Fantasy stories take us to wondrous places, whisking us off to the impossible, the breathtaking, occasionally the terrifying. Crystalline forests, volcanic islands, floating continents, cities of twisting spires and perilous bridges; the list is nigh endless.
It seems, however, that the majority of the time, world-shaking events are taking place while all this scenery is passing us by. What if, and hear me out, you were instead shopping for real estate?
Where would you want to buy a house, build a tower, or excavate your lair?
Some worlds are inherently more dangerous than others. Many seem to be based off a rather generic framework, but others have rules and quirks that render them entirely alien. Would you want to live in a world like our own but with half the gravity? What about one where all animals, even insects, can speak? Do you prefer your worlds rife with exotic wildlife, sometimes even possessing magic of its own, or someplace “magical” in the more mundane parlance? What about your neighbors? Are you a humanist? Mythophobic? Would you mind shopping at a goblin grocery store and playing tennis with the local elves?
The options are endless, but I’ll lay out a few ground rules and give a few suggestions.
- You live here instead of Earth. You can have family and friends along, but are otherwise cut off from our current world.
- You are subject the laws of magic and physics that any other human would be. If there are no humans native to a particular setting, make your best guess. No special treatment.
- Areas that are prone to strife and disaster still will be. But if that’s not the common state of a given world, you can move in during a lull.
- You can choose any area or subregion within the world, so long as you can make a case for it being habitable. Bear in mind, you might not want to be hunting/growing your own food and handmaking your clothes for the rest of your life, so picking a civilized area is advisable.
- If wizards exist in the world, you can be one. That includes all rights, responsibilities, and drawbacks inherent to the setting.
With all that out of the way, here are a few ideas to get you thinking. You’re encouraged to come up with your own, moreso than with most musings:
- Middle Earth – This has to be an option on any list of fantasy worlds. Epic. Timeless. Diverse in climate. Just be warned, magic is fading. The elves are departing the world. The last ents are dying. Still, if you enjoy grand architecture and monarchy, this is right up your alley.
- Discworld – For the flat-Earthers among you, I present an actual flat planet riding atop the backs of elephants that stand atop a space turtle. You can live the urban life in Anhk Morpork, where you can attend Unseen University to get your grounding in the local magic system. Or you could live among the vampires and werewolves of Überwald. Or the terrifying fauna of Fourecks. Or the… wait, there’s a pattern here. Stick to the city. At least you can pay off the Thieves’ and Assassins’ Guilds.
- Wonderland – The rules are squishy, and reality can vary depending on your last meal. A sane person might rule the place if they wanted to. Good luck staying one.
- Veydrus – Had to stick in a pitch for my own Twinborn Chronicles world. Magic isn’t common there, but it’s far from unheard of. You can live among humans or goblins or immortals. Just stay out of politics and maybe you’ll be fine. Maybe.
- Narnia – If you want the talking animals, magic lightly sprinkled throughout, try this classic children’s fare. Be warned. Like most fairy tales, there are dark tidings lurking behind the cutesy exteriors. Bonus: they loot to humans for rulership.
I’m intentionally cutting this list off here so I don’t wind up on an endless tangents. Plus, I want to hear some of the alternatives YOU come up with!
Join the discussion about Wizarding Real Estate on Facebook or respond in the comments.
I would want to live in London Below from Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere.” I’d want to live in a close knit group with my friends and family, scavenging, crafting, and trading. Probably as part of the Lady Door’s domain, or maybe n the Baron.
I would like to learn to use (and maybe make?) some of the little magical gimmicks common in that setting, but I’d have no wish to be one of the big legendary heroes. I’d be much happier as support and supply.
What especially attracts me to that world, besides its wonders, is how close-knit their communities are, the way a lot of the economy is based on favors, and the way people can just be who they are, everyone playing to their own strengths and cooperating.