Author Topic: Is anyone into worldbuilding?  (Read 2701 times)

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Offline JohnE

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 10:15:07 pm »
There was a colaborative world building project on the previous board. It was an alternate history fantasy. Started out strong, then sort of fizzled.

Offline Cataclysm

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2012, 10:21:27 pm »
We should restart it. I like collaborative efforts.
I'd be more sympathetic if people here didn't act like they knew what they were saying when they were saying something very much wrong.

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Offline Material Defender

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 01:26:25 am »
There was a colaborative world building project on the previous board. It was an alternate history fantasy. Started out strong, then sort of fizzled.

I'm used to this concept.
The material needs a defender more than the spiritual. If there is a higher power, it can defend itself from the material. Thus denotes 'higher power'.

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Offline RinellaWasHere

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2012, 04:27:43 pm »
Okay, fair warning. I have been working on this world for over three years. There are nine full notebooks of information sitting on my shelf. I'm trying to make it as fleshed-out as possible, and I'd love feedback. This is a breakdown of the three main nations. If you like it or want to know more, I'll do another post.


Hallem-

Hallem is an Earth-sized planet, consisting mostly of  water with only one known continent, which is also called Hallem. This continent is roughly the size of Asia and Europe.

Hallem is inhabited by three distinct sentient species: humans, orcs, and jabe. There are also giants, a human subspecies. Humans are the dominant group, and vastly outnumber the other species.

The continent is divided into five nations: Ahnsion, Domines, Meerna, Tonjam, and Baer. None of the nations are landlocked, and all three mainland nations share borders with each other. Because there is only one continent and thus less human migration during prehistory, there are fewer distinct ethnic groups than are present in the real world. It is still quite ethnically diverse, however, and cultural diversity is also quite high, with each nation having several distinct cultural groups.

A list of nations follows:

The Empire of Ahnsion-

Government: Absolute Monarchy
Currency: Chall
Capital: Imbalo
Language: Shime
Demonym: Ahnese

Situated in the western half of the continent, the Empire of Ahnsion is an absolute monarchy under the rule of the God-Emperor, currently Erion Barelor the Eighth. In ancient times, the land it now sits on was home to scores of warring human and orc tribes. The humans were united by the first God-Emperor, Matal Barelor, and crushed the orc tribes within a decade. In modern Ahnsion, orcs are enslaved throughout the Empire.

The humans of Ahnsion are mostly of the Jinay ethnic group, and appear closest to Han Chinese people of the real world.The Ahnese structural and cultural aesthetic is classic high-fantasy— large castles, walled cities, and expansive farms. The terrain resembles the United States of old— lots of plains to the east and heavy coastal forests in the west.

The military is divided into legions, which further break into regiments, which are composed of cadres. The signature units of the Ahnese army are heavily-armored infantry, skilled horse cavalry, and what are called "frontline mages"— mages wearing armor along with their robes who fight in the middle of the battle, as opposed to standard mages who must remain out of direct combat.

The Empire holds one foreign territory, the Sowlise Islands that lie to its southeast. The Islands are home to the giants, an intellectual, conservative people.


Domines:

Government: Meritocratic Feudal Oligarchy
Currency: Eshev
Capital: Ankome
Language: Annud
Demonym: Dominen

In the mountians of the north sits Domines. The country is ruled by the High Council of Ankome, which is comprised of the heads of the fourteen highest noble families. The state religion, the Will of the Shapers, holds that the rich are given their station by the gods themselves, and all others are subservient to them. Social castes and class define the culture of Domines on a deep level, especially due to the harsh environment. While the mountains themselves are rocky and useless for farming, the valleys between them are quite fertile. The various noble families own these valleys, and those who farm them pay them taxes in harvest goods and in money.

The landscape of Domines resembles Switzerland and other mountainous European countries. The valleys are dotted by numerous snow-fueled rivers, which in combination with the fertile soil help the valleys produce a significant amount of produce. The Dominen citizens are of the Rouhm ethnic group, appearing Northern European. Their cultural and structural style are a hybridization of ancient Rome and India, as are their names, such as Pysher, Dhylan, Markuth, and Anshe.

The military is made up of companies sworn to the lord of their home province, and is somewhat smaller than the forces of the other two mainland nations. It makes up for this by utilizing highly specialized units. The Transcended are the elite fighting force of the nation, made up of men trained from the age of six in combat and discipline. They do not speak, show emotion, or have any sense of self-worth and identity. They are motivated entirely by loyalty to Domines, and serve the Council directly. They are often seen as terrifying and inhuman by other soldiers, but their effectiveness cannot be denied.

