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  • Writer's pictureMichael Curzan

Playing With Setting

I have been playing around with setting and thought I would share it with you here...

My setting is an entire fictional realm, which is roughly equivalent in area to, and based on, the entire Southern hemisphere of Earth. I figured that the Northern hemisphere gets too much attention in fantasy realms that parody real world places, so I decided to turn the Southern hemisphere into its own realm. The realm is a round disc with "edges" that correspond to the Equator. It is laid out like the real Southern hemisphere, but flat like a polar coordinate map projection. I also included two "lost continents" to give it more variety and land, and also to increase the fictional quality.

There are five total continents, four around the edge, and one in the middle. The one in the middle, inspired by Antarctica, is called Ice Cap, and it is actually a group of large islands, not a single continent, just like the real Antarctica. However, it is covered in thick ice, making it not matter whether the underlying rock is a single rock or many rocks. It is inhabited only by Penguins, and no humans have been to Ice Cap, because the water around it forms a constantly churning ring of rough ocean that is impossible to cross with the boating technology that the humans of the other continents have so far invented, which is once again based on the real Antarctic waters.

A continent that is on the outer parts of the world is Homeland, which is based on the southern part of Africa. It is a rather small continent that sits close to the warm climates of the world's edge, and it consists largely of jungle, as well as many great rivers. One river even falls right over the edge and onto the other side of the world, so it is seen as a "Cursed" river. Father from the edge, it has grasses, and one patch of inhospitable desert. All humans of these continents first came from the jungles of Homeland, which is why it is called that. Because no equivalent of the Northern hemisphere or Mesopotamia or anywhere like that exists in this fantasy place, humans stayed in the Homeland continent to invent civilization, and invent boats to sail to the other continents.

They sailed clockwise around the center of the world and came to the Edge Continent, which was easy because this continent is only across a small stretch of water from Homeland. Edge Continent is a "lost continent" with no exact counterpart in the real Southern Hemisphere, but it takes up what we know in real life to be the Indian Ocean, and a good deal of it lies on the edge of this fantasy world, hence its name. It is long and thin and curved around the edge. The extreme closest to Homeland is a bulbous peninsula shaped somewhat like Madagascar, while the other end is a large, somewhat jagged peninsula shaped like Australia. The Madagascar-shaped end is full of jungles, which then turn into grass farther across the length of Edge Continent, until they finally become a large desert in the Australian end. Human settlements and cultures at the jungle end of the continent are quite different to the desert end, having diverged over the years, because of distance and because of the different biomes. Edge Continent is home to some highly intelligent kangaroo.

A while later, the humans invented better boats that let them sail from Homeland to a third continent that was across a wide stretch of ocean. This continent is called Backbone Continent, because of the long mountain range running down one side of it, which is based on the Andes mountains. On the side of the mountains nearest to Homeland, there is abundant jungle. On the other side there is a long strip of inhospitable desert. This continent is based on South America, and the mountains are home to highly intelligent llamas.

Finally, there is one more continent, called New Shore, which does not correspond to any actual landmass. It takes up the middle of what in reality is called the South Pacific Ocean, and it is like a Pacific island, with palm trees, volcanoes, and coconuts, but it is a whole continent which makes it even better. This continent was reached by sailing from Backbone Continent across the water and finding a new shoreline that belonged to a new continent, hence its name. It was also discovered independently by humans from Edge Continent, who sailed across a small stretch of water from the Outback of their continent, and found two islands that were off the coast, which are like our New Zealand, and then invented a boat that could sail further than that, and found an entire continent, which was the opposite side of the continent of New Shore. The humans from Edge Continent that sailed clockwise around the world and reached that side of New Shore also happened to name the continent New Shore, for the exact same reason as ever. New Shore has its own race of people, also. They were originally from New Shore since the beginning of time, and they are like palm trees with huge faces carved in the bark, and also with legs and arms.

The land of New Shore has many nice beaches, but close to the edge part, there is a lot of "coastline" which is at the edge of the world, so the humans and native palm tree people always stay well away from that end of the continent, typically leaving half of the continent, the entire edge-side, vacant out of fear of the edge. Life is so nice on New Shore that the humans and trees alike are always very relaxed, and a little timid, such as being very afraid of half of their continent because of the edge of the world being in that half. The interesting thing about New Shore is that it was settled on two different sides by two different paths of travel, and because of geographic isolation of the people who ended up settling each half of the continent, the two cultures look very different. There have often been conflicts between them, mostly over which side actually landed on New Shore first, and those conflicts were rather hard to definitively resolve, because recordkeeping was very sparse and vague, and paleontology hasn't yet been invented to gather evidence from what was buried. These conflicts between the two sides of the continent are the one thing that shakes up the nice lives of the New Shore cultures, except for infrequent volcanic activity. They are usually fought with simple sticks and clubs, and a bit with arrows, and on one occasion with Poisonous Frog Scrapings, which was the worst one. They mostly end with the native palm tree people intervening and stopping it before it gets too out of hand.

Finally, the oceans are one continuous mass of water, but divided into rough sections by the continents. They go over the edge in several places, but the water simply ends up on the "other side" of the world, so nothing is lost. This is my invention called Southworld.

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