Looking for feedback on a constructed world

Discussion in 'World Building' started by WooHooMan, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I started working on this setting about two months ago. Originally, it was supposed to be for an RPG but now I plan on using it for a literary project.
    This is my first attempt at a constructed world and I don't really know what goes into so I thought it might help to look for some feedback.

    The basic idea is that everything in the setting is based around the number three. There’s basically three of everything.
    The setting is also supposed to have a tropical/Polynesian vibe.

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    Fantanesia is a continent in the southern hemisphere. This tropical region is made-up of three archipelago nations populated by different races of humans and other humanoids.

    THE PEOPLE OF FANTANESIA

    Indigenous People

    Stormkings are a powerful race averaging six feet tall with tan skin and dark, wavy hair. They are traditionally a seafaring warrior culture. Their history is punctuated by conquests through southern Fantanesia. They have also, in the past, practiced slavery but this tradition is no longer in practice.

    Trenchmen culture traditionally practiced building their homes in trenches and caves, which earned them their name. Their culture is also infamous for religiously practicing cannibalism and sorcery. They are a tall, dark-skinned people who traditionally wear clothing made of plants and animal skins.

    Northern Islanders are the native people of northern Fantanesia. Northern Islander culture placed great importance on community and familial bonds. Physically, they tend to be muscular with tan skin, broad noses and dark hair.

    Foreign People

    Estarcians are the people from the continent of Estarcia. They began settling in Fantanesia around one hundred years ago. They are distinguished by their pale skin.

    There are two other foreign races but they aren’t really worth mentioning.

    Non-Humans

    Dwarves are the miniature-sized people, generally considered to be a sub-species of humans. The Dwarves are known to be excellent builders creating many of history’s architectural wonders. In modern time, the Dwarves have mostly been integrated into the human society of the Stonereef Islands. They tend to be between four and five feet tall with a very stocky build but are otherwise similar in looks to the Northern Islanders.

    Orcs, also known as Troll-Nymphs, are a green/blue/grey-skinned and sharp-toothed people. Legends say they are the descendants of two now-extinct humanoid creatures: the trolls and the nymphs. Their cultural identity values piousness, empathy and strength. They are also traditionally matriarchal, tribal and nomadic.

    Goblins are not considered a race by most Fantanesians. They have little in the way of society and tend to live as hunters and gatherers. They are short, averaging four feet, with dull green-colored skin and sharp teeth. It is traditionally believed that Goblin share a common ancestor with the Orcs.

    WORLDVIEW

    The people of Fantanesia see existence as a very complex and intricate drama. As with most dramas, existence has three acts. These acts are life, death and rebirth. “That is, was once, will be again.” It is every person’s responsibility to keep the drama running smoothly. Keep your ego in check because you are just one character in a much larger story. Be nice to your enemies because in a future life, they may be your best friends. And protect the planet because you’ll keep returning to it. The Fantanesian people have a deep respect towards nature.

    RELIGIOUS FAITHS OF THE FANTANESIAN PEOPLE

    Julunism — Is the indigenous religion of Fantanesia; animistic, worships the elements of nature.
    Nature-Worship — The largest sect of Julunism who worship nature directly.
    Idol-Worship — A sect of Julunism which worships nature through idols and personifications (i.e. gods).

    The Temple of Sun Moon Stars is the primary religious institution in northern Fantanesia and a nature-worshipping Julunist organization. Their purpose is to educated people on Julunist tradition, oversee rituals and protect the right of Julunist to practice their religion. It is governed by three avatars that are believed to share their souls with the Sun, Moon and stars.

    The Three Avatars
    -Human Avatar of the Sun
    -Orc Avatar of the Moon
    -Dwarf Avatar of the Stars

    Mazim Faith — A monotheistic religion and the primary religious practice of Southern Fantanesia and Estarcia.

    The Fantanesian Church of Mazim is the Fantanesian chapter of the United Church of Mazim. It is presided over by the Fantanesian Pontiff who answers to the head of the Mazim Church in Estarcia.

    The Grand Inquisition is a military and judicial order in the Fantanesian Church of Mazim that seeks to end the “barbaric and amoral” practices of Fantanesia such as slavery, cannibalism and magic.

