The Fantasy Industrial Age

train-wallpaperWhen creating a Gunpowder Fantasy world, it’s important to remember a couple of things as far as the technologies that you intend to use, and the industries that support them, when building your world.

The first is the impact that the fantasy aspects of your world have on the industrial revolution in your world.

Having fantasy and magic elements of your world will change how your industrial revolutions begin and grow.

On Earth, coal became a driving force in the industrialization of England, Europe and the United States. Coal drove the steam engines that pushed industry to greater heights. But what happens when coal is never discovered or exploited because the mages of your world suppressed the knowledge of the substance or how to extract it from the mountains?

What if your Elves are of the traditional “naturalist” type but they hold dominion over the lands where coal is the most plentiful, or where the best fields for raising sheep are? Do your Humans go to war with the Elves to secure this territory (and its potential value)? Or do your Elves see the value of the lands they hold and turn into a hybrid of naturalist and capitalist, finding sustainable ways to harvest the raw materials while maintaining the integrity of the land?

Magic and mythical creatures, and how they impact your world, will have direct consequences for how industrialization plays out in your world.

On the other hand, the second is the impact that the industrial revolution has on the fantasy of your world.

In our world the Industrial Revolution took many shapes and forms, and affected different parts of the world in vastly different ways. Some nations saw a boom in mining and metallurgy, while other nations grew their textiles industry. Quality of life improved and commerce exploded.

In a fantasy world, the majority of these effects would be similar. Nations with a strong agricultural base will develop new and better ways to grow and harvest crops, nations rich in minerals will learn how to extract them better, and learn new methods of refining the minerals into metals.

But fantasy worlds have aspects that were obviously not present on Earth during the industrial revolution, and its these aspects that you have to consider when you’re building your world.

For instance, how does the increase of steam power, weapons technology, and even the development of electricity affect magic and its users on your world? I would think that as your world becomes increasingly industrialized, any power that mages once held would begin to diminish as things that were previously reserved only for those with access to magic become available to everyone.

Or how do each of the species of your world react as the others move through their own industrial revolution? What happens when the Orcs of your world begin developing better weapons, faster transportation, and improved supply lines? Will the Elves that live nearby become worried and launch a pre-emptive strike? Or seek out alliances with the Humans of your world?

Worldbuilding is an incredibly interconnected process and remembering to evaluate how each piece of the puzzle changes the others is an important task.

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About Joshua K Johnson

Josh is the author of The Cerberus Rebellion and The Hydra Offensive, Gunpowder Fantasy novels set in the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. He is currently working on a new novel set in the same world as well as The Centaur Incursion, Book 3 in the existing series. He's married with a 5 yr old son and a 1 year old daughter, keeping him busy. He currently works and is a full-time student.

Posted on August 12, 2013, in writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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