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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:21 pm 
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From Sir Terry Pratchett. Rest in peace.

Quote:
World building is an integral part of a lot of fantasy, and this applies even in a world that is superficially our own—apart from the fact that Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar consisted of hydrogen-filled airships. It is said that, during the fantasy boom of the late eighties, publishers would maybe get a box containing two or three runic alphabets, four maps of the major areas covered by the sweep of the narrative, a pronunciation guide to the names of the main characters and, at the bottom of the box, the manuscript. Please … there is no need to go that far.

There is a term that readers have been known to apply to fantasy that is sometimes an unquestioning echo of better work gone before, with a static society, conveniently ugly “bad” races, magic that works like electricity, and horses that work like cars. It’s EFP, or Extruded Fantasy Product. It can be recognized by the fact that you can’t tell it apart from all the other EFP.

Do not write it, and try not to read it. Read widely outside the genre. Read about the Old West (a fantasy in itself) or Georgian London or how Nelson’s navy was victualled or the history of alchemy or clock making or the mail coach system. Read with the mind-set of a carpenter looking at trees.

Apply logic in places where it wasn’t intended to exist. If assured that the Queen of the Fairies has a necklace made of broken promises, ask yourself what it looks like. If there is magic, where does it come from? Why isn’t everyone using it? What rules will you have to give it to allow some tension in your story? How does society operate? Where does the food come from? You need to know how your world works.

[…] G. K. Chesterton summed up fantasy as the art of taking that which is humdrum and everyday (and therefore unseen) and picking it up and showing it to us from an unfamiliar direction, so that we see it anew, with fresh eyes … the genre offers all the palettes of the other genres, and new colors besides. They should be used with care. It only takes a tweak to make the whole world new.


http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015 ... 1948-2015/


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:31 am 
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Wow has it been a long time since I bumped this thread. I guess it was as early as February that the semester got to me, eh? Anyway, here's a big ol' post (spoilered for size) that was originally a thread on the mothership, which I saved and converted into this forum's formatting:

Most Common Mistakes of Writers


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:21 pm 
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Edited in Yxoque's Tumblr post in an earlier post here, on the off chance that the link to said post ever becomes unavailable.

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Szat's Costuming Notes, written by Tevish Szat:
Hello, hello! I recently dug this up in my files. Clearly written for MEM distribution, I decided against it at some point, probably because I felt some twinge of shame or self-consciousness that often happens when I compose long-winded design posts. However, since I wrote this one in Word rather than "post Reply", I still have it! And since I'm feeling shameless today, you all get to see it and rage at me for the lecturing jerk I am. Enjoy!



Costuming characters: A discussion of period garb

So, outfits are one of the most debated elements of art and character design (particularly for females). Having done a good deal of work with fantasy, I’ve had to learn more than I ever wanted to know about clothing, and feel like sharing some of that information.


Period

Let me get one thing out of the way – you do NOT need to mirror an exact period and region in earth’s history. But, having some idea of the technological level and materials available in your setting is good, and approximating a region and period is a good way to get a ballpark on the matter.

In general, though, the particulars of fashion do not need to adhere to any one period (Such as Edwardian, Elizabethan, or Victorian) unless you’re doing actual visual work, and even then while the materials and available fashion/armor technology might be derived from one era, stule can be fantastic in nature.


Material

Cloth: Cloth is the product of the textile industry. To get cloth, you need to be able to harvest some sort of fiber, spin it into threads, and weave the threads into cloth. Cloth comes from three main sources. Plant Fiber cloth requires farming. Cotton, Flax (which makes linen), or some similar plant needs to be domesticated, harvested, and processed at a decent scale. Wool or Hair cloth requires animal husbandry. Essentially, you need to domesticate an animal with a thick enough coat that it can be sheared. Wool has some specific traits, and is preferable. Silk requires its own industry which traditionally involves the mulberry silk moth. Cloth is soft and pliable. It is comfortable and you can do a lot with it, but at the same time, most cloth offers essentially no resistance to physical harm for the wearer, and cloth is more likely to itself become damaged from environmental stresses (though some tough cloths do exist)

Leather: Leather, I use to broadly to refer to all clothing material that’s something else’s skin – proper leather, hide, pelts. It’s easier to garb oneself in leather if animal husbandry is practiced, but not impossible to make leather clothes off simply hunting. Leather is usually not rigid (though it can be hardened), but is less able to bend than cloth. Particularly when fitted, it’s also hot and doesn’t breathe well. Leather has a decent resistance to physical damage (dependant, of course, on its thickness and preparation techniques). Leather garments are less likely to be ruined by rough treatment and potentially offer some minor protective value, but restrict mobility when they cover joints closely.

