I’m working up an illustration of my Dragonborn at a higher level. With some plate armour and a great-sword.
I eventually settled on the colour scheme in the middle because it combines the white half-cape (symbolising his holy paladin nature) with the dull green coat (more of a earthy travelling look).
So here we are, with a pristine continent ready to be inhabited. I’ve already got a good idea where I’m going to be putting the various fantasy races, but for the sake of this series let’s take it step by step so you can see how I got there.
When creating a new setting I like to choose one or two races that are dominant. It doesn’t matter so much how they got there, whether through military strength or simple numerical superiority, but they will be the ones around which the rest of the world is shaped. I’ve mentioned previously that Egyptian Elves were the inspiration for my setting. In order to build outward from that basic idea we’re going to have to answer a lot of questions. Keep in mind that I’ll be building upon the races as they are in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.
“The long hall ascends like a wide staircase lined with pillars and terminates at a great Celestial Door made of opaque green glass and inlaid with wrought mithral. The walls are expertly crafted but plain, and the ceiling is carved in intricate pictograms and Celestial script. At the top of the hall, before the great door, a large starfish-shaped creature with five spindly metal legs lay inert. Tarnished metallic parts and gears are scattered around the chamber.”
Last week I quickly covered the basics of drawing up a continent and when we left off we had a rugged landmass, with mountain ranges and varied terrain types. This weeks entry will go over how I go about adding rivers, lakes, and forests.
First up are the rivers. One of the golden rules with these is that the coast bends inwards where a river meets the sea. So the first thing I did was find suitable inlets to start my rivers. Anywhere that the land ducks in suddenly is perfect, and bays are especially good.
From these points I’ll draw my river as it winds uphill, usually towards a nearby mountain range. Every river needs a point of origin, a spring or mountain-top lake that feeds it, and these need to be high up. Most rivers also have several streams or tributaries that come meet up and add their power together. So at some point most of my rivers split in two.
Like most DMs (GMs) I know, I really like the process of building a fantasy world from scratch and the thought exercises that go along with it. So I thought I’d document the whole thing in public. I get some cool content for the website out of it, and who knows, maybe it’ll help some people out there who don’t know how to do this. Here goes…
I almost always start with a map. Sometimes I’ll have a cool concept for one of the races, or a new angle on how magic could work, but that stuff can stay in the background for now. It might influence some decisions, but we don’t really need to write it down yet.
I find that starting with a map of your world/continent/region makes the most sense because that’s the part of your world that has existed the longest. Just like on Earth, the terrain is going to influence how other things like countries are put together. Or pulled apart. For this particular project I decided to try out the rice mapping technique I’ve seen around the internet. Basically, you pour some rice (or beans, or whatever) out onto a blank piece of paper, then roughly push them into some pleasing shapes. Drawing around the resulting mess gives you appropriately rough coastlines and outlying islands.