fantasy guides

the-spockicorn  asked:

Hi, I’ve been considering starting a book in the fantasy genre. I really wanted to give some Native American representation in it, since it's something that I rarely see. However, this story wouldn't take place in America, it would be in a completely different world (though one loosely based off of earth in the 14 hundreds ish?) This is similar to your mixing cultures post, but I wanted to know: is there a good way to give Native American representation in stories that aren’t historical fiction?

Representing PoC in Fantasy When Their Country/Continent Doesn’t Exist

The core of this question is something we’ve gotten across a few different ethnicities, and it basically boils down to: “how can I let my readers know these people are from a certain place without calling them by this certain place?” Aka, how can I let people know somebody is Chinese if I can’t call them Chinese, or, in your case, some Native American nation without having a North America.

Notes on Language

As I have said multiple times, there is no such thing as “Native American culture”. It’s an umbrella term. Even if you are doing fantasy you need to pick a nation and/or confederacy.

Step One

How do you code somebody as European?

This sounds like a very silly question, but consider it seriously.

How do you?

They probably live in huts or castles; there are lords and kings and knights; they eat stew and bread and drumsticks; they celebrate the winter solstice as a major holiday/new year; women wear dresses while men wear pants; there are pubs and farms and lots of wheat; the weather is snowy in winter and warm in summer.

Now swap all those components out for whatever people you’re thinking about.

Iroquois? They live in longhouses; there is a confederacy and democracy and lots of warriors from multiple nations; they eat corn, beans, and squash (those three considered sacred and grown together), with fish and wild game; they wear mostly leather garments with furs in winter; there are nights by the fire and cities and the rituals will change by the nation (remember the Iroquois were a confederacy made up of five or six tribes, depending on period); the weather is again snowy in winter and warm in summer.

Chinese? They harvest rice; there is an emperor appointed by the gods and scholars everywhere; they use a lunar calendar and have a New Year in spring; their trade ships are huge and their resources are plenty; they live in wood structures with paper walls or mud brick; they use jade and ivory for talismans; their culture is hugely varied depending on the province; their weather is mostly tropical, with monsoons instead of snow on lowlands, but their mountains do get chilly.

You get the gist.

Break down what it is that makes a world read as European (let’s be honest, usually English and Germanic) to you, then swap out the parts with the appropriate places in another culture.

Step Two

Research, research, research. Google is your friend. Ask it the questions for “what did the Cree eat” and “how did Ottoman government work.” These are your basics. This is what you’ll use to figure out the building blocks of culture.

You’ll also want to research their climate. As I say in How To Blend Cultures, culture comes from climate. If you don’t have the climate, animals, plants, and weather down, it’ll ring false.

You can see more at So You Want To Save The World From Bad Representation.

Step Three

Start to build the humans and how they interact with others. How are the trade relations? What are the internal attitudes about the culture— how do they see outsiders? How do outsiders see them? Are there power imbalances? How about greed and desire to take over?

This is where you need to do even more research on how different groups interacted with others. Native American stories are oftentimes painful to read, and I would strongly suggest to not take a colonizer route for a fantasy novel.

This does, however, mean you might not be researching how Natives saw Europeans— you’ll be researching how they saw neighbours. 

You’ll also want to look up the social rules to get a sense for how they interacted with each other, just for character building purposes.

Step Four

Sensitivity readers everywhere! You’ll really want to get somebody from the nation to read over the story to make sure you’ve gotten things right— it’s probably preferable to get somebody when you’re still in the concept stage, because a lot of glaring errors can be missed and it’s best to catch them before you start writing them.

Making mistakes is 100% not a huge moral failing. Researching cultures without much information on them is hard. So long as you understand the corrections aren’t a reflection on your character, just chalk them up to ignorance (how often do most writers get basic medical, weapon, or animal knowledge wrong? Extremely often). 

Step Five

This is where you really get into the meat of creating people. You’ve built their culture and environment into your worldbuilding, so now you have the tools you need to create characters who feel like part of the culture.

You’ll really want to keep in mind that every culture has a variety of people. While your research will say people roughly behave in a certain way, people are people and break cultural rules all the time. Their background will influence what rules they break and how they relate to the world, but there will be no one person who follows every cultural rule down to the letter. 

Step Six

Write!

Step Seven

More sensitivity readers! See step 4 for notes.

Step Eight

Rewrite— and trust me, you will need to. Writing is rewriting.

Repeat steps seven and eight until story is done.

Extra Notes

I’ll be honest— you’re probably going to need a certain amount of either goodwill (if you’re lucky enough to make friends within the group you’re trying to represent— but seriously, please do not make friends with us for the sole purpose of using us as sensitivity readers. It’s not nice) and/or money to get to publishing level. 

The good part is the first three steps are free, and these first three steps are what will allow you to hurt others less when you approach. While you’ll still likely make mistakes, you’ll make a few less (and hopefully no glaring ones, but it can/does happen) so long as you do your due diligence in making sure you at least try to understand the basics.

And once you feel like you’ve understood the basics… dive down even deeper because chances are you’re about to reach a tipping point for realizing how little you know.

People will always find you did something wrong. You will never get culture 100% accurate— not even people who were born and raised in it will, because as I said in step five: cultures have a huge variety of people in them, so everyone will interact with it differently. But you can work your hardest to capture one experience, make it as accurate as possible, and learn more for next time.

~ Mod Lesya 

10 inspiring and helpful YouTube channels for digital artists

People are asking us how the art we share can be so good.

