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Culture of continents based on geography

Discussion in 'World Building' started by tnd314_fool, Apr 4, 2022.

  1. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    Culture is the knowlege a civilizations acquires through years of surviving and adapting to their surroundings. Culture encompasses religion, which helps it develop further. As such, culture can differ a lot even between two countries located on the same continent. But going so thorough as to micro differentiate between culture of various countries is a fool's errand.

    I've envisioned a world with 4 worlds with each continent having their faith towards a certain god of theirs.

    * Continent worshipping knowledge:
    This continent belives in a god who's the embodiment of knowledge. The continent is located just above tropic of cancer, is a 70° titled quill with the feathers depicted as small islands around the main body. The continent stretches from latitude 30° to 70°. It has mountain ranges along the western side and few active volcanoes in the various Islands around the main body

    *Continent worshipping god of control/dominance:
    This continent worships the God who is embodiment of control. The continent measures from tropic of Capricorn to 40°above equator. It has a huge pond(radius= 20km) in the centre of the continent from which originates various branches of water which traverses the continent to reach the ocean. It has desserts in the southern region close to the equator. Marshes close to the huge pond

    *Continent worshipping god of law and order:
    This continent worships the God who is embodiment of law and order. It is a simple continent consisting of two massive Islands connected by an isthmus. They collectively stretch from tropic of Capricorn to 45° below the equator. It has beaches but 80%+ area is plain land. The continent is famous for its high production of grains, pulses and vegetables.

    *Continent worshipping god of exploration:
    This continent worships the God who is embodiment of exploration, he who can go anywhere and find any thing. It stretches from 35° below the tropic of Capricorn to 10°above the equator. It's a magnifying glass shaped continent . The special feature about the continent is a deep trench in the east side of the continent. The continent has mountains around the curvature and forests around the trench.

    I'd like to hear some ideas on how to create various communities around the special regions mentioned. Then the culture of civilization living in the plains of every continent, since there are changes bound to surface due to geographical location. And then how the culture differs from plains to special regions in every continent?

    Please keep in mind the world is based on 1900s

    Thank you for your time
     
    LieutenantWolf34 likes this.
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    Judging by the name, wouldn't think you'd mind the errand set before you. :)

    The second one has caught my attention the most, if only after figuring out the relative size of said continent, that is in comparison one tiny, tiny, tiny lake. A rather literal pond within it. You may want it to be as big as the Great Lakes or the Caspian Sea or the like. Cause 20km is kind of small if it's going to be the central landmark of that particular continent.

    But if it is a place of lakes, rivers, marshes and swamps and eventually desert then it's culture is likely heavy in fishing and trade to the coasts. As it is a dominance related god with it, perhaps an empire ruling it from former bogland turned farmland. All connected by the rivers, as they are far easier roads to use, even as road development was getting better. But a continent of it's size is also going to have more then just plain land, what that may be. Actual plains or describing it as normal sorts of lands with forests, tundra and the other biomes.

    For it though, you could have it built on furs and fishing perhaps. It is kind of hard to build an overarching culture based on so little and for so big of place.
     
  3. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    I perhaps wouldn't mind if I'm paid enough for it, but as we both know I won't.

    I can of course change the pond's radius a little, perhaps 40-50km(?).

    I belive I can add some hills in the northern region for production of coffee and tea, and in the plains use 10-15% land for production of crops which can only be grown in hot areas and lots of water.

    Anyways thanks for the feedback
     
  4. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    Probably should be more in the range of a couple hundred kilometers minimum to be a truly huge lake. But if you put in rivers and chains of lakes along with the various marshes and swamplands it will break up a lot and it may not necessarily need to be that big. Maybe be something like the Nile Delta or the Amazon River Delta too, possibly give you some more ideas.

    Unless the idea is that the god in charge just scooped up a place for the lake and called it good. Which, is entirely possible.
     
