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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:56 pm 
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Personally, I think the interesting route would be to accept that they live on giant trees and work out the consequences. They can still advance technologically, just not in the same directions.

It could have fascinating effects on culture, too. No doubt they'd discover fire early on, which for people who live in trees could well mean that you've got a neolithic society with the equivalent of nuclear weapons. Those that survive would presumably develop in quite different directions!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:10 pm 
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What kind of land, if any, do the trees grow on? And why don't the people just live on that land instead of the trees?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:58 pm 
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Eddy wrote:
What kind of land, if any, do the trees grow on? And why don't the people just live on that land instead of the trees?


I believe the OP said, in the first post, that the trees GROW IN THE FUCKING OCEAN. But ya know, I could be wrong.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Astraios wrote:
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.

Those are very helpful thoughts. The trees the thales evolved from were similar to broadleaf trees, except they already had the ability to absorb rainwater through mechanism in the leaves themselves (making it unnecessary for them to pump water all the way to the top which would be physically impossible). As the sea-level rose due to the previous civilisation's disastrous environmental policies, (actually, why not just let that be us instead of dinosaur-like things like I thought before and make this Earth in about 15000-20000 years or so?), the trees grew bigger and some were able to insulate themselves from the salt and survived. They kept on getting bigger as the sea-level got higher and their neighbours got higher and so forth. Atolls surrounding them is a GREAT idea! I had never thought of that. To Eddy and Atraios, the trees rest on the continental shelf which used to be dry land but is now underwater, so they don't extend beyond the old coastlines of the continents. (OK, I'm getting more and more excited about making this a future Earth, it makes thinking of animals and such so much easier. What do you reckon my timeframe should be if I run with that?).

My idea was that the Aluns were arboreal to start with, they evolved with the trees from lemur-like animals (but if I make this an alternate Earth, I might use Spider Monkeys or Gibbons instead). Hm... The alternate Earth thing would require quite a while for the pouches to evolve. Meh. Maybe not. We'll see. Any thoughts?

Also, why don't the Aluns inhabit the dry surfaces? A) They are inhabited by enormous monsters that like eat them. B) They like being in thales and they are not as adaptable as humans. C) The dry land is to a great extent deserts.

Salmoneus wrote:
Personally, I think the interesting route would be to accept that they live on giant trees and work out the consequences. They can still advance technologically, just not in the same directions.

It could have fascinating effects on culture, too. No doubt they'd discover fire early on, which for people who live in trees could well mean that you've got a neolithic society with the equivalent of nuclear weapons. Those that survive would presumably develop in quite different directions!

That is something that had occurred to me. They would probably be scared as hell of fire unless some safety mechanism were invented. Astraios, can you explain what you meant regarding fire better? I didn't quite get what you meant.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:41 pm 
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vecfaranti wrote:
To Eddy and Atraios, the trees rest on the continental shelf which used to be dry land but is now underwater, so they don't extend beyond the old coastlines of the continents.
Cool. Are they close enough to be within sight of dry land?


vecfaranti wrote:
What do you reckon my timeframe should be if I run with that?
The trees would have to be pretty fast-growing to keep up with rising sealevels - unless of course the sealevel rose very slowly - so I'd say 15,000 years is good.


vecfaranti wrote:
(but if I make this alternate Earth, I might use Spider Monkeys or Gibbons instead)
Awesome! Primates win. Twice.


vecfaranti wrote:
Astraios, can you explain what you meant regarding fire better? I didn't quite get what you meant.
I can try:

The thales are enormous, so obviously they will have extremely thick bark. If a big enough branch dies and falls from the tree, it could leave a scar deep enough that some kind of resin oozes out. That could be collected, taken to somewhere far away from the open wound in the tree, and burnt. If a fire was too close to a living branch, the flames and sparks would probably set it on fire, and then bang goes the thale (because of all that nice flammable resin it has inside). That would necessitate making fires that don't touch the branch the Alun is sitting on, and in a location where there are few other branches in the immediate vicinity. It would also mean constantly checking the wind - what if a sudden downgust blew the fire at the tree?

Fire would be almost impossible in the trees - maybe they would only use it on their atolls. Presumably they eat whatever grows on thales (are they pollinators?), so they don't necessarily need to cook with fire, but they might like to cook the fish they catch from the islands.


