Worldbuilding Respond, Answer, Ask (October Edition)



  • What is the Worldbuilding Respond, Answer, Ask?

    Are you a fantasy writer? A science fiction writer? A historical fiction writer? A fanfiction writer? Are you struggling to figure out what exactly your world is about?

    Congrats! You found a thread that will give you prompts to think about aspects of your world you may not have thought about before. How does it work?

    I'll leave a question at the end of this post. The first person to find the thread will post an answer to that question, and leave a question at the end of their post.

    Then another person will arrive. They'll read the first person's post, leave a response (maybe compliment something, or ask a question about something) to the first person's answer. Then, they'll answer the question that person left from the perspective of their world, and leave a question for the next person at the end of their post.

    Something like:

    Q: What is travel like in your world?
    P1: Easy. Portals are usually kept in temples, and getting a mage to open it to a specific location is as easy as having a couple coins.
    P1: leaves question How frivolous are the rich of your world?

    P2: responds to P1 Wow, that sounds nice! Are there any side effects to using portals?
    P2: answers P1's question
    P2: leaves their own question

    And so forth.

    Some notes!

    Your world doesn't need to be a secondary world to answer. Writing a novel set in 1735? Is your story set exactly tomorrow, but with werewolves? Though many questions here tend to apply to secondary worlds, there are plenty others that you can use to fit your modern (or other) setting. If you keep getting stuck behind either questions that can't apply to your world (maybe you don't have magic), then feel free to either pick from a previous question that does apply to your world OR ask for other participants to try posting some more world-neutral questions.
    (If you're socially awkward and don't want to do that on the thread, feel free to PM me and I'll help ya out :) )

    Sometimes posts get long. It happens. Don't flip out. If it's what you need to explain a concept fully and understandably, then do so. On that note:

    Try to write about a paragraph when you post. It's hard to respond when you write two sentences about X element of your world. On the same hand as long posts, sometimes a topic doesn't require a lot of explanation. And that's totally okay! But try not to let one-sentence-answers become a habit.

    Topics can be whatever you think of.

    Don't forget to respond! Responding to other peoples worlds is part of what makes this thread as much fun as it is! Even if all you have to say is "That sounds so awesome" or "That's so weird O.o" -- say it!

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

    A question to start us off: Has there been a part of your worldbuilding that's changed drastically since the first drafts (eg. key aspects of races/factions, era in time, historical events of great significance, etc.)?



  • @Shy_Not_Fly

    Why, you may ask?
    The answer is simple, my fellow Plotter: For The Aesthetic [tm]!

    mood

    In an inversion to this question, a feature of the tremisians often overlooked but possibly weird according to interpretation is the fact that there are religious tremisians. Due to their advanced civilisation and the fact they've combined cultures in a somewhat erasive way, humans have assumed they are the equivalent of the borg mixed with vulcans.

    I actually love this and I wish more stories would have fun w their aliens like this >.>

    Has the combination of cultures in that nature caused any tensions (p sure that's not the word I want but idk what I do want so) in tremisian culture or has it been that way for so long that it's just a 'eh' part of their society?

    Q: Has there been a part of your worldbuilding that's changed drastically since the first drafts (eg. key aspects of races/factions, era in time, historical events of great significance, etc.)?

    The world my CRAA characters are from, which at this point is just The Realms, has gone through a lot of change. Such as, the name technically isn't really relevant anymore, but when I first started developing it I didn't want to think of country names so as placeholders I decided things like "the Second Realm" worked. There was actually interesting history behind it, as there were 8 realms but only 6 countries. Two realms were missing from the roster, in short. Like one and seven, I think.

    Over time, countries and regions have started getting names. I have a paper somewhere that has the details on which countries = which realms, as well as where the realms that no longer exist probably were at. The titles aren't really a large part of the world anymore, but if I decided to reincorporate it, there would be an actual reason for two realms being absent from the list of extant countries. Othornia conquered them over the last 800 years :P

    In terms of Othornia, not much has changed except that regions and international relationships became more defined.

    The Province wasn't invented until 2015. In 2015, my Nano novel was the story of Ana, Fisk, and Magnus. (I don't remember if I said this last month in the CRAA, but the TL;DR of the story is "Fisk & Magnus are drawn into a conspiracy to usurp the Ana of her throne". Pretty exciting stuff. Anyway, Othornia was the foundation of the world, but the story (OttQ) took place in Provabia. So, the rest of the world started getting developed. That was a pretty drastic change from the first drafts that took place in Othornia, as in those drafts IIRC, there were only offhand references to other nations or regions, outside of the Highlands/Hunters.

    Which leads to era. At some point, I settled on the world being pseudo-19th century. Sadly, in 2015, I forgot that 1800s =/= 18th century when I was googling things, and stumbled into late 1700s European information. I liked the fashion and the atmosphere annnnnd it stuck. Some things remained leftover; for example, the invention of the camera is a recent but major thing, but overall, that late 18th century aesthetic just works substantially better for what's going on in the world.

    A while ago I decided to slide the continent south of the equator, so that the farther south you go, the colder, and the farther north, the more temperate. I haven't written a lot since making the decision, so in all older drafts it'd be reversed, but yeah, that's a thing.

    Sea travel was never really a thing, and now there's more info behind it. Because they're teeechnically on the (tidally locked) moon of a gas giant, the ocean is unpredictable and stormy most months of the year. This led to the very slowed development of ships/ocean travel, but with the recent discovery of oil in whales, technology has exploded for sea travel. That's all relevant solely because I decided there was another continent, and there's a whole story thing around a group of sailors that get shipwrecked there ;)

    (...that's why they don't have potatoes yet. no one has gotten shipwrecked yet. >.>)

    annnnd...... yeah. I think that's it? maybe? There's a lot of development that's been done on the story over the years, but especially over the last few, so. :P

    Q: Is there anything that you should or want to develop more but haven't?



