Worlds may have new, unusual, or fantastic materials in them which do not occur in our normal world. These materials may be of any kind and have any type of property. Perhaps your world is home to large crystalline growths that vibrate in the sun to produce music, or perhaps explosive gases seep from the ground on foggy nights, ensuring no one dares light a candle. Maybe a novel plant produces hallucinogenic pollen that allows those that breath it deeply to communicate with ghosts. Or maybe there exists a metal so strong it can never be broken. Consider what types of materials exist in your world, what their properties are, and how the presence of these materials impacts the broader world you have created.
Types of Materials
Materials may come in various forms. If you are adding a new material to your world, consider what this material looks and feels like. Does it have a smell, a flavor, a color?
Example Material Types
- Animal Product
- Plant Product
Unusual novel materials may be inert, or they may have strange and wonderful properties.
- Drug Effects
- Extreme Durability
- Magical Powers
- Energy Production
- Mutagenic Effects
- Health Benefits
- Explosive Reactions
The properties of this novel material will play a major role in determining its uses. Consider how the inhabitants of your world use this material and how it impacts their day-to-day lives. If warfare is a common element in your world, consider how this material may be coopted for that purpose. Consider how other elements (transportation, medicine, religions, etc) may be changed by the presence of this material and its functions.
Materials may find different uses in different eras
Is this material rare, or does it exist everywhere throughout the world? This will impact the lengths people may be willing to go to possess such a material. If it is a rare resource with strategic value, consider the political ramifications of this. There may be wars, trade, or high stakes diplomacy involved.
Some materials are prized simply because they are rare and often become status symbols or displays of wealth.
Obtainment, Synthesis, and Refinement
How is this material gathered or created? If it needs refinement, how does that occur? Does refinement change the properties of this material – for example are they magnified, or does it make it safer to handle? Was this material developed in a laboratory?
New materials will likely have an impact on a world’s economy. Consider the cost of this material, the trade routes required to move it from location to location, and the organizations or companies that exist because of or depend on this new material.
Legal and Moral Issues
Materials may raise legal or moral issues. Consider how the broader world views this material or how this material is often used.
In narrative worlds this can be a source of conflict