[video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

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Big Mac
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[video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Big Mac » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:09 am

I meant to post this a while ago, when I first saw it. Teramis, of the World Building Academy (and also a member of The Piazza) posted a YouTube video tutorial called: Build Your World With Continental Drift.

You can also read a bit more on her World Building Academy blog: Build Your World with Continental Drift (Video)
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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Havard » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:36 pm

Interesting, if rather roundabout way of doing it :)

I always appreciate it when RPG setting continents and coastal shapes look like they could be a real world, so perhaps this could be a good way to accomplish that.

Cool seeing more work from Teramis in any case :)

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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Justinov » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:44 pm

Big Mac wrote:I meant to post this a while ago, when I first saw it. Teramis, of the World Building Academy (and also a member of The Piazza) posted a YouTube video tutorial called: Build Your World With Continental Drift.

You can also read a bit more on her World Building Academy blog: Build Your World with Continental Drift (Video)
Always dangerous to show this to a geologist :lol: but an easy way is simply to make your world into plates and simply decide where you have spreading zones (including Rift systems on land - east Africa) or subduction zones with creation of volcanoes and mountains being folded up. Some spreading zone might even be half finished and abandoned (like the Oslo Fjord that was created during the unfinished unzipping of Norway and Sweden).
You can also toss in some hot spot centers either on land (Yellowstone) or sea (Hawaii).

Looking at geological maps of our globe should give some inspiration and also a fast forward video of the continental drift could give some ideas, since you have a change from continents coming together - continents splitting (because the earth is round spreading continents will meet again on the backside).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm5giPd5Uro
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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by ExTSR » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:36 pm

We played with plate tectonics as early as '82 (when Francois pushed it). Can be twisted into the Atlantis/Lemuria branch.

Realworld has vintage cred. The original GH campaign was a rough overlay of the upper Midwest USA (players in Twin* Cities, Quad** Cities, LG, Chi, Lafayette, Evansville).
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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Lord Torath » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:22 am

The map of Mystara looks an awful lot like North America. Was that a deliberate decision? (After The Isle of Dread region, anyways)

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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Justinov » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:06 pm

Lord Torath wrote:The map of Mystara looks an awful lot like North America. Was that a deliberate decision? (After The Isle of Dread region, anyways)
The whole of Mystara looks awful like the Earth with it's continent shapes and placement (just not how it looks in the current age, the Quarternary). I'm absolutely sure it was intended!
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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Chimpman » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:25 am

The world of Mystara is actually built from a map of Earth during one of the prehistorical eras in Earth's history. I can't remember which era/epoch the map is based on, but I know we've had discussions about it on these forums before (unfortunately several cursory searches have revealed no relevant results).

Perhaps someone else remembers the specific era map (or can find the thread)?

EDIT:

The period is possibly the Late Jurassic. Check out the discussion in this thread.
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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Justinov » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:40 pm

Chimpman wrote:The world of Mystara is actually built from a map of Earth during one of the prehistorical eras in Earth's history. The period is possibly the Late Jurassic. Check out the discussion in this thread.
I agree :) and thanks for the link to the discussion.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:04 pm

Havard wrote:Interesting, if rather roundabout way of doing it :)
It is an optional technique, for world-builders who want to give planets more "history". She says so herself. :)
Havard wrote:I always appreciate it when RPG setting continents and coastal shapes look like they could be a real world, so perhaps this could be a good way to accomplish that.
I think that the key advantage for world-building design with continental drift would be when someone wants to create a detailed timeline and give a feel of long-lost civilisations.

If you want to build some sort of Blackmoor-like civilisation and stick it in the distant past of a Jakandor-like world, you need to come up with some sort of logic to explain why that old civilisation vanished. You could have magic, technology or some sort of combined techno-magic be the reason why "the civilisation destroyed itself", but Teramis is actually providing a new option with this technique:

With continental drift, you could have a Blackmoor-like city that passes over the north pole and is buried by a mile of ice for 10,000 years. Or you could have another continent drift over the pole (or one over each of the poles) and create an ice-age that simply swallows up dozens of countries.

Imagine having a long-lost Thay-like city, run by a lich who was literally encased in ice for 10,000 years. That makes a change from the "they blew themselves up" trope. If the elders of the city knew they would be buried by an ice age, they might have the choice between abandoning their homes forever or finding a way to put their population (or some of it) into suspended animation until the danger has past. If you wanted to go with something like that, Teramis's method would allow you to create a number of different campaign maps to show the "before", "during" and "after" positions of the continents and the locations of any "frozen civilisations".
Havard wrote:Cool seeing more work from Teramis in any case :)
I'm still waiting for Teramis to put her book onto Print on Demand, so I can buy a copy. Actually, she has a couple of things I'd be interested in: There is the world-building book she co-wrote with Bruce Heard, but she is also actually sitting on an entire RPG campaign setting book. If she could maybe get that updated to Pathfinder, I think it would have an audience. There are a couple of other asian-inspired RPGs for Pathfinder, so I think that people would also want to mix and match material for more than one of them.
Justinov wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I meant to post this a while ago, when I first saw it. Teramis, of the World Building Academy (and also a member of The Piazza) posted a YouTube video tutorial called: Build Your World With Continental Drift.

You can also read a bit more on her World Building Academy blog: Build Your World with Continental Drift (Video)
Always dangerous to show this to a geologist :lol: but an easy way is simply to make your world into plates and simply decide where you have spreading zones (including Rift systems on land - east Africa) or subduction zones with creation of volcanoes and mountains being folded up. Some spreading zone might even be half finished and abandoned (like the Oslo Fjord that was created during the unfinished unzipping of Norway and Sweden).
You can also toss in some hot spot centers either on land (Yellowstone) or sea (Hawaii).
I think a lot of people don't have enough geology-fu to work out how to do this. Teramis's video has a sort of simplified geology that most people should understand.

I think it might be nice to have some geology tutorials or discussions in The Squisy Bits, so that the people, like you :) , who do know about this stuff can help other people learn enough for them to avoid schoolboy errors.
Justinov wrote:Looking at geological maps of our globe should give some inspiration and also a fast forward video of the continental drift could give some ideas, since you have a change from continents coming together - continents splitting (because the earth is round spreading continents will meet again on the backside).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm5giPd5Uro
Those things can be really useful with "near Earth" campaign settings.

But I do wonder how things would work with the standard fantasy worlds that D&D (and other RPGs) gave us. I also wonder what sort of geology could be done for non-standard fantasy worlds.

D&D Next would be a great opportunity for Forgotten Realms to get some geological history. (They could probably have used some sort of "continental insertion" back when they wanted to bring in Abeir, instead of having continents land on top of other continents.)

Imagine uber-magic that makes entire islands and continents get swallowed up into a pocket dimension. But imagine if they got a geologist to help with the "fantasy geology", so that they could work out how to make things appear or vanish in a short amount of time, but still be logical.

I've followed a few conversations about flatworlds and the usual way people "sell" them is that they are artificial. But I've always thought that was a shame. I've always thought it would be nice if someone could design some "two dimensional fantasy geology" that would make flatworlds work as a natural thing. Why couldn't flatworlds have molten cores (or at least molten inner plates)? Why couldn't they have something similar to continental drift (perhaps with continents "folding over" at the edge of the world and getting "dragged down" inside the world)?
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Re: [video] Build Your World With Continental Drift

Post by Justinov » Sat May 03, 2014 6:53 pm

Big Mac wrote: I think a lot of people don't have enough geology-fu to work out how to do this. Teramis's video has a sort of simplified geology that most people should understand.
I think it might be nice to have some geology tutorials or discussions in The Squisy Bits, so that the people, like you :) , who do know about this stuff can help other people learn enough for them to avoid schoolboy errors.
Justinov wrote:Looking at geological maps of our globe should give some inspiration and also a fast forward video of the continental drift could give some ideas, since you have a change from continents coming together - continents splitting (because the earth is round spreading continents will meet again on the backside).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm5giPd5Uro
Those things can be really useful with "near Earth" campaign settings. But I do wonder how things would work with the standard fantasy worlds that D&D (and other RPGs) gave us. I also wonder what sort of geology could be done for non-standard fantasy worlds.
D&D Next would be a great opportunity for Forgotten Realms to get some geological history. (They could probably have used some sort of "continental insertion" back when they wanted to bring in Abeir, instead of having continents land on top of other continents.)

