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* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' manages to do this in a different way: back stories and origins often go unexplained, but will still be referenced. Your average DC fan won't be phased by characters mentioning [[WonderWoman the existence of Amazons]] or something called "[[Franchise/GreenLantern the Guardians of the Universe]]," but it all adds up to a rather large, unexplored world.

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* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' manages to do this in a different way: back stories and origins often go unexplained, but will still be referenced. Your average DC fan won't be phased by characters mentioning [[WonderWoman [[Franchise/WonderWoman the existence of Amazons]] or something called "[[Franchise/GreenLantern the Guardians of the Universe]]," but it all adds up to a rather large, unexplored world.


* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All that's known is that: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. Some badgers aren't prayed for upon dying and thus they become eternally BarredFromTheAfterlife in a place above the clouds called "Gehenna". "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for.

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* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All Some things are namedropped in passing but all that's clearly known is that: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. Some badgers aren't prayed for upon dying and thus they become eternally BarredFromTheAfterlife in a place above the clouds called "Gehenna". "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for. pastures of heaven and is also used as a short-hand for an otherworldly paradise. Badgers have a group of ancient laws called "[[TheCommandments the Adamus]]" (which is only mentioned by name, in passing, in the final chapter),


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[[folder:Web Comics]]
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* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All that's known is that: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for.

to:

* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All that's known is that: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. Some badgers aren't prayed for upon dying and thus they become eternally BarredFromTheAfterlife in a place above the clouds called "Gehenna". "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for.


* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All that's known is thqt: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for.

to:

* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All that's known is thqt: that: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for.


** A visual one: in [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v01/c001/10.html the splash page from the first chapter of the manga]], look closely at the center. Zazie Rainyday [[http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j43/StarfireandSakura/zazieclaw.png has claws.]] 250+ chapters later, this is still unexplained, as is everything regarding Zazie. [[spoiler:It finally appears in the story proper in ''[[BrickJoke chapter 298]]''.]]

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** A visual one: in [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v01/c001/10.html the splash page from the first chapter of the manga]], look closely at the center. Zazie Rainyday [[http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j43/StarfireandSakura/zazieclaw.png has claws.]] 250+ chapters later, this is still unexplained, as is everything regarding Zazie. [[spoiler:It finally appears in the story proper in ''[[BrickJoke chapter 298]]''.]]






** ''Tailchaser's Song'' notes that cats have three names: a "[[FirstNameBasis heart name]]" that is given by birth and is only used by those the cat is ''very'' close to (such as family or mates), a "[[LastNameBasis face name]]" that is given in a NamingCeremony at three months old and is used by almost everyone, and a "tail name" that is a private name that a cat must discover own their own. Tail names are never discussed with anyone and it's noted that many cats nowadays don't ever find their tail name. Face names like "Tailchaser", "Fencewalker", and "Whitewind" use [[CommonTongue Common Singing]] words, while heart names like "Fritti", "Tangaloor", and "Firsa" use Higher Singing words. It's never mentioned what a tail name sounds like. Tailchaser ''might'' have found his in the final chapter, but it's never mentioned what it is, if he did.
** It's mentioned early on that, upon reaching adulthood, a cat becomes a "hunter". This is not touched upon in other scenes and never clarified. It's only mentioned that Tailchaser, who is not even a year old yet, is too young to be considered a hunter.

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** ''Tailchaser's Song'' notes that cats have three names: a "[[FirstNameBasis heart name]]" that is given by birth and is only used by those the cat is ''very'' close to (such as family or mates), a "[[LastNameBasis face name]]" that is given in a NamingCeremony at three months old of age and is used by almost everyone, and a "tail name" that is a private name that a cat must discover own on their own. Tail names are never discussed with anyone and it's noted that many cats nowadays don't ever find their tail name. Face names like "Tailchaser", "Fencewalker", and "Whitewind" use [[CommonTongue Common Singing]] words, while heart names like "Fritti", "Tangaloor", and "Firsa" use Higher Singing words. It's never mentioned what a tail name sounds like. Tailchaser ''might'' have found his in the final chapter, but it's never mentioned what it is, if he did.
** It's mentioned early on that, upon reaching adulthood, a cat becomes a "hunter". This is not touched upon in other scenes and is never clarified. It's only mentioned that Tailchaser, who is not even a year old yet, is too young to be considered a hunter.hunter.
* ''Literature/TheColdMoons'' throws around references to the badger's AnimalReligion but doesn't explain the mythology in through. All that's known is thqt: Their {{God}} is named "Logos", while their {{Satan}}/devil is "Ahriman". Their {{heaven}} is "Asgard" and it's stated that all species live in harmony in Asgard. "Sheol" is referenced but it seems to be a {{hell}} equivalent instead of [[TheNothingAfterDeath a Jewish-style Sheol]]. "Elysia" is a paradise on Earth that the badgers are looking for.


One way of building background is to have the characters refer to things without explaining exactly what those things are. The slight confusion caused is balanced by the sense given of a larger world, outside the plot. If a story is extended to a long enough series (especially when there's a [[RunningTheAsylum high turnover of writers]]), most of these cryptic references are explained and/or used as CanonFodder, but often one or two will never appear ''in story''. What such references really mean is a favorite subject for fan-clubs. The rise of the web has reduced the incidence of such things (creators get asked), though not totally eliminated them.

