Follow TV Tropes


Patchwork World

Go To
The Beyonder puts the battleworld together like it was a LEGO toy.

A Patchwork World is a setting that is a composite of several different worlds, from cities to whole lands, usually brought together by some incredible power, like a Physical God or Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. May feature a Patchwork Map if the "sections" are placed together haphazardly. If some of the segments are inhabited, this usually leads to chaotic situations, especially if the cultures in the pieces are very different. Can be played for comedy or straight.

Compare World of Weirdness, which could also be the justification for such a setting. May also justify the Fantasy Kitchen Sink, Anachronism Stew and so on.

Not to be confused with Patchwork Map, although such a map is a likely outcome of a Patchwork World. It also doesn't necessarily involve actual patchwork. See Time Crash for when places from different eras are merged together.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure: Machinedramon's city is made up of parts of many major cities on Earth. In general, the Dark Masters arc turns the entire Digital World into a patchwork world of itself, with the world literally twisted and separated into four zones twining up the sides of the aptly-named Spiral Mountain. Places that were once continents apart are now within walking distance of each other — and their strong environmental themes mean that the transition from ocean to deep forest to urban sprawl to barren wasteland is practically instantaneous.
  • Super Dimension Century Orguss takes place on a Patchwork World created from various alternate Earths after the explosion of a time-warping bomb.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Alara block follows five separate worlds ("shards" of one that was sundered in the distant past) as they reintegrate, causing considerable chaos.
    • Dominaria gains shades of this after the Rathi overlay, during which large tracts of Rath are simply dropped in the middle of Dominaria's landscapes.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics used to have a series titled Green Lantern: Mosaic, where a realm composed of pieces from various planets (again including an Earth town) was created by an insane Guardian of the Universe. Strangely, the other Guardians decided to keep it as it was (against the wishes of most of its inhabitants) as an experiment in interspecies coexistence.
  • Grimjack is set in Cynosure, the city at the center of The Multiverse. It's made of pieces of different dimensions, so one can pass from one reality to another by crossing the street. The laws of physics are known to be different in different parts of the city. Magic works in some parts of the city. Technology dominates in others.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The Battleworld from the first Crisis Crossover, Secret Wars (1984), created by the omnipotent Beyonder from pieces of different worlds (including a town from Earth) to serve as the Arena for his superheroes vs villains battle.
    • The Battleworld of Secret Wars (2015) is a patchwork world created from the surviving Earths of Marvel's multiverse.

    Film — Animated 
  • Transformers: The Movie: In the original art and storyboards, the Junkions' homeworld was intended to be something like this. A spherical planet with several rounded slabs seeming to rise off of its surface. In the end, only the "northernmost" rounded section of the planetoid was retained on film.

  • K. A. Applegate seems to like this trope.
    • Animorphs: In the prequel The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor, Loren and the future Visser Three all try to use the Time Matrix at once, instructing it to transport them back to their respective home worlds. This results in it creating a small universe that's a patchwork of Earth, the Andalite home world (basically Earthlike) and the Yeerk home world (which is less pleasant).
    • In Everworld, the various mythological gods keep their domains in a seemingly random pattern, so that it's about a two-day sail from Viking country to an Aztec city, from which it's a short hike to Arthurian Britain. At one point the characters actually notice the environment transition between the Greek gods' Mediterranean climate and that of sub-Saharan Africa within a few feet. (While traveling to the Egyptian area, which should logically be between them.) This annoys Jalil.
    • In Remnants, most of the action takes place in a spaceship that can generate any kind of environment within itself, so this tends to happen. For a few books, the characters make their way through a patchwork of worlds straight out of famous human artworks (for example, they wake up in a terrain that looks like an impressionist painting on one side and a black-and-white photograph on the other).
  • Gor is populated by people who were taken from Earth at different times in history — Romans, Norse, Native Americans, Africans, Roma, etc.
  • The Old Kingdom's setting was assembled from several worlds by the Nine Bright Shiners. This is implied in the main trilogy, with the season and time of day changing as characters cross the Wall from Ancelstierre to the Old Kingdom, but made explicit in Goldenhand, when the heroes travel north to a world long-since destroyed by Orannis: the air and the Background Magic Field vanish in the space of a step.
  • Riverworld takes place on a planet with a bewildering array of cultures from Earth's history resurrected on the banks of a world-spanning river.
  • In A Time Odyssey, by Stephen Baxter, planets in pocket universe have mismatch of terrains brought from different times in the history as a museum.
  • Well World is set on a planet constructed by the Precursors as a testbed for the species they designed and spread through the universe. It's divided into thousands of sections that mimic the conditions of each target planet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Fantastic Journey: An island in the Bermuda Triangle has a series of timezones, each with trapped groups of people from the past, present and future.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Ravenloft is set in a demiplane made from pieces of different continuities of the Prime Material plane; when someone does something particularly heinous on a mortal world, the Dark Powers of the Demiplane of Dread abduct them alongside whatever land they rule or are associated with and add it as a new domain in their realm.
  • GURPS Fantasy is set in the world of Yrth, which had a variety of cultures from other worlds brought to it by magical Banestorms, including several European and Arabic nations from Earth.
  • RIFTS takes place on a future Earth where dimensional warps (the rifts of the title) have not only brought creatures and civilizations from other dimensions to Earth, but also chunks of land and pieces of other dimensions as well.
  • The Splinter: The Realm, to an insane degree. Adjacent areas can have wildly different environments and technology levels. They may not even appear to be from the same time period.