Imagine uber-magic that makes entire islands and continents get swallowed up into a pocket dimension. But imagine if they got a geologist to help with the "fantasy geology", so that they could work out how to make things appear or vanish in a short amount of time, but still be logical.

I've followed a few conversations about flatworlds and the usual way people "sell" them is that they are artificial. But I've always thought that was a shame. I've always thought it would be nice if someone could design some "two dimensional fantasy geology" that would make flatworlds work as a natural thing. Why couldn't flatworlds have molten cores (or at least molten inner plates)? Why couldn't they have something similar to continental drift (perhaps with continents "folding over" at the edge of the world and getting "dragged down" inside the world)?
I would try to so when I have the time.
For now a little introduction:
When is essential in all geology are Time, Temperature, Density & Pressure.
A spherical object can have a hot interior and a colder exterior. Also because of gravity the high density substances will sink towards the center and lighter substances will move outwards. So Earth has an Iron-Nickel core with oceans over the solids and an atmosphere of gas as the exterior (with hydrogen seeping out into space).
Temperature differences causes “convection flows“ whether is it atmospheric circulation, liquids or molten rock in the earth. Because rock, liquid and gasses becomes more light when heated. So over the tropics air rises when heated by the sun (Hadley Cell) and then falls down over the subtropics when its cooled. When boiling pasta, you see water from the bottom rising, but water that cooled somewhat at the surface sinks back down. Low density rock being brought down at subduction zones melts and then moves upwards causing volcanism.

A rock-planet like Earth is created by dust-particles after a supernova explosion being slowly brought together because of gravity. The collisions of these particles creates a lot of heat (large kinetic energy converted to heat because of the speeds that are suddenly halted on impact). So when the earth grew in size it was a molten sphere. When impacts became more rare the surface cooled. Eventually all the sphere would have cooled in a geologic short period of time. Lord Kelvin measured it to be 30.000 years, which was a correct estimate back then (used against Darwin's evolution) since nobody knew about radioactivity. Radioactive decay keeps the Earth from cooling.
So as long a planet has enough mass with heavy radioactive substances in it's center it can create convection flows that drives the Earth's plate tectonics and creates the magnetic field that shield us against Cosmic Rays ( = actually charged particles - atomic nuclei (98%) and electrons (2%) from supernova explosions).
When a planet no longer can keep its internal temperature hot, then it will loose the ability to create convection cells and to be protected by a magnetic field. These two effects will cause a "dead rock". Not shielded by the solar wind and with no volcanism sending forth gasses tied in rocks the atmosphere of the planet will be mostly blown away as it has done on Mars. It's smaller than Earth and has apparently no longer enough center heat to drive it. Actually it has the biggest volcano in the solar system Olympus Mons that is 26 km higher than the surrounding plains, so once Mars was very dynamic.

So on earth these convections flows causes the earth's surface to break up into tectonic plates. These move between ~2-10 cm each year. So you have constructive plate boundaries where molten basalt rock rises causing the plates to move away from each other; destructive plates boundaries where plates move towards each other - with subduction zones if 1 or 2 ocean-floor plates are involved, or orogenesis when two continental plates collide. If plates move past each other sideways you don't get creation or destruction, but a lot of earthquake activity (California).
Volcanism (+ geysers) is simply the way heat escapes the earth - it's hot low density material and gasses that press it's way through the solid crust. The higher the pressure needed to break through the crust the longer it takes and the more massive the eruption - essentially a pressure cooker until the lids blows off.
Hotspots are stationary sources of heat rising from deep within the earth (how deep is currently debated) and are not normally located at plate boundaries (the Icelandic hot spot is an exception). So hotspots have to press through the crust to release heat. In Yellowstone it happens every 600-700.000 years because the crust is very thick, but then it's a supervolcanic eruption that follows. In Hawaii it happens all the time because the crust is thin, so very small eruptions.

I can continue this when I have more time.....but conclusion no radioactivity - “dead rock planet“.
I could continue with moons around gas planets that actually heats because of gravity from Jupiter or Saturn. Massive tidal forces actually rips the moons and that pressure creates movement and heat release.
Should it be moved, as a special geologist helping guide, to a new thread in the squishy bits???
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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