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Fantasy Maker Handbook

Toolshoppe

Volume Digital Edition

Frostbrand Art Studio

Toolshoppe Copyright © 2008-2010 Frostbrand Art Studio. All rights reserved. Made in Canada and Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Frostbrand Art Studio does grant reproduction rights to individuals who have purchased this PDF exclusively from OneBookShelf and can produce a bill of sale. This reproduction is intended for personal usage only and any other application thereof is considered a violation of copyright law.

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Development and Composition

Dillon Langlands

Creative Contributions

Justin Cordingley Jamie Warwick

Editing and Management

Zack Gilmore

Cover Art and Design

Frostbrand Art Studio Basement Phax

$ 4.95 USD PDF Digital Edition ISBN 978-0-9810297-7-1 Made in Canada • Downloaded Everywhere

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Welcome to the Fantasy Maker Handbook. This book will guide you along the way to writing down all of the elements you’re going to need to consider to write a fantasy role playing game setting from top to bottom. Of course not every possible element you can imagine for a game is covered in this book, that would be impossible; but it is a comprehensive guide that covers all of the important factors. This book doesn’t contain any information or tips on making your game system, but it does help you cover all the story elements. What you will find in this handbook is all the space you’ll need to write out the frame for you fantasy world as well as some helpful hints along the way. Making a basic game is really simple and this book covers a lot more than you might expect. You may or may not have considered economy or wild life or even political territories and your world’s history

but this guide will help to make sure your world has every

detail you’ll need and more. So now that you’ve got your Fantasy Maker Handbook and you have your idea in mind, its time to get started making your fantasy world. Then what are you actually going to need other than this book? You’re going to need your imagination, some determination and a handful of tools. If you have good handwriting a blue pen is a good way to go, but never use liquid paper because it does flake off in time and can make things really hard to read so keep a red pen on hand as well to cross out mistakes with. If you aren’t as confident in your handwriting or you think you’ll want to make changes as you go a mechanical pencil is the best way to go along with a white vinyl eraser.

Dillon Langlands

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This book belongs to:

Started writing on:

Writing Complete on:

This work belongs exclusively to:

Other intellectual considerations:

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I,

works inscribed in this handbook to my solemn and individual intellectual material for the purposes of designing and writing

a fantasy role playing game setting in lesser and/or determined

detail. I,

my work in its entirety, in its components and/or completion is my unique and sole work and belongs to me totally and completely.

I,

any individual who has contributed in part or in whole to this intellectual work has done so in a knowing and voluntary manner and the portioning of intellectual rights shall so be declared as required and needed by me and no other person with such legal right or standing.

, do hereby state that all

, do hereby state that

, do hereby state that

Signature

Date

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Contents

 

Concept

 

8

Solar System

 

28

Initial Concept Notes

 

8

Calendar Comparison

 

29

Refined Concept Notes

 

9

Zodiac and Birth Signs Star Charts

 

30

   

31

 

Details

 

0

Lunar Phases

 

31

The World

 

10

Celestial Dynamics

 

32

The Players

 

10

Seasonal Dynamics Planetary Activity

 

32

The Story

 

11

 

33

How it All Works Short Notes

 

11

 
 

11

Dimensional Dynamics Planar Geography

 

   

34

 

Milestones

 

Planar Travel

 

36

Stage 1: Concept and Formation Stage 2: Basic Elements

12

Dimensional Geography

 

36

13

Dimensional Travel

 

38

Stage 3: Global Details

 

13

Extra-Dimensional Notes

 

38

Stage 4: Player Elements Stage 5: Exact Details

 

14

 
 

14

Ecology

 

9

Stage 6: Summations

 

15

World Ecological Balance

 

39

Stage 7: Testing and Comparison

15

Oceanic Ecology

 

40

 

Subterranean Ecology

 

40

 

Schedule

 

6

Regional Ecology

 

41

1st

16

Supernatural Ecology

 

42

2nd

 

16

Evolution of Life Species Variety

 

42

3rd

 

16

 

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4th

16

 

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Flora

6th

17

Floral Similarities Effects of Pollen

 

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7th

17

 

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8th

17

Tree Species

 

45

9th

17

Weed Species

 

46

10th

 

17

Moss and Fungus Species Flowering Plant Species

 

47

   

48

 

Teamwork

 

8

Fruit Species

 

49

1st Teammate

 

18

Vegetable Species Aquatic Species

 

50

2nd Teammate

 

18

 

51

3rd Teammate

 

19

Subterranean Species

 

51

4th Teammate

 

19

Carnivorous Plant Life Parasites

 

52

5th Teammate

 

19

 

52

 

Symbiotic Parasites

 

53

 

Global Dynamics Continents

 

0

Special Regional Plant Life Supernatural Species

 

53

 

20

 

54

Geographic Features Oceans

 

22

Intelligent Plant Life

 

55

 

22

Plant Life Blights and Threats

56

Oceanic Features

 

23

 

Subterranean Regions

 

24

Insect Life

 

7

Supernatural Features Weather Patterns

 

25

The Insect Kingdom Flying Insects

 

57

 

26

 

58

Seasonal patterns

 

26

Water Insects

 

58

Other Global Elements

 

27

Burrowing Insects Carrion Eaters

 

59

   

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Solar Dynamics

 

8

Parasitic Insects

 

