A Whole New World

Culhwch

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Following on from the Creating a fantasy land thread....

dwndrgn said:
I think this is a fantastic idea, and quite a few published authors I've read could benefit from this to avoid problems in the flow of the story. Let's do some practice. Obviously we can't actually build a map here online, but we can create a mental picture.

Here's what we need:
1. A world: someone needs to come up with a basic world-building premise with information such as; pre- or post-industrial, mythology based, something to work from.
2. Once we have the basic premise, we all will create a short description of a town/city in that world - giving important information like religion (each town can be as different from the others as we want, as long as we all follow the basic premise), areas (poor, rich, religious, mercantile, etc.), types of people and such.
3. Give physical descriptions - based at the bottom of a mountain range, on a river, in the midst of a barren plain...

Ok kids, you have your assignment - run with it!

The world is pre-industrial. There are three main continents on this world. The northern continent, Elthorn, is the largest, but large swathes of land are permenantly covered in snow and ice. A land bridge - now a string of rocky islands - once joined the northern continent to the western continent, Terras, a wide, largely temperate land. The southern continent, Caaruvan, is the smallest and is somewhat removed from the others. It is tropical in climate, and is surrounded by numerous islands of varying sizes.

Okay. The floor is open. Cities, towns, villages, races, nations, places, temples, religions. One facet per post, and keep the world's continuity in mind. Get creative.
 

Azathoth

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Caaruvan is a land divided by two races - the dark-skinned Ntchan - a ferocious yet deeply spiritual group of humans - and the cannibalistic Silithuan, a race of amphibians.

The Ntchan control the inner region of Caaruvan, and their capitol city is Azkant, which is located high in the mountains.

The Silithuan control the coastal regions of Caaruvan, and they have no cities, per se, but rather live in a loose confederation of tribes.

Religion Overview:

The Ntchan are henotheistic, dedicating themselves solely to Kha'Ntchan (Father Ntchan). Kha'Ntchan, according to Ntchan religion, is a warrior, who strikes down the enemies of the Ntchan with plague. There is also much in the way of ancestor worship, although this is generally discouraged by the priesthood.

The Silithuan are pagans. They worship a number of demon-deities, the chief of whom are Gaanra (the god of cannibalism), Iitoo (god of war), and Nagaa (god of the oceans).

Living sacrifice plays an important role in both religions.

Government Overview:

The Ntchan are theocratic. They believe that the High Priest is the avatar of Kha'Ntchan, and so he is also their king. Edit: Also, the Ntchan are egalitarian. There are as many priestesses as there are priests, and there are as many female warriors as there are males.

The Silithuan follow a democratic tradition. Each male warrior has a vote in his tribe. In times of great emergency, each tribe will vote on one chieftain to lead them all. When the emergency is over, the chieftain is eaten, to ensure that he doesn't try to maintain control.

And that's all I have right now. :p
 
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Culhwch

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Falgard, also known as the City of Frost, is one of four great cities on the northern continent of Elthorn. Home to some fifty thousand folk, Falgard sits on a high saddle of land between the two peaks called the Widows, and overlooks the meandering Icewater that flows down from the snowy heights, across the plains of Thurinthal, and into the Bay of Seals.

Falgard was founded some four hundred years ago by descendants of the Ice Clans – the native Thurin. For years the Thurin had been suffering raids by the savage tribes of the westlands. Falgard was built as a watchtower to warn of raiders. It developed into a borderfort, and as the raids from the west grew more and more infrequent, a bustling town sprung up around its walls. As the Thurin began to forsake their traditional nomadic lifestyle, it continued to expand. A second, outer wall was built of the pale, milky-white stone of the mountains. The original fort was rebuilt into the Hall of the Heavens, where the rulers of Falgard, a hereditary Council of Elders, preside over their city.

It has only been in the last hundred years that Falgard has truly flourished. Ever a sea-going people, the Thurin established trade ties with the folk of the northern shores of Terras, trading local products such as furs, whale-oil and whale-bone, fish, and even ice. The leading merchants wield a great deal of influence in Falgard, so much so that the Merchant’s Guild is almost as powerful as the Council of Elders.