The answer this time isn’t so simple. An artist has his own way on shaping his style, he takes his time to experiment and so it becomes quite difficult for others to try learning his art style and making it their own. It’s even wrong.

But we can tell you that many artists learn by getting inspired by others’ art. Watching an artist while he paints can be motivating - and of course it can teach you a few technical tricks.

So, here there are ten YouTube channels you should check out.

1. FZD School of design

It’s a school founded by Feng Zhu, amazing concept artist with a lot of experience in video games, films and commercials. His videos are real episodes/lessons and they are very helpful. And, well, they even have a school in Singapore…

2. China digital painting

This channel doesn’t feature tutorials but shares full video processes by Chinese artists. In this period we are seeing many young artists inspired by an art style that’s typically Chinese - it features dramatic lighting and mood. Mind, though, that such technique can be found in other masters like Bouguereau and Rembrandt.

3. Ctrl + Paint

A channel dedicated to the digital painting in Photoshop. Very helpful for those beginners who want to learn how to use the software and how to get better with art in general.

4. Level Up!

One of the most known groups of digital art on Facebook can be found on YouTube as well. The founders are Wojtek Fus and Darek Zabrocki. Each session (episode) features a different digital artist. This is great because you can compare the different painting processes. The main theme of this channel is concept art and fantasy/sci-fi illustrations.

5. JJ canvas

This is the channel of Jorge Jacinto. He uploads speedpaintings, but they are very inspiring if you want to look at how a wonderful surreal landscape can be created in twenty minutes - in time-lapse of course.

6. Webang111

Another channel with time-lapse videos. Very inspiring if you are into colorful and cartoony illustrations.

7. Ross Draws

His art is wonderful and his videos are super funny! Check out his channel if you want to see how a fantasy illustration can be created from a simple idea - I mean, he starts with two rough lines to close the video with a breathtaking illustration. Crazy.

8. The Portrait Art

Okay, we know. This channel is not about digital art. But it’s amazing art anyway and if you are into realistic portraits, you can get inspired by watching these videos.

9. Cubebrush

Another channel with time-lapse videos, but a few are commented. The videos are about 2D and 3D paintings.

10. Noah Bradley

This artist is a master in the concept field and he doesn’t only talk about his digital method but about his career as well, giving lots of hints on how to become a better artist and how to enter the art industry.

We hope this post helps you. Good luck!


Other articles:

What you need to know to become a digital artist 

8 helpful guides for digital artists!


Master the Art of Speed Painting: Digital Painting Techniques

I’m Guy Fieri and we’re rolling out, looking for the greatest diners, drive-ins, and dives at the end of the universe.

There are 42 flavors in Flavortown.

3

 O L D E R   N O C T I S   A P P R E C I A T I O N

Quote from the official Final Fantasy XV guide by; Yusuke Naora.

How To Blend Cultures (Without Making Impossible Mixes)

This is a guide specifically about fantasy worldbuilding. WWC gets a lot of questions around “I’m mixing two cultures together, how do I do that?” and this is to explain both how to do that and when you very much should not.

For starters, you should avoid blending empires with their surrounding properties, especially if there is recent political strife along those lines. This is why Japan/China/Korea (or even China/Tibet) mixes should not be done. For more information on that, take a look at Research:Large to Small Scale, Avoiding Homogenizing East Asian Cultures, & Paralleling Regions Appropriately.

Next up, mixing Greece/Rome with far-flung cultures gets a little bit eyebrow raising. Unless it was a direct trading partner/conquered property, Greek/Roman cultures do not mix with non-European cultures. The Greek empire only went to the Northern regions of India at its very peak, and that is limited to the ancient world. Rome stopped in the Middle East, so, again, you don’t have the cultural backing for a mixing of anything outside of its borders. 

Depictions of Rome and Greece in ancient literature shows other ancient cultures found them quite backwards, and were adverse to mixing with them. By many standards they were very backwards, and it’s only Europe (and, as an extension, America) that revered them to the extent they do. Asia and Africa had no reason to see them as advanced, because they made many more technological advancements than either. North America and Oceanic cultures hardly interacted with either, and had both their own technological advancements+ cultures closer by to borrow advancements from, instead. 

Outside of that, cultures are born out of the environments that made them. As a result, places with wildly dissimilar climates and resources pools will not be able to blend harmoniously unless you’re taking a modern analogue society where globalism has happened. This is plain old because resources only travel so far, and people are more likely to build culture around resources they have easy access to (even well-established trade links can lead to people re-creating things: Han purple and Egyptian blue point to an ancient trade link, but they were made with local materials processed differently).

Roman architecture exists because the Romans had access to copious amounts of concrete materials/marble and lived in the Mediterranean, which got very hot summers, heavy rains, and not a whole lot of cold. As a result they created structures that worked for this, which included open airways, pillars, easy to clean floors, shade, and ventilation. Places that lack these resources will not be able to replicate Rome.

Their resource pool was very specific to their regions, and there’s a reason Rome had the rule that anybody who did’t live like Romans were slaves: it was really hard to live like a Roman, and they wanted their slave pool as large as possible. 

Different cultures with different resources formed in wildly different ways, and might not even have anything similar to Greece or Rome. Because of this, you need to look really close at why culture developed the way it did. If it’s because they had extremely dissimilar resources pools, it’s wise to not blend the cultures (or at least not think they’ll look anything like their original cultures) 

Which brings me to value systems. Cultures put value on different things. Each culture ends up with a base philosophy for what they esteem and how they use resources, which proceeds to influence how it develops. Architecture has meaning to it. So does what colours you use in different applications. Because these things are sacred and/or practical for certain social orders. “Sacred” in cultures ends up becoming a shorthand for “this ritual helps us survive.”

