Some world building

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« on: June 02, 2013, 01:13:59 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
Thought I'd try some world building, as something to help swell toward that 300 page count. Kind of doing it in public, because I find it different to write something which I know will be in a public space (I find writing posts different to writing per se).

Gunning for about 300 words worth/a page worth for each area described. Perhaps 10 to 12 areas, done over a period of time. It takes time for my bollocks generator to recharge, after all...

Edit: Replies and comments are welcome - public post, after all!

~~~
The mountains of Agreas shimmered black, ancient tar still smeared across them despite the creeping forests best efforts. Thousands of years ago the Forsworn choir coalesced above it's range, their voices high, the ground below heaping in shimmering black mists turning to boiling black tar. They say a mountain village was engulfed, it's building and any remaining residents mummified in ebony. Now various trade routes wended their way through the mountains, stone made clear to sky again from the steady multitude of boots and donkey hooves. Mostly forbidden narcotics, passing through in areas guards found no comfortable lodgings. They originated from the Orwellos uprisings, where rebels had taken to hiding in the hills and had found good causes still need money, let alone that the mouths of those who follow good causes still need food. The uprising and rebellion had continued for some time and, as things do, when it ended, people still found they needed food and habits (of many sorts) tend to continue.
~~~

Okay, about 164 words. And I find myself at the torn point between failure, and yet berating the creativness that created anything to begin with. Yet the stamina is not enough...!

Still, 164 words...

What Came Before

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 01:14:26 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
The Fenaelza plain reaches from the dead side of the Agreas mountains, to the Inward sea. The plains are rich in the ruins of previous civilisations and lush plant life. Currently the kingdom of the White Rose, with castles, towns, villages and sprawling farms fills this region. However, augurs and funnily enough, various historians have been attempting to spread what is called sedition by the king. The augers, having their place (of which can be dismissed as superstition) have so far been merely stood over, but historians (who as yet are granted more credibility) have been arrested. Sometimes who rooms of old men, clutching their canes, at a time. Drawings of excavated ancient ruins and the ashes interned within and specimen boxes of ancient, canabalised bones, set upon city watch confiscation fires.

~~~
Hmmm, 130 words. I guess the ideas that draw near to each other and knit into a singular mass - what can you do about how many their are? You can only catch an amount of fish that are actually there.

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 01:14:34 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
To the north are the lush jungles of Zeterth. Remnants of an acient crater dominate the shape of the lanscape, leaving the jungle to spew into a massive green pit. However in recent centuries a volcano has arisen near it's center, criss crossing lush green with veins of black basalt. The area has always had a history of ferocious lightning storms, where heardsmen and hunters often retreating and navigating around the area at any sign of seeing dark, rainless clouds forming in the sky. Even then perhaps missing fingers or toes from being struck by lightning. That or never being seen again. But since the coming of the volcano the storms have become even stronger. Stranger yet, some say they can actually see things in the lightning. Figures. Towers. Rendered in the skittering, blinding arcs that last much longer than any lightning has a right to.

There are also rumours of an individual who beseached the storm. Coming from a village assaulted by a warlord tyrant again and again, driven out and in madness of grief, seeking something, anything. Beseaching the storm and...she was answered. Rumours that she became something called an Electromancer. They say she went back to her village and it's tyrant woes, but latter the Stalk marked banners of another warlord came, with slaves. Lined up they were before the storm, bound upon wooden torture tables, the lives or those of their loved ones at sword point. They were commanding to beg. They say from this, something called 'slave cannons' were made.

~~~
253 words. I chewed that over for a couple of days. Except now I'm going to expect more, yet in terms of making up anything else I'll get a feeling of 'Doesn't that count as something already? Why am I making up more when what I make counts for nothing?'

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 01:14:42 am »
Quote from: sciborg2
Are these side notes? Or part of the story? I think the issue you'll have with the latter is making sure someone in the main story is affected by these events.

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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 01:14:49 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
This is the world. Possibly any story that arrises may simply occur from the various elements pressing on each other and on people in between them.

