Worldbuildng Respond, Answer, Ask (September Edition)

  • What is the Worldbuilding Answer Ask?

    It works pretty similarly to the CRAA, except you're talking about your world, and you probably don't want to do it through the POV of your characters, because that would probably just cause a fight amongst your characters and provide a lot of differing views.

    The idea is that it'll help you develop your world. Even if you think you know everything about it, someone will eventually pose a question for an element you hadn't thought of.

    Scared to participate because you don't know a lot about your world? Don't panic! Half the time I'm making up my posts as I go along based on what I know about a few other random things in my world and hoping it makes sense. (I never said I was a good role model.) It'll still be great for helping you develop your world!

    So, I'll leave a question at the end of the thread. Person 1 comes up and decides to answer the question the best they can. Then, they leave their own question about some element of your world. You come up, see it, and think, "Okay, I can answer this!" But before you can answer it, you have to post a response about Person 1's post. After that's done, then you can answer the question, and then you can ask your own question!

    Person 1:

    Answers the question at the bottom of the thread
    Leaves their own question

    Person 2:

    Responds to Person 1 (I.e., Wow, I didn't think about that when I was developing my education system. Still, X's relationship with Y is kind of weird because Z reason.)
    Answers the question left by Person 1
    Leaves their own question

    And then repeat.


    • Even if your world isn't technically a secondary world (maybe it's based on London in 1815 or China in 1009), don't be afraid to answer! I'm sure you'll share information that we didn't know before. And if it's urban fantasy in AU 2017, then, again, don't think you can't answer! The idea is that these question will apply to all, or most, worlds.
    • Sometimes a post might get long, however hard you try to keep it short. This is okay. Whatever it takes for you to explain whatever you're talking about in a way that you think makes sense :)
    • Don't feel obligated to answer every past question. If there's some that you really like, then go ahead and answer them! But don't feel like you have to. Instead, just answer the question from the most recent poster.
    • Topics can be about anything and everything! From, "What's life like for the average individual?" to "What is your favorite part about your magic system?" to "Talk about the fashion because we all love a well-designed outfit!" to "What are considered virtuous traits in a person? What are considered bad traits in a person?" to anything else you think of.
    • Don't forget to respond! At the very least you need to respond to the post above yours whenever you post. It's courteous and it that interaction is part of what makes participation fun and help creators look at their world/story from a new perspective.

    I think that's everything. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! :)

    Question to get us started: How is history recorded? Is it very reliable?

  • It's been a while since I answered something here, mostly because rambling about Valcrest takes a ridiculous amount of time compared to just letting my characters bicker. :P


    Q: How is history recorded? Is it very reliable?

    Books and word of mouth mostly. And no. No, it isn't.

    History will tell you, in the current timeline of Valcrest that, after having a bounty placed on them, the Wolfpack launched an attack on Newhaven, exploded their throne room and murdered their king. When in reality they went there to try and reason with their king, found a goddamn maniac had taken his place and were forced to fight for their lives.

    In fact, the following exchange between the current Alpha and the Black Knight Captain; about four years after the fact, is the first the current White Knight Captain ever heard of this.

    “I don’t exactly see how we could have ignored an explosion in our throne room, any more than you could have ignored the bounty on your heads.”
    “Maybe not, but we could both have acted smarter and maybe, just maybe, my clan ridding your city of a psychopathic killer posing as a royal might have turned out to be a good thing.”
    “Hold on, what?” Thomas interrupted, glaring at Mageria with an expression mixed between shock and outrage.
    “It’s a very long story, Tom.” The woman answered, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “To cut it short, the King was being impersonated by a killer and that was the man the Wolfpack killed. Of course, none of it could ever be officially proved, so we just allowed the public to assume the Wolves responsible had been executed.”
    “And we don’t know what actually happened to King Stephen?”
    “The only man who could answer that question was buried under his name, so unfortunately no one will ever know.”
    “Why was I never informed of this?” Thomas demanded, heaving an exasperated sigh and seeming to lack the energy to be properly enraged by being kept in the dark.
    “Honestly? Krander had just gone off Twins know where, you hadn’t been appointed Captain yet at the time this all happened, and after it was dealt with no one wanted to ever bring it up again.”*

    Basically, after the Wolfpack spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to prove to a fist-full of people that they were, in fact, innocent, everyone involved was just like "yeah, that may be true, but it's way too crazy so... Let's just say you surrendered all the people involved and we killed them. That'll calm everything down" and that's pretty much what they did.

