Myths & Legends

As cultures develop and change, they inevitably create myths and legends along the way (whether these are old style myths, like a creation story, or something more along the line of modern urban legends, like Slenderman). Brainstorming these myths adds a depth to the culture you’re designing, and no matter the stage of your culture’s development, there are bound to be myths and stories associated with it. So basically, you are brainstorming stories within your story.

I’ll be covering two kinds of myths in this article - old style myths (the kind that cultures create in their early development to explain things they don’t understand), and urban legends (basically, modern folklore, or perpetuated memes in pop culture). Both kinds of myth are important, and they can say a lot about your society, especially when you give the myths meaning.

First of all, let’s cover old style myths. These are myths created early on in a culture’s development, usually to explain things they don’t understand or have answers for (like death, the weather, seasons, creation, etc.). That’s the basic idea, but here are some types of old style myth you may want to brainstorm:

And here are some things to think about when creating an old style myth:

And now for urban legends/modern folklore, which is a bit different. These myths may not necessarily explain things, but they still say something about a culture and what it values. Modern folklore can also include memes (if you’re talking about a society similar to today’s society), or little stories/pictures that have become popular for no real reason, but everybody knows. Here are some things to think about when brainstorming modern folklore/urban legends:

Making myths, memes, and legends can be a lot of fun. I know I’ve had fun with them in the past. Hopefully these are some starting points you can use. Good luck!