Metal: Metal “clothing” is largely not clothing, but rather armor. Most armor pieces could be constructed of bronze, iron, or steel: in general, steel would be preferable when available. Between bronze and iron, there are many historical and metallurgical debates: some will say that having bronze arms and armor when your opponent has iron is like bringing a knife to a gun fight, while others insist that iron only eclipsed bronze in human history because it was easier to mass-produce iron pieces. My own research suggests that the former is more true than the latter: Cast iron is marginally lighter than bronze and will hold its edge MUCH better due to being harder, and stronger in most other respects as well (such as having over half again the yield strength). I’ll discuss armor more later

Exotic Materials: This is fantasy, of course – options exist like Giant Spider Silk, Mithril, Chitin, dragon scale, or such that have their own properties. My advice is to be sparing and consistent with your special materials. If the carved shell of a giant pillbug is the hardest material available, while being very light, it shouldn’t weigh someone down, but should restrict movement at joints due to being rigid, and armor made of such a material will still have to have seams, buckles, and the like, especially if many small plates need to be interlocked.



Form – Menswear

Naturally excepting of times when a particular place and time in the history of Earth is directly mimicked, the average fantasy male has an outfit that consists in its basis of a shirt and some pants, with various bells and whistles as befits the character. No matter what those are though, the basic form of the most basic pieces remains the same: Bottoms with individual tubes for the legs, long enough to cover up to the top of the shoe, and top with fill-length sleeves. There are some variations: Tops can loose their sleeves or be entirely dispensed with in cases of extreme heat or barbarism, though the hero wearing naught but a loincloth is somewhat discredited.

In the case of those of a scholarly, wizardly, or priestly persuasion, “Robes” may be worn. These robes are, in general, expected to be something like a monk’s habit: a simple pull-over affair, naturally made out of cloth. More modern mages might adopt robes, however, that are halfway between a bathrobe and a coat, long and flowing but intended but by nature open in the front, whether it has clasps or buttons (rarely) or is simply allowed to flap about. This garment doesn’t make a lot of sense except as a badge of office, but as a badge of office it certainly affords better ability to traipse about the wilderness than would a traditional robe.

When speaking of accessories unique to the masculine, the “Coat”, “Greatcoat”, anachronistically “Trenchcoat” or appropriately but seldom used “Duster” is an item that, while certainly useful, I feel is a little over-used. Certainly, such a garment – leather or heavy/treated cloth to resist damage, full of pockets, possibly water repellant – would be fantastically useful, though they long postdate most other fashions seen in fantasy. All too often, however, such an item is simply given to a character as a status symbol, a hint to readers that they are not to be trifled with. I don’t think people need to stop giving characters long coats, because they are very handy, but I do think they ought to consider whether or not the character should, in fact, have one.

Rarely is period costuming actually used for men, and I think it would be nice to see more of it. We may think breeches and powdered wigs look quite silly, but when they were worn that was not the case.

Someone who wears ‘plain’ clothes in harsh conditions should have an eye on a mix of protection, mobility, comfort, and durability – style is a luxury afforded to those whose battlegrounds are more often ballrooms than deep mud in the woods.


Form – Womenswear

Outerwear for women in fantasy (with the same caveat as given for menswear) is of a different sort. Most commonly, a female character not expecting to do much adventurering will probably be expected, at the outset, to wear a dress (or more accurately, a gown of some sort) or a skirt and some sort of top. As casual, around-town wear, it does just fine.

In the modern day, this tends to be seen as politically incorrect – women nowadays can wear pants, and thus they are often granted such clothing in fiction, in spite of any other cultural expectations that are set up for them.

