Constructed World

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"There are no children called Colin and Susan from our world who fall into it to become the main characters."

A Constructed World is a completely fictional setting, rather than our world in The Future, another planet in our galaxy, or an Alternate History. The heroes of its stories are usually the locals, who neither have nor need a connection with our present-day Earth.

This world might be built from standard components, but there is deliberate World Building going on.

As one of the most common fantasy settings, some form of Functional Magic is typically present, but this isn't required: constructed worlds exist that have little or no magic. Most High Fantasy takes place in constructed worlds, as well as a great deal of Low Fantasy and Heroic Fantasy.

See also Paracosm. Compare A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away, which is used more in science fiction but usually has the same effect. Contrast Magical Land, where the focus is on visitors to the setting. Earth All Along is a subversion of this trope.

Examples of Constructed World include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books


  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth is the Trope Codifier of this trope. His own term for this type of setting was Secondary World. Hilarious in Hindsight, since Middle Earth, also known as Midgard, is, in fact, our earth - only set in the far-gone mythical past of gods and monsters - specifically as a far, far prequel to all Anglo-Saxon myths.
  • The setting of The Wood Beyond the World. William Morris is usually credited as the creator of the modern "invented world" fantasy (departing from the tradition of setting fantasy stories in Arthurian Briton, fairyland or Arabian Nights-esque Arabia). Tolkien read the novel as a child, and it was a major influence on his work.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld has no physical connection to our own. However its basic nature is based on several old theories about how our world works, such as it being flat, and being orbited by the sun, and being on the back of a giant turtle. Its cities, nations and sometimes individual people are often clear analogies to those from earth's past and present.
    • In the The Science of Discworld books, there is a connection between the Disc and Earth, but so far it's only been used for the wizards to visit our world, not for Earthers to visit theirs. Except once in the third book, and then it's by accident and they return Darwin to Roundworld ASAP.
  • Tarra in Arcia Chronicles.
  • Kertiana in Reflections of Eterna by the same author.
  • Terreille (the Realm of Light), Kaeleer (the Shadow Realm), and Hell (the Dark Realm) in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series. They seem to bear no relation to our world, and the human races may not be human as we understand it.
  • In Michael Moorcock's The Elric Saga, Melniboné and the surrounding New Kingdoms. Like Middle Earth, it's supposed to be Earth's long-forgotten past, but is so different it may as well be another world.
  • The continent of Westeros and the rest of the surrounding world from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
  • Greg Egan's Orthogonal series (starting with The Clockwork Rocket). Not only does it have no connection to our world, it doesn't even use the same laws of physics.
  • Brandon Sanderson's adult fantasy all takes place in the same verse called the Cosmere, Word of God has officially stated that Earth does not exist in the Cosmere.

Tabletop Games

  • Every Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting ever (except for Masque of the Red Death).
  • A lot of role-playing games. Listing them all here would break the article's back.
  • All of Magic the Gathering's planes are original; none of them are based on Earth, and it's generally considered canon that our universe is not part of the Magic multiverse.


  • The Bionicle universe had no connection whatsoever to ours, despite inter-dimensional travel being possible there. Multiple alternate universes and pocket dimensions exist, but none resembling ours. The creators have avoided having live-action adaptations of the series for fear that this segregation from the real world would be compromised in order to make way for a Human-Focused Adaptation.

Video Games

  • The Twin Worlds of The Longest Journey are somewhat of a gray area. On one hand, its starts off as your regular run-of-the-mill Cyberpunk dystopia. On the other hand, we soon learn, that what we perceived as "Earth" is actually a world called "Stark" and it has a twin world named Arcadia that does not follow the laws of science but instead is governed by chaotic magic. What's more, these two worlds are, in fact, Earth... or, at least, they were Earth twelve thousand years ago. Therefore, there is a connection called "Balance" between them which has its own eerie rules...
  • Strangereal, the original Ace Combat setting, is a completely independent world, despite being heavily based on modern-day Earth.
  • The Iron Grip series has Theia, a Planetary Romance Earth analogue with wildly anachronistic Punk Punk societies and nations, an ice age climate and a Purely Aesthetic Era feel.
  • The noir fantasy world of the Thief series (though it does have characters with Earth-like names, it's very clearly set in a setting completely removed from everyday reality).
  • The unnamed but obviously constructed world of the Drakan series.
  • Celenheim in Enclave.
  • Azeroth from the Warcraft series and World of Warcraft.
  • The Elder Scrolls is set in a very well-constructed world called Nirn, though the games are set primarily on a single continent called Tamriel.
  • Shining Force has its own fictional map.
  • RuneScape is set on the Medieval European Fantasy plane of Gielinor.
  • Arcanum: The eponymous Arcanum.
  • Diablo: Sanctuary.
  • Dragon Age: Thedas. Incidentally, even the name of the world is constructed: it was a shortcut for "The Dragon Age setting" used by the developers until they decided to Throw It In.
  • Dungeon Siege: Aranna.
  • Sacred: Ancaria.
  • Septerra Core: Septerra.
  • Siege of Avalon: Eurale.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule.
  • Super Mario Bros: The Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Star Fox: The Lylat System.
  • Almost all of the Final Fantasy series: Every game takes place in its own constructed world.
  • The Neverhood: Constructed out of clay.
  • Early western promotional materials for Sonic the Hedgehog. The games are now set on Earth.
  • Dark Souls: Lordran.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation