Good morning, afternoon or evening from Amazing Gaming Productions.
My name is Mark, the creator of Tales from Trinity City – a dark sci-fi tabletop RPG that you play as a superhero defending the last unoccupied human city from aliens and threats within.
Today’s blog is on daily life in an urban setting. Creating the standard day and services characters have available will help the audience identify with the story!
There are many factors to think about urban living, especially when you think about speculative fiction. Different magics and technologies make things very different!
How do people get around their city or world? That would depend on many factors, magical and technological.
How are health services delivered? Things will change if you have a primitive or advanced culture!
What do they do for relaxation? Is there mass entertainment, like plays, movies, concerts – and how are these delivered to the people – people can attend virtual festivals or be at the event!
What kinds of games do children or people play at home?
How do people operate technology or magic in the city? What kinds of utilities does your culture have? Are there different lifestyles based upon class?
These questions are the first step forward for your world-building – your people will have a lifestyle based upon this daily life you create for them. Their lives will mimic the kind of lives we live, even with radically different worlds.
One of the first parts of any story is to create a “normal world” for your audience. Readers, Gamers and TV/Moviegoers have read or seen it before. The opening scene of a mystery has someone come to the PI in their office, or the Sensei teaching his students in the dojo, or we have an engineer in the warp room. Creating a basic daily life creates the illusion, allowing your audience will believe what they are seeing.
Since the “normal world” is established in the opening scene, it helps engage the readers. The more intriguing the opening scene is, the more your audience will engage in the story!
Defining the means of transportation, medical practices, entertainment, utilities, and homes is extremely important to creating that excitement.
First, transportation is vital for any culture. Does your story take place in a major metropolis that has everything from cars to public transit? How about a rural town where everyone drives and owns automotive vehicles? How about more ancient forms of travel – horses and other fast-moving animals? How about riding fantasy animals – Griffins, Dragons and other fantastic creatures? Maybe you have a futuristic city with transporters and hovercars?
Not only should you think about how people get around the city, but you also need to think about how they get around the world. Humanity has gone from riding horses across continents to sailing ships across oceans and cars driving around town. Now, we have aircraft flying people around the world and rockets going to the moon. All these advancements happened within a few thousand years.
For Trinity City, the city focuses on public transportation. They built three meg lev trains that take citizens to different parts of the city. Once the citizens get to their desired district, they can take a bus where they want to go. There are some personal vehicles in the city, but it is dependent on the profession – some people need cars or bikes to get to different places, like reporters or peace officers.
Medical services are essential for any sapient race. Even primitive societies will have shamans using psychedelics and psychotropics to help people with physical and mental pains and anguish. They even create salves that keep wounds clean and promote healing. Modern worlds have all kinds of drugs, lotions and creams that help heal different ailments. Modern cultures have a variety of services available to them, hospitals, mental health services and pharmaceuticals to help with bodily and mental health!
In speculative fiction, imagination is the only limit to health care. Can people heal bodies by commanding the body to heal with psychic powers, like the Biopaths can do in Tales from Trinity City? Has the culture mastered using nano-machines to heal their bodies? Can priests or mages use the powers of the universe to heal people?
What kinds of medical treatments are available in your world?
Another vital aspect is homes and utilities, which can have so many influences!
First, is the race nomadic or stationary?
The Quarians live in a fleet of thousands of ships, travelling the stars, staying one step ahead of extinction. The Jews spent 40 years in the wilderness before they found a home. The Dalish travel the lands with their Aravels!
If they do live in one place, how do they build their homes? Is it huts around in a circle? Is it houses and streets in a city? Do they have indoor plumbing, or do they go to the bathroom in outhouses? Do they have electricity? Do they heat their homes with cast iron stoves, fireplaces, electric heating, central air?
How are homes built? Is it modern skyscrapers, or huts, or houses? Do these buildings have large or small windows or none at all? Are homes one giant room with some beds and furniture, or do they have multi-room residences? Are there bathrooms?
After a long day or week, people need pastimes to relax!
Many people love watching professional sports, some people like getting involved in amateur leagues, some people like going to a bar and having a couple of drinks and watching the game. Some people love going home and playing games with their family, while others sit in front of a TV or computer screen and enjoy shows or video games.
What kinds of media does your world use? Is it plays and auditoriums? What kind of professional sports are popular? Where do people go for mass entertainment? What about a causal setting for relaxation – like a spa, bar, movie theatre or arcade?
What is the technical level of the entertainment? Are movies just pictures, or are they CG extravaganzas? Do they even have movies? Do they have writing for plays, or is entertainment tribal storytelling beside the fire? If magic is involved, is it used in entertainment?
Most of the daily life decisions come down to the level of technology or magic. The more primitive the society, the more you have to think about how people live. As they advance, you have to look at the history of our culture. Imagine what it must have been like, or think about how citizens feel about different things in an advanced culture!
The daily life answers will help create a sense of your MC’s “normal world” to help bring your audience into your story.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I hope it sparks your imagination as you are building your world.
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Have a great day, guys!