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Have you ever wondered what life would be like on a planet different from our own, or how writers create your favorite fictional worlds? Well, wonder no more because we have the facts for you! Every other week, astrophysicist/folklorist Moiya McTier explores fictional worlds by building them with a panel of expert guests, interviewing professional worldbuilders, or reviewing the merits of worlds that have already been built. You'll learn, you'll laugh, and you'll gain an appreciation for how ...
 
Each episode, long-time worldbuilding duo Lauren Harris and Adryn Erickson pair with Farm to Taber's plant medicine PhD, Dr. Sarah Taber to interview experts on topics like Ancient Trade Routes or 3D Printing in Space, then use what they learned to brainstorm a sci-fi or fantasy world listeners can use and make their own.
 
I want to write short stories or video games or movies or tv shows or all of the above. I want to make world settings for these works to live in that are insanely fleshed out. I want to make characters with so much depth its heartbreaking. I want to make the world laugh and cry. And I want to inspire others to do the same. As the title suggests my name is Karl Cutler and I want to do these things and I'm starting from zero. I don't have a book in my name, I have no experience or reputation. ...
 
Are you worldbuilding for homebrew RPG campaigns, novels, game development, films or anything else? Then you're in the right place! Designed to educate, inspire and entertain, World Anvil's founders Janet (an entertaining nutcase) and Dimitris (relatively sane) chat with creators and academics about the brass tacks of worldbuilding, exploring a new theme each month. Expect topics like Cultures and Societies, Settlements and their needs, Myths and Legends and how to avoid worldbuilding plotho ...
 
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show series
 
For our fiftieth episode, we welcome an all-star panel of guests who write in major franchises! Delilah Dawson, Tini Howard, David Mack, and Mike Chen tell us what it's like to write for Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel comics, and other IP worlds, from having seventeen editors to bringing their own perspectives and values to established universes. Tra…
 
Not everyone has aphantasia. Most people don't! But it is easy to forget sometimes. This week the Lorekeepers take some much-needed time to fully explore the subdivisions of Parresari. Where does the wealth reside? How is the floating harbor divided? What are the "Pearls" of Parresari? And why do the rich rarely meet the Tidelings in person? Refere…
 
Game designer and computational linguist Kathryn Hymes joins us to talk about the games she's created and her process for making it happen! HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist GUEST Kathryn Hymes is 50% of the indie studio Thorny Games, where she makes games about language and cryptography. She is a multiple time Indi…
 
The Story Soil trio and guest host, herbalist Isaac Vars, brainstorm a science fiction world involving herby space monks. So, basically, Isaac. Listen in for the process of going from information to inspiration to full-on idea as we build the bones of a sci-fi system and religious group you can take and make your own.…
 
It is a Parresarian struggle to do all the good one wishes to do. Sometimes, they bite off far more than they can chew. What happens when refugees from a far-off war seek a home on the island of Tensitung? This week we return to the "homesteaders," those individuals gifted an artifact which can create magical air bubbles deep beneath the waves. Tha…
 
Picture it: It's a sweltering summer day, ninety degrees in the shade, heat mirages glimmering on the horizon. Can your characters strip down to their skivvies? Roll up their sleeves? Hike up their skirts? Or might they be shamed for so much as unbuttoning their collar? What cultural factors of religion, economy, gender, and sexuality play into tha…
 
Life on the Marion Ocean isn't always easy, nor are the inhabitants fair to all. This week, we investigate the Honorless and "Seeple" (blame Carter), people who call no dry land their home. Referenced Episodes Cepulus, ascended goddess of inspiration: ep. 3.21 ——— Curious about something you heard in this episode? Chances are you can find out more …
 
In this episode, I explain what plate tectonics, stellar chemistry, and galactic dynamics have to do with habitability AND how I think they can be used in cool worldbuilding. HOSTED by Dr. Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist. You can watch Moiya's public talk about her research on YouTube here. SPONSORS! - Inked Gaming: inkedga…
 
Though it has hardly been acknowledged, there are other towns on the island of Tensitung. What are their relationships to Parresari? Do they get along? What are the people like? This week we investigate the town of Borristi, a small hamlet outside of Parresari. ——— Curious about something you heard in this episode? Chances are you can find out more…
 
If your character finds an ancient mask half-buried in a field, is that just a cool remnant of an older culture, or are they about to unleash a demonic apocalypse? This week, Marina Lostetter joins us to talk about artefacts, archaeology, and the interpretation of material culture over time! Some of the ancient artefacts in your world might be plot…
 
CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes conversations about Nazis, Nazism, and Kristallnacht. What is the legacy of the Ano Occupation? This week we explore the Night of the Burning shore, a (erroneously-named) weeks-long celebration of a now-distant battle. The way that people perceive the past may have change, yet it still holds a place in the mem…
 