There is no such thing as “aesthetic” when you get down to the root of each single item, because that aesthetic has a practical purpose. There is also no such thing as a “solely religious reason” under the same logic. Cows have become sacred in most varieties of Hinduism— because cows (and oxen) have been the main farming animal in the Indian subcontinent for millennia. They provide milk for sustenance, power for ploughing fields, and dung, which can be used as a floor polish and, when dried, a source of fuel for fire that gives off a more even heat than wood. As a single provider for crucial elements of agrarian life, their sacredness developed from their practicality. Having cows roam freely meant absolutely everyone could have access to an efficient cooking fuel.

Chinese brush painting has meaning. Jade sculpture has meaning. Pagodas and sloped roofs and gates have meaning. The philosophy, environment, history, and present circumstances of a culture is built into every. single. little. thing. about that culture, meaning you cannot just change it out.

Unless you learn the very root of culture, their values and stigmas and honours and shames, you cannot modify it accurately. Cultures survive because that was the best way to respond to the world at the time. A long-standing culture such as China’s has to be functional and incredibly well suited for the environment, otherwise it would not have survived. There is something about Chinese culture that works extraordinarily well for it to perpetuate itself, and you cannot disrespect that.

Learn the “why” of culture. Learn how it came to manifest and the reasons behind its manifestations. Study the geography and resources available to the people at hand. Know a culture so well you can explain how it works in real life and how your world’s history parallels the circumstances that created a similar culture in fantasy.

Only then will you be able to pull it off with respect.

~ Mod Lesya

“The stars dust gold leafing on his skin. And we are looking at each other, just looking, and I swear there are whole lifetimes lived in those small, shared moments.” — The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

wightlight  asked:

Hey, i just went through the questions about coding and blending different cultures in fantasy, and I was wondering how much that all applies to "dead" cultures like the Sumerians or Aztecs? obviously cultures are never truly dead and stuff is always carries over, but some have pretty much stopped existing on their own; Also what about earlier iterations of previous cultures? For example obviously modern iranian culture would follow all those rules, but what about achaemenid persia for example?

Mixing Ancient/Dead Cultures

First off: the Aztecs aren’t dead (same deal with the Maya). The empire has fallen, but they are an Indigenous group that has a cultural presence and are fighting for their right to be recognized. 

This is something you have to keep very strongly in mind for cultures that have been colonized. Indigenous groups around the world aren’t dead, even if the dominant cultural narrative states they are because they don’t have the same greatness they once did. Their history should be treated with the same respect you give them in the present day, which means following their oral histories, getting sensitivity readers from that group, etc.

Now, for absolutely ancient cultures like the Sumerians, we suggest mixing them within cultures of the time period. This can apply even if the culture isn’t dead, like if you want to take Middle Ages Persia which still has visible remnants to this day. Sticking with the time period is critical.

The main problem that happens is an Anarchism Stew, where there are bits of culture that do not fit together because of different levels of technology. We have gotten questions asking about mixing Rome, Georgian England, and ancient China together. This plain old doesn’t work just because the time between periods is too vast.

The principles for mixing cultures is basically “mix equals with equals.” So if you’re wanting to mix Achaemenid Persia with something, pick Macedonia, Ancient Egypt, and Arab tribes— maybe Classical Period India and early Tibetan peoples if it’s particularly far East.

Basically, just take each individual culture in its original historical context and neighbours. The same principles of mixing cultures apply no matter what the time period. And make sure those “dead civilizations” are really dead, instead of just being conveniently swept under the rug.

—WWC

Character Profiles

This is an extensive character profile sheet that I use. Feel free to use it all you want. You can tailor this for your story, adding or removing bits that don’t apply. I definitely adjust it, depending on the story.

Character Basics

Character Name: What is your characters name?

Alias(es): Does your character have any aliases s/he goes by?

Gender: Is your character female? Male? Gender-fluid? Non-Gender?

Age: What is your characters physical age?

Sexuality: Is your character heterosexual? Homosexual? Asexual?

Ethnicity: Is your character of a specific ethnicity?

Race: Is your character of a different race? Or are they just human?

Birthday:  When was your character born?

Birthplace: Where were they born?

Location: Where do they live now?

Horoscope: Do you know your characters horoscope? Is it the western, Chinese, or an original?

Character Physical Appearance

Eyes: What color are their eyes?

Hair: And what about their hair?

Height: How tall are they?

Build: What is their body-type?

Complexion: What is your characters skin tone?

Tattoo(s): Do they have tattoos?

Piercing(s): Any piercings?

Special Feature(s): Does your character have a peg leg or any other kind of special characteristics?

Clothing Style: Does your character prefer dresses to pants?

Character Personality

Character Traits: Using adjectives, list a few words to describe your character.

Extensive Personality: Write a paragraph or two describing your character’s personality

FlawsWhat imperfections does your character’s personality have?

Ambitions & Dreams: Does your character have any hopes or dreams?

Fears: Everyone is afraid of something. What’s your character afraid of?

Hobbies: What does your character do in their spare time?

Likes: Does your character have something specific they like or love?

Dislikes: What does your character hate?

Favorite food: This can go in likes, but if you want to split it up you can.

Least favorite food: Same goes for this.

Motivation: What is driving your character through this story?

Character General

Family: Does your character have any family or are they an orphan?  Do they belong to a tribe?

Relationship(s): Do they have a partner? A close friend?

