Updated: Jan 5
Establishing rules and logic in your fantasy world is crucial for creating a cohesive and believable story. When building a fantasy world, it’s important to think about the different systems and structures that make up the world, as well as the laws of physics and magic that govern it. By setting clear rules and logic for your world, you’ll be able to make it feel more realistic and immersive for your readers.
The first step in establishing rules and logic in your fantasy world is to decide on the basic structure and layout of your world. This includes things like the geography, the climate, and the presence of different species or cultures. You should also consider the technological level of your world and how it might have evolved over time. All of these factors will shape the way your characters interact with the world and the kinds of stories that can take place within it.
Creating geography and climate from scratch in a fantasy world can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not an expert. However, there are a few key things that you can keep in mind to help you get started.
First, it’s important to understand the basic facts about different types of landscapes. For example, mountains are usually formed through tectonic activity or erosion, and they tend to have steep slopes, rocky terrain, and thin air at high elevations.
River valleys: Rivers are usually formed by water flowing downhill, and as they flow, they carve out a path through the landscape. Over time, the sides of the river can become steep and eroded, forming a valley. The size and shape of a river valley can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the slope of the land, the type of rock that the river is flowing through, and the amount of water in the river. In a fantasy world, you can use river valleys to create natural borders between different regions or to provide resources like water and fertile soil for agriculture.
Coastlines: A coastline is the area where land meets water, and it can be formed by a variety of processes. In some cases, coastlines are created by the movement of tectonic plates, which can cause land to rise or sink. In other cases, coastlines are shaped by the action of waves, which can erode the land over time. The type of coastline that forms will depend on the geology of the area, as well as the climate and the shape of the land. In a fantasy world, coastlines can provide a source of food, transportation, and trade, and they can also be a natural barrier against attacks from the sea.
Forests: Forests are areas of dense vegetation, and they can be found in a variety of climates and landscapes. In a fantasy world, forests can be shaped by a variety of factors, including the climate, the geology of the area, and the presence of other vegetation. For example, a forest might be found in a region with a high amount of rainfall and fertile soil, or it might be shaped by the presence of other plants and animals that provide shelter and nutrients. Forests can provide a wide range of resources, including wood, food, and medicine, and they can also be a home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
Swamps: Swamps are wetland areas that are characterized by shallow water and a high concentration of plants. They can be found in a variety of climates, but they tend to be found in areas with high levels of rainfall and low-lying land. In a fantasy world, swamps might be formed by the presence of rivers or other bodies of water, or they might be shaped by the geology of the area. Swamps can provide a variety of resources, including timber, food, and medicine, and they can also be home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
Deserts: Deserts are arid regions that are characterized by very little rainfall and sparse vegetation. They can be found in a variety of climates, but they tend to be found in areas with high levels of sunshine and low levels of humidity. In a fantasy world, deserts might be formed by the presence of mountain ranges or other natural barriers that block the flow of moisture, or they might be shaped by the geology of the area. Deserts can be challenging environments to live in, but they can also be home to a variety of plant and animal life that have adapted to the dry conditions.
Mountains: Mountains are large landforms that rise significantly above the surrounding land, and they can be found in a variety of landscapes and climates. There are two main types of mountains: fold mountains and block mountains. Fold mountains are created when two tectonic plates collide and the land is pushed upwards, forming a mountain range. Block mountains are formed when a large block of land is uplifted, creating a single mountain or a group of isolated mountains.
In a fantasy world, mountains can be shaped by a variety of factors, including the movement of tectonic plates, the erosion of the land, and the presence of other geological features. Mountains can have a variety of different features, including steep slopes, rocky terrain, and thin air at high elevations. They can provide a variety of resources, including timber, minerals, and water, and they can also be home to a variety of plant and animal life. Mountains can be a natural barrier between different regions, and they can also provide a challenge for travelers and adventurers.
Putting the physical world together
Once you have a basic understanding of these different types of landscapes, you can start to think about how they might fit together in your fantasy world. For example, you might have a range of mountains that separates different regions, or a network of rivers that serves as a major transportation route. You can also consider the climate of your world and how it might be affected by the geography. For example, a world with high mountains might have colder temperatures at higher elevations, while a world with a long coastline might have a more moderate climate.
Another important aspect of creating geography and climate in a fantasy world is to think about how these elements might be shaped by the culture and history of your world. For example, you might have a civilization that has developed advanced irrigation systems to make use of a dry desert region, or a culture that has adapted to living in the frozen tundra.
In a mountain region, a civilization might develop that is based on mining and resource extraction. The rugged terrain and thin air of the mountains could make it difficult for people to farm or graze livestock, so they might turn to extracting minerals and other resources from the mountains instead. This civilization might also rely on trade with other regions to obtain food and other necessities.
In a desert region, a civilization might develop that is based on trade and resource conservation. The dry, arid climate of the desert would make it difficult to grow crops, so this civilization might rely on trade to obtain food and other necessities. They might also develop advanced irrigation systems to make use of limited water resources, or they might rely on camel caravans to transport goods across the desert.
In a swamp region, a civilization might develop that is based on fishing and agriculture. The wetland environment of the swamp would provide a rich source of fish and other aquatic life, while the fertile soil might be suitable for growing crops. This civilization might also rely on trade to obtain resources that are not available in the swamp, such as timber or minerals.
These are just a few ideas for civilizations that might emerge in different types of landscapes in a fantasy world. There are many other possibilities as well, depending on the specific features of the landscape and the culture and history of the civilization.
The comparative advantages of each of these three societies in terms of trade would depend on the resources and skills that they possess. Here are a few ideas of what each of these societies might offer in trade:
A mountain society might have a comparative advantage in terms of trade due to the availability of minerals and other resources that are found in the mountains. They might also have developed expertise in mining and resource extraction, which could be valuable to other societies. In addition, they might have access to mountain passes or other transportation routes that could be useful for trade.
A desert society might have a comparative advantage in terms of trade due to their ability to conserve and manage limited resources. They might also have developed expertise in trade and transportation, particularly in the use of camel caravans or other methods of moving goods across the desert. They might also have access to valuable resources such as spices, herbs, or other plants that are not found in other regions.