  • @typical_demigod

    I actually love this and I wish more stories would have fun w their aliens like this >.>

    Honestly, I've always found it odd that aliens always seem to be presented as these sort of cookie-cutter species that have loads and loads and loads in common with very little difference, and yet we hardly expect that from human characters??? So I have tried (arguably to varying degrees of success) to worldbuild the alien races just as I would a fictional human society.

    To answer your question...it's a bit of both. There's a lot of contention about whether there's more cons than pros to the way they've united as a society. Using language as an example, it was imperative—starting around the planet-wide evacuation of their planet to prepare for resettlement—that there was universal communication with no misunderstandings or 'muddied' meanings; one wrong communication between what were basically arks and any number of things could've gone wrong. So what they did was formulate what they now know as Tremisian Standard, or 'Fleet Speak': a very pragmatic conlang which all tremisians were encouraged to speak as much as possible.
    Now, as mentioned before, this was very useful...but it was designed with ease of communication between arks and manuals and official broadcasts in mind. Therefore, it lacked the poetry of the older, more natural tremisian languages that were spoken the rest of the time, and contained no colloquialisms (ie. no slang, no informal terms or modes of address—think if you had to describe everything literally, you couldn't use swear words in TS because swear words aren't important for its purpose, and you addressed your parents as Mother/Father). And because it was supposed to be a universal language that everyone could use and understand, learning TS took major precedent over native tongues.
    Which, obviously, quite a lot of people weren't too happy about.
    It's settled down a bit now that they're on their new planet and universal communication is far less of a priority (hence the 'eh' part), but it's affected the general population's perspective/attitudes towards language, and may be the reason why there's so many tremisians opting into languages in education (coincidentally it may also be why there's a surplus of tremisians studying to become linguists).

    Sorry, that was pretty long, but yeah xD

    There was actually interesting history behind it, as there were 8 realms but only 6 countries. Two realms were missing from the roster, in short. Like one and seven, I think.

    So, were one and seven ever thought about, or were they just not relevant enough to the story to warrant worldbuilding them?

    I believe you may have mentioned the TL;DR for the story before, but still, hoo boy.

    And I know exactly what you mean about the 1800 =/= 18th century confusion. Why is that even a thing? thinking face

    Q: Is there anything that you should or want to develop more but haven't?

    coughs

    • The Tremisian Standard language (and a few bits and pieces in the old languages)
    • Arretian culture
    • Shared history between humans and tremisians (ie. everything that happened after First Contact up until the beginning of the story)
    • Some more research into diseases and genetic mutations, but this is less about the worldbuilding and more about me being a curious bitch lmao

    That's all I can think of right now x3
    Q: Tell me something you find the most interesting about your world.



  • -cautiously crawls into forum- hi.

    coughs

    • The Tremisian Standard language (and a few bits and pieces in the old languages)
    • Arretian culture
    • Shared history between humans and tremisians (ie. everything that happened after First Contact up until the beginning of the story)
    • Some more research into diseases and genetic mutations, but this is less about the worldbuilding and more about me being a curious bitch lmao

    That's all I can think of right now x3

    Sounds like a bunch of research-y things. Are you planning to develop the language?

    I've always been fascinated by writers' opinions on whether or not full-blown languages should be created for fantasy stories. On one hand there's the people who are creating Tolkien-level languages, and then the people going WORLD-BUILDING DISEASE AAAHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING JUST TELL ME THE STORY.

    As for me, the only "language" related stuff I've developed in my main story is that there's a lot of vowel sounds, and I only know that much because I have a lot of characters with vowel-heavy names. Oops.

    Q: Tell me something you find the most interesting about your world.

    Interesting, interesting, interesting, ummmm…

    I think I'm gonna say the Oracles? Uhhhh how to introduce them… (I'm writing this right now when I should be sleeping and I'm 99% sure I'm slightly loopy. :D)

    Basically the Oracles are anyone with blue eyes. Yes, blue eyes. Usually between the ages of 3 and 6, children's eyes will sometimes turn from brown or green to blue. When that happens, the Guardians then take the child to an isolated castle a few days' travel from the capital city, where they then spend the rest of their life only in the company of other Oracles and the Guardians (who are like part bodyguards and part scribes to record the Oracles' prophecies).

    Aside from the blue eyes, thing, though, what really makes the Oracles interesting, is instead of having some confusing riddle that the hero of the story won't understand until the climax, the Oracles prophecies…literally come out as nonsense. Like imagine a kid just learning how to speak and you can understand every one word in ten? That's your prophecy.

    The prophecies do come with visions, which are a little more useful, except that as soon as it's over, the Oracles gradually begin to forget what it was they even saw. (Hence the need for the Guardians. Every Oracle is always accompanied by one, so if they go into prophecy, the Guardian can write down both what understandable words did get said, and ask the Oracle what they saw in the vision before they forget it.)

    Uh, other interesting Oracle facts:

    • they only age when exposed to the weather. So if they're locked up in a castle and never leave -coughcough- then they can live roughly up to 500 years. Or if they're caught out in a storm, they can age like 10 years in an hour.

    • the process of becoming an Oracle is kind of…traumatic. Well, a little. Their eyes turn blue, some internal stuff (mostly their reproductive system) gets fried, and they tend to…forget stuff.

    • if your kid's eyes turn blue, you have to turn them over to the Guardians to be taken to the oracle castle. You will never see your kid again. Hiding them is illegal and will be punished. Parents tend to hide their kids anyway, which causes some interesting conflict for the story. >:D

    WELL THIS GOT LONG. OOPS.