Pet(s): Does your character have a companion? What’s their name?

Job: Does your character work or is he jobless?

Weapon(s): Does your character use any weapons? What type? Do those weapons have names?

Magical Abilitie(s): Any special abilities? Telekinetic? Fireballs? Mind-reading?

Vehicle(s): Does your character have a car? An airplane?

Theme Song: This is for funsies, but sometimes it helps to think of a song that encompasses your character

Character Biography

Take the time to write a few paragraphs of your characters past. You can make it as long or short as you want, it’s just to give you an idea of who your character is and where they come from.

SCHOOL CHEAT SHEET 2

other cheat sheets

This is a project for school
We had to make a post card with our own art on it. I really want to make a field guide of some sort with my boyfriend. He’s really good at writing descriptions for fantasy creatures. So ignore the date and stuff cus this is not a real thing (yet!!)

Fantasy Life

~What you will find in each area 〜(^∇^〜)

*Things to take note*
- Under the items category, I may put things like Ore and Wood that doesn’t require to harvest, just collect from barrels and carts
- Monster drops are NOT under the Bounty category, they are under the items category as well

SOUTH CASTELE~

Items
Castele Apple
Castele Bloom
Cureweed
Carrot
Dandelion Puff
Grassland Honey
Greenbell
Healweed
Sheep Fleece
Springwater

Fish
Castele Carp
Castele Crucian

Insects
Common Grasshopper
White Butterfly

WEST CASTELE~

Items
Carrot
Castele Bloom
Chicken Eggs
Dandelion Puff
Healweed
Springwater

Fish
Castele Crucian

Ores
Castele Copper
Minty Ore

Wood
Oak Log

EAST CASTELE~

Items
Antidote Berries ( Tree )
Castele Copper ( Collect from the cart )
Cow’s Milk
Cureweed
Dandelion Puff
Forest Mushrooms
Healweed
Oak Log ( Collect from the barrel )

Wood
Elder Oak Log

Fish
Castele Carp

Ores
Castele Copper 
Minty Ore

EAST GRASSY PLAINS~

Items
Animal Hide ( Coyote )
Antidote Berries ( Tree and Carrotella )
Big Egg
Campfire Roast
Carrot ( Carroty )
Castele Apple
Chicken Eggs ( Road Runner )
Dandelion Puff
Grassland Honey
Healweed
Life Cure ( Treasure Box )
Little Tail ( Sandzard )
Mountain Springwater ( Bandit )
Mustard ( Dragon mustard )
Redbell
Rejuvenating Berries ( Carrotella )
Sack of Silver ( Bandit )
Sheep Fleece ( White Woolie )
Springwater ( Bandit )
Wake Up Berries ( Carrotella and Dragon mustard )

Wood
Oak Log
Elder Oak Log

Insects
Common Grasshopper
Royal Grasshopper
White Butterfly
Yellow Butterfly

Ore
Castele Copper
Minty Ore

Fish
Applefish
Castele Carp
Castele Crucian
Plains Sweetfish

Bounty
Carrotella 200 dosh ( Carrot )
Bandit Leader 300 dosh ( Sack of Silver )
Spooky 250 dosh ( Magic Powder )

HANIWA CAVE~

Items
Lifeweed
Sack of Copper ( Treasure Box )
Sleep Powder ( Cobalt Frog )    
SP Potion ( Treasure Box )

Fish
Castele Crucian
Catfish

Ore
Castele Copper
Minty Ore
Topaz
Yellow Stone

Bounty
Sparkling Topaz 300 dosh ( Topaz )

FARLEY’S PLANTATION~

Items
Cabbage
Carrot
Castele Apple
Chicken Eggs
Daikon Radish
Dandelion Puff
Energizing Flower
Greenbell
Lucky Flower
Rainbow Apple
Redbell
Running Flower
Onion

Fish
Plains Sweetfish

Wood
Pine Log

WEST GRASSY PLAINS~

Items
Bigbeak Egg
Beef ( Bull )
Campfire Roast
Cureweed
Daikon Radish ( Radishy )
Dandelion Puff
Earth Log ( Sacred Earth Tree )
Earth Mana + ( Sacred Earth Tree )
Greenbell
Healweed
HP Potion ( Treasure Box )
Little Shell
Mutton ( Black Woolie )
Poison Powder ( Field Frog )
Pine Nuts ( Tree )
Redbell
Rejuvenating Berries ( Radishella )
Sack Of Copper ( Treasure Box )
Sheep Fleece ( Black Woolie )
Snake Scales ( Grass Serpent )
SP Potion ( Treasure Box )
Turtle Shell ( Tortortoise ) 

Fish
Castele Carp
Castele Crucian
Plains Sweetfish

Insects
Iron Stag Beetle
Royal Grasshopper
White Butterfly

Wood
Pine Log

Bounty
Killer Bunny 700 dosh ( Animal Droppings )
Radishella 600 dosh ( Daikon Radish )
Sacred Earth Tree 1500 dosh ( Earth Log )
Taurus 750 dosh ( Beef )

PORT PUERTO BEACH DISTRICT~

Items
Bluebell
Durable Shell
Healweed
Little Shell
Lucky Flower
Palm Nuts ( Tree )
Port Puerto Bloom
Port Town Orange
Royal Egg
Sunny Puff

