LESSON Creating a Kingdom!

Discussion in 'BUILDING WORLDS' started by Sen, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. Sometimes, roleplays will expand from one city to another, eventually creating a network of cities for all your characters to explore. This is a little guide to help you come up with your own kingdoms!

    This is a joint effort from both @Sen and @Hana, with the latter adding her knowledge on the subjects of History, Economy and Kingdom Relations! Big thanks to my bb.

    This contains examples, it features ancient Asian historical periods but you can use these questions to make something unique and awesome!

    Creation/Origin Myths
    - Early History
    - Rulers and Founders
    - War
    - Common weapons
    - Fortification
    - Strategy
    - Currency
    - General
    - Lifestyle
    - Festivals and pastimes
    - Religion
    Outside the Kingdom
    - Relationships with other kingdoms or peoples

    Creation / Origin Myths
    Creation myths are narratives that the people of your kingdom will recite and retell their younger generations, telling the story of how their world was created and how people first came to live in the world. They often include fantasy elements and supernatural creatures and either focus on the creation of their world or their founding king. Most countries have their own creation myths, and it is a great way to start off the process. Also leads on to religion.
    • Who created your world? What kind of god were they?
    • What did they do to create the world?
    • Did they create the world, or did they create beings who did?
    • Are they a human or an animal?
    • Do the people still worship the god? Or have they been forgotten or only believed in by a selective group of people like priests and shamans?
    • Do they still influence the current world?
    For Fantasy-Themed Works
    • Was magic an accidental creation or intentional?
    • Did it come from the death of a god? (eg. their body disintegrated and became magic, their blood flowed from their body)
    If accidental
    • Do the gods approve of the use of magic?
    • Is there a council of sorts that oppose the use of magic?
    • Are people despised for using magic?

    Example: Korea
    King Dangun - First King of Korea
    Dangun was believed to the ancestor of the Korean nation.

    Once upon a time, the god Hwanin's son Hwanung wished to go down to the human world. Hwanin allowed his son to go down with three amulets. The young god went down to Sandansu in Mount Taebaek with 3000 of his followers and managed the agriculture, morals and 363 societal work of human world.

    One day, a bear and a tiger came to Hwanung with the wish to turn them into humans so the young god gave them divine wormwood and twenty cloves of divine garlic, telling them to eat them for a hundred days where there was no sunshine. Then they will become human beings."

    They followed Hwanung's orders and hid themselves in a cave. But the tiger could not stand the days without the sun and rushed out of the cave, but the bear managed to endure all a hundred days and became a woman. However, there was no one who wanted to marry her. She went to Sindansu and prayed for a child, so Hwanung transformed into a human being to grant her wish, marrying the bear woman. She gave birth to a child and named it Dangun.
    After creating the kingdom of Gojoseon, he left the world and turned into a mountain god.

    Example: Japan
    Izanami and Izanagi - Birth of Japan
    The first gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi were born from a reed that rose from the soil between heaven and earth when the world was still chaotic and there was no land for the people to live.

    To create the the first land, they summoned the male god Izanagi and the female god Izanami and tasked them with the difficult task, giving them a spear decorated with beautiful jewels and pearls named Ame-no-nuboko (heavenly spear). The two deities went to the bridge between heaven and earth and began to churn the sea below them with the spear. When Izanagi lifted the spear, the drops of water fell and created Onogoroshima (self forming island). Izanami and Izanagi then left the heavens to create a home on the new island.

    Example: China
    Pan Gu - The Giant
    In the beginning of the world there nothing but a black egg that grew in the darkness. Inside the egg was the giant Pan Gu, who grew and slept for 18 thousand years. When he finally awoke and stretched, his enormous limbs shattered the egg in two. The upper half floated into the sky and became the heavens and the bottom, heavier half sunk to the bottom of the darkness and became the earth.

