"Remix Earth"

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BarnacleHeretic
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"Remix Earth"

Post by BarnacleHeretic »

I decided to make a thread about one of my worldbuilding projects, in case anyone is interested! And what better place to start than with a map? Note that this is still a rough draft, eventually I plan to add more nuance to the climates but right now they serve as an indication of what general types of climates you would find in which general areas. Also, it's worth mentioning that although this planet is a globe, this is not a projection. As such, I took some creative liberties, such as drawing the northern continent as it would look if looking directly at the north pole, while the rest of the map is drawn more or less as though you were looking directly at the equator. It's weird, but I wanted the general shapes of the continents to be visible.

Image

As for what this project is like, it is a fictional world with no blatant "fantasy" elements, i.e. nothing that would generally be considered supernatural (however the people of this world naturally believe in the supernatural, I just make a point not to ever confirm those beliefs). Despite having a wildly different geography from our world today, the lifeforms of this world are very similar, making up a slightly divergent natural history. It could be seen as beginning to diverge slightly from our own natural history about two million years ago, but still following a relatively familiar trajectory after that point.

This project started as an experiment in cooking, actually, where I attempted to design the cuisines of different made up cultures. It soon got a bit out of hand, but the cuisine, religions, and traditions of the world's inhabitants are still the main focus of the project.

Feel free to offer feedback on the map! I'm sure I will continue to make changes to it.
Last edited by BarnacleHeretic on 21 Oct 2021 10:31, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

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So, I wrote up a brief summary of the culture I'm currently working on a conlang for, and while it was written just for my own notes I thought I may as well post it here and see if I get any responses/feedback! None of this is set in stone since this culture existed thousands of years before most of the stuff I've invented for this world and is thus a bit isolated from most of the work I've done, so if you have any feedback or suggestions I would be very likely to implement them!

Here's a closeup of the region from the map above that this piece is about.
Image

The tropical highland region lies in a significant rain shadow, receiving sparse precipitation. At high altitudes, little other than grasses and shrubs grow here, making it an unwelcoming land for hunter-gatherers. Perhaps it is for this reason that the people who lived here took to planting seeds in the marshy floodplains of the major rivers that cut wide valleys through the plains. With unpredictable and often violent flooding, it became necessary for these people to develop irrigation systems, and it may have been this need that led them to begin organizing themselves in hierarchical social structures.
It is believed that lovegrass and vetch were among the first crops domesticated here. However, a species of sorghum soon became the most important. Other significant early crops include runner bean, enset, onion, jute, and castor bean. Later crops such as coffee, henna, poppies, and saffron would become important parts of the local culture.
It is believed that the first instances of agriculture here predated the domestication of antelope, but it wasn't long before they became introduced, probably by contact with pastoral nomads who had made the antelope an integral part of their lifestyle. The first species of antelope to be domesticated were quite similar to the springbok antelope in our world, albeit with traits making them slightly more suitable for domestication. Later, a species similar to elands were domesticated.
Thousands of years after the first small sedentary settlements established themselves along these rivers, agricultural technology advanced to a point that villages began to become what we would consider cities. Although each of these cities spoke different dialects and had different cultures and traditions, it is notable that they all spoke languages of the same language family and had more cultural similarities than differences.
Although there were some instances of monarchy in these early city-states, they rarely lasted long. Instead, a system of oligarchy was the norm. The population of each city was divided into a small number of large families, with the patriarchs of each family forming a council that served as the head of government. These families would often specialize in certain trades, acting almost as guilds, and it was seen as a great affront for members of one family to practice a trade monopolized by another.
The religion of these people can be seen as having two fundamentally different types of God-like beings. First, there were the immortal, divine, and monstrous embodiments of natural phenomena. These were described as enormous chimeric beasts that lacked human characteristics, and were neither good nor evil. Praying to them took the form of asking that they spare you from their divine powers, such as natural disasters and plague. Second, there were the human heroes, who often had supernatural abilities but were distinctly mortal, and who were believed to be the ancestors of the major families. Prayer to these heroes was more a form of ancestor worship, in which the supplicant asked to be endowed with that hero's strength and guidance.
Sorghum formed the basis of nearly every meal in these early cities. It could be ground into a flour and made into a variety of breads, such as a crepe-like flatbread made from a fermented batter of ground sorghum and runner beans, or a sort of spongy sourdough cake. These breads could be used to sop up stews, or crumbled into the stew itself to thicken it and add flavor. Porridges were a staple of the poor, being made from sorghum, runner beans, enset, or a combination. A syrup made from the stalks of sorghum was used extensively to add a sweet flavor to dishes, and was often cooked and reduced until it was thick and treacle-like. Even the primary drink was a sort of light beer made from sorghum.
Fish and antelope meat were the prized centerpiece of any fancy meal, generally being braised in a broth flavored by herbs and spices like onion, saffron, coriander, fenugreek, and asafoetida. These stews were cooked in clay pots over hot bricks or stones. When oil was needed, castor oil or eland butter was used.
Enset was grown both for the edible corms, which were often added to stews or eaten boiled and mashed, and for the core of the plant, which could be pulverized and fermented to create a paste that could be used to make porridges and flatbreads, often with the addition of sorghum.
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tikoo
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by tikoo »

