concept: there are lots of different worlds and all of them have different levels of access to magic. Some are just all over the place and some have no magic at all.
You would think that we would be one of the strictly non-magical worlds, but actually, that’s not the case—we don’t have like, a huge excess of magic, but we have, like, dreams, and the placebo effect, which puts us pretty solidly in the “Numinous” world category.
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I mean, a character in a fantasy setting using the exclamation “jeez” only implies the existence of Christianity in that setting if you’re assuming that it’s not a translation of convenience and the characters are literally speaking modern English – and if they are, in fact, speaking modern English, you have several rather more pressing worldbuilding questions to answer than how they know about Jesus!
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A lit of people think that worldbuilding exists solely to make epic, sweeping fantasy worlds to quest across, but it can create smaller, softer, mundane worlds to inhabit too.
You can worldbuild a small village. You can worldbuild a bookshop. You can worldbuild a jail cell, or a wishing well, or a single-parent household.
Not every story wants a grand scope.
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I noticed that in SkSw, TP, and the hylian outfit in BotW all have that weird middle wrap. Any idea what that is or why it’s there, or is it just a fashion statement?
I assume you're talking about this thing?
From a worldbuilding standpoint, it's something that started in Skyloft as a means of displaying your family crest! You'd be hard pressed to find a character that's wearing one without a crest, who isn't also training to be a knight. In fact, the only example of a blank one I could find on a civilian was on little Kukiel.
As the ages went on, the Skylians-turned-Hylians cared less and less about their family crests on their belts and instead displaying them on little banners hanging down, moreso wearing the stomach wrap because it was just the norm.
Compare it to the meaning behind barrettes, brooches, and hairpins in our own world. Across various cultures, they were prized heirlooms, saying that you had status and often sporting a family marker.
By the time we get to Breath of the Wild, it serves a more practical purpose. It works as padding against blows in the field, with pockets sewn into the inner lining. It's basically the late Hylian equivalent of a fanny pack adventure pouch.
If you want the real world reason behind it, though, it's a staple part of Japanese clothing!
The Japanese have broad silk or cotton belts to tie kimonos, and the more commonly worn yukatas, in place. The inclusion of it is probably supposed to instill a sense of casual familiarity in the Japanese audience; yukatas are worn at anything from hotels to summer festivals as a traditional casual wear.
If I had to guess, Nintendo initially used the belt as shorthand for "these people relax and live well, in simple traditional times," then incorporated it into future character designs. The looseness of it is also probably due to it not actually tying anything in place.
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Full of Stars
The season's storms had taken their toll, opening up an organic cave in the otherwise sealed mountain canopy forest. Encouraged by the prospect of shelter from more incoming inclement weather, the dacia considers entering the dark, yet inviting refuge. The glittering biolights beckon, but this new environment is far stranger than anything it’s ever known.
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Horses are really fragile animals. Is it still a death sentence for a centaur if one of their equine limbs gets hurt? Or can they help it somehow?
Oh god, now I'm thinking of amputees and how those would work
Horses are SUPER fragile, or maybe more like delicately balanced.. but particularly their crazy spindle-legs which centaurs get to deal with! But a big part of why hurt legs are a death sentence for horses has less to do with "It kills them" and more to do with quality of life, which a centaur can get around!
A horse with a broken leg doesn't understand it can't put ANY weight on that leg for an extended period and will attempt to go about their daily life and act normally, which basically guarantees re-injuring the bad leg and a high chance of injuring the other 3 legs as they try to cope with the change in balance and weight distribution. It all leads to a really poor quality of life with almost no chance of truly healing properly. The story of all they did trying to save Barbaro the racehorse is a long sad story that illustrates a lot of the issues even with modern veterinary medicine with trying to deal with a broken leg in horses.
Thankfully with centaurs, They understand the need for healing, are able to manage their own quality of life and have the gear to support themselves in the time it takes for the injury to heal!
