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How Closely Should I Imitate the Real World?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by D. Gray Warrior, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    I am working on a setting for a political/military fantasy based on WW1 in technology, tactics, politcs, and the overall feel of the world. It's pretty much like our world where several countries get involved in a war. except they have magic.

    I don't know how closely I should make it like Europe in it's culture. Originally, all of the empires I created were loosely based on the Central Powers and resembled Continental Europe. The main empire where the story takes place was going to be inspired by Austria-Hungary, since I thought it often gets overshadowed by Germany and it seems to be rarely talked about, at least when I was learning history in school.

    Now I don't know if I should resort to using a Fantasy Counterpart Culture, or maybe change it up with, for example, what it might look like if the fighting mostly took place in Asia instead of Europe, for example. Or I might build from the ground up with original cultures.

    I'm okay with taking inspiration from the real world as it can make things easier, but I still want plenty of room to actually create and not make an exact replica of existing cultures.
  2. Corwynn

    Corwynn Troubadour

    You may need time to mull it over. I remember when I started building my world, it resembled yours very much, being closely based on (if not outright set in) the real world in the 19th century. Yet over time, things changed. I started mixing cultures and time periods, and adding some unique inventions of my own. It isn't 100% set in stone yet, and probably never will be, but by this time it's approaching a final form that I'm willing to run with and set stories in.

    It all depends on what you like. Are there certain types of stories you like? Art styles you enjoy? Ideas you would like to explore? If something appeals to you, then you should try to find a way to incorporate it. If something doesn't interest you, then it may be best to scrap it. Considerations like these will shape the world you create.

    I guess if I were to give some advice, it would be to take your time and follow your heart.
  3. wirehead

    wirehead Acolyte

    The departure from normalcy needs to make sense, I think. Did the chain of Roman Empire to Holy Roman Empire to Austrian to Austria-Hungary state happen about the same way as it has in reality if magic was involved? Maybe Charlemagne came about much in the same way, except that he was able to wield magic to forge the Holy Roman Empire...
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

    I way go all the way with the Austro-Hungarian culture. You are dead right that it gets very little air play in the english speaking world, and the old empire is just full of amazing myths and ideas of magic that you could have a great deal of fun with. To many in the english speaking world the Habsburg empire is a pretty alien place to start with.

    Then again I might be biased :)
  5. Peregrine

    Peregrine Troubadour

    I think that by choosing to make a WW1-themed world that your setting might have a sci-fi vibe, but maybe in a retrofuturistic sense.
  6. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    I really like shamans, animistic religions, and talking animals, but I couldn't find away to fit them into this world. I did say the technology level would be similar to our WW1, although there might be a few anachronisms as is the case in much of fantasy, such as robots, for example. I also like Mesoamerican culture, and alot of my attempts have Aztec or Mayan influences, at least when it comes to language, religion, and or society, for example.
  7. Corwynn

    Corwynn Troubadour

    If you want to get most of these things together, perhaps instead of fantasy WWI, you could do fantasy Mexican Revolution. Pancho Villa and all that. It's the same time period (1910s) and general technology, but this fantasy version of Mexico was never conquered by the Spanish or equivalents.

    Mexico was also nearly drawn into WWI. After Villa and his rebels attacked a town in New Mexico, the U.S. Army sent an expedition under General Pershing to find him and put him down. There was also the Zimmerman Telegram, in which the Germans tried to convince Mexico to attack the United States to prevent the Americans from entering the war in Europe. This backfired hideously when the telegram was intercepted by the British, who revealed it to the Americans, who joined the war out of outrage. Neither of these things resulted in war with Mexico, but if things had been different, perhaps they might have. Lastly, if you want an Austro-Hungarian connection, there was another Mexican civil war in the 1860s which was the result of Maximilian of the House of Hapsburg being installed as Emperor of Mexico with French assistance, which many Mexicans understandably greatly disliked.

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