Posts Tagged ‘World Building’

Welcome to the start of our final sub-series in our year long Worldbuilding series. The title of this sub-series could be called nothing but Other. Yep, there are a few topics I want to talk about that I just couldn’t find a place for. Some could easily be placed in their own sub-series, but after a year of this, I am ready to move onto other topics. So they get one post. Now you may be asking why is there a post on Wednesday? Good question. It simple. I feel like I owe you all more since for the last few weeks I haven’t been posting on time. So you get two posts this week.

Now you may be asking why is there a post on Wednesday? Good question. It simple. I feel like I owe you all more since for the last few weeks I haven’t been posting on time. So you get two posts this week. The other reason is I want to finish the Worldbuilding Series as a whole by the end of this month. So two birds. Let’s dive into today’s post.

There are two topics so we are going to split them up. We will talk about Communication first and the move onto Transportation.

How is communication usually done in fantasy stories? It is either by a messenger who delivers it by horse or other for of transportation. However, long distance communication is usually sent by messenger pigeon or raven. There’s nothing wrong with this, but these things have become tropes of fantasy. Why? Well because like a lot of things in fantasy (mostly stories taking place in a medieval setting) we use things from our own history. Why? Because we are familiar with it. Also, we know it works. No author wants to come up with a way of doing something and have their readers say “Nope, that wouldn’t work.”

Side note, if that happens it is not because the premises of the idea didn’t work, it was the overall execution throughout the story. Other things in the story aren’t done well enough to make use believe it can work.

Continuing. While there is nothing wrong with using things from our world that work, it just not as unique. I am tired of having so many fantasy worlds feel the same because they all have the share things from our world. The idea is this isn’t our world. Maybe humans exist there, but they aren’t humans from earth. They should have different kinds of plants animals. If you are going to go with a less technically advanced people, come up with ideas for they would communicate over various distances. Maybe you have bird post, but only commoners use it because they can’t afford the really cool and instant communication that the rich have access to.

If you want to use something from our world, put a twist on it. How about the telegraph, but instead of sending electrical signals maybe it sends pulses through the magic ley lines. It doesn’t just go to a specific place, but everywhere. Maybe that is why a code is needed so only the person the message is intended for can get it and read it. Speaking of magic, why can’t it be used to communicate with people far away? Have magic mirrors or portals that allow you to actually see each other. How about

How about a telepathic race? Instead of writing anything, you visit the local Telepathy shop or if you are wealthy enough have your own personal telepath, and by contact with them, you can communicate with another person. Either through another telepathy or directly to the person.

This isn’t limited to fantasy. If you are going to have a science fiction world where all or a portion of the galaxy is colonized, you need to know how they will communicate. My problem with science fiction right now is that they are relying too much on current science. So communication to another star system takes years. Some might say that’s because it is accurate. Yes, and it works if you want a storyworld where every star system is there own separate place and communicate long term. What if you want a world where you can talk to someone on the other side of the galaxy?

“Sorry, you can’t do that, because based on our current science that is impossible.” Wrong. You have to come up with that works for your story world. If you want people to know how it works, make it believable. Or come up with a new discovery that allows for it to happen. This is why I love Stargate. Sub-Space Communication is how they talk to each other so far away. When you get really far, such as different galaxies, you have communication stones that switch consciousness with someone else. You are in someone else’s body.

Let’s move onto Transportation.

“You’re just going to ask the same questions but about transportation.” Probably. However there is a difference between talking to someone far away and actually going there. Let’s look at all the different ways there are to travel on earth. You can walk, ride a bike, use an animal like a horse, you have cars, trains, ships on rivers and oceans. Planes for crossing around the world in hours instead of days or weeks. There are submarines for going below the ocean and shuttles that go into space.

There are a variety of types within those ways to travel, such as sled dogs for animals. You have motorcycles, dirtbikes for as motor vehicles though I just said cars. Depending on the time period your story world is in, will determine your ways to travel.

“Wait! You made a huge stink earlier about fantasy worlds being too similar because they used things from our own world and time periods. Now you’re saying travel has to be based one time period.”

I did just say that, but I said it because a lot of people seem to think that way. I would hope people would look at ways of travel and come up with their own even if they have their world set in a medieval type period. Why not have cars at that time? Instead of using gas, they use a different kind of fuel. If the world is closer to their sun, but not so close it is a desert planet, maybe they have a form or solar power. They have carriages that move on their own that use crystals that are full of sunlight.

We will never truly get away from having worlds that are similar to our own completely, but we can take things from our world and place them into our storyworlds but make them fit. I am a huge proponent of stealing other people’s ideas.

“What!”

You heard me. Am I saying steal someone’s novel they wrote and publish it as your own? No. However, you will find ideas that you really like from your friends, other writers and take them and use them. However, those ideas don’t work if you just drop them into your storyworld as they are. You have to make changes to them so it fits. That goes with anything. If you want flying cars in your colonial time period type world, you can do it. Just give a reason why, and make it believable. Maybe that world has a stronger magnetic field or something that allows them to have those kinds of vehicles.

Going back to magic, why can’t you just open portals and be there instantly. How about jump sites. This way you can get to civilized areas fast like other major cities, but if you want to get to the mountains, you have to jump to the closest site and then travel by foot or animal. If you’re using magic, you can have flying carpets. If you don’t want instantaneous travel, magic allows you to move faster or slows time down so you can get to places far away, quicker.