The Thurin are a folk small in stature and fair, with predominantly pale skin, blue-grey eyes, and white-blond hair. Almost to a man they follow the Old Way, a faith devoted to the worship of the nameless Ice Gods who are represented by the animals of the north – the snow bear, the eagle, the blue whale, the sea wolf, the seal, the snow fox, and so on. There are no temples as such in Falgard, but rather each family maintains a shrine to the God sacred to their ancestral clan.
 

cornelius

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Deep in the forest of Malanor, almoust in the very center of Elthorn, lies a stronghold which no one dares to enter; Algrins Keep. Rumours speek of a giant living there, warlords speak of thousands of savages. Many armies dissapeared into the forest, in pursuit of the treasures which are concealed in the keep. The treasures once belonged to the Banarai, a race of enormous men that roamed the world centuries before the construction of Falgard. The Banarai had all power, and they felt as if they were true gods. A mysterious Plague claimed them all but three. Algrin is said to be the last of the Banarai. He is the last to know the secrets of the clans power, the secret of their forgery, the origin of their bloodlust.
 

HieroGlyph

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The Banarai are said to have only feared the Sea's - legend has it that the 'plague' they could not surmount had something to do with the Silithuan from the far tropics. The only problem with the amphibian-like Silithuan is they become severely sluggish and lax in the colder climes of the Northern Continents... So, over the fear of some 'unknown' to the Banarai, they sought the destruction of the Silithuan creatures (they were not given the status of a 'peoples'). There were wars between these races: the Banarai and Silithuan, that went on for a long time... The Banarai employed the native (practical) Thurinians to do their sailing for them, taking them around the many Islands around the SOuthern continent Caaruvan, seeking the evasive Silithuans. The Thurinians gaining power and material wealth from the (magically inclined) Banarai. And the Thurinians also gained military incentives of their own -- coming to the height of their powers this present day...

"There is some prophecy here, somehwere... Wait, let me dig out that parchment I found in the cellars last century..."
 

Azathoth

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Well, at least this got my mind off the horrible storms...

The Pilgrimage

The Saga of Egil Stormcleaver is known as the Thurin’s central epic. The Saga tells the tale of a fierce thane – Egil Stormcleaver – who united the Ice Clans against the Kjari, a now-extinct race of cruel, snow-colored elves.

The Saga reaches its climax when Egil does battle with the Kjari warlord, Svol, and strikes him a deathblow. The Kjari retreat, but not before some lowly Kjari soldier pierces Egil with a poisoned spear. Egil, dishonored by the blow, leaves his fellow warriors and wanders around in the cold tundra, seeking death. After several days of wandering, Egil finally collapses, and is about to relinquish his body warmth to the Ice Gods when suddenly a tundra wolf comes upon him. Egil gathers up his strength to kill it, when suddenly it speaks. It tells him that his time is not yet over, and that he still has a war to fight. And then it teaches him the secrets of shape-changing.

When Egil leaves the tundra, he discovers that the Kjari have rallied, and are preparing for one last fight. Egil rushes to the Ice Clans, who are immediately galvanized by his return. When the day of the battle comes, Egil takes on the form of a giant wolf, and charges straight into the Kjari horde. The Kjari are defeated, and then hunted down to be slaughtered.

[FONT=&quot]And so, in honor of Egil’s self-imposed exile in the tundra, young thanes, before being given command of a war-band, must make a pilgrimage to the northern tundra. Those who encounter their Clan’s particular spirit animal are considered especially blessed.
[/FONT]
 

HieroGlyph

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Aye, Terras (the name the Thurinians call this western continent) has yet to be properly 'peopled' and shaped...
I'll leave that for others, atm ;)

(Though Im eagre for the creativity...)
 

