• Marie Mullany

How to Myth - Creating a believable mythology for your fantasy world

Here, on planet earth, we have a rich history of mythology that makes for great legends, tales and stories. That mythology has built up over literal millennia, the oldest known legend is that of Gilgamesh, written 2100 BC in Samaria.


During the creation of a fantasy world, one of the questions your should definitely ask yourself is how can you build such a mythological inheritance into your world? How do you use our own history as inspiration for your fantasy history? And how to use such a rich heritage of mythology to create a more immersive experience for consumers of your world.

These are questions that I try to answer in this video:

If you're just looking for inspiration for myths, check out my short on Kalevala Creation Myth:



If fables are more your thing, here's How the Tortoise got his shell broken:



And final video, I promise! If you're looking for a reference to Gilgamesh, check out Extra Credits from YouTube:


So how do you actually Myth? Let's break it down to Creation Myths, Sagas and Fables.


Creation Myths

In order to build creation myths, you need to think about:

  1. Who are these people? - The creation myth should touch on the core character of the people whose creation it is explaining.

  2. Why are they this way? - The creation myth should cover why the people believe what they believe.

  3. How much contact do they have with others? If a people have a lot of contact with other people their myths will borrow from each other quite heavily. If a people are isolated, their myths might be wildly different from everyone else.

You can check out how we answered all those when we created the world of Teana way back in 2012 as a Live Action Role-Play world: The creation myth of the Biata


Epic Sagas

In order to build an epic saga, you need to think about:

  1. Why are you telling this story? What is the message you are trying to give to the consumer of the story?

  2. The entertainment value comes before the moral with sagas.

  3. You don't need to be original with the story, but you do need a lot of flavor. Your saga needs to speak to the nature of your world and be full of that local flavor.

You can check out how we did that with the Fishwife's Tale for Teana.


Fables

Fables are pretty easy. Pick a moral, beat people over the head with the moral using animals that can talk. No, really, it's that simple, don't overcomplicate it :)


Enjoy this week's video, next week I start with my first series on Magic and its inclusion in a fantasy world!

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