Insects
Scarab Beetle

Fish
Sardine
Pirate Carp

Ore
Minty Ore
Port Puerto SIlver

Wood
Elder Palm Log
Palm Log

TORTUGA ARCHIPELAGO~

Items
Big Tail ( Green Gator )
Blizzard Egg
Bluebell
Cureweed
Defence-Upgrade Stone ( Spirit Of Water )
Durable Shell
Healweed
Hi-HP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Hi-SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Life Cure ( Treasure Chest )
Little Shell ( Octoshell )
Moon Cluster ( Turtanic )
Palm Nuts ( Punching Palm )
Port-Town Orange
Pretty Coral ( Octoshell )
SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Sack Of Copper
Sack Of Silver ( Treasure Chest )
Saltless Seawater ( Zombie Pirate )
Sleep Antidote ( Treasure Chest )
Swordfish Fin ( Swordfish )
Thick Shell ( Turtotle )

Wood
Palm Log ( Palm Tree/Great Palm Tree )

Fish
Flying Fish
Giant Puffer Fish
Puerto Bream
Puffer Fish
Sardine
Tuna

Ore
Minty Ore
Port Puerto
Silver Quality
Minty Ore

Bounty
Angry Zombie 750 Dosh ( Saltless Seawater )
Great Palm Tree 200 Dosh ( Elder Palm Log )
Strifestone 200 Dosh ( Attack-Upgrade Stone/Tool-Upgrade Stone )
Swordfish 1000 Dosh ( Swordfish )
Turtanic 1800 Dosh ( Vivid Coral )

DEEPSEA CAVE~

Items
Blue Gel ( Jelly )
Cave Mushroom
Defense-Upgrade Stone ( Spirit Of Water )
Durable Shell
HP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
King Jell ( Jellking )
Little Shell
SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Sack Of Silver ( Treasure Chest )
Saltless Seawater
Silver Shield ( Treasure Chest )

Fish
Prawn
Squid

Wood
Elder Mangrove Log
Mangrove Log

Bounty
Great Mangrove 300 Dosh ( Elder Mangrove Log )
Great Serpent 1200 Dosh ( Snake Scales )
Jellking 1600 Dosh ( King Jell )

NAUTILUS CAVE~

Items
Bronze Pickaxe ( Pickaxed Golem )
Coral Necklace ( Treasure Chest )
Durable Shell
Glittering Coral ( Black Octoshell )
HP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Little Shell
Marine Thread ( Cave Catterpillo )
Palm Beam
Port-Puerto Silver ( Rocksalt Golem )
Rainbow Shell ( Black Octoshell )
SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Stun Antidote ( Treasure Chest )
Superior Campfire Fish
Suspicious Object

Ore
Marine Ore
Minty Ore
Purple Stone
Quality Minty Ore

Fish
Squid

Bounty
Blessed Rock 300 Dosh ( Defence-Updrade Stone + )
Crocturtle 750 Dosh ( Timeworn Shell )
Pickaxed Golem 1200 Dosh ( Bronze Pickaxe )
Rocksalt Golem 1100 Dosh ( Port Puerto Silver/Salt )
Water Elemental Rock 1000 Dosh ( Water Shard )

DESERT RAVINE~

Items
Beat Hide ( Jackal )
Golden Sheep Fleece ( Killer Horn )
Lifeweed

Bounty
Killer Horn 1200 dosh ( Golden Sheep Fleece/Black-Goat Fleece/Gold Claymore )

AL MAAJIK OUTSKIRTS~

Items
Al Maajik Bloom
Desert Pear
Magic Eggs
Sugar Nuts ( Tree )
Sunny Puff
Sweet Potato
Vitalweed
Yellowbell

Insect
Second-Beast Beetle
Scarab Beetle

Ore
Al Maajik Gold
Sandstone

Fish
Black Bass
Flying Fish
Giant Evil Carp
Sardine

Wood
Sugar Log

ARIDIAN DESERT~

Items
Big Egg ( Pterodactyl )
Fish Scales ( Spearhead Piranha )
Green Cactus ( Angry Cacto )
Healweed
Hi-HP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Hi-SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Lifecure ( Treasure Chest/Bones )
Lifeweed
Poison Bomb ( Treasure Chest )
Royal Eggs ( Sand Runner )
Sack Of Copper ( Outlaw/Bones )
Sharp Claws ( Pterodactyl )
Sugar Nuts ( Tree/Angry Cacto )
Sun Cluster ( Sand Golem )
Superior Campfire Roast
Thunder Egg
Yellowbell

Wood
Sugar Log

Fish
Desert Tune
Sandfish

Ore
Al Maajik Gold
Sandstone

Bounty
Great Sugar Tree 400 Dosh ( Elder Sugar Log )
Killer Bee 900 Dosh ( Hornet Needle )
Outlaw Leaders 800 Dosh ( Sack Of Silver )
Sand Golem 1500 Dosh ( Al Maajik Gold )

CAVE OF BONES~

Items
Coal-Black Feather ( Hootlum )
Dragon Leg Bone ( Ore )
Fossil Shard ( Skeleton )
Poison Bomb ( Treasure Chest )
Sack Of Gold ( Skeleton )
Savage Necklace ( Treasure Chest )
Sleep Bomb ( Treasure Chest )
SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )

Ore
Al Maajik Gold
Minty Ore
Sandstone

Bounty
Gold Stone 300 Dosh ( Magic-Upgrade Stone )

ANCIENT RUINS~

Items
Black-Rimmed Glasses ( Treasure Chest )
Criticaline ( Moth Queen )
Evil Wings ( Vampire Bat )
Gold Dagger ( Treasure Chest )
Gold Helm ( Treasure Chest )
Hi-HP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Sack Of Treasure ( Treasure Chest )
Star Cluster ( Treasure Chest )
Sun Cluster ( Gilded Golem )
Suspicious Object ( Wingmon )
Yellow Cactus ( Killer Cacto )
Yellow Jell ( Desert Jelly )