    What role do music/art/creative pursuits play in your world?



  • @morgan-dusky Welcome to the forums, Morgan ^-^

    Ohhhhh yes, I love my research maybe a little too much? I have a big problem with procrastination so it's probably not a good idea xD and I've thought about fully-developing the language—I really want to—but at the same time...it's effort and I may just end up developing the basics like greetings and important plot-relevant terms.
    To be honest, I don't mind which way people swing when it comes to conlangs in fiction, so long as a) either there's a translation or I can deduce what it means from context, and b) my suspension of disbelief isn't shattered in the process.

    As for me, the only "language" related stuff I've developed in my main story is that there's a lot of vowel sounds, and I only know that much because I have a lot of characters with vowel-heavy names. Oops.

    To be fair, sometimes that's all you really need shrug but it sounds like a rather pleasant language to hear (hah, 'sounds', ignore my horrible pun).

    I think I'm gonna say the Oracles? Uhhhh how to introduce them… (I'm writing this right now when I should be sleeping and I'm 99% sure I'm slightly loopy. :D)

    Hey, writing when you should be sleeping is a perfect time for that! ;D Last night I wrote an introduction to my WIPs for a blog and I must've been up till...10/11pm? Late hours on a college night, anyway xD

    These Oracles do seem really interesting! How did they come about? Is there some sort of folklore behind them or have they always been around in this world? And why do they only age in the weather?

    Like imagine a kid just learning how to speak and you can understand every one word in ten? That's your prophecy.

    coughcoughMeat11oclockatnightdesperatelytryingtostayawakecough

    (and don't worry about it being long, we all love getting wordy around here ^-^)

    What role do music/art/creative pursuits play in your world?
    Same role they play in our world, I suppose. There is more of an emphasis on appreciating the arts, though, so much so that a lot of 2060s Earth tech tends to be given all sorts of artistic makeovers (think headphone sets with wings fashioned onto them, or solar-panel-windows with stained glass to make murals and brighten up buildings). Additionally, because of the tremisians' arrival, there have been encouragements to hold arts festivals and events that celebrate both human and alien cultures through creative means.
    When it comes to the tremisians, though, there's a lot less emphasis and priority put on the arts. As my MC Jake would probably put it, "Because a sweet guitar riff isn't going to help you if the port side of a space ark carrying millions of people has a massive bloody hole in it, apparently." So yeah, survival kinda pushed all that to the wayside for the tremisian people, which isn't to say that they don't have those things, but tremisians are expected to have a 'practical' skill in (eg.) engineering or agriculture on top of that creative talent.
    As for the not-often-discussed arretians, arguably they place just as much, if not more importance, on the arts than we do. Particularly storytelling, which has been a major part of how they've passed down history and culture to their descendants as the least naturally-advanced race in terms of technology (most of their tech now comes from the tremisians either from sharing the blueprints or reverse-engineering it as best as they can); being a telepathic species also helps to retain all that historical knowledge. Leading on from that point, they also have a sort of 'mind theatre' where mass stories are told, where vivid psychic imagery and emotion is poured out to the audience as the story progresses.
    I would go on, but I've started getting hungry as well as tired, so I'll leave it there xD

    Q: How far has technology advanced (or even regressed) in your world? What would you say is the most advanced thing it has to offer?



  • @Shy_Not_Fly

    Honestly, I've always found it odd that aliens always seem to be presented as these sort of cookie-cutter species that have loads and loads and loads in common with very little difference, and yet we hardly expect that from human characters??? So I have tried (arguably to varying degrees of success) to worldbuild the alien races just as I would a fictional human society.

    Same lol. Doing that is actually the source of a lot of conflict in Earthlings that wouldn't necessarily exist if the quecheen were just a cookie cutter species :P

    That's interesting tho. Did anyone bring native slang/swears/etc with them when they started learning TS or were they super strict?

    So, were one and seven ever thought about, or were they just not relevant enough to the story to warrant worldbuilding them?

    They were, actually. IIRC in world, they were just lost. Maybe across some mountains?? The actual reason I don't remember. :P

    Some more research into diseases and genetic mutations, but this is less about the worldbuilding and more about me being a curious bitch lmao

    mood

    solar-panel-windows with stained glass to make murals and brighten up buildings

    I still love this concept :D

    The arretians seem like an interesting little group as well, lol.

    @morgan-dusky Welcome! And yeah, as Shy said, don't worry about getting wordy :)

    As for me, the only "language" related stuff I've developed in my main story is that there's a lot of vowel sounds, and I only know that much because I have a lot of characters with vowel-heavy names. Oops.

    Tbh that's about how much I develop of languages, even tho I think it'd be fun to go into more depth. Especially when there's characters from multiple linguistic backgrounds, I find it helpful to at least know how that language sounds, that way I can think about their accent. :P

    These Oracles do seem really interesting! How did they come about? Is there some sort of folklore behind them or have they always been around in this world? And why do they only age in the weather?

    I also wonder these things, esp the weather part.

    How are parents generally punished for hiding their kids?

    Q: Tell me something you find the most interesting about your world.

    Probably Ulso. You'd think if you lived on a moon that was tidally locked to a giant planet with 1-2 other moons visible at any given time, people would be interested in space. Wrong! All three celestial objects have religious roles and only very recently have astronomers started to exist and question how the moons/planet work in a non-religious context.

