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zompist bboard • View topic - On creating a timeline

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:05 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:22 am 
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Inspiring work! And thanks for the link, looks very useful. It seems to make some assumptions though, such as alcohol being the only drug and marriage being part of the culture.
Have you considered giving the øŋyk some relatives? Smaller versions living in forests adjacent to the plain, or perhaps mountain øŋyks with shorter necks (because a neck like that would probably be rather bothersome in a landscape with lots of hills). Or there could be another plain-living kind, specializing in a different food source.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:48 am 
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A good cousin for the øŋyk might be giraffe-like and use its long neck to reach the leaves at the tops of trees. The ones on the plain have a long neck so they don't have to bend down to eat. They can't move their necks like a camel; they can only move it side to side, not up and down. That's not to say a relative species would have this peculiarity.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:36 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:50 am 
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Last edited by blank stare II on Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:46 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:22 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:42 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:55 pm 
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I stumbled upon an article about the , officially called Dashka's Stone, a very ancient three dimensional relief map of the Urals.

I am planning on doing a paper mache model of one of my continents, about one foot by one foot. I'll form the mountains, valleys and plains first, then use silicon for the ocean surrounding the continent(also for inland bodies of water). I will probably spray paint vegetation in non-wooded areas, then use fake moss for forested areas. I'll post pictures of it when I'm done.

If it goes well I'll make a bigger one of the whole world.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:19 pm 
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This is completely the wrong scale, but imagine this picture showing a MUCH larger area in the same space. Detail would be lost, but it would still be a pretty neat presentation piece if I want to show somebody about my conworld.


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miniature landscape.JPG
miniature landscape.JPG [ 42.58 KiB | Viewed 6906 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:39 pm 
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Three pages ago, when I first started this thread, I asked for advice on building a conworld from the ground up. You see, when you build a building, you have to do it one brick at a time. You have your choice of which brick comes next, at least horizontally. But you must lay the ones below before the ones above.
I had the foundation already set, and I had laid the cornerstone. But would I go left, or right? Would I skip one brick in order to lay a more interesting one? I knew I would have to go back and fill in the missing block before I could lay the next level of bricks.

Then I re-read this thread from the top to the bottom, condensed my thoughts, nixed some ideas and amended others, read all the input that other members have posted, and evaluated my options for how to tackle this whole project systematically.

Then it hit me - I don't have to use the "laying bricks" metaphor! I decided to use the metaphor of a tree. It starts out small, and gets bigger as it goes up. It branches out predictably. So I am building the cultures of the world thus:

My timeline starts 150,000 years ago. At this time there was one group of people. These are the plains people I was talking about in my last few posts. Once I have their culture worked out, I will split off the group into a new group and move the timeline up by, say, ten thousand years. Once that group is figured out sufficiently I will move the timeline again, expand both groups into new territories, work out the new cultures thus formed(and their interactions with the other peoples already created) and so on until my timeline arrives at present day.
By following the "branching tree" metaphor, I can explain human migration, cultural differences, and a whole host of other things, and I will not have to pick and choose which aspect of the world to work on at a given time.
So far, flora and fauna don't get done until my conpeople first encounter them.

This post was difficult to put into words. Please let me know if it made sense.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:17 pm 
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So the foodchain of the plains area starts at the top with a sort of short-faced bear-like creature which resembles more closely the called Megatherium. Even the name sounds badass. But despite being giant and vicious, it is very slow. Therefore it mostly gets its food by intimidating other predators to steal their kills. The other predators in the area include a long-legged wolf which can run nearly cheetah speed(on the plains, you have to run super fast to catch anything) though of course it isn't nearly as agile as a cheetah. Maybe there will be a predator in the mix, but would that be too much competition, with three carnivores inhabiting the same area? The prey of the wolf(and, by extension, of the bear) include small wild horses, kemba, ŋuru and my favorite, the .
Humans hunt several of these animals, in addition to , which have no natural enemies other than man.

If any of these animals seem out of place for some reason, please comment on it. I could use a fresh perspective, especially since I'm not very knowledgeable about this part of the world building process.

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Last edited by blank stare II on Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:50 pm 
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I have two inland seas in the western part of this continent. The one to the south doesn't worry me, but I don't know about the one on top. Its source also feeds a great river as you can see. Its course can be described as Ocean > River > Sea > River.
Does this happen? That is, can a river coming from the ocean turn into a sea and back into a river like this one does?
Also, must it be salt water since it comes from the ocean? If it is possible, I would like to have a freshwater ocean on this world rather than saltwater as in our world.
This is a picture from farther back to give a better frame of reference. Too much glare in this next picture, I know. I'm almost done with a much better map and it'll be less reflective :wink:



That's a bottlecap in the lower left hand corner to give an idea of the size of the map. Just because I like to brag about the size of my map.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:43 am 
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Basically what determines saltiness is how much water evaporates versus flows onward from a particular location. That is, the ocean is salty (as are the Great Salt Lake, the Dead Sea, the Salton Sea, and nearly all other endorheic basins) because water flows in (carrying all the salt, sediment, and other stuff it does), but has no where to flow out, so after it evaporates, the salt is left in the remaining water. It doesn't happen quickly, but the ocean has been there a long time.

The Mediterranean is a good example of an inland sea, it receives less water from the outflow of its rivers than evaporation removes, thus without a connection to the ocean, it would evaporate over a few/several millenia. This actually happened once. More to the point, it has a slightly higher salinity than the ocean, particularly in the east.