Ore
Black Onyx
Magic Ore
Sandstone 

Bounty
Ancient Darkness 1800 Dosh ( Black Onyx )
Big Spooky 2000 Dosh ( Spiritual Powder )
Gilded Golem 2100 Dosh ( Sack Of Gold )
King Cobra 1800 Dosh ( Snake Scales )
Moth Queen 1900 Dosh ( Magic Powder )

SUBTERRANEAN LAKE~

Items
Al Maajik Gold ( Ironstone Golem )
Antistun Berries ( Desert Tree )
Arch Alcheweed
Cave Mushroom
HP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Life Cure ( Treasure Chest )
Lifeweed
Pink-Silk Thread ( Arachne )
Purple Gel ( Toxic Jelly )
Savage Necklace ( Treasure Chest )
Sleep Antidote ( Treasure Chest )
SP Potion ( Treasure Chest )
Stun Antidote ( Treasure Chest )
Subterranean Scales ( Bluescale Lordfish )

Fish
Black Bass
Cave Catfish

Wood
Desert Log
Elder Desert Log

Ore
Quality Minty Ore

Bounty
Bluescale Lordfish 1800 Dosh ( Bluescale Lordfish )
Earth Elemental Rock 1500 Dosh ( Earth Shard )
Great Desert Tree 400 Dosh ( Elder Desert Log )
Ironston Golem 1800 Dosh ( Al Maajik Gold )

ELDERWOOD~

Items
Antidote Berries ( Tree )
Antistun Berries ( Gingery )
Castele Apples ( Applejack Ape )
Forest Lordfish Moss ( Forest Lordfish )
Giant Tree Nuts ( Tree )
Ginger ( Gingery )
Grassland Honey
Healweed
Pine Nuts ( Timber Tinder )
Tool Upgrade Stone ( Spirit Of Earth )
Vitalweed

Wood
Elder Oak Log
Oak Log

Fish
Elderwood trout
Forest Lordfish

Bounty
Forest Lordfish 600 dosh ( Forest Lordfish )
Great Elderwood Tree 1000 dosh ( Giant Tree Nuts )
Great Oak Tree 100 dosh ( Elder Oak Log )
Plains Bear

ELDERWOOD GROTTO AND VILLAGE~

Items
Blackbell
Cave Mushroom
Energizing Flower
Lucky Flower
Running Flower
Whitebell

MOUNT SNOWPEAK~

Items
Beef ( Buffalo and Chasmeer )
Chicken Eggs
Chicken Meat ( Razorbeak )
Goat Fleece ( Chasmeer )
HP Potion ( Treasure Box )
Lifeweed
Mountain Mushroom
Pine nuts ( Tree )
SP Potion ( Treasure Box )
Snake Scales ( Rock Serpent )

Fish
Elderwood trout
Plains Sweetfish

Wood
Pine Log 

Bounty
Fanged Ape 900 dosh ( Strong Fang )
Black Panter 450 dosh ( Thick Fang )
Great Pine 150 dosh ( Elder Pine Log )

LAVA CAVE~

Items
Cave Mushroom ( Mushflame )
HP Potion ( Treasure Box )
Lifecure ( Treasure Box )
Red Gel ( Lava Jelly )
SP potion ( Treasure Box )
Volcanic Fin ( Volcanic Tuna )

Fish
Magmafish
Redgill
Volcanic Tuna

Ore
Magma Ore
Minty Ore
Quality Minty Ore
Ruby

Bounty
Incandescent Gemstone 600 dosh ( Ruby )
Lava Golem 1000 dosh ( Magma Ore )
Vocanic Tuna 800 dosh ( Volcanic Tuna )

WATERFALL CAVE~

Items
Fish Scales ( Pitchfork Piranha )
Green Gel ( Mountain Jelly )
HP potion ( Treasure Box )
Lifecure ( Treasure Box )
Little Tail ( Licky Gecko )
Poison Antidote ( Treasure Box )
SP Potion ( Treasure Box )
Sack Of Copper ( Treasure Box )
Silk Thread ( Feely Catterpillo )
Stun Antidote ( Treasure Box )

Ore
Aquamarine
Blue Stone
Minty Ore
Plains Iron

Bounty
Iron Golem 800 dosh ( Plains Iron )
Toolstone 150 dosh ( Tool-Upgrade Stone )
Wind Elemental Rock 1500 dosh ( Wind Shard )

Guided masturbation is so much fun, especially when your sub obeys your every single word. Watching them work themselves up, moaning and begging you to let them go faster or please, please touch them is fun. Asking them if they’re close, how close and if they want to cum for you like a good puppy. Then telling them they’re not allowed, to stop moving their hands and stop bucking off the bed.

When they’re so wet and horny and ready to cum but they don’t because they want to be good for you is so much fun. The whine in their voice when they beg, the red of their bitten lips, the tremble of their thigs and catch in their throat when you make them do it all over again. Oh it’s so much fun.

7

Great space colonies.

