A VERY LONG GUIDE ON CREATING YOUR OWN WORLD
This guide is great to help you if you’re someone who wants to construct a roleplay from scratch. What I mean by that is, the world that your roleplay is set on isn’t like out current world today. The world you might want to create may not even be on this planet! But you can’t create a believable and credible world without knowing what you should have and what you might be missing, and here’s a guide to help you.
Alright, so you want to create your own world, huh? Well I’ll tell you this, it isn’t that easy. Creating a fictional world isn’t just about the places and the people and where it’s at. It’s way much more than that. A world must have laws and physics, strict rules, etc.
SECTION 1: THEOLOGY
What is the basic religion in your world? Is there a variety of religions that certain people follow? Or maybe your race doesn’t even believe in a God or any divine figures. The theology is the first issue that you must address. This doesn’t have to deal with gods and goddesses or any divine figures, but it mainly focuses on the supernatural of your world. Is there magic in your world/universe? If so, how is it applied and how do people use it? Is it like Harry Potter where they use wands in order cast spells or is it like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where you use your mind in order to manipulate molecules in the air in order to make thing happen (i.e. setting a car on fire from 50 yards away)? Whether your world has magic or a God or gods/goddesses to pray to, theology is important because your people should be able to believe in something.
Examples/Types of Religions
- Monotheism: This is where people ultimately believe in one God and he is the being that shapes everything from the history of your universe to the geographical features of your world.
- Dualism: This is where there a two equal and opposite forces that keep the world balanced with their eternal struggle against each other (i.e Light vs Dark, Good vs Evil, etc.)
- Polytheism: This is where people believe in many gods that represent different things. This can be found in classical empires like Greece, Rome, Egypt, and even China.
Examples/Types of Magic
- Chi: This is where the user uses his own spirit and energy in order to produce energy from oneself. This is easier magic because you can easily limit the amount of chi that the user can draw out without having to be self harmed.
- Mana: This type of magic is somewhat common because it’s a system of magic where users are capable of bending or manipulating the natural forces & the fundamental forces of physics in order to produce a variety of effects. It may be elemental (i.e. Earth, Wind, Water, Fire) or it could be something like the Force in Star Wars where it’s basically using a force of gravity.
Alright, so you have already figured out the idea of what your people will believe in and what are the basic forces in your world. Now that you have done that, it’s time to move on to the next topic.
SECTION 2: GEOGRAPHY
This is where you start asking yourself: how is my world going to look like? Is my world going to be Earth-based or set on earth? If on Earth, what place should I make it in and how will I apply it to the theology? If my world is in another planet, what kind of things are going to be on it (i.e. plants, animals, physical features, etc.)? Is my world full of land or is it an aquatic world with little to no land at all. Is my world underwater like Atlantis, or is it up in the Heavens like Olympus?
Creating your world in terms of how it looks isn’t easy. You have to think about its physical formations and the atmosphere around it. Is your world hot or cold? Does it have many mountains or is it mostly flatland? A bunch of other questions you should be asking yourself.
Also, a tip is to make or create your own map. Creating a map for the geography of your own world is a real help to determine where certain places are and where you are going to place your future buildings and states/provinces/districts/sectors.
See? Your map doesn’t have to look like Earth. Take a look at the first one. The map clearly shows the shape of a phoenix and it’s a creative aspect to make your world more intriguing and interesting. The second map is also a good way because it shows you where certain places are, regardless of how messy it might look.
Other questions to keep in mind:
- How much people can your planet/land/area support?
- What kind of people are there and how do they react to one another or the environment/political status?
- Does your planet have trade routes or roads of any sort?
- What kind of wildlife is on your planet/world? Is it the same as Earth? Or are there flying pigs and underwater horses?
- What are the areas that are more prone to natural disasters like rough weather, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, cyclones, etc?
SECTION 3: ASTRONOMY
If you don’t know what astronomy is, it’s the study of the starts, planets, galaxies, etc or anything that has to do with the heavens. Your world will obviously have a night sky, but the question it, what can your people see from it?
Your sky could look like something that resembles close worlds. What that means is that your planet can be as close as a moon’s distance to other planets so that means that they appear very large.
Or maybe your night sky would just be plain stars with a hint of the Milky Way Galaxy? Maybe you can also see asteroids and other lifeless rocks that are floating across the sky.
One thing to remember is this. Your planet in your solar system must always have a sun to revolve around. And it must be the right sun. Here’s the basic chart on defining the types of suns:
Type O Suns: Are very blue in color are are extremely hot (they are 6 times hotter than the sun). Anything that is in close range with a Type O Sun will burn and melt into oblivion.
Type B Suns: Are also extremely hot but are only 4 times hotter than then sun. Same applies from Type O. Planets will still melt. These types of suns are still too young to have planets revolving around them.
Type A Suns: Are very white in color and are twice as hot as the sun. Sirius is the only Type A star in our night sky. If the sun was a Type A star, Mercury would melt, Venus’ atmosphere would be blown away, and the earth’s water will boil up until it is no more.
Type F Suns: Are just a little hotter than our sun.
Type G Suns: This is our sun. This type of star is actually really rare in the universe because it would have to be at the right temperature in order to have planets that contain life, and those planets have to be in a good amount of distance from the sun in order to sustain life.