    Although he was pleased with the birth of the world, the heaven and earth began to slowly inch towards each other, trying to come together again and once again create Chaos. To prevent this, the giant stood between them, his head holding up the heavens and his feet holding down the earth for another 18 thousand years.

    When Pan Gu was finally sure that the heavens and the earth would never join again, exhausted by his task, he lay down and passed away. But before he died, his body began a transformation that would form the land. His eyes became the sun and moon, his body and limbs turned into the mountains and his blood and tears turned into the rivers, lakes and oceans. The hairs on his head turned into twinkling stars and rose into the sky, while his beard and skin turned into the trees that grew on the rich soil created by his body. His sweat turned into rain and dew and his bones sunk into the earth, turning into buried treasure.

    If the creation and origin myths deal with the people’s beliefs of how they came to be, as well as give as some insight to your kingdom’s religion and mythology, a kingdom’s history is just as important. A kingdom’s history, in a fantasy setting, can often be tied to the creation myths and the deities and legends there. But this section will deal with the what, the how, and the when of a kingdom’s past.

    First of we begin with the Early History of a kingdom. How and when the people of your kingdom come to settle in what will eventually be their country or kingdom?

    Early History
    • Who were the first settlers? (If using Creation Myths as part of the backstory, refer to that section and relate it to the first settlers of your kingdom.)
    • How did they make use of the land?
    • Where did these early settlers come from? Did they come from a different group of people from another land?
    • When did the early settlers gather into the first communities and settlements? (Doesn’t have to be an exact period of time.)
    Rulers and Founders
    • Who was the first king or ruler?
    • Which rulers ruled through peaceful and prosperous periods?
    • Which rulers ruled through oppressive and difficult periods?
    • Were rulers ever deposed forcefully through rebellion?
    • Which rulers have brought about notable contributions to the kingdom during their reigns?
    • Do the rulers have a council or advisors who influence (or in some cases even force) their decisions?
    • Has your kingdom gone to war?
    • Has your kingdom achieved more victories than defeats in wars?
    • How does your kingdom handle prisoners of war?
    • Has your kingdom conquered or destroyed other territories?
    • What kingdoms or groups has your kingdom come into conflict with?
    • Or does your kingdom take other methods to resolve conflicts?
    • Has there ever been any rebellions?
    A military is important for the safety of your kingdom, as it protects the citizens of your country from the threats of other kingdoms, invaders and rebellions.
    • What are the common weapons of your kingdom?
    • What is the rough number of soldiers in the military?
    • Are they separated into different styles of soldiers? For example, archers, axemen, swordsmen or are they all capable of using all weapons?
    Examples: Common weapons in Goguryeo and Tang dynasty military
    Goguryeo - main weapon was a modified bow similar to a crossbow. Stone throwing machines, spears, short double-edge swords, long single-edged swords
    Tang dynasty - Gunpowder, 'grenades' thrown by catapults, mirrors used to start fires, Tang dao.

    • What shape is the royal palace/fortress of your kingdom?
    • Where is it located? Does it offer any advantages?
    • What sort of defences does it have? For example, ditches filled with spikes or a moat.
    • What are the walls of the building made of? Are there guard towers?
    Armies need to practice their techniques to give each soldier a high level of individual training. It highlights a soldier's strength and helps them learn how to work as a team. Sometimes these can take the form of hunting parties conducted by a high level soldier or the king himself. During battles, these tactics and techniques are used on the battlefield and many kingdoms often have their own unique strategies.
    • How often are manoeuvre exercises or hunting exercises in your kingdom? Does the king participate?
    • How many armies are in the kingdom?
    • What is the typical military formation?
    • Are there any special tactics or manoeuvres that are often used only by your kingdom?
    • What are the disadvantages of the units in your army?
    Example: Gorguryeo military
    In Gorguryeo, every year the king leads manoeuvre exercises, hunting exercises are conducted to test each soldier's skill level and improve upon it. There were five armies in the capital and the king himself was often in charge of the cavalry. Each military unit had numbers of up to 21,000 to 36,000 while the cavalry had 12,500. The units were divided according to weapons; spearmen, axemen, archers on horseback and those on foot, the heavy cavalry

    There were also groups like the catapult unit and wall climbing units, so that they covered all grounds regarding offence and defence.