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    I dont know. For me, the religions seem already to have a heavy handed tone to them. I am trying to envision why a continent with an abundance of plains, vegetables and grains would organically evolve to have belief in a law and order God. Was there a lot of stealing of their abundance?

    The gods seem disconnected from the lands to me. Like here is a land, and lets superimpose a god upon it. I could make up ideas and stories, but I think it would ring untrue.
     
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  6. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    I am thinking on the pond as well. Water tends to gather at the lowest point, that does not lend itself to spilling out into tributaries that reach the ocean. Where does the water from the pond come from?

    Since this is a control and dominance God, I see entering the water to be forbidden, and I picture a lot of Japanese rock garden treatment in the sand around it. Probably a lot of things would be considered sacred and off limits.

    (course it could be they all have interesting sex lives).
     
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  7. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    I would think a people who worshipped a god of exploration would be the type of people that would discover places like Hawaii and Easter island. So I would expect them to know a bit about what is around them, and to have spread.
     
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  8. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Auror

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    I read that and thought, these religions sound like the factions in Divergent. Take certain human characteristics and divvy them up between groups, and add a presumption that each group is made up with people with one, and only one, of those specific traits. Only in this case, it's take just one specific aspect of society and have everyone on the same continent worship the god that represents it.

    A continent with agricultural abundance worshipping the law and order god is as logical as all the farmers being lovey-dovey hippies.

    In other words, it's a logic that only works if this is a fantasy novel and the author says so.

    Realistically, gods of this or that can only evolve in polytheistic culture, which naturally means they share their pantheon, and their space, with other gods. Monotheistic culture has a God of Everything, not just, everyone worship the god of law and order, or the god of exploration, or what have you.
     
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  9. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well, this is where my question comes from. The OP is showing four religions with a god assigned to some sphere. Seems like a pantheon to me, so I would think a more fully fleshed out pantheon would exist, and there would not be just a God of law and order, he would be just one god among many who has won more influence. I would still look for the why. I am not sure what logic will be used, but I will want it. Whatever logic is applied, it will have to stand up to scrutiny. So, I think it will matter. And I wont think all logic is the same.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2022
  10. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    I'd like to hear your opinion on what method can make the continent have a proper backing compared to others. Me using agriculture was just a way for me to allow them to grow, it need not be restricted to that if it sounds wrong. I can always change the agriculture part in a heartbeat
     
  11. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    You mean to relay that I should make people from there to major pioneers of civilisation in countries across continents?
     
  12. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Auror

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    tnd314_fooltnd314_fool the thing is, it's not believable that a god of any particular thing would be the only god worshipped in a society, let alone a whole continent. For a god to be the god of something, and not The One God, it has to be part of a polytheistic pantheon. If it weren't, it wouldn't be the god of anything in particular, it would just be God.

    But if it's part of a polytheistic pantheon, it isn't the only god being worshipped. Gods in pantheons represent different facets of life, different specialties, and it's impossible for a society to exist with only one specialty. If a society only worships the god of knowledge, then they're ignoring the god(dess) of fertility and childbirth, so how are babies made and born? They're ignoring the god(dess) of agriculture or hunting/gathering, so how do they acquire food? They're ignoring the god(dess) of war, so how do they defend themselves? They're ignoring the deities in charge of the weather, communications, crafts, commerce, building, households, etcetera.

    In a polytheistic society, there are always specific gods for each and every thing that anyone does, for all the natural forces, for every facet of human psychology. That's how polytheism works. People may give particular homage to the god(s) of the things that matter most to them: for example, a smith would honor the god of smiths, a farmer would honor the god(s) of agriculture, a scholar would honor the god of learning or letters, but even they are going to have reasons, at times, to petition the god of prosperity, or protection, or childbirth, or whatever else. If there's no god for it, it doesn't exist. If the god for it isn't honored, it doesn't happen, or doesn't go well.

    For a whole society to only worship the god of wisdom, everyone would have to be a scholar and have no life at all outside of that. For a whole society to only worship the god of exploration, everyone would have to be an explorer and nothing else, ever. And so on and so forth. That's not how those things work.

