How did you develop the mythos of your game?

the___blade

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My artistically-gifted wife and I are going to begin working on a game together, and while we were talking the subject of world mythos came up; I'm curious, how did other makers develop the mythology and legends of your game?
 

AeroFunk80

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This is where I put a lot of my time and effort. I love writing and coming up with fantasy worlds, lore, mythology, religion, and geography. I tend to make it all up. I generally start by listing my main characters with a short description and where my game will take place. I then branch off from there. I don't really have a formula. Pretty much randomly write up a codex, change, modify, repeat. Eventually, it all falls together for me.
 

KazukiT

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I usually start with what I want the characters to do in said world. Then I start developing the society as a whole (politics, religion, and the like just like @AeroFunk80) I have yet to create a world that genuinely feels like my own, most of my games are very character-driven)

Although my current project will kick start an expanded universe. Developing that world definitely has taught me a lot about what goes into world-building. It makes me appreciate it when I see others' interpretations of world-building. It has also taught me that I could use the world itself to create stories to tell.
 

AeroFunk80

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I also create a list of common people and places: cities, characters, and organizations. I then define them, along with where they tie into my world. If you plan to create your own world, I also draw up a really bad-looking map and mark it with cities/locations.

Religion is one of my favorite things to create. I tend to make polytheistic religions so I can have multiple gods. I really enjoy creating the different deities, their powers, looks, etc.
 

Soulrender

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In my project, some things are based on my past 10-15 years of life, rest is inspiration from various anime.
 

RCXGaming

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The mythos is a source of conflict in my stories, since celestial beings fighting between each other and humanity dealing with the aftermath is the core of the story. So for me, it's extra imperative that I focus on it as a primary worldbuilding thing.

This makes me go out of my way to answer a lot of different questions:
  • What is heaven like, and how do angels function on a day-to-day basis
  • What is hell like, and how do demons go about their business
  • How do the souls of the dead get processed, and who handles it
  • What is the presence of said celestial entities? Does anybody know they exist or is it a select few?
  • How does magic function in the world I'm making? Who can use it?
These questions and more helped helped me build the foundation of how my story works, since at one point all of these become plot points I can use for character-driven drama.

The elements is a big thing too. It influences every decision I make in regards to character design: color palette, the powers they have, place of origin, personality, etc.

It also affects my decisions regarding world design. Example: The storm country has a lot of wind and electricity-based technology due to the natives being able to generate their own power. (It's also based off of Japan, so there will be advanced robot nonsense down the line.)

I work with a hard magic system, so nobody can be more than two elements at once unless they're using special equipment or are a unique exception I can't go into detail about.

I am also heavily influenced by all of the superhero and magical girl shows I watch, so having chosen people empowered by angel messengers to fight evil and protect the innocent is another aspect of it.
 

alice_gristle

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I don't really have a method or a checklist or anything... :kaoswt: I just write and do stuff and have ideas, and it kinda accumulates like a big heap of mulch. And then that mulch ferments in my subconscious, and then stuff grows from it! :biggrin:

And it takes a loooooong time. :kaoswt2: Like, for any kinda rudimentary mythos, I let the mulch to ferment for like a year? And the longer the better! :wub
 

Ellenor

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Well, I first made up the places, races and then the the general apperence of the world by making a world map.
After that I don't know how to explain it... But inspiration how to write their legends and myth kinda just comes at that point.
 

ElCheffe

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I guess it just happens while working on the story. Usually I don't have the mythos prepared when starting with a project.
 

Waifus69

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I just jam stuff I think is cool together and somehow make it work.
Though sometime it bring me more headaches and I had to scrapped some ideas.
 

arsMori

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I slap whatever feels cool in there.

Jokes aside, I usually just start with one concept, then expand on it while keeping said concept in the center. I prefer working like this because it would mean I can start with the wildest concept ever, but because there's a whole world and system built around it, it makes sense. Also, if it spawns a chain of questions about the lore, you can use their answers make even more questions to make even more lore :kaojoy:

For example, my current project's story was built upon the idea of a demon chef. Soon, a chain of questions started to form, which kind of looks like this:

Why are demons cooking? -> To serve the many visitors to Purgatory (belongs to Hell territory)

Why are there many people visiting Purgatory -> It's considered a neutral ground between angels, demons, and human spirits.

Why can these three (angels, demons, and humans/human spirits) coexist in one space? -> Purgatory is physically closer to Earth compared to Heaven and Hell

Why are Heaven and Hell so far away? -> So that humans remain unaware of the existence of angels and demons

Why are humans kept from knowing about them -> You get the drift (also this is spoiler territory lol)

And from that, a considerable part of the lore gets developed, as well as opening other parts for development!
 

gstv87

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one day I was laying in bed, thinking about how hot it was outside.
that lead me to think of the winter, and why we call it winter (obviously I was thinking in Spanish, not English)
that lead me to mind other languages, and how they all have "vi" "vu" "wi" or similar, in their words.
that lead me to think of *wind*
from that, I came up with the name Vyrna, Queen Of Ice.
from there, I went to the underworld.... the anti-heaven, the bottom, Nadir, the opposite of Zenith. Thus, Nadur, Guardian Of Nether.
from that, I went and created an entire pantheon worth of deities, complete with their crests, paladins and festivities.

.....in the span of 45 minutes, in a hot summer morning.
 

C64_Mat

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I've had characters that I've built up over decades. The challenge was creating a fantasy world to put those characters into.

I did a Dwarf-Fortress-of-the-mind: Started with ancient towns and places, went through a series of (now) historical events, and built the history of the world up. Then I plonked my characters in at the end of that period.

Lore is revealed through conversations, books, and even random NPC dialogue.
 