My personal opinion is that a character should wear what is appropriate to her (or his) setting and needs, so I will endeavor to briefly explore the design of a practical lady-adventurer’s garments in the case where dressing after the male fashion is not an option.

We begin with the skirt. A full-length skirt is horribly impractical for running, climbing, and the like in, while one that is too high risks pointless exposure as well as being an even stranger sight than the pants we are deliberately avoiding. However, a heavy skirt at knee length (probably pleated, potentially made of leather but heavy-duty cloth would also do) allows full mobility, possibly even more than fitted leather pants, while still protecting the thighs from sight, scratches, and potentially (particularly in the case of stronger garments) errant claws, teeth, and/or blades. Remember, kids, the femoral artery is not something we want to show off.

Since you don’t have coverage for the calf yet, our lady adventurer will also want something to handle that area: tall boots are the most likely: they should be flat-heeled unless the lady is doing a lot of riding (at which point heels are positive for both genders, to hold the foot in the stirrup). They should stop just below the knees, about where the skirt begins, to avoid restricting that rather important joint. There will, of course, be some loss of flexibility at the ankle, but not being shredded by the brambles you’re stomping through should more than make up for it.

For the top, a sleeved, cloth garment is appropriate, though just how much sleeve is up to debate. Neckline, as well, is something that can be debated. Her particular personality and condition might dictate some of this: in hot climates, at least lacking a high collar would be good for staying cool. But, no baloth anywhere has ever been bedazzled by a humanoid’s cleavage, so while modesty might not be a necessity, immodesty is not in particular called for

Undergarments
Here’s the topic I hate to admit I’ve had to do the most research on for fantasy costuming: breasts. Specifically, there’s the fact that many women will need to support them somehow, and the modern bra dates back only to the turn of the century, requiring both some degree of elastic (for fit) and mass-produced civilian steel (for underwire). Essentially, such a garment can’t exist before the industrial revolution, which necessitates that ladies in “period”-eque fantasy (which most of the multiverse is) wear something else.

Strip of Cloth/Breast Band: The oldest and simplest solution to the problem is a broad strip of cloth, wound about the chest and tied or pinned in the back. Such a measure can hold a woman relatively still (and flat, depending on her physical characteristics), is easy to manufacture, and is probably the undergarment of choice for the more goal-driven female adventurers.

Corset: The modern view of the corset is a torture device sold as fashion, that functioned by breaking ribs and restricting breathing. This is… not entirely accurate. Tightlacing of corsets did exist (For both genders, even!) and had many of the attributed problems, especially when not used properly, but even sometimes under ‘normal’ conditions. However, the majority of corset use through history is likely of a less devious nature – a stiff, shaped garment that distributes the weight of the bust across the hips. Usually stiffened with whale-bone (though reed was used in old examples and steel in modern ones), a proper, non-tightlaced corset does restrict the mobility of the torso: one cannot easily bend while wearing such an item. It would be possible to perform some physical activities in one (and according to Wikipedia, the late 19th century introduced variants intended for just that: cycling, tennis, riding, etc.), but this problem is enough to kill the idea as a favored garment for someone who wishes to stomp around in uncharted wilderness.

Bodice: While outerwear, some varieties of Bodice (it’s a term with many definitions) were supportive in nature. A sort of medium between a strip of cloth and a corset, weight would often be held by the shoulders. Historically, most bodices were two pieces joined while worn by hook-and-eye closures, laced (often in front, to be convenient for women who needed to dress themselves), and sometimes stiffened somewhat with reed or bone.
The main reason, as an author, to choose a bodice? It actually provides a style along with function, creating an image and shape (somewhat akin to a man wearing a waistcoat or vest) rather than an any-old-shirt scenario that presents no definite image. It lets you get more color and visual on the page without burdening a character with unwieldy, complicated costumes.


