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What IRL cultures have inspired you in worldbuilding?


Craft of the Heretic is based on the European Renaissance - the characters are from different countries and how they cope without a common language is one of the themes. In an age of exploration countries further afield are the source of adventure and exoticism. I agree there would be some merit in setting this up in reverse and 'discovering' what is more familiar to the writer.


toujours gai, archie
I've skimmed and cribbed from a variety of cultures. These include Wendish, Polabian, gardiens, Avars, and others. All European. Such groups--their history, language, traditions--help give depth and resonance to my alternate European setting. And because I already know the larger European context, it's easier for me to find places for them to fit.

D. Gray Warrior

My current project isn't fantasy, but I have a fantasy story on the backburner. It's heavily inspired by Renaissance Italy on the surface, but with a dash of German mixed in.

The main characters look Italian and have Italian sounding names. Their fashion and architecture are also Italian inspired.

However, the country's knights wear armor more reminiscent of German Maximillian armor, and the outfits of the infantry are based on the Landsknecht.


You know I never really thought of my world building inspirations until reading this thread haha. But when I think about it, I based my world more on early American history and especially based it on early settlers/colonists. I have two major Kingdoms, but one is formed from refugees who weren't treated right because their magic wasn't the same asthe others who were higher up in society, so they settled on another part of the continent. My landscape itself is based more on the old west in the US, the west coast like California and Nevada and the like. But I never really thought about it more than justt like, this is what I want my world to look like, and I want it to work like this, so really interesting topic.


The world I work on is, by and large, similar to the European Middle Ages and the Ancient World - in the style of my favorite fantasy universe - Howard's Hyborian Age. So there is an analogue of medieval Europe and the Vikings and Sasanian Iran and the Aztec Empire and much more. There are also certain innovations - for example, a dynasty of immigrants from the local "Scandinavia", at the head of the local "Aztec Empire" or the same "Aztecs" who founded their state in the local "Africa". However, the main difference from our world: the sun here rises in the West and this is the Black Sun - a black disk framed by the solar corona, as in a total solar eclipse. Accordingly, even at noon, with an absolutely cloudless sky, everything around resembles twilight. Nevertheless, despite this astronomical incident, the climate on this planet resembles that of the earth.

The main scene of action is a kind of Holy Roman Empire, the "Teumanian Empire", as well as the neighboring state, Nekraria: a certain mix of ancient Greece and the ancient kingdoms of Asia Minor (such as Phrygia, Lydia and others). To quote a brief description of these countries from my Glossary:

The Teumanian Empire - reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire: a bunch of kingdoms, duchies, principalities and free cities, formally subordinate to the authority of the emperor. The emperor is elected, but exclusively from hereditary feudal lords. The official religion is the cult of 72 gods (here they are called "Archons"), but other beliefs are not prohibited and are very popular. The gods of Teumania are usually taken from medieval demonology, but there are characters from Roman and Germanic mythology. The most authoritative cults are worship Belial and Baal, the "Black Sun".

Necraria is an island nation southeast of the Empire, consisting of a main island and several colonies in the Serpent Sea. Theocratic state, where the superior power is exercised by the abbess of the Niktopoli monastery. The current abbess is Archdeaconess Salome. The warrior nuns of the monastery obey her, representing a kind of guard of Nekraria. In addition to them, the army of the state includes a militia of peasants and townspeople, as well as mercenaries. The supreme deity is the goddess Skilakageta Trimorpha, who is subject to the goddesses Lamia, Empusa, Mania, Skilla, Steno and Laverne. These deities are not included among the Seventy-Two, but are often identified with the female forms of certain Archons.

S.A. Meek

New Member
Currently I am developing a vast world with many different cultural regions. I have taken inspiration from irl cultures across the globe.

For instance, a race of lion like centaurs that live in a high plains area whose culture closely resembles a mix of native American tribes.

There is also a close knit community of ice dragons whose governance resembles the UK's parliamentary system. Though their communities are caves in glacial fissures.