So, if you want your inland sea to be freshwater, water-out has to equal water-in pretty closely. I'm not sure what the hydrology would be, the river coming out would probably be something like the Amazon and Nile combined in terms of flow.

Also, I like the tree metaphor. I think it will serve you well, but my only advice is, as you saw, don't get caught up in a metaphor too much.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:09 am 
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I have already posted part of the for these people. This is another two sections of it answered.


The earliest inhabitants of the plains appeared about 150,000 years ago. The plains were probably the first part of the world called "home" by modern humans. Had sufficient(read: any) records been kept throughout human history, all peoples could trace their lineage right back the grassland. This huge expanse of flatland was the very first frontier of Man.
Agriculture was first discovered by these people two thousand years after taking root in the prairie. It allowed them to grow to a great number, and to expand into several tribes stretching across the savannah. Within just a few dozen generations of learning to grow nourishment from the ground, the population boomed sufficiently to ensure the continued existence of human kind in this world.
The inhabitants of the plain have no written history. Living a hard life of trapping dangerous animals and working tirelessly to wrest a living from the earth, most of their energy is devoted to keeping from going hungry. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that they have had no leisure time to try to put words down in written form. Furthermore, they have a rich oral tradition, and storytelling is considered an art and a pastime. Having no trade, they have no need to keep records. Their oral tales of myth and folklore are sufficient for their purposes.
Having deep love of stories, both the hearing and the telling, they remember many important events of their ancestors, though the details of oral tales often change over time. But reiterating cultural beliefs and customs has firmly grounded into them their way of life, and has even made it sacred.

That being said, over the several thousand years of their tenure in the plains, society has changed greatly. In fact with each new settlement it changes yet again. But the many generations it takes for a culture to change is too long a time to be recognized by any one person, and for this reason natives believe life has always been the way it is now, and the obvious assumption for them is that it will always be as it has been in their lifetime.

Plains people tell many stories of the stars, the earth and the world beneath the earth. They tell stories of their ancestors, embellishing them freely with whatever details come to mind. They tell stories of gods and great animal spirits who created the earth and everything in it, including people.
Many stories include Father Snake, who crawled on his belly from east to west, creating the world as he went. The great adversary in these tales is the hawk, who swooped down and carried off Father Snake, putting a halt on all creation. It is for this reason that Plainsdwellers kill hawks whenever they can, and shun the meat.
The many tribes of the plains are united by one language family, though the vernacular of any one location necessarily differs considerably from those surrounding it. Cultural taboos(that is, xenophobia) keep them from much contact with each other, facilitating divers modes of speech.
There are no class differences among these people, having just emerged from a hunter-gatherer way of life. There are loose social structures to be found, usually with a chief at the top. This will usually be an unofficial title; all wisened(read: elderly) men are consulted on important matters.

A man will usually take one wife at a time, and build a large tent to house his family. At this point he and his wife move out of their respective family's tents. A couple is married when they have told every tribe member of thier decision in person.
If a man is to take a wife, he is expected to give a gift of several days' worth of food, along with supplies such as blankets, in payment to the parents of the woman.
A man may divorce his wife for any reason, but in so doing he forfeits his familial tent and his children, and must either return to his own family's tent or marry anew and build yet another home for the new family.
The mother of the children is expected to care for the children in the event of a divorce. There are no social implications for being a neglectful father of children from a former marriage; upon divorcing his wife, the man is no longer considered the father. A man may marry the mother of another man's children. He is then considered the father. This is not a rare occurrence.
Families are named after the husband. This name may change in the event of his death or abandoning of the family.
Orphans with no parents usually stay in the tents of the elderly, for these are the only dwellings without children.
A man and a woman will typically have less than a half dozen children.

A family dwelling consists of a man, his wife and their children. When the children marry, they build a tent of their own to house themselves and their children. Male children are hoped for in all situations. This is because males usually do the hunting and most of the farming - more food is brought into the house by a man child.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:17 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:21 pm 
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The article called explains some misunderstandings about these scavengers which are known to scare off lionesses for their kills(though not male lions).
However, says that the hyena is actually a great hunter and scavenging only makes 5%- 10% of their meals. It also says that lions steal lots of their kills.

This on carnivoraforum.com is about scavenging, specifically scaring off other predators for their kills, though it's about smilodons and short faced bears.

doesn't know what he's talking about, but he makes a good point that T. Rex could have used its size and bad breath to intimidate other carnivores out of their meals.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:34 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:27 pm 
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So pretty much we've come to the conclusion that it is possible for an animal the size and temperament of , and with the scavenging habits of the , to be found roaming a very large plains area, scaring away other predators for their kills and perhaps supplementing their diet with some vegetation between meals. Being very large, they could cover enormous distances in a day in search of the massive amount of food required to sustain their huge bodies.*
In general they would have little trouble from other predators; at least that seems to be the consensus on this thread, and I am partial to that opinion because I can't imagine such a large animal to be anywhere but the very top of the food chain.
Being relatively slow runners due to their bulk, they would likely do little actual hunting. Instead they would, I believe, have developed the ability to smell blood from a good distance, and they would follow this to the nearest fresh kill - even a mile or more away.
Though, as I said, they wouldn't hunt much because of their slowness[the proper word, sloth, has too strong of connotations of laziness to use here], they would definitely be able to run down and gobble up a human, which idea I think I like because it would have great cultural implications. Just think of the folktales about the hero of old who wrestled one to the ground and fed the whole tribe with its meat.

*I managed to use four synonyms of big in that sentence 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:11 am 
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