All novels are going to have forces, characters, or events that are working against one another. Fantasy novels are no different. Over the next two posts I’ll profile these two forces: the Protagonists and the Antagonists
This post deals with a fantasy novel’s protagonists, or the good guys. This is who you want your readers to root for, and who’ll most of the time come out on top at the end of the story.
While talking about writing a fantasy novel’s setting I discussed my novel The Jongurian Mission. This post will use the same novel’s protagonists to highlight the issue.
Defining Your Fantasy World's Groups
Below is how I defined my main group in my fantasy novel:
- Adjuria doesn’t have as old and unified a cultural history as Jonguria.
- Divided into 14 principalities, each with a ruling landowning noble elite, Adjuria has no centralized administrative or governing structure which unites the region
- There are many military and trade alliances between the various principalities, which are ever changing.
- There are current efforts underway to create a more centralized government to adjudicate disputes and ease trade between the 14 provinces
- This effort is being led by emissaries from Culdovia and Duldovia, which historically had been the seat of power of a united West.
- High-ranking nobles from other provinces have been invited to Culdovia for series of meetings to discuss a common governing structure
- Nearly all provinces have sent officials, except for Montino and Ithmia.
- The Regidians see this conference as a way to put their province at the head of all the others, while the other provinces are more interested in a representation system.
Defining Your Fantasy World’s Details
To really get a feel for terrain features I had to make a new map. From that map I was able to write down all of the details of this part of my world, that which the protagonists of the fantasy novel reside in.
By doing this I was able to pull up small details in character dialogue that didn’t necessarily aid the story, but did make it more realistic. And it’s that realism that will make your fantasy novel sell.
Here is what I did to make the fantasy world of my protagonists more realistic:
- Shefflin, Hotham, Oschem
- The principalities of Shefflin, Hotham, and Oschem are in a long-standing alliance of military and trade allegiance.
- This alliance has come about over many generations through marriage.
- The basis of this alliance was sought by area Shefflin for protection, being the smallest principality in the region.
- Shefflin has extensive resources which are sought after by the rest of the world.
- This alliance area also has nominal control over the islands to the north and west of it, although it is only a loose hold, more in name than action.
- The capital city of Shefflin is called Warren and lies on the southwestern edge of the Shefflin Mountains.
- The Shefflin Mountains cover the majority of the province in the north, with plains in the south
- The resources are derived from these mountains
- A river, the Orin River, originates in these mountains and travels into the ocean.
- The two rivers from Oschem province, the Dorn and Hebron Rivers, drain into the ocean in the south.
- The capital city of Hotham is called Dyros and lies to the northeast of the Shefflin Mountains.
- Hotham is largely covered in tundra to the north, which remains frozen year-round, and known as The Waste. In the south there are plains and the western portion of the Shefflin Mountains.
- The capital city of Oschem is called Tullin, and lies to the south of the small forest called the Tullin Wood.
- Oschem has a desert covering the entirety of the southern portion of the province, called The Vast. The rest of the province is covered in plains, with a small forest in the north, the Oschem Wood, and a mountain range in the middle of the province, called the Klamath Mountains.
- Two rivers wind through the province. One originates in the Klamath Mountains, called the Klamath River, while the other, the Bargoe River, travels from the Bargoe Lake in Allidia.
- The Montino River also drains into the ocean to the south of The Vast near the Fallownian border.
- Allidia, Mercentia
- Allidia and Mercentia have a long-standing alliance based on marriage and military protection.
- This area has little resources, but a strong military tradition which produces strong men, and women.
- It is from these areas that many of the families which have ruled a unified West throughout history come from.
- The capital city of Allidia is named Bargoes, and lies on the northern shore of Bargoe Lake and to the west of the Tirana Forest.
- The northern portion of Allidia is covered in frozen tundra of The Waste year-round.
- A large forest covers much of the province to the south and east, called the Tirana Forest. A large freshwater lake lies along the western border, Bargoe Lake, a river of which, the Bargoe River, runs to Oschem and drains into the sea in Shefflin.
- Mercentia is nearly all covered in the frozen tundra of The Waste year-round. There are some plains to the south as well as some of the Tirana Forest from Allidia
- Equinia, Fallownia
- Equinia and Fallownia have a shaky alliance that is just forming.
- This area is rich in plains and grasslands, and produces some of the best horses and grains in the world
- The capital city of Equinia is called Hedling, and lies on the southern boundary of the Klamath Plain near the grasslands of Fallownia.
- Equinia is nearly all covered by the Klamath Plain, with some grassland to the south.
- The Montino River runs along the eastern border, a branch of which stretches along the grasslands into Fallownia
- The capital city of Fallownia is called Fielding, and lies along a river delta which spills into the Apsalar Ocean to the south.