    Valcrest is a conspiracy theorist's wet dream. >.>

    The closest to reliable in terms of historical fact is probably the White Shadows' archives and they're not accessible to the public for that exact reason. There is literally some reality shattering information in there only their leader can have access to.

    Q: What are burials and funerals like in your world?

  • @Blackbird I feel ya on that.

    Valcrest will eventually reach an age of sanity and have no clue what actually went down to get them to this point.

    Q: How is history recorded? Is it very reliable?

    It's a mixture of written and oral. Some stories are more reliable than others; in general, the older the story is, the less reliably told it will be. Normally, it's unreliable because they added supernatural elements (because the Stork probably didn't make a dramatic entrance to help a guy win a war or kick a dynasty out), but sometimes it's unreliable simply because they didn't like how something turned out and they changed some details around to fit their views better.

    There's also no standardized version of history (or myths). With the advent of the printing press, there are a handful of people trying to make this happen, but they can't agree on how basic fables should be told, let alone historical facts.

    Also keep in mind that this is a world where the Tydinas claim to have sat on the throne for a 1000+ years but refuse to cough up any sort of evidence or proof to this claim, and everyone else just sort of takes it for granted to be true.

    Q: What are burials and funerals like in your world?

    This is something I rarely get to talk about but it's actually a bit interesting?

    Per the universal religion, at death, a spirit remains tied to the body until the corpse is cremated. (I'll get back to this in a bit.) If a person is buried, then their spirit remains tied to the body. In the ground. Forever. (Or until the body and bones are fully decomposed, I s'pose.)

    That being said, if a person is being buried and not cremated, they have committed the most heinous, ghastly, abhorrent, [insert a few more adjectives to define how awful their crime was] crime imaginable. In most cases, this includes murder, and if your crime was bad enough to warrant an execution, then it was probably bad enough to warrant burial instead of cremation. Nothing the family ever tries to do will change that their loved one is going to be buried (and they will probably be scandalized if they try to).

    The clerics-- traditionally the Douyrualains, due to their being the ones most associated with law and probably being the ones to have had the person slated for execution in the first place-- take the body back to their monastery immediately after the person is declared dead in the execution. If they aren't within the confines of a city, then they leave in the night and bury the body some random place that won't be found by a grieving family member. If they are within the confines of the city, then they'll probably transport the body to a monastery (either Douyrualain or just whoever is willing to give them a room) outside the city so they can find a place to bury the body.

    Being buried is part of the punishment to their crime. This said, graves are never marked because a family member might decide the criminal was unjustly accused* and dig them up in the night, then cart them off to a different town or city where they haven't been heard of to give them a proper funeral.

    Burials are rarely made punishment to a crime, though.

    *The issue with this is that if they ARE unjustly accused, they can't really fix their mistake. The clerics don't care enough to keep track of where they've put bodies.

    As for funerals-- cremation is a major element, as you may have figured out. The funeral itself doesn't start until after the cremation is complete and the ashes have been collected. If you have a family to claim you, then they gather everyone around and hold the funeral (the wealthier the family, the more pompous). If you don't, then the clerics will perform the rites, hold a moment of mourning for you, and move on with life.

    Technically, any of the sects can perform the funeral ceremony, but unless there's only one monastery within travelling distance, you go to either the Tydin or the Froukin. (Rites and prayers are generally directed towards Tydas, but it's an either/or for most people.)

    The particulars depend on who the deceased was, who they followed, how much money the family has, where it's taking place, etc. etc., but the priest/ess will begin by praying over the deceased and that they are chosen to be guided to the Juleo. Everyone else present is supposed to be following along the priest/ess with the prayer. There are a couple such, and then the priest/ess will do some chants and ceremonial stuff specific to what god the person followed, and the spouse and/or immediate family members will scatter a handful of ashes each, and the rest of the ashes will be scattered by the priest/ess (assuming they're in a location where all of them can be scattered; if not, the priest/ess will travel somewhere else later to finish up).

