Basically, I'd like to have a simple list of (possibly conditional) questions to answer to get a skeleton society which you then can flesh out, making sure that all important aspects are covered.

Note that I'm not after the details (that would be the "flesh-out" part), but really the fundamentals (like "what form of government is there?").

About the example of an aquatic vs. land-based culture in the comments: A basic question could be: "What sort of environment (land, water, air, space, …) does the culture dominantly live in?" However a question like "How do they deal with the high pressure in the deep sea?" would be too specific (but "How do they deal with the special challenges of their environment?" again would probably be a question that would make sense to have in the list).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've voted to close this as too broad, not because it's a bad question but because I think there are endless really good questions which could make up your framework (and thus a LOT of equally valid answers). If anything the correct answer will almost be a flowchart of questions. Questions for defining an aquatic culture would be very different to ones defining a land or air based ones. $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Oct 3 '14 at 10:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, I'm looking for questions only concerning the fundamentals (thus the tag); if a question would only make sense for an aquatic culture, it would likely be too specific for what I'm after. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Oct 3 '14 at 11:02
  • $\begingroup$ yeah it's a tricky one - as I said I think it's a good question which I want to see the answer to too. Let's see, other people may well agree with you! :-) $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Oct 3 '14 at 11:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Started a meta discussion as I'm on the fence on this one (but inclined towards "too broad"): meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/278/… $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Oct 3 '14 at 11:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of The first few things to note down about an imaginary culture $\endgroup$
    – Vulcronos
    Oct 3 '14 at 14:07

As a starting point, this article might be of some help to get you thinking:


  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Hi Dan, welcome to WB! As it stands this is what we call a link only answer. Ideally answers with external links should include some information from that link so the answer is still valuable if the link breaks. If you can edit your answer and include additional information it'll get far more upvotes. $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Oct 3 '14 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ What Liath said. $\endgroup$
    – bowlturner
    Oct 3 '14 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info Liath. It would help if I read the forum guidelines, wouldn't it! $\endgroup$ Oct 4 '14 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ @NonCavemanDan Actually, Stack Exchange isn't a forum, it's a question-and-answer site (or rather, a network of sites, of which the Worldbuilding SE is one site). I realize the distinction may appear subtle,but it actually has a fairly large impact on the style of the content posted. I suggest you look around for highly voted answers for inspiration on how to answer questions here. You may also want to read through Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer? which discusses why link-only answers are not considered answers. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Oct 4 '14 at 16:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ NonCavemanDan or @celtschk, even though this has been accepted so you might be done, could I persuade one of you to edit in a summary of what's covered at that link? Even though the question is closed, people will still come across it (and might vote up an answer that provided more than just a link). Thanks. $\endgroup$ Oct 24 '14 at 1:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.