1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

My unnamed setting worldbuilding thread

Discussion in 'World Building' started by vaiyt, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    [​IMG]

    Been working on a map to house a bunch of fantasy ideas. The details, history and whatnot will come shortly, but for now take a look at these incomplete continent shapes.
     
  2. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

    100
    18
    18
    They seem very.. vertical? That's just my perception
     
  3. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    2,288
    1,296
    163
    I like the middle continents a lot.

    The left continent reminds me a little too much of Westeros in its current state, but that can easily be changed once you add some territorial and natural boundaries to the map.
     
  4. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    I swear it's coincidence. I shape the landmasses by splicing real-world maps together, starting with a single one then fractalizing at smaller sizes for the coastlines. IIRC the middle continent started with a map of Iraq and the small one to the right was once Puerto Rico.
     
  5. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

    100
    18
    18
    Maybe add some arhicplaego or islands in your big empty ocean spots. Islands are always cool.
     
  6. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    1,072
    257
    63
    Westeros is basically Britain flipped upside down and placed on top of Ireland.
     
  7. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    It's cosmology time!

    This is the real high level stuff. Most of it won't even come up for characters except highly filtered.

    This world is centered on the equilibrium between three forces: Chaos, Order and Nothingness. They relate to each other in that Chaos begets Order begets Nothingness begets Chaos, and Nothingness displaces Order displaces Chaos displaces Nothingness.

    Chaos is everything and nothing at the same time. It is the sum total of all possibility, an ever-changing cauldron of all that could ever be. However, as much as it is infinite, it's also indistinct, impossible to define or understand (individuality is orderly). It naturally creates Order from itself because, being infinite, Chaos naturally contains orderly elements within its own essence. Being more stable, they displace and contain the chaotic mass around them.

    Order is the realm of finite reality, of rules and objects. Anything that can actually be defined as a thing contains some orderly nature. Practically all life and significant objects in this world belong to the realm of Order, like for example the world whose map I posted above. Being where the fun things happen, it's the most important aspect to talk about, and the other two will mostly be referred when they affect it.

    Nothingness is the principle of non-existence. Using terms like "is" and "something" ends up misleading, because the defining aspect of Nothingness (if one could call it that) is that it isn't. It's not possible to see or grasp except for the gaps it leaves in the comprehension of things that actually are. It always follows from Order because in order for things to define themselves they have to separate from what they aren't. It's the void that eats away worlds mired in entropy, and generates Chaos from itself, renewing the cycle.

    Next: the intermediary realms.
     
  8. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

    467
    86
    28
    The shorelines looks very natural, and the continents also have nice, natural (as natural seeming as a fantasy world can be, I suppose) appearance to them. I agree about the Westeros resemblance, but that's not too big of an issue - you still have plenty of space to flesh the world out and fine tune it to your likings. I'm not crazy about the continent placement, the oceans seem a little odd to me, but it's fantasy. Anything is possible.

    One idea I keep in mind when messing with cartography is that I try to place the important features first, like major cities, settlements, and gateways to Hell. I try not to add a lot of extra land that isn't used in the story.

    What I'm guessing from looking at it, is that each one of the forces of being you've described have a stronger hold on certain pieces of the map. The parts of the land masses that look torn and frayed would be under the strains of Chaos. The linear coastlines are a foothold for Order. Nothingness could be the cold expanse at the Northern pole of your world.

    Or maybe my imagination is getting the better of me, haha!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  9. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    Time for some more immediately useful cosmology: the intermediate realms. In the boundary where the realms of Chaos, Order and Nothingness meet, there exist places with the properties of both.

    Between the realms of Chaos and Order lies the realm of Magic. It's the place where infinite possibility meets finite realization, where imagination can acquire form. Life in this realm is possible, but fickle and insubstantial. The two worlds are coterminous, and seep into each other naturally, both letting the inhabitants of the world of matter use magic to reshape reality, and letting the denizens of the magic world acquire substance and individuality. In places where the boundary is thin, it's possible to cross over without noticing, as the difference between the two sides dimnishes.

    Between Order and Nothingness lies the realm of Oblivion, a place where echoes of things that ceased to exist dwell. It's a realm that material things can't cross over without losing their essence, and things from there can't cross back without acquiring a new nature. Many cultures in-universe have come to regard it as the realm of the dead, or their version of Hell.

    There is also a realm between Chaos and Nothingness (the realm of Anti-Order or Negative Matter), but its impact on the stories of actual living beings (the ones who interest us here) is nil. It can be left alone.
     
  10. mecg_romancer

    mecg_romancer Scribe

    31
    1
    8
    As soon as you said Oblivion I thought elder scrolls :L Oblivion being their version of hell too with deamons trying cross over and what not. I'm not sure how many others might see it the same way though, but I just thought I'd let you know :).

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
     
  11. NerdyCavegirl

    NerdyCavegirl Sage

    249
    46
    28
    Well at least Oblivion is less used then Hell or Underworld. xD
     
    mecg_romancer likes this.
  12. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

    467
    86
    28
    True. Besides, TES can't hog that sweet namesake all to itself!

    If it fits the world/universe, then why not use it?

    Also, OP, I'm a little lost. Did you need help with naming certain areas, or were you testing to see if your setting sounds good? Not sure how to contribute to the issue.
     
  13. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

    143
    53
    28
    Thank god I'm not the only one!
     