From top to bottom:

  1. Angus McKie - The High Frontier from the book The Flights of Icarus (1977) by Donald Lehmkuhl with Martyn and Roger Dean.
  2. Painting by Don Davis from his Space Colony series, 1975
  3. The Three Island Space Colony by Roy Coombes from Harry Harrison’s book ‘Mechanismo’ (1978).
  4. Space station Illustration by Russian artist Andrei Sokolov, 1981.
  5. Space colony painting by Don Davis (1975)
  6. Stanford Torus colony - Gerard O'Neill 1974
  7. Space Station Interior for National Georgraphic magazine by Syd Mead from the book The Guide to Fantasy Art Techniques (1984)
Research:Large to Small Scale, Avoiding Homogenizing East Asian Cultures, & Paralleling Regions Appropriately

I’m currently working on a project set in a secondary world, but with nations that roughly correspond to major cultures in our world. 

By that I mean I’m trying to create amalgamations of cultural groups. For example, one country corresponds to Germanic cultures, one to Celtic, one to Mediterranean. There are, so far, also countries that correspond to Eastern Asia - a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Korean, mainly - South America, “Arab countries” and so on. My first question, in that regard, would be whether or not this concept - creating a “vibe” that reads Eastern Asian, for example, but is not one specific culture - is offensive and if it is, what I can do to solve it. 

The project I’m working on makes use of so called FaceClaims, which means that, for example, actors are used to represent fictional characters. If I based the country on China alone, then I could only use Chinese FCs and would thus greatly limit the representation. A solution I thought of was to have each country be inofficially split up in itself, so the “East Asian” country would have a “Chinese” region, a “Korean” region and so on.
Secondly, I have a desert region that I thought would be nice for an “African” (I am very much aware that there is no such thing as an “African culture”, so bear with me) cultural group. For this “country”, I thought of a loose union between different nations of people. There, I’m stuck - should I choose one region in Africa, let’s say West Africa, and base each nation on one specific peoples there? Or should I create my own “African-inspired” cultures? Or should I choose cultures from all around Africa and base a nation on each?

My third question goes along a similar line: The “cultures” I have chosen for the countries are by far not all there are in the world. There is no country for Native Americans, for example, none for South-Eastern Asians (unless I integrate them with my “India”), no Central Asian, etc. I know it is impossible to include all cultures there are in the world, but how do I choose which ones to represent in a concept like mine? I don’t want to exclude them, but I simply cannot create as many countries as there are cultural groups.

One possible solution I thought of specifically refers to Jewish people, since I feel it is important to represent them more in fantasy writing. My current idea was to have their story go similar to that of our world: Exile, long travels, and a split into groups, one of which would be the Ashkenazim, living somewhere near the Germanic country, and the other would be the Sephardim, which I imagined to live in between the “Arab” and “African” country, in a semi-autonomous city-state. But is it offensive to adapt what happened to the Jewish people in a secondary world or should I make it so that they have a more positive past and life, no exile like there was in our world? As far as I know, the exile is an important part of Jewish identity and cultural understanding, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

I’m going to preface this that some of this wording might sound very harsh, but I recognize you are genuinely asking out of a place of respect but you just aren’t sure what the best way to respect the world’s diversity is. The problem is it’s still not quite respectful enough, and shows sometimes glaring ignorance of nuances in the region.

I would also like to remind people that just because your exact question hasn’t been answered to the full scope you’re looking at, doesn’t mean you can’t get an answer as a whole. For example, we’ve discussed the concept of how and when to mix different cultures in the East Asian tag. Shira will cover your questions regarding Jewish representation below. 

However, I’m going to specifically tackle this from a research and worldbuilding perspective, primarily talking about a history of forced homogenization and how to avoid recreating colonialism/imperialism.

Notes on Language and False Equivalences

For starters, basically all of these groups are too broad. By a long shot. Either they flatten sometimes dozens to thousands of cultures (“Native American country” is in the thousands, “West Africa” is in the hundreds, “China, Japan, Korea” is in the dozens, if not hundreds, same deal with India). This language use makes people pretty uncomfortable, because it implies that the basis is stereotypes. It implies you haven’t done research, or, at least, haven’t done enough. When discussing nuance, it’s best to imply you understand there is nuance— like you did with Africa and Jewish culture, but neglected to do everywhere else.

You also go very broad with all non-European cultures, but narrow down a general homogeneous part for your European analogues, by picking Germanic and Celtic.

This double standard is something that is exactly what we try to draw attention to at WWC: to our ears, it sounds like “I’m taking Germanic peoples for Europe, but I’m going to mix three East Asian countries because those two regions have the equivalent amount of sameness that I can pass it off.”

While that sounds specific to just you, it’s not. We’ve received this type of question dozens of times in the past and it’s a general cultural attitude we’ve faced lots and lots and lots of times. Western society makes you think the equivalence is equal, because they’ve flattened all non-European countries with the single broadest brush, but it’s not.

I would also caution you on relying on media images for face claims, because media images only represent the idealized version of beauty. We’ve written multiple description guides that point out how much variety exists within all ethnic groups and how people seeing us as all the same is a microaggression.

You are right that you can’t tackle all of the world’s diversity into your worldbuilding, because, well, there is so much. The core of your question is basically how to narrow it down, which is what I’m going to tackle.

My suggestion is twofold: 

  1. Research big, top level things, over a few centuries— namely, keep track of empires that have tried to take over places and look at what groups Western society lumps together when it spreads multiple regions.
  2. Build small with a focus on a very specific place and group— namely, pick the smallest possible region you can and see what you have to build from there.

Researching Big

Researching big helps you catch what not to flatten, or at least, where flattening might be reinforcing situations that a government perpetuated. I’m going to focus on East Asia since that’s the bulk of your question, and it’s also where I’ve spent some time worldbuilding. The principles apply to all groups you’re trying to research.

