I’ve decided to start with the basic map of this new world, at least the part I want my story based in. As someone recently reminded me, I should stick with the one story, and don’t worry about any others in the series. Fair enough, but I want to start with a world that I can tell stories in. Maybe not in the detail from ther start, but I would like to have something more in the wings, assuming I actually get this thing off the ground. For now, I will stick with that part of the world where the action happens.
I envision three countries: One, which I will call the Kingdom for now, are the "good guys," the home of the main characters. The other two, which I will call Empire and Dominion, are larger than Kingdom and are the "bad guys". Yes, it simplistic, but I’m just getting the basics down first, there will be plenty of time to layer in the shades of gray.
As I envision it, The Empire and Dominion have been at war for a long while, but are at a stalemate. The Kingdom is wedged between them, sharing common borders with both sides, but staying out of the war. Combined, the Dominion and Empire holds about seventy-five percent of the land, while the other twenty-five percent belongs to Kingdom.
That raises the question; Why hasn’t the Kingdom been swallowed up by either of the larger countries?
The Dominion and Empire are both aggressive expansionist states, with a hunger for land and people to rule over. Just being neutral is not going to cut it; the land is either part of the Dominion/Kingdom, or about to be. There would be three ways to keep both larger states out — a strong military, technology, and physical (or mystical) barriers.
The strongest of the three is the physical barriers. Mountains, seas, swamps, dense jungles, sheer cliffs, gorges, massive walls, or a combination of several of these. Anything that keeps large groups of soldiers out. The mystical barrier may have some possibilities, but I need to work out the magic first before I can make that decision.
The Kingdom’s military, not as large as either Dominion or Empire’s forces, but well trained and equipped, excel at defensive battles. Part of the army would man fortresses along the border in strategic locations along the border, with a mobile part able to move to where they’re needed. Maybe a small but potent section of battle wizards?
Technology. . . .This is something I’m going to have to look at. Not being well-verse in the type of era I plan to set this story in, I need to do some research, to get an idea.
For now, I think physical barriers is the best and simplest reason for Kingdom’s independence. But I don’t want a landlocked Switzerland-like country. I want Kingdom to have a seaport, as part of the economy and for future story ideas. So, something like this:
Sea/Ocean ^^ Kingdom ^^ ^^ ^^ Empire ^^ ^^ Dominion ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^ (Coastline somewhere down here) Now that I have the basic shape of my land, I need to think through the different countries, their cultures, mindset, general history and military. Back to work! Craig