Time to look at science fiction. Unlike with communication, if you want to use science it isn’t that bad for travel. Why? Well, many scientists have many different theories on how such galactic travel may be possible without breaking the speed of light. There this is my approach and screw the cosmic speed limit and just do whatever you want. Ever heard of Hyperspace, Faster than Light Travel, Wormholes, hell why not just use portals.

When it comes to doing anything in writing, if you make it seem possible within your storyworld, then readers will buy into it. Not all, but most. Its when you don’t make it seem possible that everyone rejects it. If you have this great idea on how people can travel across the universe, but don’t think anyone will believe it is possible, and keep thinking that. Well, when you write it, you will write it in a way that tells the reader you don’t think anyone is buying it or you don’t believe it. Guess what happens, they won’t either.

My closing remarks are, to limit yourself to ways we travel or communicated during specific time periods. Do what you want and just sell it. Also, there is nothing wrong with using things we use, but put your own twist on it.

That’s all I got. Check back on Saturday for the next post in our Other sub-series. The topic Science and Medicine.

 

Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. Since last may we have been going through a long series on Worldbuilding. I am happy to say it will be coming to an end soon. When? Right now! Bye!

Okay, not now, but soon. I have three more sub-series I want to cover and when they are done this series will be over and we will move onto something else. What’s that you ask? What are the remaining three topics? Our next to topics, Daily Life and Other. The third topic is what our new sub-series we will be starting today. Magic and Technology. Like before, let me list off the working titles of all the posts in this series:

  • What’s your Rule?
  • Magic: Mystical or Knowledgable
  • How your World Affects Magic
  • Technology: Known or Unknown
  • How Technology Affects your World
  • Technology in Fantasy

Six posts in all, and I am splitting it up like I did with Military and Law Enforcement so each topic gets its due. Today’s post is simple, What’s your Rule? Those who know me know that I love my rules when it comes to magic. However, this is something completely different and applies no just to magic and technology. It can apply to everything we have done so far. Why am I just writing about it now? I should make this the last post, but it applies to this sub-series well so I will place it here instead.

Every heard of the writing trope called: The Rule of Cool?

The Rule of Cool

“The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its awesomeness.Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality as long as the result is wicked sweet or awesome. This applies to the audience in general; there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual. Also known in some circles as a “rad herring”, in which something doesn’t make sense within the guidelines of the story’s reality, but it’s too cool not to include it.” Rule of Cool – TV Tropes

The rule of cool is what a lot of authors use when creating a world, story, magic system or basically anything. Sure they will do their best to make it seem possible in within the world it takes place. Some do it better than others. I dare to say some don’t care if it truly fits in well, as the rule quote above says, it just too cool not to include it.

I use this rule when I develop my worlds. If I didn’t think it was cool, it wouldn’t be in the story. I also use project rules, meaning I have a rule for how I design my world. What my intention for the story and the world to be like. To put it another way, I have a mission statement. While that works in business, it just doesn’t sound as good for writing. So rule it is. My question and the topic of this rule is what’s your rule? Do you have a rule or a guideline of what you want to accomplish with your world or story?

To bring it to a small scale instead of a whole project, let’s talk about magic and technology. What is kind of rules could you have to guide you in developing your magic/technology? One of mine for magic is, How amazing it would look on in a movie? What a movie? This is a book, why are you talking about a movie?

Good question, it’s because I am the very visual person. I see a lot of this in my head and wonder if it would look just as good in a visual format, like a movie or tv. If my magic won’t look good on the big screen I am not interested in it. This is just me. I also how big can I go with it? Now, does it mean I need to go big with it? No. Will I, most likely because my stories are pretty big. I just like to know that if I want to I have lots of room to go with the magic.

What are some other rules that you could us:

  • My magic will be completely mystical
  • Magic can be understood, but not completely
  • It must good for fighting
  • Magic be able to do cool in huge battles
  • I want the magic to feel completely alien to everything else in the world.

Those are just a few ideas. What these rules do, is help guide you along with coming up with ideas to achieve what you want. An example: I have four ideas for magic, my rules or goals for my world are the last four ideas above. Magic can be learned, but not completely. Magic must be good in fighting, Magic must be able to do cool things in huge battles. Lastly, I want it to be alien to the rest of the world.

My ideas:

  1. Every time you use magic, the user is by affected. It can be good or bad.
  2. Spells requires very elaborate dances to do.
  3. Attacking one person directly, while magic will attack the enemies in the immediate surroundings.
  4. Magic can be used to keep a warrior going, if skilled enough take on a small army on one’s own.

Okay, not the best ideas, but it will work. Using my rules, which ideas would you not use in this world? It would be number 2. As cool a dance magic seems interesting to me, elaborate dances would take to long and not work well in huge battles, or even a one on one fight. It may fit feel alien, but that’s only one rule it meets.

When you have more ideas and they seem different or can’t work together, having rules or should I say guidelines to help you filter out ideas that may be good for a different story, but not the one you’re working on. So I ask again. What are your Rules?

That’s all for this week, check back next week. We will start on Magic, talk about if Magic should be mystical or knowledgable. Be sure to check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up.

 

Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. Sorry for the late post, but stupid technology doesn’t understand when you click save draft means save. Yes. I had this all written out and it didn’t save. Oh well. Moving forward. For anyone new or hasn’t been around, we have been going through a massive Worldbuilding series. You can find all the sub-series under the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. Our current sub-series is on Military and Law Enforcement. This is our last post on Law Enforcement, however in two weeks when we talk about rank that can be applied to Law Enforcement. If you would like to get caught up on the posts in this sub-series you can find them here. Let’s dive in.

