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Por Favor, a little feedback.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Chargo, May 26, 2012.

  1. Chargo

    Chargo Acolyte

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    Soo I've been building this world for a story that I should hopefully start soon (I have the main characters and some major plot points in mind, but I like to flesh things out so I can just focus on plot while I'm actually writing). It's going to be low-fantasy(as they call it these days), and one of my my main influences is Martin (among others). Anyhow I'd like to just get some feedback on my world, I'm kinda dancing with a few cliches.

    1) So the primary setting is a large empire pretty much based off the Holy Roman Empire in the early 15th century, some of the constituent parts (Electorates) are based off european nations (i.e there a peninsula based off of Spain/Italy, a part that's more english, German areas, and a Breton/French/Nordic area). I like the idea of doing it like this so people will kinda know what I'm talking about and I really don't want have Wheel of Time Style names (one of my biggest turnoffs in Fantasy is made-up weird names). I also plan on using titles from the period like Electors, knights, Dukes, and Margraves. My main worry is that people are gonna think it's a little to cliche (Warhammer pulled it off, but I also don't want people thinking I ripped off Warhammer).

    2) Sooo I have elves... and dwarves. I know. I'm not going to call them that, but for that's how I tend to think of them. I'll start with my "dwarves". They're actually not that short, for starters (avg 5'5-5'8) but they do live underground (which is what makes them dwarves in my head). Some of them excel in geology and mining and all the usual dwarvish stuff but they also are quite notable for their intelectual and artistic pursuits (I figure if they're stuck underground all winter they get good at passing time). I see them being almost stereotypically "Jewish" (bear with me here) introverts, excelling at banking and commerce (they're quite well represented in the merchant cities). They're backstory is a little convoluted but they're Kingdom is on the Eastern border of the Empire in the mountains, but quite a few have moved to the human cities to ply their trades and escape the weather. My elves are an island people, and at one point ruled the area that is now the empire. Culturally they're a bit of a mashup of Greek/Roman/and Japanese. Anyhow I'm still working on them and a lot of it is going to be major plot points, but I can say they aren't going be platinum haired gods. Really the only thing separating the dwarves/men/elves is their longevity and culture (they might have a linked past).

    3) Fauna. And I mean gryphons, hippogryfs(sp), wyverns, giant squids, and Lovecraftian squid people. Also giant spiders and trolls and in general a lot of deadly creatures. Cliche or awesome?

    4) Lastly, is it cliche at this point to not have magic? I'm not a huge fan but I hear it just isn't fantasy if there isn't any.

    Thanks for indulging my neurotic tendencies, please feel free to pick things apart (or tell me what you like). Btw, my profile is new but I have lurked here before a little in the past.
     
  2. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

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    1. Sounds fine.
    2. Again, sounds fine. Your take on dwarves, while not exactly breaking the trope, is still interesting. Elves as a fallen race though...I personally feel that's overdone. But it's your story and there's nothing wrong with it, so yeah.
    3. Done well it would be awesome. Just thrown in to add "spice" would seem cliched.
    4. Nope. Magic, no magic, whatever. It's your world.
     
  3. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    What's the story you're trying to tell? Now don't get me wrong I'm' not asking this because I'm either a story first writer or a world first writer I'm organically in between in fact, but I think its worth asking... just to get the brain juices going really.

    If you are building this with a story in mind already then you'll probably know what you need to detail to get your background straight.

    If you building with the hope of finding a plot then fair enough as well.

    But in either case the main thing you need to do is ask the why/what/where/when/hows. The way I work and the advice I always implore people to try at least one is relentlessly ask questions of yourself and your setting. Make sure there is no stone unturned. "Well if this is true, then why? what effect does that have on this? how? when?" and so on. You may find yourself rambling across multiple subjects, but this is an organic process of discovering the way your setting wants to be you know?

    So, in answer to your 4 or 5 points, yes to all and no to all. And by that I mean does it all work logically and organically to my above process? (or your process, whatever, we're all different ;))

    So many amateur authors forget the need for internal logic. If you can consolidate your fantasy flora and fauna with the world then all power to you.

    one massive over sight I'm always finding in fantasy is the inclusion of dragons. Having them is fine but those are huge creatures. How does the food chain support that? Either there isn't many of them or your have a huge abundance of prey animals running around. Think of the "food pyramid" idea. It's boring stuff like this that you should probably consider even if the answer you find for it in your case is "wizards did it" aka "magic" aka "just because" aka "handwavium" haha

    Happy building my friend, but be mindful of creating another european fantasy with allusions called to Martin and the like. Not saying it can't be done, but just be prepared for everything that comes with it.
     