Also perfectly good for long term use in the case of aging, amputation, or general disability! Which is common with the front legs and lower backs of centaurs given the unusual stresses caused by their body-plans. They were created with thicker and more robust front legs to cope with the permanent added weight of the torso instead of a horse head, but injury and disability in that area is still very common!
Injuries to the hind are less common and usually less severe, and given the hind legs bear less direct weight than the front they can usually get away with wraps and limping until it gets back to weight-bearing. Something like a rear amputation or ruptured tendon would probably require a custom harness/brace attached to a wheel like these and/or basically a peg leg!
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some traits u can add to ur characters or npcs if u want!
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The whole “how the hell does this predatory creature get enough sustenance” thing that plagues fantasy and sci-fi occasionally gets so absurd it loops around into being funny, like the scene in Star Wars when the Millenium Falcon is flying through an asteroid field and gets swallowed by a worm.
I could complain about that, but I could also conclude that the supply of reckless space pilots flying into asteroid fields has been consistent enough for the past few million years for animals to evolve to prey upon them.
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I’m not even joking- has anyone ever done lovecraftian eldritch abominations that, like, go out of their way to avoid bothering humans?
Because if you want to run with the “we’re like ants to them” metaphor, most people who aren’t total assholes are making, like, an active choice not to stomp on anthills or squash random bugs. They step over or around. And it’s not the bog-standard indifference of the genre, there’s an active thought process of “You’re not bothering me so I won’t bother you.”
I want a story about people exploring an eldritch horror-city like Ryleh, and eventually it turns out that all the bizarre psychological torture and warping environs and all that are an elder god’s equivalent of trying to shoo out a fly or a spider without killing it.
I want a story about how the empathy of an elder god is just as dangerous as it’s wrath.
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Not only is having worldbuilding threads that are mentioned once and never picked up again not a flaw in fantasy media, I'd go so far as to say that a lack of such threads is a flaw. If everything ties up in one neat little package, you're missing the point of fantasy worldbuilding. Like, don't do it on every page, or your setting is going to be an overstuffed mess, but every so often you are not only allowed but obligated to casually drop some utterly batshit worldbuilding detail and then just never follow up on it. Maybe some rocks are sentient. You don't owe your reader an explanation. Just fucking go for it.
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I suddenly have the urge to do an analysis of what worked and didn’t work with Harry Potter story- and worldbuilding- wise, since most of the discussions I’ve seen about it focus on the author’s bigotry or just don’t delve very deeply
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Hi, I wanted to ask about one of your centaur worldbuilding posts. The one about capture-the-flag-wrestling-keep-away game. You mentioned "Using one of your littlest rider cousins". So centaurs have human cousins? Or at least human-appearing. Do you mean that as in literally, i.e., blood related? Or is it more spiritually, like family friends that are essentially family? Additionally, can humans be part of a centaur herd if this is the case?
Tossing these two together since they’re kinda related, thanks for asking I love talking about these guys!
Riders typically have both a centaur and humanoid halves making up an extended family group. The groups consider each other family, raise their children together, often share flocks and homes, and will call each other cousin/uncle/grandmother.
So humans can definitely be part of the centaur herd! But with my Riders in particular the culture is pretty much 50/50 centaur/humanoid.
It probably started with rider/runner pairs raising their families together as a result of their war-time bonds, but as the children are raised together they frequently find ready-made pairs among the other children as they grow up playing rider games together, thus deepening the bonds between the families.
Only so much "horseplay” allowed before the elders are yelling about “Get off their back! You’ll be swaybacked by 30 if you keep that up!”
As prospective warriors get older and closer to joining a war party, if they don’t have a partner already, the best way to find someone you work with well is the games! GoatPull, Racing, and Wrestling are all great informal ways to test out prospective partners and get to know how the other moves and build trust! Even for partnered pairs, they will sometimes switch riders/runners as part of the fun.
Usually if the pair are raised together as siblings their bond will be pretty solid by the time they are grown. For those finding each other as adults there is typically a lot of trust-building and weapons drilling together before they actually face battle together. And even then a few pairs may dissolve after their first battle if on decides they aren’t made for the battlefield. It’s rare but happens, along with the usual death a battlefield entails. If the remaining half chooses to go on as a fighter, they will find a new partner in the same way. Usually with growing up playing games with the whole tribe, everyone knows a few Riders they would get along with reasonably well.
