Welcome to Part 19 of my World Building blog series 😀 I’ll be covering just about every topic I can think of that goes into world crafting. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know 🙂
I’m just going to start this topic off by saying DIVERSITY IS REALISTIC. Unless you’ve created a boring, bubble wrapped homogeneous world, then you need to have diversity. That being said, you also don’t need to have racism and prejudice, because this is fantasy and not reliant on history. Please do not fall back on the excuse of “this is just the way it was back then” because real life history does not control how people are treated in fantasy world. Be better than that.
Remember that melanin levels are influenced by proximity to the equator. The closer they are, the darker the skin. Keep this in mind with how you’ve arranged your geography. Also keep in mind that unless the location your story is taking place in is on an island in the middle of the ocean no one else has ever been to, there’s going to be some mixing. People travel, form trade routes, immigrate to more fertile land, flee war, etc. and mix with other populations. It’s completely realistic for your setting to have people of all skin colors for whatever reason you feel works best.
Stepping away from humans for a moment, are you going to have other species running around your world? If yes, which varieties? You have a lot of options from folklore and fantasy, each varying in level of similarity to humans. Some of the typical humanoid species are elves, fairies, dwarves, halflings, angels, giants, mermaids, sirens and vampires. Varieties that become less human and more monstrous are ogres, orcs, bigfoot/yeti, fomorians, etc. The options for sentient, humanoid type species are too numerous to list so you’re best off doing some research to see which ones best suit your story. You can even create some of your own if you prefer. This is fantasy and you’re not limited by what already exists.
If you’re having these humanoid species, remember that they are also not going to be homogeneous. Their melanin levels are going to follow the same patterns as people. Diversity isn’t scary, so don’t make excuses for yourself to avoid it. People have had their fill of pasty white elves and halflings. Mix it up. You can have some white ones of course, but people are going to side-eye you pretty hard if that’s all there is. I know it’s fantasy, but be realistic about this. You can have lots of fun incorporating fantasy creatures into your story without being exclusionary.