HieroGlyph

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Thurin people - Eltorn/Elthorn continent. Av. 5'5''; pale/white skin; blue/grey eyes; white/platinum/blonde hair? Practical and industrious; rare magical talents (become outcasts?) 'Elgin' and 'shape-changers' the exception...
Banarai - Elthorn; giants of old; pure mages (too large and cumbersome for physical prowess...) one, two, maybe three left on the planet (wiped out by some 'plague' introduced by Silithuan... Look like theyre made of mottled marble - smooth hairless skin (rippling with magic...) Large black eyes that absorbe more than light...
[planet name?]
Ntchan/(Nyshaan) - Caaruvan (central; dislike coast and sea) love of: jungle, heat, sweat, sun, heavy rains, slow stagnant rivers, clay and mud; immune to pestilence; many religions and infights, theocratic...
Silithuan - Caaruvan coasts and its many surrounding islands... fearsome and misunderstood for the most part - greatly feared by the Banarai, who just couldnt understand them... (some are captured by the Ntchan as 'Crooners', since they have a strange but soothing voice and tongue - and these Silithuan, when alone can be quite compliant and make easy slaves) - there is some connection with disease and plague though - beware... Known as cannibals...
 

Rosemary

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HieroGlyph said:
Aye, Terras (the name the Thurinians call this western continent) has yet to be properly 'peopled' and shaped...
I'll leave that for others, atm ;)

(Though Im eagre for the creativity...)
If you already have something in mind HG...go right ahead :)
 

HieroGlyph

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Heh
I wondered what had happened here! I was waiting for others to let their imagination loose. Then Id do what I could with my imagination and like to step in with tieing it together somehow, inventing links and reasoning... And hence prompting for a story to travel down, without actual prophecy deciding the story. Mention of prophecy was a prompt in itself, but not Prophetic ;)

[Ok, dont forget to reread DawnDragans 'Three Steps' at the beginning of this thread. Ive hardly followed those rules :( but Ill ponder rules 4 onwards, ammendments and whatnot for future reference!]
 
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cornelius

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the Banarai believe in the existance of another realm, Netherhymn, which is kind of a Walhalla, therefore only for great warriors. There is said to be an Isle , up in the north, where the sun only shines on day a year. Reaching this island means finding the threshold to the Netherhymn. A demi-God guards the gates, Namaling. he or she claimed the four sons of the east and the four daughters of the west(in the times when the Banarai ruled all land) they had to conceive a group of servants in order to keep The Namaling from claiming all the children of the Banarai folk. Many others have sought this Isle, none have returned. the survival of the Banarai could be in the hands of the Namaling, that is if the legends are true, and the servants still live.
 

HieroGlyph

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So the demi-god 'Namaling' dwells on the thresh-hold of 'this world' and a place called 'Netherhymn'... Could this actually be a 'portal' between worlds? Did the Banarai of ancient times know of these 'portals'? Or is this an ethereal realm? Or is it for me to say (since Im doing the prompting...)???

Ok, 'this world' is now to be called Culh.
Thats the planet you all come to, should you post upon this thread. Culhwch can step in any time (rl permitting) to shake things up. Heh. Well, Ive left a few footprints here that might need sweeping over...
 

Culhwch

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HieroGlyph said:
Ok, 'this world' is now to be called Culh.
Thats the planet you all come to, should you post upon this thread. Culhwch can step in any time (rl permitting) to shake things up. Heh. Well, Ive left a few footprints here that might need sweeping over...

Wow. Never had a world named for me before. Much chuffed. Haven't had much to contribute of late, but will get back into it soon, I promise....
 

polymorphikos

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Ktyarak is a floating city, constructed of several thousand small balsa-wood, wicker and canvas structures, joined together by catwalks and rope bridges and suspended beneath large gas-balloons.

The balloons are kept filled with hydrogen by the natural emmissions of the scutroet toads, which are specially-bred animals believed to be descended from the lesser griograk, found today in the northern wastes of Elthorn, which is possessed of the ability to seperate liquid into hydrogen and oxygen using biolectricity, as a method of generating heat, melting ice-tunnels, and providing breathable air in the poorly-ventilated ice-warrens. The scutroet toads are kept motionless in wicker baskets in the bases of the balloons, and are fed by the owner of the balloon.