There’s a lot of trust when you’re putting someone on your back with a sword or bow and arrow that you wont end up with those weapons in you instead of the enemy, or if you’re standing and firing from a charging centaur’s back that you wont end up on the ground in the middle of a fight. There’s a LOT of communication, trust, and practice involved in a Rider pair to ensure that the rider doesn’t get tossed by an unexpected maneuver or put a sword in their runner’s shoulder trying to regain balance during the stress of a battle.
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Some literary fantasy settings are like “yes, this world is 100% egalitarian gender-wise, but it just happens to have some other made-up institution that precisely resembles gender in its particulars”, and I’m always like, well, if you’re going to do that, why not take it to its logical conclusion?
Like, picture a high fantasy setting where everybody is aligned with one of the classical elements – Earth, Air, Water, Fire – and that alignment carries all the absurd baggage that contemporary gender roles do. Occupations are considered Fire work, Earth work, etc. Kids of different elements get different toys to play with and dress in different colours, and there are dumb arbitrary rules about which elements can marry which other elements. Some people can flip between two different elements at will, like video game characters hitting the secondary loadout toggle, and they’re regarded as dangerous rebels.
(Of course, to make the analogy complete, elemental alignment isn’t nearly as inherent and immutable as the Man wants you to think it is, and you can in fact change your element, which from an IC perspective is treated exactly like gender transition, except instead of taking pills you meditate in the heart of a volcano until your soul catches fire and shit. Yes, I am 100% saying that transing your gender is now a martial art.)
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some bugbear lore for your bigboy needs
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okay here come the custom comms!!!! these are actually ridiculously fun to do oml. also i laughed a lil too hard at the idea of one of dream's charges being he broke tommy's comm lmaooo
tag list below the cut! i'm going to continue using this tag list on future comm concepts so if you'd like your name removed just let me know!
@nightkitten2227 @tubb-o @bracelet-kid-ahit-oc @xandromedan @youstillhauuntme @mari-shouko @unodostrescuatro @thecolour @ally502 @changeling-ash @kydrakinetic @eyretosnowdrop @simply-chillin-here @an-anxious-avocado @boldactionpan @pineannana @the-magnificently-cursed-demon @whomstved-yallaintve @ev-ning @neycore @aesthetic-furry @queerkangs @febo-asoma @verbummallum @probsabug @elenath-s-misc @redlikeiron @woltya @miochanzy @jitteryart @constantcleaningcalamity @axerin @just-a-simple-beep @timmerlane @that-one-nonactive-account @mtmerm @idiy0te @kutokimemo @overachieving-night-light @earthlygh0st @judoon-on-da-moon @victorian-cryptid @its-ya-boi-cade @astropocket @delomaniaofficial @blueratgofast @justa-anaverage-person @kjfan-2006 @whattheheckdudeeee @mirinda03 @dorkydoodlebug146 @its-elvie-innit
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Naughty words in a godless world
Imagine you're writing a story that takes place in a world that has no God, or gods, or saints. What do you do with exclamations like "Oh gosh!" (derived from "Oh God") or "Jeez!" (derived from "Jesus!")? And - oh god - what do you do with curses and swear words? If your characters can't say "Oh my god", "hell no", or "damn" because there are no gods to damn anyone to hell... what are your options?
Here is a list for inspiration
In general, non-religious curse and swear words refer to local cultural taboos.
Many languages swear by referring to cleanliness: dirty, sweaty, sticky, smelly etc. This includes things you do on the toilet.
Some languages, like Dutch, use diseases as curses and insults. For example, someone nasty/bothersome might be called a "cancer sufferer" in Dutch. These swear words are combinations of (derivates of) typhus, cholera, and cancer.
