World Building for Game Devs and Writers – Lesson 1 – Solar/Lunar Cycles

Good morning, afternoon or evening from my neck of the woods to yours. It’s Mark from Amazing Gaming Productions. I’m the creator of Tales from Trinity City, the beta version of the lore book is right here.

Today, I’m super excited to start a new series on world building. For speculative fiction writers, both fantasy and sci-fi, world building is so important. It can make or break a story. Today, we start to look at the environmental impact of solar and lunar cycles.

The Outer Worlds has some of the worst world building I’ve ever seen.

Stories about the sun and the moon impacting a world are popular topics for speculative fiction. How many stories have you read about a supernova that has everyone in a panic? How about a lunar eclipse activating someone’s superpowers?

You can let your imagination go wild when it comes to these kinds of stories – let yourself go.

In the story universe of Dragon Lance, the moons of Krynn altered the power of the magicians living there. Are the forces of evil going to strike when their moon is waxing full and the good magic moon is waning?

The movie Pitch Black is about humans trying to survive when the planets eclipse their suns. A dangerous, predatory race comes out of their caverns to hunt anything they can find.

Or will you have a dying star affecting technology, like Haestrom in Mass Effect 2?

Imagine the kind of stories you could write about a dying star.

Environmental hazards like the ones described can make stories more entertaining. Especially with Pitch Black – the story was the eclipsing of the suns!

And what if solar flares are about to take out the communications on a planet? Is a massive moon creating such tidal forces that keep the primitive species on their toes?

There’s so many things you can introduce through solar and lunar events.

In fantasy novels, lunar and solar cycles become so intriguing. There is so many things you can do with them, because magic has its own logic. Katjit’s fur patterns change depending upon which moon they’re born under. Krynn’s mages power waxes and wanes when the moon is either full or new.

I promised a brand new world with this blog series. One day, every 10 years, the four moons align as full moons. This opens a portal between the human realm and the faery realm. In three years, the humans are going to invade the faery realm. They are preparing their armies to enter into the portal and make a permanent home in their land.

Welcome to the Faery realm

Before this, what affects did common cultural exchanges have? Are there hybrids? How are those children viewed by either culture? What could the possible ramifications of such children be in the future? What religions and philosophies did they share? What magical practices did they work on? Did both sides get along, or was one or the other considered an invader?

What else can you think of when it comes to the affects of the moon on magic? What if, unlike the TV show Heroes, a lunar eclipse negates magic? If the world doesn’t rely on magic, do normal people try to round up and kill magic users because they are powerless now? Or if a world relies on magic like we rely on technology, could that lunar eclipse cause massive problems?

What kind of story do you want to tell, with magic, it can be infinite!

Lunar cycles and eclipses are as interesting in a sci-fi story as well. Pitch Black is a perfect example of how eclipses make a story. Will the people who have crash land survive the eclipse, or are they alien chow?

Always hungry, flying predators who uses echo location!

There’s all kinds of lunar chaos you can add to your stories. What would happen if a moon was diverting asteroids at the planet? Could a moon be throwing them at a space station? What if a asteroid is going to take out the solar array powering a planetary shield?

Imagine what kind of damage a asteroid could do to an advanced civilization!

How about a shield that is protecting the last city of a dictatorship, and the rebels need to get rid of the shield or else? Now you’re routing for the underdogs!

What if a moon was a prison colony? You have to work hard to earn your freedom. Or it could be that evil empire who is imprisoning political dissidents and ‘traitors’. The story could start as prisoners create a rebellion that overthrows the dictators!

Can you imagine living in this kind of dystopia?

Solar Cycles could have a profound impact on different worlds as well. What affects would a sun which is about to nova have on the civilizations that rely on that sun? Will communications work? Will Defences work? Will faster than light speed work – or will it go as fast as the Excelsior’s trans warp drive?

Will the solar flares affect communications and other technologies? Will there be droughts, famines and starvation? Will disease be rampant? Will the populace of the world be panicking? Will the government be able to create a plan to help the civilization continue? Will these survivors be able to communicate with each other? What impacts will this have on your world?

Think about how much a problematic sun can have on your world and if that can drive the story even more. In the 22 rules for storytelling, by Pixar, always introduce a surprise problem in the story. A sun that is about to go nova is a surprise problem if humanity is at war against an alien race.

The sun and moon are two of the most powerful drivers for the environment. It is important to think about these two things when it comes to a fantasy or sci-fiction world. What mystical things happen because of the sun or moon? What kinds of chaos can a moons, asteroids, comets and suns create in a sci-fi universe? Go nuts, you’ll love it.

And think out of the box for fantasy – what kinds of affects have the sun and moon have on magic, religion and culture. What kinds of myths and legends have the sun and moon inspired? Our culture has many examples of both. What kind of negative impacts can the sun and moon have in a sci-fiction story?

Don’t skimp on these, you can see new stories if you open your mind?

Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any comments or questions – feel free to use the comment section below.

If you want to share this blog on your Pinterest, I would appreciate that.

And connect with me on Minds, linked here.

Have a great day guys!

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