60

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Giant and Supernatural Insects 60 Other Supernatural Elements 99 Fauna 6 The Food Chain 61
Giant and Supernatural Insects
60
Other Supernatural Elements
99
Fauna
6
The Food Chain
61
Species Classifications
Dominant Life
62
63
Technology
0
Player Species
63
Biological Sciences
Botanical Sciences
103
Sub-Species and Interbreeding
65
103
Terrestrial Micro-Species
Terrestrial Herbivores
66
Chemical Sciences
Forensics
104
66
105
Terrestrial Scavengers
Terrestrial Carnivores
Terrestrial Predators
67
Mining and Metallurgy
106
68
Natural Preservation
Animal Studies
106
69
107
Terrestrial Supernatural Creatures
Arial Micro-Species
70
Oceanic Sciences
107
71
Social Studies and Psychology
108
Arial Herbivores
71
Sanitation
108
Arial Scavengers
Arial Carnivores
Arial Predators
72
109
73
Global Knowledge
Planetary Studies
110
74
Stellar Cartography
111
Arial Supernatural Creatures
Aquatic Micro-Species
75
Construction
111
76
Travel
112
Aquatic Herbivores
76
Weaponry
112
Aquatic Scavengers
Aquatic Carnivores
77
Mechanical Development
Flight
113
78
113
Aquatic Predators
79
Other Studies
114
Aquatic Supernatural Creatures
80
Subterranean Micro-Species
81
Social Development
Political Beliefs
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Subterranean Herbivores
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115
Subterranean Scavengers
Subterranean Carnivores
82
Social Classes
116
83
Wisdom, Beauty and Strength
Organized Religions
116
Subterranean Predators
84
117
Subter. Supernatural Creatures
Parasitic Organisms
85
117
86
Religious Practices
Religious Holidays
118
Symbiotic Life Forms
Other Life
87
118
88
Rituals and Sacred Locations
Respect of Elders
119
Immortalization
119
Unnatural Life
89
Regard for the Dead
120
Supernatural Details
Extra-Terrestrial Life
Extra-Spatial Life
89
Gender Classification
Racism
120
90
121
90
Species Bigotry
122
Extra-Dimensional Life
91
Slavery
122
Undead and Spiritual Energies
Animate Beings
91
92
Civilizations
History and Development
123
Core Supernatural Elements
9
Primary Civilizations
125
Civil Structure
126
Political Ideals
126
Education and Training
127
127
Lesser Supernatural Elements
96
Geographical Associations
Other Civilizations
128
Civil Rights
129
Global Economy
129
Regional Economy
131
Taxation
132

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Trade Goods 133 7 Trade Relations 133 173 Trade Routes 134 Plots and Rumors Political
Trade Goods
133
7
Trade Relations
133
173
Trade Routes
134
Plots and Rumors
Political Agendas
Assassinations
175
Territorial Relations
Territorial Disputes
134
Moves for Power
176
135
Other Disputes
135
Driving Historical Motivations
Revolutions
177
178
Warring Factions
136
War
179
Secret Societies
180
History
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137
Guilds and Organizations
Supernatural Will
181
Creation Mythos
182
Archeological Evidence
Religious History
139
Dimensional Powers
Planar Agendas
183
140
184
Supernatural Beliefs
141
Religious Prophecy
185
Major Historical Events
Timeline Highlights
142
Impending Doom
186
144
Summary
87
Player Ideals
9
FAQ
189
Playable Species
149
Regional Varieties
Training Options
152
Sketches
9
154
Combat Orientation
156
Equipment and Supplies
Wealth and Holdings
157
158
Special Abilities
159
Other Player Options
160
Primary Protagonist Roles
161
Notes
07
Other Player Roles and Identities
162
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Primary Antagonist Roles
163
Other Player Roles and Identities
Wild Cards
164
165
Story Focus
66
Genre Focus
166
Music
218
Game Theme
167
Movies
219
Target Players
168
Books
220
Civilian Roles
169
Website
221
Political Roles
169
Military Roles
170
Moving Forward
Adventuring Roles
170
Pencil and Paper Role Playing Game
Video Game Setting
222
Supernatural Roles
Planar Roles
171
224
172
172
Comic or Graphic Novel
Book or Series
224
Dimensional Roles
225

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Concept

The first step in working towards a complete game setting is the concept. The concept of a game determines its style, its look and its feeling. Something a lot of people don’t pay attention to when trying to write a game is the feeling of it all, but writing a game is no different than writing a story; this is why you need to pay attention to the way it moves. Believe it or not a basic concept is just that; one or two sentences that lay out what the feeling, mood and style of the game is. The architecture and details you can work out later. For now all you need to do is write a simple and easy to follow concept that you can work from and create something with. Not sure what to write? Few ever are. Now this might seem a bit strange but a few examples of great fantasy game concepts might be: “the players will take on the role of demigods living among mortals”, “let’s make a story where players are actually the bad guys” or “I want to make a fantasy game that takes place in a world with broken time”. The simplest ideas are often the best core concepts for any game world, especially fantasy worlds since they can take on outlandish and unreal forms in the end. It’s important to understand before you begin though that without a concept you are genuinely sure about, you shouldn’t move forward at all. Don’t go any further than the first few lines where you’re supposed to write your “initial

concept” unless you’re sure about that concept and want to proceed because everything will be colored by it and will work and evolve from it. If you want to blow off some mental steam and try a few concept notes out to see what has the best feeling for you, use the notes section in the back of the book to sketch them all out first then choose your best one.

Initial Concept Notes

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With your basic concept decided upon and readied, you’re going to want to flesh it out and really set your path. This is where a sentence or two about a theme or genre turns into a fleshed out schematic for your fantasy game world. This can be tricky, so try to stay within the suggested parameters that follow so you don’t get ahead of yourself. Remember that you’re not writing a press release or a sale’s pitch, this is a pre-format summary to get your get your head in the game. Try to imagine someone giving you instructions on what they wanted you to write. Now try to write the refined concept notes as if they were instructions you could easily follow. This is going to be where you turn something simple like “a game where the players have to make tough choices” into something more detailed and pronounced like “the fantasy world is going to be very dark and full of sharp contrasts between good and evil, so say the rulers of the land, but not the people in it”. Write a whole paragraph, short hand notes, or even just a couple sentences, whatever makes it easier for you to read from later on when you need to go back to formula and get back in the mood. This is now where you’re going to want to return every time you need some guidance. No matter how long you write for or how many times you put this handbook down and then pick it back up to get back to work, re-read this section again.

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Refined Concept Notes

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Details

You’re still in the development and planning stage so don’t get too happy about making it past concept writing. In this section of the book it’s time to work out some details for your game world. You won’t need to worry about naming anything or anyone, but you do want to start working on some details. You might want to ask yourself why you should work out details now if you actually have to write them out later anyway. The answer to this is really simple:

repetition and consistency. You will be asked to repeat yourself a lot throughout this handbook and all of it is necessary. It will help to ensure you have a better fantasy game setting in the end. Some people will want to create detailed descriptions and others will be content with point form notations. Any kind of description is good, so long as it actually covers important details about the subjects listed.

