This is the tale of how G’desh came into being.
Once there was a man in a straw hat. He was used to cheer up a former girlfriend. It made sense he would be in an Asian setting. I came up with a Chinese empire.
In the Empire there were gods and demons, though they were not intrinsically good nor evil, but existed to complete their designated tasks.
There were four elements which opposed heaven and hell, as they fought for the well-being of earth. Warriors, such as the man in the straw hat, could learn to use these elements in combat.
The Empire needed something to conquer, so there were four directions based (very loosely) on the elements. To the south was fire, and it was a land of sand.
In China there is the Gobi Desert. The most excitement I have seen in this region was when my brother and friend warred over it in a game of Civilization, painting the sands red. So I decided against using the Gobi Desert.
In Arabia, there is a lush culture with plenty to draw on. Fire would match perfectly with the djinn. I created a city of bronze, named it G’desh, and used it in a story for another former girlfriend. Now that city is the center piece of this world.
So aside from my writing generally stems from girlfriends, and I can’t seem to keep them around, I hope you saw a little bit of a pattern. Every idea built off the last one. I had a core idea, one character I wanted to make awesome, and his awesomeness turned into a setting. In return, I needed to make the setting awesome, so it spawned more settings until the world was populated with many settings.
The creation didn’t stop here, though. After I knew I wanted it in a place similar to Arabia, and though I had some base knowledge on the culture and region, I did research. I watched National Geographic specials, read Arabian Nights, played Assassin’s Creed, avoided Aladdin, and read holy texts from the time. The bronze city mimicked Solomon’s Temple. Two fighting sects represented the corruption of religion and how it can be used as a weapon. Christianity and Islam were used as the basis. There were merchants living a difficult life, struggling to survive. Final Fantasy, Exalted, and numerous other games inspired some of the more fantastic creations, such as sand skiffs and giant lizards swimming through the dunes. Ifrit and djinn inspired how the fire elementals would act.
So begin with some simple idea. Coddle that idea, do research, ask it questions, and conjure answers, then watch it blossom and grow. Next time I will talk about creating the religions of G’desh and how you can use religion in your own setting.
What is the best starting point for inspiration that you’ve found?