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One way of building background is to have the characters refer to things without explaining exactly what those things are. The slight confusion caused is balanced by the sense given of a larger world, outside the plot. If a story is extended to a long enough series (especially when there's a [[RunningTheAsylum high turnover of writers]]), most of these cryptic references are will eventually be explained and/or used as CanonFodder, but often one or two will still never appear ''in story''. What such references really mean is are a favorite subject for fan-clubs. fan discussions and a breeding ground for various theories. The rise of the web web, and later social media, has somewhat reduced the incidence of such things (creators get asked), though not things, as it has become easier to just ''ask'' the creators what something means; they'll probably answer it if doing so won't spoil future plot developments. Of course, this hasn't totally eliminated them.
them, as there are some things that the creators [[ShrugOfGod just don't care enough about to answer or think is better left to fan interpretation]].


** The show is always making reference to things that happened in the past that involved Gems, in particular [[spoiler:the Gem war for Earth.]] The cause and purpose are eventually explained as [[spoiler:the Crystal Gems splitting off from Homeworld to protect the native life]], but the fine details are only vaguely alluded to, leaving thousands of years of history to explore. Additionally, many hints about the AlternateHistory shaped by Gems are [[FreezeFrameBonus brief images the camera's quick to pull away from]]. Among other things, there's a very large gap between the North and South American continent, Florida is an island some distance away, Madagascar is in the location of Brazil suggesting Africa and South America never split, etc.
** The Galaxy Warp is said to [[spoiler:connect Gem-controlled planets to the Homeworld via Warp.]] Aside from Earth, there's an additional fifteen Warps that have been severely damaged, with nary a hint as to their names and possible native species. And there's likely newer Warp Pads constructed as Earth's Gem technology is severely out of date.

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** The show is always making reference to things that happened in the past that involved Gems, in particular [[spoiler:the the Great Gem war War for Earth.]] The Earth. While the cause and purpose are eventually explained as [[spoiler:the the Crystal Gems splitting off from Homeworld to protect the native life]], but Homeworld, many of the fine details are only vaguely alluded to, leaving thousands of years of history to explore. Additionally, many hints about the AlternateHistory shaped by Gems are [[FreezeFrameBonus brief images the camera's quick to pull away from]]. Among other things, there's a very large gap between the North and South American continent, Florida is an island some distance away, Madagascar is in geography of the location of Brazil suggesting Africa and South America never split, etc.
this Earth is [[https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/steven-universe/images/4/40/It_Could've_Been_Great_163.png/revision/latest?cb=20160626124932 completely different from our own]].
** The Galaxy Warp is said to [[spoiler:connect connect Gem-controlled planets to the Homeworld via Warp.]] Warp. Aside from Earth, there's an a mentioned fifteen additional fifteen Warps that have been severely damaged, with nary a hint as to their names and possible native species. And there's likely newer Warp Pads constructed as Earth's Gem technology is severely out of date.


* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' has many references to a Great Mushroom War that happened about a millenia ago and that the world may have been like ours before this war.

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* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' has many references to a Great Mushroom War that happened about a millenia millenium ago and that the world may have been like ours before this war.


* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' occasionally references the Ancient Kings and the High Priestesses, who were apparently embroiled in some sort of war for supremacy before Uther came to power.

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* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'' occasionally references the Ancient Kings and the High Priestesses, who were apparently embroiled in some sort of war for supremacy before Uther came to power.

Added DiffLines:

**[[spoiler:By the end of the fourth game not only have they all been introduced, they're all playable as well: Jubei, Nine (killed and resurrected as "Nine the Phantom"), Yuuki Terumi (in three different forms no less), Valkenhayn, Hakumen, and Trinity (in Platinum's body)]]


* ''Literature/TheGodsThemselves'' provides no detail on an event that killed about 4 billion people: "Just about the time the Lunar colony was being established, Earth went through the Great Crisis. I don't have to tell you about that."

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* ''Literature/TheGodsThemselves'' provides Creator/IsaacAsimov:
** ''{{Literature/Foundation}}'': The Fifth Seldon Crisis [[ConflictKiller gets disrupted by the Mule]] during the events of "Literature/TheMule", while the Sixth and Seventh Seldon Crisis are never mentioned in Dr Asimov's works. ''Literature/FoundationsEdge'' opens during the successful resolution of the ''Eighth'' Crisis (with [[PosthumousCharacter Hari Seldon]] appearing during FoundingDay to announce [[AllAccordingToPlan xactly why they made the right decision]]), making it clear that all three happened, but
no detail about their nature or resolution is given.
** ''Literature/TheGodsThemselves'': No detail is provided
on an event that killed about 4 billion people: "Just about the time the Lunar colony was being established, Earth went through the Great Crisis. I don't have to tell you about that."



