Toothless Letter KAnd here we are in week three of the challenge, close to halfway through. Hope it’s going well for you as well! I do plan on doing a post about Empire at some point, and other gaming bits, but I’ve been running around like a mad thing doing stuff yesterday. It’ll happen, I’m sure.

Today for the letter K we shall be talking about Kingdoms!

Take some classical fantasy. What’s one of the things you think of? Probably a big castle, with a king and queen and some other bits and pieces. It’s at least in the top five things to find in a classic/epic/high fantasy book.

Kingdoms in fantasy settings can vary quite a lot. One thing they will have is a King. Or Queen. But it is characterised by the monarchy framework of ruling. When you have a different system of government, things tend to change (over time anyway) into countries, states or nations. It’s a little ambiguous, but if it is called a Kingdom, then you can be fairly sure that it has a monarchy, or did in the past.

150349

 

 

Apart from that, Kingdom need three things: A large territory; A permanent population; And a government. We’re already said that the government is probably a monarchy, at least in classical fantasy and Britain. but what about the others two.

Territory. This is an area of land that the country claims as it’s own. fairly stable, unless there is a war going on over territory. What this land is however, or how big it is, varies depending on the kingdom. It can be huge, or tiny, mountainous, swampy, farmland, molten volcanoes, hot, cold, rainy, or more probably a mix of some different terrains and climates that make up the land the kingdom claims.

Within this territory will be a number of landmarks, mainly cities, towns and other settlements, but possible something natural, like rivers or caves, or something magically significant (ritual site perhaps) or mysterious (ancient ruin exploration anyone?). Again, these can vary, and mainly depend on who the creator of this kingdom is as to what they are and anything interesting or special about them.

And then with any cities you have the people of the kingdom, living in and around said landmarks. People in kingdoms are often just as much of a setting and backdrop feature as the towns themselves. Are they human populations? Elven? A Mix of two or more? What kind of clothing might they wear? How would their culture affect the way they build or interact in their town?

It’s a tricky thing, but you have to think about the small bits that will interact with your character and plots.

For my novel Archmage, I have a badly drawn map of my kingdoms. There are seven in all, ranging mainly in climate and terrain.

The Kingdoms

You can sort of see the main features, how big they are, borders. The purple X’s are for magical ritual seals peppered across the lands. they have plot significance.

Of course this map doesn’t tell me about the people and their cultures, I have a whole other files for that. Which after writing this post, I realise could use more detail. Are one of the pitfalls of being a pantser – I don’t always write down everything I should know about things, although I do try.

Out of the seven kingdom above, one is a dead land, four are classical kingdoms with monarch, one has a monarch but no one really listens to him because they live so spread out communication is an issue, and one has a tribe structure.

I like creating maps, it’s kind of akin to colouring in being a little bit therapeutic like that.