The World The important elements of my fantasy game world are:

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The Players The players in this game will take on the roles of:

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The Story The main focus of my fantasy game world is:

How it All Works I want my game to take on a perspective with my game that:

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Short Notes Some things I want to make sure I keep in mind are:

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Milestones

So now you have the concept lines and some details worked out. This means you’re now ready to plan things out and get started. Make no mistake; you will need a plan, which is really the entire point of this handbook. Go through each stage laid out for you here. Read all the entries before you set any kind of plan down on to paper so you know what each milestone is going to be about. Use the milestones section of this book to keep a log of your accomplishment. What you do is write down objectives for you to accomplish within each step and then once you complete them, add the date. Try to leave some blank space too for agendas you don’t think of right now and only come across later as you work on your Fantasy game setting.

Stage : Concept and Formation The concept and formation milestone is the first step towards getting it all finished. With a solid concept and some details worked out you can take the time to reflect on what those notes will turn into. Think big, bigger than you had wanted to; you can always trim it down as needed.

 

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Stage : Basic Elements Now it’s time to think about your game’s basic elements. These elements are going to cover the game in blanket terms, describe the theme, the mood, and maybe even the marketing angle or the way it’s presented to its readers. Try to use broad strokes; specifics can be worked out as you move forward.

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Stage : Global Details You’ll want to consider some of the global details of your fantasy world. Try to establish any important continents, and cities, maybe societies or oceans. Think of some of the greater and more important elements you’ll need to write out here.

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Stage : Player Elements What are some of the things that players will be focusing on? This means that some details about characters selection and different player options. You’ll need to consider these elements even without a gaming system because you want to have those elements based in the game world so they have more relevance to the story and world.

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Stage : Exact Details Now that the important highlights have been noted and you can return to them to enter dates about your completion times, you’ll want to consider some exact details. Enter some names of major cities, if you’ve decided on some playable races of humanoid or other creatures and some forms of supernatural elements in your game world; anything kind of details you can think of that are important to the game world.

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Stage 6: Summations Consider the sections of this handbook, what they entail and each of them as stepping stones. Mark down each book section or the important segments of those sections and then when you are finished each section, effectively check them off and note the date.

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Stage 7: Testing and Comparison With all of this preparation in mind, you should have a pretty solid idea of what kind of fantasy game world you’re getting ready to write. You should take some time now to think of similar games, video games, movies and novels that you can compare your world to. Try to think of people you know who you can run your ideas by as well, write their names down along with the other media sources and when you’ve taken the time to compare things and get a better idea of your game’s format.

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Schedule

It’s time to work out a schedule to write your book. While this handbook won’t tell you how to write well or even in finished format, it will show you all the things you are going to need to write a complete fantasy gaming world. A schedule is a must. You don’t have to worry about trying to tell yourself “I want this part of the world written by Friday”, nothing like that will actually help you get it written. A schedule for writing the framework and subject matter of your world will help to make sure you focus your energies on the subject, but the right subjects at the right times. Set your own schedule, decide what’s most important to you successfully completing your game world and set it up as a schedule for you to work on.

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Teamwork

Few people can take on a project this big on their own and even the ones that can, will rarely want to do so alone anyway. If you have people working on the fantasy game world with you, you’re going to want to assign homework. When these people work with you there are two ways to approach the work they put in. The first is probably the most reliable method and will produce the best results. Have your teammate sit down with you and work on whatever section or sections you two are working on together. Whenever you work on these areas of the game world, make a note about what assignments you worked on and add a note about the date. The second method is reliable, but should only be used when you know you’re working with people that you can trust and will deliver their material. When working through teammates in a satellite capacity, make sure they give you their notes, whether they’re typed or handwritten and set them in a folder that you keep with the handbook. Make some notes about what your teammates had assignments to do and note the dates you worked out those assignments and when they were turned in. The more detail you can manage when it comes to working with others, the more sure you can be that no notes or concepts get lost along the way. This also really helps to establish who worked on what and can really help to determine legal rights. You can dream and write and wonder all you want, but if

you’re trying to find yourself in a professional position the legal end of things will become important later on.

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Global Dynamics

Let’s get started on the world as a whole. The first component you need to start working on is the various elements of the planet your fantasy game world is taking place on. The world that your game is going to be written into is actually more important than a better part of what you’re going to be writing in this handbook. No story can stand on its own without a solid foundation to rest on. Since you’re basically going to be writing about an entire planet and its history/cultures from the ground up you have a lot of work ahead of you. Working on the planet itself, is the most important part and the best place to start since all of your creatures and supernatural elements and societies are going to be in that world. It may seem a little strange for you to think that you need to write about the whole planet to write a fantasy game setting. This is because there are a lot of details about a game that a writer considers, but never really describes. Take the time of day for example, does your world have a twenty four hour day schedule like our own or are the shorter or faster? Such a simple detail can lead to the length of seasons, chronology, seasons and a lot more. A lot of what you write here may never actually find its way into your book proper, but it will give you some strict guidelines and rules to follow while writing everything else. In the

case of detailed books, this section will also give you some really good sources to draw from so that players can better relate to your game world.

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Continents Most people that want to write a fantasy game setting already have some continental plans in mind, but not everyone. Don’t worry about working out the details of the whole planet. Think of some continents for now. You’ll find some blanks with note areas and enough space for you to describe main continents you’re thinking about. If you can draw, this is a good place to make some preliminary sketches, if not, don’t worry about it and just stick to descriptions. This is a good time to establish some main continents or interesting ones that you want to work with. Make some geographical descriptions, some notes about the cultures you want to work with on those landmasses and even some more refined details if you want. Write anything that you feel will help you along the way and can be used to better develop your ideas for the land in your world.