    ADVANTAGE: High specialized units that focused on one weapon or specialty.
    DISADVANTAGE: Units cannot make any complex manoeuvres on their own.

    The currency and the wealth of the kingdom determine how it can achieve or attain territory, military, culture, as well as maintain it. By working on the basic economic background of your kingdom you can illustrate the kingdom’s strengths and how it thrives and makes use of its resources. A healthy economy paves the way to a prosperous kingdom and gives more opportunities to explore new territories or sciences, or other pursuits, and a worrisome one will always lower your subjects’ morale the more their situations deteriorate. It is the responsibility of a good king and government to make sure that the money keeps on flowing in, and also to make sure that it keeps on circulating more than leaving the kingdom. The economy is always a delicate thing to balance.

    For this guide we will only brush upon laying out the basics for a kingdom’s economy.

    • Does your kingdom use a common currency?
    • If this is currency is based on coins, what are the metals used and what are their exchange rates? (i.e., does 1 gold coin equate to 10 silver coins and 1 silver coin to 20 copper coins?)
    • Are there banks to safehold money to?
    • Are there other ways to purchase products or services (promissory notes or debts)?
    • Has the kingdom been in debt to independent groups or other countries?
    • What are the kingdom’s main sources of food?
    • What are the kingdom’s primary crops?
    • Does your kingdom mine minerals and metals?
    • What are the kingdom’s most prominent resources?
    • How does your kingdom utilise the environment to increase production? Is the soil rich? Do they live near a mountain perfect for mining?
    • What are considered ‘luxury’ goods or products in your kingdom?
    • What resources and/or products are considered rare or scarce?
    • What products and resources does the kingdom trade or export?
    • What are the different jobs that can be taken in the cities and in towns?
    Culture is shaped by the kingdom's climate, religion and society. At its most basic form, culture is defined as a group of people’s way of life that encompasses their beliefs, religion, language, literature, science, and arts. It is something that is passed down and molded from generation to generation by the experiences that the people as a community experience. By working on the culture of your kingdom you can also shape the behavior of the characters living within it, as they are shaped by their surroundings. This can be a great way to explore a city inside the kingdom if you want to base your roleplay or an arc in one particular location!

    • What type of clothing do your people wear, winter and summer? Are there certain social rules such as color or style that must be followed?
    • What clothes are worn for special occasions?
    • What is the food specialty in your kingdom? Where is it made/caught?
    • Are there any foods that the people in your kingdom consider symbolic? One such example is tea being viewed as liquid pleasure in the Tang dynasty.
    • What foods are off limits and why? For example, not being allowed to eat beef as ox were a valuable working animal in the Tang dynasty.
    • What is an aspect of the kingdom’s food that was inspired by foreign foods?
    • What type of art is your kingdom known for? Paintings? Pottery?
    • How are artisans treated in your kingdom? Are they usually commoners or aristocrats?
    • What (real life) instruments are common or native to your kingdom?
    • What type of writing system does your kingdom use? What real life language does it look similar to?
    Festivals and pastimes
    • What are the common pastimes of the people in your kingdom? For women and for men?
    • What special festivals/traditional holiday festivals are held? When?
    • What do they celebrate? What happens during these festivals?
    • What does the royal family do to celebrate these festivals?
    In Gorguryeo, people wore a predecessor of the modern hanbok. They were less puffed out and its skirt had many lace-like layers. They often spent their days dancing, singing or drinking. Men participated in arm wrestling tournaments. Every October, the Dongmaeng Festival was held to celebrate the gods, their ceremonies included large feasts and games. Hunting parties were set out to hunt for the big ceremonies and archery festivals were held for young men. The king paid his respects to his ancestors and previous kings.

