The world I am creating is made out of many swimming islands that move on a vast ocean. I have most of the physical aspects already, but I want to know how the culture and other social aspects would most likely be. Here is what I have so far.

  • The islands move slowly so that an island that comes into range of the other will leave that range in a maximum of two years. The range is severely limited by the sea, which get more turbulent the longer the distance to an island.
  • Islands may be isolated for a few years, sometimes even a decade or two. The speed of an island is constant and (so far) cannot be manipulated by the inhabitants. Same goes for the direction of an island.
  • Collision of islands is impossible, since islands repel each other, they will alter the course automatically from far away.
  • Most islands are the size of Iceland, the maximum size is about the size of Germany.

The technology level is about the start of industrialization:

  • Steam technology is empowering mankind.
  • The first airships have been developed, but they are as restricted as naval ships.
  • Radio-technology is on the rise (and a religion has been founded that believes in the static divine revelations have been hidden). Long distance communication is still hard.
  • The technology is distributed almost equally thanks to frequent travel and trade once islands are in range.

  • This fantasy world has golemancy and other mana based technology, which is based on science. Golemancy is able to create artificial limbs to replace lost ones. Artificers are able to create tools that use mana as energy source.

  • In this world there is no magic to throw fireballs or any other high fantasy use of magic.
  • People with supernatural abilities exist (1/1000 has one) (telepathy/ability to discern lies,...)
  • every tenth person has the ability to feel and manipulate mana which is the basic requirement to become a golemenancer / artificer

There is still no map of the world, there have been many attempts to map the world but the routes islands take still elude human understanding.

[majour edit still in process do not unlock yet]

Islands are not moved by winds, rather beeing dragged by several forces that are roughly similar to magnetism.

The bedrock of each island is attuned two two sets of "frequencies". The alpha frequency sets the distance the island is repelled from the planets core and the beta frequency sets the direction and speed the island "orbits" around the planets core. Thus there are many "islands" that are below the surface of the ocean and some flying islands. Both of these have not been discovered by mankind (yet)

The islands themselves stick together thanks to being attuned to the same frequency, but they will repell other islands, which is why islands cannot collide. Another effect of an island being attuned is that it both calms the sea and the air around them. Storms can still hit the islands but are severely weakened. [I do not know if this needs to be explained further - I want to explore the cultural aspects] Thus the intensitiy of storms increase by the distance from their island - limiting travel.

Mining Mining is possible and making a hole into the bottom of the swimming island will not sink it. Processed materials will lose their attunement thus the material will not be be floating or moving with the island. But yes if enough material is removed the island could loose its attunement entirely and sink. Before that happens a part of the island would break from the rest and sink - making the mining stop indefinetly.

Other resource gathering inland: The islands do have forests to produce wood and part of it is used to produce charcoal. Agriculture provides a stable source of food. Freshwater is gathered from rain. Most inhabited islands have water reservoirs and destillation is supplemanting the supply.

Naval resource gathering: Fishing supplies food and fuel. The fat of giant marine lifeforms is the main source of fuel. [for the enviromentally concious: there is no danger that humans could eradicate marine wildlife. The human range of action is far to small.] In addition to that other materials can be harvested from the scales and bones of certain marine creatures, that includes iron.

Climate: Climate is determined by the position of the island relative to the sun. So islands can move from tropical areas to colder climates and vice versa. The speed is just very slow thus changing from one climate to the next may take 2-3 centuries at least.

cultural questions. this time more specific: Is it plausible that a two class system emerges? One group that settles permanently on an island and the other that hops from island to island whenever there is the chance? The divide between the settlers and travelers would cause problems.


closed as too broad by JBH, Renan, The Anathema, Clay Deitas, F1Krazy Sep 10 '18 at 20:58

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. Please note that this is incredibly broad and therefore off-topic. Entire books could be written to answer this question (and, from a very real point of view, you're asking us to write your entire backstory for you). The SE model is one-specific-question/one-best answer. This needs to be narrowed down a lot.... $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 10 '18 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ BTW, please do not take it personally that the question will be closed. That's an important part of how SE works: it gives us time to help you perfect your question before you start getting wild-and-crazy answers that aren't particularly helpful to you or anyone else. $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 10 '18 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ OK, now we have some space to work in. Please remember that SE is not a discussion forum and all we have to work with are these comments, which are not meant for long conversations. We need to narrow this down into a focused question (reading How to Ask will be a good start). You have a world that could have hundreds of these islands... thousands. Creating a culture for each one is unrealistic. Helping define a culture for just one might be realistic. Let's start with the land (*continued*) $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 10 '18 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Tell us about an island. How thick is the foundation? Are the winds of your world generally strong enough to push islands around? How do they react in a hurricane? Do they wander toward the poles, stay at the tropics, or wander near the equator? How often? Do trees grow quickly enough to be a consistently minable resource (since they don't have mining as we know it)? Where do they get their metal? Can you fall through the island into the sea? Where does their fresh water come from? What is their agriculture? These will help us define a culture. Edit your question with the answers. $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 10 '18 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ Geological resources such as minerals or crude oil will be concentrated in fixed locations under the sea bed. Miners, drillers, and refiners will tend to remain in a single location until it's tapped out, trading with any islands that happen to be in the vicinity, then moving to a new location. If mana diffuses through the environment slowly, then maybe the miners have only limited access to magic. That could create different classes, especially if getting to close causes magical failures such as artificial limbs falling off. $\endgroup$ – Robert Getter Sep 11 '18 at 19:48