    Usually funerals don't cost much, at least for the family, because they're just paying for the priest/ess to either give them the space to hold the ceremony or come out to the space the family picked to do the ceremony, which is typically pretty cheap.

    I have two (brief) scenes of a funeral, but one of them is part of a massive document that takes forever to load, but the other one is pretty small, so here is a bit:

    (context: Othorn heir (Tyrone) just died. It's from the POV of the late prince's fiance. Because it's a prince and there's a large audience, it's super formal, but the average funeral wouldn't be this ceremonial.)

    With the last solemn prayer finished, the High Priest opened the urn and poured some of the ashes into His Lord King Abercourtney Cosetta IV’s open palms, then into His Lord Prince Adrinne Cosetta II's palms.
    Abercourtney opened a gap between his palms for the wind to take the ashes and cried, “Our dear Aelyzac! Do not let my son be forsaken! May you convince your daughter to send a carrier!”
    All eyes turned to the prince now-- the new heir. His voice was not quite as loud as he opened his palms: “Our dear Aelyzac! Do not let my brother be forsaken! May you convince your daughter to send a carrier!”
    The High Priest began chanting again, slowly tilting the urn so that the ashes would fall out and be carried by the wind....

    (Aelyzac's daughter is Tydas, queen of the underworld, who is tasked with sending a bird to lead spirits to the Juleo. One of the Juleo's tasks is to be a gateway to Ulso/the underworld.)

    (Tyrone's fiance isn't part of the funeral because it wasn't super official yet that they were engaged + he was on his deathbed when she arrived to Othornia and they never really met. If the wedding had been fully planned, or they had actually been married, then she would've participated.)

    Q: How religious is the average person in your world?

  • @typical_demigod The idea of burials being a punishment in a society where ultimate salvation is at the very heart of the act is fascinating. It's interesting to think about the amount of pressure the living are under to make sure that everything about one's funeral is done right.

    It would make me interested in reading a situation in where the ritual, while with good spiritual intention behind it, goes terribly wrong and what the possible implications of a failed funeral might be. I can only imagine the horror and devastation that such a situation might have on the living. The possible religious ramifications. The worry it may have you feel regarding your own salvation.

    Q: How religious is the average person in your world?

    I might want to avoid some confusion by stating that I'm @Blackbird's writing partner so I'm not just speaking about Valcrest as if I'm some sort of fanfiction writer trying to add my own swing on a world that doesn't belong to me. I'm more like the parasitic worm in @Blackbird's brain.

    It's pretty easy to be religious in Valcrest, I'd say. So easy, in fact, that just by living in Valcrest, one is religious by default. You can just look at the city of Blackpond as a perfect example of this. It's the city settled by the Twin, War. That entire city becomes a vessel by which the practice of War is almost a religious duty. The antithesis would be the city Blackhurst, or what is now the ruined city and campsite of the White Shadow Healers. Blackhurst, being the settlement of the Twin, Peace, it seems almost religious to go there and practice the principals which Peace would likely preach. To be a healer, one mustn't harm people. There is a duty to protect and to rehabilitate, but never to harm in doing so. Always doing their best to be as peaceful as possible. In fact, to perform acts of aggression can be reason enough to find yourself expelled from the Healers.

    Then there's the Wolf Camp, where Mind and Heart settled, but never really made a city. In the myths, it is those two Twins, with deliberation from Death, who created the assassins. The assassins were meant to create a balance between the world and use their judgement, both emotional and logical, to decide who gets to live and die.

    These people are inherently religious by practising the beliefs of the Twins, but practising them just means participating in the society you've come to live inside. This doesn't mean that the people themselves view their actions as religious. At the end of the day, I think it mainly comes down to the fact that there doesn't seem to be quite the same pull of "divine will" in Valcrest as there is in our world. Divine will may have played a role in shaping societies when the Twins were still walking around Valcrest, but not so much anymore.

    All of this was to say that religion, in my opinion, is such an integral part of society in Valcrest that it's almost hard to call it religious at all.