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Geographic Features Something to consider beyond just landmasses and important continental features are the geographic features of the world you’re writing. Some fantasy worlds will use geographical features that are real in our world while others will use fantastical things that either defy conventional laws of nature or are scientifically specific to your fantasy game world. This is also a good time to make notes about special and memorable geography that will become landmarks in your world or tied to folklore in various cultures. Take some time to look up details about real geography and how it works. The more thought that goes into making a world, the easier your game will be for players to imagine. Pay special attention to continental shelves and fault lines and how they pertain to the formation of mountains, valleys and volcanoes.

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Oceans You might wonder why paying special attention to the oceans of your world is important if you’re already trying to determine the shape and size of some or all of your major continents; but attention to oceans is important for ecological elements and general geography which will become apparent as you continue through the handbook. Remember that our warm climate depends greatly on a delicate balance of salt and fresh water in our oceans. Our glaciers are primarily fresh water ice so when they melt they blend the fresh water with salt water in our oceans. When the two mix along with ocean currents and drifts, they create warm and cold water regions that keep our temperate regions temperate.

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Unusual and supernatural oceanic features should be carefully considered with real oceanic elements. Don’t read too much into the science of it, just keep it in mind and do a little research to make sure your waters are believable and plausible.

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Oceanic Features With some description of your major oceans and waterways described and possibly even named, think about some specific areas and their details. Think about myths and legends, possibly some subsurface areas that are important to your game setting and anything else you may have missed when you started describing oceans.

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Subterranean Regions Not all games, whether fantasy or not, have subterranean regions that are important or worth noting. If you have specific areas in mind that are important for story elements or think you should write down some cursory notes about subterranean creatures and areas used for recreation or research, write them here. This is also a good place to start considering what minerals and elements can be mined from your game world’s earth. You could even take the time to consider special elements that pertain to underground rivers and lake or water tables for wells, swamps and aqueducts or plumbing. If you are planning on using subterranean areas for your fantasy game world, you should really start working on those details. Don’t focus too much on the creatures or cultures there that can be worked on later, work on the geographical details right now so you have a solid area to write them into.

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Supernatural Features In fantasy games, especially high fantasy ones, supernatural geographic features are often used to better illustrate the fantasy of the game world. This is where realism and believable formation can really be skirted and often outright ignored. Think outlandish and big, but work within the game world you have envisioned and are working on. Even if you write some details about unreal features for your world that you don’t want to use, this can be a good way to work out what elements you should use and what will be most appropriate. When you create supernatural geographic features try to make sure that they either create a foundation for your supernatural player options or are based in those options. You’ll work on those supernatural abilities later on, but try to keep them in mind now while you work on the world’s features that may or may not have anything to do with them.

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Weather Patterns Weather conditions may seem fairly mundane, but they can be important. Do some research and lookup real weather phenomenon to understand what kinds of weather happens where. You don’t have to understand the precise formation of a tornado, but you should have an idea of why tornadoes are formed and what kinds of areas of the world they typically form in and where they most often touch down. If you also want to include unrealistic weather conditions that do or don’t coincide with your other supernatural elements, this is a good place to start working out some of the details.

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Seasonal patterns You may feel that the four seasons in our world are pretty simple and for the most you’re right. The question you have to ask yourself is why do they happen and what are the real effects of those seasons. While you shouldn’t determine anything specific about the seasons of your world, you should take some time do research the different elements of the seasonal changes and what they do. In the next section when you start working on the solar dynamics of your world, this will become very important if you’ve made drastic changes to the way your fantasy game world works.

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Other Global Elements Did we miss anything? Of course we did. Every game is different, especially when looking at a fantasy game since by definition they don’t work the same way the real world does. If there’s anything else about the geography of the world you want to note, take the time to do it now so you’ll have the reference handy when you need it.

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Now that you have all the details of your game world’s geography worked out, flip over to the sketches section of the handbook and get your pencil ready. Use some of the map blanks to draw up your maps of the world. with these in hand, you’ll be ready for dividing political lines, asserting animal territories and natural environments and more when you make it to later sections.

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Solar Dynamics

Now that the main concepts of your planet and its geography are done, its time to consider the solar system in which your fantasy game world exists. This is far more important than anyone who reads and plays your game will ever be able to truly appreciate. So much of our world is affected by our sun and various gravitational forces from our moon and other planets in our solar system. While most, if not all of these details will never see the inside of your game book, their impacts should find their way there no matter what. The form and function of the solar system can affect tidal patterns, some animal behavior, star alignments and constellations, moon phases and hundreds of other things that most people will never think of working out. Keep all these details in mind, no matter how much of them you don’t want to actually include in your book, the details will help you to fill in ones that players and game masters will actually read in your final format.

Solar System The solar system of your planet will only have real bearing on visible stars in the night sky and planetary alignments unless the other planets have a place in your fantasy game world.

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If the Earth is about 8000 miles wide, the planet of your fantasy game world is:

miles wide.

Remember that larger planets will have higher gravity and geographical structures will naturally be shorter as will the creatures on it. Larger planets also take longer to rotate on their axis making seasons last longer.

If the Earth takes hours to make a revolution of the sun, the planet of your game world then takes:

hours to revolve

around its sun.

Remember that the amount of time it takes to make it around the sun is going to be the length of your day.

Calendar Comparison Given the size of your game world’s planet and the rate of its rotation,

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you’re going to want to work out how long your year is versus our year’s length. Since you’re already determined the size of the planet, you’ll have some idea of the difference in the planet’s year length. Using some curious guessing because none of us are math geniuses (unless you actually are), you should be able to tell how long your year is and what your seasonal shifts are like. Remember that your seasons are primarily based on the planet’s proximity to the sun since our planet turns on an axis and also spins. The axis spin creates the planet’s proximity to the sun in certain areas and the spin creates the days.

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Zodiac and Birth Signs While there are many star sign and zodiac variations throughout different cultures and from different time periods in our world, the most commonly used zodiac sign recognitions are bases on the position of the stars. Without depending on our star signs and our own star constellations, try to determine 1 or more star constellations that are easy to see, easy to track and take a relative position on whatever given horizon during a month or month-like cycle

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Star Charts Now that you’ve determined some or all of your memorable and visible star constellations, it’s time to determine whether or not there are enough visible and stable stars in your standard night sky to plot by. Don’t worry about actually creating the star charts, unless you want to use some of the sketch pad areas in the rear of the book. Use this space to describe some of the star charts in various hemispheres or even just certain aspects of them and how they are used for navigation.