A couple of other questions: How big are the leaves/fruit/etc. of the thales? How are they used/harvested? How do they (and the Aluns) survive storms, growing (living) on exposed branches? Are the seeds big enough to be swallowed by seabirds and carried long distances? Or is that not necessary - since the thales don't rely on the seabed for nutrients, only for space and room to grow, do the seeds just fall to the water and float a little way, before anchoring themselves to the seabed? How do they hold on to the seabed? Are they like seaweeds, able to grow on rock, or do they need sandy stuff they can stick roots into?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:42 am 
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Considering the scale I envision for the thales, they can become up to 300 metres tall (think the shorter skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan, Woolworth and the like), I would think the leaves were somewhat larger than on regular trees; perhaps around a foot or two in length. They also do collect water and they are slightly bowl-shaped, for that purpose; the water is then absorbed by little absorbent threads at the base of the leaves. I would assume they were pollinators, but I don't know what mechanism would be the best. Clearly, falling fruit from 200 metres above you could cause serious harm.

The thales have big roots and thus can't grow on rocks. The fruit or nuts or whatever, I don't know what kind they are yet, probably just sprout down there once they hit the bottom. Hm.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:38 am 
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vecfaranti wrote:
The trees the thales evolved from were similar to broadleaf trees, except they already had the ability to absorb rainwater through mechanism in the leaves themselves (making it unnecessary for them to pump water all the way to the top which would be physically impossible).

In fact, it is physically possible. And if thales evolved from broadleaf trees we would expect some soil-to-leaves pumping system, at least a testimonial one. Thales could absorb rainwater during the rain season -no problem with that- but in the dry season they could use the testimonial pumping system to absorb sea water: the thick and tall trunk could work as a pump-and-filter system, separating water from salt. With that, thales could absorb enough water to survive the long and driest seasons; the salt could be exuded through the trunk, and this salt, I imagine, could have medicinal properties (because it has some thales' chemical components), which would make it an appreciated product in far trade.

About the thickness of thales' trunks: if thales are 300 m tall I suggest thick trunks. They can still resemble sequoias if you want (this is, stylized trees) but think of strong winds, hurricanes and the like: an arboreal civilisation will not last much with dancing trees! If Aluns build houses and streets on the trees you'll need strong trunks and branches, for stability, even if they construct ewok-like huts.
Thales' thickness makes possible another advantage: water wells. Usually thick trunks have cavities, and they can be filled with water during the rainy seasons. Not to mention that empty cavities can work as granaries or hiding places in case of siege.

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Also, why don't the Aluns inhabit the dry surfaces? A) They are inhabited by enormous monsters that like eat them. B) They like being in thales and they are not as adaptable as humans. C) The dry land is to a great extent deserts.

If Aluns evolved in trees you have the answer: they are arboreal so they live primarily on trees. That doesn't mean they cannot live on earth, of course. In fact, I find more interesting if Aluns have little trouble to live on firm land, basically because that means more interaction with the other peoples/species/cultures.
Now think about safety. A tall tree is like a castle or fortress in the Middle Ages, prior the introduction of gunpowder: a well built castle is a good place to live, as is a 300 m tall tree. The first human cities had walls, and as soon as civilization emerged armies and war appeared too: it's logic to assume that Aluns appreciate the tallness of their trees for the same reasons the first Human civilizations appreciated hills or cliffs to built their cities. The coral reefs and the sea that surround the thales could work as the walls and moats of our ancestors' castles. That could explain why Aluns still live on trees.

It would be interesting to know what species are the other peoples you mentioned: the Lentucs, for example. Are the same species than Aluns but evolving separately? Totally different species? Are both mammals? Can both speak? Do they have thumbs? Etc. Interaction between them (trade, language, politics...) will change a lot depending on your thoughts about it. Also, can Lentucs live on trees?

About the other lands: I suggest deserts, tundra, forests... as well as different climates. To add variation. Stories that are focused on simple ecosystems can become boring pretty soon. Note that I say can become: that's not a universal law in any way! But in my opinion it's a must to think a little about it.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:41 am 
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The thales mostly either resemble divi trees. Their trunks are "curled" together out of many smaller stems. The thales tend to support each other and they curl around each other creating huge symbiotic forests. If one falls, others might fall also. However, the likelyhood of one falling is lower, because it is supported by its neighors. Think emperor penguin huddles.

