I'm working on a deconstruction of a high fantasy setting. The plot starts with a female protagonist being forcibly summoned into said setting with few to none of her memories.

The world is populated with a lot of humanoids but no humans. They have advanced beyond medieval era technology but instead of a "industrial revolution" they had a "magical industrial revolution". The access to the magic is pseudolimited, anyone can be a mage, but with a lot restriction. Humans per se are somewhat known, but mostly feared because the last humans turned very dangerous (not necessary evil, but dangerous).

She needed a lot of time to adjust, physically speaking. This world, due the lack of pollution, has a brighter sky (which caused her a lot of headaches due photosensitivity) and a purer air. Also she had a couple of month of barely being able to eat, for the same reason an inmate has trouble eating "healthy" food after years of only eating prison food.

The language barrier was solved with help of a telepathy user and because since she's not the first human being summoned into that world, there were a (very) few persons that had some graps of the very basics of English. She was still forced to learn not only a new language from scratch but also the basics of history, biology, geography and while the maths remain the same at its core, most of the names are different (for example the Euler number has a different name, for there was no Euler in that world). While at first she had some economic support form the local bounty hunter's guild (the police of my setting) it was because they were interested in hiring her or at least having a leash on her.

I want to know what are the psychological effects of being transported to a world, vastly different from her world (from the little that she remembers)

Assume that she's a normal, albeit physically fit, person

So far I got a depression from the wishing to return, mixed with the fact that she has to hide her human nature most of the time, and the fact that her only helpers consider her more of a military asset than a person. But I would like a more in-depth analysis

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    $\begingroup$ Seems the psychological effects would be similar for any immigrant to a place that is not particularly friendly to them. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Is she from present-day in a prison? In addition to @Samuel there will be similar effects that people returning to 'real life' from prison experience. How long was she in prison and what era is she from? Who is she, is important to help answer the question. $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ I figured as much, thats why the depression, however most of what I found in internet is about voluntary immigration. Im speaking here of suddenly being in another world and no way to return for the momment $\endgroup$
    – Silver
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Silver Even people who voluntarily immigrate to a new place can feel like they did not know what they were getting into. She may have had the desire to leave her situation in the previous world, without a clear destination, so that may have the same effect as wanting to go somewhere and finding oneself to be completely wrong about how it would be. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ As an example, check out the shoujo manga Red River. A teenager from contemporary Japan is transported to shogun times, I believe somewhere in the 17th Century CE, and struggles to fit into the local lord's court. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


I'm going to steal Samuel's suggestion and add onto it.

Newly Arrived Migrant

Like all migrants, there will be people who welcome and do not welcome them. All of the experiences she has are well-developed literary and TV/Movie tropes. Her psychological response will be to either quickly try to assimilate or the opposite, to grasp onto her foreign identity.

As she is a visual migrant (people can tell by seeing her), she will have a tougher time. During WWII there were internment camps for Japanese-Americans, but not German-Americans, largely because there was a visual difference (and a million other reasons, this is hugely generalized).

Her psychological response will be despair at not being able to assimilate since she will always be 'different'. She will latch onto and maybe even abuse the generosity of those few who will accept her; either way she will gravitate towards them and remain in service toward them.

Hiding Identity

The psychological effects of having to hide who you are is well-talked about also. A hispanic person who 'passes' as white in a racially divisive community, or of course an LGBT person in a hostile environment. The duration and stress of being 'in the closet' as a human will take its toll in ways too long to list here. But again, she will gravitate to her allies or humanoids who will accept her for who she is.

Egress from Prison

This will be tough. I hope you can stress in your story the sense of both freedom and confusion from entering the world after being in prison. I don't know how long she was there, though. If it was a long time, she will be very disoriented.

Entry to a New Planet

New planet means new rules. Much like a newly arrived migrant, she will be frustrated every time she tries to do something new. I helped a Pakistani migrant with the use of an ATM, and you could tell he was flustered. The result is that she will not do anything she doesn't have to do.

The frustration will take its toll on her and she will become withdrawn and afraid to engage with the humanoids, because there are so many things she cannot understand. Unlike a child, adults aren't fascinated with extended bouts of trial-and-error.

Happy writing!

  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I just saw that you'd like us to assume she's a normal person; so please ignore the Prison section unless you need it later. $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ 'Steal with addition' is the basis for all the best creative works, isn't it? $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Actually I kinda like the idea. One of the things I thought about her is that she came from a slum like place, which also justifies why she's physically fit, knows to fight and also gives a emotional justification for wishing to be anywhere else, so I will think of that. The rest of your analysis is great and gave a lot of things to think of. $\endgroup$
    – Silver
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel - it was too good of a direction to head toward (using today's comparisons), to not to steal-with-addition. :) $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 2:43

Try comparing your scenario with other works, that are similar in some regards. They won't fit your bill perfectly, but they can give you ideas of how a mindset has to adapt to the current situation.

An example would be Stranded in Fantasy. It throws humans from our world (they call themselves terrans here) into a medieval fantasy world. Terrans have in the past centuries often played a bigger role, but it happened seldomly enough to not be common knowledge.

The terrans have real problems fitting into the world in the beginning. How to get enough money for eating and the like. They even struggle with their morals in the beginning, since this world is quite violent in contrast to earth.

The biggest difference is here, that most of the terrans acquire some kind of powerful magic of different sources (clerical, divine, arcane, fiendish) over time. But another important part of their impact is simply their knowledge of superior technologies.

This alone will make your protagonist sought after, if she manages to contact the correct persons. With the wrong targets, she will struggle for freedom, since another power wants to wring her out of her knowledge.

Another Example would be Dungeonia, although 3/4 of the protagonists are D&D savvy and enter the world with some meta knowledge. The main narrator was even a D&D DM for his friends and thinks about their situation from the view of a DM.

This only barely fits your question, but nonetheless it can give you some pointers.

All in all you should play her possible strengths to the tune of superior knowledge, while hiding her other differences as much as possible by blending in. Blending into other societies is often know as a staple of human advantages.


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