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A Bit More on Worldbuilding

January 11, 2012

Even though I’ve resolved to limit my writing about non-existent places to when there is a purpose behind it, many people don’t share my opinion on this. That’s mostly a good thing, because there’s a lot of worldbuilding advice and creatively constructed settings out there on the internet that make good fuel for the imagination.

(Well, it’s a good thing for me if I can read their stuff and then go back to writing an actual story. As I mentioned before, it’s not so good for someone who wants to make money telling stories but devotes all their time writing about just the fictional setting.)

Here are a few resources that deserve credit for making some lesser-used portions of my brain light up:

Over at his blog, author Chuck Wendig has been letting his readers do the legwork work of collaboratively constructing the planet Blackbloom. It’s gone far enough that there’s now a wiki devoted to it. (I haven’t yet participated. I mostly like to selfishly keep my ideas for my own uses.)

Crucible of Realms is a podcast I’ve recently been turned on to where the hosts create an imaginary setting during each 55-minute episode. (Audio podcasts: they’re like listening to talk radio, only there’s no ads and no political bullshit.) I enoyed the latest one about an alternate historical setting involving steampunk technology and super-heroes during the American Civil War.

Author Matt Selznick hosts a Worldbuilding for Writers series of articles on his website. These articles get into way more detail about how to create a fictional planet than I think I may ever need. Still, if I ever decide I do need it, it’s nice to see that someone already has done some of the research for me.

And if you play the sort of game where you roll various funny-shaped dice to determine what happens in a made-up world, you probably don’t need any help from me to find all manner fantasy settings that people put out there for free to play to those games in. But every so often, there are some that stand apart for their originality. Here’s one I like in particular. (Yes, I know I’m a giant dork. Haven’t we covered that already?)

From the Sorcerer’s Skull is a blog devoted to the Strange New World, a mash-up of the 1930’s  “pulp” era with the tropes of medieval fantasy. Basically, imagine your elves, dwarves, goblins and wizards in a world that Indiana Jones, Doc Savage, the Shadow and Dr. Fu Manchu would be equally at home in. You probably have to take a look for yourself to see what I mean. You can download the “brochure” Strange Trails from the site for free, but the most of the real awesomeness is on the blog itself. A recently created index  lists all the Weird Adventures articles. The setting is intended to play games in, so naturally the author, Trey Causey, is also selling an e-book of material, titled Weird Adventures, for anyone who’s interested in doing that.

Have a good worldbuilding resource that flies your imagination? I suppose there’s no harm in letting me know about it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2012 12:39 pm

    Hey man, I don’t think you’re a big dork. In fact, you’ve shown yourself to be a man of discerning tastes.

    Thanks for the plug. 🙂


    • February 7, 2012 3:40 pm

      Hey, don’t mention it. Your site’s awesome enough to deserve the plug. I haven’t had the time to finish reading through Weird Adventures, but what I’ve seen so far looks pretty kick-ass.


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