Subject: My approach
Posted on: 2020-02-05 15:28:43 UTC

I generally start with climate and sources of income. Climate informs fashion, so generally you can take a climate that corresponds to a real-world society's climate and use that as fashion inspiration (do they wear furs? How much clothing is considered acceptable? How do they think about hair?). Sources of income will give you some ideas about where towns are, some minor cultural stuff, and what people are going to start wars over. So if there's, say, a super magical grove with healing powers, maybe a sick king from the neighboring country decides to yoink it. Get a little bit of war, with results depending on your themes. How does the grove feel about a war being fought over it? That can have interesting results. Income will give you things like "ok it's by the river, we've got a fisherman population. The poorer population eats the fairly untasty water plants that grow in the river, since fish is a little more expensive. Rivers let you set up windmills, meaning the farmers who are spread out across the land have reason to come to this town to grind their wheat. Maybe they all come once a year, and everyone has a fun party! The fishing town might also have, I don't know- some fancy snails in the river that can be made into really pretty dye. That means people will want to make clothing there, so we've got another industry. The clothing makers will need cotton from the farmers, or maybe flax. Since it's high-end clothing, nobles and rich people have a reason to visit the town. How do they interact with the town? Do they come around festival time, or try to avoid such peasant fripperies?". That's one town/city, depending how many other industries you add to it, and how it interacts with its neighbors. Macro stuff is often more along the lines of "is this city valuable enough for people to want to raid it?". A wealthy kingdom will only do this for a really shiny prize, but the poorer barbarian sorts have lower standards. Feel free to crib shamelessly from real historical economies and wars- we've spent thousands of years thinking up ways to make money and reasons to fight each other, so there's plenty to draw on. Good luck, and hope some of this was helpful!

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