View Full Version : Effects of a flat world

10-17-2011, 11:29 AM
Hey I was wondering if anybody had any idea what sort of effect a flat world would have on climate/topography etc.

10-17-2011, 12:57 PM
It depends on the solar system and other star/planet factors.

A flat world is really different from a spheric one. Start asking question to yourself: do the inhabitants know something about the world and its flatness? what is at the borders of the earth? is there something on the other side? can one go on the other side?

Well, imo, a flat world could not exist. Maybe a cilyndrical one, with small thickness... anyway it's funny create something weird and unusual like this! Have fun and good luck.

I don't know if these links can help:

10-17-2011, 04:17 PM
Well as far as I can remember to have a near flat-like world one would have to be completely free of gravity, since gravity is the one that gives planets the spherical shape. But, that would also pose a problem for inhabitants with no nearby stars or galaxies. Infact, there would be no inhabitants.

10-17-2011, 05:39 PM
The only ones i heard of with any depth of explanation is Halo,, and one of my favorites, the Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven. And those are cylindrical.

10-17-2011, 08:48 PM
Oh, well the map i'm making is for a dnd game so i figured i'd go with the standard excuse if my players asked why it was flat"Shut up! It's Magic!" :P
( I suppose yelling "Heresy!" is also an option) at its edges it runs off into waterfalls , the world itself is suspended high above an infinite sea (plane of water) I guess I was just kinda wondering how it would effect the terrain or water. Thanks for the links and stuff though, a cylinder world sounds interesting too.

10-18-2011, 12:08 AM
No, not "magic". "Alternative physics". Are any of the player-characters scientists? No? Then you don't need to explain it to them, because they wouldn't know anyway.

Note that the mountain-building processes of our world are going to have to be replaced by something else. (Erosion should still go normally.) Maybe you could have steam volcanoes for part of it.

A cylinder is actually much harder to figure out than a flat world, but it does have certain advantages -- you can map it on a flat surface without distortion and you can still have circumnavigation. I'd make the poles ice caps that are virtually unassailable to avoid trying to figure out how to make the gravity work there.

Also, you ought to check out Prachett's Diskworld series. He's given some thought to making a flat world work in a vast cosmos. (The old "sky is a dome" model doesn't present the same kind of problems.)

10-18-2011, 08:52 AM
you might wanna read this article as well.. some nice info about a square world which might help you think differently http://www.askamathematician.com/2011/05/q-what-would-earth-be-like-to-us-if-it-were-a-cube-instead-of-spherical-is-this-even-possible/

10-20-2011, 10:43 PM
Well I'm kinda jumping back and forth between flat and sphere, lol I still havent really made up my mind. But thank you guys for the info.

10-21-2011, 01:35 AM
I think the first question to ask is... how much magic is involved? This is critical as the amount of magic involved will determine how things take shape. I think you're going to need some immediate answers to the following questions:

1. Is there a magical force that is keeping the world flat? If not, then over time, it's going to deform itself into a spherical shape due to gravity.

2. Are there two sides to flat world? In other words, do both sides of the planet have an atmosphere - making it, in a sense - kinda like the two separate faces of a coin?

3. How does the atmosphere work on flat world? Due to the awesome link from Tilt we know that if left to its own devices, the atmosphere will most likely form a "bubble" around the center of flat world due to gravity. This means that if you began walking the atmosphere would get thinner and thinner, and you'd eventually need a space suit to survive.

4. How do continents and mountains form? They normally form as a result of plate tectonics, but if those don't exist on flat world; then eventually wind is going to erode your mountains away and the land itself will be left pretty flat.

5. Does flat world have an ocean, or is it almost entirely land with inland lakes and rivers? (If flat world is mostly land, then it would eventually form landlocked seas where all the water would drain, and these seas would likely be at the direct center.)

6. What is flat worlds relationship with the sun? Does it have an axial tilt like earth, and does it rotate... and if it rotates what does that rotation look like? This will have a huge impact upon what weather will be like on flat world.

As you can see... the biggest question here is: How much magic is involved? At the least, you're going to require magic that keeps the planet flat, otherwise, as I said, it's going to deform into a sphere over time.

11-19-2011, 10:12 PM
I was searching for flat "earth" ideas and stumbled on this thread.

I have been throwing around the idea of a planetoid that had a flat surface for years. I penned the major continent years ago. My thinking, and I am certain there are gaping holes in my science, was that the planet was the cooled remains of one half of a binary star system. So its mate star is now the sun and the chunk left over is a mass of gas and minerals still travelling with the other star. The general shape of the world was a cone with a huge chunk blasted out of the middle. Think of a upside down mountain with a a piece of the center missing. The "surface" of the planet was along the broad relatively flat side. The planetiod rotated end over end so it had day and night. Seasons were created based on distance from the sun. Binary stars move from what I understand like they are joined by a rubberband effect from gravity. They rotate around eachother but they pull apart and then gravity starts to pull them back closer as the race back toward each until they pass and start pulling away from each other. So in the case of my little planetoid it is coldest when it is furthest from the sun and hottest when it is passes closest to the sun. While this was intended as a fantasy setting I wanted to go as far as I could with wild scientific conjecture before the magic angle kicked in.