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zompist bboard • View topic - Transplanting (Starting over, but not quite)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:25 pm 
Avisaru
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So, I just got zompist's Planet Construction Kit in the mail and I can't put it down. My conworld, Calara, as fascinating as it is (with the giant trees growing out of the sea, supporting entire nations, without much dry land) simply requires too much work. I wanted it to work out as a scientifically plausible place, but it isn't. It's frustrating and it takes up too much of my time. So I want to transplant my major nations away from Calara, the Uscans, the Assan, the Imuthene, the Sadraŋ and Kìn and to a new conworld. Which will still be called Calara, but the setting will be more Earth-like. It's going to require a whole lot of reorganising. And this brings up a lot of questions and gives me many wonderful opportunities to fix things that I felt were limiting. A lot of questions are on my mind.

Should I introduce magic? I've always been tempted to.
Should I make the Aluns more human-like? I keep feeling that their biology requires too much exposition and will hinder me in case
I want to write stories. I'm taking creative fiction writing next semester, maybe I'll want to use Calara.
Have I gone too far with Calara? Can I simply drop this idea this easily?
Should I start over completely, ignoring all the languages and cultures I've worked on? What do my languages, Uscaniv or Imuthan mean when they doesn't have any kind of culture behind it?

Who has gone through this kind of process? Any suggestions?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:44 pm 
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you seem to be suffocated by the need to explain thing scientifically. If you want to do implausible fantasy, go ahead and do it. Nations living on trees above the ocean sounds awesome as shit, you don't need to have a good explanation for it.

Magic is a delicate subject: well done, magic can be a beautiful, elegant and meaningful addition to any setting. often it's just technology with another name. [I just closed a game where someone actually used the phrase 'supply teleporter']. if you want mundane magic, good, but I personally think it's kind of... cheap. like an excuse to use cool visual effects and avoid having to explain plot points.

"okay, how do I get the protagonist from this continent to the other... oh, I know, teleporter stone"

That being said, apparently leaving a conworld aside and starting a new one is a good idea: just look at steampunk xD. my experience in YUCOP points the same way: I'm quite happy with the Chalmean culture.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:09 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:16 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:57 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:18 pm 
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One thing that I've always thought about with magic is to do some research into real-world magical systems and then develop something like that. Something less like wizards shooting fireballs from their fingertips and more like leaden curse-tablets actually working.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:22 pm 
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Also you probably want to consider how magic impacts society. If people can conjure resources out of thin air or transmute common metals into gold, the economy will work very differently. That in turn suggests some big implications for politics and culture.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:56 pm 
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Yeah, I've gone through this before.

Regarding magic, and anything supernatural, including giant trees, or alien species: DON'T.

That's not because they're bad, but because if you have to ask the question, if you CAN ask the question, the answer should be no.

"Should I put magic in this world?" NO. Because magic doesn't fit in a non-magical world. If you want a magical world, it's a magical world, and it's magical right from the bottom up, and you need to start off saying "this is a magical world" and then work everything from there. Because if you try to build a world and then put magic in it, it won't work. Magic has to be at the CENTRE of the world, or nowhere.

Ditto alien species. If it's possible to replace your aliens with humans, they're not alien enough.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:24 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:30 pm 
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If you want to go for scientifically realistic, then just use the original thought as a creation or world-myth... although magic can exist in either the scientific or mythic world, just depends on how mixed you want it to be.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:30 pm 
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It's unclear, iirc, what creates the 'shadow baby' - whether the man is involved at all or just the woman, and what role rh'llor plays, and whether Rh'llor is indeed 'a dark god'. After all, SHE's fairly evil-seeming, but the only other priest of Rh'llor is quite good-seeming, and Rh'llor does seem directly set up against the Big Bad.

[I take it you've seen the 10-minute preview to HBO's Game of Thrones series, btw?]

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:31 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:01 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:34 am 
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By very strictly limiting the power of magic. Or biting the bullet and going for something readers probably won't understand.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:50 am 
Avisaru
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The big trees (I call them thales) are very much the centre of the whole idea behind the world. While they do require some suspension of disbelief, I think they work. They do cause a lot of issues for me, though, especially with regards to technological advancement:

Do Aluns not have fire? Do they not have metals and minerals? Do they not have metallurgy? I haven't figured these things out and they are in fact very important in order to be able to move forward. One idea that I have is that a second species, the Lentucs, lives on dry land rather than in other thale-forests, and has those things and sells it to Alun nations. But what happened in between? What development is possible for people with no metal or stone, only wood? How do they handle the wood if they don't have metal or at least stone tools?

Another idea is that the thales don't grow out of the sea but out of the ground. And this might work, but at the same time, it changes the setting quite a bit so it would be a big change. Maybe the ground is always damp and hard to cross? I don't know.

I would say that the biology of Aluns was different enough from ours to be interesting; especially the reproductive system, which requires the "male" to carry the child to term. And at the same time, I feel like the medium betrays me. I'm not an illustrator and I think the ideas are very much visual. Normal people on a normal planet are much easier to describe.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:54 am 
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It's, of course, your own conworld and you can do what you want with it. That said, I think the idea of a whole world built mostly around giant trees growing out of the ocean is rather cool, I'm tempted to rip off parts of the idea for my own conworld, and I'd encourage you to find a more realistic or satisfying way of making it work rather than abandoning your efforts entirely.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:54 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:33 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:42 am 
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The Alun males have marsupial-like pouches on their bellies.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:06 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:05 pm 
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I think if you want to make the Alun advance technologically, you need to go into more detail about the thales themselves, and how they affect things.

Do seabirds use them as nesting grounds or stop-overs on migration? Are there amphibians who live inside the trunks like ants or bugs? How did these trees get into the sea? Were they mangroves that just grew bigger and bigger as the sea-level rose? Can they use salt, instead of being poisoned by it like other trees? How did the Alun get to these trees? Did they go in canoes? Did the trees already exist on land, but rising sealevels forced the Alun to live in the branches, rather than between the roots? Is it very rainy in the area where the thales grow? If not, how do they get fresh water? Are they broadleaf trees, or do they have needles? How far out to sea are they?

If thales are like pines, then the Alun could have resin wells for getting fire, which could occur naturally when a branch breaks off. The thick bark of the tree prevents the resin inside from exploding, but fires can still only be safely lit on the furthest-reaching branches, to prevent branches above the fire catching alight. But they can't be lit on the bark, obviously - so maybe they would only use torches instead.

I'm pretty sure that a tree this big would be able to support coral reefs, and then eventually islands. Also, if the Alun arrived at the thales in canoes, they would presumably still use them for fishing, so maybe they can find a nearby island with mineral resources, but no fresh water, forcing them to stay living in the trees, but they keep settlements on the island which they use when they need stone, or crops, or something.


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