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Author Topic: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)  (Read 5129 times)

exdeath

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2015, 12:00:12 pm »

Greetings Forumites
1. I'll be using a top-down approach to build the world starting from the most basic of the basics (geography) and logically continuing from there

The most basics would be checking if the world has historical realism or not and check if the world has science realism or not.

? How would I do that before I have a world to begin with? Shouldn't that come after I have some history?

The science realism decide if you will allow soft fantasy elements on your setting. Those elements can shape how the world will be. They also shape if multiverses will exist or not, and other stufff.
After that and before you have some history, you must check if the setting will have scifi or  fantasy elements, that will also shape other important stuff.

I guess you arent really trying to do some everything goes worldbuilding from scratch.
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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2015, 05:29:16 pm »

Ahhh now I understand. Yup you are right this a standard low fantasy kind of world with a few twists but nothing that requires starting from scratch
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Urist McScoopbeard

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2015, 05:44:35 pm »

Greetings Forumites
1. I'll be using a top-down approach to build the world starting from the most basic of the basics (geography) and logically continuing from there

The most basics would be checking if the world has historical realism or not and check if the world has science realism or not.

? How would I do that before I have a world to begin with? Shouldn't that come after I have some history? Also both science (biology/evolutionary history) and history are derived from geography, making it a decent start. Unless you meant that I should first choose to what degree the world adheres to realism, in which case yes, it should come first. In my case it did, I just didn't note down (though I did mention it will be low fantasy)

This is what I was trying to point out earlier. I've read your descriptions of both the Papri and the Elves (I really like your take on elves, i've seen a couple elves-are-bloodthirsty type deals, but this one is pretty unique and appealing, the Papri less so, especially as they are replacing my fav fantasy race.) and while they're both excellent and well thought out, can you see that to readers it can be... somewhat random? That's probably a poor way to put it, but that's the feeling I get. I guess i'm trying to say that there needs to be some creation myths out there at least. Humans and elves we are very familiar with (and elves in this case are described as tribal, another thing humanity understanding intrinsically pretty well) so it isn't a big deal, but Pipra are essentially large, intelligent ants, which is "new" for a person. To the reader, what is to separate them from a manmade construct? Unless that's your goal of course.

Also, in response to that last post here: this world doesn't seem very low fantasy at all. It's got magic, different races, and a new world. This is very much high fantasy, and in a very original setting.

What say you good world builder?
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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2015, 07:43:00 pm »

Greetings Forumites
1. I'll be using a top-down approach to build the world starting from the most basic of the basics (geography) and logically continuing from there

The most basics would be checking if the world has historical realism or not and check if the world has science realism or not.

? How would I do that before I have a world to begin with? Shouldn't that come after I have some history? Also both science (biology/evolutionary history) and history are derived from geography, making it a decent start. Unless you meant that I should first choose to what degree the world adheres to realism, in which case yes, it should come first. In my case it did, I just didn't note down (though I did mention it will be low fantasy)

This is what I was trying to point out earlier. I've read your descriptions of both the Papri and the Elves (I really like your take on elves, i've seen a couple elves-are-bloodthirsty type deals, but this one is pretty unique and appealing, the Papri less so, especially as they are replacing my fav fantasy race.) and while they're both excellent and well thought out, can you see that to readers it can be... somewhat random? That's probably a poor way to put it, but that's the feeling I get. I guess i'm trying to say that there needs to be some creation myths out there at least. Humans and elves we are very familiar with (and elves in this case are described as tribal, another thing humanity understanding intrinsically pretty well) so it isn't a big deal, but Pipra are essentially large, intelligent ants, which is "new" for a person. To the reader, what is to separate them from a manmade construct? Unless that's your goal of course.

Also, in response to that last post here: this world doesn't seem very low fantasy at all. It's got magic, different races, and a new world. This is very much high fantasy, and in a very original setting.

What say you good world builder?

I should've expected some resistance for my heretical replacement of dwarves, given the forum I'm posting on lol.

Here are my thoughts:

First, I think understand where you are coming from regarding the "random" nature of the races I've introduced (and, please correct me if I'm not). There is the feeling that each of these races are an island on to themselves, sort of floating around without any attachment to the world. And for now, this is true.

But, there is still a lot left to be written and once it is, I'm hoping that these island-like concepts will be glued together into cohesion. For instance, you mention creation-myths, indeed there are creation myths which vary from religion to religion (which themselves vary by history and race) and there is a whole section (two sections actually!) devoted to such things, but it just hasn't been written yet.