From above, the image of the land appears to be 4-legged creature. I hope the people can fly up and have a look.
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BarnacleHeretic
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by BarnacleHeretic »

Here's a more concrete question than simply "hey do you have feedback"; what earth cultures does the culture I described remind you of? What sort of aesthetics are you picturing? I tried to not just copy one earth culture, but of course I drew inspiration from many. I'm curious which ones come through the strongest, and what kind of impression people get! That would be helpful information, as it could inform me on whether I need to tone down certain influences or if I could get away with leaning in a bit more to others.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by kiwikami »

I really love/appreciate your world map - how did you determine what regions would have what climates? I've reached both extremes of waving a hand and saying magic did it, versus modeling ocean currents to determine realistic average temperatures, so I love to hear other people's processes.

Also, I absolutely relate to starting a project focused on one niche worldbuilding aspect (cuisine in this case) and developing an entire culture and people around it. I'm curious to see the differences in natural history, and thus flora/fauna, given a ~2 million year divergence point, even while some things (e.g. antelope) stay recognizably the same. There's an interesting multicontinental mix of crops here that doesn't specifically bring to mind one particular culture, and I'm really interested to know what kind of cuisine arises from that combination.

I'd also like to hear more about the religious practices and this dual god-ancestor/hero worship; how are these stories told and passed down? Is it an oral history, or are there written records?
Edit: Substituted a string instrument for a French interjection.

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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by tikoo »

It's a shaman who can see the world from above. This also relates to reports of near-death experiences when the patient is observing their surgery while floating near the ceiling. Synthetic imagery. Then there's primitive tech... like as a hot-air balloon.
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BarnacleHeretic
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by BarnacleHeretic »

kiwikami wrote: 22 Oct 2021 12:03 I really love/appreciate your world map - how did you determine what regions would have what climates? I've reached both extremes of waving a hand and saying magic did it, versus modeling ocean currents to determine realistic average temperatures, so I love to hear other people's processes.
I modeled ocean currents and prevailing winds and the like, but I'm not an oceanographer or meteorologist so I'm sure I made some mistakes.
kiwikami wrote: 22 Oct 2021 12:03 I'd also like to hear more about the religious practices and this dual god-ancestor/hero worship; how are these stories told and passed down? Is it an oral history, or are there written records?
Originally these stories were passed down exclusively by oral means, and that continued to always remain the primary way they were told. I imagine that metre and rhyme were used as memorization aids, and the stories would often be accompanied by musical elements. Written versions of many of these stories were carved into the walls of temples and other important buildings. I'm still working out the exact nature of the written script, but visually it is made up of a series of pictograms in which the negative space is carved out, leading to raised characters.
I have some ideas for some specific stories about specific heroes but I'm still working them out, so I won't say more about them until I have a bit more to share.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by Backstroke_Italics »