Accessories
Boots, Belts, Bags, etc. Not all of these are worn, per say, but they are part of costuming and worth noting

Footwear: can be roughly ordered in terms of height, from slippers or moccasins that do not entirely cover the top of the foot, to ludicrously high boots. In general, a good bit of footwear for someone who’s going out and doing things will be basically flat-heeled (unless riding boots, actually used for riding), and cover somewhere between the ankle and the start of the knee. Lower, and you need to deal with environmental hazards on the ground: step in a puddle, water gets in your shoe, feels awful. Higher, and you have serious trouble moving: shoes are usually made of pretty stiff material, and having that cover over your knees will make walking more of a production than it needs to be, when walking (and running) is something heroes tend to do an awful lot of.

Belts: For the love of Yawgmoth, please restrict yourself to one or two belts or belt-like items. A plain belt is good: It holds up whatever you wear to cover your legs (Skirt, pants, kilt…), and you can put things on it or hang them off of it to keep more of your gear at hand rather than in your bag (if any). A second such object, hanging shoulder to hip (properly a bandoleer or baldric) can be useful to hold something you don’t want at your hip. Any more than that, and you’re probably in danger of looking like you walked out of a rummage sale. It doesn’t work in art and certainly doesn’t work in text.

Bags: Most people treat the humble bag or backpack as an “invisible leather TARDIS”: it never appears unless needed, holds an arbitrary amount of stuff, doesn’t get lost, suffer damage, get wet, or anything of the like, and will probably never be mentioned when not in use. This is what we call an “Acceptable break from reality”

Hats: Hats come in a truly absurd number of styles. The functional ones keep the sun out of your eyes or your hair in place. All are basically aesthetic choices. Fezzes are cool.

Items carried: Unless abusing a bag, remember that things have size and weight. Most people have two hands (But want one free), two hips, and one back to carry ‘large’ items on/with.


Armor
Not all characters wear Armor, but those that do would do to remember a few basic pointers.

Armor for Him
Male armor is a pretty basic affair, because we have a lot of examples to draw on. Which is not to say it can’t be done poorly, just that you can look to basically any model if you want to do it right.

Armor is essentially a contest between mobility on one side and protection on the other. The more vital areas you cover (and the better you cover them), the less likely an incoming blow is to actually hurt you, but the slower and less flexible you become

Torso and Arms: Covered (or not) by a shirt (mail, flexible) or breastplate (metal or hardened leather, shaped) at the outermost. Contains lots of vital organs: basically everything between the neck and waist is serious business. Wearing a flexible armor (chainmail, scale, etc) is low-cost, other than the weight and discomfort, while wearing a rigid shaped piece costs you a lot of ability to bend.

Hands: You kind of need your hands to, you know, hold your weapons? Thick gloves might hold off cats or fencing blades. Metal gauntlets will protect you from a wide range of attacks, but of course cost you nearly all your manual dexterity.

Head: Let’s face it: nobody in fantasy art wears a helmet, except perhaps for dwarves and Vikings. This is about as stupid as midriff plate for the ladies: protecting your hear from blows is rather vital, as your head contains your brain meats

Upper Legs: Really important, really hard to handle. The problem is that your legs are what let you move. They also have your femoral artery. This can be protected by a skirt (for either gender: look at roman soldiers) or tough pants, but that doesn’t afford a lot of protection, especially not against bludgeoning weapons. Plate leg-coverings, though, turn your speed way down. You might get away with chausses or tassets, but all represent some sort of tradeoff, especially with regards to crushing attacks

Lower Legs: Boots, greaves, or schynbalds can protect the lower leg with relatively little trouble.


Armor for Her
Possibly the most hotly debated topic in fantasy armor design is what to do with armor for women. In general, I feel that “Armor for her” and “Armor for him” is basically the same thing, except where worth noting…

While some women might be able to wear some armor designed for men with no modifications, others would require accommodation, especially in shaped pieces. There are also two other aspects worth considering. One is that we have essentially zero precedent for what cultural evolution would do with feminine needs in armor, since no culture that used armor as we think of it had an integrated military. The other is that no matter what option you pick, somebody’s going to get upset over it, so you should strive for internal consistency above “realism”

In general, the principle is this: if you REALLY don’t want to be hit there, it should probably be covered. That’s true for all armor, not just for the ladies. This means that if you’re bothering to armor up, you want at LEAST your torso between the neck and waist protected: midriffs and cleavage are not good for armor. Beyond that, protecting your upper arms, hands, and legs is a plus.