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Lunar Phases If you haven’t created a moon or moons for your planet, this is the time to work on it. Remember that in our solar system alone, there are many examples of different formations of moons and the way they rotate around the planet they orbit. Work out your orbital track for your moon or moons and then see if you

can establish how much of the various moon faces will be visible in the night sky at different times of the month.

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Celestial Dynamics Now that you’ve worked out the logistics of your solar system, its time to consider the activity of your solar system and any other celestial elements that will play a part in your fantasy game world. Do your planets ever align and if so, does it cause anything to happen on your world? Is there a regular comet sighting? Are there meteor showers? Does the proximity of any of the planets in your solar system affect your game world? These are all viable and important elements to consider and depending on the level of astronomical scientific development in your game world, people might even know about them; even if they don’t, they might know about the effects and have charted them on a yearly or other frequency based calendar. This sort of consideration and planning is going to become very important when you start to create mythologies, religions and your supernatural elements.

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Seasonal Dynamics So you’ve already created the ebb and flow of your planet and taken into consideration the kind of changes your world has compared to ours so far as time and the years are concerned. Now it’s time to slow down and think about what effect exactly the change of seasons has on your world. Think beyond the normal effects of the seasons changing and whether or not there are new or special and even supernatural effects that come with a change of the cycles in your fantasy game world.

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Planetary Activity This aspect of your world is going to take some heavy consideration. What planetary activity means is: are there elements, factors, creatures or other forms of life on the other planets in your world’s solar system? No matter what your answer to that question is, if they don’t interact or affect the fantasy game world in chief, then don’t worry about these details. If they do affect your world in any way, this is a good time to sketch our all of your ideas and thoughts on the matter or just write it outright.

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Dimensional Dynamics

A lot of fantasy game worlds deal with or at least have some kind of “other”

planes of existence. Whether or not you had planned on creating this kind of supernatural collection, you should make it anyway. The simplest reason is that if you have created some kind of extra-planar world or dimensional causalities, then at least when you reach your supernatural planning stages, you’ll have some kind of framework to begin with. Since this is just a planning handbook, you can always create it and then leave it behind when you approach your final stages of creating your game. Some kind of thought should go into this no matter what though, even in the real world there are people who believe in other planes of existence and that there are other dimensions to our reality. A question you might find yourself asking is what is the difference between a plane and a dimension? Read on and check out all four subjects in this section before you get cracking on it.

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Planar Geography

A plane of existence is like a supernatural pocket of space and time that has

no genuine connection to any other plane. The fibers or gates that bind planes together isn’t as simple as saying one location leads to another, planes connect

to each other in ephemeral and supernatural ways. Planes of existence never make sense like reality does since they’re not a whole reality unto themselves; they’re like fractions of reality. In many cases, a plane is actually made of a particular element, facet of life or embodiment of an ideal should any of them be strong enough. In other cases, these planes are actually the source of such things as opposed to just being composed of them.

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If you are going to use planes, consider the major and minor elements of

your world as well as other forces that are strong enough to demand some kind of planar existence. When constructing their geography, determine where they lay in the scheme of things according to reality. Do your planes depend on reality to exist and thusly reside within it or do they fuel reality, allowing it to exist because of them?

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Planar Travel Now that you’ve determined your planes and their importance in the grand scheme of existence, its time to decide if they can be reached by mortals and other life and if they can, how they are reached. Since planes are a very supernatural element of a game, you may want to leave this blank and instead return to it after you work out the refined details of your world’s supernatural elements; but if you have a good idea of that part of your game, go ahead and write it all down if such travel is possible.

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Dimensional Geography Contrary to a plane of existence, a dimension is not an incomplete world; it’s an entire world unto itself. Dimensions are typically approached in a pseudo- scientific way depending on how detailed they are and how important they are to a story. Dimensions can be anything from the multi-verse theory to sub-dimensions that color a mirrored world based on specific elements. Using dimensions in a fantasy world is a difficult process because they are hard to distinguish from planes to most players, but their depth should be treated far differently.

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Dimensional Travel Once you’ve determined the method of extra-dimensional application, you have to figure out if people in your fantasy world can travel there or can be affected by those other dimensions. If you are planning on using both planes and dimensions, then you may just have your travel methodology solved for you. Combining scientific applications with supernatural ideas makes strange bedfellows and you might consider allowing dimensional travel through your planes.

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Extra-Dimensional Notes Whether you’ve chosen to use planes or dimensions, or even both, there are going to be elements and notes you either didn’t have the space to write or are now thinking about and want to add. Take the time and space to write out anything you may have missed and any details you want to remember about your other worlds and their effects.

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Ecology

The eco-system is a vital part of any world. Plants depend on a careful balance of other plants, warmth and weather, elements in the atmosphere, animals and sunlight. Without plants, in our world, we would have never evolved and our planet wouldn’t have been able to sustain life as we know it. Every animal killed or born, every human, every plant, every chemical and everything that happens in our galaxy affects our eco-system. You don’t have to know everything about ecology to make something viable or at least believable, but you should take some time to do some research if you can’t remember the basics you hopefully learned in school. While this section of your design is important, this is information that will most likely never make it to the final product in the plain and detailed format it’s presented in here. This information is almost strictly for you and your designs. You have to consider the functioning ecology of a world and its regions when creating animals and plants and the territories they inhabit.

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World Ecological Balance As a whole the real world works in a balance so far as our ecology goes. Consider that plants are fed by rot, waste and sunlight which are in turn eaten by herbivores and insects that are eaten by carnivores. Scavengers fill in the

middle ground and many insects also eat carrion. Everything from chemicals to the elements, animals and the immediate environment itself plays a role in the ecosystem. Don’t think too deeply about our ecosystem and the way our world works, but keep the balance in mind. Now try to think of how the ecology of your world as a whole will work and what ensures a natural balance and food chain there.

