With worldbuilding there is plenty of ground to be covered in creating a whole new environment and setting. From the beautiful fauna that grows in our countrysides to the concrete and glass skyscrapers in our cities. From the refined cuisine of the upper class and elite, to the essential staples of the lower class' daily meals. What does your nation look like? What does it sound like, taste like, smell like, feel like? With worldbuilding prompts, they can be the guiding questions you need to fill in the blanks, or start anew.
What are your nation's famous cities, and why? (Bonus brownie points for cities excluding your capital) What features make your cities unique? How are your urban areas developing in the present day, and what are the plans for the future? What are the most important or interesting regions of your nation, whether administrative or cultural? What makes the residents of these regions stand out among other groups? And how does the climate of your various regions influence their people? What bodies of water are the most important or famous in your nation? How has access to water (or lack thereof) featured in your country's history? Land! What is the terrain of your nation's land? How is the ownership of land divided between various groups and classes? Are there any lands that lay outside your nation's borders that are considered traditionally part of your nation? Weather! What are the most common weather patterns in your nation? How have your people adapted to the weather? What, if any, natural disasters or hazardous weather commonly plague your nation. Parks and Preserves! What does the average public park look like in your nation? Do you have wildlife or other natural preserves and reservations? What is the ecological future of your nation's flora and fauna? Tourists want to travel from one end of your country to the other end. Which places do they visit? Describe the 5 natural wonders of your country. What sort of biomes and landscapes are found on your country? Are they rare compared to other countries? Describe the most beautiful valleys in your country, or the most hellish ones. Name the greatest rivers of your country, and their ports. Name your country's islands from greatest to smallest. Identify the major mountain ranges of your country. How did your nation decide which city was to be its capital? I’ve spent some time in the city, and decide to travel to the countryside. How different is life there? How does the balance between civilisation and nature hold up in your country? Does one overwhelm the other? Do they struggle against, or compliment one another? 2 History
List and describe some of the most famous ruins in your country: what were they in the glory days, why were they built, why are they in ruin? What are the mysterious landmarks in your country, where ancient culture built it but no one knows why? Lost Arts! What skills or trades from your country's history have waned or even died off over the years? Is there a technique or substance from your distance past that modern people are unable to reconstruct? Are there any efforts are maintaining or reviving these lost arts? Migration! Are your people the original inhabitants of your nation's lands, or did they displace another group? In more recent history, how are your people moving around within their own borders? Are some regions experiencing a population boom, and are others experiencing a shortage of people? Why? Can you give me the synopsis of one of your people's cultural/national epics? (The foundational myths.) What's the closest your country has been to wholesale destruction? (Apocalypse) I'm reading through the history books. Which names am I sure to come across? From knights of virtue to pirates on the seven seas, what types of people have been romanticised in your country? What’s the most legendary artefact lusted for by adventurers and scholars alike? How do your people think the world began and will end? Are they correct? By what means & how did your nation become independent? Who is considered the founding "father/mother" of your modern nation? What is considered the "Darkest Day" in your nation's history? 3 Government
Who is the leader of your country? How did they get into power? What do people in your country value most in a leader? (Strength? Kindness? Rationality?) Tell us about a famous dynasty or family in your country. Which political parties exist, what are their differences, and how do they work together? Describe the election process in your country. Describe the different government buildings in your country. Law & Order
Police. Wandering through one of your country's cities, a thief steals my wallet. I report the incident to a local authority. Who would they be, and what will (Or won't) they do about my stolen wallet? What powers and restraints does your police force (or other primary security agency) possess? Can the judiciary strike down laws in your nation? Why/why not? What are the gun laws of your country? Can you tell me a little something about the organised crime in your country? A complex series of murders has been committed, and it has become aware that the rank and file police won’t be able to solve it. Who is sent to solve the case? (And will they succeed in finding the killer?) Can you give me an overview of what could be found in your country’s black markets? What is the single greatest threat, be it natural/meteorological, political or social unrest, that your country faces today? A great calamity has occurred, be it fire, flooding or Kaiju attack. Who is sent for clean-up and repair? Foreign relations
Which international organisations are you a member of? Who are your allies and/or enemies? Who is your nation's closest ally and why? What is the most significant foreign policy goal for your nation's current government? How are the immigration procedures in your country? Military