In general, concavities in armor are also a bad idea – if your armor is meant to be entirely practical and the lady needs accommodation, she probably needs some manner of keel. However, not all armor in history is totally practical: many cultures (such as the greeks and romans) have designed fancy showpieces that hamper somewhat their protective value for looks. If you’re going to do this, though, do it across the gender board: if boob plate is a thing, males should have similarly showy armor like a sculpted curiass or other “fancy” armor pieces


And a good response chain between jedi and Raven:
jedi8187 wrote:
jedi8187 wrote:
While this is great, I think a little flair is a good thing. First because like keeper mentioned our source material uses the mage punk style by default. It also helps make each character distinctive, especially when it comes to silhouette. While mostly a visual tool, it can come up in just writing based off the image crafted in head. It is very important that each character look unique. Using the cannon walkers, if you turn each into a silhouette most are still fairly easily recognizable. This is important, especially if we ever get artists again.

That's not say that it can't be both practical and unique, but I see nothing wrong with going heavy on belts (then again it's something I have a strange attraction to) or some impractical attire if it helps make the character stand out more.

Your point about silhouette's is an important one. I think it was Matt Groening who said once that every animated main character should be instantly recognizable in silhouette. Note that all members of the Simpsons family have odd and unique hair, as does Fry from Futurama.

Yeah it's something that got drilled into me in design classes (especially costume). It also helps sell the time period/archetype/etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:37 am 
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Through one of my youtube subscriptions, I was told of an excellent site for seeing historical swords, from bronze-age swords to blades up through modern tactical knives from European, Islamic, Indian, Far East, even African cultures. The site is simply http://sword-site.com/, and it may not have a great amount of information attached to each entry, but it's chock-full of images of real swords (in varying condition) and generally has a short description of their use and purpose.

While I'm at it, I'd advise people to check out a few of Skallagrim's videos. He does a lot of demonstrations with Medieval weaponry and armor (which is how I found him). Before finding him, I didn't even know half-swording was a thing.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:47 am 
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Uh, I'll read the whole thread sooner or later. While I'm at it, scholagladiatoria is another channel full of interesting things about weapons. The only time when I disagreed with him is when he explained why quarterstaffs are just sort of lame spears that you can carry around even with a weapon ban in place, and few minutes later said that in HEMA training they use shorter staffs of a lighter wood to avoid breaking limbs in training, but other than that I think he's quite reliable, and has a nice accent to boot.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:57 am 
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These have been helpful : http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/201 ... -ryan.html

Mark Lawrence, author of the Broken Empire series and Red Queen's War series, provides constructive criticism of reader-submitted page oners. His breakdown of the submissions have been especially helpful, as he tells each author what he looks for in a really good first page of a story. I like his prose in the Broken Empire series, so I've found this to be a goldmine of information.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:10 am 
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+1 for Skallagrim. His stuff about weapons is pretty great. I also follow Lindybeige and Schola Gladiatoria for those subjects. The former tackles different subjects, but also has short videos on warfare, whereas Skallagrim most deals with one-on-one combat. The latter is a channel about Western Martial Arts, but also touches on other sides of combat.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:06 pm 
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Treatise on Worldbuilding: Populating the World, written by Barinellos:

Barinellos wrote:
Last night as I was working on some conceptual designs and it occurred to me that it might be a very useful thing to post my theories and methods on worldbuilding for the general group. So, this is at least one part of what might be a larger series of treatises outlining the concepts behind solid worldbuilding.
As everyone knows, one of the most basic things to establish, after theme, is some way to populate your world. Now, Magic has a handy shortcut for us to develop things, but on the other side of it, it requires a lot more diversity that might not necessarily be forced on a more general setting.
I'll start with the larger concepts behind population and then work my way into the MTG specifics.