Societal hierarchy and family trees, mainly the inferior positions like a bastard (seen as inferior in the family tree) or a derogatory word that refers to lower class people (seen as inferior in that society).
On the other hand, you could insult a highly valued member of the other person's family, like their mother, or of their society, like their Queen/Emperor.
Sexual taboos, often implying someone (or their mother) is more sexually active than society accepts of them.
Calling someone the word for someone's genitalia refers to the same taboo.
How do you apply this to your language?
You could use explicit/taboo words as ... :
... an intensifier: "It was a shit-hot day."
... a negative adjective: "This is a shitty job."
... an insulting noun: "This journey is shit."
Or try to be creative and combine different taboos for a multi-hit offense. My favorite one is the Spanish "I shit in your mother's milk", which combines insulting the other person's mother, the taboo of bodily functions, and the taboo of cleanliness.
During my research I came across this article, which contains a number of concrete examples from all over the world you can draw inspiration from.
And on a less offensive note, you could always make up your own equivalent of "Merlin's beard!", "Great Scott!", or "For Pete's sake!" (Pete, by the way, is a catholic reference: Pete is Saint Peter.)
I hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, and happy writing!
Follow me for more writing advice, or check out my other writing tips here. New topics to write advice about are also always appreciated.
Tag list below the cut. If you like to be added to or removed from the list, let me know.
And if you come up with creative curses, feel free to add them in the comments :)
@therska @writingwordsaddrawingpictures @the-words-we-never-said @writingwhithotchocolate @i-rove-rock-n-roll @maskedlady @no-time-like-write-now @timefire25 @black-lakritz-dragon @nzmayart @fandomrandomness-stuff @dangertoozmanykids101 @anaestheticdisaster @storytellingofravens @purpleshadows1989 @mathematicpony @i-don-t-know-words @notquitenovelist @coffeescribles @reffaces @livingthelovelylife @katsglabella @lokitty-is-my-spirit-animal @thefallenbibliophilequote @watchmewritedumb @sting-the-scribe @kais-writing-shit @dameschnee123 @curiosityonmars @oodlittlething @nonbinarychaoticstupid
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Writing tip: if you need to provide a lot of worldbuilding information at once, but don’t want a bunch of characters explaining things to each other that they already know, have somebody do something terrible that’s related to the thing you want to explain, then have them morally justify themselves in a way that requires them to explain the thing.
The “it’s not what it looks like” explanation
The “I know this looks bad, but let me provide context” runaround
The “outlining the extenuating circumstances” ramble
The “really this is as much your fault as it is mine” reproach
The “it was a hard decision and you should pity me” appeal
The “here’s why I had no choice but to do what I did“ rationalisation
The “I was justified because fuck you“ rant
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so basically what if firbolgs but other land ungulates
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HEY here's phil and techno's comms + a little anatomy thing of what the buttons do?? thank you guys for all the support, it's been so overwhelming and i appreciate all of it~
taglist below the cut
@nightkitten2227 @tubb-o @bracelet-kid-ahit-oc @xandromedan @youstillhauuntme @mari-shouko @unodostrescuatro @thecolour @ally502 @changeling-ash @kydrakinetic @eyretosnowdrop @simply-chillin-here @an-anxious-avocado @boldactionpan @pineannana @the-magnificently-cursed-demon @whomstved-yallaintve @ev-ning @neycore @aesthetic-furry @queerkangs @febo-asoma @verbummallum @probsabug @elenath-s-misc @redlikeiron @woltya @miochanzy @jitteryart @constantcleaningcalamity @axerin @just-a-simple-beep @timmerlane @that-one-nonactive-account @mtmerm @idiy0te @kutokimemo @overachieving-night-light @earthlygh0st @judoon-on-da-moon @victorian-cryptid @its-ya-boi-cade @astropocket @delomaniaofficial @blueratgofast @justa-anaverage-person @kjfan-2006 @wthdude @mirinda03 @dorkydoodlebug146 @its-elvie-innit @ghosty-exe @seyenna-stuff @its-mellohi @cecil-but-gayer @panzil @its-fledge
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