(C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
brblues
sinic
sinic
Posts: 220
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 15:34

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by brblues »

Pabappa wrote: 23 Aug 2020 16:17 2) Iceland. It's an island, like you said, and it's at least within reason that history could play out in much the same way as in our timeline if Iceland had been settled by a group culturally similar to Scandinavians but linguistically isolated. Perhaps they could be descended from the pre-Sámi hunter-gatherer substrate group .... their discovering Iceland before the Germanic tribes would be quite a stroke of luck, but not impossible. Only a few words are known from this substrate, so the project would be effectively a priori.

Alternatively, a tribe of Native Americans could have done the same thing from the opposite direction ... Im not sure if you can hunt seals, etc off the coast of Iceland but perhaps a change in diet would help them. There are at least some extinct Native American tribes whose linguistic affinity is unknown, so this could be a true a priori project. You could also still have Germanic tribes settle Iceland later on, either making the island bilingual, or having the first settlers be strong enough to resist the elsewhere victorious Vikings.
I think I do like that idea a lot, although I'd originally wanted to stay away from robbing a real-world people of its homeland, and rather insert a fictional island, but that is also fraught with problems... so I might actually go with Iceland here!

The idea then would be to make Iceland home to a completely a priori language, with the people living there in all but complete isolation up to a specific point in time from when I want to diverge the history, possibly based on some miraculous (i.e. fictional) technological advance or raw material encountered by that people. This would then be the catalyst for them entering the world stage, thus changing the course of history, in some areas more, in some less.


elemtilas wrote: 23 Aug 2020 21:46
You could put it in Ill Bethisad.
I'm not sure if it will be well thought-out enough for this, and there's also the issue of limited freedom of choice in where I want things to go then. On the other hand, I quite like restrictions in order to jumpstart ideas/creativity. But I think Ill Bethisad is a heavily a posteriori project?
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 2642
Joined: 22 Nov 2014 04:48

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas »

brblues wrote: 01 Sep 2020 19:53
elemtilas wrote: 23 Aug 2020 21:46
You could put it in Ill Bethisad.
I'm not sure if it will be well thought-out enough for this, and there's also the issue of limited freedom of choice in where I want things to go then. On the other hand, I quite like restrictions in order to jumpstart ideas/creativity. But I think Ill Bethisad is a heavily a posteriori project?
Don't sell yourself short! All that stuff started out similarly not-yet-well-thought-out.

IB is neither posteriori nor priori by design, anyway. If it seems heavily posteriori, that's simply a function of the whims and preferences of the language inventors in question.
brblues
sinic
sinic
Posts: 220
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 15:34

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by brblues »

elemtilas wrote: 02 Sep 2020 02:53
brblues wrote: 01 Sep 2020 19:53
elemtilas wrote: 23 Aug 2020 21:46
You could put it in Ill Bethisad.
I'm not sure if it will be well thought-out enough for this, and there's also the issue of limited freedom of choice in where I want things to go then. On the other hand, I quite like restrictions in order to jumpstart ideas/creativity. But I think Ill Bethisad is a heavily a posteriori project?
Don't sell yourself short! All that stuff started out similarly not-yet-well-thought-out.

IB is neither posteriori nor priori by design, anyway. If it seems heavily posteriori, that's simply a function of the whims and preferences of the language inventors in question.
I will need to have a closer look at it, and the process of joining! Are you active on there and could answer me some questions?
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 2642
Joined: 22 Nov 2014 04:48

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas »

brblues wrote: 02 Sep 2020 14:26 I will need to have a closer look at it, and the process of joining! Are you active on there and could answer me some questions?
I can answer probably just about any question you have!

The process of joining is very easy. It would help if you already have a Facebook account, because quite a lot of social activity occurs there. (If you don't have one, you can easily make a fake account or one solely for IB use.) Quite a few of the old members are present and there's always a warm welcome for new folks. Just introduce yourself and what it is you'd like to add to the dredged fresh from the bayou gumbo that is IB.

Almost all the active data creation occurs at the Wiki and that's just a matter of requesting an account.

I believe the annual semi-annual fête is still being held, by tradition dinner provided by only the best Jervaine chefs. You can pay the six pound membership fee then. Just make sure to wear your best tricorn hat.
brblues
sinic
sinic
Posts: 220
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 15:34

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by brblues »

Thanks, will look into it!

Problem now is that, besides the conlang, I don't have any specific setting in mind yet, while I would like to present one. So I will give that some thought, while browsing the IB wiki.
User avatar
LinguoFranco
greek
greek
Posts: 486
Joined: 20 Jul 2016 17:49
Location: U.S.