The other signature trait of the Dominen military is their use of necromancy. Soldiers can opt to have a sigil tattooed onto their flesh prior to battle, and, if killed, can be raised again as skeletal Warbound. A Warbound retains their personality, identity, and memories, and is still considered worthy of the same respect and duty as a living soldier. Warbound tend to be killed again within a single battle, as a blackened, armored skeleton makes for an easy and appealing target. If killed a second time, they cannot be raised. There are, of course, Warbound who survive their next battle— Arkusten Caish, the third-highest ranking Dominen commander, was raised seventy-five years ago. Soldiers can only become Warbound if they are unmarried and have no living immediate family, as any bond other than loyalty to the nation and his comrades interferes with the magic used in the raising ritual.

Meerna-

Government: Absolute Monarchy
Currency: Dre
Capital: Binwhulok
Languages: Meeric and Nitau'b'e
Demonym: Meeric

The largest and most powerful nation on Hallem, Meerna sits in the east. Ruled over by two kings, it has the strongest economy and military on the planet. The vast majority of the populace is of the Gaphan religion, which worships a deity known as Gapha, the Great Balance. The faith holds that all things are in a state of ever-shifting balance, and that each action sends reverberations throughout the scales, tipping them one way or the other. Intellectualism and science are highly valued, as knowledge of the world leads to better understanding of its inner workings.

Meerna is based heavily on Africa and the Middle East. Savannahs and deserts dominate large parts of the country, while the east coastal region is made of rivers and sparse forests. Two ethnic groups call Meerna home. The Meeric people, who are the majority, appear roughly Central and Western African, while the minority Qhorr are Southern and Eastern African. The Qhorr people, who are considered equal in status to the Meeric group, follow their own faith, a meditative paganism which worships five elemental gods. They also have their own language, Nitau'b'e, which incorporates clicks in the style of real-world Xhosa and San.

Meerna's military is large and well-equipped, and feared throughout the world. Made up wholly of volunteers, it is the only mainland army to recruit women freely. Archery and magecraft are valued, as are skirmishers and hardy cavalry. Qhorr fire mages, who spend years meditating on the nature of the flames, are exceedingly prized. The Meeric military is mostly defined by its all-encompassing nature and sheer size- they do almost everything rather well, and there are a lot of them.

Their economy is also a force to be reckoned with. They have vast natural resources and industries, and export a huge amount of manufactured goods. Skilled merchants, their trade is a deciding diplomatic factor in the politics of the world, and the threat of an embargo and tariff has been enough to end many brewing wars.


That's the three main nations. There are two more, and a whole bunch of history and culture, that I can still discuss. Anyone interested? Also, my short story "Quiet", posted here and on DA, takes place in this universe.

Hallem, all associated terms, and all content related to it are Copyrighted 2011-2013 and property of David Rinella.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 04:31:34 pm by RinellaWasHere »
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Offline Material Defender

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2012, 02:53:30 am »
I'm one of those people that has a problem with accentuating the negative, so please excuse me if I seem dickish ahead. First of all, Five nations in my experience tend to be somewhat boring when you are watching things play out. I know in Medieval Europe you had only a few major players, but the deck of major players always got shuffled around, and Italy's and Germany's minor states were always doing their own thing. I'm actually really banging my head against the wall with my fantasy verse because outside of the Holy Empire, things seem rather static and boring.

I think also making all the governments Absolute Monarchies infers that they have absolute, centralized power onto the crown. That would imply an advanced government type where he does not have to delegate responsibilities to feudal lords, administrative governors, or local parliaments. Absolute tends to be a misnomer with monarchies, I'll admit. Why I tend to avoid calling things that. The other one is reasonable!

I will mention, that one last nation you mention feels a bit odd. Military dominance despite having volunteer force? A crushing level of economy but no explanation where it derives its great wealth? Just gives me a bad problem.

I'd say I do like the first two nations, beyond me being a derp nit picker.
The material needs a defender more than the spiritual. If there is a higher power, it can defend itself from the material. Thus denotes 'higher power'.

"Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worse. Not to hope is unthinkable. Not to care is unforgivable." -Nigerian Saying

Offline RinellaWasHere

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2012, 02:57:38 pm »
I'm posting on my iPhone, so this will be short and only in response to one thing-

I recognize the problems with Meerna- I'm having a devil of a time trying to make it distinct and rational. The feel I was going for is the old African kingdoms, before the continent was robbed of natural resources by other powers.

