The result of a marathonic 3 day worldbuilding exercise:
The initial sketch:
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The blank map:
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And the result with biomes:
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All this started because of my frustation that every fantasy setting has the same "European Woodlands" enviroment. I've been playing Skyrim and Oblivion lately, and Skyrim is amazing in that it shows the whole diversity of cold climates, from birch forests to Yellowstone-like volcanic terrain to tundra and ice. Meanwhile, Oblivion is all boring temperate woodlands with only some snow and dark forests. The worst thing is that Oblivion's setting (Cyrodill) was supposed to be endless jungle*, but they changed it to the same setting nearly every fantasy work has.
It's so stupid. Coming from a (sub)tropical place, it's so boring that fantasy writers are allergic to tropical settings or they relegate them to exotic lands far from the main focus.
So I made Wana. A world of tropical fantasy.
"Great port cities made of intrincately decorated wood grow in the mouths of rivers, some even extend further into the water, into floating houses. The great deserts are dotted by cities of brick and mud, decorated with precious stones and geometrical mosaics. Swamps have artificial islands of rich soil where crops, and then cities and pyramids grow. Great temples rise in the jungles, carved into the trees themselves. In the highest valleys and mountaintops, stone fortresses are the capitals of great empires, their temples covered in gold and silver. Mysterious sacred groves abound inside the jungle, around gigantic trees, beautiful waterfalls, and otherworldy metal rocks. Giant mounts and mesas that look like ancient warriors or animals are found in the deserts and savannas of the world. Beasts long extinct elsewhere lurk in remote places. The nights are full of whispers from the inexplicable. Floating mountains, plains of living fire, lakes that are portals to other worlds, salt flats that are mirrors to the heavens, giant trees that have their own ecosystems and civilizations. Temples from the earliest civilizations are buried in the desert sands and the mountain valleys. And who knows what’s below the sea?"
For now this is only a one shot map. I want to make a TES style empire (maybe) with each province with its unique enviroment. But the result at the end was an amazingly diverse collection of ecosystems. Which was the intention in the first place! But makes hard to draw borders. Despite it is based in the ancient continent of Gondwana and you can see a lot of Earth parallels, I also don't want to make exact Earth civilization equivalents for every place (well maybe ONE Tawantinsuyu expy, for old times sake). I also need to decide if there will be another sentient species, how much magic is in the world, and so on. So I'll give it thought and I'll post 'travel guides' later.
The biome key was from an old worldbuilding project with my own additions. It's not supposed to represent exact enviroments, but works for my purposes (Every ecologist has its own classification system, trust me, I know.) Unlike other worldbuilding projects, I drew the biomes first and the elevation will be based on them, since I knew what kind of world I liked. I think I might have made the interior too wet, IRL it should have been more arid, but this IS supposed to be a tropical Earth, so it's warmer and wetter. Also, rainforests by themselves are great humidity sponges (see the biotic pump theory). Vulcanic terrains are supposed to be equivalents of the Afar Depression or Yellowstone, only more widespread.
If you have any questions or comments go ahead! It might give me inspiration to create the civilization part.
*There are mods that give it a proper tropical flavor and they're awesome.