Type K & M: These suns are basically worn out and have no use whatsoever to contain planets around them. Worlds around these stars are known to be very cold because they aren’t even that hot anymore. They are also known as the Giants and Supergiants.
What is the size of your planet? Are there other planets orbiting along with yours? If so, how many? Do they sustain life as well? Or are they completely dead and are just there for show? How many moons does your planet have? Does it have rings like Saturn? Or does it have a big red spot like Jupiter? These are some questions to keep in mind when creating your planet.
SECTION 4: PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE
One of the funnest things when creating your own world is creating your own ecosystems and environments. Creating your own animals is something that you will enjoy. Do the animals in your planet look like dinosaurs that stand ten stories tall? Or maybe they’re as deadly as the Tasmanian Tiger or the Camel Spider. The idea is to make your animals adapt to your environment. You can’t have a tiger swimming underwater. That sounds nonsense.
To help you create your own animals, here are some guides that will help you visualize what they would look like, how they will act, etc.
Creating plants sounds complicated but there are some easy things to remember. You should know that plants give out oxygen in order for us to breathe. Some plants give us food to eat and even to drink! What kind of plants are on your planet that allow your people to benefit from it? Will it be a genetically altered apple/banana tree that has been fused into one fruit? Or is your plant carnivorous and will eat anything that touches it? Those are some thing to keep in mind.
SECTION 6: ANTHROPOLOGY
It’s time to make MAN!!! This is the time where you start creating your races, which I personally think is fun to do. Also, this is where you have to think about:
- Standard Ways of Living
- Cultural preferences
- Social Structure
- Government (will be discussed later)
- Religion (up above)
The title of this section ‘Anthropology’ is a bit of a misnomer, since your fantasy or sci-fi universe is likely to contain non-human races. What races will you have in your universe? What are fundamental characteristics of each race? In what ways will different races in your world conflict and cooperate? How do the different races or classes connect spiritually and physically with the world around them?
You also have to think about social classes. What is the current social classes in your society and how are they divided by one another? Is it like the Middle Ages where the Royalty was the highest and the peasants and slaves were in the lowest? Or is it the most successful people above and the couch potatoes at the bottom?
Other topics that you should keep in mind are education, morality, social issues, political viewpoints, medicine and science, literature, etc. Creating a race is just that complex so you’d need to make sure that everything is right and if it makes sense.
How are your people educated Does your races have facilities for educational purposes and have their children go through the learning processes like we do? Or they could probably be taught by their own parents like being homeschooled.
What are the morality and values of your race? How do people look at what’s right and what’s wrong? According to the Code of Hammurabi (the first written legal code) a person from a higher class could murder a person of a lower class with only a minor fine. Murder of a person of the same class might result in corporal punishment and a fine. Murdering a person in a higher class was a capital offense. Keep in mind your social structure. In a society dominated by the warrior there will always be a tendency toward a ‘might makes right’ morality.
Other things you’d also want to think about is art, practices, entertainment, fashion. How do people dress in your world? Do they dress like people from the Capitol like in the Hunger Games? Or do they dress like people from Star Wars? Maybe their current fashion is something that relates to the older times where they wear corsets and bonnets. How do people entertain themselves? Are there movie theaters, live events, concerts to go to? Or do they entertain themselves by watching people get stoned to death?
SECTION 7: ECONOMICS AND GOVERNMENT
How does money move around? And what kind of mediums do they use for money/currency?
There are ways that this can happen:
Barter: the most basic form of exchange: I give you something that you want if you give me something I want. Goods and services are exchanged for goods and services of similar value.
Medium of Exchange: a specific commodity or resource begins to serve as a medium of exchange and the value of goods and services are calculated according to that resource. So the value of all materials in an economy might be calculated based on bushels of grain, strings of beads, ounces of salt or silver, or mystical psycrystals.
Coinage: now the government begins to get involved. The government regulates the medium of exchange by making coins with fixed weights and official images stamped on them. Gold is ideal for this purpose because of how soft it is, making it easy to stamp in official seals or images of Caesar’s face.
Paper: the government begins to issue special “cheques” that have their value backed up by gold in a kingdom’s vaults or grain in the kingdom’s granaries. These evolve, like coins, into special, government-printed bills. Eventually, the bills may not even reflect the value of the standard on which they were originally based, but have their value determined by money markets of competing currencies.
Credit: at this point no actual coinage or paper needs to be exchanged, only information that money has changed hands. The appropriate amounts are transferred between financial institutions and the only thing that’s actually changed is the numbers in the accountants’ spreadsheets.
How is your government in your world: What kind of government is it? Is it a monarchy where it’s ruled by a king or queen: Or is it a democracy where the nation elects its own leader like the United States?
How does your world punish people for their crimes? For all we know, they could punish them by death, depending on how serious the offense is of course. How does everything work in order to cease punishment? Are there people like officers and officials to help control the people from doing such horrible things? There should be positions like officers, judges, federal agents, sheriffs, marshalls, etc. in order to keep your world in balance so that crimes are rare.
And to top it all off, here is a civilization worksheet done by elfwood (where I got most of the information from). I think I was able to cover at least most of the basic things you will need to think about when creating your own world. I wish you all the best of luck and I hope that this really helps!!