World Building Part 2 – Technology
Welcome to Part 2 of my World Building blog series :D 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 :)
Technology is going to be a huge part of your action. Are your characters at the level of the stone age? Well, that’s going to make your situations a lot different than if they’re living in an equivalent modern time. The advances in weaponry, transport, medicine, communication, etc. are going to change how your characters can interact with the world you’re making as well as each other. Sending letters via a horse drive postal system is going to be a lot different than being able to pick up a phone or send an email.
You’re going to want to know how your societies function based on the technology levels you’re giving them. The most common for fantasies that I’ve seen is to set things around the technological equivalent of medieval Europe. You can choose literally any level of technology you want for your world. You can create different types of conflicts surrounding the technology (or lack of) within your world. The common “race against time” plot works at all technology levels and you can play with fun elements.
How problems are solved are dependent on your technology. If you’re building a fantasy world the most important thing is balance. Most civilizations aren’t skewed in their technology with extreme advancement in one piece while leaving others in the dust. Consistency is key here and if you’re having difficulty deciding what tech your fantasy cultures should have you can take inspiration from the real world. Quite often there are misconceptions in regards to the technological competency. For example, the ancient Romans developed concrete that set while underwater and they had a herb that was one of the first effective birth controls. The Islamic Empire developed the modern surgical kit that is still used today (albeit made of different materials now). There are things that seem modern and extremely advanced, but are from ancient cultures. You can fixate your world at a low overall technological stage without limiting the possibilities in all aspects.
The important thing here is to do your research. Get familiar with the technology that was available around the world during periods that are similar to what you want to set your world in. Steal tech levels from cultures that are unrelated and give them to your fantasy world, you’re the creator, you can do that. Fantasy doesn’t have to be wholly realistic, but people are going to notice if you give people horses to get around and cell phones for communication at the same time. The goal is believability without having to be 100% realistic.
Research, balance, get creative. Technology can be a really fun addition to your world if you let it.