Rogue series.

    If you are looking for something a little less epic, I'm not aware of many sources in fiction to draw upon - maybe the Icewind Dale/Drizzt books. There is magic and some battles, but they aren't world-shattering. Rather, they feature a level of magic more like something a "normal" wizard or magical creatures might be capable of. A few of the Drizzt books have some very interesting underground battles/tactics with drow vs drow or drow vs deep gnomes (both races are rather magical in the D&D universe).

    Along these lines, another decision is with regards to magic. Is it high key or low key? Harry Potter is an example of high key, where magic is everywhere (in the wizard's world), everything is magical and there seems to be almost no limit to what magic can do. Magic is flashy and kind of in-your-face all the time. Lord of the Rings would be an example of low key. Gandalf is a powerful wizard, yet how often in the course of four books did Gandalf dazzle anyone with his magic? Maybe half a dozen times. Ditto with Saruman and even Sauron. Yet there is no denying Middle-earth is a magical place. The magic is powerful, but often subtle and from within, be it people, places or objects.

    All this talk has me wishing I had my box and brief case full of D&D notes, maps and adventures to look through again. I have a some things on my computer, but not nearly enough. I'm kind of missing my world right now.
    Last edited by Gregoshi; 08-17-2014 at 13:20.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    ...well the idea is that since all my online gaming had little stories about the toons, and for every pivture there was a little story I thought it might make my artwork more meaningfull if I created a world and tied them all together and fleshed out the stories.
    I used to create worlds of fantasy that were drawn out on hexmaps and used counters from other games and blanks I created .....great fun...I like the old Neverwinter Nights idea of being able to create an area and other players can enter and play it, but never tried the game.
    Magic not going to be the main deal, there just isn't enough power and it does overbalance and make the rest rather pointless.
    I have a copy of chivalry and sorcery and one for a Japanese world. Thougt I would incorporate myth and legend, make it deeper. Esp the oriental cultures, would be enough to be familiar but a lot of things people never heard of. I like the Malazan series of books a lot, he has some awesome ideas, so mebbe some of that, some of the Black Company.
    One part of the world had been ruled by an empire. The brother/sister ruled, she was secluded and ruled over the spiritual part while he ruled over the mortal. She controlled legions of demons , who behind the scenes ruled the citizenry, who were completely fooled. But one day a warrior comes who isn't fooled by demons, he sees whats going on. He succeeds in loosening the sisters control and in hat momentary wealness her generals kill her, the demons are no longer bound and the people are more or less freed. In that moment before the people are devoured and all re enslaved angelic being appear to fight for them, and a long war ensues. The kingdom splits, and that part of the world returns towards their far past cultures, warped by the past centuries. Darkness, light, and all shades n between.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    double post sorry plz delete as I don't have that option.
    Last edited by Dimeola; 08-21-2014 at 04:00.

  11. #11
    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    I loved making maps. I bought several pads of 8 1/2"x11" hex paper at a gaming convention. My biggest map was about 4x5 (or 6) sheets with each hex representing 30 miles and that was only part of a continent. I also bought a pack of big, folded sheets a few feet per side with hexes about 3" across, but never got around to use them. Then there are the colored pencils and pens... Ah, memories.

    Well, making a map will certainly help with your history, nations and cultures and vise versa. That's the nice thing about starting from scratch - you can re-shape one and/or the other as inspiration comes. I'd imagine your outstanding creativity with landscapes will help with building a beautiful world. The histories and such will also give you people and events to portray. Much like Tolkien, the more detail you put into the world, the more vividly you will be able to visualize it in your art. That was the thing with Tolkien, a one-sentence mention in The Hobbit has deep history behind it and things like that bring his stories to life. Not to harp on Tolkien, but the Lord of the Rings movies did a similarly outstanding job. Jackson told his artist and set designers that he wanted Middle-earth in the films to look like a lived-in world. And as such, as you move through Middle-earth in the movies, you see things that tell you the world is real - a ruin on a hill or a long forgotten statue in the woods.

    I created a history over 10,000 years in length for my D&D world. Much of it never saw the light of day in any adventure my players saw, but it was there for me to call upon and it shaped the big picture of my world. I think building a world and back story will add an interesting twist to your art (as if it needed it!) and tie it all together. Can't wait to see the results.

    Not familiar with the Malazan series. I'll have to check it out as I'm always looking for something new to read. Same with the Black Company.
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  12. #12
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    I would recommend Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and most of the work from the first half of Heilein's career.

    Nothing wrong with having something that is fantastically different -- arcane or techno or whatever -- the key is to extrapolate how people would use it, behave towards and with it, etc. if it were "normal" for things to be that way.

    Does my "Bad Tough Empire" military use a manipular legion formation in a world where the other blokes will have 40 spellcasters lobbing fireballs? Are fireballs relatively new so my troops are still in dense formations like the poor Russian infantry of 1914 at Tannenberg? Has fireballing been common for centuries so that my troops are all adapted with magical armor suppression or re-trained to operate in skirmish formations necessitating different equipment.

    Add whatever you wish, but then follow through making reasonable suppositions about how humans would adapt to such differences.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    ...if you have photoshop there are a ton of free map making brushes on deviantart.com :)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Worldbuilding

    very true and much to think on, much planning to do to make it believable. Thanks :)

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