Law Enforcement is not untouchable in their pursuit to serve and protect. There are limits to what they can do and can’t do. For example, they are allowed to lie to someone about what they know or don’t know in an interrogation. However, they aren’t allowed to brutely beat you for no reason. Local police do not have jurisdiction in another town. Meaning they technically can’t pull you over or arrest someone there. An example of this, my hometown of Oneonta, NY has the City of Oneonta and the Town of Oneonta. OPD for the city technically can’t police the town, however, because of agreements between the City and the Town, OPD can pull people over. Without that agreement, someone could argue the police had no right to pull them over and find the drugs they had in their car.

“Why wouldn’t a city and a town not want to have an agreement where the city law enforcement would help them out?”

Good question. In today’s world, it is impossible for some kind of feud between neighboring towns where such an agreement could not happen. Well, it is very possible. Last year, the Town of Oneonta and the City of Oneonta were in intense negotiations for the Oneonta Fire Department to go respond to the town’s fires. It was at a point where the city was saying that after a specific date, I can’t remember what date the City wouldn’t respond due to the Town of Oneonta not giving them the deal they want. The Town says they were asking for way too much money. Long story short, simple agreements like this can happen.

What if in your world, you have something like this happen, but then tie in a history between the two areas have a bitter past and something recent just triggered this old rivalry. Now, this so-called deal that is being worked out becomes embroiled with issues over the past. I am not saying this isn’t the plot of the story? No. However, if your main character or cast of characters are running from the law of one town and need a reason for the law enforcement from where they are running from can’t follow, you have your reason. All of this can be spoken in a matter of a few lines of dialog.

Let’s take this a little further, your main character is in one of these two cities for some other purpose and they pick up a newspaper or a flier a few times that talks about the deal. Maybe even overhear people talking about the hatred towards the other town from locals in saloon or diner. Even better, you slip this in throughout a few books so when you finally get to it, you have a little backstory for this feud long before you use it?

The point of this is, that law enforcement has limits, the question is what will your limits be? Do you want your law enforcement to have limits? Can they be Police, Judge, Jury, and Executioner? If there are limits what means do the people or the government use to make sure they being followed? Are there people who disagree with the measures that Law Enforcement can use while others support Law Enforcement? (Yes, I am pulling from what has been going on currently in our country with abuses of Law Enforcement.)

One last final question, if you have Law Enforcement and Military at what point do the Military get involved if they ever do when it comes to law enforcement. Are there higher agencies like a county police or state police, national law enforcement? Such as the F.B.I. If so, when do they take over? Is there a difference in skills? In a fantasy world, does one of these group have access to magic or in sci-fi worlds advanced tech?

What you also need to remember, that all of this changes depending on the nation or territory you are in on your world. As someone who likes to know everything, I like to have an idea of how all my different kingdoms work. That doesn’t mean you need to before you visit that area if you ever do. Just take note there will probably be some differences. Big or small.

That’s all for this week. This post was a lot different than my first one, but it works. Next week we move into Military and its Purpose. Be sure to check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up for the week. Beyond that, have a good weekend and get writing.

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Welcome to this week’s Craft Post! Hope everyone’s writing week is going well. This week we are continuing in our new sub-series in our massive Worldbuilding series. Last week, we started a new sub-series on Military and Law Enforcement. Before I get to forget like last week, if you are new or haven’t been around lately, you can find all the posts in the series under the World Building link in the toolbar. You can find last week’s post, here. Let’s get going.

What kind of crime do you have in your world? This could be individual or organized crime. Of course, when you think about crime, all the things from our world come to mind. How about something unique to your own world? Why would it be a different kind of crime or someone want to use it for a crime? Why am I asking about this? If you have something unique to your world that like a specific kind of job there usually some kind of darker version of it. Think of it this way, Rule 34 of the internet:

If it exists, there is porn of it. Rules of the Internet.

Instead of porn, it’s crime. If there isn’t that kind of crime, see rule 35.

If no porn is found of it, it will be made. Rules of the Internet.

Same as above, crime instead of porn. Example: The internet is created, hackers quickly show up. If you have some kind of unique technology or abilities or something unique to your world, think of how it could be used in a crime.

“Well, this device has special magical charms or specific chip that prevents it from ever being able to use in crime.”

Have you never heard of reverse engineering? Why do we keep have to come up with new and innovative ways for security? Someone finds a workaround and something new is needed. Understanding why that unique item or job or whatever it is could result in a crime helps make it even more unique.

Why does this exist? Simple, money. Ever heard the old saying of “Money is the root of all evil”? Well, it’s not. The Want of money is the root of all evil. It is that desire why billionaires hire lobbyists to lobby for certain laws that favor them over the masses. It is why people who are low in wealth who see that decide to not follow the laws as they see them actively working against them.

There are other reasons, heated emotions make someone do something stupid, or act on something they thought about for a while. We already talked about religion. Religion is one of the most common reasons for a terrorist to attack. The desire for power or power over someone (rape). Yes, rape is more about power and control over someone than actual sex. Not to say it isn’t about sex at times.

Also, there is that desire to survive. It not selfish, but to stay alive and you have no money to buy food, what do you do? Steal, that’s a crime. Working with other poor people or kids to help take as much as you can become organized crime. The reason for the crime may be evil or based on some selfish desire or one of just wanting to survive.

Some of these reasons are very human reasons. If you have other races in your world, crime could be very different for them. Working through what would be considered a crime to them. It could be very easy if you have a race who is huge on obeying orders or contract, refusing to obey or even thinking of disobeying can be a crime. The motives will be different especially if the race is not human.