The idea of the magical salt is nice. I'll see what I can do with that.

The Lentucs are clearly different from the Aluns. What exactly they are is something I haven't set in stone. Either they're really smart elephant-like animals or other kinds of primates/lemurthings.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:33 pm 
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What kind of agriculture should I expect in the thales? Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:45 pm 
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The only agriculture I can see in the thales is gardening, unless large portions of arable land really exist at the feet of the thales, but I don't know how would work that above a coralline structure. If the coralline structures are enough wide, thus thales forests are possible and these forests will have associated plants that could also be eatable.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:08 pm 
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Perhaps silviculture would be really important? Are there varieties of thales which produce fruit or nuts or something?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:32 pm 
Avisaru
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vecfaranti wrote:
What kind of agriculture should I expect in the thales? Any thoughts?


any plants that grow on branches. (Nat Geo had an article not long ago, about all the things that grow and live in the branches of redwoods)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Well, the branches do support small ecosystems, they are big enough to build small towns so the top side of them is mostly covered in all kinds of vegetation that lives in some sort of symbiosis with the thales themselves. I wonder how this can ever support a large economy...

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Well, it's clear that the Aluns need a well developed agroforestry, since it's the best way to combine trees and shrubs with crops and cattle. If there are other small plants and animals living on the thales I see three possible developments for that:

1. Aluns and the other species live without interaction.
2. Aluns' superiority makes them the dominant species of the thales, which develops into ecological pressure and forces the extinction of the other animals and small plants.
3. The other animals and small plants avoid extinction because they're domesticated (partially maybe, like bees and apiculture) by the Aluns.


On the other hand, if thales grow above large coral reefs I don't think it's possible a plantantion economy unless there's a way to create and manage large plantations on them. The nearby continents and islands, with enough fertile land, will be better places for that.

If Aluns have a large economy this is not based only on the agroforestal resources, they need something more. If agriculture plays an important role, then they will need plantations, but if you base Aluns' culture on ancient civilizations then they will only have subsistence farming and some trade. About the secondary sector... they need to transform raw or intermediate materials into goods, so they need some kind of transforming/producing system. Thales ecosystems could provide some of the raw materials they need, and the system, I imagine, would be that of the arts and crafts, so no factories (?). Also, the Aluns could be an intermediate culture in a large trading route, so they would receive and trade with some exotic raw materials that could give them some advantage among the other neighboring societies.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:44 pm 
Avisaru
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Izo wrote:
On the other hand, if thales grow above large coral reefs I don't think it's possible a plantantion economy unless there's a way to create and manage large plantations on them. The nearby continents and islands, with enough fertile land, will be better places for that.


maybe ...not sure what the word is (if there is one), but like crabpots/lobsterpots, in reverse....have rows of knots or some attachment point for one rope per knot. hanging down at the bottom of the rope, is a mesh or pot or something - which is where the mushrooms/fruits/veggies grow.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:00 pm 
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Rodlox wrote:
Izo wrote:
On the other hand, if thales grow above large coral reefs I don't think it's possible a plantantion economy unless there's a way to create and manage large plantations on them. The nearby continents and islands, with enough fertile land, will be better places for that.


maybe ...not sure what the word is (if there is one), but like crabpots/lobsterpots, in reverse....have rows of knots or some attachment point for one rope per knot. hanging down at the bottom of the rope, is a mesh or pot or something - which is where the mushrooms/fruits/veggies grow.

Do you mean something like hanging pots? It could work, but only for familiar or small scale agriculture, no?

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:06 pm 
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vecfaranti wrote:
Well, the branches do support small ecosystems, they are big enough to build small towns so the top side of them is mostly covered in all kinds of vegetation that lives in some sort of symbiosis with the thales themselves. I wonder how this can ever support a large economy...


I kinda have an idea for this...
Perhaps the thales sprout edible shoots along the undersides of the large branches. With proper husbandry, the branch bottoms could be transformed into shoot-farms that are periodically harvested. So the Aluns eat a part of the thales themselves, as opposed to trying to grow some other plant nearby. Of course, this could be supplemented with gardening, hunting, raising edible epiphytes, beekeeping, fishing, and all the other suggestions. I just thought the idea of farmers hanging on the undersides of huge tree branches, suspended thousands of feet above the ocean surface, picking shoots, sounded like fun.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:43 pm 
Avisaru
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Izo wrote:
Rodlox wrote:
maybe ...not sure what the word is (if there is one), but like crabpots/lobsterpots, in reverse....have rows of knots or some attachment point for one rope per knot. hanging down at the bottom of the rope, is a mesh or pot or something - which is where the mushrooms/fruits/veggies grow.

