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World Building in D&D - Creating a believable fantasy world

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

When creating a fantasy world, it's important to start by considering what aspects of the world will be most important to the story. This could include things like the geography and layout of the world, the cultures and societies that exist within it, the history and mythology of the world, and the rules and laws that govern the world and its inhabitants.

Once you understand the key elements of your world, you can begin to think about how to make it believable to your readers. This can be achieved through detailed description, consistent internal logic, and, perhaps most importantly, strong characterization and storytelling.

When describing your world, try to provide enough detail to give readers a sense of its unique features and characteristics, but avoid overwhelming them with too much information. Instead, focus on providing just enough detail to help readers imagine the world and its inhabitants in their mind's eye.

In terms of internal logic, it's important to make sure that the rules and laws of your world make sense and are consistently applied. This can help to create a sense of believability and immersion for readers.

Here are a few key items that you might want to consider when creating a fantasy world:

  1. Geography and layout: This includes the overall shape and size of the world, the location of major landmasses and bodies of water, and the climate and terrain of different regions.

  2. Cultures and societies: These include the different races and species that inhabit the world, their social and political structures, their customs and traditions, and their relationships.

  3. Language: This includes oral and written languages the inhabitants of your world use.

  4. History and mythology: This includes the major events and turning points in the world's history, the gods and other supernatural beings that are worshipped or revered, and the myths and legends passed down through the generations.

  5. Rules and laws: These include the laws and systems of justice that govern the world, the magical and supernatural powers that exist and how they are used, and any other rules that are unique to your world.

  6. Technology and infrastructure: This includes the level of technological development in the world, the existing transportation and communication systems, and the major cities and other inhabited settlements.

  7. Wildlife and flora: This includes the different animals and plants that are native to the world, the ecosystems and habitats that they inhabit, and the role that they play in the world's ecology.

  8. Magic and supernatural powers: This includes the different forms of magic in the world, the rules and limitations that govern their use, and the people or creatures who possess magical abilities.

Throughout this series, I will use Atlantis as an example of how you can create a complex and rich fantasy world. You can apply the principles to any world you want to create.

Finally, strong characterization and storytelling are essential for making your fantasy world come to life. Through well-developed characters and an engaging plot, you can help readers to become emotionally invested in your world and its inhabitants, which can help to make the world feel real and believable to them.

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