Fantasy World Cultures Questions Thread:

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101 Sharysa30th Jul 2012 08:12:26 PM from Alameda, CA , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The local bard
[up] Not answering, but I'm just saying that this is the most awesome third option to a question EVER.

edited 30th Jul '12 8:14:03 PM by Sharysa

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Are you referring to me Sharysa?
Out of Mind
103 Belisaurius31st Jul 2012 08:36:21 AM from Big Blue Nowhere , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
Without training, magic tends to be random and unpredictable. With it, magic becomes formulaic.

Mana is a naturally occuring energy. All living things create it as part of their life proccesses. In technical terms, it forms an equilibrium with ATP. Sentient beings can manipulate instinctually. The control, however, is unconcious, similar to controling one's heartrate or the full measure of one's strength.

Only extreme stress and a degree of focus can trigger instinctual spell casting. A sailor might end up binding himself to the deck to keep himself from being swept away by a giant wave. A soldier might enhance his weapon in order to cleave through his foe. A cornered thief might end up jumping fifteen feet in the air to escape his pursuers. In each case, the user uses mana in order to accomplish what they were trying to do, even though the task was impossible. These cases are rare and the chances of the user performing the spell again, even under stress, is remote.

Trained casters tend to spend years poking around their heads looking for the mental switch to trigger mana use. Even once they gain willing access to mana, they still spend years learning how to manipulate mana into doing something useful. In the time it takes to become a novice spell caster, a man could become a journeyman blacksmith or miner. Between the time required and the complete lack of results for the first few years, not many prospective casters ever complete the training. However, journeymen casters learn to gather mana from their surroundings to reinforce their spells. Usually, there is a limit to how much mana they can gather and it takes time to gather but if there is a ready source of mana availible, like a specially modificed windmill or leyline, the spell can run entirely off an external power source.

Experienced casters, however, often find that their magic is too easy to access. After throwing that mental switch over and over, the switch gets easier and easier to use until it's all too possible to cast spells accidently. Thinking about a fire spell to hard can set things on fire. High end casters have to spend hours meditating in order to keep this from happening.

What kind of food does your country have? Where do they grow it? How is it prepared?
104 Sharysa31st Jul 2012 12:28:40 PM from Alameda, CA , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The local bard
[up][up] Indeed I am, sonofkong.
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My world is big on agriculture. Grain can be harvested through magitech and animals never fit into the equation (edible ones anyway) so its not uncommon to see a diet of bread and water, but some damn good bread and water, the water being pure and taken from holy sites to refresh even desert dwellers for an entire day and the bread being roasted for seconds at a time but at the perfect conditions to create a delicate souffle type creation. Fruits are a regional thing and eaten off the vine in the lush forest inhabited by elves but are hard to find in the industrial eagle land that this story is set.

Roving bison are a delicacy among the elves who hunt them and very rich humans while wild boars scamper worldwide and the poor are given license to capture them for a monthly fee. These meats are eaten only with ritual precaution by pantheistic elves, while they could be banned altogether depending on what human god you find favor with. The secular minority of dwarves couldn't care either way and are the primary audience for boar scavenging.

Question: Are their multiple countries and if so, how does yours interact with its neighbors?

edited 31st Jul '12 5:10:41 PM by sonofkong

Out of Mind
The kingdom of Valendros has several neighbouring nations. The eastern lands comprise of the Yaladreth desert lands to the North-east/East and the small kingdom of Talmera that occupies the South-eastern coast. There is also a neighbouring island nation who are mostly indifferent to the happenings of the mainland.

Valendros has a rocky history with the Yaladreth desert lands. It wasn’t so long ago that the great empire of Yal ruled over all of the desert lands and wasn’t shy about expressing its colonial ambitions towards its closest neighbour. Consequently the great empire of Yal spent a lot of time trying to invade and occupy both Valendros and Talmera which only succeeded in fostering a feeling of friendship between the two smaller nations as they fought side by side to retain their independence.

Then the great empire of Yal fell into ruin and was ravaged by plague and internal conflict that cost many lives. From the ashes of Yal rose the city of Esthp, a prosperous merchant city that was more concerned with trade than war. Since then relations between Yaladreth and its neighbours have mostly been harmonious though there are still renegade soldiers of the Yal empire that haunt the borderlands and prey upon travellers.