Does that mean someone from another race can’t get angry and kill someone? No. Depending on if that race can get angry or not. If they don’t feel anger then you can’t have that happen. Half-breed with a race that does feel anger could.

In the end, crime happens because some want a shortcut to the things they want, while others are just trying to provide for themselves and family when legit means don’t pay enough. Know what kind of crime you have in your world and why it exists will help make your world feel more real.

That’s all for this week, next week we will focus on Limits of Law Enforcement. Be sure to check back on Monday for my weekly writing wrap-up.

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Welcome to this late edition of this week’s Craft Post. Sorry about the late posting, this week went by super slow for me and then the next thing I know is last night I am going to bed and I haven’t posted our craft post. I think I need to tweak my schedule to have a reminder so this doesn’t happen. Anyway, this week we are starting a new sub-series on Military and Police. This is going to be an introduction the topic. We will focus on Police and Crime and then move into Military. I am going to try something new, for this series. I am going to give you the titles (working titles) of all the posts in this series up from. (The topics that I know of at the moment). So here they are:

  • Military and Police: The difference between the two…or not!
  • Crime and why it exists
  • Limits of Law Enforcement
  • Military and its purpose
  • Military Ranks (Military and Police)
  • Causes of War
  • Warfare
  • Weapons of War
  • Treaties and Alliances

Yep, this sub-series is roughly going to take about nine weeks to get through. Again, that is what I am planning as of now. Some other ideas that fall under military and war could come up in that time. However, unless it really important I am not going to add additional posts. With that said, let’s dive into the intro to this new Sub-series.

Military and Police, is there a difference in your world? The answer is… yes and no or either one. What am I talking about you ask? This is Worldbuilding, so while it can easily be thought of as just focusing on one area of your world or nation, we are in fact talking about the whole world. Depending on the nation, the type of government and the culture of the people, as well just how advanced the kingdom is, determines if there is a law enforcement and military or it there is just a military.

Look at the games Elder Scroll, when going on a killing spree or attack someone either on purpose or accident soldiers come up and arrest you. Military. If I am not mistaken this is in every game regardless of the kingdom you are in. However, other games or books may have an actual police force. It is more likely unless you have only one culture of people and one kingdom in your world, somewhere there will probably be a kingdom that has both.

If you have law enforce, where is it? Is it through the nation or just in large cities? Can smaller cities have one, how about regions and towns? In small remote areas, with small villages or towns do they have one? It could be just easier for them to rely on the few military forces in the area for law enforcement than have to pay one or two people to do it. Especially if there are bandits in that area, it would be very hard for only one or two people to stop them.

If you have police and military what is the difference between them? Where does one jurisdiction begin and end and the other begin? Can police arrest soldiers? Do soldiers only serve to protect the borders and fight in wars?  An even more important question is how do they work together?

I am going to leave off here because these are important questions to know the answers to. If you don’t know maybe, after nine weeks of this sub-series you will. Next week, we will start to focus on the law enforcement side for the next two weeks, before moving into the military. Check back Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up.

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Welcome to this week’s Craft Post, sorry for such a late posting. I didn’t get home until late Friday and had other things that needed to get done after sleeping in way too late. I don’t like rushing through these posts, but at times I have to. Today’s post I did not want to do that, because I’ve been looking forward to this post for a few week’s now. Anyway, for those who are new we haven been going through a massive Worldbuilding series since May. (Funny, now that seems such a long time ago, though this summer when I thought this series has been long already wasn’t even close.) We haven broken up the topic into sub-series, which you can find under the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. To get caught up on our Government sub-series, you can find all the posts here. Let’s get started.

“I need a government for the nation that will be the primary focus of my story, but I have no clue where to start. I want something familiar but unique, but what? I don’t want a kingdom, but I do want only one person to have the power. Ah! This is so frustrating.”

This sound like anything you ever said? Yeah, I know this feeling. This is how I felt years ago when I was in still in the early years of developing Forbidden Realm. Sure, it had been about six years into development, but compared to the sixteen years, it was still the early years. I needed a government, and since it is a science fiction story, well Sci-Fantasy, I needed something new. I didn’t want to follow Star Wars Galatic Senate, I need something different. Never had I created a government before, I didn’t want something that has been done, but I was okay with manipulating and altering a system that has existed in the past.

If you don’t know where to start, the best place like this is to start at the top and work your way down. It is the same approach I have suggested of how to start building your world. Why change the method now. Go back to that list of Governments of the world, I posted a few weeks ago. Pick one of those governments, maybe pick two. Go research them and see how you can join them together. What I ended up doing is taking the Roman’s Triumvirate system of three people who hold power and turn it into a Pentaiumvirate (five people in power). At that time, I couldn’t get away from a senate style government so I added that in, but anything that came from them on laws would need to be approved by three-fifths of the Pentaiumvirate to get be passed and become law. I also wanted them to be them to be the top of the judicial system as well. I built a judiciary system of six levels with the Pentaiumvirate (also known as the Order) at the very top. They could hear any case as long as thy

I also wanted them to be them to be the top of the judicial system as well. I built a judiciary system of six levels with the Pentaiumvirate (also known as the Order) at the very top. They could hear any case as long as through the other six levels. There had to be some kind of basis for the Order to hear the case, but being the top they could choose to hear any case if they wanted to, even criminal cases, which at the time of the story has yet to happen.

