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Thread: Highly realistic, outside-in world building

  1. #1

    Question Highly realistic, outside-in world building

    As I am creating a map for a campaign setting, I wish to have as realistic terrain as possible. I know the basics, like water flows down hill, a current from the equator makes regions more temperate, areas removed from large bodies of water become arid, but would love a guide or a list of the steps to go through for realistic world building.

    Does such an item exist?

  2. #2


    You might find this helpful. None of it is mine, and I first saw it on the ZBB, and all credit for it goes to those who created and contributed to it there.

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    The Climate Cookbook posted above is excellent. I also typically recommend Expeditious Retreat Press' A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping, which is a free chapter from their book A Magical Society: Ecology and Culture.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

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    Thanks a lot, guys! It should come along nicely. I'll publish the map when it is finished

  5. #5
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA


    Squiddoo has a pretty extensive list of worldbuilding resources.

  6. #6
    Guild Journeyer altasilvapuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Augusta, GA


    There are also a number of maps with fairly detailed processes here on the boards that you can follow:

    The ones that guided me are those of Karro and Korba

    Some more recent ones have come along, as well, that have clarified other steps:
    Laime (most stages covered, especially tectonics):
    Gidde (tectonics and ocean currents, mostly)

    And then there's the one I was working on back in the summer, which is linked in my signature. And I have another coming eventually when I have time to finish a few more stages and post it.

    My current worldbuilding experiment(s):

    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
    -W.B. Yeats

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