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco »

So, I'm stuck with my setting. It is science fantasy.

Magic exists in the setting, but it is an untamed and unpredictable force, so phenomena such as magic storms are common. Civilization occurs in areas without as much magical activity.

Since people cannot normally use magic, they instead developed technology. However, I haven't decided what level of technology they are at. I'm opening to anything from clockpunk to futuristic tech (though not to the point of interstellar travel.)

I just have a big picture and don't know where to go from here. Any tips?
User avatar
jimydog000
sinic
sinic
Posts: 285
Joined: 19 Mar 2016 04:14
Location: Australian Country

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by jimydog000 »

I don't have any tips, but I'm answering anyway as best I can.
LinguoFranco wrote: 08 Sep 2020 05:25 So, I'm stuck with my setting. It is science fantasy.
Have you heard of a TTRPG called Microscope? Might be worth a look, and I think its basically free.
Magic exists in the setting, but it is an untamed and unpredictable force, so phenomena such as magic storms are common. Civilization occurs in areas without as much magical activity.
What happens to the civilisations in the magic areas? Good? Bad? Attributes? Profit?
Eh, reminds me a bit of The Legend of Korra: Beginnings
Since people cannot normally use magic, they instead developed technology. However, I haven't decided what level of technology they are at. I'm opening to anything from clockpunk to futuristic tech (though not to the point of interstellar travel.)
Maybe start with:
A: A power source.
B: A war or other event, I remember reading Geomancer which felt like a good exploration of that.
C: A character with a basic belief system about technology.
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2022
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

I just have a big picture and don't know where to go from here. Any tips?
Well, the first question should probably be: why are you doing this?

I don't mean that sarcastically/aggressively. Conworlding is a hugely open-ended project, with no real standards to judge not only quality but even progress or completion. If you're not driven in a particular direction with it, it's worth bearing in mind: what are you really aiming to produce here? That can shape how you proceed.

Here's some suggestions:

- you want to create a conlang; the world is just there to provide cultural background

- you want to create other cultural artifacts (music, poems, art, etc), and you need the world for background

- you want to create a webpage, article, chapter, etc, presenting a general idea of an interesting setting for others to build on or be inspired by

- you want to create an introduction suitable to let the world be used as the setting for an RPG or other game or activity

- you want to create an encyclopaedia of a conculture

- you want to write a novel and need somewhere to set it

I'm not saying you have to have only one project in mind, or that you can't switch projects - but if you have writer's block, having a specific project in mind can help you focus on one thing, or one style, and avoid being overwhelmed by possibilities.

Note that different projects often suggest different styles of approach. Let's imagine you're writing about Middle-Earth. If you're creating Middle-Earth as background for a complete description of Gondorian culture and society, then you're going to have to go into a lot of detail about Gondor... but you can ignore most of the rest of the world, and have only a slight, passing awareness of ancient history and elves and whatnot. On the other hand, if you're presenting it as an RPG setting, you don't need much detail at all - you need a big-picture overview of geopolitical relations, and some catchy hooks to identify each culture and possible adventure area. If you're writing a novel, I'd suggest only a very vague outline of the world as a whole (too much detail can cramp your imagination for the story itself), but then a relatively detailed focus on the specific area your protagonist comes from, to create some verissimilitude for the protagonist - and then move on to think about other regions as you get there.

Whereas if you just want to write a brief intro to Middle-Earth as a concept, you're going to focus on the things that make it unique, and you're going to take a very wide-angle look - you're going to talk about the creation of Ea by Illuvatar, and weird things like the world having been flat but then being remade into a ball - which you almost certainly don't have to mention in a novel! The less fantastical version of this is often talking about things like orbits and moons and stuff like that.

---------------------------------

And my second question would be: why do you care?

Again, not sarcastic. What you've presented so far is very minimal (unsurprisingly, for a beginning). Most people reading it will shrug and move on. But you personally want to write more about this world. Why?

I tend to find, whether it's a conworld or a story, I have a kind of 'image' of the thing - not necessarily visual, sometimes more a feeling. I write more about it (or more often: think more, intend to write it up, get distracted) because something about that image hooks me - there's something there I want to explore. It can be a moment, a fear, a dynamic, a visual image... something.

