Thursday, March 27, 2014

Once Upon A Time

Feeling stuck, stumped, blocked, and/or utterly lost? Don't worry. It happens to all of us from time to time.

Try this. Here is a fill-in-the-blank lead in.

"Long ago and far away in a place called _name_ there was a _thing/person_ named _name_ who was _emotion/state of being_ because _cause_.

In order to _action: change, make, undo, etc_ the _thing/person_ had to _action_. But where to begin?
This _thing/person_ named _name_ had very little _possession: strength, knowledge, etc_ and even less/no _possession: money, friends, time, etc_. What _name_ did have was _possession: ingenuity, courage, etc_. And so it was, with _pronoun_ _possesion_, _name_ set out to _action_."

And you're off and running.

I would love to hear what you do with it, so add a comment below and let's see what you came up with.

Of course my mind naturally goes to a fantasy setting, but you can substitute a ship (Icarus) or planet (Helion) for sci-fi, a town (Pennyford) or county (East Humblewick) for steampunk, really whatever suits your fancy. The subject can be a boy, girl, dragon, droid, or other sentient object.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Play to Your Strengths, Strengthen Your Weaknesses

I've recently traded a few emails with Nate, host of the WorldBuilding School, and perhaps I might be writing a guest post in the near future.

I've posted about the amazing tutorials of his before, and guess what, here they are again!

Tonight as I flipped through other posts and links I found the 7 Key Skills to Build Your World. Up until reading them I considered myself rather versed in various realms of worldbuilding. Now I kinda question that :)

My degree is a blend of social science and history, and I was no slouch in geography and earth science. But I'm a far cry from knowing all there is to know.

Economy and [physical] science are by far my weakest points. I get the general concepts of cartography, but I don't practice the skill itself nearly as much as I'd like to. I know next to nothing about zoology. I can tell you that predatory animals typically have binocular vision and some form of taking down their prey - fangs, claws, venom, etc. Prey animals usually have their eyes on the side, rather than the front of the head, to provide a wider view of things that could creep up on them. They employ escape measures of escape, like speed or burrowing, or camouflage and mimicry to trick and confuse predators. That's it! I have scraped the bottom of my zoological knowledge.

My point is, polish the things you know you don't know so well. But don't completely ignore the things you think you know because studying them further is still bound to yield surprises.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Man About Town

Back in September I posted about Cityographer and the city and village generators on Inkwell Ideas, which provide great visuals. Then today I found these other city generators:

Crystal Ball city generator - this gives a great deal of detail and allows a lot of customization. 

Red Dragon Inn town generator  - a text based generator that includes a calculator for the populace, tradecraft, and even inn names.

Chaotic Shiny medieval city generator and map generator - these are a little sparse, as they're text based, but what it lacks in visuals it makes up for in description. There are several other place generators from terrain to market and tavern.

Myth Weavers town generator - specifically geared towards D&D 3.5 this gives half a dozen options to customize size, military presence, and form of government as well as a few others.

Greyscalegorilla City Kit - this goes well beyond the medieval hamlet with an immensely powerful and customizable cityscape generator. For the price, it certainly delivers on an urban oasis that Godzilla would love to stomp flat.