For years I have been toying with the idea of writing a story set in a fantasy world of my own creation. This idea comes from years of playing Dungeons & Dragons when I was kid. I always wanted a D&D movie and one finally came I was disappointed in the film. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy proves that the genre, when done well, can make money.
I’ve read a number of different fantasy novels over the years with the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and George R.R. Martin‘s Song of Fire and Ice series being my two favourites. Why are these my favourites? Great stories, great characters and great worlds. Both worlds are so incredibly detailed with wonderful histories and incredible maps. I have often wondered how the authors started those worlds. What did the authors first drawn maps look like. In this article we will create the first map of our new world and create some countries.
Drawing the World
If you want to learn how to draw your own world map then head over to World Building School and read the Author’s Guide to Drawing Maps. The map above was drawn using the author’s techniques and I think it turned out great. Jonathan Roberts also has a wonderful map-making blog Fantastic Maps that is well worth the time spent reading it’s many posts.
Once you have drawn the world of your fantasy story it’s time to start making decisions about the world. This is where my years of playing Dungeons & Dragons come in. When I sold all my of D&D books there was only one that I kept, the World Builder’s Guidebook. This is a great resource of information for building fantasy worlds. The book also provides a means of creating a randomly generated world. I always start by naming the countries and their capital cities.
At this point I know nothing about these lands. Now the writing begins. Using the World Builder’s Guidebook I start by deciding the time of governments each of these four countries currently have. I start with the northern empire and work my way around the map.
The Great Empire of Orithia – This nation is a mighty empire ruled by a single military man. One hundred and thirty years ago there was a military coop and the ruling family was killed and the top military general declared himself emperor. The empire then began a brutal expansion that continues to this day.
The Puyallup Clans – A clan-based kingdom that was brought together under a single banner almost 350 years earlier. Each of the seven clans provides three elected council members who sit in the government building for two years. These 21 men ensure that the lands resources are used to serve it’s people in the best possible way.
Duagloj Province – This royal kingdom has been the Orithian Empire’s target for the last decade. The two nations have been officially at war for nine years and the fighting hasn’t slowed. Orithia has two military outposts established on Duagloj’s northern shore.
Melathia – This nation is ruled by a council of five elderly woman. In an attempt to protect their tiny nation the council has signed a non-aggression pact with Orithia. While the northern empire has not broken the pact they continue to push the line as the seize resources and supplies from Melathia whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Without a lot of details I have already crafted the start of a story. A story of a powerful nation pushing hard to expand and the three nations doing their best to survive. So many story possibilities and I still know very little of the world. In Part III of this series I will create a small town where the story will begin in.