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Worldbuilding in RPGs (Part 4)




We now know a bit more about our world out there, with a few things set as well. The next thing to think about is technology and magic levels. For the most part, there will be regional differences in these levels, but you could (at least in theory) have a world where it is more or less uniform how developed the world is. For most fantasy worlds, that would tend to be the case, with a few cases being extreme outliers like Numeria and Alkenstar in Golarion (of Pathfinder fame) being far more developed technologically than most of their counterparts, while in Maztica of the Forgotten Realms, there would be less technology (like the fact that they had not yet developed steel) or the Cyrgai from David Eddings' Tamuli series who were once the most advanced and most powerful army in the world, but due to the dictates of their God they retreated into seclusion and for hundreds, if not thousands of years, remained there - thinking that their bronze weapons and outdated tactics were still the most advanced in the world.

Another tendency for most fantasy worlds is that the more powerful the magic is, the less developed the technology is likely to be. Now that's not a 1:1 ratio, and it doesn't always apply (such as for Eberron in D&D), but it is a general rule of thumb. So to use the examples above: Alkenstar for example is high-tech, but due to where it is located (in the dangerous Mana Wastes) they do not rely much upon magic for their work. Maztica on the other hand uses a lot of magic, especially of the clerical kind. The Cyrgai are a prime example of low tech and low magic though, since it's a generally low magic world that they exist in, and they never developed their technology, whereas Eberron is the opposite.


For the country we're building here, this is mostly a high-magic (the two factions) and sort of middling technology. The magic is mainly contained in the upper classes, while the lower classes are left to fend for themselves, and most of their tech advances tend to be ignored by the nobility unless it turns out to be exceptionally useful.


This also dictated another thing for our country, since there's the limitation of magic more or less belonging to the higher classes, they would probably want to separate themselves from their non-magic using "lessers". As such, they'd likely sequester themselves in large cities or plantations/manors with only their serfs around. This would leave the perceived lower classes with the towns and villages, which might even seem oddly ahead in terms of technology, compared to their bigger counterparts. Because of the recent war, and the expended manpower on both sides, the population of all of them would probably be smaller than might otherwise be expected. Perhaps there are even entire ghost towns and certainly a bunch of abandoned battlefields.


That's it for this week, and I think that next week, we'll finally get to make that map.

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