Love the Dune reference
World-building is increasingly becoming one of my main hobby interests, but I have my idiosyncrasies. I don’t have one or a couple of worlds/settings/verses/mythoses/legendariums that I nurture lovingly, but rather I divide my attention between dozens of them (all for miniature gaming purposes). There are many, many different styles of fantasy and sci-fi that I want to imitate, but for the most part I’d rather not blend them into each other, so having a plethora of separate, well-delineated settings is my ideal way of approaching the craft of world-building. Many of these settings are still awaiting detail – it all comes down to what I can manage in the form of miniatures and terrain, and for some of my planned settings I’ve yet to even find suitable miniatures or figure out how to convert them myself. Also, there are times when I approach world-building in a more organic, less comprehensive way where a setting, once defined, doesn’t stay defined that way for good. For instance, I may construct an ad-hoc setting for a single game and then scrap it immediately afterwards if I deem it to have served its purpose. I may “reboot” a setting many times over, perhaps altering it each time. I may treat my settings as “modular” things that can be broken apart and reconfigured, perhaps even allowing for some things to be “ported” from one setting to another.
Here are two of my more recent settings.
Bedlam: This is my 28mm sci-fi gang war / urban skirmish setting, strongly inspired by Judge Dredd, Necromunda and to a lesser extent a few other stories/settings including Akira and Gotham City. The basic idea is for the place nicknamed “Bedlam” to be a megacity on some other planet in a far future when human civilisation has become interstellar. (I’m thinking that the proper name of the city is something longer that’s colloquially contracted into “Bedlam”, and the former meaning of that word has been forgotten). This setting is mainly defined by its factions. There’s three major street gangs: trenchcoat baldies, stim-head savages and colourful freakazoids. There’s also two major mafia organisations: one with an exotic “ethnic” flair (which doesn’t correspond to any real-world ethnicity – in the far future, interstellar colonisation has made for all new ethnicities), and one consisting of immigrants from relatively newly colonised frontier worlds with a distinct “space western” flair. Furthermore, there’s a murderous cult, fanatics of a doomsday religion based on archaeological artifacts of some long-dead alien civilisation (there’s no contact with living alien sophonts, though). Obviously there’s a police force as well, a heavily militarised one at that. Finally, because corporations are waging “shadow wars” with each other, as are different factions of government, there are corporate mercenaries and government hitmen. Other factions I’m still unsure whether or not to include are gutter-scum scavengers, anti-police state terrorists and heroic vigilantes. We’ll see about those. The city itself has a bit of everything: Uptown areas, slums, enclosed arcologies, giant high-rise buildings, expansive low-rise districts, lawless peripheral shanty-towns, industrial mega-structures (some of them abandoned), subterranean complexes (again partly abandoned), a cavernous “undercity”, a humongous spaceport, and much more besides.
My as-yet-unnamed 6mm sword-and-planet setting: A planet or moon populated by dozens of non-human races, most of them in varied complex inter-polity relationships with each other (vassalage, alliances, mercenary arrangements, etc). Airships and firearms are common, but so are riding beasts and swords, spears, shields, etc. Aside from a strong dose of ERB-style exoticism, there are intentional undertones of 80s/90s saturday morning cartoons about this setting. It’s all very overtly fantastical, the kind of world where giant cave systems lit by faintly glowing crystals spread out beneath the surface, some trees can grow many times bigger than the tallest trees of Earth, and elegant spires stand hundreds of meters tall against a backdrop of other moons and planets looming large in the sky. Some of the better-defined races include nomadic, blue-skinned, relatively hi-tech “almost-humans”, tribalistic parrot-men, and surprisingly “good” (as in the opposite of evil) insect-men. Locations include the Silver Savanna (where the grass is a ghostly blueish-greyish-white), the Crater-Jungles (giant crater basins with isolated jungle climates, although the jungles gradually turn into evaporating salt-water swamps near their centers, like alien versions of the Okavango Delta), and the Coral Desert (which is dotted with groves of petrified land-corals).