    Q: Is there any civil unrest in your world? If so, how do people deal with this unrest?

  • @Plotstains

    I'm more like the parasitic worm in @Blackbird's brain.

    Huh. Now that I think about it, that probably explains my random bouts of Canadian-like politeness. And my curling obsession. :P

    These people are inherently religious by practising the beliefs of the Twins, but practising them just means participating in the society you've come to live inside. This doesn't mean that the people themselves view their actions as religious. At the end of the day, I think it mainly comes down to the fact that there doesn't seem to be quite the same pull of "divine will" in Valcrest as there is in our world. Divine will may have played a role in shaping societies when the Twins were still walking around Valcrest, but not so much anymore.

    Also, this makes me realize just how much of an anomaly it actually is that Gabrielle completely denies the Twins' existence seeing how ingrained in society the belief actually is. I mean, you may not pray to the Twins or even have read the Myths at all, but if you were raised in Valcrest then you would in some way shape or form have learned to accept that version of 'reality'. Gabrielle... Just doesn't.

    @typical_demigod That was pretty interesting. The main reason I asked this question is I realized that, even though I haven't figured out most religious rites yet (mostly because they vary from faction to faction and depending on what Twin the person worships), I've actually written funerals for pretty much every faction in Valcrest at this point. :P

    I always thought the concept of the spirit being trapped inside the body was utterly terrifying. It's like being buried alive. Only not. Because you're already dead and you can't die.

    I think I'm claustrophobic now. :|

    Q: Is there any civil unrest in your world? If so, how do people deal with this unrest?

    Hmmmph... This... God damn you. =.=

    If SOF is anything to go by... They flail and panic and break shit because the world is ending. :P

    As with a many great deal of things, this isn't something we really developed that well yet in the sense that I don't know how Valcrest would behave when not in the midst of an apocalyptic catastrophe, but I personally like to think that civil unrest is more of a problem in Newhaven than in Blackpond because the people there would feel more confident that they will not be executed immediately for it. Although, depending on how far it goes, they might be. They would also hold their government to much higher standards than the people of Blackpond. Blackpond citizens don't expect their King to care and they don't expect their taxes to actually go into anything more significant than war efforts. They've accepted the fact that they're going to, for the most part, fend for themselves.

    In short, I think NH citizens are spoiled and thus more prone to hissy fits. That said, I also consider the NH government to be (normally) pretty effective in subduing civil unrest, and actual violent uprisings to be rare. Rare and quickly dealt with by the guard (again; normally).

    Q: What do you consider to be the most ungrateful job to have in your world?

  • @Plotstains Hmm. I have not considered what might happen in the case of a failed funeral. In terms of the living, I know that there would be intense fear that the person would come back as a malevolent spirit, or mally, which is essentially a ghost that was refused entrance to the afterlife. (They may not initially start out malevolent, or may, rarely, even be benevolent, but if you expect to go to the paradisaical afterlife and you get stuck as a ghost watching life go on without you, you're gonna get pretty bitter after a while.)

    The family would probably demand that the monastery of the Representative* conducting the ceremony to recompense them, most likely monetarily. The monastery would also be expected to (free of charge) protect the family from the potential mally. (Basically, this monastery is probably going to be on its knees for the immediate family they affected for a very, very long time.)

    I haven't had a natural, old-age death in story yet, but I do know that the older a person gets, and the closer to the average age of death, the more they start to prepare for their death. If they have the ability, it's very carefully planned.

    Interestingly, I don't think the average person would fear having their funeral go wrong unless they've personally seen one go terribly wrong. A Representative allowed to handle a funeral wouldn't be just haphazardly assigned; they'd be carefully trained in numerous prayers and rites (because there are so many different deities that the person may personally follow). If a person had to choose between a Tydin or Froukin Representative, they'd probably go with the Tydin, simply because she's better respected, but they would have confidence that both of them could perform their duties equally well.

    *I forgot that the term used to refer to clergy members is Representative. I knew I had it wrong but I couldn't remember what it was lol

    I'm kinda curious about this now, too.... You made the idea spark in my brain and I have a rough concept now. When I get time to write something properly, I might have to see what happens...

