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84

Assuming you have a basic list of things not to do and penalties set up you may wish to start asking about the bureaucratic process: Who can accuse people? Everyone, or only the elite? Who can catch people? Is there a police force? Are they from a government or a company? Or can everyone try to right the wrongs done to him/ his family/ ...? Who can judge ...


75

To not have anything in mind about a particular language is asking a bit much. If the names are to be spoken, and thus based on the sound of the language, you need to know something about that. Similarly, for written names, you'd need a minimal idea about the language's building blocks and their composition. This can't be avoided since it is at the heart of ...


75

I don't have a reference but some philologists and linguists have speculated that you could survive (explain who you are, ask for employment and food, etc.) in a foreign land with as few as 500 words. Henry C. Fenn, author of several language texts, felt that a vocabulary of 5000 words was sufficient to support learning new words by context, e.g. by ...


71

I would recommend google translate for this little effort. Pick a language that fits the style of your world/or a particular nation depending on your scale. This mainly means find a language where the sound fits the world's setting/style Pick words with meanings that fit and then use the one word, or perhaps splice two or three together. Once you do this ...


67

Some advice here, before I dissect your map in my giant answer: it would be really, really helpful to anybody trying to evaluate the map if you had at least the latitude lines on it (longitude would be nice, but isn't really relevant to climate). It's also useful if your map is in a known projection when presented for evaluation and/or while editing, even if ...


61

World building tends to attract certain types of people People who like the process of world building People who go the extra mile in making sure their story is accurate People who want a single base world so they can have multiple, possibly interwoven, stories with the same setting People who are anal about details There's nothing wrong with only world ...


52

Determine What is Important for You You need to figure out what parts of a world are needed for whatever you're making this world for. Do you only care about the social interactions? What about the physical properties of the world? How consistent does the world need to be? You also need to consider your audience; is the world for a readership? For role-...


48

Get to know other languages as that will give you a good feel for how languages can be constructed. The Frankfurt International School has a set of pages that describe the differences between English and many other major languages. These pages are written in English and discuss alphabets, phonologies, grammar and tenses. Familiarity with other languages ...


46

Dune provides a pretty good model here, and so does the Cold War - balance your heroes against one another. In Dune you had several powerful groups, each with their own type of power, balancing one another out. The Emperor had the most effective military in the galaxy in the form of the Sardukar, extremely well-trained and disciplined soldiers who could ...


44

Building a world and writing a story are two entirely separate things. In practice there will be a feedback between the two where you fudge the story to match the setting and the setting to better serve the story, but even there you should only be in one mode at a time. When you are building the world be a world builder to the max and immerse yourself in ...


41

World-building is (in theory) an infinite task. By typing that question you were building this world, and by writing this answer I'm doing that too. I think it's important to first realize that we are always building as we go, no matter how much we want to do before we start "writing stories". That being said, I like to think of the process of world-building ...


41

In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a country and the land was divided up into 15 countries, generally along boundaries of countries that existed when the Soviet Union formed in 1917, swallowing up existing countries that had been under Russian control. But this is overly simplistic and boundaries/countries were not the same as before. Yugoslavia ...


39

Start with the people then the city then the ruins Cities always arise from the culture and situation of the people who built it. Their priorities will be expressed in what buildings are where and what they look like. Modern skyscraper-filled cities emphasize maximal value per square foot. Hobbits for some reason really liked round doors to their homes. ...


39

Alternate history is a well-established genre. Full disclosure: I'm a fan. You can base your alternate history: On a point of divergence from real history. For example, S. M. Stirling's Draka, which diverges from real history at the conclusion of the American rebellion against the United Kingdom, when a large number of royalists, instead of submitting to ...


39

Short: No Long Why? (heat) The sun uses its gigantic mass to fuse hydrogen. If the sun was light enough to orbit the Earth it would not generate enough pressure to start the nuclear fusion. Can't it burn normally? No because: You don't have oxygen in/on the sun Burning would only work for a couple of months maybe years. Why (light/energy) When the ...