Wartime and Peacetime! How long have your people known peace? How has conflict (or the lack thereof) shaped your modern history? Are there any civic rituals observed by your government during either period? Armed Forces! How many branches of your military are there? What are famous formations within it? What is its history and social standing in your nation? And what are the plans for the future? What are your country's military branches? Create an organisational chart of each military branch based on rank. Describe a day in the life of an average soldier in training. Who are the greatest, most feared enemies in your country? List the greatest battles in your country: When they were fought, who fought in them, why they were fought, how the winner’s won. What tactics provided the greatest advantages in battle? List out military strategy that has inspired your country. Describe the different military uniforms for the countries and branches within your country. Describe the royal guard and the holy guards of your country. List all of its ships from smallest to largest, and detail what they’re known for. List the different forts and castles from smallest to largest and detail who built them and why. Describe the different civil wars in your country. What is your nation's stance on nuclear weapons? Does your nation have conscription, why so or why not? 4 Economy
How do your people prefer to get around? How does this differ between urban and rural areas? Does your nation employ unique modes of transportation, and how have they been affected by globalization? Hunting and Fishing! What are the preferred targets for hunters and anglers in your nation? How prevalent is either activity, and what bodies regulate it? Are any quarries prized above others? How are your country's major trading partners, and why are they important? What forms of gambling are legal in your country? Which are the most popular? What is the major gambling centre(s) in your nation? Is it lucrative? Who or what controls the gambling scene? What’s the public perception on gambling? Drugs! What are the most common recreational substances in your nation? What is their legality? Which demographics use which drugs the most? What is the War on Drugs like in your country? Travel! What are some popular destinations, foreign and domestic, for your country's citizens? Do people tend to travel more for work or for pleasure? And which other countries on Eurth are most likely to visit your nation? What are the railways like in your country? Is it isolated, or is it part of a wider network? What gauge, motive power, and coupling systems are used? Where are the best trade ports in your country? What is your country's largest export? What's the currency of your country? How did it come to be used? What preceded it? Which kinds of building materials are available? Where does the drinking water come from, and how is it distributed? Who makes the food? What happens to trash and sewage? Are there banks? If so, do they provide loans, bookkeeping, Worker pensions etc? Is there a centralised banking system, or are they independent? Is there any form of financial regulation? Or is Cronyism the standard practice? What are your country's main revenue sources from agriculture? What do your farmers harvest? What are your country's main revenue sources from industry? How many people are working, what's the worldwide rank? What are the occupation percentages? What's the most valuable material in your country, and how is it used? Where do people get the news? How much of a career can a writer have in your country? I am in search of work. Where could, would, and should I apply? By now I’ve spent quite some time in your country, and would like to settle down. How do I obtain a house? How does a package or message arrive from one place to another? 5 Demographics
The youth! What is your nation's age of majority? What are the activities that children and teenagers are primarily associated with in your culture? And most importantly...are the kids alright? Generations! What are the defined generations of your nation, age-wise and culturally? How do different generations get along? And who makes up the next generation to lead your country in the future? Is there a class system in your society? If so, what style is this system? Does this system allow for class movement? Can the lower class become upper class? Is there a form of discrimination or segregation? If so, how is it justified? Does a nobility exist or other societal elites? If so, what constitutes an elite? Do the nobles interact with other members of society? Is there a strict separation? Who’s making the big bucks in your country? (Bonus: What’s the difference between the old and newly rich?) Most expensive and poorest zones in your capital (prices, safety, etc)? Are there any separate attitudes regarding gender? Are there particular jobs/activities reserved for only one gender? Are extra benefits granted to one particular gender? What does an average household look like? (Is it a modern nuclear family, or a multigenerational feudal household? Do pets live inside?) Who is regarded as the prime parent? Can you tell me about the itinerant folk of your country? (Bonus: Why do they travel?) How are children treated in your country? (Until what age are they considered to be kids? Are children allowed to work? Can they vote? Are they considered people or property? Do daycares and schools exist? Has the concept of teenager/young adult been introduced in your country?) What about weddings? (Who officiates? Where are they typically held? How many people are invited? How significant is marriage in your country? What would be an ideal wedding?) What about funerals? How are they performed? Who is invited? How significant are they? How are the dead honoured? What happens to their body? Are they given a stone, a cross, a...? Can you tell me about one of your country’s secret societies? Greasers, punks, goths and tunnel snakes who rule. What subcultures do rebellious youth join in your country? What are the largest minority groups in your nation? How has the life in your country changed in the past 10 years? Language
Can you give me a linguistic overview of your country? (Language families, broad distribution, intelligibility, lingua franca, trade language, etcetera.) What are some common names in your country? (Bonus: Why are they popular?) Can you give me a proverb or two (or more) from your country? What are the days, weeks, months, years called? Education