    In world, Ulso is where the gods live and where people (that are allowed) go for the afterlife. That disregarded, it's considered a moon. Even though it's so large it blocks the sun completely in the afternoon and people have no choice but to take a nap. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    The two moons are named after two major deities (Tydas & Thancin, I believe) and those deities live on the moons, as well as some people taken to the afterlife? I forget the details and idk where they might be written down :P

    The other fun bit about Ulso is that monarchs use it to justify their reign. It's not quite divine right, but yeah it's pretty much divine right. Basically, orange topazes are an incredibly rare Thing. Supposedly, they're pieces of Ulso itself (which looks Jupiter-esque, color-wise), given to the original monarch of a dynasty by a deity themself, or else taken by the founding monarch of a dynasty from the previous dynasty.

    Q: What role do music/art/creative pursuits play in your world?

    There's a special instrument (I have to rename it >.>) which is played during all holidays, celebrations, parties, or anything else that might be super loud, in order to basically keep the gods asleep, and it's the most important creative thing you'll see in the world. The idea is, "We're being loud, which might wake up the gods. So let's play this instrument, which depending on the event you can't even hear over the crowd, in order to keep the gods asleep!"

    In the north, anyone can play it. In the south, technically anyone can play it, but it's very much a woman's instrument/job to know how to play it, and if a mother doesn't start teaching her daughter by a certain age, both are looked down upon. Generally the only time you'll see a guy playing it in the south is if they immigrated from the north :P

    Other art, including other music, just depends. Painting is seen as superfluous by the poor, but the rich obsess over it. Musicians (that aren't playing the Special Instrument) are often looked down upon, even as they are hired by aristocrats or tour the continent giving concerts. Theatre is a popular pastime, especially in cities where there are multiple options and anyone can get in for relatively cheap, but they usually only retell popular myths and legends. You don't see original plays unless you're sponsoring a playwright or you know someone who is (so, unless you have money).

    Authors are soooort've a thing? Most books are scholarly or scientific in nature. Like... oral tradition is still the primary form of telling history or religious stories. What history has been officially recorded in print, has a lot of myth mixed in. In Othornia particularly, some people have started going around collecting religious stories, but that's more because Adrinne has a personal interest in it and is paying people than because the average person is interested in printing them.

    Because printing is uncommon outside of academic settings, you don't see a lot of fiction outside of the libraries of the crazy rich.

    Original art in general is starting to decline because the crazy rich are starting to hide that they're crazy rich, and the royalty are starting to care very much that people don't view their financial decisions as wasteful/selfish while people are starving in the fields. Thanks Craestan :)

    Q: How far has technology advanced (or even regressed) in your world? What would you say is the most advanced thing it has to offer?

    Carrying on, printing presses are very much a thing, but only very recently have people started to utilize them outside of academic settings. Literacy is still very much an uncommon thing outside of cities where people might have access to free teachers, but even there it's not common. Particularly in Othornia, that's something that would begin to improve over the years, but again, only because Adrinne has a personal interest in literature and makes efforts to make it accessible :P

    Guns are a thing. Medicine is something that is always improving, especially with the constant warfare. I can't say they know about germ theory or things along those lines, but they're aware that cleanliness increases chances of survival/reduces risk of infection. (Whether or not they can actually create a clean environment is another story.) It's still very religiously-inclined, but there's definite science in there, if unwittingly.

    Most naval technology is pretty ancient, by our standards and probably even by the standards of the ancients, because beyond travelling across the Channel, seafare is very, very new.

    I'm sure there's more to be said, but I can't think of it :P

    Q: What does medicine look like in your world?



  • @typical_demigod

    Did anyone bring native slang/swears/etc with them when they started learning TS or were they super strict?

    Of course they brought them over, but the main council of the Fleet was very strict about sticking to TS on Official Channels (ie. on the bridges, cross-ship communication, etc.). This didn't really stop them from flinging about native-language informalities on less major channels and in physical conversations with family and friends, though.
    One word in particular word I need to worldbuild is one of those untranslateable words that is essentially defined as: an expression of gratitude so deeply felt that it cannot be put into words or sufficiently reflected in one's actions in the eyes of the one who is grateful. And tremisians, if we're going to be very generalistic, are big on actions and merit, so something like that is going to be a big deal (obviously you get the people who abuse the word like I abuse swear words, but still xD). Interestingly, because of the arretians' telepathy they've got zero concept of the sentiment behind the word, making the meaning pointless to them. You usually find arretians will either a) abuse the word when talking to non-arretians due to their complete lack of understanding (and/or just want to fit in with the other species), or b) not use it at all for this very reason (and/or because they don't want to disrespect the tremisians).

    Lol gotta love some lost realms ;D Hopefully they can be found again by some overly-curious explorer :P

    I really do need to worldbuild the arretians more, though. They started off as just Really Tall Humans With Weird Coloured Skin And Long Flowing Hair And Basically They Were Just Space Elves, and then I started focusing more on the telepathy aspect and now they're Telepathic Space Elves Crossed With Octopi :3

    Tbh that's about how much I develop of languages, even tho I think it'd be fun to go into more depth. Especially when there's characters from multiple linguistic backgrounds, I find it helpful to at least know how that language sounds, that way I can think about their accent. :P

    That's true. Quite a few of my characters are either from somewhat diverse backgrounds or just happen to like learning languages (Shaan being a prime example) and knowing how the language sounds is a great help. Usually you can infer the sounds from the alphabet and what kind of words there are (eg. Turkish looks and sounds a lot different to Spanish, which looks and sounds different to Scottish Gaelic, which is different to Greek which is different to Somali and so on). Then again... eyes Scottish Gaelic, and English for that matter sometimes the letters don't match the sounds the way you'd expect.

    The two moons are named after two major deities (Tydas & Thancin, I believe) and those deities live on the moons, as well as some people taken to the afterlife? I forget the details and idk where they might be written down :P

    I do like the idea of the moons being where you 'go' after you die, and also just the religious aspects in general. Funnily enough, I think I have some notes somewhere with a similar religious view of the moons. Can't remember if it was a tremisian faith or arretian though because I'm hella disorganised and my notebooks are all over the place.

