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Old 09-23-2018, 10:41 AM   #31
SilvercatMoonpaw
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: [Creative] Trying to build a fantasy setting.

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
But I have to say that sounds odd, given that you started this thread by citing Uncle Figgy's Guide to Good Fantasy as an inspiration for your thinking about magic and fantasy.
That gave me names to put to my thinking about magic. I've never adsorbed more than those categories.

This scene best describes how I feel when I try to read worldbuilding advice (I'm the fur vest guy). It's not even that I don't understand the ideas and how they fit together logically, it's that there's a mysterious gap between that and when the metaphysical director yells "ACTION!" where I'm supposed to shift from documentary view to fiction film view......it's just a weird disconnect I've never quite figured out. I've begun to have the creeping suspicion I don't think about the way worlds, fictional or otherwise, work the same way other people do.

Sorry for the mini-self-jack: I was originally thinking of forking this into its own thread, but didn't feel it warranted that.
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Old 09-23-2018, 01:03 PM   #32
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Creative] Trying to build a fantasy setting.

Strangely enough, economics is always a good starting point for any setting, as people generally have to work in order to live. An agrarian society is different than a pastoral society, and the meeting place between the two will create conflicts, as agrarian societies wish to expand their arable land while pastoral societies wish to expand their pastures. Agrarian societies are generally better at defense because they can build fortifications while pastoral societies are generally better at offense because they possess mobility.

For example, you could a setting where a mountain range divides arid plains from fertile woodlands. The society of the arid plains is primarily pastoral while the society of the fertile woodlands is primarily agrarian. The mountain clans support themselves with mining and trading with both societies and serve as an important buffer between the two societies. Along the coasts are island chains inhabited by fishermen who practice raiding and piracy.
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Old 09-23-2018, 11:20 PM   #33
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: [Creative] Trying to build a fantasy setting.

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
C. J. Cherryh's Chanur novels are wonderful, if now old enough to be nearly classics.
I second this suggestion, and note that many of Cherryh's novels include points of view of alien species. While they're not so alien as to be incomprehensible, she does do a good job of making them alien enough to contrast with human thought patterns.

Her purpose, of course, is to explore how contact with humans would impact those alien races, and vice versa.

Here's an essay Cherryh wrote about her approach. It may help the OP a lot.

Based on what you described about the Tapestry campaign, I think you went through a similar process as the one she describes, Bill.

http://www.cherryh.com/www/worldbuilding.htm
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Old 09-24-2018, 12:18 AM   #34
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Creative] Trying to build a fantasy setting.

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Based on what you described about the Tapestry campaign, I think you went through a similar process as the one she describes, Bill.]
Well, sorta. I did more zoology and less archaeology. I started out by giving each race an SM, a degree of sexual dimorphism, a degree of robustness or gracility, and a degree of enchephalization, and did some math. And then I looked at an animal model or two for each race: dwarves as naked mole rats, elves as gibbons, selkies as sea lions, and so on. But Cherryh was one of my inspirations, along with Tolkien.
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