Random Conworld idea thread

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Salmoneus
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Salmoneus »

Anyway, I had a dream a few nights ago that - unusually - featured a few conworlding-related moments. It was basically just scrolling over a conworld globe/map, with a few bits of commentary. This gave me some ideas....


1. - thematic historical area summaries

This is the easy bit. Basically, when this map was scrolling over areas, they were formed into link images - clicking on part of the map took you to an information page. But rather than being about a city or a country, it was about a region, and, crucially, a point in time. Presumably this was to be paired with a back/forward chronological function. So, there was an area probably the size of western Europe, and clicking on it gave a little summary box that was titled something like "Peace and Funerals" - which could in turn take you to a page about how in this 10- or 20-year period in this region, a number of major statesmen died, and their state funerals were the occassion for momentous international diplomatic talks that lead to important peace treaties.

Which isn't, you know, world-shattering, but it struck me as being different from how I'd normally think of doing something: I'd tend to either talk about the history of a country or area chronologically, or else have a series of chronological maps and talk about events across the whole world (or big area) and how they changed in each map. Whereas this dream-atlas was taking a more piecemeal approach, basically letting you navigate both in time and in space and get a quick "what's been going on in this area?" summary.

I doubt I'd ever be in a position to implement something like that, but it's an interesting idea, I think.

2. - as above, so below

This is the actual 'idea' idea. When scrolling over a 'remote' part of the world about which little was known, the guide noted that this area was in resonance with the eighth celestial.

What the hell?

What my subconscious meant, more or less, was that this was a spherical world, but surrounded by the fixèd spheres of the heavens, as in an pre-copernican cosmology. The stars and planets are points on different crystal spheres that rotate around the planet. But if the planet itself rotates in a certain way, different points on the planet will come into resonance with the rotations of various spheres. And as a result, different points (possibly only eight, or at least no more than a dozen, I don't think) have a particular supernatural connection with specific heavenly bodies.

What that in turn means is that although people in place A knew nothing directly about place B, they were able to learn about B by studying the celestial that it mirrored (or that mirrored it). (These people weren't advanced, but did have telescopes, and the 'celestials' are somewhat bigger in the sky than most of our planets). I'm not sure of the details of this. For a start, the place in question was mountainous and arid, so I think the celestial was a yellow-red, rocky-looking star/planet. Perhaps, I thought, the nature of magic in different areas was also different, depending on which celestial governed it. But for some reason I also thought it might be much closer, that they could actually learn in a very vague way about human society at this point on earth by looking at the star - I don't know how, because I don't think the star was meant to be a literal perfect mirror of the place on earth. But you could somehow learn quite a lot.


3. - the coincident spheres

As I was waking up from this, I was pondering this idea, and extended it somewhat. What if the star mirrors the resonant point, and hence the star tells you about the resonant point on earth... but not this earth. So, when the POV civilisation looked at the eighth celestial, they could tell (somehow!) that the relevant point on earth (directly below it, I think) had a bustling (militaristic, Mordor-y) civilisation. But the omniscient viewpoint observer knows that if the POV people set out in boats to go to that place, they'll find it barren and deserted.

What's going on? Well, there isn't one planet, there's eight, or a dozen, or however many. But they all occupy the same place in space. They are, as it were, eight different realities superimposed, each one reinforced by the resonance of its own particular celestial object. Nearer the resonant point, one reality generally takes over... but for people from near another resonant point, as they move, they remain in their own reality, so they only encounter the version of each place that exists in their own resonant frequency, as it were. Perhaps the ontological conflicts between these superimposed worlds are what allows practical magic to work - eg, if you move the heat from seven (eleven?) other worlds all into one world simultaneously, that's a great way to make a fireball...


---------


Why am I talking about this, instead of making it? Well, I really like these ideas. But I have two problems:

a) I really don't know how to implement them in a meaningful way at the moment. I mean, how do these ideas actually influence life on this planet? And how can that influence be shaped into a meaningful, compelling narrative?

b) these ideas are incompatible with my usual settings, and indeed general approach, which is more of a low-magic, naturalistic style. This would have to be a world built from scratch - and to make use of its nature, it would have to be a very big and well-thought-out world. Which is a lot of work, when I don't even really now how to use the ideas.


So, while I might one day come back to these ideas, it kind of feels like it would be a waste to keep them in my head for some far-future, possibly-only-hypothetical, probably-underwhelming future use. So maybe they'll give someone else some ideas...
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Creyeditor
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Creyeditor »

Wow, 2. and 3. sound really cool. I guess the astronomic-geometric (or astrological-geometric) patterns of the spheres would be interesting. 1. also sounds useful.