    Ha! Well, I'm sure that as long as you tagged @Blackbird properly, she'd be flattered to know that there was someone writing Valcrest fanfiction.

    It's interesting to think how ingrained the religion is in the society. On that note about Gabrielle, it would also explain why some people wouldn't be able to approach the topic of atheism without getting into an argument.

    @Blackbird That's rather depressing. There's quite a few factions in Valcrest.

    That's pretty much how they feel. It's only just worse than being a wandering spirit (re: everyone who doesn't make it to the after life), because at least as a wandering spirit you can, you know, wander.

    I'm not sure if NH citizens are spoiled so much as have a functioning government, compared to Blackpond.

    Q: Is there any civil unrest in your world? If so, how do people deal with this unrest?

    Haha. Let's see if this makes sense.

    Well, in Craestan, there's a fun, very bloody, civil war going on. Think French Revolution. The peeps got tired of their king and were like, "what if-- hold on a second, bear with me-- what if we overthrew the king?" and after one too many wars gone badly, everyone just sorta. Agreed.

    By the 880s, the violent aspect of the unrest is starting to wind down. Craestan has a semi-functioning government that isn't being overthrown by a different faction that's upset it didn't win the popular vote and it's becoming official that the legal heir prince has failed to receive support from any powerful neighbor and is beginning to give up on retaking the throne. On that note, Craestan actually invented republicanism; give them three cheers for their world-changing government.

    Anyway, Craestan's unrest has sent the rest of the world into a state of terror. War has been at an all time low, barely, and that's mostly because monarchs are terrified of Craestan becoming them.

    Provabia - For various reasons, the lower rungs hate their position, and because of propaganda that's been going around, they don't feel they have any support whatsoever from the queen. Popular support around her has been waning, and she (as well as parts of the government) fear that if one mildly bad thing happens, the people may very well start protesting, and even launch the country into a state of unrest such as Craestan was recently in.

    Trusia - Everyone's poor and everyone's starving. Kinda amazing the king hasn't been overthrown yet tbh. People don't really have the resources to do anything about it, though, so they just kinda deal with it.

    Etrien - I... they're an undeveloped mystery to me. I know they're huge misogynists. Maybe the women are causing the unrest here and will eventually take over the government? (that... sounds kinda amazing tbh.)

    Othornia - This is a whole other bag of cats. (Is that the expression?)

    Othornia has been tormented by civil unrest for most of the century. To get us started, let's talk about the Hunters.

    I'm debating on their exact history, but they're popularly considered a religious cult, made up of a few thousand members. They live mostly on the edges of the Highlands, but their leader started pushing Abercourtney for more and more territory they were allowed to inhabit, until it got to the point that he made it legal for them to travel anywhere without risk of religious persecution, arrest, and/or execution (though travel still isn't really safe for Hunters).

    Well, he died, and when Scylla found out, she immediately traveled up to talk to his successor, who she thought would be just as liberal. Unfortunately for her, Adrinne doesn't really like her that much, and basically refuses to speak with her, even through letter. (He does say that he's willing to talk to one of her proteges, but she doesn't want her protege to go there for various reasons.)

    So, Scylla's causing a racket in the Highlands and demanding better treatment. For their part, several generations of ingrained hatred towards the Hunters has led Highlanders to start demanding that Adrinne lessen their rights; preferably, back to what they were pre-Abercourtney.

    This brings us to the Highlands! Besides generally hating the Hunters, they also desire better treatment from the law. (Coincidence? ...actually, I think so O_o) They basically took over the job of feeding Othornia after the Province was lost, but they don't think they see very much of the money. Besides this, they're watching Craestan, and getting vibes from Sabe nationalism, and thinking to themselves: Why can't we be our own nation? If we become a nation, the Othorns can't make us fight in their wars! Or grow their food! Or be a functioning part of their country!

    So they're trying to go diplomatic about this, trying to talk Adrinne into making them the crown jewel of Othornia, but they're also organizing protests in the event that this fails.

    Now we come to Sabia. Sabia is... pretty chill? They're a mostly-autonomous unit of Othornia that people refer to as its own country, but it falls under control of Othornia. They don't really care for another 50-60 years, but they do have a strong sense of self, in terms of nationality.