    The other fun bit about Ulso is that monarchs use it to justify their reign. It's not quite divine right, but yeah it's pretty much divine right. Basically, orange topazes are an incredibly rare Thing. Supposedly, they're pieces of Ulso itself (which looks Jupiter-esque, color-wise), given to the original monarch of a dynasty by a deity themself, or else taken by the founding monarch of a dynasty from the previous dynasty.

    Ooooh, I like that too! It sounds like the orange topaz is basically the Ulso Monarch's Certificate Seal of Monarchi-approval-ness—has there ever been a case of someone stealing the topaz from a monarch and effectively becoming the next monarch themselves? Might it encourage monarchs to be a tad sneakier?

    Q: What does medicine look like in your world?
    Well, the good news for future!humanity is, we're a lot closer to eradicating cancer than we are at the moment. We still haven't cured it, nor has it stopped being dangerous to have, but we've worked out more treatments that will push back the threat of dying from it by a noticeable margin. Deaths are still prevalent.
    The problem f!humans have to contend with more than we do are the numerous viruses cropping up within the last few decades on top of the natural disasters. There are many reasons why they've become more of a problem (including, rather interestingly, deforestation as a factor, which I didn't even know had an effect until I was looking it up lol), but it got bad enough that humanity saw a return of the Spanish Flu. Which...was not nice. [Understatement of the Century]
    And I've just realised it's 9pm so I'd better wrap this up before I forget and then leave this reply to collect dust xD

    Q: What's the top worst things to die from in your world?



  • @Shy_Not_Fly That makes sense.

    Interestingly, because of the arretians' telepathy they've got zero concept of the sentiment behind the word, making the meaning pointless to them. You usually find arretians will either a) abuse the word when talking to non-arretians due to their complete lack of understanding (and/or just want to fit in with the other species), or b) not use it at all for this very reason (and/or because they don't want to disrespect the tremisians).

    That's entertaining tbh

    I really do need to worldbuild the arretians more, though. They started off as just Really Tall Humans With Weird Coloured Skin And Long Flowing Hair And Basically They Were Just Space Elves, and then I started focusing more on the telepathy aspect and now they're Telepathic Space Elves Crossed With Octopi :3

    It's a start lol

    Then again... eyes Scottish Gaelic, and English for that matter sometimes the letters don't match the sounds the way you'd expect.

    rude >.>

    Ooooh, I like that too! It sounds like the orange topaz is basically the Ulso Monarch's Certificate Seal of Monarchi-approval-ness—has there ever been a case of someone stealing the topaz from a monarch and effectively becoming the next monarch themselves? Might it encourage monarchs to be a tad sneakier?

    sooo
    yes. no. yes.
    (tldr at the bottom lol)

    It is definitely a Seal of Approval. It is very carefully guarded. It is actually a point in OttQ that Ana takes the topaz before she flees and carries it in her possession for the rest of the novel, both to prevent her usurpers from having access and to use it to help her persuade foreign courts to give her support.

    Mere possession =/= "I bow before you my king", or vice versa. Ana takes the topaz with her in order to underwrite her cousin's (IIRC) legitimacy and give her time to figure her life out, but with support in the right places, he could still become king. He just doesn't have quite the same legitimacy without possession of the topaz. On the same hand, whenever Ana returned, if people decided they preferred him and/or the important people were in favor of him vs her, her mere possession of the topaz wouldn't make it so people accepted her back with open arms. In that situation, she would actually probably have it forcibly taken and given to the cousin, and then what happens to her after could be anything from basically nothing to exile or execution, since she does legally have a claim to the throne.

    Craestan is more complicated. About a decade ago, they entered basically their version of the French Revolution, hence people, especially royalty, becoming very cautious about how they spend their money in the public eye. (That's another topic and I'm going to refrain from discussing it.) So, a few years back, most of the royal family was murdered. The survivors are the prince and legitimate heir to the Craestic throne and a princess and her two sons, who barely escape with their lives. (Her husband, a merchant dude, ends up executed and that's how she eventually marries Adrinne :P )

    The new government is not a monarchy. Craestan has actually been through several governments, but all of them are set up in a republic style. As each new government comes to power, they make it a point to steal the topaz from whoever the last government was, where possible. With the relatively-constant changing of power, it's one of the few forms of legitimacy they have beyond sheer firepower (given that the capital still breaks out into political warfare from time to time). If, eventually, the topaz just got lost in the chaos (v possible), it would have little effect on Craestic government.

    If the Craestic prince had possession of the topaz, would he be able to reinstate the monarchy? Not without firepower. There is very little support (at least vocally) of the royal family in Craestan, so he's not getting any there. Throughout at least the 870s-880s he spends his time trying to convince foreign courts to loan him an army so that he can have the firepower to retake power by force, at which point, with or without the topaz, he would have the same shaky legitimacy in the eyes of the people (if not less) as the average republican government that gets itself set up.

    The idea of the topaz bestowing what is essentially divine right has also been lacking in power since deism has started becoming a common and widely accepted theology. The idea of deism is that the gods exist, but they don't intervene with humanity. The following train of thought is (and especially with Craestan in the corner figuring out its life), if the gods no longer care, then rulers of the modern day can't ever receive their blessing to rule, so to speak.

    Deism itself is a touchy subject, partially bc it's so new and partially bc of how their religion primarily functions, but in general even people that don't accept deism accept the concept that the gods may not necessarily support any given government just because of something so small as having possession of a jewel, whether it has supernatural origins or not.