While I look at the government it is very simple, but back when I first developed it, it seemed very complex to me. Note, unless you actually write up articles of the government and its powers, on paper, it is going to look simple to you. Unless, government structure and the inner workings of it are going to be important to your story, there is no real reason to go that far.

Going back to that list of Governments, once you have two or five that you like, go research them. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to use that information to work them together. My recommendation is to pick one that will be the primary structure and then another one that will have an important part as well. Any other elements, if you have more than two you want to work together, take only pieces and work them in.

If you don’t like to research or far more likely, don’t want to research, go with something you’re familiar with. However, if you really want to create a realistic government for your world, you will be doing some kind of research at some point.

Once you have done some research the key is to look at the structure. I like mindmap or hierarchy chart. Here is one I made to represent what the Galactic Government looked like when I first constructed it.

government

You can see all the levels there are to the Judiciary branch. I have Order as the top though that is the Pentaiumvirate themselves. The line connects it doesn’t go to Judiciary, it goes to Pentaiunmvirate. I also have the Military linked to both the Senate and the Pentaiumvirate as the Senate has control over them, but the pentaitumvir (what the members of are called) have ultimate control.

This helps see how everything works. Now this is also at a galactic level so I needed multiple levels for the Judiciary. You may notice that there is no similar breakdown of power like territory for leadership for planets. There is a reason for that. When I created this ten years ago, I didn’t think of it. I do believe that I just figured the Senators were in some way had power, but at the same time, each planet had their own kind of governments for their world but had to be sure to enforce any galactic laws.

To me, the kind of laws would be similar to how there are national laws in the U.S. States have their own laws, but there are some things that override them. Not to get political, the best example I can think of at the moment is Abortion. Many states have laws on the books that ban it, while others have it legal. However, the U.S. has declared it is legal thus overriding the laws of the state who have it banned it.

I will give you a little hint at a change I have made since then. Each world has their own world leader and a senator to represent their planet at a sector council level and from there a leader is selected to represent the sector and another one represents the sector in the senate. This would also work on the Galactic Territory level as well.

Once you have hierarchy chart you can start to develop each area with powers and responsibilities and so on. You should think of how the larger government affects those who live in remote areas of the nation. How laws are enforced there (we will talk about law enforcement soon) as well how they interact with their government. If a small village that is high in the mountains that have no representative of the judiciary, can they select members of the village to fill in to make rulings? Or do they need to take their case to the closest settlement that has a judge? Or does the village leader do that?

Even if you’re governments structure isn’t going to explain in great detail, it is good to know these things. Especially if your Main Character stops in such a village, and they have to take their case to a city weeks away, you could have some people grumble about wanting to take to do that, but can’t due to not having the money or supplies to make it there, pay for a room and get back. The more things you can think of like how taxes are handled, or hot topics such as religious rights or services are handled. Punishment for crimes, or laws that should or shouldn’t exist. This allows you add some politics into the story even if they are in the background. Note, you should have reasons for while people are for or against such things, as well while the government does it such a way instead because they are evil.

My closing thoughts are thinking about other branches you might be able to create to expand beyond what is already part of the government’s structure. If magic is going to have a huge role in your world, maybe there is a separate branch focus solely on Magic. What do they do? That would be up to you. If you want corruption in the government the bigger it is, the easier it is to have that. However, it is just as easy to have corruption in a small government as well. While I love knowing everything about my worlds, I recommend knowing enough about things in your world that are important to the story and more. If you know more than what will be revealed in the story, the more things you can add in the background to help flesh the world out in little ways to make it seem more real.

That’s all I got. Here is a reminder, there will be no craft posts for the next two weeks due to the holidays. I will be posting at least one more weekly writing wrap-up depending on what I get done. Right now, it will most likely just a year in review not tomorrow, but next week. Who knows, I may actually get something done where I can post one tomorrow. While I don’t know the next topic will be but I may continue with Government but do a post on other areas that I haven’t covered like Law Enforcement and any other areas and do a longer post for the first week back covering them before moving on or maybe I will move on to a new topic. Depending on what I come up with, Military maybe next, but that could be linked into Government. Not sure yet.

While I am not big on the holiday’s anymore, but hope everyone has a good and safe holidays. See you all next year.

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Welcome to last Friday’s Craft Post. Sorry for the late posting. For the reasons see my post about being late or my Weekly Writing Wrap-up. For those who are new, we are currently in a massive Worldbuilding Series. We are currently on our seventh sub-series, economics. This post will be the last post in this sub-series. Friday we will start a new sub-series. To get completely caught up, check out the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. To read all the posts in this sub-series you can find them here. Let’s get started.

Current Prices
Pounds Ounces Gram
Gold  $39,063.13  $1,214.70  $389.9500
Platinum  $30,205.60  $939.50  $30.2100
Palladium  $23,505.39  $731.10  $23.5100
Silver  $241.32  $16.57  $0.5400
Copper  $3.68  $0.23  $0.0055

Before we go into Goods and Services I want to talk more about the value of money. It plays into them. Today’s prices for the top precious metals. Well Gold, Platinum, and Palladium, don’t know where Silver and Copper come on the list overall. I have four tables for you to look at.

Same Gram in coin Different Gram in coin
Gram Worth Coin = Gram Worth Coin =
GP 4.5 175.27 1 GP 4.5 175.27 1
SP 4.5 1.03 180.52 SP 9 4.77 37.31
CP 4.5 0.02 8763.5 CP 7 0.38 4612.36

Base one these two tables you see how many silver pieces and copper pieces to make one gold coin based today’s prices by the gram. The first table uses the same amount of grams per piece. The second uses different levels. Based on today’s prices, if the same about of copper is in a coin as there is gold that’s 8763.5 pieces of copper to make one gold coin. It a changes to 4612.36 when you change the grams. You may wonder why this is important. We will cover that. I would like to think more about how great the difference is in worth.  180 pieces of silver is a lot of coin to carry around. So is over 8000 or 4000 copper pieces no matter what table you use. Let’s see how much this changes when we use Platinum gram price for silver and Palladium for copper.

Same Gram Different Values Different Gram Different Values
Gram Worth Coin = Gram Worth Coin =
GP 4.5 175.27 1 GP 9 350.55 1
SP 4.5 135.94 1.2 SP 4.5 135.94 2.57
CP 4.5 105.79 1.6 CP 2.5 38.77 5.96

Wow, that’s a huge difference. Way too high. Only .2 difference in value if you use the same grams. 2.57 is better, but not as good. The same goes for copper. Under this value, you have to care less money but at the same time, it isn’t the best value.

You might be asking why does this matter? My point is simple. If you go play any RPG video games or RPG table top games you might find pricing for goods and services that have one GP for a loft of bread. Or 2, I am looking at you Skyrim. Based on what one gold coin is worth of 4.5 grams of gold costs $350.54. That better be the best bread I will ever eat to cost that much. Skyrim doesn’t have any other coinage other than gold, so it isn’t as bad. However, what if everything is based on gold like bread but you have lower coins?  That would make no sense? You’re an idiot of you pay 4 gold for a hammer. That should be something far less. Maybe 5 silvers.

The best example of goods and services is in D&D

Adventuring Gear
Item Cost Item Cost Item Cost Item Cost
Acid (flask) 10gp Firewood (per day) 1 cp Mirror, small steel 10 gp Sledge 1 gp
Alchemist’s fire (flask) 20 gp Fishhook 1 sp Mug/tankard, clay 2 cp Soap (per lb.) 5 sp
Antitoxin (vial) 50 gp Fishing net, 25 sq. ft. 4 gp Oil (1-pint flask) 1 sp Spade or shovel 2 gp
Backpack (empty) 2 gp Flask 3 cp Paper (sheet) 4 sp Spyglass 1000gp
Barrel (empty) 2 gp Flint and steel 1 gp Parchment (sheet) 2 sp Tent 10 gp
Basket (empty) 4 sp Grappling hook 1 gp Pick, miner’s 3 gp Torch 1 cp
Bedroll 1 sp Hammer 5 sp Pitcher, clay 2 cp Vial, ink or potion 1 gp
Bell 1 gp Ink (1 oz. vial) 8 gp Piton 1 sp Waterskin 1 gp
Blanket, winter 5 sp Inkpen 1 sp Pole, 10-foot 2 sp Whetstone 2 cp
Block and tackle 5 gp Jug, clay 3 cp Pot, iron 5 sp
Bottle, wine, glass 2 gp Ladder, 10-foot 5 cp Pouch, belt 1 gp
Bucket (empty) 5 sp Lamp, common 1 sp Ram, portable 10 gp
Caltrops 1 gp Lantern, bullseye 12 gp Rations, trail(per day) 5 sp
Candle 1 cp Lantern, hooded 7 gp Rope, hemp (50 ft.) 1 gp
Canvas (sq. yd.) 1 sp Lock, very simple 20 gp Rope, silk (50 ft.) 10 gp
Case, map or scroll 1 gp Lock, Average 40 gp Sack (empty) 1 sp
Chain (10 ft.) 30 gp Lock, Good 80 gp Sealing wax 1 gp
Chalk, 1 piece 1 cp Lock, Amazing 150 gp Sewing needle 5 sp
Chest (empty) 2 gp Manacles 15 gp Signal whistle 8 sp
Crowbar 2 gp Manacles, masterwork 50 gp Signet ring‡ 5 gp

This is from D&D 3rd edition. To see all the goods you can find them here. D&D Wikia.

If you look over the items list you see prices that cost different values. This isn’t based on our values of gold, silver, and copper. There value is 10 sp = 1 gp. 10 cp = 1 sp. Simple, but gives you an idea.

Let’s look at a crafting your own goods and services. Depending on how functional you want it to be, determines how much you work on this. Think of things like this. If you want a realistic as you can. Your prices will be different everywhere you go. Example:

I am currently living in New Hampshire where there is no sale tax. This means that what the price is what it is. Cross the board to Massachusetts, there is sales tax. What a can of beans costs in New Hampshire is different in Massachusetts. This is the rich area as well, so going somewhere else like Arizona, prices are cheaper. How much, there’s a difference. This will go the same in your world.

Paying to rent a room in the capital of nation will be different than a room in the middle of nowhere. Beer, a few coppers it should cost in the poor areas of a city while in the rich districts you may pay a silver or gold for the best wine in the house. To make things simple you could have a set price for items overall, or to make it a little more complex one price for poor areas and another price for rich areas.  Same goes for cities and villages. It’s up to you. Just remember sometimes prices may be high in nowhere due to the cost to get items there.

That’s all I got on this topic. It is a very complex topic if you really want to make it real. Read The Name of the Wind and see how Pat Rothfuss does it. Also, you could take courses on economics or read some books.

On Friday we will start our next sub-series. I am thinking it might be time to discuss Governments. Not sure if that will be the next topic or not, but as of this moment, it is. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

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Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. For those who are new or haven’t been around, we are in massive series on Worldbuilding. The series is made up of sub-series. Last week we started our seventh sub-series on Economics. You can read all the posts by clicking the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. To find all the posts so far in the Economics sub-series you can find them here. Let’s dive right in.