Second, regarding the Pipra, this is a complex issue which I've been debating myself (internally). Basically I'm conflicted over whether I should write the guide to the world from the perspective of a person (specifically a Human scholar) who is in the world, or from an omniscient perspective (basically my own, as the world's "creator"). The problem is not so much a matter of writing style or anything of that nature, but rather the element of surprise for the reader (who is also, presumably a player). If I take the omniscient route, I have to tip my hand on certain things that the PC would not know. If I reveal them to the reader, that element of surprise (for the player) is lost. On the other hand, if I want to actually share the world I've built with other people (other GM's, people on this forum) then there can't be any surprises because the GM has know what's what at all times. So there is a conflict, and I'm increasingly leaning toward the omniscient perspective, if only for the material I post here.

Anyway, why is this relevant to the Pipra issue? Well because they are the most enigmatic race in Tsust and as such, much of their activities are kept secret from the prying eyes of terrestrials. Also, if I keep to the "first-person" narration of the world, I have to avoid knowledge and concepts not available to its inhabitants.

For example (it's time to let the cat out of the bag), Pipra are actually lithotrophs. They do indeed eat stone. The mechanism of this can only be explained micro-biologically (the idea is that lithotrophic bacteria have a symbiotic relationship with Pipra cells, similar to the relationship described by the symbiotic hypothesis for the origin of mitochondria). The reason why Pipra trade for pyrite (AKA fool's gold AKA Iron Sulfite, which is an energy-rich compound used by some species of RL lithotrophs), the source of the acid in their mouths (the toxic chemical found in the their mouth-pouches is Sulfuric acid, a by-product of sulfur-based metabolism), their universal digestive system (independent of caste, and due to the lithotrophic symbiosis) and even their isolationist, mountain-dwelling nature (they don't strike the earth, they eat it, and if they have access to both food and shelter in the same place, why leave?) can all be explained by their lithotrophism.

There were several other things that I wanted to talk about but couldn't, because in-game-humans aren't privy to such information. For example, Pipra use genetic modification to generate their castes (similar to how slave-making ants genetically modify enemy-ant eggs), Elves exhibit sequential hermaphroditism (specifically protandry, all Elves are born male then mature to female if the need arises, otherwise they remain male). The world-wide cataclysm which resulted in the founding of the Templars and the ban against magic, was caused by a volcanic eruption in Portristun, completely unrelated to magic. Etc. etc.

Finally, regarding "low fantasy", I guess it depends on how you define it (its kind of a loose term, according to tvtropes). If you see it as the number of fantastical elements the setting has, then Tsust is as High Fantasy as it gets. I tend to view it as "how much logical (i.e scientific) explanation is there for fantastical elements?". The less science there is, the more fantasy it is. Although now that I look at it, I think you're absolutely right in classifying Tsust as a high-fantasy setting.
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Urist McScoopbeard

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2015, 10:43:04 pm »

Ya, no problems here really. I think you'd be better off keeping the Pipra more mysterious. The GM is human, even if he is omnipotent, he is really more of a guide than a god (though you MAY have to provide some stats, choosing to withhold information about the Pipra can create some fun and interesting scenarios). As far as high vs low goes, it doesn't matter incredibly. Indeed, I would say this is juuuuuuust a bit more fantastical than I would consider low fantasy, especially concerning what appears to be a bitter of a darker atmosphere in many respects. Of course, I wouldn't change anything on that account!

Regarding the information thats a little less well known a little more in-depth, I like that stuff that you've expounded on a bit. If your planning on doing an P&P for this world, than yes, I would say give that at to the players slowly and begrudgingly. Or imply it. Let the players discover the world kind of thing, or if you so choose let their imaginations do their worst, so to speak.

But ya, I like this lore more and more, especially as some of the juicier things come to light.

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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2015, 10:31:54 pm »

Finish up !Xtul description and start on Egeonid Empire

!Xtul (con.)