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Oceanic Ecology Time to get specific, how does the ecology of your world’s oceans work? Work out some of the details of temperature versus current and flow and think about fish, aquatic mammals, micro-organisms and everything in the oceans that plays a factor in the balance of your ecosystem and how it works in your fantasy game world. Oceanic life is very diverse in our world, with thousands of sub-species of plants and animals; is your world as varied or different?

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Subterranean Ecology The subterranean ecology of your game world may not actually be important if you don’t plan on using a strong subterranean element. Like previous areas of this handbook, even if you aren’t going to be using subterranean areas for your game, you should still describe them in the event you decide to. Subterranean ecology is particularly strange in comparison to other areas of the world because while the ecosystem of an arboreal area can ebb and flow over and under its

balance, a subterranean ecology will collapse if everything in it isn’t working in perfect order. The introduction of a single element or the removal of another can complete destroy an underground ecosystem. Consider that in a subterranean environment, you wouldn’t find a giant creature that burrows and tunnels through

rock without it somehow being able to sustain itself

any kind of sustainable life and eventually die out itself.

which

would ultimately kill

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Regional Ecology Pick some major areas of your game world, ones that are an integral part of your main story or will be used most often. Think them over and try to be thorough too. You should take some time to work out the ecological balance of those areas. Do they work like our own ecology? Do they all work the same ways? Are they different from each other in major ways or just regional ones? These are all questions you should take the time to answer because when you start creating the various life forms for your world, you should stick to your planned ecosystem.

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Supernatural Ecology The introduction of supernatural creatures to a real ecosystem can defunct an otherwise well balanced and functional world. Without years of planning and calculation you couldn’t accurately say what even a single otherworldly life form could do to that balance; but you’re not a scientist and this is only a game. Regardless of this just being a game, some thought should go into your design and the role that your supernatural creatures play.

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Evolution of Life Without thinking of any kind of creation mythology or reading too much into Darwinian Theory, think of the evolution of life in your fantasy game world. Understand that humans are adaptive and able to change their state of mind to suit their situation, but animals cannot. Animals for the most part only have limited flexibility when it comes to environments they can inhabit and thrive in. This is because evolution has made them able to live in the area of the world they were designed to live in. Humans have the ability to change their state of mind and adapt mentally, but we are physically unchanged and instead of adapting to the world around us, we force our environment to change to better suit our needs. Insects are also a marvel of evolution because their bodies have become so highly efficient at living and thriving in nearly any environment or condition.

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Species Variety So why is it important to think about the variety of species in your fantasy game world? Well in the most basic senses, we have 8 types of species in our world and understanding them all can really help you to work out the creatures of your world and what their role is in the food chain. Without referring to genuinely scientific terms there are insects, arachnids, mammals, marsupials, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds in our world. Take some time to look them up and get some information on what their natural traits are. Once you understand them, you can determine what types of creatures exist in your fantasy game world and what their general role is. Feel free to invent some new ones if you need a particular type of creature to work within it all or just don’t include ones if they

have no clear place in your game world.

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Flora

With all of the really hard and analytical work behind you it’s finally time to start working on the fun part of your game world. To begin with you’re going to be creating and detailing plant life. I know what you’re thinking already, why would I think writing about plants is fun? It’s fun because this is the foundation of your whole ecosystem. No matter what kind of life you want to create in your world, all of it will start with and depend on the plant life in your world. If the scientific evidence to date and evolutionary theories are to be believed, life on Earth began with plants that thrived on the toxic chemicals in our world. They in turn slowly converted those toxins into oxygen and eventually turned it all into a breathable and sustainable atmosphere to support life. Micro-organisms and bacteria began to flourish and eventually animal life began to grow in pools of water and chemicals. Plants are the foundation of life in our world and if what we know about life is to be true, then they are the foundation of life in any world that plays host to carbon based life. After all, trees and plants do make oxygen for us to breath don’t they? This is your opportunity to illustrate your understanding of normal plant life and to create new and fundamental plant life beyond the scope of the normal world or to create wild and fantastic things right out of your dreams, or even your nightmares.

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Floral Similarities When designing the floral life in your fantasy game world the first step is to think about how similar your plant life will be to our real world plant life in appearance, function and design. Obviously the more similar it is, the less you’ll have to genuinely balance details about strange and alien functionality, but the less creative and individual your game world will be in the end. Balance your unique and individual creations against our tried, tested and true ecological development for your world.

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Effects of Pollen As you may or may not know, pollen from plants is the cornerstone of our plant life in this world and without it and the creatures that help to carry it; our world would crumble and die. Bees are probably the single most important carrier of pollen and without them; most plant life in the world would not be able to survive. Some plants are capable of spreading and carrying their own pollen while others depend on insects, winds and in the case of oceanic plants, currents. Think of the different real world methods of distributing pollen and any new ones you want to use for your world. Write them all down and try to give some good detail. This will let you quickly reference them by title or initial when you are making all of your plants in this section.

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Tree Species When it comes to trees there are two major types, deciduous which flourishes in the spring and summer and coniferous which remains green and healthy all year round. There are many types of trees in our world, some can be found in various locations around the globe while others are more specialized in where they are designed to grow, like tropical trees that can’t handle a cold season. The same is true for coniferous trees where most of them grow almost exclusively in sub- arctic regions or temperate zones. You also have to know that even if a tree can be found in multiple locations around the world, many of them vary from one region to the next as different sub-breeds of tree species.

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Take the time to consider where the tress are as well, since you made your global map it stands to reason you can go over it and plot out forests, mountain ranges, lakes, rivers and all other manner of natural regions and facets. If you didn’t before, you can go over it now and add them or duplicate your map using the grid blanks and add them to your copy. Continue this kind of mapping for major plant life and other plant life entries that you want to exist in either specific areas of your game world or exclusive areas.

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Weed Species Though weeds don’t generally contribute much to the balance of life in an ecosystem, they play a key role. Since plant life produces oxygen they help to ensure we have a stable atmosphere and some species of weeds even serve to feed animal life as well as insects. There are also some species of poisonous weeds which aid in the cycle of life in animals because they will kill animals that eat from them, effectively feeding scavengers, some carnivores and many forms of insects.