I. Filling your world:
The most basic concept behind populating world is finding a culture to dominate it. That's as basic as it gets, but the question of what it means speaks a lot towards how you approach them. Invariably, this is the culture and population who are most closely associated with your theme because they are likely the most present and direct reflection of what you're trying to evoke.
Now, in doing so, there are several different approaches that you use to give a culture shape.
A. Forming the Technological Apex
There are many different periods from which you can draw how developed your culture is and it reflects what you are able to accomplish. The reason this is important to get out of the way early on isn't for that reason though, it's because it will shape what your population's social structure will look like. In each period, there is always social reform which impacts the striation of the populace. Sometimes that striation becomes a major factor in what the conflict is, but in terms of worldbuilding, its good to know, going in, what you are expecting your culture to look like.
B. Drawing from Real World Inspiration
Earth is ridiculously diverse, and almost nobody will ever go to the extremes of reproducing, on their world, as many cultures as have arisen on Earth, but there are a lot of evocative concepts associated with those cultures that you use to establish a basis from which you can draw diversity amongst the population, as well as tying it into the setting in general. More often than not, you see only one major cultural inspiration being used to shape the world.
C. Empire of Hats
An extremely quick way to fill your world is to determine what hats exist and who wears them. It's honestly a little cheap, but starting off, it's just too handy a tool to not use. This is particularly true if your population and cultural integrity is going to spread out across a LOT of material. While normally, a realistic world isn't made of hats and a world of hats may end up feeling shallow in development, it's a trope that has become so ingrained in speculative fiction that it's basically impossible to unravel, especially in a multiracial world. You can thank Tolkien for that.
D. Diversifying your Portfolio
Most of the time, as mentioned above, you see only one dominant culture, but conflict drives a narrative, so taking one of the above concepts and placing it opposite one of its kin will help give the world definition. It doesn't even necessarily add conflict, especially if you are focusing on only one smaller location present in the world and an internal struggle within that culture, but it creates a sense of mystery to hint at something larger beyond the walls of the town. It intrigues and helps flesh out the world at large since, as humans, we'll always be attracted to something more exotic than what we know.
E. All of the Above
Because, honestly, you're going to need to do it all anyways if you want a world with some form of depth.
F. Surprise! Evolution.
This one lands outside the larger grouping, which might seem a bit strange, but there are a lot of writers who won't have anything more than humanity populating their world. This is where this comes in, establishing if you want more fantastical races to occupy your world. This overlaps with several of the above concepts, but for every new race you introduce, unless they have integrated seamlessly into the larger culture dominating things, you will have to repeat at least one of the above. Even providing they have assimilated, you might still have something such as racial tensions providing a little fantastic racism which forms a basis for conflict in your setting.

Barinellos wrote:
II. The Color Wheel
This is where we get into the specifics of MTG. The Color wheel establishes a lot of what is available to filling your world because to make a world of meant to evoke a plane of Dominia, you’re going to have to look at equal representation across every color and stay true to those values. Breaking it down further, at this stage you have three options to explore for what to do to see everything spread evenly.
A. One Wheel to Rule Them All
Have one massive empire with internal representation of each color. This, in some ways, is the hardest way to go about this, because making the colors co-exist in a singular culture is likely going to make for a lot of pressure being exerted socially on an individual level. It means that everything will boil down, not to what group people belong to, but what sort of person an individual is. While invariably one color will rise to prominence, finding a place to make up that difference is going to be difficult without tilting the entire world out of sorts. The difficult use of this particular path will be the fact that you will have one very deep and powerful culture, but to the exclusion of developing virtually anything beyond those walls. It makes for the world to feel very very small or unrealistically large. There is the additional problem of not being able to truly reach further than the borders of your narrow setting, so this method is most often not ideal to use when creative an entire world, but rather just one continent or country. It leaves a lot of space open, for better or worse.
B. Branching Out
Instead of focusing on one singular nation or culture, you instead mix and match based on different factors established in Filling Your World. You create competing nations of approximately equal social standing, be it because of population size or technological superiority, you will find a way to even out how these cultures interact with each other on what is essentially an uneven field. Most often, you will align one nation to a certain combination of colors and another to a different combination. This allows you to include all the colors, but takes the pressures off the internal conflict of a culture, essentially focusing outward instead of turning inward. It creates the opportunity to still focus on a larger scale instead of having so much importance placed on an individual and making the population as deep as the nation. You turn from having to deal with individuals to drive conflict to being allowed groups to carry the narrative. This makes for what is likely the most natural conflict, but the largest difficulty you’re faced with in this method is making sure everything is adequately and equally represented, as it is very easy for one aspect or color to feature more prominently than others.
C. Hitting all the Bases
The most common method in Magic is to align people and their cultures in their entirety to a specific color or color combination. It gets all the equal representation, but makes for a lot of work since you have to essentially repeat the process of establishing a culture repeatedly with several aspects above, as well as creating interplay between how the various cultures interact with each other. As an aside, it also rarely leaves any space for divergence and unrest in the ranks. You more commonly create a more harmonious, and sadly, homogenous culture to place next to each other. On the bright side with how robust the color wheel is, you’ll be able to very easily find ways to build upon cultures that is true to their color. It may come across as something of world hats, but with enough attention to detail, it will still feel like a thriving and living world to tell a story in.