    NATIONS

    The Stonereef Trading Colonies are an economic and military association of three powerful city-states in northern Fantanesia; the military dictatorship of Sufoia, the theocratic monarchy of Valea and guild-ruled metropolis Vari City (which acts as the nation's de facto capital).

    Stonereef’s population is roughly a third Dwarf and two thirds North Islander.

    The Thalassocracy of the Valley of the River Sharks (usually called The Valley of the River Sharks, the V.R.S. or Riversharks) is a maritime empire governed by the River Shark Orc tribe.

    The nation’s mainland is composed of mountainous highlands and densely vegetative swamplands. The remaining islands tend to be made of loose forests and hills with very few organized settlements. Nestled in the River Shark Valley in the mainland, the citadel of Syliad is the nation’s capital and home of the River Shark tribe’s matriarch. The nation’s population is roughly half Orc and half human.

    The Kingdom of Skygard is a monarchy located in southern Fantanesia. The nation’s only major city is the capital city of Serna, the largest and most culturally diverse city in Fantanesia. Serna is also the seat of power for the Fantanesian Church of Mazim. The rest of the nation is composed mostly of sparse farmlands and small towns.

    Skygard is governed by three knightly orders (the Knights Stormsend, the Harborside Court and the Stonewall Order). Every politician, every military officer and almost every citizen is a member of, associated with or supportive of one of the knightly orders. The King of Skygard is in power because he has the most support among the knightly orders.

    The population, outside of Serna, consists of primarily Stormkings and Trenchmen. Skygard does not have a significant population of Dwarves or Orcs.

    UNIQUE FAUNA

    Hippogators: large four-legged carnivorous mammals. Though not particularly aggressive, their powerful muscles, sharp teeth and amphibious nature make them among the deadliest animals in Fantanesia.

    Potapods: amphibious octopi which live in the swamps of Fantanesia. They have stingers on their tentacles which they use to kill prey such as fish and small mammals. A single Potapod sting is not very harmful towards human nor are they hostile towards humans. Potapod meat is considered a delicacy.

    Titan Centipede: colossal centipedes which average in about 5 to 6 feet in length and can weigh up to 90 pounds. They are carnivorous and can be hostile towards humans.

    Bunyips: massive marine mammals with crocodile-like bodies and rhino-like heads. They live in the seas and ocean of Fantanesia but have been known to wonder onto the beaches. They can weigh up to 30,000 pounds.

    Tipua: often referred to as demons, are plant-like beings. They greatly vary in appearance. Most people consider them to be supernatural beings. For centuries, people have practiced turning Tipua into magical objects.

    Tatane: sometimes called fairies, are intelligent magical fish. They are rarely seen by humans so little is known about them.

    MAGIC

    Magic is a bizarre and chaotic art form used to manipulate the natural forces of the universe. Magic is preformed mostly through rituals and invoking magic words, phrases and symbols.

    There are three types of magic: High, Low and Mystic. High magic involves creating something from nothing. Conjuring demons, shooting fireballs and bringing things to life are all forms of Creation Magic. Low magic involves changing the physical structure of things. Alchemy and shape-shifting are both examples of Low magic. Mystic magic involves manipulating incorporeal forces such as luck, fate and probability. Mystic magic is the most common form of magic and is regularly used in religious practices.

    The greatest flaw of magic is its impracticality. There is no skill involved, magic operates by chance. A man who has studied and preformed magic all his life may attempt a spell and fail while a kid who has no background in magic may attempt the same spell and succeed. There is never a guarantee in magic, it works when it works and is ultimately too great and powerful to be controlled.

    This flaw as well as the possible danger magic can present, has caused magic to fall out of favor in modern time.

    The only beings who are known to be proficient in magic are the Three Avatars of the Temple of Sun Moon Stars. Their ability in magic is attributed to their divinity.

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    I left-out a bunch of stuff like history because I didn't want this post to be too long but this is basically what I got. Sorry if it’s not very well written or well structured, I wrote this as reference material and I wasn't planning on having anyone else read it.

    So, if anyone has any comments, criticisms or suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. Any feedback is appreciated.
     