    Not to mention, a whole continent having only one culture on it, with only one religion, isn't believable, especially if the people on it are the indigenous inhabitants, not colonizers. The only real continent in the world that even comes close to that is Australia, and that's due to colonization. Indigenous Australians prior to being colonized were never a homogenous, unified culture.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2022
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  13. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    That is quite the mix, and more than a little heavy-handed. Still, to develop what 'is,' you'd have to know what 'was.' Hence:

    Originally, you had the 'Control/Dominance' bunch. To me, this screams 'expansionist militaristic empire,' maybe helped out directly by that deity. They conquered all of one continent, doesn't matter which - then they sent out fleets of ships to the other continents. These fleets are part of the 'origin mythos' of the 'Explorer' faction, and again, maybe the God was directly involved with this.

    At this point, we get into what I'll term the 'Other Empire,' which originally occupied one of the other continents - probably the one now claimed by the 'Control/Dominance' bunch. Maybe the people of the OE were not nice, or maybe they had a lot of goodies that the Control/Dominance bunch wanted. Regardless, the Control/Dominance bunch invaded that continent, and the bulk of that faction, over time, ended up there. Not only that, after epic strife, they came out on top. The OE is gone as a political entity, but its people remain as not so well treated subjects of the Control/Dominance bunch. So, what you have are a bunch of fortified towns and castles with warriors and knights patrolling a not so happy populace. Possibly this subject race is literally another nonhuman race - maybe goblins or elves.

    Now, back to the original continent. This place was left unsettled - freak religious movements, warlords that broke off from the main Control/Dominance group, social unrest. Eventually, some of the Warlords and uglier cults banded together and went on a reign of terror, destroying anything they deemed a threat or 'unholy.' Much of the lore gathered in times prior, and the scholars/sorcerers/priests who studied such were automatically classed as 'unholy,' possibly with cause (maybe a few big spells went spectacularly bad - regardless, it made a lasting negative impression.

    Enter the Explorer Faction. They transported a great many refugees from the original continent, including most of the scholar types to other continents. Which brings us to the Knowledge Group. This faction probably had at least two origin points - the first a lingering city state or group of such on the Knowledge continent, once part of a greater nation, now sunk into political decline. The Explorer faction found this bunch during the first wave of exploration, but nobody apart from the scholars cared much - too distant, not a lot of resources, maybe other reasons. With the strife on the Origin continent, that changed - the Knowledge continent became a prime destination. Prominent scholars from both continents intermarried. Result: a sort of widespread 'college town' type culture - pretty much everybody is educated, or at least literate. Huge numbers of simple technological toys, moderately advanced medicine, sophisticated weapons. Not sure what tech level you're aiming for here, but definitely more advanced than the rest. They thrashed military expeditions from the other continents but lack the population/resources/inclination to invade the others. Kind of a militaristic democracy. I'd suggest throwing in a lot of rural settlements of different races, each dedicated something like wine making or growing weird herbs or mining strange ores used by the crafters in the cities.

    The Explorer faction transported a huge number of refugees to that continent. Many of these folk remained in the initial settlements, others branched out, finding or founding this or that city state or petty kingdom. Along the way, the key people in the Explorer movement profited. They became a sort of adventurous mercantile elite, and eventually a 'guild' for want a better term. You sail the seas in this world, well, you are either part of this faction, or you're taking your chances. A 'work your way through the ranks to wealth and status' type society. Greed based meritocracy. Other guilds dedicated to crafts or agriculture or whatnot are subservient to this one - supposedly. Lots of intrigue, lots of highly placed people dropping dead, mysterious bandits and storms, that sort of thing.