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Moss and Fungus Species Mosses and fungi are a far more important element of the ecosystem than people would give them credit; they are also a hideously fun way to make sure players have actually taken the time to read things their characters are supposed to know. Many forms of mold, moss and fungus are poisonous, spreading their seed through spores which can linger on clothing and fur or even be breathed into the lungs and can cause some serious damage once there. In subterranean areas there are even forms of phosphorescent growths that illuminate caverns and work in a radically different way that other plants do.

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Flowering Plant Species Calling this area “flowering” plant species is a little misleading because most plants actually flower and produce pollen. There are even some species of fruit bearing trees that flower as the fruit begins to grow in spring. For the purposes of organizing your thoughts and detailing plant species, consider this area a place to write about flowers specifically. Get creative and have fun with your flower species as well. In the real world there are types of flowers that can cause a hormonal reaction in animals, some can produce humming sounds and others can even cause hallucinations and in rare cases, madness.

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Fruit Species There are many kinds of plants and trees that grow fruits. Fruits are healthy and are a good addition to any animal and insect diet. Fruits are often rich in natural sugars and beneficial natural acids. A fruit by definition is the seed bearing ovary of a plant that is edible, but in simpler terms, fruit is edible bulbous materials from plants that grow outside of the earth attached to the plants themselves.

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Vegetable Species Vegetables are the product of a plant that bears a seed pod that grows attached to the plant, but underground. These pods are typically filled with vitamin rich water and seeds but not always and they have strong fleshy exteriors to protect them from their growth environment. A vegetable by definition is the seed bearing ovary of a plant that is edible, but in simple terms, vegetables grow from the plant submerged in the ground where they grow, ripen and incubate there before they either waste away and reseed the plant naturally or are plucked from the ground and eaten.

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Aquatic Species There are probably millions of aquatic species of plant life in the real world, but you don’t to worry about trying to detail a couple hundred breeds of kelp or sea sponge. Try to think of real plant life when creating and detailing your world’s own breeds, but if your game world won’t be focusing on oceanic and underwater playing events or locations, then don’t work too heavily on this subject.

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Subterranean Species Underground plants are strange compared to ones you might otherwise easily recognize. Developing for subterranean life, plants will rarely have much pigmentation if any at all leaving them transparent or milky white and translucent in appearance. Some subterranean plant life has also developed the ability to glow or becomes phosphorescent. This dim glowing effect can be of almost any color, but yellows, greens and blues are the most common.

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Carnivorous Plant Life Carnivorous plants have evolved to excrete acidic juices and other fluids that emulate stomach acids and can digest and effectively liquefy animal matter to feed itself. These strange plants often give off pheromone-like chemical gases to attract insects and small animals to them, giving them ample opportunity to feed themselves with unsuspecting victims.

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Parasites A parasitic plant is and isn’t within the realms of the real world. But any plant that feeds off of animals or insects would fall under this category. To a lesser degree would be plants that exude any kind of chemicals that affect the normal behavior of insects or animals to cause them act in the best interests of the plant, but in fantasy terms, a parasitic plant would more appropriately be any kind of plant that infests and eats a host.

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Symbiotic Parasites Compared to a normal parasite, what is a symbiotic parasite? A symbiotic organism is an incomplete creature that needs to infest a host to survive. Like a parasite, the symbiotic creature uses other creatures to survive, but this one benefits the host creature as well. Symbiotic parasites use chemical and nutritional secretions from its host to survive but also alter the host’s physiology, its internal bio-chemical secretions or some other form of physical benefit from the bodily partnership.

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Special Regional Plant Life No matter what type of plant it is, there is going to be special plant life you want to be able to grow in only one special location in the world. This is especially useful when a plant is used to make a cure for some kind of rare poison or neurotoxin. This is also a good way to create a fundamental environment change for a given region when, for example, a certain region grows purple needled coniferous trees.

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Supernatural Species While you may have already created some pretty wild and otherworldly plants, supernatural plants are far beyond those ones. Keeping your source or sources of supernatural energies in mind, it’s time to decide if there are going to be any plant species that are derived from, altered by or created from those forces. This is your opportunity to really cut loose and have fun with plant life that is completely out of this world. Try to ensure that it all still fits your general ecology so that the balance you’ve created remains intact.

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Intelligent Plant Life Some fantasy games will present players with the ability to play living plants that are not only self-aware, but have the ability to grow and adapt like a human can. These playable plant creatures are a good alternative to the standard “human and humanoid” species choices, but careful considerations have to be taken when doing so. Other uses of intelligent plant life can also be used to add an interesting element to your game world. Since most kinds of plants live a very long time or have strange forms of reproduction, their intellectual views of life can be vastly different from what you or I would expect and can bring a different outlook on events and history to your game.

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Plant Life Blights and Threats So what are the normal threats to plant life in our world? There are forest fires, technological development and deforestation, ravenous insects and imbalances in the herbivorous populations as well as draughts and prolonged winters or natural disasters. That’s a big list but the curious element is why there’s an area for you to write about it. Natural threats and blights on plant life should be taken into account and you should write down some details about them so you keep them in mind, but you’re writing a fantasy game world, not everything has to make sense or be completely real. If you can think of anything beyond the normal threats to plant life that exist in our world, write them out and figure out where those elements will come into play and why.

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Insect Life

Compared to the flora and fauna sections in this handbook, you might wonder why the insect section is so small even though insects are just as important to an ecological balance, if not more important than animals are. The answer is simple: insects are not going to be a big factor in most gaming worlds. The consideration for them will be there, but few people ever pay attention to the habits and stability of insect populations. Unless they are a scientist or do something that directly involves bugs and in a fantasy game world, this just doesn’t come up that often.

The Insect Kingdom Generally speaking, the insect kingdom in our world is enormous and in the terms of a role playing game, endless. You’ll need to carefully some time to consider the depth of your insect kingdom’s involvement in your fantasy game world. With insects that range in frequency and variety like our own, there really isn’t any need to elaborate on any specific kinds of insects except the truly exceptional, noteworthy and supernatural ones. Consider whether or not your game world has all of the same insects that ours does and how any lack or gain of species of insects will affect your world.