    In terms of stealing the topaz and using that alone to become the next monarch: That wouldn't happen unless they had a network of support from major people throughout the government already, or else had taken the throne by force and were now using the topaz to help legitimize their government to people across the country.

    TL;DR: Possession of the topaz doesn't mean anything unless you have support behind you, but in terms of swaying the common person who may not know any better/may not have the power to do anything, it's a powerful piece for providing legitimacy, especially in countries that remain superstitious (eg, many parts of Provabia or somewhere like Trusia).

    so. yeah.

    The problem f!humans have to contend with more than we do are the numerous viruses cropping up within the last few decades on top of the natural disasters. There are many reasons why they've become more of a problem (including, rather interestingly, deforestation as a factor, which I didn't even know had an effect until I was looking it up lol), but it got bad enough that humanity saw a return of the Spanish Flu. Which...was not nice. [Understatement of the Century]

    nice.

    I actually do have questions about this I just don't know how to word them :P

    Q: What's the top worst things to die from in your world?

    From an in-world perspective, any death where your body, for whatever reason, can't be recovered, is a pretty bad way to go. So, for example, drowning at sea, or something like that. Dying and your body being recovered, but not identified, is also considered a bad. Outside of the Province and some other northern regions, it's pretty much impossible to determine what a person's primary diety/ies were. You miiiight be able to make some educated guesses, depending what the person may or may not have had on their person at death, but it's unlikely. The other worst-case scenario is ending up in a mass-cremation. In both cases, there's also the issue that you won't have any family/close friends there. The key reason is that even though funeral rites are pretty much the same from sect to sect, there are little differences in the ceremonies and it might make it more difficult or impossible for the spirit to find the Juleo (sort've the gatekeeper to the afterlife), and the pleas of family/close friends are said to help as well. (I don't have time to pull up documents rn for the specifics, sadly.)

    So... I mean, there are certainly gruesome types of death (I'm sure there are a couple awful forms of execution, in particular), but in general it's not how you die as much as what happens to your body after you die. Which, from their perspective, is the far more important thing. Death happens once. What happens to your body is half the difference between wandering for all eternity and going to the afterlife. :P

    Q: How important is education in your world?



  • @typical_demigod

    rude >.>

    But true. Just look at through, thought, though and thousand.

    TL;DR: Possession of the topaz doesn't mean anything unless you have support behind you, but in terms of swaying the common person who may not know any better/may not have the power to do anything, it's a powerful piece for providing legitimacy, especially in countries that remain superstitious (eg, many parts of Provabia or somewhere like Trusia).

    oof and thank you for the answer :D I just had this weird little image of my head of street urchins breaking into the palace or something and just nicking it like the cheeky little bastards they are xD but that answer does make a lot more sense

    I actually do have questions about this I just don't know how to word them :P

    Yeah, that's chill. If you think of them another time, don't feel like it's too late to ask ^-^

    it's not how you die as much as what happens to your body after you die.

    How often is it that bodies have to have a mass-cremation and/or can't be recovered or identified?

    Q: How important is education in your world?
    Okay, simply because the long and short answers for humans, tremisians and arretians is a resounding "Yes," I'm going to answer it from the perspective of Nomad and Silver's world.
    So, starting with the desert kingdom (the one on the equator which for future reference is the North kingdom), education is important to almost everyone. Definitely in the bigger cities, at least. The nomadic tribes to the outskirts of the kingdom aren't as big on academic education, but they still have a vocational education based on their desired pathway (eg. trade, smithery, etc.).
    Meanwhile, in both of the Southern kingdoms, the importance of education tends to be proportional to class, so the higher class you are, the more educated you're expected/required to be. Of course, in all the kingdoms there are many exceptions, but these are the dominant ideologies of each country in regards to education.

    Q: Any weird crimes or punishments in your world (feel free to list as many examples as you like)?



  • @Shy_Not_Fly

    But true. Just look at through, thought, though and thousand.

    oh I don't deny that. I actually have a shirt that says:
    0_1539130455543_a3083d9b-21ca-47ec-91e3-4e566fbf14e6-image.png
    (it's more fun than that one, but I'm not scrolling through Google results until I happen upon mine lol)

    oof and thank you for the answer :D I just had this weird little image of my head of street urchins breaking into the palace or something and just nicking it like the cheeky little bastards they are xD but that answer does make a lot more sense

    XDXD that would be entertaining.

    How often is it that bodies have to have a mass-cremation and/or can't be recovered or identified?

    Generally you'd see it after a battle, particularly if one side, for whatever reason, can't get access to their soldiers' bodies after it's over. Another time you might have mass-cremation is in the instance of a plague or natural catastrophe.

    In terms of a body not being identified/recovered, it'd be the same situations that we deal with. Maybe fire, maybe a sailor drowns at sea, maybe a random body is turned up that no one knows, etc. It's a particular sect (Douyrualain IIRC, or else whatever sect is available in a given region) that ends up with all the unidentified bodies in general, and they usually go to great effort to find relatives of the person, but success is limited unless a relative/friend is also actively searching out the person :/

    Meanwhile, in both of the Southern kingdoms, the importance of education tends to be proportional to class, so the higher class you are, the more educated you're expected/required to be. Of course, in all the kingdoms there are many exceptions, but these are the dominant ideologies of each country in regards to education.

    How easy/difficult is it for someone to get education above what's expected for their class?

    Q: Any weird crimes or punishments in your world (feel free to list as many examples as you like)?

    I can't think of any in the Realms, but in parts of Teslal (D&D), using a fake name or changing your name is illegal. Whether or not it's illegal depends on the religious environment, bc according to some ideologies, your name is the most important thing you own, but in others a name is a name and it doesn't matter. So it just depends on what religious beliefs are predominant in a given area.

