Worldbuilding

Adding Dance to Your Fictional Culture

All human cultures include dancing – with the possible exception of groups that specifically forbid it. Not only is dancing intrinsic to our nature, but it’s an amazingly versatile activity. Dreaming up some dances can add a splash of realism and interest to your creative … read more »

Tweaking Your World’s Geology

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

Chances are your world is built on something.  If it’s anything like Earth, your characters are living in a thin veneer of air and water sandwiched between a dark, unforgiving void and a churning sea of white-hot iron. We’ve already looked at what’s above; now let’s … read more »

Changing the Way Your World Moves

Earth is a great planet. It’s functional enough as life-bearing planets go, and it boasts plenty of room – 510 million square kilometers, to be precise* – for all sorts of interesting stories. Yet sometimes you just have to change the scenery; escape your earthly … read more »

Should You Use Non-Humans in Your Setting?

Picture the scene: you’ve worked long and hard on the perfect setting. You’ve crafted a fantasy world of ancient cities and unexplored depths, or a science fiction empire with planets teetering on the edge of war. Now you must decide, are humans alone in this … read more »

Spicing Up Your World’s Chemical Makeup

One of many great landscapes by FPesantez (Deviant Art member)

Are you cooking up a world for your story or game, and Earth-standard is just a little too bland? Want to give your setting a subtly different flavor without overwhelming your story, or adding a bad fridge-logic aftertaste? Well then, we have the perfect blog … read more »

Creating a Dynamic Campaign World

When running a large campaign, you want to have a setting that players will care about. Your setting should feel like pieces of living history, not a series of location backdrops and tropes. This means you need to create a dynamic and nuanced world, instead of locations in a … read more »

Choosing Music and Instruments for Your Culture

The cultural ambiance of your world wouldn’t be complete without music. When adding musicians to your settings, it’s easy to insert generic instruments and songs without thinking through them. But that wouldn’t do justice to the huge diversity of music human cultures have. Here are some guidelines and inspiration … read more »

Giving Your World Fantastic Skies

Earth is consistently used as a setting for fiction – even speculative fiction such as scifi and fantasy. This may have something to do with all known authors and readers being from there; Earth is a friendly, familiar, ready-made planet to dump characters and plot onto. But … read more »

Obeying the Celestial Speed Limit

As a genre, science fiction frequently runs roughshod over the hard limits of the universe as we currently understand them. Above all else, science fiction writers consistently forget, hand wave away, or blatantly ignore what is perhaps the most foundational rule in the universe: nothing … read more »