What's your Least/Most Favorite part of World Building?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Absyinthe, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. What is your least and most favorite part of world building? Is it making the geography? The characters for the world? The Culture? Tell us what is your least and most favorite thing about world building!
  2. My least favorite part is laying out the geography of the world and making the map (if I choose to do so). Even though I know how it's done and have seen various methods to easily work out the geography and put maps together, I'm just never satisfied with the results. It's frustrating. I often use generators to get random maps and then use one that I like, rather than making my own, because otherwise I'll agonize over the thing for weeks and not get anything else done.

    My favorite part is specific to fantasy worlds, because that's my my favorite genre and almost every world I've ever built has been made for fantasy use. My favorite part is building the magic system. I enjoy coming up with strange ways to make magic work, and putting my spin on old or common concepts, and throwing a variety of stuff together to come up with hybrids, and so on. It's a part of worldbuilding where I can go crazy with the creativity without worrying much about making my world inconsistent, and where I can also bring my love of logic into play to make even the most outlandish things actually work and make sense upon close examination. For most facets of worldbuilding logic just always trumps crazy creativity for me, because I want my worlds to be consistent, so making a magic system is fun because it can get around that.
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  3. My favourite part is developing the system that defines the world, being typically the laws of magic, like Jorick. Some worlds have different fantasy systems to make them unique, however, such as a world I've been developing with a racial system for vampire-like species and hybrids between them.

    I just love categorizing and sorting and combining in that sense.

    Characters come in as a close second, often because they are intricately tied to the systems.

    The aspect I like the least is typically the politics of the world on an international scale. Deciding what makes each nation unique, how they are all affected by the plot, how they interact outside the plot, all for consistency. If I go into too much detail, it becomes boring and likely dysfunctional. If I go for too little, it doesn't feel realistic and the world seems isolated. This also applies to history, as I like to scatter events across millenial timelines—but then I have to figure how the in-between makes sense.
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  4. I'm with @Jorick on the geography part, because I swear to god those fucking currents. Climates are the cornerstone of everything. What lives where and how it has evolved, what specific troubles a species has to overcome. etc. I can guarantee you a culture with it's roots in a hot climate with plentiful fruit will be different from northern folks who most prepare for harsh winters, for example. It enhances your world on the one hand, but it really limits you on the other. It's a fucking mess every time, because you always have some ideas in your head you want to work out, but it has to fit with the geography.

    My favourite part, ironically though, comes straight after settling on the geography; creating it's inhabitants. I love designing races their physiology and culture.
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  5. I would say my most favorite thing about world building is going into the fine details of everything. Getting it exactly how I want the world to be as well as making it consistent!
    My least favorite thing is probably the research you might have to do. XD
  6. I've been world building since I was pretty much a kid (albeit, not as fleshed out or impressive considering my age), and I've always loved designing maps, political systems, cultures, mythology, technology, languages-- things like that. But when it comes to really fleshing out my worlds, there is one thing I always have trouble with: history.

    It's easily one of the most important parts of world building, and yet I can't, for the life of me, decide on what happened when and how much detail I should put into it. I look on J.R.R Tolkien's works, and the history of Middle Earth is rich and quite impressive. Then I look at my own, and I can't even come up with one single incident that happened some imaginary one-thousand years ago that would possibly cause these two other things to happen some dozens of years later. It's frustrating, but necessary.
    #6 Dipper, Jan 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  7. Personally, I like making geography. Mountains, Oceans, and other biomes are fun for me. Also, charting evolution is fun as well, but can be a bit tricky if done by scratch. My favorite part though, is designing the solar system of the planet. I just love making the solar system, since it actually holds a significant point in a lot of things on and off planet in that region due to gravity.

    Personally, I hate doing cultures, I hate coming up with festivals or other celebrations specifically.
  8. My personal process involves getting an idea and then expanding on it in a wikia to include culture, history, geography, dwellers, any monsters that live there, and additional helpful information.

    My favorite parts take place after all of that, though-- after I've made the world public. I have one friend who goes over wording with me to help make everything clear (because I write like I'm drunk when I'm filling out wikis). Before that's done, though, I start advertising it for RP. The hits I get almost never amount ot actual RP, but the people reading through will ask very interesting questions-- questions that help me learn which information I left out.

    "Why can't I play a naga?" one person asked. I told him repeatedly the biology of why, and cemented in my head the pre-history of the land-- why there are so few varieties of monsters, why humans consider anything nonhuman to be monsters, and I got to explore the idea that the land in question ALWAYS had limited resources.
  9. My least favourite part is definitely figuring out the how-things-work of political and economical world aspects. I usually try to plan stories so these topics don't come up much, but usually at least a little knowledge is necessary.

    My favourite is probably culturebuilding. All kinds! What they wear, what they eat, what the holidays are... I love it.
  10. My least favourite used to be developing cultures and nations. I adored working the world's geography, wildlife, and mythology, but something about developing a society for the people I've created felt painful. I've grown a lot more interested in it as of late though, specifically after working on a recent world-building project, so with some luck I'll love every aspect of worldbuilding.
  11. Honestly, I just really like worldbuilding in general. Writing a story about the world I just built is where I fall flat on my face. Break my nose. Lots of blood...you get it.

    Hmm...well, there's one thing I don't enjoy while worldbuilding; making up a new language.