* Hannu Rajaniemi's ''Literature/TheQuantumThief'' features many references to cataclysmic events that shaped the world of the novel, but remain a mystery to the reader, and sometimes even to the characters due to lost historical records and memory manipulation. These include the Collapse that caused most people to abandon Earth, the Cry of Wrath, the Spike which somehow destroyed Jupiter, and the Protocol War. Some get elaborated in the later books and even become major plot points, while others remain a mystery.
* C.S. Lewis's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' has a few of these.
** Mr. Tumnus has a collection of books, one of which is ''"Is Man A Myth?"'' It serves no purpose to the story other than world building and further setting up the FaeriesDontBelieveInHumansEither trope.
** In ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'', the children meet a magician, who is later revealed to be personified star who was sent to earth as a punishment. On being asked what possible crime a star could commit, they are simply told: "it is not for you, a Son of Adam, to know what faults a star can commit." The reference gets even more cryptic when Eustace comments that in their world stars are balls of flaming gas and is told that even in our world, that is not what stars ''are'', but only what they are ''made of''.

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* Hannu Rajaniemi's Creator/HannuRajaniemi's ''Literature/TheQuantumThief'' features many references to cataclysmic events that shaped the world of the novel, but remain a mystery to the reader, and sometimes even to the characters due to lost historical records and memory manipulation. These include the Collapse that caused most people to abandon Earth, the Cry of Wrath, the Spike which somehow destroyed Jupiter, and the Protocol War. Some get elaborated in the later books and even become major plot points, while others remain a mystery.
* C.S. Lewis's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' has a few of these.
Creator/CSLewis's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'':
** Mr. Tumnus has a collection of books, one of which is ''"Is ''[[FictionalDocument Is Man A Myth?"'' Myth?]]'' It serves no purpose to the story other than world building and further setting up the FaeriesDontBelieveInHumansEither trope.
** In ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'', the children ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'': The protagonists meet a magician, who is later revealed to be personified star who was sent to earth as a punishment. On being asked what possible crime a star could commit, they are simply told: "it is not for you, a Son of Adam, to know what faults a star can commit." The reference gets even more cryptic when Eustace comments that in their world stars are balls of flaming gas and is told that even in our world, that is not what stars ''are'', but only what they are ''made of''.


* ''Literature/TailchasersSong'' notes that cats have three names: a "[[FirstNameBasis heart name]]" that is given by birth and is only used by those the cat is ''very'' close to (such as family or mates), a "[[LastNameBasis face name]]" that is given in a NamingCeremony at three months old and is used by almost everyone, and a "tail name" that is a private name that a cat must discover own their own. Tail names are never discussed with anyone and it's noted that many cats nowadays don't ever find their tail name. Face names like "Tailchaser", "Fencewalker", and "Whitewind" use [[CommonTongue Common Singing]] words, while heart names like "Fritti", "Tangaloor", and "Firsa" use Higher Singing words. It's never mentioned what a tail name sounds like. Tailchaser ''might'' have found his in the final chapter, but it's never mentioned what it is if he did.

to:

* ''Literature/TailchasersSong'' ''Literature/TailchasersSong'':
** ''Tailchaser's Song''
notes that cats have three names: a "[[FirstNameBasis heart name]]" that is given by birth and is only used by those the cat is ''very'' close to (such as family or mates), a "[[LastNameBasis face name]]" that is given in a NamingCeremony at three months old and is used by almost everyone, and a "tail name" that is a private name that a cat must discover own their own. Tail names are never discussed with anyone and it's noted that many cats nowadays don't ever find their tail name. Face names like "Tailchaser", "Fencewalker", and "Whitewind" use [[CommonTongue Common Singing]] words, while heart names like "Fritti", "Tangaloor", and "Firsa" use Higher Singing words. It's never mentioned what a tail name sounds like. Tailchaser ''might'' have found his in the final chapter, but it's never mentioned what it is is, if he did.did.
** It's mentioned early on that, upon reaching adulthood, a cat becomes a "hunter". This is not touched upon in other scenes and never clarified. It's only mentioned that Tailchaser, who is not even a year old yet, is too young to be considered a hunter.

Added DiffLines:

* Music/TalkingHeads' song "Life During Wartime" is about a member of a resistance group in a war fought within the United States, presumably TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, but doesn't give any background information. "Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit? Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?"


* This happens once a game in the ''SummonNightSwordcraftStory]]'' games: random {{NPC}}s come into the scene and reference something that would make sense as part of a longer plot but which you don't know about. ("I would gladly fight to the death to follow the last orders of Master Shinrai!" ...Master who?) How much of this is the result of this actually being a spin-off series of a [[VideoGame/SummonNight larger plot]] [[NoExportForYou that never made it outside Japan]] isn't immediately obvious to English-speaking players.

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* This happens once a game in the ''SummonNightSwordcraftStory]]'' ''VideoGame/SummonNightSwordcraftStory'' games: random {{NPC}}s come into the scene and reference something that would make sense as part of a longer plot but which you don't know about. ("I would gladly fight to the death to follow the last orders of Master Shinrai!" ...Master who?) How much of this is the result of this actually being a spin-off series of a [[VideoGame/SummonNight larger plot]] [[NoExportForYou that never made it outside Japan]] isn't immediately obvious to English-speaking players.

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