Ever want to know what a trained herbalist would keep in his saddle bag, or how he might poison an evil witch king? In this episode, Lauren, Adryn, and Sarah interview their first guest--herbalist and spiritual cunning man, Isaac Vars of Deep Earth Arts and the Three of Cups Podcast.Story Soil Podcast, Isaac Vars
 
This week the Lorkeepers take a chance on a wild idea from the mind of Carter: lava crabs! Who are they? Where do they come from? What are they doing in Parresari? Enjoy! ——— Curious about something you heard in this episode? Chances are you can find out more about it in the Record of the Lorekeeper! ——— Want to learn more about Halûme? Got some id…
 
Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? Well... Yeah! If you're building a world, the concept of the passage of time is likely to matter. How long is your year? How do you name the months and days? How small or large are your units of measuring time? And how can you convey all of that to a reader without making it feel l…
 
Lauren and Adryn brainstorm a fantasy world with a wild warp magic that can only be stopped by a tree with special properties, reaffirm their love of Fire Babas, and learn a few clutch environmental details from a boozy Sarah.Lauren Harris
 
In a nice, abbreviated package we introduce a new figure to the continuing tale of Parresari. She's a mermaid by the name Mezami and goes from being a damp Mister Rogers to Ataturk. Enjoy! Related Episodes The Occupation of Honor Ano, imperious elven conquerors: ep. 3.18&19 ——— Curious about something you heard in this episode? Chances are you can …
 
From ballads to books to TikToks, how do the people in your world communicate their own stories and information? The consideration involves answering a lot of questions about literacy, technology, and your culture's values. C. L. Clark, author of The Unbroken, joins us to discuss the texts-within-texts and how to build them into your fantasy world!…
 
It's back to the godmill again to discover a new being of great power, this time localized to the Marion ocean and with a twist: they've ascended from mortality. Along the way, we discuss everything from the Whelming to dragonborn to lightning and divine inspiration. Related Episodes The Drakenfall, storm of dragons: ep. 1.2 Najani, guiding hand of…
 
What causes seasons on Earth? Our planet's axial tilt! But what might life be like on a world with no tilt at all? HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist GUESTS Maureen Kahiu is a Masters student of plant sciences at Penn State with a focus on turf grass pathology. She also has experience working as a golf course supervi…
 
Crop scientist Dr. Sarah Taber explains how ancient Amazonians terraformed their cities and utilized agroforestry, and what this form of land management looks like for authors who want to make unique farming systems for their worlds that aren't based on the familiar Eurocentric paradigm.Lauren Harris
 
Worldbuilding with Experts for Authors of Scifi and Fantasy Adryn and Lauren create a science fiction world inspired by the discussion on how plants grow in microgravity, while Sarah goes deeper into topics like bubbles as pollinators and why ethylene causes plants to act out Shakespearean death scenes.…
 
Crop scientist Dr. Sarah Taber answers questions about whether plants can grow in space, while fantasy author Lauren Harris and story builder Adryn Erickson interrogate her for all the details an SFF author could use for worldbuilding. Gamma-ray eating Hulk fungus is involved.Lauren Harris, Adryn Erickson, Sarah Taber
 
This week, amid a shipwreck of audio rabbit trails and getting lost in ideas, we explore the life of a simple, regular Parresarian: Salius Karlan. He never does battle with dragons, has no combat skills or magical prowess, and yet... Salius has something about him that is truly worth a listen. Enjoy! Related Episodes Tidelings, children of lore and…
 
When you're trying to solve a problem with minimal stabbing, call in the diplomats! In this episode, we discuss the above-board negotiations of formal diplomats, the social maneuverings of informal national representatives, and the super-shady dealings of spies. How interconnected or isolationist are the nations of your world? How do tech and magic…
 
In part 2 of our exploration of the Ano Occupation, we investigate the motive behind Iulia's warpath and the moral justifications for her passion. We also see the formation of the Shore Barons and the danger of threatening capitalism! Related Episodes Vampires, rulers of the blasted world: Ep. 1.31 Thog, amnesic vestige of the bygone utopia: Ep. 3.…
 
Author and tarot theologian Saint Gibson joins me to share her creative process. We talk about the importance of setting up an atmosphere for your world and the many ways that tarot can help guide you in your creative journey. HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist GUEST Saint Gibson is an author and self-described tarot…
 
Parresari has not always been a simple place to live. When forces of powerful elven lords have taken an interest in your home, what can you do? This week, we focus in on a very specific period of time: the Ano Occupation. References Magic: the Gathering, Ixalan story arc Related Episodes The Bellum Obscura, the eternal war of all wars: Ep. 1.67 Lor…
 