Unfortunately for Valendros and Talmera the friendship fostered by resisting a larger foe together quickly diminished once the threat was removed because of the nations very different forms of government. Valendros is a patriarchal monarchy whereas Talmera is a matriarchal society ruled by a council. They were ruled by a succession of Queens until the royal line met a violent but necessary and heroic death during the war with Yal leaving it ruled by a council comprised largely of women.

To the North and West there is Nemeriah, a mostly untamed wilderness with scattered villages, mining towns and trading outposts but no organised government. There are a lot of strange unsusal and magical creatures inhabiting the mountains like Trolls and Wyverns and the other nations view the people of Nemeriah as bat$#! insane for wanting to live there but also greatly respect them for being able to live there. Often priests from Valendros will venture into Nemeriah to preach and bring religion to any settlements they find.

Question: How does your world deal with women who want to be warriors? Are they considered inferior/equal/superior to their male colleagues? Is there any kind of combat style or skill set that is seen as a woman specialty? Is there any specific historical precedent is there behind women being allowed to be warriors? Pls only answer if you have female warriors in your world. I don’t just want a reply of ‘women aren’t allowed to be warriors because…’

edited 1st Aug '12 5:46:05 AM by Merlanthe

107 ZigtarXamos1st Aug 2012 06:08:47 AM from Desele's House of Earthly Deligths , Relationship Status: In Lesbians with you
Qualified to Kill Macbeth and the Witch King
[up] The Kingdom of Mythinaan is found on the largely unsettled continent of Drakeshead, and its closest political neighbor is a loose collection of warring colonies and city-states called Zamoria, which lies directly to the east. Zamoria is named for the race of dark elves, the Zamori, who live in its northern mountain range and tend to stay isolated in their nation of Zamostar. Mythinaan, being one of three (or two, depending on who you ask) economic and military superpowers, is often called in to settle conflicts in this territory, which is home to goblin raiders, Dwarven fortresses, Human colonies, and the massive Lechyyan Forest, which is home to some of the most dangerous creatures on the continent.

The Dorian Empire controls almost the entire continent of Maxima and has colonies, allies, and puppet states on every one of the five continents. Mythinaan recently entered into an arms race with the Empire, preparing for an inevitable world war. The continent of Dulindor generally keeps to itself, but the Kingdom of Aedrallis has lately become more involved in world politics since Mythinese forces freed it from occupation by the Empire. Tokai is home to several warlike shoguns, who constantly feud with one another. They have generally peaceful relations with Mythinaan and its allies and despise the Dorian Empire, which is steadily taking control of their lands.

The eastern continent of Sylvantorr is home mostly to elves, but some Dwarves live there as well. Lorr-Tel and Eyinkarr are mostly neutral, as politics go, but Taishen's military tradition and hatred of the eastern dark elves forces it onto Mythinaan's side in major issues. The dark elves once lived in scattered groups in the eastern part of the continent, but have since connected their cave networks into an underground labyrinth dotted by cities both above and below the ground. This "United Republic of the Underlands" pretends to be a democracy, ruled by a Senate, but is actually controlled by several corrupt officials bending to the will of their nation's allies, the Dorians. To the north is the land of Brennia, where Dorian-allied dwarven inventors sell their machines to the highest bidder. Naturally, Doria employs their aid in the war effort.

As for the other question, women have yet to reach true equality, as there are still plenty of patriarchal values in the world, but most nations allow and even encourage them to join the military as soldiers. In Mythinaan, the elite warriors known as Spartans train from a young age to develop their own combat style from scratch, learn the art of fighting with several different weapons, and must survive in extreme and dangerous conditions to even be considered for acceptance into their branch of the military. The percentage of female Spartans is just barely lower than that of males. Some countries have reservations about sending women out as front-line forces, but this is simply the result of sexism. Outside of the military, female warriors still have many options as mercenaries and adventurers.

Question: Tell us a myth of legend from one of your world's cultures. It doesn't have to be long and it could be as vague as you want, but it should have a moral or some other significance that would preserve it for a long amount of time. Do other cultures have variations on the same story? Is it just folklore, or do some people actually believe it? Is it based on true events?

edited 7th Jul '14 10:05:44 PM by ZigtarXamos

The more rules there are to magic, the more ways the author will inevitably have to break them.
[up] What is Sharysa on about? And I've already answered a question like this, so I'll let someone else take it.
You actually bother to read this?
The myth that occurs in my story, is that there was once a man who was a sorcerer, and he had a very special thing, that was to be kept in the place it was laid to rest when the man died. When the man died, he was reported to have no sons. As the story goes from mouth to mouth, the object of power becomes something that one would instantly see, and the man was said to have light emitting out of him. Most people know this story but all say they do not believe it, but many actually do.