- Fallownia is entirely covered in grasslands.
- A branch of the Montino River drains into the Apsalar Ocean in the south-east part of the province where the river delta forms.
- Montino is a stand-alone principality with no military allegiances or alliances.
- It is the second smallest area in Adjuria, and is a heavily mountainous area.
- For this reason most other areas do not want it and see little value in it.
- The people here are content to live away from the intrigues which dominate the rest of the region.
- The capital city is called Zygote, and lies in the center of the Montino Mountains
- The province is entirely covered in mountains, with some of the Klamath Plain to the north.
- Two rivers run from the Montino Mountains; the Montino River to the south, which flows to the Apsalar Ocean, and the Tillata River to the north, which flows into the Ipsalar Ocean to the north.
- Regidia and Portinia have entered into a trade and military alliance just recently.
- Regidia was once a part of the Culdovia and Duldovia principalities, but broke off hoping to have a larger role in regional politics.
- The families of Regidia have historically been schemers and usurpers to the throne of a unified West, and are little trusted.
- The capital city of Regidia is called Atros, and lies to the south of the Montino Mountains and to the north of the Baltika Forest.
- Regidia is almost entirely covered by the large Baltika Forest, with only some grassland between it and the Montino Mountains to the north.
- Portinia is the principle trade debarkation point for cargoes heading to Jonguria.
- Its commercial endeavors benefit the whole region, so it is looked upon as an almost autonomous state and given little interference as long as business proceeds.
- The recent alliance with Regidia is unknown to the rest of the region, and would cause alarm among many if found out.
- The capital city of Portinia is called Dockside, and rests in a delta formed by the Royal River which flows south from King’s Lake in Culdovia.
- There are grasslands and some of the Baltika Forest along the Regidian border.
- Some of the Barrier Mountains form on the eastern border with Ithmia.
- Culdovia, Duldovia
- The principalities of Culdovia and Duldovia were long-united, and have the longest history of mutual cooperation. For many generations they were one area, before a tragic split in relations cut the area in half.
- Besides areas Allidia and Mercentia, most other ruling families of a unified West come from these areas.
- The capital city of Culdovia is called Baden, and was once the capital of Adjuria.
- It lies to the east of the Baltika Forest, north of the King’s Lake, and southwest of the King’s Wood.
- Culdovia has a large swathe of the Monmouth Plain to the north, as well as some of the Montino Mountains along the Montino border.
- The Baltika Forest from Regidia spreads into the province.
- In the south is King’s Lake, formed from the Prince River which flows from the Montino Mountains, which then drains into the King’s River to the south.
- The capital city of Duldovia is called Pardun, and lies on the northwestern shore of Duldovian Sea.
- Duldovia is largely covered in plains, called the Monmouth Plain, with some grassland to the north, as well as a small forest, called the Dark Wood.
- A large inland sea, the Duldovian Sea, stretches along the southeast border and spills into Ithmia.
- The principality of Tillatia is a large agricultural area of Adjuria. Besides Fallownia, this area produces most of the food for Adjuria.
- The capital city of Tillatia is called Plowdon, and lies along the Tillata River.
- The province is nearly entirely covered in grasslands, with some remnants of the Klamath Plain along the Montino border.
- The Tillata River from the Montino Mountains travels across the province to drain into the Ipsalar Ocean.
- Ithmia contains the land bridge passage to Jonguria.
- This area is the most militarized. It was historically given the role as watcher and protector of Adjuria from Eastern incursions into the region.
- Most families send soldiers and family members to this area to protect the region.
- Throughout history it has been an unspoken agreement in times of struggle between the areas that Ithmia would be a separate entity, benefiting all through its non-involvement in politics.
- The capital of Ithmia is called Fadurk, and lies in the middle of the Barrier Mountains.
- There are large areas of the Monmouth Plain over much of the province, with a small forest in the north, called the Marsh Wood, on the Ipsalar coast.
- The Duldovian lake spills into the western part of the province. A river, the Plains River, flows north into the Ipsalar Ocean from the lake.
- There are grasslands along the southern and eastern borders, which give way to the Barrier Mountains.
- Past the Barrier Mountains is the Barrier Forest, then grassland, before the desert along the Isthmus stretches into Jonguria.
- The four islands to the north of Hotham Province are known as The Knuckles.
- The island to the east of Mercentia and north of Tillatia is called The Fist.
- The island to the south of Sheffield and west of Oschem is called The Thumb.
- To the far south of Portinia lies the Desolatia Island.
- Off the eastern coast of Ithmia lies the small island called Flick.