Economics and Industry: !Xtul's economy is primarily based upon three things: Fishing, farming and logging. These make up more than 50% of its GDP. Fishing in particular hits near to !Xtul's history, as the !Xtu ancestors made their living with boats and nets (and in some cases, harpoons) before their discovery of Orod Belon. Of particular interest (and profit) is nob-hunting, which is a practice carried over from ancient times. Nob's are enormous marine animals, measuring about 40-60 feet long (though most of this is from their long legs) and weighing upwards of 5 to 10 tons. They are spider-like creatures that normally walk along the ocean floor using their 8 enormous (30-45 feet long) legs. They surface a few times a year, during periods known as "Green Weeks", when algal blooms occur, attracting all manner of fish, fowl and fool. Their thick outer shell and violent temperament make them formidable foes for the brave (or foolish) sailors that hunt them. But a single nob can make the fortune of an entire ship's crew, as almost every part of their body is useful, either as magical reagent, food, fuel or even potent aphrodisiac. Many a successful lover owes his charm to the musk derived from the nob's colon.

Agriculture in !Xtul is limited to specific cash crops such as the variant of spiced tobacco (called Hee!un) brought over from !un some 5500 years ago. Hee!un is not smoked (except by the Theastans and the Qorin), as the smoke has a noxious odor, but chewed. The juices released by mastication have a stimulating effect on the senses (as well as the libido) which is later followed by drowsiness (this drowsiness is avoided when the tobacco is smoked) and numbness of the tongue, lasting for 2-3 hours. The juices also act as mild toxins when ingested (usually leading to nausea and vomiting) and as such, are spit out. Other crops include sugarcane cocoa and, more recently, the Bubis plant (native to Portristun), which has met limited success in Orod Belon climate. 

Secondary industries include the herding of large grazers which roam freely on the savannas near the north-east. The Beezu in particular, is a popular choice because of its large litter size, generous meat yield and (surprisingly fertile) dung. Butchery of these animals requires significant skill, as various "poison pockets" -- fluid-filled, specialized organs which lie littered around the thoracic cavity-- if penetrated, spoil the rest of the meat from consumption. As a result, butchery is considered to be a specialized skill in !Xtul, trained and measured at the same level as a professional chef.

Egeonid Empire

Origins: The Egeonid Empire is of relatively recent origin, dating to about 130 years ago when High King Egeon united the 30-something independent kingdoms under a single banner. Most of its citizens are direct descendants of the Qorin and still retain the protruding forehead and chin, and tall stature of their ancestors.

Location: It is difficult to say what the boundaries of the Egeonid Empire are, as much of it is disconnected by patches of dense tropical forest. Most, if not all of the habitable regions of Kotor are under their control, however, and efforts are being made to build a road connecting all major territories (the Road-That-Runs). Roughly speaking, its borders end on the isthmus connecting Orod Belon to Kotor.

Political System: The Egeonid Empire has the simplest of all political systems in Tsust. It is a feudal state ruled by the leader of the most powerful faction in its lands. This "High King" remains in power as long as he can (usually 5-10 years), before disease, assassination, or old age render him (or her) unable to lead. The men who reach the wooden throne (wooden, to symbolize humility toward nature) are considered gods clothed in flesh. And so they must be, to wield, single-handedly the forces of an entire nation without bending under the pressure. The nature of the wooden throne is as nature itself, if the weak, if the incompetent, if the foolish chance upon it, they are snuffed out like rabbits amongst wolves.

The High King may, and usually does, appoint a council. The council may consist of any number of people chosen from the citizens of the Empire. Family and friends are usually chosen. People of exceptional merit or genius can sometimes be appointed as well as people from other factions (for the sake appeasement or alliance). Patronage is a large part of Egeonid society, but incompetence is met with the sharp side of an axe, and as such, only the most qualified individuals are appointed.

The High King and his retinue have virtually unlimited power over their subjects, but abuse is very difficult as even the bitterest rivals will drop their feuds without hesitation, to overthrow an overreaching king. Due the frequent the assassination attempts throughout the Empire's history, laws have been created which allow the settlement of succession through (somewhat) peaceful means. The Fang-That-Rules, is an empire-wide tournament which takes place every three years in which representatives from various factions, as well as third party contestants, participate in armed-combat. The winning faction or individual immediately becomes king or receives a magnificent prize. There have been three people in Egeonid's history that won the tournament for themselves (i.e they were related to any faction) and chose to become king. The first was killed within 3 days of ascending the throne, the second lasted a month and third still rules today. For the last 50 years High King Alu has sat on the wooden throne, single-handedly fending off assassins and actively participating and winning the last 16 Fang-That-Rules tournaments. He is believed to be Korinth incarnate, a breathing embodiment of strength, virility and long-life. His 26 children maintain more than half the territories of the Empire, rising to their positions without any help --instead, at times facing active opposition--from their father. Despite the legendary nature of Alu's life, old age has finally caught up to him and his two eldest children, fraternal twins, have taken on increasing amounts of responsibility in maintaining the empire. Nevertheless, Alu has stated on numerous accounts that only death will take him from the wooden throne and that retirement has never been an option.




