World size

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Wolk, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. Greetings,

    currently I am mapping my world and wondering which size it should be.
    Because to be honest, I don't want my world to be small, I want it to have great capacity and resizing later is kinda... strange, let's put it that way. It would take longer to reach the same cities and then there are suddenly other cities inbetween, so I wouldn't want to do that often.

    Now let's say my world was as large as Earth, which would be about 40.000 km in circumference, or 24.900 miles. That is large, at least for the medieval times my world is settled in, the world would probably not be explored very much and it would take long time to travel anywhere, almost 2 years by horse to travel the largest continent. And horses such as magic are the only way to travel at all, but those transportation spells would have to be ridiculously cheap in order to be feasable at all, and that is just not logical. It would also take years to reach other continents by sea, no one will even think about war until they have better technology.

    So at this point, I almost think I have to make my world smaller, but how small? Is there any rule of thumb?

    The map (open)

  2. Unfortunately, there is no specific rule of thumb for the size of a world, as it is entirely dependent on what you need from your world.

    At this point, a great question to ask yourself is how connected must your world be for the story you are trying to create to still happen? If travel is not efficient people are not going to travel as far. Most people are born, raised, and die in the same village, if only because there is no reason to go somewhere else. People, even people in modern day, like to stay in the same place. Their ability to roam is determines how far they roam from their base every day. Even with cars, people don't usually commute more than 15 miles to get to work. Planes are only for really big situations. So, even if you have a massive world, even one larger than earth, it isn't going to affect people on an individual basis all that much.

    What it will affect is how connected different parts of the world are. If it takes a couple of days for news to travel from one village to the other, people aren't going to have much to do with the rest of the world, except for those couple of villages next door. If information can travel from one side of the continent to the other in a few days, people are going to take a larger interest in their continent, because they can know what is going on, and how it is going to affect them. If news can cover the whole world in a day or two, then people are going to interact with their entire world more often. Not constantly, but more often.

    But having a large world does not mean there won't be wars. People have been fighting with other people for all of history. If there isn't someone further away that they can attack, then they'll just fight themselves. Look at Ancient Greece, if you don't believe me. The other thing to keep in mind is that some people will have the drive and motivation to spread out. Alexander the Great conquered everything between Greece and India in ten years, and that was back in 300 BC.

    I can also say quite emphatically that it would not take years to cross your seas, if that map is as large as earth. It took one to two months to sail across the Atlantic back in the Age of Exploration, and while that is later than the Medieval era, the Atlantic ocean is much, much larger than most of the spaces of water you have in between your continents.

    So, ultimately, what do you need? Do the empires of each continent need to be trading with each other? If so, you are going to have to make it quite a bit smaller, because the exchange of goods and information can only be so slow before negotiations and trade would break down, even if they were started.

    If you want to tell me a bit more about your world, I'd gladly help you work through the details in picking a size.