So it's hard to call them side notes or main story. They probably matter more than any main story, since by this method the main story comes after the world and the world tends to have authority over the main story, not the other way around.

I think it's probably a matter of where many different and seperate people would be affected by these places - taking that and massaging events so one particular person goes to each location (for various reasons) and is also affected by what is otherwise the experiences of many seperate peoples. Thus creating a single narrative by it occuring to a single person.

The areas so far, to me, seem like guns, fully loaded and cocked, with hair triggers. Someones gunna be shot - really, for traditional story, just need atleast one guy who is shot by them all in some way.

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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2013, 01:14:57 am »
Quote from: Camlost
I might be a little late to this thread (school tends to redirect the focus of my time spent of the internet..) but I want to say good job nonetheless. One of my favourite aspects of the fantasy genre is the worldbuilding so I'll certainly encourage the practice.

Whether you choose to include these posts as they are directly into your story or just keep them as reference for yourself I want to say that I think it's a valuable effort. If nothing else you are writing, and at the very least it has you thinking and considering the world of your story. It builds context. I mean, with an example we should all recognize, I suspect Bakker has reams of notes on all sorts of things pertinent to Earwa: character sketches, culture outlines, geographic notes, timelines, etc. that never made its way into the narrative.

There is also lots of ways in which you can incorporate worldbuilding into your narrative that can be so subtle as to be almostl unnoticeable. The first time I read through PoN my notion of the Outside was formed almost without me even considering it (the Scylvendi belief that stars are holes in the hide of night/yurt+Akka's water on parchment metaphor+topos). Another example, though I'm not entirely sure he consciously did it or I'm making it up (it might prove a decent worldbuilding tool though), is Martin's prolific descriptions of food. By describing a meal being eaten by a royal family you could potentially extrapolate economic conditions and/or political relations, ie. oranges don't grow in northern climates so that means someone cooking with them either has trade access to the producer and/or the wealth to circumvent those obstacles.

Hope that makes some sense and is somewhat helpful. I'm no expert, just a fan, but if you want to discuss worldbuilding anytime let me know. I know Francis Buck is also shares the taste for worldbuilding

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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2013, 01:15:05 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
Thanks Camlost! :) I've got another area in mind, a sprawling farming area, but with an ectoplasmic angle, and a sudden egyptian addition. Get kind of locked into that between that in a way I've already created it in writing that prior sentence. But I guess it's the details that get missed out on in writing it that way that nag and push to get written too. Must get onto that shortly...

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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2013, 01:15:11 am »
Quote from: Francis Buck
Quote from: Callan S.
Thanks Camlost! :) I've got another area in mind, a sprawling farming area, but with an ectoplasmic angle, and a sudden egyptian addition. Get kind of locked into that between that in a way I've already created it in writing that prior sentence. But I guess it's the details that get missed out on in writing it that way that nag and push to get written too. Must get onto that shortly...

Callan, you reminded of a little detail I have in my fantasy regarding an area called The Farmlands. Here's the excerpt from my notes.

Quote
The Farmlands are a very large expanse in northeastern Lennith known for being the most fertile area in the entire nation, and one of the few places where rice is certain to grow. For this reason, virtually the entire region is populated by farmers, since rice is the central component of Lennith's economy and is consumed in large quantities by both peasants and nobles alike. The Family Mavistiel, rulers of the province that the Farmlands are a part of, actually burn gargantuan lamps in the rice-paddies, so that the farmers can work during the night (rice-paddies require a great deal of time and labor to create, and their vital importance generally calls for round-the-clock work schedules during some parts of the year). The enormous lamps can consume over fifty kilograms of ghee and a hundred kilograms of cotton in order to light the fields.

The thing about the giant lamps is actually true. I can't remember who exactly it was that used it...I want to say the Turkish? But I could be totally wrong. Either way I thought it was just a cool little detail to throw into a fantasy setting.

I've been meaning to post in this thread for a while now, but I'm committed to making a real contribution tomorrow. I would really like to get an on-going brainstorm of various word-building ideas, if only for no other reason than to have some fun and bounce ideas off of each other.