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Flying Insects There are many forms of insects that fly either for short periods or for prolonged distances. Since insects don’t have lungs they are typically very limited in their flight capacity, but this doesn’t need to be incorporated into your designs. Remember that there is still a lot we don’t know about an insect’s ability to fly. A bumblebee is a good example since its size, mass and wingspan actually seem to defy physics.

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Water Insects There are many insects that you may or may not equate to being one. A lobster for instance is not actually an insect but exhibits many of the physical characteristics of one. This should show you that actual insects that either thrives on the surface of water, like water spiders, or underneath it are highly possible.

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Burrowing Insects Insects that tunnel or burrow underground and in nests are among the most common. Large, intricate nests as well as grandiose subterranean tunnels are something from another world when examined closely. Nests among other elements are great opportunities to create interesting and potentially dangerous things for players to deal with.

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Carrion Eaters Carrion eaters are important to our ecology. There are all manner of bugs that have evolved to feed almost chiefly from dead flesh and in turn they actually aid in decomposition. Blowflies are a perfect example of carrion eaters, flies that thrive on dead flesh and particularly in the case of dead humans because their growth patterns have been tracked and studied over time to give us the ability to accurately deduce how long a person has been dead.

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Parasitic Insects Parasitic insects are a fact of life, with life forms that are so highly evolved to exist and grow in such specific environments they are an inevitable conclusion. Tape worms, spiders and wasps that lay eggs in other insects and many others are prime examples of how this is an unfortunate reality.

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Giant and Supernatural Insects

In the realm of fantasy, insects that defy conventional logic and science is always a fun element. Try to remember your ecological balance for these creatures, a larger life form needs a larger prey or at the very least more food and in the case of insects, their ability to adapt and evolve to micro-conditional changes makes for interesting and fundamental changes to normal insects when you do something as simple as alter their size.

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Fauna

With plant life and insects successfully detailed, its time to begin working on what can easily be regarded as the most daunting task of all in this handbook, animal life. Since animals and other creatures that fall under the same general category will undoubtedly become the bulk of your wildlife and species that your characters will play, this is very important and not only is there a lot to work on, the details require some heavy thought and attention to detail. With everything you’ve hopefully looked up and read about to complete the previous sections or even knew before you began working on this handbook, you should have a solid grasp of the animal kingdom. In addition, you’ve hopefully taken the time you needed to think about the animals and other creatures you want to be a part of your fantasy game world. This section will cover general animal descriptions, but it should also be used to write specific information about your animal species. So long as you took the time to define your geographical areas and hopefully named or labeled some of the areas of your world. This can help you to associate your animal species with areas they are naturally found, something that needs to be done eventually but if its done now will save a lot of time.

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The Food Chain

Overlooking the inclusion of plant life, you’re going to need to work out how the food chain works in your game world. It might seem like a simple thing, larger and more vicious or intelligent creatures eat smaller ones and they are in turn consumed by carrion eating insects to help create fertilizer and propagate

plants crops

to it is that it’s not that simple. When you start adding or taking creatures from our ecosystem and expect it to behave like our own you will run into problems. With the inclusion of supernatural forces and creatures, the flow of life and the

food chain can become radically different. Take some time to think about what you’ve already changed and what you plan to continue changing and work it into the active and reliable balance of life.

lot of words to explain bigger means better teeth; but the problem

a

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Species Classifications Similar to what you did when you wrote the species varieties in a previous section, you’re going to be detailing the inherent abilities, weaknesses and other qualities of those types of species classifications that apply to animals. Remember

to include any supernatural variations that apply to these animals. Clarifying your classifications will help you to ensure you don’t have to backtrack and rewrite your animal species entries.

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Dominant Life Before detailing any other species of life in your game world, you need to think about what the dominant species of life will be. This can be a singular species like humans which is the case in the real world or it can be multiple types of creatures. Remember that dominant life forms don’t need to be humanoid or even intellectually aware. If you were to re-introduce even some of the smallest and weakest dinosaurs into our modern world they may very well take over the role of the dominant species on our planet and given fossil records, dinosaurs

really weren’t that smart

they

were just animals.

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Player Species Without worrying too much about the details, take some time to list and describe the playable species of creatures in the animal kingdom. Remember that for the most part, these creatures should remain within the humanoid persuasion. While fantasy games are meant to test the limits of the imagination and bring fantastical elements into play, fully comprehending the logistics of playing other types of creatures is honestly beyond most people’s capacities.

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Sub-Species and Interbreeding Take some time to consider any possible sub-breeds of the main playable species of creatures and whether or not these species are capable of cross-breeding with each other or other non-intelligent animal species that are genetically similar. This may seem like putting too much thought into the whole process, but it is a question that will come up as people begin to read deeper into your game world and want to experiment with it. Additionally, these are player elements you may want to include with the setting. The exact details aren’t needed just yet, but the framework for it all is a good idea to include for the time being; you’ll be working on the precise player option details in a later section after other details have been hammered out.

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Terrestrial Micro-Species In this area, describe some microbial species that live in terrestrial environments like grasslands, deserts, forests, mountains and other land-based regions.

Terrestrial Herbivores In this area, describe some herbivorous animals that live in terrestrial environments like grasslands, deserts, forests, mountains and other land-based regions.

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Terrestrial Scavengers In this area, describe some scavenger animals that live in terrestrial environments like grasslands, deserts, forests, mountains and other land-based regions.

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Terrestrial Carnivores In this area, describe some carnivorous animals that live in terrestrial environments like grasslands, deserts, forests, mountains and other land-based regions.

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Terrestrial Predators In this area, describe some predatory animals that live in terrestrial environments like grasslands, deserts, forests, mountains and other land-based regions.

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Terrestrial Supernatural Creatures In this area, describe some supernatural creatures from your game world that live in terrestrial environments. If the creatures you have in mind aren’t exclusively or primarily terrestrial, hold off until you reach the end of this section, there is an area for “other life”.

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Arial Micro-Species In this area, describe some airborne species that either live strictly under airborne conditions or require airborne travel to reproduce or infect hosts like viruses and bacteria.

Arial Herbivores In this area, describe some winged herbivores that live in terrestrial environments where their airborne nature is appropriate for their biology.

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