For this portion, I am going to show you how I address one of the base issues in creating a defined world.

Geography, for me, is a very crucial element in world building [WBing]. I like to know what bodies of land and water I am working with. However, to date, I have only created one or two continents at a time and I have never addressed the issues of an entire planet. Furthermore, I have very little interest in Cosmology, so I have never worked on how multiple planets interact with each other. This is my preference and you may decide that knowing how many planets, suns, moons, constellations, etc. there are in your campaign setting [CS] is very crucial to how weather, travel/navigation, etc. operates…. that is awesome!

So, with Geography being so important to my WBing process, I find it best to physically define what the land looks like. For Kildaire, I went through dozens of pieces of sketch paper trying to come up with a land that I deemed suitable for my purposes.

I am going to demonstrate this process, step by step, so that you can have a visual.

Step 1: Scribbles (blind or otherwise)

As you can see, I basically just put pen to paper (figuratively seeing as how I mocked these up in Photoshop) and allowed my hand to scribble and squiggle. Try not to over-think this process…your imagination already has some preconceptions as to how this will form, so let your brain translate those energies via your hand.

After you have a page or two or twelve full of doodles, you must now start scanning them and looking for individual ones that stand out as having potential. Perhaps this is done by a process of elimination or maybe there are a few that seem really interesting to you right away–whatever works for you. It is important to remind yourself that this is preliminary—you will have time to refine the drawing later.

Here are three that I believe have potential.

Out of this batch, there are a few that were immediately eliminated (i.e. the Playboy Bunny-esq one in the upper right corner). The highlighted three show the most potential aesthetically and also, in the case of the two with multiple pieces of land, the potential for border tensions/political issues.

I am going to break down, briefly, why I picked each one of these three individually.

This single continent has aesthetic appeal in that the lower left segment is a large peninsula and it is bordered on it’s right side by a very large bay. To me these two features are appealing to me as it offers a portion of the continent to have drastically different political views on the peninsula in comparison to the ‘mainland’. Peninsulas are harder to defend, are more susceptible to weather, etc. All of these issues come in to play for me during this process.

The two continents here have a nice feel to them. There is a play of dominance and yielding between the two. That may be reading into the sketches too much, but believe me, if the shapes of your lands give you ideas that you could incorporate as underlying mood or overarching plotlines then you are that much farther ahead of the curve. I also really appreciate how this came out because the two appear as if they could have, at one time, been a part of the same landmass….Pangaea anyone?

Granted, to me, this one almost has too much going on. I included it anyways for demonstration purposes. Talk about having border/land struggles and an easy way to incorporate several types of political systems. This one could also be a great way to separate different racial groups if your world is not racially inclusive. In my studies I have learned that it becomes more difficult for a political system to govern its populace the farther away from the core the location is. This is crucial to remember in fantasy settings and that is what intrigues me the most about these three lands. Long and skinny is a ruling body’s nightmare and that, or course, creates great flavor history for your CS.

So this is Step One. Once you have selected which base doodle you are going to run with, it is time to break out a clean sheet of paper and a light table or create a new layer in Photoshop.

Roll your Spot checks now as I will be getting the next segment up very soon. Within the next few posts, you will be able to see various aspects of the major undertaking that I have been piddling with for the past several years…Kildaire, Land of the Five Ashes.