Currency:

1. something that is used as a medium of exchange; money.
2. general acceptance; prevalence; vogue.
3. a time or period during which something is widely accepted and circulated.
4. the fact or quality of being widely accepted and circulated from person to person.
5. circulation, as of coin.
When you go to Dictionary.com and type in Currency those are for five definitions you get. Currency is basically, the accepted payment for goods and services. They can be simple or vastly complex. While this post is only focusing on Currency, if you are hoping to learn more about how to create your own. Well, that is next week’s post. Before we can talk about building a currency system, we need to look at what kinds of currency have existed.
Go to Google and type in “Different kinds of Currency Throughout History”. Wait, I already did it for you. Google History Currency. You will not believe what has been used for Currency throughout history.
Here is a list of different things that have been used as Currency:
  • Rai Stones (Weight of about 8 Tons)
  • Knives
  • Rings
  • Jewelry
  • Squirrel Pelts
  • Katanga Crosses
  • Edible Currency (Salt, Coca bean, tea bricks)
  • Poisonous Seeds
  • Beer
  • Rum
  • Fruit (UK Youth Prisons)
  • Parmigiano Cheese

Those are just a few I found in a five-minute search. My point is that currency can literally be anything as long as it has value to the people who are using it. Currency doesn’t always have to be gold, silver, and copper.

Let’s look back on the history of money. First interesting you will find is that standardize coinage didn’t come in place to about 1000 BCE. Before that, there were different kinds of Currency systems in place.

The first would be a trade, you need something and I have it and you have something I want. Let’s trade. In my opinion, there is no better example of this than in game Settlers of Catan. In that game, you have resources that you put your settlements on. On your turn, you draw from those resources. You use those resources to build roads new settlements and evolve your settlements. If you don’t have a resource you need, you can trade with other players. Usually, in the beginning of the game trades are fair a sheep for wheat. However, as the game goes on and people are getting close to winning. Someone who needs wood may need to trade three or four brick or a sheep, and two brick to get wood.

That brings me to the Barter system. I am guessing trade and barter were about the same time. I am not trying to be completely accurate about placing. The difference between bartering and trading is simple. Trade regardless of what you the two parties want from the other it is an item for item. In Settlers, one wood for one wheat, are equal in value. Barter, I need a wood, but I have no way of getting wood since my settlement isn’t on those resources. I need to trade. One player gets triple wood each turn, needs wheat, but she can get wheat but with more wheat this time, on her next turn she can do something. Now for one wood, she asks for four wheat. The value of what is needed is taken into consideration.

The Gift Economy is another early form of currency. To make this simple, I do something for you, like bring you food when you have none. You now owe me. In other words, you are indebted to me. You don’t have to pay me back in food, but if I need something and you can do it, I could call upon you for that.

Animals were another form of currency. Especially, when it came to getting a young ladies hand in marriage. Men would pay the girls father with cattle or other items that were believed the girl is worth. When you get to precious metals, you can do coins or bars. Check out the King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. He created a whole economic system for his world and uses it through the two books in the trilogy.

Bill Exchange, is something that is used to help port large amounts of money. Given a note that has been endorsed by a credible guarantor can be used to cashed in for money in a different town to keep thieves from coming for your money. This leads to Banknotes that are backed on how much gold is in the bank. Take it another step and remove banking altogether and you get our current system. Yes, the twenty dollar bill in your wallet or purse is worth twenty dollars because the United States Federal Reserve says so. There is no gold backing that.

The question you have to ask yourself is how thought out of an economic system do you want in your world. Taking that a little further, how much of a currency system do you want. That is your homework this week. Do some research on this and all the types of systems I mentioned here. Think of the kind of system you want in your World. Maybe, there a few I mentioned or you find on your own, that you would like to mix together.

That is all for this week. Next week, we are going to look at how to actually make a currency system. Check back on Monday for this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. For all those who are part taking in NaNoWriMo, I hope you got your novel ready to start.

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Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. I hope everyone has had a good writing week. For those who are new, we have been going through a massive series on Worldbuilding. You can find the whole series thus far under the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. Today we will be covering the second post in the new sub-series on Civilizations. You can find the first post here.

Now that we know a city can be whatever we decide it is, the question is where do civilizations tend to show up? There is only one way to know for sure and that is studying history. There is a major historical event or should I say information that led to the formation of permanent settlements. What was it? Guess! Either you guess right or wrong. The answer: Farming. Learning how to grow and harvest food allowed the early man to start to settle in one place instead roaming the lands.

In that, we have the answer to our question, to where settlements tend to show up. They show up in areas that are fertile. You can’t have a lot of people living in an area where you can’t grow crows post-Neolithic Revolution. Look at where early settlements were located. The fertile crescent in Mesopotamia, China, Eygpt, and India. These are only a few areas. When you are developing the history of your world, and if you cover the area this age, you should remember this.

While we have our answer, we still really don’t have our answer. Settlements appear elsewhere after hundreds of years adapting. Eventually, whatever race or races that mostly populate your world, will have more than they need. They will find other resources other than food, such as ore, or rare and precious metals like gold and silver. (Note, just because gold is the most valuable metal in our world doesn’t mean it has to be in your world.) Also, different settlements will meet up and find resource the other doesn’t have and will want. Trade routes will take place.

This is where another part of the answer comes in. Instead of traveling hundreds of miles to a settlement to settlement, it is easier to meet half way. What happens at these locations, settlements form. Same goes for ports. These areas are where larger settlements will form while smaller villages will form nearby or near farms.