Calling all worldbuilders! My name is Lauren Harris, a fantasy author and cohost of the Story Soil Podcast. If you’re a willing victim of the Wikipedia rabbit hole like me, chances are you love the story inspo of history, science, and anything obscure or shiny. Well, on story soil, my 20-year co-author, a rogue scientist, and I interview experts on…
 
If OldMacDonald has a dragon, how does he stable it? This episode explores domesticated animals in fantasy worldbuilding, from the useful cart-pullers to the companion animals who are purely there for scritchies. How does your world manage the animals who live alongside us? And what happens when those creatures can do things like breathe fire, open…
 
Well before the city of Parresari came to be a bustling port, a much more modest town found a place for itself among the craggy grounds of the far side of the island. This week, we explore what was there, and what it would become. Related Episodes Lorder's Scourge, downfall of the Marion Dominion: Ep. 3.14 ——— Curious about something you heard in t…
 
Apparently 99% of animals on Earth reproduce like ~the birds and the bees~ but what would life be like if you could make a baby with ANYONE, even yourself? HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist GUESTS Bri Watson is an archivist, historian, and knowledge organizer with a specialty in the history of sexuality. You can fol…
 
Every good ocean has sea monsters that live deep below the waves. How do they come about? What do the Parresarians do to handle the monsters? Related Episodes Spans, the primal entrapment: ep. 1.34 Osteos, the rotting bones of creation: ep. 1.36 Seasilver, lunar iron and the fourth moon of Sudar: ep 1.56 Ki, the Maker's destiny for Knowing: ep. 2.1…
 
Journeys are a staple element of fantasy plots -- but just how do people get around in your world? Kate Elliott, author of Unconquerable Sun, joins us to discuss the feet, hooves, wings, wheels, portals, and other forms of transportation that allow your characters to go a-questing! We also consider the implications that may arise for communication,…
 
Well, we finally do it. Guns. We've referenced it for years, but it's actually happening. But how exactly? Do they use gunpowder? What do they have to do with magic? Are brightsmiths involved? And how does Parresari factor into gunfare? Related Episodes Gnomes, angels and the spire of Oberiska: Ep. 1.03 Spans, the primal entrapment: Ep. 1.34 ——— Cu…
 
Eric Silver joins us to answer my burning questions about the Pokemon world, and together we discuss the weirdest and world-breaking-est Pokemon. HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist GUEST Eric Silver is a podcaster, writer, and Head of Creative at Multitude Productions. You can follow him on twitter at @El_Silvero and…
 
This week we investigate the rise and inevitable fall of the Marion Dominion. The elven lords who once held such a sway over the people of the Marion Ocean fell to the one true enemy of all empires: time. That, and the poison party. Related Episodes The Shrouded Empire, the first "nation": Ep. 1.2 The Nineflow, leycourse of dispositions: Ep. 1.04 S…
 
So once you've done your worldbuilding, how exactly do you present it to the reader? Stina Leicht joins us to consider how much information to work in, when to do it, and other elements of the wordcraft of worldbuilding. Transcript for Episode 42 (Thank you, Scribes!)worldbuildingformasochists
 
Grab your tricorn and get ready to drop several years worth of bowman's salary because we're buying our way into the seaworthy aristocracy! This week we explore the Admiral's Club, the one and only club for every worthy captain on the Marion Ocean. ——— Curious about something you heard in this episode? Chances are you can find out more about it in …
 
In this episode, we talk about active empathy and character driven stories and we imagine our dream artsy grandma. HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist GUEST Morgan Sweeney is a science communicator and host of the Magic of the Mind podcast that blends fantasy storytelling and cognitive science. You can follow Morgan o…
 
It's a new, exhausting week in the world, but lets leave that behind for a little while, why not? This week we go deep down beneath the waves, further than even where the sun reaches. But that doesn't mean it's dark. In the ruins of an ancient city of the Golden Hour, a city bursting with life glows into view. Welcome to the city of the merfolk. ——…
 
We humans are "meaning-making" creatures -- So what stories do your characters tell about themselves, their world, and their culture? The writing team of Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, who together make up M. A. Carrick, join us to talk about weaving the myths, legends, and folklore that can help your imagined world feel fully textured and lived-in!…
 
Happy New Year! Good Riddance to the old, and let's pretend for a few days that this one might be better! Might! This week we zoom out to take a peek at the year ahead, specifically at the goings-on in Parresari. We consider important questions like: What seasons are there in Parresari? What do they look like? When do the treasure hunters arrive? W…
 
TBH this episode was mostly my excuse to talk about where holidays come from, but I do talk a bit about my worldbuilding interpretation of TNBC. HOSTED by Moiya McTier (@GoAstroMo), astrophysicist and folklorist SPONSORS! - Tab for a Cause: tabforacause.org/exolore FIND US ONLINE - patreon: patreon.com/goastromo - twitter: twitter.com/ExolorePod - …
 
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