PixelatedBree

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I usually start with a few characters and build the world and legends around them. Why my characters are the way they are is defined by how the world has affected them, what their beliefs are, etc.

When I'm ready for more details, I start pulling from what's around me. I get inspiration from conversations I've had, from architecture, folk tales, religious texts, and nature. The other day while I was taking my dog for a walk, I saw an old tree that had been struck by lightning. It had this really cool, gnarled hand look to it and black limbs strewn all around it. I thought it might make for a good hideout for evil pixies :LZSjoy:
 

twosnakes

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I think of a whole world and its characters while I try to fall asleep... and then I forget it all in the morning lol
 

Willibab

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GF needed help with making lore for her book's world, and she keeps changing her mind/starting new ones. So I've created like 10 worlds by now xD

I once made a fictional language and made a world in order to use it, kind of like tolkien (only he made real useable ones.)
 

the13thsecret

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The mythos is a source of conflict in my stories, since celestial beings fighting between each other and humanity dealing with the aftermath is the core of the story. So for me, it's extra imperative that I focus on it as a primary worldbuilding thing.

This makes me go out of my way to answer a lot of different questions:
  • What is heaven like, and how do angels function on a day-to-day basis
  • What is hell like, and how do demons go about their business
  • How do the souls of the dead get processed, and who handles it
  • What is the presence of said celestial entities? Does anybody know they exist or is it a select few?
  • How does magic function in the world I'm making? Who can use it?
These questions and more helped helped me build the foundation of how my story works, since at one point all of these become plot points I can use for character-driven drama.

It also affects my decisions regarding world design. Example: The storm country has a lot of wind and electricity-based technology due to the natives being able to generate their own power. (It's also based off of Japan, so there will be advanced robot nonsense down the line.)

I second this. When in doubt, start with a celestial conflict and use it to explain the foundation of reality.

And once you finish developing the celestial world and need to build an actual world from scratch, I love map generators like this one:

Of relevance to this topic, this can generate a whole bunch of countries, geography, etc., and even give their political relationships to each other. It's an awesome springboard for inspiration. For example, maybe a mountain goddess somewhere offers blessings to travelers, but the nearby countries start a war to secure the mountain and her blessings for themselves. You look at the map to find a mountain and get an impression of local alliances, then you develop more details by yourself as needed.

After all, it's not just the celestial world that plays a role in developing mythology. Countries are the world's movers and shakers, and their actions pave the way for our futures and relationships (e.g., we won, so the mountain is in our domain, outsiders like merchants need to compensate us if they hope to pass by and meet the goddess, and we better make sure the goddess likes us so that we get even more blessings).

We could drill even deeper and start looking at the communities and individuals who power the country. Famous figures become immortalized for their accomplishments, but people don't become famous in a vacuum. They lead with the support of their people... but some would've liked that support for themselves because of various reasons. Groups form to support their collective interests: factions!

No country/community is ever a monolith hivemind.

They all have their own beliefs regarding the best way to go about business, and it would really help if their interests prevailed to become the country's interests. Factions develop based on aligned interests and compatibilities for limited resources (e.g., we're the eastern lumberjacks near the mountain, so screw the eastern druids because we need to trade wood and prop our economy vs. we're the eastern druids near the mountain, but the infidel lumberjacks risk angering the goddess by trampling over local property). The winner gets to become "mythologized" (e.g., King Greatwood negotiated a deal between the lumberjacks and druids - however messy it was - and with a mutually agreed-upon agenda, he had the opportunity to strengthen the kingdom by focusing on negotiating and leading a coalition with other countries).

As a side note, the further away in time from the event origin, the simpler the myth should be, since details get lost to time (e.g., the kingdom won because the goddess naturally chose the holy King Greatwood). You can then use minor details to flavor your story (e.g., Greatwood Day is a national holiday commemorating the day when the mountain and the goddess firmly became part of the kingdom). But if the story is set closer to the events and related to it, this is, of course, mandatory backstory to keep in the back of your mind.

When in doubt, create conflict at the highest level, then drill deeper as necessary, using whatever tools you need.
 

Arctica

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One thing I learned about myself is that if I stick to something long enough, I keep building on it.

That said, it initially started out as being about a girl who rules the arctic. Eventually as time went on, I expanded upon that and gave more importance to the element she represents(Ice), then later I extended that to other elements. More time passed and I created "Gods" which is really just giant elemental crystals that give each nation power over their respective element.

Then I started developing a language(conlang) called Artta, though I stopped for a bit because it resembled Finnish too much(it borrows a lot of elements from it).

I have the main character's back story all written out and complete along with her best friend. There's history between Ice and Fire(the two warring nations with Fire obviously being stronger). In history the arctic inhabitants were the first of the elementals to roam the planet.

I also want to say that I think of all this while riding the train to work everyday which is a 35min ride.
 

KazukiT

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One thing I learned about myself is that if I stick to something long enough, I keep building on it.

That said, it initially started out as being about a girl who rules the arctic. Eventually as time went on, I expanded upon that and gave more importance to the element she represents(Ice), then later I extended that to other elements. More time passed and I created "Gods" which is really just giant elemental crystals that give each nation power over their respective element.

Then I started developing a language(conlang) called Artta, though I stopped for a bit because it resembled Finnish too much(it borrows a lot of elements from it).

I have the main character's back story all written out and complete along with her best friend. There's history between Ice and Fire(the two warring nations with Fire obviously being stronger). In history the arctic inhabitants were the first of the elementals to roam the planet.

I also want to say that I think of all this while riding the train to work everyday which is a 35min ride.
I have a similar experience while I am at work. Where story/world elements come out of nowhere and I need to write them down, so on my break, I just write them down on my phone.
 

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