  2. Motley

    Motley Minstrel

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    I was a little confused about something.

    You have 3 island nations, so to speak, with 3 distinct 'tribes' of people. Then you have dwarfs, trolls and goblins. Do they live on all these islands or elsewhere, and what are their civilizations like? Or are they just there for the 'occasional baddie' role?

    Also, you list 3 religions, but not which tribe practices which.

    Or are all 3 tribes mixed together spread across the whole known world and they practice whatever they want?
     
  3. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Ok, sounds cool. I love exotic fantasy worlds so I'll be happy to give this one some comments. :)

    What I think that you mean is "states" since nations are not the kind of things that goes on further down. That's what I was thought in my class for International Relations at least.

    I don't like the idea to have a title in the name for a ethnicity. I would probably change that into Storm Men or something if you want. But I'd definietly remove the "king" part.

    Ok, sounds cool.

    Ok, but what skin color does these guys have and what are the relations between them and the other two "native" races of people in the area? And how did these guys get there?

    Ok. I would probably not have bothered with white people at all in this setting, unless they are needed for some themes that you want to have part of this world, but you should of course do as you wish.

    This is a part that I don't like. Having all these traditional, or if you want to be cruel D&D, races around makes it less original than without them. My personal opinion would be to either make some unique races based perhaps on Oceanic mythology or just go with humans-only. But that's my view on it.

    Is this division necessary and how come that it developed? To me in my ignorance of Polynesian culture and history is seems a bit artificial. Otherwise I think that the basic idea behind it as the general religion of the area looks good, although some more details would be nice.

    Just as with having white people around I'm not sure that I think its entirely necessary unless you want to go with the themes that are allowed by a Christianity-version.

    The basic idea of a union between merchant cities looks good to me, but I think that you should get a different name, maybe call them a confederacy as they seem to want to settle internal affairs after their own customs and culture.

    Don't like the use of the word Thalassocracy since it don't really mean, at least to me, what political system that they practice. Instead I might suggest just call them kingdom or something like it.

    Wait now. Its a kingdom but its governed by the three orders. So is the king a puppet figurehead for the powers-behind-the-throne? And if they have this total control over the state why do they bother with a king at all? As opposed to a collegia between representatives from the three orders and the church?

    Not saying its a bad idea, but I thought that I should ask.
     
  4. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I couldn't really elaborate on that because there was a limit to how long the post could be. They're pretty much all mixed-up.

    Actually the dwarves, orcs and goblins are Menehune, Nawao and Ponaturi respectively. And those are oceanic creatures. I just used those names to simplify it and make the setting seem a little more familiar and easier to explain. Instead of saying "these are Nawao and they're sort of like orcs" I just said "they're orcs but kind of different."
    I have thought about just getting rid of them and use all-humans. In fact, I probably will do that.

    The king has been around longer than the orders. He's sort of a relic from an older time. I guess you could see him as more of a figurehead. The idea of this country in the middle of a great social upheaval where there are three factions trying to assert their control over the country while the King is there to give the illusion of stability and order. I should probably point out the most powerful knightly order is the one who wants to keep the king in charge while the other two would rather get rid of him.
    Maybe I should simplify this government.

    Also, as for as white people and Christianity allegory, I was trying to create a parallel between this setting and colonial Polynesia. I should probably think of rewriting it but I figured that the colonial angle could lend itself to a few interesting stories. The idea of civilization changing was suppose to be a theme in the stories and I thought the introduction of new cultures into the setting would help that theme.

    In any case, thanks for the critique. It's given me some things to think about.
     
  5. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Having demi-humans is fine, don't let people discourage you from what you really want to do (it's your story). If people didn't want them, no authors would keep using them and no new stories would come out having them. I would suggest IF you keep them, to make them your own (their own detailed culture and "personality") and try to steer away from the stereotypes for the most part (i.e. dwarvish craftsmen/ miners or barbaric, tribal orcs...etc.) at least that is what I would do to have demi-humans in my WIP. Perhaps your orcs could build tiered villages in the mountainous terrain within their territory or on the slopes of dormant/inactive volcanoes and have a strict religious hierarchy that runs their civilization.
     
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