Posts belonging to Category Geography

World-building: Some Travel Questions

One of the nice things about the modern world is that we can take travel for granted, and never realize how much it helps us. There’s a lot more impact to what’s available than you might think—even owning a car vs. taking mass transit can be the difference between a half-hour trip to get groceries [...]

Design Questions for Ruins

Yesterday, I talked about how nifty ruins were as a feature of a setting. But what does it take to make a good ruin? I’ve already talked about building, aging and abandoning cities in general, and these serve as a pretty good stopping off point. On the other hand, it might be that we’re going [...]

Why Ruins?

Ruins are awesome. We’re all in agreement, right? We go tourist on them (at least, until some fool starts vandalizing the plinths or screwing under the altars or attempting to Life Imitates Action Movie through them, and then we can only admire them from a distance, not that it keeps us from trying), we write [...]

Points of Resonance

Yesterday, I talked about the importance of getting places to resonate with the people in a world and thus through them with the audience, even before anyone actually sets foot there, and talked about what sorts of factors might give the places that resonance. The next step, then, is to figure out what sorts of [...]

A Resonance of Place

One of the things I’ve always loved about a good world-building is a sense of place: the idea that after a little while, hearing a place name alone will bring in all the echoes of what the place actually means to the characters. It’s important, particularly in a narrative that bounces about between cities and [...]

Breaking Out in Wretched Hives

Somewhere in this place, anything can be bought. There are dark corners with darker figures lurking in them, there are scents that have never reached the noses of the truly innocent, and the law isn’t nearly as important as the Rules. The people here are either comfortably untouchable as they take advantage of everyone else [...]

Landmarking: A Real-World Example

Yesterday, I talked about how to make a place a landmark, literal or narrative. I’m going to illustrate—not with a fictional example, but with an old story.
Back when I was turning four years old (and only just getting into the stage where I was remembering things long-term), my parents went on a trip to Britain, [...]

Landmarks and Distinction

There’s a lot that goes into design of a city: things like its population, how it’s governed, where it gets its food and water, what sorts of things it imports and exports. Your audience, be they reader or gamer, might remember those, but that’s not what seems to stick in most people’s minds when they [...]

Marking Time

One of the biggest difficulties with an Earth-with-modifications setting is getting across to people the time period in which the story is set, particularly as the setting gets more and more modern and the distinctions less and less obvious. A little slip, and it becomes easy for people to forget that this is supposed to [...]

Somewhere a Little Different

When you think of the phrase “fantasy setting”, what do you see?
I asked that around on Twitter and got a bunch of rather telling answers. Dragons, lots of dragons. Armor and swords, many swords. (For some reason, apparently you don’t often see halberds). Mountains, marketplaces—beards and funny hats.
Presumably, there are dwarves under a mountain somewhere, [...]