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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:15 pm 
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I understand your suggestion to be using a combination of hyperactive plate tectonics(possibly in combination with some of the other ideas brought up in this thread) and very slow(compared to ours) cultural change. The only way I feel like I can justify slower cultural change is to proportionately elongate their lifecycle. Good old JRRT is a good model here. His Firstborn lived long enough to see entire civilizations come and go.
I'm not planning on using Tolkienian Elves here. Just plain ol' humans. However, being at a fairly early stage I am not against making a drastic change. If I gave them extra long(to us) lifespans, I could claim that their culture changes proportionately slower. Say, instead of everything happening over 150 thousand years, it could take place over 150 million years. The ratio of continental drift to cultural drift[I should patent that phrase] would be exactly the same, only it would make a lot more sense geologically.

I don't do a lot of reading about concultures, has the "long life" thing been done to death already? I am not sure if it matters to me, but I'd still like to know.

Bigger question - if I were to go that route(the 'slowing things down' idea), and everything is proportionate to us with more conventional lifespans, would there be any necessary difference in such a culture? All things being equal, I really don't think so. Unless it be less reliance on object permanence. In other words, you can't become too attached to things if, in your lifetime, it will surely crumble into dust.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:19 am 
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The American system uses a million = 1,000,000
And the French system uses a milliard = 1,000,000.
There's actually a very interesting wikipedia article on the phenomenon.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Ok so I'm just going to stretch the timeframe for continental drift and leave the rest the way it is. It took ~150 million years to form the continents, and 150 thousand years for people to end up where they are.

I am now doing culture. Having already plotted out where and from what stock the various groups came from, I think I have a leg up on writing folktales(this seems like a good place to start with culture - what other part of a people's culture would have been with them longer?). I'm starting with the inhabitants of a very large plains area, whom I am basing on the . They have no written tradition, so all the stories are passed down orally. It's going to be weird trying to write them down, when they were never meant to be. After all, when you are telling/listening to a story, the volume or tone of your voice is very important(as are hand gestures), which all gets lost when it's written down. But that is unavoidable.
When neither you nor your ancestors since time immemorial have had any canopy cover to block your view of the sky, the movement of celestial bodies can become very important culturally. I got some library books on what the plains indians called "skytales". These stories tell how the constellations came to be, usually in an allegorical way like parables or fables, explaining tribal customs. I'll post a couple of the stories tonight.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:35 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:48 pm 
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Once a sea level rises, is it up for good? Sea levels can't lower, right?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:54 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:30 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:41 pm 
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I have found(rather late in the game, I might add) a on geography and its effects on the development of civilization. This is a good resource for someone building their conworld one step at a time like this thread describes, though it is a pretty incomplete wikibook. Hopefully I'll learn quite a bit from doing this, and be able to add something to the article in the future.

One thing the article stresses which I want to repeat here is that just any type of culture won't be found just anywhere. For instance, in the middle east you never got as much popularity with the bow and arrow as you did the . This is because they didn't have as much wood to be using for arrows; however, they had plenty of rocks.* Conversely, you aren't likely to find a slinging culture in the jungle, because you'd have to dig for your ammo and if you have trees all around you, you don't have room to spin the sling.

I'm figuring out the weather patterns right now. The geography will have a humongous effect on seasonal changes and the weather in general, so I'm on the hunt for some rules of thumb about it. I know mountain ranges often limit precipitation in the surrounding area, so deserts nearby are not uncommon. I know mountains usually find themselves near the edges of continents. Lakes and rivers = vegetation. That's about it. There's got to be more to it :?
What kind of weather would you expect to find across a very wide, very flat expanse of land? I'm thinking it would be windy, and probably stormy. You are likely to have large bodies of water in such a place, right? I am hoping to keep tree cover to a minimum, though I don't know of any reason why this would be.
I feel like it'd be too cliche to have bison roaming the plains, especially when I'm already cheating by using so much Plains Indian culture for the people who live there. I'll be researching other herd animals, so expect me to post something about it tonight or tomorrow. What do you guys think would be cool to have roaming some giant plains? I want to use ostriches, because their fast running would get them away from predators. Not too off the wall is it?


*a sling was every bit as deadly as a bow and arrow. Check out some history websites about the greek and roman armies using balearic slingers behind the archers because they had better range

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:27 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:14 pm 
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That's not a bad idea, I've been looking at wikipedia articles about critters that aint around no more, trying to decide on the best ones to have developed for the particular climate.
For all you conbiologists out there, what format do you use to document your creatures? Do you draw them? Or what?