Does your land/country have neighbors? If so, what are the feelings they have for each other, and do they trade and in what do they trade in?
110 james1231822nd Aug 2012 06:43:18 AM from Umbertide, Italy
The four kingdoms, apart from each other (and they are relatively nice to each other, at least recently), have only one land neighbour. That is the land North of the North. The inhabitants of the North of the North are called Blue Demons by the inhabitants of the Four Kingdoms. They are at war constantly with the North, though in the last century or so it has turned into reciprocal raiding. The closest to friendly neighbours they have are each other and the people of the continent. The two main powers close to them on the continent are the Konigtum and the Holy States. They mostly trade with the Konigtum, selling them weapons, iron, ship wood and wool. If you wish to become a priest you must journey to Dreiheim, capital of the Holy States, and symbolically wash yourself in the Lake of the Three. Another neighbour across the sea is the land of the dragon men, who raid the coasts and rivers of the Four Kingdoms and the continent.

Question: What is the predominant method of communication in your culture? Is it letters, smoke signals, e-mails, or spoken messages by appointed messengers?
In my story, the south tend to use methods such as letters send with a messenger to places, whereas the north tend to use signal fires or payed runners, as they are almost constantly fighting of the northern raiders and they tend to like to get messengers around quickly.

Is your land known for its military power? If so, what unit does it specialize in? i.e. Light Cavalry
Udareth is a rather warlike culture with skill in horse-handling akin to the Mongols. Generally, their best warriors are cavalry of various weights. Their enemies fear their 'assassins' the most- skilled mounted archers and users of other ranged weapons on light horses. Because they're so light and small, however, the longevity of an assassin tends to be the shortest, with most losing their careers to death or crippling.

There is also a special class of assassins that is granted mechanical wings, an asset that might be even greater than the aforementioned mounted archers. In recent years, these wings have been granted to the magically impotent members of the aristocracy, who are often physically smaller than more 'advantaged' aristocrats and can thus use the wings to their fullest extent for emergency escapades out of the thick of battle, increasing their longevity.

For centuries, governments have treated the rich and poor differently, whether with tax breaks, political power, or other rights. Like it or not, this can shape cultures, whether with holidays, religions, or even languages, as seen with 11the century British nobles and royalty who spoke Norman French while commoners spoke Anglo-Saxon. How has this difference in treatment (or not) changed the outlooks and culture of the rich and poor?
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
113 Belisaurius2nd Aug 2012 12:34:01 PM from Big Blue Nowhere , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
Manastra's aristocracy has never been particularly uptight about their place on the social ladder. Barons and counts spend time at the tavern along with farmers and peasants. Mansions are large but lack finery. Nobody uses titles outside of formal settings. The reason for this has to do with the fact that the nobility of Manastra aren't of noble lineage what so ever.

See, the original nation of Manastra was ruled by a line of kings and not a very good line at that. The last one, King Hakkor the Dumbass (originally the Bold), squandered most of the treasuring and tried to replenish it by raiding his neighbors. Naturally, this sparked off a nasty war which Manastra could not win. So Hakkor did the sensible thing and hired mercenaries. These mercenaries, some of the best in the world, managed to all but win the war, forcing a stalemate and peace treaty. However, King Hakkor found that paying the mercenaries had taken all his money. And so, he decided to take it back by killing the mercenaries with the Royal army. Naturally, the highly experienced mercenaries tore the well equipped but inexperienced and baddly led royal army to bits. Enraged, the mercenaries decided to wipe the Manastran nobility from the face of Gaia.

Long story short, the mercenaries won, and found themselves the only authority in Manastra. The "nobles" are just the decendents of the officers of the former mercenary armies and never came to see themselves to be any different from any of the larger populace. The concept of noblese oblige came second nature to the Manastran nobility. Most of the money gained from taxes was invested into farms and public works. This initially left the coffers too low for a normal professional army. To compensate for this, locals were trained as militia pikemen in exchange for a tax break. This led to and armed populace which led to the royal family to pass laws to legallize the removal of incompetent nobles in order to keep the militia from lynching the entire families because of one bad apple.

How are the soldiers in your country trained?
114 james1231822nd Aug 2012 02:16:20 PM from Umbertide, Italy
The average soldier in the Four Kingdoms is a member of a local militia. Each village of more than one hundred inhabitants is expected to send fifty men whenever their lord summons them. Usually these men have been trained by their fathers, who were members of the militia before them.