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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2013, 01:15:18 am »
Quote from: Francis Buck
Just some free-form world building off the top of my head, based on an idea spurred from this very interesting location I read about: http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/tunupagallery_files/the-arts-4-large.jpg

It's called Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia. At certain times the water creates an almost perfect mirror. So now to fantastisize (trademarked word) it:

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The various warring tribes of Sui-Tchegei have maintained a long-held truce at the salt-flats -- known as Ernoti-Pahn-Wei-Pahn, or the Heaven's Grave -- in the northwestern part of the region. The tribesman believe that after their gods' final war (the Ernuaz), the mass grave was created as a result of the fallout from their cataclysmic battle. Because of this, it is thought that the Heaven's Grave contains a great deal of latent magical power, and so the various tribes' shamans make the dangerous journey to the flats as a form of pilgrimage. Upon arrival, they ingest the psychoactive juices from the sacred nokuitch cactus in an attempt to convene with the ghosts of the angry gods who still wander in the flats, furious at their failure in battle. When two warring tribes come to a (often temporary) peace, it is custom for the chieftains of each group to go with a neutral shaman and partake in the nokuitch ceremony, in honor of the war their gods fought there thousands of years before.

----

Super crappy info-dump but it's a start, gonna add/alter some stuff later.

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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2013, 01:15:26 am »
Quote from: Francis Buck
Okay, real quick I'm going to drop a piece of my notes from an old fantasy world I was working on. It basically explains the nature of magic in the world and its effects/uses. It's totally outdated, so if anyone wants to take an idea from it, expand upon it, cut it down, call it a piece of shit, go ahead! It's a bit long but I figured I'd toss it up anyway. At the very least it could spur some more discussion.

-------------------------------

   Magic is a force of nature that is defined by its malleability to the conscious will of a sapient being. Magic itself is divided into two basic categories: natural magic (black magic), and arcane magic (white magic).

   Black magic is the fundamental constituent of physical reality. Matter, space, and even time are all essentially different manifestations of black mana (the term "mana" is used when referring to the raw energy itself, be it arcane or natural). Black mana has always existed, and always will exist. It is the most basic part of the universe; indeed, one could say that the universe itself literally is black mana.

   White magic is the emanation (and sole constituent) of the entity known as Monad. In the simplest terms, white mana is pure conscious energy. It is unknown how exactly white mana (and thus the Monad itself) originally came into being, or if it has in fact always existed. What is known is that white mana and black mana are fundamentally different in many ways. They are both repellent to each other, and yet they are also strangely synergistic (for example, neither one can be used to "destroy" each other; the same amount of white mana and black mana has always existed, and this can never change). When the Monad came into being, it was inherently isolated from the raw, primordial chaos of black mana in the universe, and thus could not exert any control over it. In order to overcome this, the Monad separated a small portion of white mana from itself and allowed it to merge with the black mana, creating a new entity (and the first true living being), which was known as the Demiurge.

   Like the Demiruge, all life in the universe is created from an intertwining of the two magical forces: black mana for the physical body (the shell), and white mana for the conscious will and energy that drives the body (the soul). Every living being is technically "borrowing" white mana from the Monad, and when their physical body breaks down, the white mana (soul) is released and returns to the Monad, while the black mana is recycled back into the universe. The only apparent exception to this rule is the entity known as Ka'jünat, who seems to be a being consisting entirely of black magic, and whose very existence is mysterious even to itself.

   There are also several fundamental differences between black and white mana when it comes to their usage by sapient beings. When the Demiurge created the planet of Åerunyo, it formed a special type of crystalline substance called santimurite (composed of pure, condensed white mana) and scattered it across the planet. Santimurite allows the Monad's energy to flow freely into the world, counteracting the natural black mana present in physical reality. This was done purposefully so that the sentient beings of Åerunyo could use magic to their benefit. It is for this reason that arcane (white) magic is far easier to wield than black magic. Because an organism's consciousness is actually composed of white magic itself, the bridge between internal thoughts and physical manifestation is much smaller. Thus, arcane magic is more commonly used than natural magic.