    Now, back to the 'Origin Continent.' (Again.) After a great deal of strife, the abused populace here had enough and rather brutally put down the assorted warlords and religious fanatics - call it the 'Great Cleansing' or some such. Sickened of the slaughter, the leaders of the Great Cleansing decided to abide by the law - law that would apply to everybody. So, they created a set of laws that defined acts legal and illegal, professions and status, and kept adding to them until the end result was a sort of Caste State. Everybody has a legally determined place, with just a few routes towards other paths. The populace is noted for being unimaginative and rigid of thought (though there are many individual exceptions). They also have little or no interest in the other continents.

    Take this a bit further: The Control/Dominance bunch sprouted from what is now the Law Continent, and some of their most important temples were located there - and maybe still are. Pilgrimages to these sites, greeted with varying degrees of animosity by the locals, is distinctly possible. The Control/Dominance faction might use their own ships for this, and might or might not have legal standing with the Explorer bunch. Likewise, the warlords and fanatics of old didn't destroy all the great libraries of old on the Origin/Law continent - and researchers from that realm still visit these places occasionally - carefully watched by the authorities. The Explorer faction has a presence in the port cities at least of every continent - carefully defined enclaves, perhaps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2022
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  14. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    I see my thinking was deeply flawed and missed quite a few essential points. Guess I need to ponder a little more on this before finalizing the world plan.
    Thank you very much for pointing the flaws
     
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  15. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well...It could just be that you want a story that does not delve into these issues. From looking at it far away and not knowing what you have in mind, I have questions. One being, are the people of these continents aware of each other? Are they aware of each others Gods? Are the Gods actual? Does it matter if they are? Are the Gods cooperative or rivals of each other? What do the Gods want from their peoples? Are the people free to choose another God? How much intermingling between peoples is there? What is the history of all of this? and how do these nations survive if they are all adherents to the main domain of their deity?

    I used to ask a similar question of star trek all the time. How can the Klingons all be warriors? dont they need everything else to support their military? Who builds their ships and all that.... I society all of one thing really cannot form. Its too limited. It might work in a small story or small scale, but if the story is trying to reflect things readers may bring into it, it will need to survive some level of scrutiny.
     
  16. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Was it? Using Star Trek again, the vulcans were all logical, and the klingons were all warlike. It worked and they got a big franchise out of it. Maybe it would not fly today, but most of it comes down to execution anyway. Neither the vulcans or the klingons make sense for an entire world. No world would have such a lack of diversity and function. But the series survives. The real question is, what do you want, and why? How does it server the story you want to tell.
     
  17. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    To answer your questions:
    Yes they are aware of each other, and I was thinking of having small branches of other religion in every continent. Like control one having a branch in law one and like
    The gods were real, but not anymore
    The gods were cooperative, due to a bigger threat, but perished in the end
    I belive since the gods are already dead, I can use that to be more lenient on imposing religious restrictions
    And yes they are allowed to change their faith
    And since the gods are already dead, the nations work with their basic principles based on the God they worship, but is also very much tolerant with other religions
     
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  18. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    I'm not a perfectionist nor can I claim that I can perfectly create a world where everything makes sense, but trying to make something that atleast resembles one is better than half hearting things and calling it a fantasy world
     
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  19. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Since the gods got in some mess and all perished, is there some sentiment that maybe they should be worshipping something else instead?

    If I was an observer of say, the law and order god, I might come to the conclusion that 'hey, all this law and order did not work out so well as our god just died believing in it.' and start looking for other answers.

    Is there some belief that the Gods will return, and are there other gods who did not perish?

    If there is a pantheon, and intermingling, it would seem wise for every location to have some form of recognizing them even if their main patron God was one specific one.

    But, if all these Gods are dead, do not the people have a new problem? What is keeping them from being next?
     
  20. tnd314_fool

    tnd314_fool Dreamer

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    There is intermingling between other continent, resulting in each continent having a minority of people worshipping other ones and many subsidiary gods. These subsidiary gods usually fall under one of the four main gods, and they are the one keeping the faith alive, since it helps them in becoming the next main god. Imagine them as selfish angels
     
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