III. Defining your Subjects
At this stage there are two options you can opt for filling your world. Technically it’s no choice because you’ll use both the class and races, but the choice you make will impact which you’ll give priority. Quantum choices ahead I suppose. Going forward though, I warn everyone to mechanically never mix tribal matters between class and race. It creates a feeling of inconsistency.
A. Staying Classy
The advantage to this is the variety of a singular culture you can represent without having to worry about developing further culture, but instead just focusing on a facet of an existing culture. This is a much easier task in some ways, because there are plenty of options to choose from, but it’s also an extremely boring option because it shears off a tremendous degree of variety. Using it in concert with race offers a chance to really display contrasts in approach or philosophy, but overreliance on class tends to make a creaturescape that is monotonous. It’s the primary reason you cannot rely entirely on having the occupation move the card. This is further complicated by the distinctions, often seemingly arbitrary, by what separates one class from another.
B. Getting Racey
On the opposite end of the spectrum is utilizing race to primarily define your population. The downside is that while it offers a great deal of diversity, it also tends to lean heavily on the ideas behind the world of hats. Each race will invariably have a specialty or some defining aspect that will narrow down what their place in the world will be. There tends not to be too much variety on an individual level, and those that stand out tend to stand out much much more prevalently than their compatriots.

IV. Being Human
Ever since the introduction of the human creature type, and even more so in recent times, Humanity has had the unenviable requirement to be used in all five colors. This causes a lot of issues because it creates an artificial separation of humanity from itself. While in a singular culture this is no real problem, when you split the five colors and focus on developing a unique culture for each, it creates much more work and further separates them even from the other creatures occupying the same color. It generates competition and lowers the overall development of the set. However, placing them in a singular color is not really an option because, as humans ourselves, we rely on the familiarity to generate resonance between the characters and our audience. Limiting them to just one color will invariably alienate a large portion of the audience by trying to define humanity in such limiting terms. With fantasy races, there is less of an issue, so utilizing them to their fullest is important in creating a rich tapestry for your world. Just don’t neglect the intricacies of what makes us human.


Barinellos wrote:
V. Reaching the Requisites
In Magic, we have a great deal of structure which, when observed, makes it so much simpler to fill our world. Primarily, WotC pays attention to only two aspects of this feature and just sort of backfill everything else, but I’ve always felt that they do a disservice to the worlds they create by doing so, so I’ll be focusing on defining everything for you to think about and how they fit together.

A. Characteristic
In many ways, the characteristic race is going to be the main body of your world, and in magic, it means finding a characteristic for each color. Some colors have it much easier than others, but it’s important to look at the available options and find something that you feel is the most resonant with your setting. In the past, WotC went out of their way to fit characteristics to the world rather than letting other creatures have a chance to steal a spotlight. That has changed a great deal as focus has shifted to more integrated and top down design.
Characteristics will be the smallest and most prevalent of your races represented. They are your primary cultures and are as often defined by audience expectation as much as their color. While there is an enormous amount of freedom and play possible with characteristics, it is important not to sway too far out of what the audience is familiar with because of the evocative nature of worldbuilding. Integrating and playing to expectations can often fill in aspects of your world that would otherwise have to be explicitly stated, or even possibly aspects you did not even think of.