Also, I didn't know I was misusing the term absolute monarchy. I'll post more about their governments tonight and see if there's a better term.
Oh, you take the high road, and I'll take the low road...

My mother did not CHOOSE life. She planned for it.

Is that weird monkey-creature-looking-thing supposed to be a BLACK MAN?

It's Bi-Curious George, well known supporter of the gay agenda.

Offline Material Defender

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2012, 04:50:31 pm »
I can work with you on those things if you wish. I'd say for volunteer force, I'd suggest there was a reason. People who have a strong sense of personal discipline and citizen commitment to military, like Roman Ideal of citizen soldier might be a good example. Economy? Is it measured in trade income or Industrial output? Population, before industrialization, was the greatest determining factor of the latter. Trade income would imply they have control over the supply of important resource or resources. Maybe they are the only producers of silk or something like that?
The material needs a defender more than the spiritual. If there is a higher power, it can defend itself from the material. Thus denotes 'higher power'.

"Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worse. Not to hope is unthinkable. Not to care is unforgivable." -Nigerian Saying

Offline RinellaWasHere

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2012, 04:58:16 pm »
That might work pretty well. I'll need to check my notes and see if they have anything like that. As for the powerful volunteer army, my (admittedly weak) rationale was that they simply have a very large population. But I like the idea of a service ethic being part of the culture. It works with the idea of balance and tipping it- by serving, you get to tip the balance of wars. Hmmm.

As for your point about there only being five nations: The Watsonian reason is that Hallem is simply smaller than the real world, and humans aren't the only sentient species. They unified faster and with more lasting impact, and most of the nations are held together by shared faith or tradition or necessity. Ahnsion, for example, has the God-Emperor's role as head of nation and faith.

The Doylist reason is that I wanted to limit myself to a small number of nations from the outset. The idea of all the world's nations being in constant contact and sharing the same landmass interested me, as it would end up rather different than any historical situation on Earth. I also wanted to make sure I had a very small number of nations so that I could lavish attention on them and make sure each one worked. Meerna has had the least focus, though, and I'm afraid it shows.

Was there anything you particularly liked or want more detail on?
Oh, you take the high road, and I'll take the low road...

My mother did not CHOOSE life. She planned for it.

Is that weird monkey-creature-looking-thing supposed to be a BLACK MAN?

It's Bi-Curious George, well known supporter of the gay agenda.

Offline RinellaWasHere

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2012, 01:24:10 pm »
Sorry for the double post, but I wanted to talk about one of my non-human species.

***

The Jabe

The jabe are the least common sentient species on Hallem. Their tribes reside in Meerna and Ahnsion, and they have no central government of their own. The tribes refer to the jabe as a whole as "Enjabal", literally "Our People Together".

The jabe bear close resemblance to humans. Meeric jabe have dark skin and hair, resembling Australian aborigines, while Ahnese jabe, with red-brown skin and sharp features, look Native American. The two different ethnic groups once fought amongst themselves, but in the modern, human-dominated world they have settled their differences.

The primary difference between jabe and humans lies in magic. Jabe are the only species on Hallem with absolutely no magical abilities. They cannot cast spells or harness magecraft, and enchanted objects do not work in their hands. This inability to use magic has influenced their culture, and most tribes distrust magic and those who use it.

The jabe have a very honor-based and shame-based culture, with a collectivist vibe. Acting against the better interests of the tribe in pursuit of the self is considered among the worst of crimes, and jabe who leave the culture are excommunicated entirely. This leads to little permanent interaction with humans. Majority opinion is very powerful- if the majority of a tribe decides to do something, it's happening. Tribes have no leaders or councils- one jabe suggests a notion, and the tribe votes on it. It's not anarchy, however, as strict and intricate customs bind the culture together.

Humans often refer to jabe as "elves", a slur derived from the Old Meeric term "elvelenn-eid", meaning "Unskilled Ones". Jabe consider this term highly offensive, and using it around them seldom ends well.

***

So, yeah, those are my elves. No magic, no long lives, no flowing blond hair. Really, all that makes them elves is pointed ears.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 01:26:46 pm by RinellaWasHere »
Oh, you take the high road, and I'll take the low road...

My mother did not CHOOSE life. She planned for it.

Is that weird monkey-creature-looking-thing supposed to be a BLACK MAN?

It's Bi-Curious George, well known supporter of the gay agenda.