Now stuck in your country, I would like to continue my studies. What university, academy or similar institution would I want to apply for? (Bonus question: Where would I actually end up studying?) Astronaut, fireman, doctor. What's the profession that your kids (and adults for that matter) tend to dream of becoming? Religion
Funerals! What rituals and ceremonies are observed when someone dies in your nation? How does this vary between different religions or ethnicities? What are the common burial practices of your nation? Is there anything else (for instance, wearing black clothing in the real-world West) that is associated with death or funerals in your culture? What are the different religions in your country? What is the primary religion of your country? How do people worship in your country? What are the greatest sins of your country? Create an organisational chart of your holy leaders. Who has more power, the political or the religious leaders? Describe your people's idea of the afterlife. Make a calendar of the holy days in your country and describe what happens on that day. List the different holy texts of each religion in your country. When broken down to its essence, what do the biggest religions in your country believe in? (Bonus: How do they treat each other?) Are there religious communities or foundations? What are they like, and what role do they play in society? Health
Healthcare! What are the most common causes of death and injury in your nation? How is your healthcare system structured? How available is access to healthcare in your nation? What do sick people do if they want to get better? Disease shaped our world, so what role have plagues and the like played in your country? Where, and by whom is healthcare taken care of? What about specialised care? Dentistry, physical therapy, eye care, palliative care. And what of alternative medicine such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. 6 Culture
How do the people of your nation spend the days when they are not working? How long are your weekends? Who gets to take weekends off? How have domestic animal companions shaped the history and culture of your people? Are certain pets held in higher or lower regard than others? And which pets are signifiers of a particular group or subgroup? Are there any interesting laws governing the ownership of pets in your nation? What do your people consider to be art? Who are the major artists in your country, and what are they known for? Meals! Do your people gather for the conventional 3 meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, or do they follow an alternate arrangement? What is the largest meal of the day? What are some favourite foods served at particular meals? Etiquette! What qualifies as good manners among your people? How do people behave at meals and other social gatherings? What's a major faux pas? What are the most well-known folk stories in your nation? Who's the bringer of good fortune and springtime, and who's the scary boogeyman who parents scare their children with? How have folk tales been reinterpreted and recycled in your modern popular culture? Which old folk stories do grandparents tell their grandchildren? What are these stories meant to achieve? Clothes! What are the traditional elements of formal wear on your various occasions, and what do your citizens wear while relaxing? How has clothing changed over time, and why? What outfit(s) might be considered your "national dress"? What do your people find fashionable? Which differences in clothing exist between classes and generations? What's the latest fashion trend in your country? What sorts of headgear do people wear? (And why? Is it functional? Ceremonial? Prestigious?) Who is the most renowned celebrity in your nation? What sort of music is popular in your nation? Is there a genre that your nation has created or contributed to? What sports do your people play? What are the most popular sports in your nation? What is their history, and how is professional play regulated? Is there any unique sports made up by your nation's inhabitants? Are there any "extreme" sports that are popular? What sort of architecture can one expect in your nation? Detail the architectural styles for the following: Major palaces/castles, major religious centres, major learning centres, major transit centres and major museums. What is the best food to eat in each region of your country? Can you give me an overview of your country’s most popular beverages? Breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses... What are the eating times in your country? What will be served for a typical breakfast? What will be served for a typical lunch or dinner? It's late at night, and I'm hungry. What food venues are still open? When families get together which food do they share? List and describe the most impressive buildings in your country. Holidays! What secular and religious holidays are observed in your nation? What are the rituals that accompany them? And what specific traditions does your nation have around worldwide holidays, like those celebrated by major religions? Is there anything your peoples eat and drink exclusively on days of celebration? What is your country's equivalent to holidays such as Christmas and Halloween? What's the biggest, most beloved celebration of the year? I’m invited to this grandest event of the year. What should I wear? And what would I wear if I were a woman? When do the people celebrate the new year in your country? What does it involve? What is your young people's favourite places to hang out? What customs and rituals show up in your country? Does your government fund the arts? And, if so, is arts funding given with 'no strings attached'? Which film was the latest box office success in your country, what was it about, and why was it so popular? How is time measured on terms of days, weeks, months, years? What symbolism do various colours have in your country's cultures? What is the most distinctive symbol of your country that would be most likely to be recognised elsewhere? All done!
Really? Did you answer all of these!? In that case you can always continue down the rabbit hole and explore another even longer list of worldbuilding resources.