    Video Games 
  • Destiny has Fundament, a gas giant with floating continents made from the many, many different planets that were destroyed by its tidal forces. It's also the original homeworld of the Hive.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has this as a byproduct of the war of the gods Chaos and Cosmos.
  • In Durango: Wild Lands, the landscape is constantly shifting due to unstable time warps. Resources and extinct animals appear and disappear at random, and many of the islands themselves are unstable and can disappear at any time.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, one of the more popular Creation Myths states that this is the case for Nirn, the planet on which the series is set. Anu and Padomay are the anthropomorphized primordial forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. Their interplay in the great "Void" led to Nir, "creation". Nir loved Anu, which Padomay hated. Padomay killed Nir and the 12 worlds she gave birth to. Anu wounded Padomay, driving him off and presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the 12 worlds to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". One of these 12 worlds was believed to have been Lyg, ruled by the Dreugh in the name of Molag Bal. Another was the original world of the Hist, sentient and possibly Omniscient trees now worshiped by the Argonians in Black Marsh.
  • In Final Fantasy V, the two worlds are eventually melded into one.
  • Gundam Vs Series: Gundam vs. Gundam, in order to emphasize the Crisis Crossover nature of the game, used a lesser version of this. Each series' respective stage consists of a primary location from the show with elements of other locations thrown in, and "ghost images" from the opening and ending themes visible in the sky. The best example is Mobile Fighter G Gundam's stage, which consists of several world landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and the Diet Building all on a Floating Island surrounded by ringposts.
  • The Labyrinth of Time is set in a giant maze that spans across time and space, often resulting in one location randomly connected to another, and its center being isolated to a tiny floating island in a void of clouds. Daedalus, its creator, wants you to destroy this Labyrinth before he unwillingly finishes it, otherwise King Minos will use it to invade and conquer Earth in every time and location.
  • Legend of Mana: Invoked, as the player is the one putting down the assorted locations. Every area has its own biome (and affects the mana levels of the surrounding areas), which means that yes, you can put that desert right next to that tundra.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule is turned into one of these in Hyrule Warriors, with locations from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword all being haphazardly placed on top of it by Cia. Legends takes it even further when another force starts replacing parts of the ground with the Great Sea.
  • Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 has Chronopolis, a world created by Kang the Conqueror made from all the different places he's conquered. Doubles as a Time Crash.
  • In Ratchet & Clank (2002), Chairman Drek's villainout plot involves taking chunks of other planets to built a new home for the Blarg...and then run it into the ground, forcing them to move to the next planet to build, and so on.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: In The Subspace Emissary, the Great Maze is made up of areas from the "normal" world that have been absorbed by Subspace Bombs.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World takes place in one of these, as a result of the events of the first game.

    Western Animation 
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: In "The Eye of the Beholder", the planet Lactra VII has a series of different environments right next to each other, such as a desert next to a forest, each with appropriate animal and plant life. The Enterprise crew eventually discovers that it was deliberately created as part of an open-air zoo.