Do you mean something like hanging pots? It could work, but only for familiar or small scale agriculture, no?

Image

Image


yes, like those.

as for scale....it depends -- how big are the underside of thales, and how long are the ropes?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:55 pm 
Avisaru
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Izo wrote:
1. Aluns and the other species live without interaction.
2. Aluns' superiority makes them the dominant species of the thales, which develops into ecological pressure and forces the extinction of the other animals and small plants.
3. The other animals and small plants avoid extinction because they're domesticated (partially maybe, like bees and apiculture) by the Aluns.

The relationship between Aluns and other animals is a combination of all three. Aluns tend to live lower in thales than many other species, so a lot of the animals that have survived civilisation live further up, in the crowns. Many animals are also capable of flight, which Aluns are not. There are no birds, but flight has evolved more times on Calara than on Earth. It came in very handy when most of the planet was submerged in ocean. Many creatures also became semi-aquatic. Other animals are able to co-exist with Aluns by living on the stems, rather than the branches. Many animals have been domesticated. Aluns have also driven many species into dire straits, but this is especially true in fringe regions where Aluns settled late (compare to the situation on Earth: African mammals faired much better than any others because they co-evolved with Humans, while on other continents, Humans came about later).

HandsomeRob wrote:
Perhaps the thales sprout edible shoots along the undersides of the large branches. With proper husbandry, the branch bottoms could be transformed into shoot-farms that are periodically harvested. So the Aluns eat a part of the thales themselves, as opposed to trying to grow some other plant nearby. Of course, this could be supplemented with gardening, hunting, raising edible epiphytes, beekeeping, fishing, and all the other suggestions. I just thought the idea of farmers hanging on the undersides of huge tree branches, suspended thousands of feet above the ocean surface, picking shoots, sounded like fun.

That does sound like fun and it doubles the available space for agriculture. Maybe these are not parts of the thales though, maybe these are plants that are able to grow hanging up side down? Awesome idea though. Aluns are able to brachiate, which makes this a feasible option.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:26 am 
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vecfaranti wrote:
That does sound like fun and it doubles the available space for agriculture. Maybe these are not parts of the thales though, maybe these are plants that are able to grow hanging up side down?

It would seem then that we might have the problem of the epiphytes not getting enough sunlight, as they always hang in shadows. Stranger things do exist, however.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:09 am 
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vecfaranti wrote:
Izo wrote:
1. Aluns and the other species live without interaction.
2. Aluns' superiority makes them the dominant species of the thales, which develops into ecological pressure and forces the extinction of the other animals and small plants.
3. The other animals and small plants avoid extinction because they're domesticated (partially maybe, like bees and apiculture) by the Aluns.

The relationship between Aluns and other animals is a combination of all three. Aluns tend to live lower in thales than many other species, so a lot of the animals that have survived civilisation live further up, in the crowns. Many animals are also capable of flight, which Aluns are not. There are no birds, but flight has evolved more times on Calara than on Earth. It came in very handy when most of the planet was submerged in ocean. Many creatures also became semi-aquatic. Other animals are able to co-exist with Aluns by living on the stems, rather than the branches. Many animals have been domesticated. Aluns have also driven many species into dire straits, but this is especially true in fringe regions where Aluns settled late (compare to the situation on Earth: African mammals faired much better than any others because they co-evolved with Humans, while on other continents, Humans came about later).

If many animals can fly then the domesticated ones would be those that can't fly. Although some flying animals could be partially domesticated, likes bees or pigeons. I insist on the fact that animals that depend (almost) exclusively on thales produce valuable products that sell well, so Aluns would have the monopoly of that products, focusing their economy towards these high quality products.

I would also consider the possibility of thales (or related trees) living on the continents, apart from the thales living on coral reefs. With that would be possible to have Alun communities living on land thales, being truly agricultural; at least much more than the reef thales communities. But if tall trees are not possible on the continents, then Aluns should build towns and hamlets, and I imagine that they would resemble tall, high structures, a reminiscence of the original Alun habitats on thales (?).

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