Concerning your questions:
a) So certain places are associated with certain character traits? Sounds like places got zodiac signs now. Or a version of Feng shui. Maybe the alternate dimension places influence the places in our dimension. Even though there might not be a war monger people in the Mars place, you might be angry more often, if you move there. There might be interdimensional travelers or interdimensional travel devices. Or stories about it. Maybe certain astrological oppositions or conjunctions will make the connection stronger, so that the place-related influence becomes stronger. Also another note on the geometry: you could get combinations of certain traits, like [war-mongering and greedy] or [war-mongering and honorable] if you are half-way between two of the eight points.
b) How about making it a religion/ideology/philosophy akin to astrology? Some people might believe it and others might not. This would go very well with a low magic setting where there is a low amount of testable predictions from this.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Reyzadren »

a) Scientific jargon aside, it's basically watching TV, ie a stream of (true or false) information. If one can anyhow interact with it, a compelling story would probably sound similar to the story of Tidus/Yuna (returning to Zanarkand in Final Fantasy 10).

b) Not really. My conworld (with "magic") isn't complex, at least in comparison to the many hyper-realistic scifi-based conworlds around here, yet generally such ideas (reality superimposition etc) are readily available in my conworld, minus the irl technobabble and your specific details ofc. Indeed, some conlangers here have accused my conworld of being not well-thought-out at all and yet I included it, so this should not discourage you in any way. [:)]
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LinguoFranco
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by LinguoFranco »

I have an idea for an interplanetary setting where we have explored and colonized our own solar system but have not ventured beyond it.

The sun has become a red giant, so I presume Mercury and Venus would no longer exist while earth can no longer support life. Mars is the new Goldilocks zone and has been terraformed or at least is in the process of being terraformed.

Beyond Mars, there are people living in space stations, setting up asteroid colonies and settled on the moons of Jupiter and Venus.

I kinda like the idea, but feel kinda limited since I can't really use Mercury, Venus or Earth, so Mars would be the only terrestrial planet. I am toying with having Saturn's moon, Titan also be an important colony within the solar system, as well.

It's more science fantasy than hard sci-fi, but I still want some credibility for the setting.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Pabappa »

Did you mean Saturn instead of Venus for the moons? Otherwise, yeah .... I think our own solar system has lots of wonderful environments for living in, if only we could get around basic problems like how to live in a planet where the atmosphere consists mostly of methane and we can't see the sun unless we rise so high that we might as well just float around in space.

I've always found Mars disappointing, to be honest. I posted a list of my favorite planets on the ZBB and I put Mars in last place. Mercury is my favorite, and Jupiter is next, though again, we can't really live on Jupiter so much as in it, and that only if we are willing to deal with all sorts of problems that we were really never meant to deal with. The moons would be much better places to live.

The orbits of the planets would likely change as the sun grows, though I don't know whether they'd move inward, outward, or both.
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LinguoFranco
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by LinguoFranco »

Yeah, I mean't Saturn. My bad.

I'm not a scientist, but I figure that the sun becoming a red giant would perhaps make Mars easier to settle or terraform, but I'm likely to be dead wrong. I kinda agree with you about Mars. I find Titan to more interesting.

I like galactic scale settings, but I think that may be way too big and our solar system has plenty of room and potential for more depth.

I could create my own star system, but I want to use humans and human aliens on other worlds is pretty unlikely.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by eldin raigmore »

When the Sun reaches its maximum red-giant diameter it will swallow Mars’s orbit as well as Earth’s.
It won’t swallow Jupiter’s.
As far as I know it might not swallow the entire asteroid belt; my guess is it probably won’t.
I plan to hang around the solar system and see what happens. It’s only eight to ten billion years, right? I’m a prepper; I’m going to have a bunker on one of Jupiter’s moons stocked with enough supplies to last that long.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Pabappa »

I posted in this thread last year about a few ideas of mine, without specifically stating that they were mine. One of those is that in the Moonshine Empire, the government so heavily regulates business that fully independent private enterprise is impossible. Everyone either works for the government or works for a business which is subsidized by the government, and therefore must strictly follow government regulations or risk losing their subsidy.

Most of my writing concerns how my societies are doing everything wrong, from kicking boys out of their homes at age 10 to live in the wilderness, to burning all farms to ensure that there will never again be a famine.

But sometimes I write about the positive aspects too, and in this case one idea that I really like is that private businesses are allowed to advertise their products in any way they desire, but they must also advertise their competitors. In the Moonshine Empire, the standard of living is very primitive, so their main private businesses are restaurants, clothing stores, and carpentry services. There are so many carpenters that they might have a gentleman's agreement of some sorts to keep their prices at a certain level to ensure that none of them is undercutting the others .... which I guess makes it basically a guild ... but the government of Moonshine is so powerful that I could see them forcing the carpenters to turn over most or all their gross profits to the government and then having them depend entirely on the government subsidies. In either case, however, the carpenters would have no need to compete with each other, and one who feels unfit for a job might direct a customer to a different carpenter.