   Despite these differences, however, the basic concept behind the actual usage of magic is essentially the same. The summoning, manifestation, and manipulation of any magic requires an enormous amount of focus, concentration, willpower, and visualization. Many magicians spend a considerable amount of time practicing meditation for this very purpose.

Arcane (white magic)                                             
The most basic uses of arcane magic involve the conscious manifestation and/or manipulation of energy. This includes:
- displacing heat from the surrounding atmosphere to form water or ice, or alternatively to control air currents which can then be used as a rudimentary form of telekinesis
- enhancing senses to become aware of subtle changes in nearby sources of white mana, such as the detection nearby organisms, and even what kind of emotions they're feeling

More complex uses of arcane magic include:

- creation and utilization of super-hot plasma, resulting in devastatingly powerful blasts of energy, or the manifestation of magnetic shields to defend against such attacks
- the enchanting of objects or places, achieved by embedding latent arcane energy into an object for a variety of purposes (such as a protective barrier stopping intruders from entering a specific location without permission by the initial caster)
- sophisticated forms of telepathy, as well as mind-reading, mind-control, and predictions of the near future, often known collectively as deepsight (with practitioners of such magic being known as deepseers).
- extreme thermodynamic manipulation, to the point of being able to control the weather and summon vicious hurricanes, blizzards, and electrical storms

Natural (black magic)                                                                                      
Because the consciousness of all sapient beings is composed of pure arcane energy, the utilization of natural black mana is significantly more difficult than white mana. Unlike arcane magic, which can sometimes be realized even through the raw force of emotion (such as anger or fear), natural magic can only be manipulated by strong willpower, intense focus, and extreme discipline. The payoff is quite large, however, as control over natural mana can result in fantastic displays of power and reality-warping abilities. Some of the feats possible through the use of natural magic include:
- true telekinesis, including the ability of flight, as well as control over large amounts of matter
- manipulation of gravitational fields, such as the summoning of powerful singularities and black holes (telekinesis is tied to this same concept)
- the conversion of physical matter into different forms, including the concoction of powerful potions, as well altering the attributes of certain materials, such as making iron stronger or glass less brittle
- the rupturing of matter at its most fundamental point, releasing incredible amounts of raw energy far exceeding the levels reached by arcane magic

More complex uses of natural magic include:

- autonomous control over inert-matter, for example the creation of crude "consciousness" in physical constructs like golems, or the artificial reanimation of dead bodies (it should be noted that this is not true resurrection, nor is it the creation of actual sapience -- they physical constructs controlled by a sapient being)
- the summoning and manipulation of condensed black mana into a material known as zeonite, generally referred to as zeomancy (with practitioners being called zeomancers)
- manifestation of space-warping portals, and by extension teleportation, allowing near-instant travel across vast distances (this is very dangerous unless the summoner has actually been to the location that the portal is intended to lead to; otherwise they may accidentally teleport in mid-air, underwater, inside of a mountain, etc.)
- the process of admixination, or the merging of different organisms into new, often more powerful beings (again, this is not truly the creation of "new" life, but instead simply the contortion of already extant beings into unique lifeforms; an example of this is the production of the first dragon, made from the combined arcane essence of a lion, an eagle, a snake, and the blood of an ensilodar)

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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 01:15:35 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
I realised what paused me on writing out the farmlands/egyptian thing. I had farm labourers and an incongrous, single pyramid, with ghostly figures walking the lands and farmers simply ignoring them as they had for generations. But I had no landmine - each of my prior world building had some sort of situation on the edge of detonation. I realise this because I came up with that that the farmers, pushed by a failing economy, start slashing and burning deeper into the jungle, toward the pyramid. Digging too deep. Now I have a dangerous scenario, I've got something I want to write out. Also I like the grounding of real world pressures on third world subsistance farmers gradiating to the potentially fantasic (and fatal!).