The penalty for not properly maintaining a balloon's bouyency (i.e. insufficency or an overabundance of lift) ranges from a reprimand or fine to flogging to a severance of ties with the ballloon, resulting in its becoming seperate from Ktyarak and either falling to earth of drifting away.

Due to the mercurial nature of Ktyarak's structure, there is no institutional authority, as there is nothing to stop a ballooner from simply departing, possibly even following on the air currents and rejoining at a later state once any issues have blown-over. There is a small militia (the Aeronauts) to maintain a semblance of order, however, and to ensure the main priorities of fire-avoidance (open flames are prohibited in the city, restricted all cookery to specially-designed oil stoves, and all smoking to hookahs) and balloon-maintenance.

There are no prerequisites for citizenship in Ktyarak, although known bad-apples will often be prevented from joining and balloonless hopefuls are dissuaded. Since weight requirements are often an issue, new balloons will often have to be inflated - a lengthy and often fraught process that consists of bleeding-off gas from other balloons until an equilibrium has been established, then allowing the toads to refill the balloons to capacity. As a result, immigrants are often required to pay a tithe to the Aeronauts, whose responsibility it is to oversee the inflation process. Immigrants may also simply join by arriving in a balloon and tethering to the outskirts of Ktyarak (the most dangerous area of the city), but scutroet toads are extremely difficult to locate in some regions and so this is not always a valid option. This means that immigration and emigration are both minimal, but steady, with the city slowing a small rate of growth.

Ktyarak lacks a state religion, although Huridiphis liberals are in the slight majority (12%). Huridiphians, the founding stock of the city, are members of a pantheist sect that believe a higher power will manifest itself at the end of the world, revealing the various ways in which all current forms of science and religion, and general ideas about reality interlock to create the one perfect being, that is both a part of the universe and an observer. At this point all surviving beings will be admitted into Horeth, the kingdom of heaven (and a metaphorical womb for the ultimate deity), and granted eternal life. There is no life after death, only the promise of immortality for those who have survived to the end of time. Huridiphians do not attach any moral aspects to this deity as an implicit aspect of their doctrine, but numerous sects have suggested that the ultimate deity will in fact only be “unlocked” by the correct flow of actions of earthly events and beings, and as a result have constructed moral codes separate from the (ironically more liberal, if somewhat anarchistic) Huridiphian fundamentalism. Huridiphian liberals hold to a number of beliefs about the “correct” actions of humans that are believed to speed the coming of the end. These mostly focus upon limitations upon recourse to violence and the inherent right to equality across races and genders.

Other religions in Ktyarak are too numerous to include, but few obtain any significant majority, and many people are openly-atheist. As a result, Ktyarak is often sought as an exit point by radical philosophers from repressive regimes, and the city has a small Latin Quarter known as the ”House of the Sfasad” (Thasht-him-Baraad in the local pidgeon), after the Huridiphian cabala, (the “Sfasad” being any complicated formula designed to decrypt the patterns in nature as an attempt to unlock the key to the end – a practice largely dismissed by most theologians as “missing the point”). Ktyarak consequently has something of a reputation as a centre of learning, a reputation aided by the city’s travels allowing access to a wide range of philosophies and world-views, as well as access to news generally not readily available.

The economy of Ktyarak is sustained by trade, as the city’s roving nature and vast size (there are numerous cargo balloons set-aside) allows it to exploit countless markets, although this often has to be restricted to non-perishables due to the slow progress which it makes. There is also limited agriculture practiced in special baskets, and water is collected in a series of depending canvas ballast nets. The Ktyarak are also not averse to descending upon isolated hamlets during unusually-harsh times, and dirigibles will frequently scout for game and pockets of comestible vegetation. When the city is passing over the sea (although this is avoided when practical – see below) it will often deploy nets, or lower reed boats. Famously, the inhabitants will hunt leviathans when possible, by raining-down harpoons from the catwalks, and have been known to successfully harness several of the beasts as emergency measures when trapped in the doldrums (a risky business, where every rope must be manned for cutting if diving proves dangerous – although this is avoided using irritant hooks).