In 1976, Edward T. Hall developed the cultural iceberg model. The ‘iceberg’ model of culture uses the metaphor of the iceberg to make the complex concept of culture easier to understand.
Like an iceberg, only the ‘tip’ of culture is visible (observable) to the eye while the bulk of what makes up cultural identity is submerged (unobservable). This framework can be used to explain the concept of your culture to readers. For example: which factors influence a person's observable behaviours and practices?
If you'd like to know more, the Worldbuilding Magazine did a podcast on The Iceberg Principle (S22 E03) in May 2020.
Update (16 June 2020): a cleaner designed iceberg was published on Reddit, with some changes to the framework.
The following is a rudimentary outline for a potential future cultural/trade-type organisation for nations of cultures of Dolchic descent/nations with a Dolchic minority.
I would also like to clarify that the way this organisation would view Dolch and Dolchic are as the following: Dolchic is an ethnolinguistic group made up of related peoples (Stedorians, Velaherians, Dolch, etc) similar to real wurld Romance, Slavs, or Germanic peoples. The Dolch are the specific ethnic group in the Dolchic group that live in Dolchland, similar to real wurld French, Russians, or Germans.
One of the core ideologies of the Government of Stedoria is the promotion and advocation of pan-Dolchic ideals and co-operation among all nations with Dolchic/nations with Dolchic descent. Although the potential creation of this organisation would be serving Stedoria interests in regards to Stedoria's ideology. (OOC) I also believe that it could also potentially look/be beneficial for the other Dolchic nations of the wurld, along with helping promote even more roleplay, especially among Dolchic nations and any potentially future nations that join Eurth in the future. I'm unsure if the creation of organisations like this are limited to members who have been active in Eurth for a certain period time or not, but if this is the case, I'd like to shelve this idea for now but keep it ready for a later potential date when I'm able to help create it. Furthermore, I am unsure if there is potentially enough nations for this idea to be considered, although I believe there is and with this organisation's creation, it could potentially boost that number.
Essentially, this organisation would serve as a cultural trade-type organisation for Dolchic nations would have two main types of goals. The first of this goal would be the promotion of Dolchic cultures between all Dolchic nations, along with sharing more about Dolchic cultures to the wurld so that the wurld can better understand Dolchic nations and culture. The second of this goal would be an economic goal. The promotion of more trade agreements and resource agreements in order to help the economies of the wurld's Dolchic nations develop further so that they can be more successful.
Potential nations could include @Stedoria (myself), @DPR Velaheria (given their transition out of isolationism), @Volta (given their Dolch origins), @Walneria (given them also being Dolch descendants spiced up with some Slavic cultures), and perhaps also the AI nation of Dolchland itself (although this would be limited give that it's an AI and its fragile political situation). Other nation suggestions/ideas would also be welcome if you have any.
One of the main goals of this organisation would be to help foster better relations among the Dolchic nations of the wurld, along with acting as an outlet by which Dolchic nations can present grievances between each other in order to prevent any type of escalation, allowing potential agreements between each other to be created in order to further these relationships between Dolchic nations, and encouraging Dolchic nations to be more open with one another given their shared culture.
Trade and Economics:
As previously stated, this potential organisation would help to promote more trade and commerce between Dolchic nations of the wurld. Such examples of this might be lower tariffs, cheaper resources, or potentially giving more access to the establishment and expansion of Dolchic companies across Dolchic nations. With this being said, I do believe that the organisation would place certain restrictions on what can be traded and what cannot (i.e. No other Dolchic nations sending military equipment to more authoritarian nations such as Dolchland and Velaheria).
Again, as stated in the preface, one of this organisation's main goals would be to promote Dolchic culture not only within other Dolchic nations, but also throughout the entire wurld. Such examples of this would potentially include cultural exchanges between various Dolchic nations, linguistic conferences, etc.
Research and Development:
Similar to Esonice's idea of a Partnership of Island Nations, I also think there could be potential for scientific development and research to take place among the organisation's members. Similar to trade though, this would be limited due to the authoritarian nature of governments, and would probably only be focused on non-military/weapons related discoveries, such as in the field of education, medicine, and commercial technology, allowing members of this organisation to develop their nations further to improver their citizens' lives.
Currently, this is as far as my ideas for this organisation go, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be subject to development/change in the future. Furthermore, if you have anymore ideas of what this organisation could contain (members or goals), could be, or could do, please share them with me as I'm looking to expand this idea further. Also, as said before, if such an organisation couldn't be create now, then I would very much like for it to be possible for it to be created at a later future date. Thanks.