Re: [nbos] [FM8] FM8 Wish List
Sat Mar 29th, 2008
> > You're into geology, so you pick up on that. But someone who's studied
> > economics, or medieval society, or genetics, or physics, or linguistics, or
> > sociology, or you-name-it at a university level, is going to be aware that
> > the typical fantasy world takes liberties with all kinds of basic (*very*
> > basic) tenets of these fields. The deeper your knowledge of the area, the
> > more glaring the 'errors' seem.

Yes, except even a layman is going to expect an explanation of a
perfectly smooth, round mountain, or an absolutely symmetrical crater.
And, to most people looking at a map, perfectly straight rivers are
going to look 'funny'. They may not know why, but they're going to
look off ballance and out of kilter and rather made-of-plastic. And I
am aware of the lack of understanding of geology by the average
individual (in most cases the environmentalists are the worst if only
because they should know better and don't). I just prefer to assume
my audiences (book, map, or otherwise) at least remember the majority
of their high school education. I am probably not the only one
annoyed that there are few to no coastal mountains generated by most
3D fractal world generators (like FWE and Fractal Terrains). I'm
probably one of the few that's annoyed because the major cause of such
mountains are ocean/continent collisions and it's odd to have only
continent/continent collisions (and the mountains would be a line
rather than a central cluster). But a few people I've asked (which
does not make it nearly everyone!) said the fractal maps 'looked
funny' and the elevation too didn't make elevation that 'looked
right'. Just because people don't understand why mountain ranges and
valleys and rivers all look the way they do, they know what does and
doesn't 'look right'.

My argument is that by applying just a little real geology some of the
'that just looks unnatural and wrong' effects can be remedied for the
people who aren't looking to recreate Disc World and merge it with

> That doesn't absolve the author (whether a story or an RPG campaign) of
> doing the best job he can and making it as right as he knows how. "The
> less accurate the better" is entirely the wrong place to begin. That the
> market seems to say otherwise may explain why I've given up on recent
> fantasy.

I would personally say as believable as possible, rather than as
'right'. Which means making the mistakes as small (or as deliberate)
as possible. If I have a perfectly smooth-surfaced crater, a
mountaineer in my world might remark upon it as odd if the crater
figures into the story. This gives the feature a verisimilitude
within the story without having to explain exactly how it got there:
It is an internal oddity rather than an external application; however,
I'm with you on preferring the exceptions be deliberate rather than
haphazard. I do not like 'the less realistic the better' style, and
firmly believe that worlds should be internally consistent, even if it
may not APPEAR so. And I'm specifically adressing the 3d fractal
programs like Fractal World Explorer

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