East Asia— namely Japan, Korea, and China, although that is an oversimplification itself— is composed of two empires: China and Japan. This makes homogenization extremely risky because you’re touching two nerves of countries trying to take over in very recent history.

China has taken over a very large swath of land over centuries, and still has independence fights to this day from their recent history. As a result, they have both a roughly overreaching culture because the empire is so old, and a very fractured culture with over 50 recognized ethnic groups. When you think of “Chinese” you usually think of the dominant Han Chinese, but because of its old empire roots you can get a giant variety. In modern day, some provinces have kept their individual culture, while others have been part of China for so long there is a general “sameness” to them that can capture the flare you want.

Japan’s imperialism is similarly recent, only ending in 1947, and it left wounds across the Pacific (including Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia). Many of their actions are classified as war crimes. They’ve also erased their own Indigenous population by insisting only one ethnicity lived in the country. Both of these factors make mixing Japan into an “East Asian” mix tricky. Japan’s culture, while heavily impacted by China and Korea, is pretty distinct because of its island status.

Big research also lets you see the neighbouring areas at a time borders might not have been the same. For example, in the 1600s, China was much smaller because the Manchu External Expansion hadn’t happened yet. As a result, places we now think of as “Chinese” actually weren’t, and you’ll have to account for these differences in your worldbuilding. You can determine this by looking up historical maps/empires, which might require book research (libraries are wonderful).

This does not mean you can ignore recent history, however. Because the story is set in modern day, people will be viewing it through a modern lens. You need to research both the modern and the historical context in order to understand how to go about crafting a respectful world.

So that’s stuff you would’ve discovered by big research. By tracking empire movements, you can see where old wounds are and what historical contexts exist within whatever region you’re pulling from. If you take North America, you can see how each individual tribe is cast aside in favour of settler stories; in Africa, you can see how multiple empires wanted to plunder the land and didn’t care who it was; in the Middle East, you can see both the recent military involvement, the historical Ottomans, and the historical Persians.

Build Small

You can also see what empires influenced their regions for long enough to create a similar-ish culture throughout multiple regions, which can help you extract the essence you’re looking for. I would add a very large caution to only do this for historical empires where those who suffered under the regime are not fighting in present day/ have living memory of it (such as incorporating too much of England, France, or Spain in the Americas, along with the two examples above).

Now you can build small. If you wanted to give a sense of, say, coastal China with a heavy amount of trade, you can pick a major port city in China and figure out the pluralism in relation to that city. What parts identify it as Chinese (architecture, governance, food, general religious practices— folklore changes by region, but the general gist of practices can remain similar enough to get a vibe), and what parts are borrowed from a distinct enough culture they’re noticeably different?

By going from a city level, you can imply pluralism by throwing in asides of differences “out there” that shows you’ve thought about it, without cramming your world full of cultures you can’t fit in the plot. You can then also narrow down what to include based on map proximity: if there’s an easy sea or land path to an Egyptian analogue, you’re probably going to at least hint at it. This is a known historical trade, btw. Egyptian blue and Han purple are made of similar substances, pointing to an ancient cultural link.

You can research this by simply googling the country and looking under its history in Wikipedia. If you look up “China”, you can see “Imperial Unification” as one of its history points. “Japan” similarly gets you the Meiji period. Turkey shows the Ottoman empire. You can also look up “empires in [region]” that will give you a similar overview. This even works for places you don’t think have historical empires, such as North America (the pre-colonization section notes several).

This also is a starting place for what the borders would’ve been during any given time period, and gives you places to potentially factor in military involvement and recent strife. This is where modern research comes in handy, because you can get an idea of what that strife looked like.

Hope this gives you an idea how to go about worldbuilding a diverse population, and how to avoid paralleling recent wounds. 

~ Mod Lesya

Regarding Your Jewish Characters

I think it’s valid to reflect our real history in fantasy although if you dwell too much on the suffering aspects and not the “richly varied cultural traditions” aspects you’ll probably lose some of us because suffering-porn written from the outside gets old fast (if you’re Jewish yourself you 200% have the right to write this, of course.) Human Jewish characters living in pockets in fake-northern-Europe and fake-Mediterranea and fake-North-Africa (or even Fake China and Fake India; we’re there, too) is actually injecting some well-needed historical accuracy back into a genre that’s been badly whitewashed, gentilewashed, etc by imagining a Europe where nobody but white gentiles existed until they conveniently popped into existence during whatever era the writer thinks is appropriate.

In other words, if your fake Germany has a Jewish neighborhood in its largest city, that’s a way of making pseudo-European fantasy more realistic and less -washy, and is overall a good move, despite the fact that the destruction of the temple is the reason we were in Germany in the first place. (I mean… it’s not like you’re planning on sitting there writing about Tisha b'Av itself, right? You don’t have to say “And the reason there are Jews here is because a bazillion years ago, we wound up getting scattered” just to have Jews.)

By the way, having myself written secondary-world fantasy where entire countries, plural, get to be majority-Jewish, and 100% free of on-screen antisemitism, I think both ways are valid.

–Shira

imgur.com
Final Fantasy XIV Character Reference Guide
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet.
By Imgur

Hello everyone and welcome to my first blog post!

For my first piece of content I’ve created a visual guide on how to use the /gpose feature in FFXIV to take reference screen shots.

The purpose of the guide is to teach FFXIV players how to take better character reference shots for artists to use in requests or commissions.

I cover some of the functions of /gpose so you might just learn something new.

If you found the guide helpful I would greatly appreciate it if you shared and reblogged it.