Offline Material Defender

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2012, 01:42:07 pm »
HRm, I used to have a species dynamic with the 'elves' and all. I had the Punexia and Hunac. One was elf, agile based while the other was more human like but with what you might consider Dwarf like traits. Though I abandoned that when I decided to introduce different dynamics to the species. I use a three era system where there's divisions among species results in God-Forced-Magic-based evolution eventually. Though your world reminds me lightly of another world I had, though since abandoned.

The Jabe do seem interesting, but I'd avoid the Elven indication. Just seems silly. Pointy ears an elf does not make.

Sorry about not replying to your last post, I wasn't sure what to ask.

Question, there's magic and all. But would there be at guns and cannons at all? I mean, it may be good introduction to a more low fantasy world as a game changer and helps disrupt the order that had been upheld so long, making for good stories.
The material needs a defender more than the spiritual. If there is a higher power, it can defend itself from the material. Thus denotes 'higher power'.

"Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worse. Not to hope is unthinkable. Not to care is unforgivable." -Nigerian Saying

Offline RinellaWasHere

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2012, 07:17:39 pm »
There aren't guns yet— I'm sure they'll be developed eventually, but right now ranged combat is the property of mages and archers.

And I'm not sure how "low fantasy" the setting really is. Magic is a big deal and rather common. The way it works is that there are two kinds of spellcasters, mages and wizards, as well as alchemists and enchanters.

Magic has a few general rules: It cannot create life, it cannot heal injuries, and it cannot show the future.

Almost anyone can be a wizard. Wizardly magic is based around rituals and incantations, harnessing the supernatural properties of various spell components and the inherent magic, or ley, of the caster. Wizards can't cast spells quickly, and to become a wizard requires a sharp mind and many years of study. It also tends to come with a short lifespan— when they cast a spell, at least some of the ley must come from within themselves. Inherent ley is not a renewable resource, and draining it too quickly has negative effects on the caster. The various components and aids used in the rituals offset this, but some tiny bit of ley is always lost. Despite the danger, wizardy offers a vast amount of power to the wielder, and many wizards consider the risk well worth the reward.

Magecraft deals with elemental magic of wind and fire. Mages must be born with the "gift", the ability to regenerate ley on their own, and tend to accidentally harness the element of their power while young. Mages cannot become wizards— their ley works differently, and cannot be channeled by the rituals. Mage spells are based on memorized mental incantations, and mages often carry spell books into battle. Much like wizards, successful mages must have a gift for memorization. Even the smallest spell, such as lighting a small fire in the palm, require a mental invocation about the length of a page. Unlike wizardy, mage spells can be combined or reworked for new effects, granting mages greater versatility. A good Mage is quick-thinking, intelligent, and an avid reader.

Alchemistry is the art of making potions and brews, which are often combined with spells called writs to enhance or alter the effects. Alchemists are a hybridization of chemists, biologists, healers, and botanists. The potions made tend to run on real-world medical logic— powerful numbing potions, which serve as painkillers, are highly addictive and dangerous, for example. While most alchemists are valued members of society, some use their skill to manufacture drugs and black-market goods.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 07:19:15 pm by RinellaWasHere »
Oh, you take the high road, and I'll take the low road...

My mother did not CHOOSE life. She planned for it.

Is that weird monkey-creature-looking-thing supposed to be a BLACK MAN?

It's Bi-Curious George, well known supporter of the gay agenda.

Offline Yla

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2012, 07:26:32 am »
*squee* I like worldbuilding.

@Cataclysm: We gave the Shifting World project back then a wiki!. I wouldn't mind restarting it either. Read through the wiki's forum to get an idea of the status, it's more informative of what we were thinking than the actual wiki pages, and where we ended up stuck (the Djinn issue, mostly).
That said, I've stopped trying to anticipate what people around here want a while ago, I've found it makes things smoother.
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Offline Sandafluffoid

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Re: Is anyone into worldbuilding?
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2012, 07:49:37 pm »
I do a lot of world-building, but like most people the vast majority of it stays in my head. The languages in particular are prone to escaping onto paper because conlanging. Generally my problem is creating worlds on too large a scale and not getting enough detail to keep me interested in the cultures. At the minute though I am working in extreme detail on a single city state. I've got a bit of the world around it to build up setting, but by focusing so closely on a population of about 800,00 ~1,000,000 I've got to put a lot more detail in than I normally do and I am finding it a lot of fun. I'm in the process of completing the street map of the city (I have the layout, I just need to do all the labelling), and sort out my demographic database so I can sort by criteria other than just 'district'. I have also stayed away from the languages of this world whilst I work on my other conlang, and I seem to be balancing those well.
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