    *shrugs* I'm just bad at it.
  12. I've rebuilt fandoms how I wanted, I've built fantasy from scratch and I've agonized over every scientific detail of hify adventures. In the end, the most annoying thing for all of them for me was a common sentiment here: the geography. Geography, to some degree, is meant to have a sense of permanence, although yes it can change. The world life lives in, evolves in, thrives in and dies in all ultimately have the largest role of all elements to worldbuilding. What has been around the longest? The land. With the simple alteration of a flow, what can wipe out a species and give birth to a new one? The sea. The more science and realism applied to this, the deeper you get into cause and effect - then ultimately there is a huge grey zone at the stuff we actually don't even know, including about Earth. Worldbuilding uses models from of course great acts of literature, but they all come from the same and only true model we have: our own planet. The reason I dislike geography in general is because for it to truly have the impact it should, an implied sense of permanence comes with it, and that permanence will somehow permeate nearly every part of the subsequent roleplay in the most minuscule ways. I just dislike knowing that I'm building what could be the riskiest part of the world in terms of opportunity trade-offs and realistic expectations.

    Currently, I'm working with fandoms; my normal roleplays are more akin to Modern Fantasy. Either way, my favorite part of world building is the social engineering aspect. After creating this whole world, I want to know how an abundance of player characters are going to interact in it. I prefer large scale. I prefer tons of people influencing the world while the world influences them right back. I love maximizing interaction without minimizing quality or thematic elements, and finding ways to have people interact with each other in productive ways that create an interesting narrative is my favorite part of world building. It is then that you see every system, whether its magical, sociopolitical, geographic, biological, etc., come together and influence the real life of the world you just created: its players. I even focus HIGHLY on my setting only so that this feeling is more satisfying when it comes to fruition. While the world I build should be it's own living, breathing entity, I want to figure out how the entities of others are going to coexist in and on this complex dynamic I - and often others - created. It is also for this reason I tend to be strict with a ton of rejections, although honestly none more than a high fantasy roleplay. Everything needs to fit perfectly before it goes on to influence everything and become part of the system.

    Admittedly, a close second is actually on spot with Jorick: I love to build and understand magical systems. I have this issue with almost always wanting to convert things into science magic or magic realism; true high fantasy escapes me. I guess I never escape to that place. In all my years roleplaying, I never have. Still, building magical systems is probably the most fun I have almost solely because it is the only system you really get to create 100% on your own. Magic does not exist; it's up to interpretation and inspiration. It's a true child of creativity.
  13. I think the only thing I really don't like about worldbuilding is just how much there is to do. I have a habit of either going too in depth, or not enough depth. I'll set out a list of things I need to develop in a world and get totally carried away. It gets weirdly stressing when I think about it all.

    I think the part I like most is either map making (even though I can't make maps for shit, I still just have to have some sort of visual) or the religion systems. I'm not a religious person myself, but for some reason making up fictitious religions is extremely amusing to me. I like to look into why the religion exists, the gods, how they interact with the humans and other creatures on the planet, if they powers or are merely figures, etc.

    That said I usually focus on fantasy worlds. I find them funner to build.
  14. I'd say my least favorite part is the inhabitants of the world. I have a hard time populating them with racial varieties that are unique and interesting while mostly believable at the same time. I'd say that's one of the last things I develop when I'm making a world for a novel or an RP. Once you have a solid idea for the world though, I find it too easy to incorporate a role play to a specific part of world I've already fleshed out making it a little challenging for me to keep RP worlds separate from my novel worlds.

    I enjoy terraforming it the most though as I'm a graphic artist so its easy to get the look of the world down and out of my head, also thinking up a standard currency system is always fun for me. When it comes to magic and such I normally base if around the idea I have for the novel and find it easier to think up all the juicy bits for the novel first while banging out the finer details as I go.
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  15. Favorite part: Letting myself daydream about the mythology, the magic, and the various fantasy races -- and then jotting down my thoughts in note-form to organize later. And then whenever I go back to organize my notes and start making them a bit more coherent, that just inspires me to think of even more ways to fit everything together, and it's like my whole brain gets wrapped up in this beautiful world that just gets bigger and better the more I think about it.

    Least favorite part: Trying to think about my world's economy, political structure, and technology levels to the point where I can describe it to my players rather than leaving it as a "vaguely historical fantasy world" where all the fantastical elements are super fleshed out but the more mundane stuff is... not... Trying to figure these parts out always just feels so bleh for me, because, it isn't fun and fantastical, I tend not to focus on these kinds of things when I'm getting wrapped up in the world that I'm building, and I hardly even have a decent understanding of how economies and politics work in the real world. How am I supposed to craft my own from the ground up? Yes, yes, I know I could always do ~research~ on these things, but it's not exactly the most fun thing to do, so I generally don't feel very motivated to go in-depth with said research. I always manage to throw something together eventually for these kinds of things, but I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing... and I also find it difficult to care, even though, on some level, I do realize that these more mundane topics really should have a large impact on the culture and feel of the world...

    Edit: Although, I feel like even that last part mainly applies to when I'm trying to describe these things in the context of human culture. If I'm coming up with my own fantasy races then, for some reason or another, it seems to be a lot easier. In fact, in my Altera Arcana RP, I not only got really invested in describing the social structures of some of the fantasy races, but I also spent a lot of time on the way that these cultures clash, and the problems that these fantasy races face when they enter human-dominated society and become a member of a "minority" -- and a lot of that was inspired by what I've observed from real-world racial relations and social justice issues. But when it comes to describing trade relations and social classes within the human-dominated society itself, I just... eh...
    #15 Kagayours, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017