B. Midrange
An often overlooked slot within worldbuilding, the midrange will fill out the larger creatures whose presence is often not as flashy as, but serves a different function than, the characteristic. The advantage in deciding your midrange creature is that you do not always have to worry about developing a culture for them, for as often as not, this slot is filled with creatures whose solitary or primitive nature mean that they do not have the intelligence nor society needed for any culture to develop. Some colors have a sizable glut of creatures that can fill this slot, most notably red, but it is important to find some creature in each color whose notability is significant enough to count as the midrange hallmark for the color on your world.

C. Icon
The Icon is the creature which is a quintessential representation of the color they are in. They are the thing that people automatically associate with fantasy. They are symbols as much as anything, and so it is important to find a place for them. Unfortunately, there is much much less leeway in terms of icons because of their nature, and it is important not to spurn crowd expectations. The downside to this is the fact that there will always be a case when it does not match what you are trying to accomplish, but there are far fewer options with which you can work in this category. Of particular note is that you cannot really control the definition of people’s expectations, because either you choice meets resonance or it does not.

D. Sub-icon
The sub-icon is by far the strangest of any of the categories of creatures you use to fill out your world, and are not entirely required, but are important for terms of variety. They do not appear at common, instead existing either exclusively at rare, or occasionally at mythic and uncommon. They exist to accomplish tasks which are unsuited to the icon, but still are evocative of the color as a whole. In some ways, you have the most freedom in establishing the sub-icon, because they do not have the same weight of expectations placed upon them. This even extends to doing things the color is not traditionally known to do, but has the capacity to do. The skillful use of a sub-icon will add more color to your world by not forcing you to adapt or compromise your icons.

E. Tool
This is the most optional of all the races. They share many aspects with the Mid-range, but they aren’t so narrowly limited to their position and are almost exclusively non-sentient. They exist not to further their own goals, but to be used by other races to accomplish a task. Sometimes this means that they will have some form of intelligence, but mostly they are little more than bestial, ruled by their desires, or the wants of others.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 11:49 pm 
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On Dialogue and Movement, paraphrased by RuwinReborn:
Hello!

I just remembered some good advice that I read when I first started writing (though, unfortunately, the source escapes me) and I figured I would share it here. (Paraphrased below)

"When characters talk to one another, it is not as though they are having a contest. In conversation, there is not witty quip after witty quip, followed by several smart observations or declarations, like the participants are engaging in a tennis match using their words as the ball. There are pauses for thinking, for emotion, for emphasis. There's movement, fidgeting, gestures, nervousness. No one talks while standing completely still, and removing motion, even the littlest of motions, from a dialogue can make a piece seem rushed and incomplete. Don't forget to let your characters move."

Like I said, I'm not sure where I read this/who told me it. Maybe it was one of you guys? Anyway, hope it helps some aspiring writers, maybe.


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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 12:19 am 
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On Dialogue and Movement, paraphrased by RuwinReborn:
Hello!

I just remembered some good advice that I read when I first started writing (though, unfortunately, the source escapes me) and I figured I would share it here. (Paraphrased below)

"When characters talk to one another, it is not as though they are having a contest. In conversation, there is not witty quip after witty quip, followed by several smart observations or declarations, like the participants are engaging in a tennis match using their words as the ball. There are pauses for thinking, for emotion, for emphasis. There's movement, fidgeting, gestures, nervousness. No one talks while standing completely still, and removing motion, even the littlest of motions, from a dialogue can make a piece seem rushed and incomplete. Don't forget to let your characters move."

Like I said, I'm not sure where I read this/who told me it. Maybe it was one of you guys? Anyway, hope it helps some aspiring writers, maybe.

Very moving.

:lol:


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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 12:23 am 
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I don't know if I agree. movement happens in conversation, but it's often unimportant to the narrative, and you should never say anything that doesn't matter. that's why dialogue is often snappier in stories than in real life: there's just no reason to include all the umms, ahs, and "hold on let me think about it"s that happen in real-world conversation.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:55 pm 
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Ye gods, this thing was buried
Oh well, stumbled across these videos, and while pretty common sense stuff, can't hurt to toss it out here
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu6RYg ... /playlists

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