Sports and other pastimes can be a lot more than just pastimes. There are professional sports, professional video gamers, professional readers, and professional eaters. Because of this both sports and pastimes can hold a lot of significance in your world. For sports you may use real life sports, or you can invent your own. This is the same for board games, and some other pastimes. The best thing about creating your own board game for use in your world is that if after you get published your world becomes popular you can produce and sell the board game.
Sports have historically held more significance than they do today despite the fact that so many people are such big fans. The Aztecs had a ball game which they would play which had both religious and political significance. The losers of each game of the ball game would be sacrificed to the gods. Sports such as fencing can also be seen as a form of self defence in a culture where everyone who’s anyone carries a sword around with them. Keep this in mind when figuring out what role sports and other pastimes have in your world.
Diseases can be a major part of any world because they can do a lot of damage to a population of people. Epidemics such as the black plague helped change the flow of history and influenced certain events. It is possible that even if you don’t show any people infected with diseases directly in your story that they are at least a major part of your world’s history.
There is a good chance that diseases or any other illness don’t ever show up in your stories. If they do it is a good idea for you to research diseases especially if you want to use a real disease in your story. It is a good thing to remember that symptoms are caused by either the body trying to fight off infection such as with a high fever, or directly caused by the disease fighting against the body.
You may choose to make up your own disease. Just try to make the symptoms make sense. You also may want to decide how the people in your world view diseases and people infected with them. Some diseases such as leprosy have historically caused a lot of discrimination because people fear catching such diseases even if there is next to no chance of them doing actually catching anything by interacting with those infected.
The landscape of a world is important because it helps you set the scene. A mountainous world will be described slightly different than a flat, prairie-like world. Also people may have different ways to deal with different types of landscapes. People in a prairie are more likely to use a horsedrawn carriage than people who live in the mountains. People in the mountains are more likely to ride on the back of horses or just walk on their two feet and use pack animals to carry their belongings because that makes travelling on mountainous roads that much safer.
Travel times are also important as well as how safe routes are at any time of the year. It will take longer to travel through a mountainous area than a prairie, and the roads stop being safe as soon as it snows or rains unlike in a prairie. Of course prairie’s have their own problems with flooding as soon as it rains a good amount in one day.
The currency found within a world is often overlooked when worldbuilding. This is because the parts of a story containing the usage of money are often skimmed through. There have been a few instances where non generic forms of fantasy currency have been used such as in The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss, but these instances are rare at least in the fantasy I read. In fantasy stories I often find generic gold pieces or coins, and in science fiction I often see the usage of credits.
If you want to create your own currency the first thing you need to decide is what you want to call your currency. All currencies in the world have some form of distinctive name such as yen, dollar, or peso, so you need to come up with your own name. The next thing you need to decide is what pieces are present in your currency and how they differ from each other. For instance coins can differ in the metal used, size, and shape, and there are usually several types of coins with different values. The final thing you need to decide is if the coins in your currency have images engraved in them, or if they have any other identifying features.
History is everything in a story that is not directly connected to the story, and archaeology is the attempt to learn more about history. If you were to draw a circle representing your story, and then drawing a massive circle around your story that will be the entire history of your world. Now draw a smaller circle that takes up exactly half of your massive circle. That will be everything historians know about history. Then draw another circle that takes up half of of your known history circle. This final circle is everything the average person knows about history. In the end you should have four circles with your story in the very centre.
History is an important aspect of any word because it adds a sense of realism. Your world should not exist just for the purpose of telling your story. It should exist to tell many stories. There should be other events happening at the same time as your story, and there needs to both be a past and a future as well. Your story should just be a a small piece of your world’s history. Create a history for your world and even if most of it never shows up in your story it can at least act as inspiration for other stories within your world.
Because there is so much history in your world that no one other than you knows about even in the world, you may include archaeologists to your world. The presence of archaeologists signifies an interest in the history that has been lost through the passage of time, and their inclusion in your story may help represent the viewpoints societies in your world have towards history.
Chances are your world is going to have a wide variety of different cultures. Because of this it may be a good idea for you to create at least a few different cultural groups in your world. Of course it is entirely possible that the main culture in your story is isolated because of geography or society and you will never need to show other groups. However it is still a good idea to create other cultural groups because they may inspire a different story within your world.
You can base the cultures in your world on cultures in real life, but be careful when you do. You don’t want to misrepresent real world cultures and that is a very easy thing to do. You don’t need to use real world cultures however. Instead you can create them from scratch. Human culture is made up of traditions, family structure, language, religion, rituals, song, dance, and viewpoints of different natural phenomenon, as well as a few other things. While you may not need to include all these things in your story, you may want to go the extra mile and go in depth with your new culture. But you don’t need to do all this and you can just scratch the surface.
Now the last thing you should do is come up with the ways different cultures and cultural groups are seen within other cultural groups because if you want your world to be realistic you need to include racism and cultural discrimination when creating your world. Most major cultural groups within history saw themselves as superior to everyone else and this creates conflict between this cultural group and other ones. Do not ignore this aspect of worldbuilding just because its a difficult thing to write about.
Names are an important part to any society and the way people create names is deeply rooted in their language. Keep the names in your world consistent unless they belong to someone with a different cultural background. Sometimes certain names will be rare in the specific setting of your story. While these names may be common elsewhere you will not be able to find many people if any in the local area. If these names do show up in your story give a reason for that. You won’t have a character named John in a story set in ancient China for no reason.
How do people come up with names for their children. Do parents come with names by themselves or do they have to go see a shaman to recommend names? Do the parents even get a choice of names? Do the children get their names when they are born or do they only get a temporary name which they can change when they turn 16? Another good thing to think about is where these names actually come from and their structure. Children can be named after different aspects of nature, or heroes from mythology, or even human virtues. Names can have similar endings between genders, different endings, or there can be no correlation. Look at names in real life to get some ideas for your world, and use the naming conventions you come up with to name the characters in your story.