   
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IndigoFenix

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2015, 02:13:44 am »

Interesting...

If you hadn't specifically said so, I wouldn't have guessed that the Pipra were supposed to be your version of dwarves.  This is partially because you have a race of elves which are called elves and are (roughly) humanoid, so it seems incongruous to have non-humanoid dwarves which are not called dwarves.  The other is that caste-based insect people are kind of their own overdone trope already.

If I may make a suggestion, I would advise avoiding this incongruousness by either giving the elves a different name so people don't expect the standard fantasy races, or calling the Pipra 'dwarves' and making them more humanoid physically, while maintaining the castes/lithovorism/isolationism, which would be much more unique than just another race of bug people.  (You could base them off of naked mole rats instead maybe... or give them a beard-like sensory organ around their face like the star-nosed mole.)

bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2015, 12:18:22 pm »

Interesting...

If you hadn't specifically said so, I wouldn't have guessed that the Pipra were supposed to be your version of dwarves.  This is partially because you have a race of elves which are called elves and are (roughly) humanoid, so it seems incongruous to have non-humanoid dwarves which are not called dwarves.  The other is that caste-based insect people are kind of their own overdone trope already.

If I may make a suggestion, I would advise avoiding this incongruousness by either giving the elves a different name so people don't expect the standard fantasy races, or calling the Pipra 'dwarves' and making them more humanoid physically, while maintaining the castes/lithovorism/isolationism, which would be much more unique than just another race of bug people.  (You could base them off of naked mole rats instead maybe... or give them a beard-like sensory organ around their face like the star-nosed mole.)

Actually there are reasons for why I did things the way I did them. First, the names I've given are really just place-holders, I'll probably change the "Elves" to something a little more fitting (probably in the language of the Egeonid/Qorin since they encountered them first). The ideas however, do still stand.

My version of elves were supposed to be deconstructions of the standard Tolkien/high fantasy fare. I tried to keep as true as I could to the biological and evolutionary considerations while still bending the "science" enough to make it "fantasy". That's why Elves are still relatively humanoid (I modeled them after apes/lemurs) not because of some arbitrary desire to keep them consistent with the standard idea of Elf, but because those are logical evolutionary characteristics in their particular jungle environment. The hematophagia is a stretch, I admit, but that was just me having a little fun with the idea of "blood-thirsty", and if you look at their society, I made sure these tendencies affected their societal structure (as a kind of justification)

As for Pipra, I am going to keep them as they are, in name and design, because I like they way they turned out. You say the bug-people have been an overworked trope. Maybe (personally, I only know of two or three books/movies which use this trope and all of them are sci-fi, I've never seen it used in fantasy; then again I read very little fantasy and a quick look at tvtropes has proved otherwise). However, I don't want to make them more humanoid for the same reasons given above. I can't justify humanoid creatures living inside mountains. I did consider moles, but moles live in burrow's, not mountains (there's something to be said for making a mountain out of a molehill lol). I also considered bats but bats have to leave the mountain to feed. Then I thought of ant-hills, resized it to ant-mountains, gave some reasonable justification for isolationism and mountain dwelling and the Pipra were the result. Again, I ran with the idea of a race that lives in the mountains, loves gold and practices strict isolationism, then gave biological justification for it (they eat rocks, specifically fool's gold, and they are too adapted to the mountain to be able to, or have desire to, survive elsewhere). 

There was another reason I chose insects instead of a mammal/rodent (like the naked-mole rat you mentioned), and that was, that I wanted something really alien. In terms of culture, biology and society, something that humans could not understand because of fundamental differences in their evolutionary history. Again, perhaps this trope is overdone (I personally think the little twists I've introduced make it a bit more unique than you've suggested) but that's ok, because, to me, it makes logical sense and it fulfills the purpose I set out to accomplish.