Restaurants and clothing stores would do the same, and in these cases the government would need to take a more active role, since the profits of these types of stores are directly tied to their sales. Restaurants in the Moonshine Empire have very small menus, variable from day to day, and therefore a customer who finds one restaurant's menu unappealing has a good reason to ask what's cooking at all of the others. The requirement for each restaurant to advertise its competitors might actually lead to a proliferation of highly specialized restaurants run by single families who expect only a few customers per day, and must also derive their income from another source.

Lastly, clothing manufacture is very primitive in the Moonshine Empire even by comparison to the rest of the planet, so the purchase of clothing consumes a significant amount of each person's monthly income. A women's fur coat retails for around 2000 mač, in an economy where the average monthly salary is only around 1000 mač, taxes are extremely high, and labor force participation is limited. The garment manufacturers are also involved in selling their products, either directly (they get no pay until a particular item gets sold) or indirectly (they receive a monthly salary, but it's tied to the store's monthly sales). Therefore they are hungry for more money and their interest would be best served if all of the competing stores were shut down. But the government refuses to allow a monopoly to develop, and forces the clothing stores to advertise their competitors as well, all in the interest of keeping consumers well dressed for their empire's very cold climate. Clothing stores are allowed to charge extremely high prices, but they must also advertise their competitors' prices, and therefore the system is stable. (Cultural attitudes strongly discourage shoppers from flaunting their wealth by deliberately selecting high priced clothing, and unlike neighboring empires, the people generally obey this custom.)
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Pabappa
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Pabappa »

A wholly unrelated idea that I just remembered from reading that other thread is that planet Teppala actually has dinosaurs. The geological history is similar to Earth's, but rather than having dinosaurs go out with a bang, the gradual cooling of the climate over many millions of years pushed the larger dinosaurs into ever more restricted habitats, and they disappeared entirely from the continent in which humans eventually emerged. The climate later warmed up again, but large dinosaurs simply cannot survive even in the revived rainforest areas because the meat-eating dinosaurs evolved towards a seafood diet during the long cold period, and never managed to repopulate the interior. They may have also become more seal-like in body form, just as penguins, seals etc have, and it's possible that they can't get around on land very well at all.

Humans could theoretically move to the dinosaur habitat and live among them .... although the dinosaurs could certainly prey on the smaller and more vulnerable humans, the dinosaurs' aquatic adaptions would make them slow enough on land for it to be a fair fight rather than having the dinos just scoop up the humans by the dozen. On the other hand, humans' weaponry in this world is so primitive that it would be simply impossible for a human to kill any of the larger dinosaurs, as their spears and arrows would never be able to get through the animals' skin (unless the dinos evolve thinner skin to help them get around in the water .... don't know if that's a universal adaptation or just a coincidence that fish/dolphins/humans all have thin skin). At any rate, I have no plans to put humans in the dinosaurs' part of the planet, as the human population of this planet never gets above a few million and the dinosaur habitat is thousands of miles away from the nearest human settlement.

The dinosaurs would probably be ruled by one species in particular, just as humans took control of their island habitat, penguins rule the north, and dolphins rule the ocean. The other dinosaurs would survive by changing their diets so that they don't compete with the keystone species.

It's likely that the herbivorous dinosaurs really did go extinct, since it would be much more difficult for them to switch to a seafood diet.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Pabappa »

I may have posted this here before in a less developed form, but I couldnt find it on a search.

Women of the Moonshine tribes are taller than their men, in many cases by quite a lot. They give birth to babies weighing an average of twenty to twenty-five pounds, who are already able to crawl and right themselves when they fall over. They nurse like Lephal1 babies, and go through the same speech acquisition process, but in gross motor development they are well ahead of their Lephal counterparts.

Throughout childhood, Moonshine boys and girls stand a foot taller than Lephal children of the same age, and weigh about twice as much. Equivalently, a Moonshine 5-year-old is about the same height as a Lephal 10-year-old, and is likely to be more solidly built. This makes socialization problematic, and in mixed societies such as Blop the two groups of children mostly self-sort beginning around age five.

Moonshines enter puberty about four years earlier than Lephals, however, meaning that they also stop growing earlier. Thus, while the Moonshines are still taller overall, the height difference is much less in adulthood, and both groups socialize readily with each other. The one intractable barrier to intermarriage is the weight of the baby in the womb: a Lephal mother simply cannot carry a baby from a Moonshine father without risking her own life and that of the baby. Mixed marriage in the other direction is uncommon, and the children of such couples are rejected by the Moonshines. Thus all children of mixed parentage consider themselves Lephals, and over time the Lephal tribes have been slowly evolving to be more and more like the Moonshines.

1. An ad-hoc name for human tribes in which the adult male is reliably taller than the female. Not a name for a single specific tribe.
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