My approach to worldbuilding and the examples are from my current project.


Science fiction fantasy
May 5, 2022
I figured it might be helpful to others to see how I'm slapping this world down. And then I realized that the example was long and boring to everyone but me, so I chopped the more specific stuff off. Seeing if I 50-shades it enough to put a tip-jar out is something more suited to the Legacy of Kain community. I do welcome feedback on my approach and what details did make it through.

I started typing out what's below before this part, but I was holding "how is this relevant" in the back of my mind. A lot of it is just the loose rules of the world so that I'm not going along and suddenly have to figure out the answer to some big questions. I decided to back up and not care about anything that I can't immediately answer "how is this relevant" for in a concrete way according to the plot that appears in the story.

Wide Lore: I have two types of elves! Relevance: I had a whole paragraph of good reason! Also going into far history is how the mythology stands any chance of seeming halfway cohesive. Do I really need elves? If we're going to start asking questions like that, the whole thing might unravel. :p

More recent history: A pair of evil godlike sorcerers killed all the other godlike sorcerers, enslaved humanity, and set a bunch of monsters lose. Then they died and there are a couple of different versions circulating about how that happened. There's still monsters, but now humanity has a chance to fight back. And now there are godlike sorcerers that aren't evil because the evil ones aren't around to kill them anymore.

Relevance: How am I going to get wildly different cultures within easy travel distance unless travel is dangerous at the beginning of the story and then it becomes less so by the time it's needed? Why is he the one who's going to fix the orphan problem instead of someone else doing it sooner? Also, almost-godlike people are really great for providing that sense that larger things are going on and pushing ordinary people who want to keep their heads down into not keeping their heads down.

Naming conventions: I'm writing this in English, so I looked up where most of the root came from... More Latin/French than anglo-saxon. What other languages have latin roots... okay the elves speak a language that comes from plugging stuff into google translate and mangling the Romanian it gives me. Most names are going to be based on Romanian names or Old-English. Reason: Elvish is the root language in that world. (Note to self: this time, write down what the made-up words are supposed to mean.)

Location descriptions: I'm typing here instead of trying to find references because I got frustrated. (That was this morning, I'm still thinking about the locations and poking at the image-search.) I tried looking at real-world photographs, Minecraft builds, any video-game setting except for Soul Reaver... Human settlements in this world are either in places where the terrain did most of the work in making it fortified or places that were originally built to keep enslaved humans in. Each needs to be self-sustaining because trade and travel were near-impossible. If nothing else, I have plenty of blocks and bricks if I want to get a visual. I'm still working on the names of the first two locations, but it might be funny if the inhabitants of each historically free settlement named theirs as if it was the last one. Actually, the first location is a city built around and inside the tyrants' coal mine, so Blackrock. The village where he goes is an island an oxbow called Laston. (Need to get there by horse, dummy.)

Characters: I have an army of OC to recycle as-needed. I didn't write it down, but I have a replacement-backstory for my self-insert.

I'm trying to think if there's anything else I need to think about before getting too deep into it.