A frequent question in gaming (and writing) circles is "where do you get inspiration?" For me the answer is always the same: first and foremost, real life. Our world and the people within it are amazing. Their myths, stories, and even building techniques are things I would likely not think of if I just based everything off just my perspective or even just the perspectives of those people around me. Its one of the reasons I take so many notes when I travel.
My observations in life generally, whether it be from research or travel, certainly impact my game world. I figured I'd share a couple just for kicks.
In Myanmar, there are six kinds of religious monuments: stupa, temple, library, monastery, ordination hall, and cave. Those in Cambodia are designed as mini universes for the gods, housing dormitories and libraries, telling stories along their walls. Meanwhile, in Upper Egypt we get semi-open temples with grand hypostyle halls. There walls also tells stories.
The Fandir faith combines the temples of Myanmar and Cambodia. There are three kinds of fandirian religious buildings: shrines, temples, and cloisters. The nature of the temple varies by the specific faith. Similarly, those in Merek take after the temples of ancient Egypt, but also meshes pyramids from Maya.
In Cambodia, traditional houses are on stilts due to flooding and dangerous animals, like snakes. Stuff also gets stored under there.
Most homes in Elasona, particularly in the Redre Jungle and Hurin Marsh, are built in this fashion.
Traditional clothing throughout east and south east Asia.
The mixture of Japan & Vietnam became the attire of Ravishan, and by extension many other nations. Myanmar's traditional clothing formed the basis for Merek. Shades of others provide some variation throughout.
Botataung Pagoda in Myanmar was built to house 8 hairs from Buddha.
Within a chamber of the Pyre Court a single strand of flexible gold hangs from the ceiling, weighted by a ruby that seemingly grows from its end. Many believe the ruby to be one of those used to trap Vanan’s essence, and the strand to be his hair. How it can be freed and how it fits into the story of his resurrection is speculated on by priest and pilgrim alike.
The above provides a mostly mundane snapshot of the setting through clothes, temples, and homes that paint a very different picture of a world than the one we may be used to, yet it stems entirely from the influences of our world. The more fantastic element, well that's just gravy that feeds the story.