I think my travels, some unique life experiences, real-world events and history are the combined factors that influenced my world building and helped me create Verold.
In the military there is an intelligence product called the Intelligence Product of the Operating Environment (IPOE). I’ve seen a few, and they detail aspects of a region, the culture, weather, geopolitical considerations, possible movement of the enemy etc. I basically built something similar for Verold.
I began with geography. For, when one looks at the span of world history, one of the largest factors that affected early culture, religion, and technological development was the environment. Harsh environments bred tough people with angry gods. A lack of cultivatable plants or easily domesticated animals, created a disadvantage in terms of developing larger cities (civilization) and greater advancements in technology.
Once I started populating the world, I began to think about and piece together: the religions, languages, political structures, and monetary systems. Much of these systems are underpinned by what resources that climate zone would allow. For example, I knew it wouldn’t make sense for a cold, mountainous climate to make their living off coffee bean exports, or for a hot desert environment to cultivate taro. Instead, I looked at real-world examples, drew from prior studies, and my own travels to paint a more realistic picture.
And, as it is in the real world, history has shaped culture and language. I try to keep this in mind for the layered history of Verold. I have tried to allow pieces of heritage bleed through into the characters, shaping their word choice, and their mindset.
As an aside, there are places I have traveled to that have stood out in memory that have impacted the design of key areas. Examples include, the Sahara of northern Africa and White Sands, New Mexico, influenced the physical realm of the A’sh in the D’seart Kingdom. The islands off the coast of Phuket, Thailand influenced the Isle of Galdor, as did the rainforests of Puerto Rico, and Panama. The Rocky Mountains effected the way I thought of the Shrouded Mountains, separating the Ghwelt from the Three Kingdoms. Last, parts of China and Tibet shaped my idea for Godsend’s Pass with the huge statues of the gods carved into the rock face.