Below is the template I use when creating a fantasy city during world building. Feel free to adapt it your purposes. You can read Part 1 here.
Independent city or part of a kingdom? Allies?
Symbol and Banner:
What comes to mind when people think of this place?
What continent? Nearby land features? How accessible?
Terrain? Forests, mountainous, desert, plain, sea/river port?
Relations with Other Settlements and Places
Elven Forest 1
Important Features in Town
Is there a distinctive land feature? City layout?
Notable Religious or Magic Sites
Other Special Sites
Is there a wall around it? How many gates? Well guarded? Ever breached?
Where is it and what condition is it in? Ruined or intact? What’s it made of? How many towers? Mote? Ever been destroyed?
Any legends or mysteries about the place?
This depends on geography. Very useful when writing stories as you can refer to wine, for example, from a certain city or region.
What events are important in the formation of this settlement?
Outcome? Who attacked them? Or did they attack?
Attitude toward magic? Gods? Supernatural? Races? Strangers?
What sort of government is there and who is currently running it?
Who’s Really in Control
Is some organization really in control of the city?
The overall population count and which races live here. How do they get along? Are they segregated? What are they afraid/proud of?
What religions are taught/tolerated/shunned here?
Is there an army? Garrison? Just local guards? Militia? Knights?
The Local Guards
How many? Well trained? Well equipped? Who’s in charge?
Are they in town or nearby in a tower? Is magic tolerated? Feared? Can wizards cast spells in public or only in secret? Are they a rare/common sight?
Good or bad? How many of what kind? What is the effect on the inhabitants and fortifications?
Public Places and Occasions
Religious Temples and Sites
Festivals and Holidays
Taverns and Inns
Are there any? Curfews? Are they friendly/hostile to strangers?
What kinds of items are available for purchase or trade here? Is this place famous for making anything? Two-handed swords? Full plate armor? Silk tunics? Strong ropes?
Are there are any secrets about this place, whether known to a few or not?
Without cities, towns, and villages, no fantasy world building project is complete. In part 1, we’ll look at some things to consider. Part 2 will be the template I use for creating a new settlement. Location, Location, Location No settlement stands alone. A city has towns nearby, and towns have villages nearby. However, when drawing […]
Below is the template I use when creating a fantasy city during world building. Feel free to adapt it your purposes. You can read Part 1 here. Download the PDF or Word template. City/Town Name General Alliances Independent city or part of a kingdom? Allies? Identification Symbol and Banner: City Colors: Slogans: Famous For What […]
Depending on your ability, creating names for people, places, and beings in fantasy books can either be fun or a pain. I’ve been doing this for three decades and will provide some tricks and thoughts to help. KISS KISS doesn’t really stand for “keep it simple, stupid”, but it’s a good principle to follow when […]
What’s the difference between “race” and “species” and when should you use what in your fantasy settings? I’ve taken a look into this myself and made the right choice for me. Read on for ideas on making the right choice for you. Race What’s a race? The answer can be complicated (but interesting reading), but […]
When drawing maps of continents, being realistic is a good idea even when inventing for a fantasy or SF landscape. We’re not freed from plausibility unless we’re purposely throwing out the laws of physics and nature. Most of us are probably creating reasonably Earth-like terrain, but even if not, there are natural forces at work […]
In this three part series, we’ll look at creating races in fantasy books. This entry focuses on the physical considerations, while Part 2 will discuss the mental ones. Part 3 includes a downloadable template you can use. While using the standard elves, dwarves, dragons, and other usual suspects in fantasy fiction is fine, and maybe […]
In part 1, we looked at some physical considerations when creating races in fantasy books, while building your own world. Now we’ll look at some mental aspects. Mental Considerations Worldview When I watch alien species/races on TV or see them in print, more often than not, I feel like they’re just humans in costume, for […]
In Part 1 we discussed the physical aspects of creating races in fantasy books. Part 2 covers the mental. Now we’ll look at a downloadable template you can use as a starting point to aid your creative writing. Download the PDF or Word template. The Template Fantasy Race/Species Name Here Nicknames: “” Famous For General […]
In another blog, I discussed whether you should create plants and animals for your fantasy setting. Assuming you’ve decided to do it, here are tips for doing so. New Ideas If you already have ideas, you can just write them up according to a template like the one I’ve provided here: The Template Animal/Plant Name: […]
One of the fun aspects of fantasy world building is drawing maps. This blog provides some ideas to keep in mind and tools to help. Some of this is kind of obvious but worth mentioning anyway. Where to Start A good working unit is the continent. Despite the term “world building,” fantasy authors usually write […]
In Part 1, we looked at where to start and basic continent considerations for drawing a fantasy map. Now we’ll look at some geographical considerations. Remember Geography Having a basic sense of geography is important or your map won’t make sense. Some of this is obvious but is still worth pointing out. Rivers For example, […]
Today, author John Robin was kind enough to publish a guest post of mine about species and races in world building. You can read it here. The article is drawn from Creating Life (The Art of World Building, #1), which Amazon has listed as a hot new release in its category, currently at #4 (down […]
When world building, I used to think there was no point in inventing animals and plants for a fantasy setting. After all, they’re often just variations on real Earth animals, in which case, why bother? For example, maybe you have a horse with an extra pair of legs, or a tomato that’s yellow and poisonous, […]