Also there is a desert dwelling assassins/guardian race that is based on a mixture of the samurai of japan and nomadic Arab cultures.

To name a few.


My name sense is maybe werid but i have goddamm galaxy , to named but, it is simple for my galaxy is solus and for main planet is Drax and it main cities ( cause there is no state system) Antiguous , Birlod, demogard and many more i may have naming sense that is too werid sigh bye .


I tend to refrain. That said, if my fictional culture takes place in a certain environment, researching how food is acquired, etc. in those types of biomes will inevitably lead to referencing real material. Occasionally, I might look up specific locations ( Scandinavian countries, my own, and few others ) for old folktales and mythology. At which point, it's a desire for accuracy. Accuracy, or rather partial-accuracy for inspired projects, in relation to particular tales, might not be a necessity for every inspiration; seeing as how many beings/animals ( think dragons, water spirits ) are told in varying methods across different cultures, but is still something that I like to do. Although, I'm also sure that goes without saying.

I have taken inspiration from Japan before for minimal world building that was done more as practice in creating characters than anything else.

Overall, the most minimal inspiration fathomable is my preference, and there have been few exceptions so far.


Myth Weaver
I see I wrote in this sometime before that capturing a culture was not really the point.

I still hold to that. There may be resemblances, but I was not really trying to replicate Greeks or Phoneticians or anyone else. Most of what I write is trying to get human nature and the human condition right, which by itself is quite varied. That people in a cold clime might do things similar to those living in a cold clime in the real world would seem just likely. Like how many different ways are there to Ice fish? or trudge through the snow? So, that we have a real world to look at, and say thats how some did this, seems a fair resource.

But much of the things that make up such cultures did not carry over with me. I dont have an Asgard, for example, and the 'cant hide from fate' aspect of viking culture is not present. There may be a pantheon of gods, but it does not resemble much of Earth's pantheons, and many characters in the stories question them.

Still, one could read my story and say, hey, thats kind of Norse like, and I would say...right you are...and when they say, but its also egyptian like, I would say...right you are again. Its not like I was trying to hide it, or sneak it by. But my hope is the immersion is great enough, that those things do not become the focus. There are different cultures, and some are loosely based on the ones that seem most similar here on earth, but no one in them would feel I was trying to copy them. Least I hope.


I'm currently trying to mix Norse and Native American together in a rugged, battle hardy, spiritual, animal/sun&moon/mother nature worshipping, peoples. They were mostly tribal hunter gatherers, but started to develope into larger civilizations, however the tribalism still exists in the more wildlands of each country. More so in some less in others. And to spice things up, I added a Catholic church clone to the mix as a recent growing cult.


Being raised in the western tradition, that of course influences me most, and probably a whole lot more than I realise. Within that celtic and greco-roman are recognisable in some of my places for sure. The natives of New Zealand, North America, the Berbers of Morocco also feature, based on places I've spent time over the years.

My current books have a fair few non-human races / species. Some are standard fantasy fare - centaurs, dragons, merfolk; others are based on animals including bees, ants, spiders, beetles, cats. Attributes of these have kind of dictated cultural echoes eg the cat folk live in jungles primarily as hunter gatherers in small groups of extended family.


As with many others I have taken inspiration from many cultures but it often boils down to ancient cultures around the Mediterranean Sea as that's what I know best and attempts to move away from that has mostly bounced off a wall and landed med straight back where I started from.

But the culture which I get most from is probably ancient Greece as that's my main, but not only, interest.
I'm currently trying to mix Norse and Native American together in a rugged, battle hardy, spiritual, animal/sun&moon/mother nature worshipping, peoples. They were mostly tribal hunter gatherers, but started to develope into larger civilizations, however the tribalism still exists in the more wildlands of each country. More so in some less in others. And to spice things up, I added a Catholic church clone to the mix as a recent growing cult.
I find myself always drawn to this subject, a polytheism culture that is at the dawn of a new monotheism.