:idea: A really great artifact would be a cave painting of a conanimal


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Now that I know where the continents are and what they look like, and have a good idea of the geography/climate in most areas, and pretty well know the relationship the indigenous peoples have with each other(not so much culturally as genetically and linguistically), I am starting to focus on culture - starting with the most "primitive" and working my way up.
I have come to realize that there is no less to do when developing a hunter-gatherer culture than a more "advanced"[that is, agricultural] society.
In getting to know these people, I have really consulted my maps hardcore, to find out what kind of place they call home. Since there are no mountains nearby, and the place has been exceptionally flat since who-knows-when, they are obviously smack dab in the middle of a giant - an old and stable part of a continental plate, having survived cycles of merging and rifting of continents. There are two -type bodies of water to the north(formed when two previously fused tectonic plates split apart and created a midcontinental rift, which formed a valley providing a basin that filled up when glaciers to the north melted). The area around these lakes(which could almost be called inland seas), is home to a large forest. But the plains themselves are vast grasslands where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other non-woody plants.
It seems like the plains would have a wide variety of weather throughout the year, with nothing to shield them from the cold of winter or the heat of summer. Wind speeds would be high for the same reason. The area is pretty temperate looking, probably able to support abundant wildlife, which I am assuming would roam in herds?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:53 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:55 pm 
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giant space hamsters


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:22 pm 
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I kind of printed out like.. 30 maps of the entire concontinent where my peoples live, and traced their movements inexactly over the course of about 1,000 years. At the end of doing that, I was able to determine who had history with whom, and who would feel what way about whom, and why. I was also able to go back and add in specific conflicts/big events on these 'timeline maps'as well, the more detailed the history got.

This was literally the only way I could get myself to make sense of their past. :p

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:04 pm 
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Yeah, same here. I'm kind of shooting for the kind of background information that Tolkien had when he wrote the Silmarillion.


For those of you who haven't read Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings takes place at the very, very end of a very, very long history. Much more epic battles with much more powerful dark lords had already been fought well before any of the characters in LOTR were born(with the exception of Galadrial and, perhaps, Elrond). LOTR was just a snapshot in time at the end of the third[and shortest] age.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:48 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:46 am 
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That Øŋyk is amazing :mrgreen:. Is this the creature that your plains people will live off? You made them sound very dangerous to hunt.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:52 pm 
Lebom
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I like it, but any reason for the Øŋyk to eat bugs and roots in particular? It seems to me that most large animals eat either abundant plant matter, like leaves or grass, or eat other large animals.
That is, most animals that eat bugs are fairly small (see rodents, amphibians, most birds and reptiles), likewise, seed and root eaters might be bigger, but not human size.

Remember that an animal's size depends on its nutrient intake, a large animal needs a lot of nutrients, and so eats either a lot (see whales, most grass-eating animals), or eats nutrient rich food (see lions, tigers, wolves). Some do both or supplement one with the other (see bears, humans).

Bugs require too much effort compared to nutrient intake for a large animal to make an effective diet out of them (usually), and roots also take more energy than grass or leaves to find and eat.

Of course, these are my own observations based on my limited knowledge of biology and ecology. (That is, please prove me wrong if you can.) Still, things to think about in a quest for verisimilitude.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:56 pm 
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Last edited by blank stare II on Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:04 pm 
Lebom
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I like a more varied grassland as in the African savanna or the Eurasian steppe to a more monoculture grassland, though the American plains does have a fair variety of its own (or used to), just not as many large grass-eating animals.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:21 pm 
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I figure some must-haves for these large plains would be rabbits, coyotes, gazelles, prairie dogs; I have øŋyk, but I think more than one large herbivore could be supported by such a wide area. I would rather have a lot of animals than one main animal and little else. That would be too one-dimensional.
What do ostriches eat? Somehow, I'm going to fit them in there if I can. They could elude any predators because they are fast and mean, so they just make sense to be there.


I don't have elephants in my conworld. I am just showing this picture of them to make this point. Each of them weighs about a ton, and there are about a bazillion of them. Yet there is plenty of room for this and several more herds of this size. So yes, there is room for several large herbivorian beasts.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:26 pm 
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