37

Well, why does the US with their massive military not conquer the entire world or at least the Western Nations they have a cultural affinity with? I mean there are several reasons, mainly their population would object, their opponents would rally together and politics. Alexander the Great conquered much of the known world at the time. Sure he stopped ...


36

Use Binomial Nomenclature Part of what makes scientific names sound consistent is that they're part of a formal system called binomial nomenclature. If you apply the same system to the names of your fantasy creatures, they'll have a similar feel. In binomial nomenclature, a creature's name is comprised of two words, a genus and a specie. There are other ...


35

First of all, I don't think there's any shame in taking our existing holidays as inspiration. Many holidays from different cultures on Earth have similar roots, typically in the meanings of the seasons and other natural phenomena. As religions developed over time, these holidays were imbued with new meanings. For example, a celebration of the winter equinox ...


35

I think your headaches come from misunderstanding why the blank spaces exist. The Terra Incognita is simply an area the cartographer has no good information on. Most such areas had people living on them and trading with their neighbours. The Americas had advanced civilizations and were presumably visited by several groups before Columbus, but that didn't ...


33

because You answered it yourself: Everyone knows and loves fictional languages. Why write your story at all? Why put effort into making your city have consistent locations, distances, and routes across different scenes (by making a map before writing such lines)? Why make a backstory to drive your characters reactions in a deep and consistent realistic way, ...


30

There's a few traits that are key here: 1) You need to handpick the leadership Whomever you pick to lead this outfit has to have impeccable military credentials, and be able to establish him/her self as someone worthy of being followed by the soldiers you will recruit later. Essentially, you need someone who is such a barely restrained psychotic killer ...


30

There is no universal color or art style that would indicate that something is ancient. Old stuff would look old. There would be decay. It would be different than what's current. Now that you have a Medieval-type world with magic, you've narrowed the question and opened up possibilities. 1) Their understanding of magic was different. Some of their old ...


29

I can't help you much with coding but I can help with what to look for to tell if you have gotten it right. Just elevation will take care of a lot, once you know where the basins are you know the direction and size of your river systems. That does mean you need to plot your mountains before the rivers. lets look at a map of river basins in the US. now ...


28

City design can be broken down pretty effectively. These are some options (certainly not an exhaustive list. Source: What is the city's history? Why did it form? EDIT: And when! This is crucial to deciding the history and evolution of a city (obviously) There are a few options here. Fort. Often times especially during colonial land grabs, nations will set ...


28

The reason fantasy names often sound weird is that they violate the way we normally handle names. The Romans didn't call Ireland Éirinn; they called it Hibernia. We don't refer to the Irish name Aengus as Oíngus but as Angus. Human cultures adapt names from other languages into names that sound more comfortable to their ears. Unless your entire work is ...


28

Here's the way I look at it; when you build a world (for your story / game / amusement / insert purpose here) you're not doing it for yourself per se; you're doing it for the experts in the fields you'll discuss that will also read / play your work. The whole Skynet thing in the Terminator (for example) bugs the daylights out of me. Why? Because I'm an AI ...


27

First you need to understand that the concept of time that we have today is only about 200 years old. We didn't have time that was shared with more then a handful of people until the popularity of the train made it a requirement. Until that time, a community would have one "master clock" that everyone else would set their "little" clocks by. Even then, ...


27

Areas of Law The first question is how many areas of law you want. For instance, we have common law (basically, contract law), criminal law (basically, 'breaking the law') and a new developing field around 'licencing law' (as in a software licence to use). Each of these areas has distinct methods and trial practices. Contract Law In contract law there ...


27

Perfect regenerators are much more useful as a warrior caste than as a slave caste Nobles want to win. In pre-victorian era, that's tied pretty directly to the ability of your armies to win on the battlefield, and in one-on-one fights, and regenerators have a huge advantage there. If you have only a small percentage of your populace as regenerators, you'...


27

General Guides Universe Factory: Some theoretical considerations to world building methods A short guide to worldbuilding - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Roll for Fantasy worldbuilding guide - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Ultimate worldbuilding guide for writers Guide To World-Building: How To Write Fantasy, Sci-Fi And Real-Life Worlds Short Primer of the Making of ...


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