I have found(rather late in the game, I might add) a on geography and its effects on the development of civilization. This is a good resource for someone building their conworld one step at a time like this thread describes, though it is a pretty incomplete wikibook. Hopefully I'll learn quite a bit from doing this, and be able to add something to the article in the future.
One thing the article stresses which I want to repeat here is that just any type of culture won't be found just anywhere. For instance, in the middle east you never got as much popularity with the bow and arrow as you did the . This is because they didn't have as much wood to be using for arrows; however, they had plenty of rocks.* Conversely, you aren't likely to find a slinging culture in the jungle, because you'd have to dig for your ammo and if you have trees all around you, you don't have room to spin the sling.
I'm figuring out the weather patterns right now. The geography will have a humongous effect on seasonal changes and the weather in general, so I'm on the hunt for some rules of thumb about it. I know mountain ranges often limit precipitation in the surrounding area, so deserts nearby are not uncommon. I know mountains usually find themselves near the edges of continents. Lakes and rivers = vegetation. That's about it. There's got to be more to it
What kind of weather would you expect to find across a very wide, very flat expanse of land? I'm thinking it would be windy, and probably stormy. You are likely to have large bodies of water in such a place, right? I am hoping to keep tree cover to a minimum, though I don't know of any reason why this would be.
I feel like it'd be too cliche to have bison roaming the plains, especially when I'm already cheating by using so much Plains Indian culture for the people who live there. I'll be researching other herd animals, so expect me to post something about it tonight or tomorrow. What do you guys think would be cool to have roaming some giant plains? I want to use ostriches, because their fast running would get them away from predators. Not too off the wall is it?
*a sling was every bit as deadly as a bow and arrow. Check out some history websites about the greek and roman armies using balearic slingers behind the archers because they had better range