Let's imagine Middle-Earth again. Let's imagine we've invented a very vague idea of middle-earth (or have heard a vague idea of it and want to write fanfic!). What makes us carry on with this world rather than any other? There's got to be a hook of some kind. Maybe it's: the Shire is a buccolic idyll, like England before the War; but its inhabitants don't realise that it is encircled by incredible darkness, ancient and almost unstoppable, and posed to destroy it. Maybe it's: Gondor is a warrior kingdom created to keep watch on the Dark Lord; but the Dark Lord seems to be gone, and the kings have gone away too. Maybe it's the feeling of being lost in the dark, mossy woods and having the creeping fear that you can see the trees starting to move out of the corner of your eye. Maybe it's the sadness that a great power and beauty has passed from the world, and the world is now dreary and mass-produced and normal... and yet, at the same time, safer and more comfortable as a result. Maybe it's just the idea of a lonely mountain in a desolate waste, inhabited only by a dragon and memories, and an intrepid band of refugees who want to rebuild what was lost, despite having no apparent way to do so.

As these suggestions indicate, you don't need to have only one hook (indeed, because LOTR has had relatively little editing, you can almost feel the clunks as Tolkien realises a new idea is more interesting to him). But it helps, in getting started, to have one thing, one dynamic, one image, that really calls to you, that you want to explore. Find out what it is!


--------------------------
LinguoFranco wrote: 08 Sep 2020 05:25 So, I'm stuck with my setting. It is science fantasy.

Magic exists in the setting, but it is an untamed and unpredictable force, so phenomena such as magic storms are common. Civilization occurs in areas without as much magical activity.
Is it science fantasy? At the moment, I'm not sure it's either science or fantasy. On the one hand, if it's not future tech, how is it 'science'? On the othe hand, if "magic" is unusable and just creates storms, is it really fantasy at all? Is it really magic, rather than some sort of ion storm?

What is 'magic' in this world? What is a 'magic storm'? Do bunnies pop out of the air? Is it just big lightning bolts? Or is it a jumbled terrain in which the space-time continuum is knotted up?

And the people on this world. So far, we just know that they have some sort of technology level, we don't know which, and they live in places where there isn't any magic. You may need to be more specific!

Since the magic storm zones are the only solid thing so far, maybe ask more questions about them. Specifically, what is the relationship between the magic and the people? Do they avoid it, try vainly to harness it, run in terror from it? Worship it? Theorise about it?

Here's three images:

- a scientist in a tower, with a telescope and an array of strange mechanisms, measures from a safe distance some aspect of a magic storm, in order to write his groundbreaking new paper for the Society

- a priest bows before a magic storm, performing ancient rituals to placate it - even though he doesn't understand it and knows his rituals are probably useless. Nonetheless, the fact that he cannot understand or control the magic is why he worships it, the one incomprehensible thing in an otherwise orderly and dull society

- a farmer sees a magic storm coming, and is consumed by terror. Knowing he doesn't have time to bring his family to safety, he lets his animals out of their byres, hoping desparately that they will run for their lives, and shelters with his family in a deep cellar cut into the rock, surrounded by warding iron - not knowing if they will survive a direct hit, not knowing if their house will be destroyed, hoping they will not end up as more of the ragged storm-refugees who line the streets of the local city, begging.


All three images are possible responses to the idea 'magic storm'. All of them answer the question: how do people interact with this phenomenon? And of course, a complex world might well have room for all three images in it! But it can help to pick one image and use that as your lens into this world, your viewpoint. And which viewpoint you choose - whether you think of this as a world of terrified refugees, or of fascinated academics - can substantially shape how you develop the world, both in the features you give it to make that image more vivid, and in what you choose to write about and what you choose to ignore...
User avatar
LinguoFranco
greek
greek
Posts: 486
Joined: 20 Jul 2016 17:49
Location: U.S.

Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco »

I'm building the setting mostly for the sake of worldbuilding, but plan to develop it enough to write stories in it.

The magic storm isn't a regular storm or an ion storm, as getting caught in it might turn people into dogs or something. It's effects are mostly unpredictable and usually dangerous. Magic exists all over the world like an atmosphere, but it's stronger in certain areas, while people live in the places that don't have a lot of magical activity.

There are actually magic users in the setting, but they are incredibly rare since magic is too risky to use. Spellcasting involves trying to bargain with it, persuade it or trick it into doing what you want. Mages can only channel very little mana at a time due to the risks.

There is a history of sorts. There was an ancient civilization renowned for it's scientific achievements. However, it was destroyed overnight as they attempted to actively control the magic for their own purposes, mostly in the name of research as well as using to expand their own power. The setting takes place after the destruction of this civilization, which left behind ruins to explore. I'm thinking this could be an allegory for man growing proud and the ruins being a lesson of what happens when you try to control magic. On the other hand, perhaps magic wasn't always like this, but became this dangerous and unpredictable force as a result of the civilization experimenting with it.

Scientists dedicate themselves to trying to understand magic, but still know very little about it.

I find the problem with fantasy is where one draws the line between magic and science.
Post Reply