Ktyarak proper floats almost entirely free on the wind, following a number of rough cycles over the decades, but generally at random. Steerage can be attained (with varying success) using either dirigibles – which threaten to strain the connections between balloons – or large depending cloth sails, which are only useful during certain wind conditions and are often dangerous. During extreme predicaments, extensive use of grapnels to tow the city along the ground has occurred, as well as using ground-based bullock teams and even (during one memorable event) having the inhabitants descend and tow by hand. However, the city has been disassembled on a few rare occasions, prompting lengthy treks to more preferable wind conditions (this has twice been due to mountain ranges).

The social structure of Ktyarak is loose, but a number of uniting factors are the lopel, or bread and water stipend designed to avoid civil discord, and the hanging wicker cages where the homeless are allowed to sleep, to avoid cluttering the walkways in case of emergency. This kindness is also somewhat double-edged, however, as homeless cages will often be lowered to the ground and dispensed with during times of trouble, or when there are simply too many homeless to practically support.

The genetic stock of Ktyarak is majority Eurasian in appearance, although this once again represents only a slight majority (23%).

Individual cultural idionsyncracities are too numerous to list, but there are sfour major festivals - the City's Birthday, the Memorial of the Storm of Cape Ulibth, the scutroet maiting season and the scutroet birthing period. There is also an informal inter-city festival held whenever Ktyarak comes across Madyutvir, on the south-west coast of Terras - from which the original founders first departed after succesfully applying engineered scutroets to ballooning.
 

HieroGlyph

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A few points, Polymorphikos...
1 - Where did this city originate?
2 - If they are human (need to explain Eurasian connection, or drop connection) then they wont be Ntchan...
3 - If they are Ntchan (as yet undefined as a 'race') then ney to being human...
4 - If they are neither Ntchan nor human nor Thurin (most certainly not Silith) would you (Poly.) care to define a race that would have this penchant for 'aireborne loftinessness'!?!
Prey take no offence! I merely seek the flexible core... So flex thy mind some more...
 

polymorphikos

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There is also an informal inter-city festival held whenever Ktyarak comes across Madyutvir, on the south-west coast of Terras - from which the original founders first departed after succesfully applying engineered scutroets to ballooning.
I figured (possibly erroneously) that we were using humans as a default race. In which case they look Eurasian, although they aren't, just a mix of different human racial stocks that comes-out in the middle ground, and cannot be pegged as any one particular race. This being due to extensive and constant inter-breeding between people of numerous genetic backgrounds. You can't really be Eurasian when there's no Asia nor Europe, I suppose.

Ktyarak itself was founded mostly as an adventurous lark, like one of those attempts to establish a new Utopia in the South American rainforests. The founders, who no-one remebers much about, are said to have just figured it would be really awesome. I would agree.
 
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cornelius

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HieroGlyph said:
So the demi-god 'Namaling' dwells on the thresh-hold of 'this world' and a place called 'Netherhymn'... Could this actually be a 'portal' between worlds? Did the Banarai of ancient times know of these 'portals'? Or is this an ethereal realm? Or is it for me to say (since Im doing the prompting...)???

the Netherhymn cultus is in fact based on portals to other realms indeed, and that is where the secret of the Banarai is. The Portal leads to a world similar to the one described in this thread, but there are no other races but the Banarai. The one(s) remaining on Culh dare not go to the portal, they fear the Guardian to much. the Namaling came from another realm, which portal was accidentaly summoned by Alkama, who's head still is pinned on the Namaling's pike.

There is in fact some sort of occult laboratory ( based on magic, not chemistry and physics though the Banarai have great knowledge of both) In Algrins keep, where the Last of this folk try/tries to create another Portal to Netherhmn.
 

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