It's somewhat frequently asked if our fantasy worlds reach the modern era, but what would that actually look like?

That would be impossible for my setting. There's a god-tree, a source of magic in the world, that reacts violently when civilizations becomes too advanced-- usually because the hallmarks of those civilizations include extreme exploitation of the land and resources, and wreak havoc on the environment. It also usually comes about when these civilizations have done too much digging into the earth, and strike the god-tree's roots (they extend all over the planet). Well, the god tree doesn't like that. The tree would wreck it all in a massive temper tantrum and people would have to start over again, essentially. During this apocalypse, the only safe place is on the tree's island-- everything else is destroyed. So only the tiny portion of the population (about 200 people, if you're lucky) that makes it there actually survive to propagate anew.

This has happened more than a few times over the course of my story's history, but people don't actually know about that. Because everything is utterly buried. The land is drowned and reshaped, buildings and structures collapse into the magma revealed by shifting tectonic plates, new land forms and continental shapes come up, etc. By the time this storm ends, the world is unrecognizable. And there's no evidence that there was a civilization before it at all.

It would be like if the continent of North America were suddenly flipped over like a pancake, and when the hot surface cooled, all that was left was fertile, if barren, ground. So the people would have to survive on the god tree's island for a bit while they wait for the land to become usable again (and they usually stay there for generations and generations-- often a thousand years or so--until the story is eventually forgotten, and people decide to venture out onto the main continent.) Fortunately, the god-tree has the ability to repopulate the land with thick amounts of trees and flowers and other flora in just twenty years-- it's a rapid explosion of new forests, lush fields, etc. In the world's rebirth, it is incredibly beautiful. You get hundred-foot tall redwood trees in just five years. And animals have no compunction about leaving the god-tree's island and swimming/flying across the channel toward what looks like very promising land.

This is the image that comes to mind when I think of the God-Tree doing this. "Nope, it's fucked, let's flip it over and start again."

/r/worldbuilding Thread