So I might change the name "Elf" to something else (though I kind of want people to expect the standard fantasy version and then be surprised, in which case I might actually change Pipra to the in-game name and refer to them as dwarves instead), but I won't be changing the Pipra as radically as you've suggested. I hope I cleared up my reasoning. And although I've shot this suggestion down, feel free to shoot more, as they are much appreciated.
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IndigoFenix

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2015, 10:05:14 am »

Changing the name of the elves would work to remove the incongruity issue.

Since you want the Pipra to be very alien, have you considered basing them off of soft-bodied invertebrates instead?  Like worms or squid... Flexibility is a very useful trait for burrowing species in general, especially if you're talking about digging through rock, which takes a long time and probably leads to very long, narrow tunnels, and since they are surrounded by rock most of the time anyway they wouldn't have much need for an exoskeleton for protection.  The ability to burrow through rocks without the use of hard body parts could also be a clue to their rock-digesting nature, since they probably could dig using the same acid they use to digest.  It would allow for some especially interesting castes (like individuals that stretch out in multiple directions through the tunnels using very long, very narrow tendrils, allowing them to sense what is going on in many places at once and possibly act as a living communication system within the rock, or a caste that has a rock-like, scaly 'patch' that they can use to seal off some tunnels, to guard or hide them from enemies... and make the tunnels appear to 'shift' and confuse or trap intruders who don't know about them.)

Just throwing some ideas out there...

bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2015, 08:00:31 pm »

Interesting ideas, but some of them are unnecessary or ignore existing mechanics.

First, soft-bodied organisms such as worms have no problem sifting through soft soil (their ability is actually astonishingly efficient), but would probably have some difficulty burrowing through solid stone. Also, using only acid to burrow through stone is incredibly inefficient to the organism, since making the acid in the first place would probably require quite a bit of energy (which is not so easy to provide from lithotrophic diets).

Second, such organisms are not often social and I have difficulty imagining them forming complex societies.

Third, the purpose of an exoskeleton is not simply for protection but also to prevent water-loss (dessication) as well as provide a sensory interface with the environment. These latter two advantages are quite important for a mountain-dwelling race, as water would be scarce (only whatever is found in the stone and perhaps underground pools), and, as I mentioned earlier, the Pipra communicate through external chemical signals (similar to pheromones) which would naturally interact with the exoskeleton.

Fourth, Pipra do have "hard" body parts, namely their mandibles which are made of a biomineral of significant strength (something akin to keratin). I don't want to get into the mechanics of the Pipra too much (not yet, anyway), but the basic premise is that the rocks are broken apart by the Workers' mandibles, which are then sorted and stockpiled for feeding (also done by the Workers), then finally "eaten" through the use of acid (small rocks are inserted into the mouth-pouch and dissolved).

Fifth and final, such evolutionary adaptions as "sense tendrils" or "camouflage patches" are unnecessary and would confer little, if any evolutionary advantage. Why? For one thing, most cave/mountain adapted creatures are blind, making camouflage obsolete. For another, intruders would not be common enough for an adaptation to them, to be necessary. Furthermore, there are no major predators inside a mountain, making defensive adaptations also unnecessary. Back to the "tendrils" for a second, which is an interesting concept, but again, also unnecessary, since long/medium range communication can be done using sound (high pitched clicks could probably echo through the tunnels) or more likely, through the diffusion of vaporized chemicals (which would travel quite fast in the narrow, relatively airless tunnels).

However, let me commend you on these great ideas, because they are indeed quite interesting. I just don't see them replacing the ones I've already put forth (or maybe I just don't want to :P ) Keep 'em coming!
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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2015, 09:15:17 pm »

Finishing up Politics of Egeonid, and a start on its history

Political System (con.): The Egeonid Empire has a limited centralized bureaucracy, whose offices are filled through patronage rather than on the basis of qualifications or skill. However, because communication between territories within the empire is disconnected (at best; it is non-existent in some places) the bureaucracy has little, if any, influence over the day-to-day operations of the state. Separate bureaucratic organizations exist in each individual territory, often privately funded and almost always independent of central influence. However, significant efforts  have been made within the last 20 years to connect the various territories into a cohesive whole. The "Road-That-Runs" is the biggest and most ambitious of these projects, and is expected to be completed within the next 20 years, but other projects include creating paths north of the Teeth of Uvash by establishing ports on the southern coast of the Thean sea (previously thought impossible due to the massive concentration of Elves within the jungles south of the coast), as well as establishing speedier means of communication through magical mediums (this has only been possible because of the recent mass migration of wizards and shamans into Kotor).

