Welcome to Part 7 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 :)
As mentioned in the previous post, getting your characters from Point A to Point B can be a major part of your plot. How are you going to get them there? There are so many fun options for travel beyond the basics.
Consider – what is the most practical way for your characters to get around? Are there restrictions on this mode of transportation? Are there developed road, rail, sea or air travel systems in place? Are there borders to be crossed? Is there something akin to customs and do your characters need permission to travel?
With the standard low-tech transport you have options like walking, sailing, carriages, wagons and horses. The travel is going to be slow and tedious. You need to be realistic with how big the distance is and how far these modes of transport can reasonably travel in a day. A person and a horse can travel roughly the same distance in a day – 30 miles. You have the horses mostly if you’re going to need to sprint to escape at any point (keep in mind this can only be maintained for a few short miles) or if you have a lot to carry. Running isn’t a sustainable method of travel for people or animals, so try not to have your horses galloping all day. Carriages and wagons are going to be even slower because it’s a lot of weight for horses to pull and you’re also limited to whatever road system you’ve developed. If the terrain is mountainous or difficult to pass through, you’re going even slower. If you’re sailing, travel isn’t going to be that much faster. You don’t need to be an expert on currents, wind speeds, etc. for this to work as your primary method of transport. If you’re traveling at optimal conditions you’re going to cover about 100 miles in a 24 hour period because the boats can travel through the night.
Higher tech-transport is where you can include trains, motorized vehicles, space travel, etc. Travel is going to be faster, but it’s fairly rare that I see any of these in fantasy novels. You’re stretching more into urban fantasy and sci-fi with these options. The speed of trains is really going to depend on what type and era you’re going with. The same journey can take weeks or hours depending on which variety you’ve chosen. I’m not going to go into the high tech stuff because honestly I know next to nothing about them.
Magic transport includes things like pegasi, flying carpets, dragons. Who doesn’t love a good magical source of transport? A lot of these options fly and that can give you a huge advantage when you’re looking to get your characters somewhere quickly. Are there rules against magical transport? Maybe you’re stuck with a baby version that’s not getting you anywhere fast (now I’m just imagining a baby flying carpet the size of a tea towel lol). These don’t have to be a magical get out of jail free card if you don’t want them to be. Mix it up where the objects or animals are cursed, or fully intend to eat their rider or is a secret double agent delivering them to their true master. Who knows, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to magical sentient creatures.
One last thing in this subject to consider is vacation spots. Where do people go when they want to get away? If your characters needed a break from their lives, where in your fantasy world would you send them to relax?