    In terms of punishment, it would depend who you are and the context (eg, they're very lgbtq+ open, so if it was in regards to gender, you probably wouldn't get in trouble). For the most part, it'd probably be a hefty fine, but if it was a consistent issue then things might get more extreme.

    Of course, there's not a lot of paper documents in Teslal, so not changing your name mostly comes down to being in a town where everyone already knows you/has known you forever + personal morals. If you change towns and never tell them your real name, no one is going to know any differently lol.

    Generally, people who live in these areas wouldn't think of using a fake name under any circumstances already, and people who do use a fake name or change their names probably aren't going to be prosecuted anyway unless someone in charge had a bad grudge, but it is still technically against the law to do so.

    Q: How easy is it to get information around in your world? Or, make your own question up/pick one.



  • @typical_demigod Gotta love slogan shirts ;D throw Thames into the mix with its weird-ass 'Th' and you got yourself the English language in a nutshell :P

    Generally you'd see it after a battle, particularly if one side, for whatever reason, can't get access to their soldiers' bodies after it's over. Another time you might have mass-cremation is in the instance of a plague or natural catastrophe.
    In terms of a body not being identified/recovered, it'd be the same situations that we deal with. Maybe fire, maybe a sailor drowns at sea, maybe a random body is turned up that no one knows, etc. It's a particular sect (Douyrualain IIRC, or else whatever sect is available in a given region) that ends up with all the unidentified bodies in general, and they usually go to great effort to find relatives of the person, but success is limited unless a relative/friend is also actively searching out the person :/

    Oof. It makes sense though, I guess...

    How easy/difficult is it for someone to get education above what's expected for their class?

    It's not too difficult; in some instances it's as simple as having the ability to travel far/quickly enough to access that education that makes a difference. The thing that really puts in a barrier is being able to afford certain aspects of education (access to equipment, books, travel costs, etc.) kinda like the real world, I suppose, and also your societal peers' reaction. At best, the peer might be almost-insultingly surprised by the level of intelligence one possesses to 'leap up' through the classes like that, and at worst you're some kind of spy/witch/criminal/other suspicious individual and you don't have the best intentions at heart so you should be treated with disdain (because some people are just fucking dicks like that).

    How heavily enforced would the fake name law be, or is it more like the English law about it being legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow in York on any day but a Sunday?
    Speaking of that law, by the way, I found this while I was double-checking my facts [from the City of York council]:

    0_1540491366359_6323704a-0245-4d25-95e2-fb52c6aef587-image.png

    Q: How easy is it to get information around in your world? Or, make your own question up/pick one.

    Send a raven

    In all seriousness, though, some people do use bird-mail in the world (nobles and royals from any of the kingdoms have at some point or another sent messages via eagles/whatever majestic-ass bird they could get their wealthy little hands on, including in one instance an ostrich [but we don't talk about that incident]). There's also hu-mail too, if you're looking for the less feathery variety of messenger. They're not the fastest form of communication ever, but it's about as good as you can get for long distances. There's also message boards, monitored and adminned by officials, as well as town criers, scrolls, and assuming I actually put magic in this world (I haven't properly decided yet), I imagine there'd probably be a magical method of messaging too.
    Of course, on a more local note, there's of course word of mouth, which is rather speedy over shorter distance, but more liable to becoming murky in terms of the truth so...if you mean accurate and consistent information...yeah, maybe not your best bet?

    Q: If your world is entirely fictional, which real world country/era would you say is it closest to and why? If it's based in the real world, does it deviate from the timeline in any way, and if so how?



  • @Shy_Not_Fly

    @typical_demigod Gotta love slogan shirts ;D throw Thames into the mix with its weird-ass 'Th' and you got yourself the English language in a nutshell :P

    glares at Thames in all its existence

    That all makes sense. :P

    How heavily enforced would the fake name law be, or is it more like the English law about it being legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow in York on any day but a Sunday?

    More like the English law. Like said law, people in the last ten years have probably never seen it, but there are alleged occurrences of it being enforced. lol

    "hu-mail"
    XDXD

    Of course, on a more local note, there's of course word of mouth, which is rather speedy over shorter distance, but more liable to becoming murky in terms of the truth so...if you mean accurate and consistent information...yeah, maybe not your best bet?

    fake news. everyone knows that the word of mouth news is always accurate. i heard it from my friend.

    including in one instance an ostrich [but we don't talk about that incident]

    Why? It sounds like the kind of incident you always talk about.

    Q: If your world is entirely fictional, which real world country/era would you say is it closest to and why? If it's based in the real world, does it deviate from the timeline in any way, and if so how?

    D&D is pseudo-medieval. I say it's closest to that because I deliberately set it like that. Fantasy world with a monster problem? The obvious choice of setting is pseudo medieval :P

    Anyway, it's why everyone is unfailingly religious, even if their beliefs defer from each other. (I mean, yeah, there are instances of atheism, but religion is the only lens these people have to understand and cope with the world.) It's why medicine sucks and is mostly herbal and definitely superstitious. It's why their world in general sucks. Cuz the medieval world sucks. Like. Don't let people romanticize it. It sucked. >.>

    In the Realms, which I thiiiink I talked about before, it's heavily inspired by late 18thc western Europe. There's a lot of parallels between what's going on in the world socially, as a whole, and actual things that were going on in that time period IRL. At first it was accident, but not for long. :P

    edit: haha questions are important >.>

    Q: Is music very popular in your world?



  • @typical_demigod Gotta love some good ol'-fashioned hu-mail ;D

    fake news. everyone knows that the word of mouth news is always accurate. i heard it from my friend.

    fake fake news. Everyone knows that...gah, who am I kidding? How can I argue with your infallibly-well-reasoned friend?

    Why? It sounds like the kind of incident you always talk about.