Indeed, the greatest weakness of the Egeonid Empire is its fractured nature, it is in fact surprising that King Egeon of old was able to unite these entities --divided, as they are, by geography --into an empire worthy of his name.

History: The Egeonid Empire was founded by King Egeon 130 years ago, and as such, bears his name. The peoples of Kotor are descendants of the Qorin, whose origin is believed to be somewhere west of the isthmus connecting Kotor to Orod Belon. Originally there were several tribes of Qorin, coexisting together, but relatively independent of one another. About 7000 years ago, some of the Qorin tribes migrated across the isthmus, for what reason, is a matter of speculation. Recent evidence suggests a combination of factors, general unease and dissatisfaction with living conditions, the rise of charismatic leaders, a plague which decimated the large game population, as well as a sudden spike in Elf attacks believed to be caused also, by the plauge.  Thus, these Qorin explorers traveled east into Orod Belon, settling into mellower climes. These peoples would eventually establish the Qorin Kingdom and make contact with the !Xtu and Kubo.

As for those who did not migrate east, some traveled further north, risking dangerous trips through the jungle or equally dangerous voyages through the Thean sea. Others traveled up the Thean peninsula and met the Theastans, who quickly assimilated them into their society. Still other's traveled along the southern coast of Kotor, traveling as far as they could, then building settlements, from which new settlers arose. These territories, north of the Teeth of Uvash and south of it, would eventually be conquered by King Egeon. 
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Cryxis, Prince of Doom

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2015, 06:23:17 pm »

PTW
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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2015, 07:37:27 pm »

Continuation of the history of the Egeonid Empire

History (con.): The territories currently in the Egeonid Empire can primarily be divided into two distinct historical periods: Pre-Egeon and Post-Egeon. Yet this division is almost arbitrary, as little has changed in terms of politics or economics since the transition. In fact, a better division might be Pre-Alu and Post-Alu, since Alu's ascension to the wooden throne has made far more revolutionary changes than any of the past kings (even Egeon himself). This humble author would like to use this latter division instead of the conventional one, as he feels it is better representative of the Empire's history.

Pre-Alu history consists of a brutish struggle against the natural elements of Kotor, the vast jungles, the erratic weather patterns, the myriad of pestilence and disease, the geographically generated political isolation, and of course the constant annoyance by the Elves. This has shifted the development of Kotor's people, both sociologically and physically. Most settlements are self contained and self-sustaining as well as self-ruled. Political systems, economics, religion, societal customs, dialects and even morals may vary wildly from place to place. No where is this division more apparent than in the differences between the southern and northern portions of Egeonid, which are so foreign to one another, that they may as well be two separate nations. It is therefore difficult to summarize the history of Egeonid; each province has its own unique history which is usually disconnected and unrelated to any other settlement. This is true post-Alu as well (but efforts are being made towards unification, as has been discussed).

Post-Alu, several changes have occured in rapid succession which have not only changed the political sphere of Egeonid, but the entirety of Tsust. First, the sudden in flux of wizards and shamans, due mostly to the (continuing) construction of the "Road-That-Runs", as well as the import of slaves from Portristun as dramatically changed the demographics of Egeonid. For one, the incoming wizards and shamans have created a great demand for magical reagents. This in turn has created a demand for adventurers and mercenaries willing to go "exploring" into the jungles of Kotor for these reagents. And this, has resulted in the creation of "Explorer Guilds", private organizations which connect the wizard to his reagents through the efforts of adventurers. These organizations have grown exponentially since their inception about 90 years ago, mostly due the "Road-That-Runs" which has so far connected 20-30 settlements along the southern coast. The Explorer Guilds have begun to attract people from all over Tsust and thus Kotor is becoming increasingly more diverse in its population.

The imported slaves are another huge change, almost exclusively due to the work of King Alu. The islands of Portristun have remained undiscovered for the last 7000 years due to a strip of ocean known as the "Snakes Tongue". The Snake's Tongue runs between the southern coast of Kotor and the northern coast of the main island of Portristun. A combination of a strong eastern current and wind, as well as frequent and ferocious storms, have prevented any attempts to tackle the fickle Tongue.