Again, it looks like we have our answer. However, there is one other thing area that needs to be examined. Religious sites. Look at Isreal Judaism or Mecca for Islam. Certain lands, paths, or even regions can be seen as important. This goes back to our religions we craft. In these areas, you can bet all different size settlements will spring up. If we are talking about religion, how about magical lands or sites? If you have Leylines, areas where magic is stronger, I would think people would settle there, especially if you could use magic or learn it.

The closer we get to modern day, we will get settlements that are in remote areas. For these civilizations to form, someone or a group of people had to have reason to settle there. Maybe they wanted to get away from the world. Who knows. However, there is a reason. Depending on how advance your world is or where in history the story falls, you can have random settlements in areas that make no logical sense to settle there. Just be sure you know why the people who founded the town, village, or city.

Before we wrap up today, there is one other thing I want to bring up. While we have a well establish timeline of when civilization started, we are learning that it may not be as clear as we once thought. Areas around the world, we are discovering sites either religious or settlements that predate our earliest known civilizations. This is something you may want to put into your world. If you map out the whole history up to your story, you should know when these areas were settled and by whom. As well, why the abandon them or how they were destroyed.

That’s all for this week. Next week, we will be wrapping up this sub-series with a post on Formation of Settlements. Right now I am looking a what sub-series will be next. I am thinking about Governments, but I feel like I should hold off for a little while. We will see. Check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up. Now on Wednesdays for the month of October only, I will be posting a mini-series on NaNoWriMo Prep. You can find the first in the four post series here.

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Welcome to this week’s craft post. Today is our last post in the sub-series on religions. Next weeks will be a wrap-up post. For those who are new or haven’t been here in a while, we have been going through a massive series on Worldbuilding. You can catch up on all the posts thus far in the series, by clicking on the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. For those just not up to date on the sub-series of religion, you can find all the posts here. For warning, I will be referring back to the post on Doctrine of Religions for this post. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here.

What is a ritual? According to Dictionary.com a Ritual is:

1. an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rites.
2. a system or collection of religious or other rites.
While Dictionary.com is linking the word to religious use, you do not need to be religious to have rituals. You can have a morning ritual, where you get up and  go to the bathroom first thing, or have your coffee. You can have a night ritual, where you have a beer before going to bed or check on the kids before turning in. Ritual is something you do a specific way every time you do it. It doesn’t have to be daily, it can be weekly, monthly, annually, etc. When we hear ritual we link it to some kind of religious act because religion and rituals are so intertwined. Let’s look at some common rituals from the top three religions.
Christianity Islam Judaism
  • Holy Communion
  • Baptism
  • Tithe
  • (salat) Ritual Prayer
  • (zakat) Alms tax
  • (hajj) Pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Circumcision
  • Adulthood: Bat-mitzvah
  • Dietary laws (Kosher foods)

 

Each of the three rituals that are listed is only a few of those religions common rituals. Each one comes from a teaching from their holy scriptures. This is where Doctrine of Religions post will come in. I mentioned in that post that once you know the doctrines of your religions on your world will help with this. In case you don’t know all of or any of the religions in your worlds doctrine, that’s fine. You can come up with rituals and tie them to the doctrine later.

There is another post that may come in handy as well, the post on the Purposes of Religion. In this case, the bad purposes. If you have a villain who is religious, you can have him require the followers of the religion he is a part of tithe 50% of their weekly, monthly, or annual income to his position. This priest or monk could use obscure texts to back this up. In other words, not all rituals and practices have to be tied to doctrine. They can be tied by corrupt or mistranslation of the scriptures.

An example of this is, Christian Churches preach tithing, but nowhere in the New Testament does it say you must tithe. It only says tithe only if you want to. A good church will tell you this, a bad church will preach you must tithe, and it is usually the 10%, which is found in the Old Testament and the old Covenant that no longer applies. Please note this is not me trying to bash Christianity, just pointing something that I didn’t even really know until I heard some talk about it, back when I was more religious.

How do I come up with a Ritual? This is easy, it can be anything you want it to be. Your limit is that of your imagination. If you want a ritual to be drinking the blood of a virgin, you can do that. I would probably make that a ritual something fanatics follow, or have that religion be looked down upon. The key is, to tie it into the doctrine of the religion. Almost every ritual in a religion comes from their doctrine. Rituals are seen as an act of worship, by the followers and leadership, not necessarily by the gods, if the gods are real in your world.

If you need some help, you can look up different religious rituals, Wikipedia has a massive list, which you can find here. I found a cool, worksheet that asks you questions about your ritual, and it can be found here. If you want to add some conflict between two characters who are apart of the same religion is give them each or only one of them a ritual that one believes is a must and have the other not only refuse, but say it isn’t a ritual that is part of the religion. This ritual could be something that developed in a specific region of your world or it is a ritual from that character’s family has created, but it isn’t known as that character’s family has practiced it for centuries.

There is so much fun stuff you can do with this part of your religion. They don’t have to be bad or good. Whatever act you want to have who follow the religion do. Just know, that if you have a very silly or way out there ritual, you need to sell it as being serious to those who perform it. Unless you want the reader to think it is as silly as it sounds.

That’s all I got this week. I hope this post was is helpful for anyone who is working on religions for their world. Next week, we will do a wrap-up post. I don’t know what the next sub-series will be. I have two weeks to think it through. Remember, to check back on Monday’s for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up post. Follow me on Twitter @timrgreenebooks.

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