The lords also have semi-professional bodyguards called Huscarls. Usually in groups from fifty to a hundred, they are usually drawn from the best of the militia men, and serve year round. They train with each other when they are not at war, and when the lord is particularly minor, they usually train the militias as well. This way, the more minor lords have the better soldiers en masse.

Usually the higher up the lord is, the less trained his men are, resulting in the highest having armies of peasants with pitchforks. It is usually only the Huscarls and the lord himself who use swords, with the militias preferring axes, hammers and bows.

The main method of combat is the shield wall, which requires quite a bit of discipline. Usually the better trained men are placed in the front of the wall, maintaining the more important part, while the less trained stay at the back.

Question time: What are the main industries of your country? and what are its major exports?
115 Sharysa2nd Aug 2012 02:29:01 PM from Alameda, CA , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The local bard
@ Jackal: I asked "What animals are domesticated?" question and thought I'd get something about normal or fantastic animals. Instead the answer involved "capturing holy animals and using their magic as a power source."
@James123182 The main industrys my land holds are weapons and armour of a very high quality that they then send to the south, usually by sea. It also grows grain, wheat and various herbs used in medicins, which they also send to the south via sea. They usually get good prices for the armour and weapons, but not so much off the grain and wheat. The herbs only get income from certain parts of the south, mainly containing the elves.

In what way does your land send trade by? i.e. Truck, Ship, Plane, Carridges?
117 Belisaurius2nd Aug 2012 06:22:40 PM from Big Blue Nowhere , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
While Manastran roads had become top notch out of neccessity, the fastest way to get anywhere was by water. The majority of rivers in Manastra run north to the ocean but the prevailing winds blow southward, bringing in moisture from the cold northern ocean. This creates a paradigm for river travel, sails to move southwards and drifting to move northwards. However, the inclines between lowlands and highlands is too great to sail through. All highland regions could only be accessed by roads.

In many ways, the introduction of the railroad all but turned the Manastran ecconomy on it's head. On one hand, iron and theirfore high quality steel was inexpensive and water plentiful. Both of these where a boon to the railoads and helped them propagate. On the other, there was never any large coal deposits in Manastra. All the furnaces ran on charcoal. The demand for charcoal became outright absurd and led to the first use of synthetic fuels as distillers would sometimes sell left over alchohol to the trains to douse the wood with in order to make it burn better. Oil was used as well, soaking the wood both to keep it dry as well as improve it's ability to burn. Eventually people realized that this was rediculas as the oil burned better than the wood so the trains became diesel and later diesel electric. Magic based engine were developed but they were abandoned because they didn't perform any better than steam and that kind of Mana density had absolutely facinating effects on people.

What are the traditional weapons of your country and what fighting styles do they have?

edited 2nd Aug '12 6:27:23 PM by Belisaurius

The traditional weapon of Uldarian consists of a long light one-handed sword that can be used while also holding a light shield. It also consists of throwing spears, but they generally aren't using them much anymore. The style of fighting the Uldarians use is to beak up into small groups and send them in at different places, before bringing in the back up units to attack from the sides and rear. From then on they rely on numbers and brave soldiers depending on who they are fighting.

What type of religion does you land have? And does this cause civil wars, outcries, poverty by church taking money ect.
@ Sharysa: Oh, I didn't understand what "third option" you were referring too. That is a pretty awesome example, though.

I'm going to let someone else take this question also, because I forgot the names of the Gods of my world a little while ago.
You actually bother to read this?
120 Ghostninja1093rd Aug 2012 03:37:29 AM from there, not here.
[up][up] The elves in a world that I'm trying to build have any number of beliefs depending on the region, ranging from agnostics to fundamentalists. One of the more fanatical elven factions worships a legendary warrior figure as a god. In most neighboring regions, he is recognized as a great historic general. Many of these elves have beliefs that overlap with those of nearby human populations. The more fanatical groups of elves have started holy wars both humans and more moderate elven states several throughout the past millenium and a half and even gone to war with each other on occasion.

Question: How would the peoples of your constructed world react to a disaster or series of disasters that caused trouble worldwide? (I can't decide on specifics, so have fun with this!)
It depends on the type of disaster. If it was a disease, they would probably think it was a punishment sent by their Gods, or a curse. If it was an earthquake, they would reaction in a fashion that is very organized and evacuate the area, as they are a warlike people, they are used to evacuating crumbling forts or cities. If it was a fire, they would panic with the speed of the fire, as there are trees through the kingdom, and very strong winds, and jump into a water/holes or stay in buildings only to be smoked out. Volcanic eruptions they would definitely believe religios or cursed as the ash would fall quickly.