    Q: What do you consider to be the most ungrateful job to have in your world?

    In Provabia alone - if it's a task everyone sees fit for a slave to do, it's ungrateful.

    Worldwide, the most ungrateful job is that of the cremator. He must deal with numerous angry people, and a few impatient Representatives, and he has to stay generous through it all, since most of these people are in mourning. (Some are rude/jerks, but a handful of bad reviews in a large enough town, and you're out of a town.)

    On the other hand, he probably gets paid a decent amount.

    Also, now that I note bodies are cremated in crematoriums, not by Representatives, that's all there is to it. No rites or ceremonies. They probably have something on their deathbed (if possible), and then of course they have the funeral, but the actual cremation is just sorta a step in the middle no one thinks twice about, from a religious perspective.

    Q: What is weather like in your world?

  • Q: What is weather like in your world?
    The overall world temperature is rather high, but most of the organisms have adapted to this. One of the peculiarities of this is the constant storms out at sea which makes open-water sailing difficult. Only off shore sailing is relatively safe.

    The southern part of the continent is a large ferocious desert with sandstorms which contrasts with the rapidly declining tundra area in the northeast. The central part of the world is the bread-basket and has moderate temperatures that are suitable for crop raising with little in the way of natural disasters. To the west of the southern desert is a city built around a waterfall which commonly has fog roll in. On the Northwest part of the world is a mountainous region which has a brisky wind year around. In the east are two forest regions, the top region which receives a large amount of rain while the bottom region receives a moderate amount. In between the zones of Central, East and Northwest is a great plain area which is dry, but not quite desert dry.

    Hopefully I didn't dig too deep into geographic details.

    What kind of important landmarks do you have in your world?

  • @andrewngn13 Welcome! Sorry for the very delayed response; I kept meaning to come back, but then life kept happening.

    One of the peculiarities of this is the constant storms out at sea which makes open-water sailing difficult. Only off shore sailing is relatively safe.

    This is something that happens in my world, more or less. There's only a short span of time when sailing on the open sea is at all safe, so it really hasn't started happening until very recently in the world's history.

    Does the world include humans and other species we would recognize from Earth, or not? You say most of the organisms have adapted to the hotter world, which is why I ask.

    Q: What kind of important landmarks do you have in your world?

    Not enough, lol.

    One worth talking about is the King's Mountain.

    North the Channel, you have, among others, the Province and Othornia. They're split, more or less, by the Ulsin mountain range. Othornia owns most of the mountains.

    Some of the mountains are volcanic, but most of them are or have been lived on or around at some point in the history of Othornia. King's Mountain is particularly interesting because the first king of the Cosetta dynasty, Hugo, decided to build a fortress into the mountain.

    It goes through phases of use and disuse, depending on who's monarch. Usually, it's maintained, simply because a monarch or someone in his family may decide to vacation in the city to get a break from the beach, but there is the occasional king who doesn't give a crap and let's it fall into complete disrepair for the duration of his reign.

    Historically, the only time a common person is allowed to even think about entering the castle is if a royal wedding, funeral, coronation, or other major, publicly held event is going on.

    Why is it a landmark, then? Mostly because Hugo Cosetta built it, but also because it's literally built into the mountain. In recent months, it's become even more of a landmark because Adrinne moved the court to the mountain, and all speculators agree that he's probably not moving back down to the traditional (unnamed) capital on the coast, making it the capital for all intensive purposes.

    In the future, after Adrinne's rule, it'll fall into disuse and disrepair. The government (or anyone else) doesn't have the money to maintain something of its size when no one is going to be using it, and so it becomes a landmark of engineering and Othornia's lost empire.

    Q: Are there, or were there, any major empires in your world?

  • I've been away for a while myself, but I do love these worldbuilding exercises.

    Q: Are there, or were there, any major empires in your world?

    A: Not specifically empires as I would think of them. But there may be one forming. Earth has evolved to have 7 major Sister Nations enveloping all smaller countries under their wings. This has worked well so far, but with recent catastrophic events, having only 7 powerful nations may come back to bite them.

    Q: How do the leaders of your world deal with the less fortunate?

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