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    1) So the primary setting is a large empire pretty much based off the Holy Roman Empire in the early 15th century, some of the constituent parts (Electorates) are based off european nations (i.e there a peninsula based off of Spain/Italy, a part that's more english, German areas, and a Breton/French/Nordic area). I like the idea of doing it like this so people will kinda know what I'm talking about and I really don't want have Wheel of Time Style names (one of my biggest turnoffs in Fantasy is made-up weird names). I also plan on using titles from the period like Electors, knights, Dukes, and Margraves. My main worry is that people are gonna think it's a little to cliche (Warhammer pulled it off, but I also don't want people thinking I ripped off Warhammer). [/quote]
    Fine. Principle nation on my major world is organized very roughly along those lines.

    Main thing I'd recommend here, especially given your dislike of made up names, is to just go with dwarves and elves. Or possibly Dvirge for dwarves and Alfar or Huldrefolk for elves. Makes it much easier for the readers and for you.

    No problem.

    That is up to you. However, I'd point out that elves, dwarves and many of the other critters you pointed out have reputations for magic of some sort. Perhaps some sort of 'Rune Magic' or 'mystical alchemy'?
     
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    1) Just remember to do a lot of reasearch on the time period / culture you're basing this on, it'll help imensely. While you may not like weird fantasy names, I would suggest naming your locations either some place that doesn't exist in real life, or some place that no longer exists in real life. If it's only influenced by Rome and isn't Rome, then don't call it Rome. I imagine you were planning to do that anyways, but what you wrote left some ambiguity.

    2) This is a tricky issue, if your elves/dwarves are too like classic elves/dwarves but you call them something else then you're calling a rabbit a smeerp, which isn't neccesarily bad but will turn some readers off. Vice versa, if your elves/dwarves are too far from the classic models but you call them elves/dwarves then that too would turn readers off. Honestly, I'm not sure where exactly on that scale you fall. I'd suggest adding elements of classic halflings, gnomes, or even various animal species that live underground to your dwarves, while for the Elves, culturally wise I think it's pretty good, maybe add some dramatically non-elvish phsyical trait to seperate them further from elves like horns or bird wings or something. It also couldn't hurt to look at the culture, history, and mythology of various island cultures such as the pacific islanders and consider how to fit that in. Finally, you better have a damn good reason for their fall from power as well as a good idea of how different and in what ways the elves are from before fall and after fall.

    3) Perfectly fine, though I agree with JC that you need to consider the various species ecological niche, and they may clash with your number 4.

    4) This is your choice, I personally like high magic settings, but that's just my opinion, HOWEVER without magic you're left with just science and just about all of the creatures you mentioned in 3 are blatantly scientifically impossible. Their existence in a world otherwise without magic would likely be within most reader's willing suspension of disbelief, but are you sure you want to use the reader's valuable disbelief on their existence when you might need it for other things?
     
  6. Chargo

    Chargo Acolyte

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    Hmmm some of that stuff I was really just brainstorming. The wierd fauna might not make it, and I might implement some sort of soft magic but it'd be pretty subtle (think about how tolkien never really has that much obvious magic, but it's kind of under the surface).

    I've done a good bit of research on the time period (especially the Italian Wars, and the Ottoman Wars). I think I have a pretty good understanding of the politics/ warfare of the time, but it isn't going to be a 1:1 match. It's influenced by the time period, but not a direct expy.

    I think the story I'm trying to tell is mostly character driven, but the gist is that the empire gets invaded by a segment of the elves that want their old lands back and also the glory of conquering. The Empire has been weakened by a series of wars involving a succession crisis (I might open at the end of that). Theres going to be a bit of Byzantine politics in both camps, and not all the "elves" are bad neither are all the humans or dwarves. The elves are primarily based around city-states and clans that are pretty feudal and constantly fighting (think the Greek city-states or Japan in the Warring States period), but a glorious bastard type finally unites them and then soon afterwards they invade their old possessions to keep steam going.
     
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