Very fun. The monsoonal grassland habitat is not a common focus for conworlding projects. If you get sick of sorghum sugar, palm sugar would also grow in these irrigated gardens.
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BarnacleHeretic
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Re: "Remix Earth"

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Backstroke_Italics wrote: 23 Oct 2021 02:23 Very fun. The monsoonal grassland habitat is not a common focus for conworlding projects. If you get sick of sorghum sugar, palm sugar would also grow in these irrigated gardens.
Yes! Palms are very important to the civilizations of this world, the one I've described above doesn't make as much use of them but they become more popular in the region later.
Most of the major civilizations in my world occur somewhere in the tropics, so a variety of palms are pretty essential to a lot of them. Which leads to palm wine, of course. Lots of palm wine.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by Backstroke_Italics »

Just a personal experience, but I really don't like sorghum. The idea of a sorghum-and-bean malt slurry baked until it makes a dry, mealy "flatbread" sounds like a good way to dread every meal. But maybe the saffron makes it better.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

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Backstroke_Italics wrote: 24 Oct 2021 02:25 Just a personal experience, but I really don't like sorghum. The idea of a sorghum-and-bean malt slurry baked until it makes a dry, mealy "flatbread" sounds like a good way to dread every meal. But maybe the saffron makes it better.
Yeah sorghum isn't my personal favorite either. I used to eat a lot of sorghum porridge. However, interestingly, breads based in sorghum don't have to be dry and mealy! If you make them properly they end up spongy and gummy, which isn't great either but I'll take spongy bread over dry bread.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by qwed117 »

I'm surprised by all the sorghum hate, I actually happen to like sorghum flatbread in comparison to wheat flatbreads
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BarnacleHeretic
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Re: "Remix Earth"

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qwed117 wrote: 27 Oct 2021 12:12 I'm surprised by all the sorghum hate, I actually happen to like sorghum flatbread in comparison to wheat flatbreads
I wouldn't say I hate sorghum just that it isn't my favorite. I'm a sucker for my wheat flatbreads but I think sorghum is pretty sick, that's why I used it so prominently in my worldbuilding project! But I would definitely get a little tired of it if I had it for every meal. But I'd also get pretty tired of barley, and that's most of what the Sumerians ate! Sorghum for me falls into a similar camp with millet, it's perfectly good but a little bland and I wouldn't want to eat it every day, I'm definitely a basic bitch who prefers my wheat and rice :P
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by eldin raigmore »

What about sorghum molasses (made from sorghum stalks instead of sugar cane or sugar beets)?
Has anyone on-board ever tried sorghum molasses?
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Re: "Remix Earth"

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eldin raigmore wrote: 28 Oct 2021 07:45 What about sorghum molasses (made from sorghum stalks instead of sugar cane or sugar beets)?
Has anyone on-board ever tried sorghum molasses?
I'm a huge fan of sorghum molasses, especially with some grits. I mentioned that the people of my conculture use sorghum syrup, often reduced, which is exactly what sorghum molasses is. I like the idea of them eating sorghum porridge with sorghum molasses on it, although I haven't actually tried that combination myself yet!

Sorghum molasses is more like a symple syrup or treacle than it is like blackstrap molasses, it doesn't have that dark metallic taste that makes blackstrap molasses so delicious. What it does have, though, is a unique tartness, adding a complexity to it that simple syrup lacks.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

Post by Backstroke_Italics »

I once tried a sorghum beer because they were selling it for one dollar at a bar. It was probably the single most foul thing I have ever put in my mouth. It tasted like mud and porridge with an after taste of old pennies.
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Re: "Remix Earth"

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Backstroke_Italics wrote: 02 Nov 2021 01:51 I once tried a sorghum beer because they were selling it for one dollar at a bar. It was probably the single most foul thing I have ever put in my mouth. It tasted like mud and porridge with an after taste of old pennies.
Nice! I don't drink so I've never tried sorghum alcohols. Mud and porridge and old pennies sounds kinda yummy though.
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