Whether for a campaign or a novel, making a fantasy world can be a fun yet scary mountain to climb. Almost anything you imagine can become reality in your world. Fantasy towns with advanced technology. A setting that’s not modeled after medieval Europe. You are limited only by what you can imagine. But, that also means there’s a lot to consider and you don’t want a reader to point out a plot hole. This guide will help you create an engaging and realistic fantasy world.
To break it down for you, here are the different elements that go into fantasy world-building. Keep these in mind. You don’t have to address everything. Flesh out only the things that apply to your story or campaign. I rarely go deep into trade or religion. I only recently started getting into fantasy languages.
Country, towns and villages, your characters need to live somewhere. I generally model the basics ( layout, weather, climate and building types) after real-world places. But that’s where it ends. I’ll fill the locations with people, natural formations, plants and animals of my own making.
I don’t mind reading about dwarves, elves, and dragons but I love when authors create entirely new fantasy races. If you want to make something new and unique, here are a few questions to ask yourself.
This is really fun. Making animals straight out of mythology. Shadow creatures. Glowing wolves. Dragons that turn into anime style blades. It is so much fun to draw inspiration from a million different places and create plants and animals that I kinda wish actually existed. This is your guide if you want to add unusual or magical plants and animals to your world.
Fantasy doesn’t mean magic. You don’t have you write any characters with powers. I prefer fantasy with magic but some people don’t. If you’re a world builder who wants to make a new magic system, this guide is for you.
If you’re building a world, you’re going to need a map. It makes life so much easier when you can see how far one location is from another. Where are the natural formations like water sources, mountains and forests? I make my maps in Photoshop but there easier apps to use such as Inkarnate.