    Not for the king in question, apparently :P

    Anyway, it's why everyone is unfailingly religious, even if their beliefs defer from each other. (I mean, yeah, there are instances of atheism, but religion is the only lens these people have to understand and cope with the world.) It's why medicine sucks and is mostly herbal and definitely superstitious. It's why their world in general sucks. Cuz the medieval world sucks. Like. Don't let people romanticize it. It sucked. >.>

    Reading that reminded me of my friend's series, even though the era (it takes place over a loooong time) doesn't start until after medieval-era if I remember correctly. But yeah, essentially the setting is/was "Everything sucks. A lot. I mean it." Point being, I feel like you'd get along in that regard xD

    In the Realms, which I thiiiink I talked about before, it's heavily inspired by late 18thc western Europe. There's a lot of parallels between what's going on in the world socially, as a whole, and actual things that were going on in that time period IRL. At first it was accident, but not for long. :P

    I do get the feeling you've mentioned this before, but still interesting to hear about. Especially because I read somewhere about this theory (cultural/political? icr), I think it's something to do with 'seasonal generation turning', but it basically talks about a recurring pattern of societal behaviours that crop up throughout the generations in our world history. Not sure how accurate it is, but it's still an interesting topic to look into, if you're a boring fart like me, lol ^-^

    Q: Is music very popular in your world?
    In Iridescent (humanity, tremisians and arretians) and Sandstorm (the three kingdoms), music is a very widespread and popular concept. In the former, it's seen as more of a human/arretian thing than tremisian (darn pesky Fleet priorities), but that doesn't mean tremisians are strangers to music; all cultures within the alien races have at least one or two music genres and the instruments and traditional dances to match. Tastes amongst the species regarding other races' music can be...varied, to say the least. As you'd expect from humans with genres outside of their preferences in the real world.

    As for the latter, if you live in the mountain regions of the Southern kingdoms, you'll find that music has a more integral meaning to society. Traditionally, if one is lost high up, you can tell how far away you are from the nearest settlement (and which settlement it is) by the music they play. In the past, much in the way Britain established a curfew on lights during the Blitz to deterr/confuse night-flying bombers, mountain settlements would stop playing music in times of war/feud and hope any attackers got lost enough to either freeze to death or turn around and go back the way they came. If they could.
    In the Northern desert kingdom, music doesn't really have that survival element, but it's still a big part of keeping society's morale up, particularly in hard times such as droughts and famine. In the rockier regions, there are caves used to amplify sound, and combined with the local music it makes for a unique experience—enough that folks from all over will venture out for annual and decennial festivals in the caves.
    Random tangent, buut: After going over previous posts regarding the three kingdoms, I had to laugh at myself because there were a couple of moments where I forgot while reading that North =/= Mountain kingdoms and South =/= Desert, which...would've been awkward if I'd gotten it wrong while writing xD At least it keeps me on my toes.

    Q: Are there any notable events that occur once every so often in your world?



  • @Shy_Not_Fly

    fake fake news. Everyone knows that...gah, who am I kidding? How can I argue with your infallibly-well-reasoned friend?

    exactly.

    Reading that reminded me of my friend's series, even though the era (it takes place over a loooong time) doesn't start until after medieval-era if I remember correctly. But yeah, essentially the setting is/was "Everything sucks. A lot. I mean it." Point being, I feel like you'd get along in that regard xD

    i love it XD

    I have read part of the wikipedia on this theory and it seems p interesting, actually. 10/10 would research again.

    As for the latter, if you live in the mountain regions of the Southern kingdoms, you'll find that music has a more integral meaning to society. Traditionally, if one is lost high up, you can tell how far away you are from the nearest settlement (and which settlement it is) by the music they play. In the past, much in the way Britain established a curfew on lights during the Blitz to deterr/confuse night-flying bombers, mountain settlements would stop playing music in times of war/feud and hope any attackers got lost enough to either freeze to death or turn around and go back the way they came. If they could.

    tfw you get lost in the mountains but the neighboring settlements are at war so you can't find anywhere to go

    After going over previous posts regarding the three kingdoms, I had to laugh at myself because there were a couple of moments where I forgot while reading that North =/= Mountain kingdoms and South =/= Desert

    that's such a mood lol

    Q: Are there any notable events that occur once every so often in your world?

    Occasionally (idk how often), you'll get two full moons or three moons in the sky at once. The three moons would be incredibly rare, and a huge deal. There would probably be huge celebrations, and each would likely be an omen. (I'd say full moons = good omen and three moons could go either way, depending on what's happening in the world.)

    There is a volcanic mountain range North the Channel, but most of the volcanoes are dead (or... inactive, at least. Very few are actually extinct). The Othorns/Provincials (they share small portions of the range) know very well which of these are dead and which are active, and if a dead one goes off, it's an omen of bad things to come. How bad depends on how long it's been since the last time the volcano in question erupted. And if they keep accurate records on anything, it's the volcanoes.

    I know it's somewhere around, I think on paper somewhere, but p sure there's a particular volcano that erupts so rarely it'd be an omen of a new dynasty to come. I think it was a volcano. It erupts early in Adrinne's reign and it's a huge deal.

    They divide their calendar into separate millennium, so at the start of each new one they'd probably have massive celebrations. Possibly every century, as well. I... don't know why? hm. :/

    Now that I'm sitting here, I'll bet you they have a lot of celebrations that aren't annual but are regular. Because these fools love their holidays. Tbf tho, their week is only 5 days long, and they don't really have days off or weekends like we do :P

    There's not really any in D&D that come to mind, but literally the only areas with significant worldbuilding are the ones directly related to the plot or characters >.>

    Q: How are the dead remembered in your world?


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