    In the Tang dynasty, outdoor sports such as archery, hunting, horse polo, football, tug of war and cockfighting were enjoyed. Government officials participated in these pastimes as well. Major festivals such as Chinese New Year or the Lantern Festivals were celebrated by the people of the Tang dynasty, considering it a major part of their lifestyle, in which their nighttime curfew would be lifted for days in order to celebrate. Sometimes, special festivals would be held with the approval of the Emperor after long droughts or famines or the crowning of a new prince.

    • What is the most commonly followed religion of your kingdom? Are there many or just one?
    • How many different prayer/religious buildings are in your kingdom?
    • Do they worship gods or their own ancestors/the dead?
    • What religions were introduced by foreigners?
    Outside the Kingdom
    Most kingdoms will form alliances with other kingdoms in order to create a sense of security, as well as promoting trade and being able to call for reinforcement when it comes to wars and battles. However, this also means some kingdoms will be enemies to others. And other kingdoms choose the middle path and close themselves off from the world completely. What sort of kingdom is yours?
    • Who are the outside allies of your kingdom?
    • Who are your kingdom’s enemies?
    • Does your kingdom have any alliances with other kingdoms or countries?
    • Are your kingdom’s borders sealed so that no one may leave or enter?
    • If so, are there any exceptions for certain cities? Who is allowed to trade in that city?
    A closed country?
    Sakoku was a foreign relations policy of Japan where no foreigners were allowed entry, nor were the Japanese allowed to leave Japan. The penalty for this was death and was enacted from 1633-39 and remained in effect until 1853. However, even with the policy in place it did allow certain cities to be open for certain countries to trade with. Even then they were extremely restricted and no Japanese was allowed to leave through these cities and no foreigners were allowed access into Japan through these cities. The Dutch were only allowed trade through Dejima in Nagasaki, China was also only allowed to trade in Nagasaki. Trading with Korea was limited to the Tsushima Domain, trading with the Ainu people was limited to Matsumae Domain and the Ryukyu Kingdom only took place in Satsuma Domains.

    This is our first guide so we would be very happy to receive suggestions on what to add to this guide as well as feedback! Thank you![/div[
    • Like Like x 3
    • Love Love x 3
    • Useful Useful x 3
    • Thank Thank x 1
  2. Ok, first of all, I love this guide. It made me want to create a whole bunch of kingdoms. Perhaps sometime I can.

    The guide touches as far as I'm aware all the important aspects of creating a kingdom. Not that I'd have any experience doing it, anyways, but this made me want to get it.

    • Like Like x 2
    • Thank Thank x 1
  3. I give this guide five out of five stars and it covers practically almost detail, but a few things you might want to add would be things like laws and disasters like was there ever a earthquake that caused great damage to an area? How are the guilty punished? If other races are present, how are they viewed? Is there slavery or a type of it and if so how are they treated?

    You two did a great job though! I can utilize this in developing the various Kingdoms in my Fantasy Rps and stories.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Thank Thank x 2
  4. Thank you very much for that feedback! We'll work on adding more useful content to this expansion, and you gave me ideas to consider for law and disasters. ^^ Slavery is also an issue that could be touched upon in a fantasy setting and definitely something we could incorporate into the guide.
    • Thank Thank x 1
  5. Just remembered something.

    Prophecies. About the future of the Kingdom. Does these myths say something about how the kingdom (or the entire world) will go under, in relation to it's creation? Take Norse, for example. The Midgard Serpent Jormungand is said to encircle the world, and will one day let go to battle Thor, causing Ragnarok.

    Do the religions base around certain humans, e.g. prophets? What do temples/holy buildings look like, and what rituals are connected to both the buildings, homes, and generally anywhere?
    • Thank Thank x 2
    • Like Like x 1