  14. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    2,288
    1,296
    163
    Westeros resembles Britain in many other ways as well. The wall was based on Hadrian's wall. The andal invasion on the anglo-saxon invasions. Aegon "the conqueror" on William of the same nickname.
    Just food for thought.
     
  15. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    1,952
    982
    113
    vaiyt, I love your cosmology! This is exactly the kind of metaphysical worldbuilding that I like to do myself. Everything is explained very clearly. I can't wait to learn more about your world.
     
  16. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    1,072
    257
    63
    The sheer scale of Westeros is absurdly big. The wall is supposed to be 300 miles across, so you can use it as a measuring guide to see just how far it is from top to bottom.
     
  17. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    I want to know if it sounds good to you. I'm also getting you up to speed on the basics so I don't need to backtrack later.
    That continent in my map is significantly bigger than Westeros. I've compared the maps.

    Here's a bit where things are a bit experimental. Time to try and put my magic system into words.

    Chaos is infinite but unrealized possibility, while Order is as concrete as it gets but limited. Magic is the stuff that bridges the gap. It seeps from the magical realm into the world of Order and acquires substance and reality by reacting to the psychic emanations existing there. That happens whether those emanations are intentional or not - anything can acquire a magical nature in this world with the right conditions.

    What causes the process is meaning. Any concrete object that conveys a message is potentially magical. In this world, ideas and stories have power, but not in the literal, Discworldian "consensus becomes reality" sense. First, because even widely held beliefs are believed in a different way by each person, and all those disparate imaginations acting together have unpredictable effects in the final result. Second, because the closer magic gets to manifesting in the real world, the less moldable it is: sufficiently powerful ideas might just acquire a life of their own, resist further change, and even develop in new ways not bound by anyone's imagination.

    Many magic schools cohexist in this world, but all of them involve rituals. The ritual is a gesture, action, object or rule that the caster imbues with meaning in order to mold magical matter towards a specific goal. It can be something like crafting a wand out of certain materials and waving it in a certain way, speaking a special language, painting stuff on one's body, making an effigy of the thing one wants to affect, and many others.
    Rituals are more powerful the more meaningful, consistent and specific they are. Vague goals and arbitrary, lazy rituals are weak and unlikely to produce the wanted results, if any.
    There's several ways a ritual can be made more meaningful:
    - Including objects that relate to the goal in some way.
    - Sacrificing something; the more meaningful the better. A single penny in a fortune is easily replaceable. The first penny you ever earned which you have treasured since you were a kid? Now we're talking.
    - Rules turn the caster themself into a vessel as long as they uphold the prescribed behavior. The rule gets even more powerful if it's a geas, or something that prescribes a penalty if broken. The rule itself has to be established by a ritual.
    -Rituals that have been done before or follow from pre-existing rules already have extra meaning attached and become more reliable.
    -(still coming up with more)

    Any meaningful activity is a potential ritual, even if not intended to be so. The more consistent the action and the more focused the mind of the person, the greater the chance for it to happen. People who are really good at an activity or train hard enough may inadvertently turn their practice into a ritual and start channeling magical properties. Even non-sentient creatures and inanimate objects may also trigger ritual-like connections unconsciously. These are really weak, but build up over time as they bounce off of each other in a positive feedback loop.

    I guess that's enough. I'll leave the other important aspects of magic - soul, genii loci and religion - to the next post.
     
  18. Creed

    Creed Sage

    292
    134
    43
    Interesting. So what might this mean for profane archetypes, like saying grace before eating dinner, or even more interesting, the Maori invocation of the Haka before battle? In fact, the Maori considered all dance to be sacred, so what might occur if these beliefs were translated into your world?

    Or maybe a weekly visit to a grave site? Could it raise the "spirit"?
     
  19. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    All those things will carry some magical effect. Acts of little consequence like saying grace before dinner would be more subtle in their effects, while a sacred dance could be more powerful, especially something like the haka which fits the criteria for a full magical ritual in my world.
     
  20. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    47
    8
    8
    Here I expand the explanation of magic with three particular cases that are very important to understand the specific part of the setting the map is about.

    Pure belief lacks the real-world connection to produce noticeable effects, but religion has the potential to turn belief into a powerful magical force. What distinguishes religion from other kinds of magical ritual is that it's not designed to manifest specific things in the material world, but to curry favor with supernatural beings. They can be pre-existing or not, but that organized belief around them has the effect of one big slow magical ritual that slowly makes them match the worshipped form.

    Vague, broad ideas are magically weak, but religion attains its specificity from its pantheon. As rites develop, the rules that govern the gods and its actions become more consistent, giving more substance to them. A cascade effect starts, where the budding gods gain more and more independence, and begin to affect the development of the religion itself.

    If that religion is allowed to reach full maturity, eventually it culminates in an event that embodies its essence. It may be the birth of a prophet under all the auspicious signs, it may be a catastrophe where the gods' powers are unleashed, it may be the realization of the long held wishes of a people. It depends on the nature of the gods themselves. That event marks the birth of a new pantheon, beings fully independent of their followers.

    They don't need worship to exist, but are quite likely to keep requesting it, since it does make them immortal. Killing a god whose worship is active will lead to them being revived over time. Gods whose religions have died in the past might find their way into a new pantheon, antagonize more successful gods and be seen as demonic figures, or go find some other way to influence things.
     
Loading...

Share This Page