How to generate realistic geography question


Are there any books out there which delve into the details of realistic geographic world building? ie: Continents, tectonic plates, etc? Older books preferred.

The purpose is to generate a realistic world. There is Fractal Terrains 3 (ProFantasy) software. Any thoughts?


Nothing coming to mind other than than high text books or encyclopedias.
What’s the goal?

If it is fantasy, sci-fi, general knowledge?

For fantasy/medieval water table formations are the most important aspect of geology in my opinion. Those are not at the same scale of tectonic plates…in time or ultimate influence.

Understanding that most population centers where at major crossroads that where able to feed the populations.
Crossroads where typically waterways. Only mining towns might be worth transporting food to.

As cities grow they overtake the cultivation land.

Heard animals where typically maintained as mobile and semi nomadic. Fish probably provided a vast majority of protein.
Grains where used for people food not animal feed until recently.

A lot and by a lot I mean 90% of wetlands is probably gone because of the hunting of beavers…,ever%20found%3B%20some%20trees%20flourish%20near%20standing%20water.

The book talks about beavers in the US, but can probably apply to Europe and Asia…not South America, Africa,Asian Subcontinent, or Oceania.

Simply reducing in flash floods, and massive increase in freshwater retention, as well as brush and forest maintenance from these rodents that we don’t think about, provide a drastic difference to the landscape of pre-industrial society.

As to Fractal Terrains…awesome tool if doing a space based adventure, where you want different habitable planets.
Probably has what you need to start off of. Also Plate tectonics is relatively new…1960s and 70s where it is considered real.,uncovered%20which%20supports%20the%20theory%20of%20plate%20tectonics.


I didn’t know about beavers having such an impact. Thanks for the link!

Purpose / goal is to create a realistic fantasy world. My problems are the darn mountains. If you get those wrong, nothing will feel right.


Lol…I get that way often. Most people don’t care, but the creator does.

If a continents are correct, in your world, create the plates as a new layer, roll a D6 for each opposed interaction (border) of the plates. Say a 4 vs 4 creates the Himalayas, but the reality is, for the players it is not as important an interaction as the more immediate obstacles.

In essence place mountains where you want natural borders, rivers where you want conflicting borders. Intelligent species will end up using them that way.

But having a background of what when where is only helpful to you. Those that don’t know often don’t care. If you have a couple of geologists in your game…then the silver mine better have the right geological history/surrounding…if not, it’s not an issue.


You could try this video:

I really enjoyed it :smile:


Check out Artifexian on YouTube.

Pretty sure this is exactly what you are looking for.


Steal actual world maps and repurpose. The geography is done already and settlements are already marked. To make new just turn the map 90 or 180! Zoom in or out to change details. Rename the cities and there you are!
But if you really are set on creating from scratch, you need an atlas for reference and a geography textbook.


Tis a noble goal. My spicy take is that your players are unlikely to notice or appreciate your effort, and that you probably don’t need the map that you are making. Still I hope you have a lot of fun with your quest/artistic process.


I did’t expect to learn so much about beavers today, but here we are. Thanks!


WASD20!! Great stuff!


15 page questionnaire to be handed out to all potential players. Question number 48: Are you a geologist? Check.


It just might be. Thanks!!


Lol!!! If playing online who cares!!! If playing in your first group since COVID-19…who cares…real people around a table. (Just don’t be a D$:k and move on, make sure everyone laughs at least once…belly laughs count as 3.

@Looten glad to be of service. Biggest innovation of the 20th century was refrigerated transport. And I thought the biggest innovation of the 19th century was rapid transport.
I’m not clear of when irrigation really hit main stream (no pun intended) but it was equally as important if not more so…until reading that book, I thought it was the romans on a large scale, and Babylonia on a city state level…suddenly I realize that it may have been much more micro and normal by messing with nature.

It truly blew my mind. That leads to how would simple magic change things??? My worlds aren’t perfectly thought out, but allow me a minute or two to calculate things, and it’s pretty complete.

I take all that I know, and accept it can be totally wrong. Then I adjust and accept it as reality. I’m still working on Flat Earth theory, but I’ll pretend if that is the reality we make together.


Just another complication/possibility. I live 20 minutes from Wetumpka, AL. The city has very large hills in the area, which shouldn’t be there geologically. It should all be flat. It is the called the Wetumpka Astrobleme. The local “mountains” are the ridges of where a HUGE asteroid/meteor impacted. The town itself is inside the crater, but other than locals, no one even knows that. So… there is that. Astronomy can strongly affect Geology.

Just more food for thought to make your job harder. you’re welcome.