This post on YouTube got me thinking about a lot of stuff related to architecture and our manufactured world. The places we walk through say a lot about the needs and fashions of the time. The great numinous experiences when our breath is taken by the scope of a cathedral were intentionally built to evoke that sensation. Also with the arches and column work they were to make us think of nature, specifically a forest. Compare that to, say, a Cold War era bunker, with big heavy doors and murderholes they’re designed as mazes to confuse and slow potential attackers who breach the outer doors. The interiors are cramped to save space as every cubic foot of space is a displaced cubic foot of soil and that costs money! On the point of money, how much do you have? Can you afford artistic flourishes in your work? Textured surfaces? Is your built space a decadent tribute to a god or a strictly functional military installation or are those two functions not at odds for the given culture?
We leave clues about our intent in our built environment. When you do your Worldbuilding and you find your readers in a specific place, especially one that has deep significance to your story, how does that environment speak to its creators’ purposes? I love a good dungeon in RPGs but they represent a sort of nonsensical trope. Does the necromancer live there? Why? Why not a beautiful mansion with undead attendants? And what’s with all the traps? I mean, presumably you account for some lost servants due to your trap infrastructure in your monthly accounting but really? Every chest? The constructed world around our narratives add to the believability of the story itself and take some of the work load off the ‘suspension of disbelief’ muscle that our readers are having to engage to grapple with fiction.
This video is worth a watch. Let it inspire you to think about the spaces you’ve made, especially the significant locations in your story. Who made this and why? Are great questions that can add a sense of rich depth to your story.
Stay tuned for more writing from the WorldCraft Club as we explore worldbuilding and the crafting of fictional settings to inspire your creativity.
James wrote this! James is a host on the Worldcraft Club Podcast. He loves tabletop rpgs, running and drinking too much coffee. He lives with his wife and young son somewhere in Central Pennsylvania.
We’re happy to host guest blogs on here whenever we can, it gives James a break and let’s other people contribute their ideas. Let us know if you have a worldbuilding concept or strategy to get off your chest, we’d love to hear it.