Why make a conworld?


Why do people conworld? Why do people conlang? People go about doing these things for very different reasons, and not surprisingly, the results can also be widely different.

Some people micromanage when they conworld. They draw detailed maps of plate tectonics and then synchronize these with enormous evolutionary trees; they derive meticulously all of their languages from common ancestor languages, tweaking every single irregular verb; their maps are covered with carefully shaded mountainsides and hydrologically plausible drainage systems. For these people, that final satisfaction of everything fitting together perfectly is where the fun lies. But others disagree; their continents are broad strokes of geometrical wonder that utterly defy geological explanation; their flora and fauna are wondrously improbable; their forests are enchanted with magical beings. How did these magical beings originate? Who cares? For what is the fun of conworlding if you can't have some freedom?

Some people willingly and deliberately inject ideas from the real world into their conworld, using their conworld as a kind of test bed for political and philosophical theory (what if an anarchist society existed in ancient times or subjective idealism had practical implications for technology?). People may feel passionately about a real-world culture, or philosophy, and they reflect it into their conworld, when their nations, perhaps, come to resemble greatly those of Medieval Europe, or Arabia, or the Mayans. But others want to create something that is utterly new and completely unlike anything that has ever existed. To them, the real world is boring — and it's what's in your mind that's really unique and interesting!

Some people make their conworlds utopias. Their political beliefs are reflected in their conworlds; all of their citizens are happy, productive, prosperous members of what they think would be a perfect society. Along a similar vein, some people make their conlangs poetic and melodic, their conreligions noble and benevolent. But there are others who take on a more realist, even pessimistic view. These people have conworlds filled with slavery, poverty, lawlessness, and war; their conlangs are quirky, if not downright unpleasant; their conreligions initiate bloody conquests and massacres. And what kind of conworld itself constitutes a utopia is as varied as the religious and political beliefs of the utopians who create these conworlds: a world bordering on the modern and futuristic with beeping electronic technology and commerce and endless entertainment; a medieval world in whose Chain of Being everyone lives beneath a Good King figure; an anarchy; a realization of Christian ideals or Sharia; a peaceful, pastel-colored butterfly-inhabited island where there are no wars; a working model of Communism in which citizens greet their comrades; a theocracy below a God Emperor with tight gender roles into which everyone neatly and dutifully falls to please their ancestors.

Some people conworld for another, different purpose. They are perhaps hosting a role-playing game and need to construct a background with richness and detail; perhaps they are writing a novel and need some place to set it; or perhaps the conworlds exist for the very purpose of expositing their conception of a utopia. And then there are others to whom the conworld itself is the purpose. To them, the creation is the conworld; if they do eventually turn it into the setting of a novel, then the novel is merely an exposition of the great masterpiece behind it — the conworld.