Would are you constructions made of? Is there a reason for this other then 'because it's strong'. i.e. because when the tribes of the east were in the desert, they build their houses of wood and mud, as this deflected or caught sand best....
122 Belisaurius3rd Aug 2012 09:52:08 AM from Big Blue Nowhere , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
The vast majority of buildings in Manastra were made of wood and dirt. Insulation was vital in Manastra's cold and wet climate. A thin layer of dirt and hay would be samwiched bewteen two layers of wood. This both increased the toughness of the wall as well as plug any gaps air could leak through. Stone was reserved for important buildings such as court houses, mannors, and city walls. Roofs were usually wood with clay shingles when the owner could afford it. Nobody ever bothered with thatched roofs with so many smithies around. Large castles tended to use dry dirt as an insulator initially but switched to tapestries once it was economically practical to do so.

Eventually, mages developed a spell that could turn mud and sand into a concrete like substance that didn't disolve in water. The end result was more akin to sandstone than actual concrete but it was still valuable in creating the terrences that revolutionized manastran agriculture. This material became very popular coating for the outside of houses (essentially a kind of stucco) due to the development of steam locomotives. These locomotives tended to use wood over coal and thus had a tendency to expell potentially dangerous sparks and embers.

How was your country founded?

edited 3rd Aug '12 9:53:22 AM by Belisaurius

In the beginning there was the mighty kingdom of Drasera with a lot of arable land and the prosperous but small merchant city of Valena upon the western coast and a lot of countryside scattered farms and villages in between that were considered part of Drasera and known as the outer provinces.

The kingdom of Drasera fell when the great empire of Yal invaded from the east. But even though the capital and most of Drasera was now overrun by the amry and soldiers of Yal they had yet to advance upon the outer provinces. So the residents of the outer provinces petitioned the city of Valena for aid offering to swear fealty to the rulers of the city in exchange for protection.

The rulers of Valena agreed and sent an army, a mixture of their own city guard and mercenaries hired form neighbouring nations across the sea, to protect the outer provinces. There followed a long war that eventually ended when the great empire of Yal fell to internal strife. But throughout that war the outer provinces were successfully protected and came under the control of Valena forming a new kingdom that was eventually named Valendros.

Question: does your world have any interesting fashion trends and how did they come about? This could be clothes, a type of music or cuisine, or a type of pet, thats currently considered fashionable because some rich person likes them or maybe a foreign princess recently married into the monarchy and aspects of her culture have become favourable or something similar.

edited 4th Aug '12 8:49:03 AM by Merlanthe

124 Belisaurius6th Aug 2012 07:38:50 AM from Big Blue Nowhere , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
There was this fashion introduced by visting emissaries of multiple layers of thin, translucent cloth and lace. The idea was to give an ethereal-esque look. Multiple layers offered surprising warmth. The fashion was most popular with upperclass women who could actually afford it.

Untortunately, the effect only worked with fairly lithe women. Everyone else ended up looking like a formless cloud.

It did lead to the fashion of using pleated cloth around the hips and shouldiers to make the hips and bust look bigger.

How is your Country ruled? Who is in charge of what land and who holds them responsible? How are these leaders chosen? What are the limits of their authority?
125 MrMallard6th Aug 2012 08:01:17 AM from Australia, mate
As rare as dolphin's teeth
My (first) country is ruled by a king named Anthony, a soft-spoken and wise man recently corrupted by dark thoughts against the mages, and he resides in the kingdom of Farnham.

The royal is either decided by blood, or by... well, 'blood. If the existing royal survives long enough to bear a child, that child will be crowned the next ruler. If the people don't like the leading royal, they can challenge them to a duel to the death; this must be decided by a public forum however to avoid a Vocal Minority of assholes killing the wiser, gentler kings and turning the land into dictatorships or the like.

The king's word is absolute; If the shortest man were ordered to climb the tallest tree and pluck the highest leaf for no reason whatsoever, the smallest man would just have to do it. The kingdom runs on an honor system decided by whoever's the strongest, and whoever the wisest. Those 2 traits will make one king.

What is the origin for your people? Were they helped along by another race of sentinent beings before them? Did they take control?
And I can't think of one thing in this whole wide blessed world
That's more dangerous and frightening than you when you get bored

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