However, recent advances in shipbuilding (made by the Theastans about 30 years ago) have created a form of ship which can travel underwater, avoiding most of the influence of current, wind and storm. The ship's are made of Khat wood and are powered by muscle (a simple animal-turned screw connected to several propellers) and can hold 20 to 30 passengers per boat. Because Khat wood can float in water, a hollow keel, filled with water is used to maintain weight and descend, and is drained  to ascend. The main problem with this technology has been navigation and the limited air supply, and thus it was abandoned by the Theastans. King Alu, on a diplomatic trip, bought the plans to these ships and had several models made. He then hired Kotor's top engineers and seasmen (which were few) and had them figure out a solution to the navigation problem. Their solution was simple and ingenious: a system of mirrors inside a curved pipe, which peaked above the surface of the water, and by reflection, relayed that information to the crew below. Because the Snake's Tongue is a very narrow strip (only a few miles long) the ships need only submerge for a short time and the "third eye" (as it is called), allowed the crew to ensure they did not bump anything or get lost during that time. The air problem was solved by putting the crew to sleep as the ship went underwater (to conserve air) as well as created additional hollow pockets filled with air which could be opened when air was low. Several disastrous and costly trips later, a fully functioning proto-type with a crew of 25 made it to the soft beaches of Portristun. Becoming the first people to make contact with the Portis.
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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2015, 08:47:24 pm »

Finish up Egeonid history and foreign relations

History (con.): The Portis were similar in stature and appearance to the Noukon and ancestral !Xtu. They stood at 4.5 to 5 feet tall, and their civilization was primitive. Initial contact was violent and short. Superior technology, in the form of Khat armor and iron weaponry and physical superiority, a consequence of their evolution, quickly gave victory to the Egenoid voyagers. The Portis women warriors were slaughtered and the males and children were taken back to the Empire for study. Those taken back would also become the first slaves.

30 years later and the "Diving ships" have become the norm for modern naval transportation. Tremendous demand for Khat bark has led to severe deforestation in Tumare, several recent floods have had ominous underpinnings of what may lie ahead if things continue as they are. Portis slaves are widespread and used to do all manner of labor. Most are considered expendable and are used to do the more dangerous or undesirable work. Mining is popular, as is farming (particularly !ung Silk extraction, which is dangerous indeed). Yet, as the recent Qorin slave rebellion has shown, the Portis have not fully accepted their subjugation. Whatever the case, changes of such magnitude will ripple for ages to come. King Alu has not disappointed.

Foreign Relations: King Alu is perhaps the most out-going of the Egeonid kings. He has made several diplomatic trips to Theasta, Qorin and !Xtu. He has so far avoided the people of eastern Tumare, more out geographical distance than a lack of desire. Nevertheless, he has stated on numerous occasions that he wishes to see those foreign fields before his death. As a result of King Alu's diplomatic efforts, as well as Egeonid control over the slave-trade, the Empire is in good terms with all the nations of Tsust. The exception is the recently formed Losan Republic which, established by a slave-revolt, is hostile toward the "nation of slave-masters" (as they call the Empire). Tensions are rising between two, especially since the world's only supply of Iron is now under the control of Losan. Within closed borders, the Losan republic is believed to be fermenting the means for open war. First against the Qorin Kingdom, and eventually against Egeonid itself. Negotiations between Losan and the Empire and the Empire and the Qorin Kingdom have born little fruit. The Qorin Kingdom's military has weakened over many years of peace and they have asked for assistance from the !Xtu and even the Theastans (who are expressly against slavery). But these requests have been answered with a collective shrug. Meanwhile, Ozolodel is watching the happenings of Orod Belon with a ready eye, waiting for a moment of weakness to strike against !Xtu (or so it is believed by the !Xtu administration).
 
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bahihs

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Re: Welcome to Tsust! (World-building exercises in futility)
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2015, 10:10:07 pm »

The Qorin Kingdom

Origins: The Qorin Kingdom is one of the oldest nations in Tsust, believed to founded some 6800 to 7000 years ago by several Qorin tribes migrating from Kotor. The first settlements were along the Plains of Gath and Ubi desert (the Qorin were hesitant to throw themselves at the mercy of the another jungle, the Lodel Rainforest, after fleeing their own). These tribes grew and settled deeper into Orod Belon traveling east and setting down roots wherever they went. These early settlements were fragmented and a true kingdom was not founded until the Qorin encounted the !Xtu (about 6000 years ago). 

Location: The Qorin Kingdom is located on the lower part of Orod Belon, encompassing all territories from the western isthmus to the eastern coast. The exception is of course the north eastern peninsula which has recently come under the control of the revolutionary Losan Republic.

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