Tectonics is more a tool to help you map and can inspire thoughts of volcano and earthquake prone areas, as well as where island chains and mountains logically belong. Currents are far more important to climate.
Tectonics can also assist in creating desert-like areas despite rainfall, due to simply having infertile ground. Australia, as I recall, in parts has more than adequate rainfall to not be desert (and I think it heading more and more north toward the equator where it will get more rain due to the ITCZ) but remains barren rock. Why? It sits in the middle of a plate and therefore has had no real volcanic activity for an extremely long time, and volcanism is a major player in fertility.
I always recommend the ITCZ map, not for every month! But to just take a look at the extreme north and south meanderings and how those play across the continents. For instance, one belt of mountains on my map, we figure that now and again the ITCZ will travel north above them and provide massive rainfall, but most seasons it would hang to the south of the mountains, leaving it very arid most years and with a short rainy season others. This gives the region good character.
Ever decide the direction the world spins?
Originally Posted by Veldehar
As interesting as this might be to an author, I've always found that when gaming with other people, altering such fundamental ideas (respective to the group) as which direction the sun rises, or which hemisphere the major body of land lies in (north or south) tends to only confuse people rather than add flavor. In terms of climate and currents (the only things of substance affected by changing the spin direction), changing which way the world spins is identical to flipping the land layout and then figuring out the meteorological and climate maps. So unless the reader/players will particularly care which way the water drains in a sink, why do this? I'd rather let my audience
That said, if you are making an alien world where everything is suppose to be weird and not feel right, there might be some aesthetic usefulness in making the sun rise in the west and set in the east. This is a pretty blatant and clumsy way of approaching such things, imo, however. There are more subtle ways to make people feel like they are on another planet. Frex, martian sunsets are blue, the horizon is WAY too close (about a mile, rather than the usual three-ish on earth), it is quiet (you'd have to scream as loud as you could to be heard a few feet away), the day is 40 minutes longer than on Earth, resulting in some messed up sleeping patterns and general havoc on your circadian rhythm, etc. Personally, I'd focus on the little things and let those unnerve the audience rather than smacking them in the face with the sun rising in the wrong place. Heck, what about Uranus, where the sun just spirals around the sky for half the year until it sets and then spirals back up the sky? Or Mercury where the sun traverses half the sky, then stops, goes backwards, stops again, and then sets? Sorry if that got ranty, but I really dislike adding unneeded complexity to a system.
Alright, after exams and a bit of a holiday break, I'm back at it. I've included a completed 'satellite' map, after passing it by several geographers, as well as an ITCZ map, just for you Veldahar. ;) The lines are rough, and there's probably a few spots that are in error, but should cover the basic gist of things.
I've also uploaded the first styled map of this world, Asora. It's very plain right now, just a bunch of textures and effects all magicked together (expect many more tweaks to this before it looks how I'd like it to). As I get into the content world building of Asora, I'll flush it out with names, decals and details. I'd appreciate tips on how this rough version is received: