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The Wind and the Wyrd: Help with scope and implications of magic

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Nimue, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I have this world/story idea that I'm germinating while I work on my main project, and I'm trying to take a couple steps outside my comfort zone with it. My fantasy worlds tend to be small in scope and the magic systems aesthetically rich but conceptually simple (the system for my main project is pretty stolidly Celtic/Pagan, for instance.) With this I'm trying for something slightly more epic & high fantasy. And because this setting is really just a daydream at this point, I thought I'd ask for some worldbuilding input/suggestions/brainstorming.

    The setting is a northerly one that I'm calling Valegard (all names are placeholders...and probably recycled) and the first part of the magic system is the Wind, a supernatural storm that blows down from the arctic at intervals and devastates all living things in its path. Rather than rain or snow, it glows with phosphorescence like the aurora. The Wind touches nothing inanimate, but causes living things to burn up with magic. Only magical organisms can survive it--I'm imagining that the land where the storms are worst, channeled there by the mountains, would be a weird wasteland with lurking magical creatures and lone eldritch trees. Moss and short grasses might recover in the months between the storms.

    Since the Wind can't penetrate solid rock, or a thick layer of earth, humans in this world live either in mountain valleys or in ancient stone citadels. Possibly some fringe settlements living in earthen homes or barrows. Population would be greatly reduced. (The storms began between 1000-500 years ago due to a cataclysm/environmental disaster I won't go into, so there would be impressive ruins from before that period)

    Questions I'm trying to find answers to:

    - How do they feed themselves? Herd animals could be brought into shelter, but crops are still at risk: even in deep valleys some magical wind could kill entire fields. In that same vein, grazing might be hard to come by. Would root vegetables work better than grain crops?

    - How would trading and/or warfare work? If these northern routes were such a huge risk for traders, why would they go there? Some precious resource, or maybe the market is insanely lucrative because of how scarce resources are... As for warfare, what could reasonably be risked? A strong valehold could be worth fighting to conquer.

    - Imagine a Scandinavian or Russian setting where wood was far scarcer--the great forests have been leveled. How would architecture, tools, and art change? Could something stand as a replacement for wood? Bone, clay, other materials the Wind would leave behind...

    - (Alternatively, I might go with a scenario where the Wind harms humans only, and leaves the environment unscathed. I do like describing forests.)


    Now, for the second part of this world building mess--the magic system proper. The valemen call it the Wyrd, and while it was once revered as a mystical power, it is now highly rare and greatly feared, because of the likelihood that it will destroy a wizard's mind. While that is part of the risk of this magic, the danger has been greatly exacerbated by the isolation of the valeholds. The Wyrd wakes in a person's soul only when they have been exposed to magic. Long ago, children would have been tested at birth, and that waking would have been gentle. Then the cataclysm/war mentioned above killed many Valegard wizards, and the Wind rose and the fear of magic grew, and now most people in the valeholds have never been touched by magic in their life. The only possible contact beside the Wind--which is tantamount to death--is through warfare with the magic-wielding steppe and arctic peoples (shall spare the detail on them). When adult warriors are awoken, the Wyrd goes through them like a lightning bolt, sending them into berserker madness. If they are not killed in battle, they wander out into the Wind and are lost, or even if held captive, the magic burns them up from the inside.

    That context aside, during this hypothetical story the main character and others learn to harness the Wyrd, with help from the other main character, from the steppe/arctic peoples. The key aspect of this magic is that it only interacts with life force, not matter (like the Wind), and all the powers stem from that. Empathy is a huge part of it, not only perception but projection. Healing, but also superhuman strength. Anything that could be conceptually tied to greater energy. But it's limited to the extent of a wizard's aura (need a better word for that), so nothing over great distances or projectiles--and again, it can be blocked by stone or earth. All magic is personal. The great appeal of this for me is the sheer potential for drama--not gonna lie--and the contrast between control or repression and expression of an emotionally-keyed power that can be both extremely harmful and greatly beneficial.

    Things I'm trying to figure out here:

    - Are there other powers that could fit in here? I need to stretch my brain here and figure out interactions and implications. However, I'm not looking for traditional psionic powers like telepathy or telekinesis--too technical and possibly overpowered.

    - What would battlemagic look like in this world? I'd like to stay away from just draining life-force, but that might creep in there. Rather, I'd imagine combat magic involving pouring too much power into a person--burning them up like the Wind. Most of all, wizards would strengthen and boost morale of the warriors around them. Variations on that?

    I'm not very good at world-building stuff, so I appreciate any suggestions or comments. Anything and everything could be changed at this point. Regardless, it definitely helped just to write this all down. Hope it makes sense.
     
  2. Hi!

    First of all, I think immediately that your people would have to have a VERY good reason to settle a land so hostile. If basically all plants die in the Wind, I doubt large creatures, even magical ones, could survive. So, very harsh environment. Id want an explanation for why the people traveled here; how they even survived traveling here.

    Seems like the logical thing to do would be to burrow underground, creating tunnels that would be expanded over the generations. Mining stone and moving earth to build aboveground shelters takes time. Time in which your workers could be exposed to the Wind and killed by it.

    So, does the Wind kill wizards, or are they able to withstand it by virtue of being magical? A little unclear on that. I'm trying to figure out who would be able to build the stone citadels you're describing. Are the arctic peoples resistant? Has the Wind always ravaged this land or is it a new phenomenon?

    As for food, photosynthetic/autotrophic organisms are the foundation of any ecosystem. So my idea is that there are plants able to resist the Wind (magical) which can't be eaten because they're magical...but once decayed, they lose their magic. The decaying plants support underground fungi, worms and insects that the underground-dwelling people can use as a food source. This food source is underground, so not harmed by the Wind. Not very tasty but it works.

    I suppose people could venture aboveground between storms, to harvest moss/grasses...

    If there are places like canyons naturally sheltered from the Wind that too could work.

    I'm imagining the Wind as some kind of deadly radiation. What exactly does it do to people? What do you mean when you say they "burn up" with magic?

    As for the magic system, you could play with the ability to influence the emotions, mental state and life force of others. You could draw on a "spiritual healing" type mindset where people can affect themselves and others physically (heal, or hurt) through concentration/belief, and different emotions cause different magical effects. Negative emotions hurt, positive heal. That sort of thing.

    Battle magic: Maybe they can induce a berserker rage through magic which infuses the warriors and makes them nearly invincible. Also, going on the radiation idea...maybe they can make explosions, or focus energy like a laser...You mentioned emotional type powers, though, or life force...Hmm. If you can affect your opponents mind, they might have duels of mental energy, each trying to overwhelm the other's life force. Maybe their powers are a projection of the fighters' collective mental state/emotions...together, they can create a shield around themselves, etc...I don't know.
     
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  3. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I mentioned somewhere in there that the Wind started 500-ish years ago, so it's not so much a matter of settling or founding but surviving. Additionally, in the time that the Wind rose there were far more wizards, who would have helped to build the citadels/valeholds. No such massive construction projects in the present day. But yes, wizards can shield themselves and others from the Wind--and the arctic/steppe peoples do this for their settlements as well as individuals.

    I don't think I really explained, though, that this is a heavily mountainous land, and that mountains shield areas from the northerly Wind--the vales. So we're not talking about 100% devastation, more like 60%. I might play around with how much area is safe and restrict the Wind to more distinct wastelands. Or have the Wind come through once a year, enough for plants to complete their life cycles and go dormant--perhaps seed casings or thick bark would be enough to protect them. However, what I really want to keep is the need for shelter, isolation, and the inherent danger of magic.

    Sorry, I've got to go right now but I'll think & respond to the rest later--thanks for the input!
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Magical crops? They could survive. Or, normal crops but they get magical protection from the wizards, rather like priests blessing the fields.
     
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  5. Alyssa

    Alyssa Troubadour

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    Here's what I would do

    1: the food issue. Your food may very well be animal or plant based but you are limiting yourself to thinking about land based crops. some aquatic plant life is edible, as are fish. whats more lakes may be found at the base of mountains and the bottom of valleys, plants will survive at the bottom of these lakes (themselves natural hollows in the earth). Alternatively as Dragon suggested fungi might prove a good food source as well.

    2a: the who the **** wants to be here issue. the situation here is more dire than simply no traders want to go here. I assume once the Wind has passed the girdle of mountains it is mostly depleted and there are safe areas near the equators. so why stay? Necessity is a good answer, for 500-1000 years the north has been uninhabitable, refugees have filled into the equatorial regions. Disease, famine, overcrowding and breeding for a millennia (perhaps to be safe from magic that they now fear). But why risk life in a place that is certain death if you find yourself without a raincoat or at least an umbrella? A reliable source of food and space is a good answer. Hope is another. Perhaps their presence there is not about their individual survival, but the expansion and reclamation of their old land (perhaps it holds some cultural or religious significance - like the Jewish diaspora). perhaps between the intervals of the Wind a great edifice is being erected to stand proud against the wind, not to shut it out completely, but at least to divert it, create a Wind-shadow such as those formed by the mountains.

    2b: the warfare issue (I'm doing trading last as this sedgeways better in with the previous part). If this place has a religious or cultural significance you will have idealists and zealots. Say you were to reclaim the said land, your faction would have near ultimate authority over it. These people want this land for themselves, you have a wasteland that can be thwarted, a desert that can be driven back. People might fight for resources but they do need to be valuable resources. There also need to be strict boundaries on the value of these resources. Too high and no warfare will occur, people will squat in their valeholds collecting this resource before fleeing south and living a life of relative luxury. Too low and people will not be there in the first place. You would need a sweet spot of value which might not even exist. If you had the choice between a life of wealth in an overcrowded place (where your wealth would give you space and food, i.e. the equator) or wealth in a bitter or barren place - which would you choose? People dont want to go there. wealth will do them no good, there will be too few traders to bring anything beside extra food, maybe a few luxuries, and their prices would be exorbitant. My opinion would be to make the warfare based around not moveable resources (i.e. land and culture) rather than distributable ones (metals and gems). Ideology and land.

    2c: the trading issue. there will be very little of value here. efforts will be focused on subsistence and sending wizards out to brave the wild and raise their great barrier/Windbreak. There seems to be one valuable thing here, Magic. Whether in animals, plants or the Wind itself. Could the Wind itself be bottled in such a way as to reveal magical propensity safely? Would this bottled Wind degrade as it moved south, requiring massive quantities to be effective, does the Wind literally die as it journeys south? Does magical power increase the further north you go? But imagine how much kings and queens would pay near the equator for the chance to have their sons (or daughters) have safe access to magic. In a world where magic is rare and feared it is to have not one, but two eyes in the land of the blind.

    A(capitals for additional points): What is the Wind? And where are the Magicians? Has the absence of magicians led to a build up of pressure inside the Wyrd, that through lack of use has manifested as the Wind, now too powerful to survive? It's a catch 22. To have more powerful magic and use it (and so restore balance to the Wyrd) people must go North. But to go north is almost certain death and of those who do few might be able to tap into the Wyrd. So the north must be made safe. if only temporarily so that magicians may return to use magic and relieve the pent up pressure. Perhaps the Wyrd is the Wind, and the Wind is simply an extremely powerful physical manifestation of it as a result of immense pressure from disuse due to the death of the magicians in the cataclysm. Perhaps the Wind always blew, and it is only now that it is so strong that it is visible. Where it once woke children's latent power, now it drives them mad, and is so powerful that it fills those not meant to bear it in a desperate attempt to relieve the pressure, instead burning them up (or turning them to stone) before the magic can be used.

    3: the "got wood?" issue. Wood is useless as a building material here. Too scarce, hard to bring north due to scarcity of traders coming north. It is a status symbol, plain and simple. As well as the medium for great works of art. Normally stone is used - almost to the point of reverence (it is what protects them after all). Stoneworkers might very well be priests. Architecture would be low and groundhugging. The rich and powerful might live in high towers, facing the wind full on, shielded by many meter thick walls of stone - like a gesture of defiance.

    4: The "You like forests eh?" issue. Well I'll just wave my magic wand. The Wind turns living material to stone or crystal. petrified forests, colours vivid as the day they were turned to stone. Blades of grass, perfectly preserved, and now true blades indeed - walk barefoot at your own peril - a punishment for traitors and blasphemers, to be sent barefoot into the wastes, green, yet cold and dead.


    Now, I need my beauty sleep and I'll go over your next set of things in the morning/afternoon when I wake up
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
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  6. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    A few thoughts.

    1 - The Storms. Limit them to a once or twice a year event, complete with omens a good sky watcher can spot days or even weeks in advance. Also, not all storms are created equal, and 'gaps' are common. Around here, for example, we can have heavy snow in one area, and ten miles away, the snow will be real light. Natural geographic features act as 'funnels.'

    2 - Food. Tied directly to the storms. While devastating to existing life, the storms residue is a natural, super potent fertilizer. Used correctly, it turbo-charges the growth of crops - and whatever trees and other plant life may have survived. Which also brings me to the dead/magical forest. A couple years ago, I had the joy of having to drive alongside a major forest fire hereabouts. As in scorched dirt within ten feet of the blacktop, still smoking in places, and actively on fire in others. Nowadays, what we have is a *lot* of very fast growing undergrowth - and a bunch of standing deadwood. Aka, the magic storm brings growth as well as destruction. In some places, the hardiest trees may have become magical themselves - mobile, or perhaps lairs for spirits.

    3 - As to why the people are there - the magically tainted soil and other stuff is worth a literal fortune in distant places. Maybe a direct trade for food or wood.

    4 - Peoples magic. With point two, people accidently/on purpose eat too many magical storm fueled crops, then that power seeps into them. This sort of setup, the main thing, I think would be fire magic. Expel the fire (spell) or it will burn you up from within.
     
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  7. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Okay, haha. I’ll try and answer everything, but I can’t promise it’ll be coherent. ;)

    Not really analogous to radiation, but similar in effect--I’m imagining a high fever, madness, followed by rapid wasting. The body destroys itself, while burning visibly with magic.

    That’s essentially what I’m thinking for the healing: not so much physically closing cuts but boosting the body: its energy, immune system, the healing process. People would heal more quickly, regenerate blood, while needing less rest. Conditions like shock or heart failure could be directly mitigated. Now, this might actually be harmful for some conditions--cancers, autoimmune diseases, possibly fevers (see above). That’s kind of fringe stuff to think about right now, though.

    Emotions definitely play a huge part in this system, in that intense emotions are going to make one’s wyrd stronger and less controllable, and calmness makes it easier to direct, but I don’t think I want to make this somethere where certain emotions cause certain effects. For one, that would mess with some aspects of the storytelling if characters are constantly trying to force themselves to feel this way or that way. It’d get weird. Rather than anger/happiness, the dichotomy I’m aiming for is control vs instinct, repression vs expression. The two main characters embody that. And it handily ties into a great number of feelings and story moments: anger, despair, lust, joy, without making magic behave differently in all of those cases.

    The berserker rage is close to what I’m imagining, just maybe a gentler version--strength, high morale, courage--being what people would willingly subject themselves to. What might be forced on them, or that they fear would be forced on them, might be closer to berserker madness. Lasers and explosions is definitely not what I’m going for, though. I don’t really want anybody shooting anything anywhere. (Mush of reasons: impersonal, devalues melee combat where the real drama happens, not so much what I want to write.) I had considered characters being able to “charge” arrows somehow but that’s slid away when I decided magic affects living things only. Perhaps walking into someone’s wyrd during battle might feel like an explosion, though… Shields are more like what I’m thinking about, although it would be only a shield against magic and people--for projectiles you still need a regular shield (?? I may need to think about arrows more.). Duels between wizards would definitely be a war of strength, reach, and shielding. Are wizards better able to channel excess magic than others, though? What would it take for two wizards to burn each other out?

    This sounds about right for the Valegard once they have a good number of wizards, but the problem is about their survival when magic is very scarce in their society, and they have no supernatural protections...
     
  8. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I’m still deciding whether or not water/saltwater stops the Wind...probably not. At this point, though, I’m thinking more and more that the vales are safe zones, where even standing grain crops could be protected enough to survive, and that the Winds would be less frequent, more yearly.

    Actually, I’m imagining a landmass that is dominated by the Wind, and where surrounding seas would make it extremely difficult to leave for peoples who don’t have great seafaring technology. In part because the coasts tend to be more open, without sheltering mountains, difficult places to settle. Perhaps there are one or two rocky, protected ports. So in this case it wouldn’t simply be a matter of migrating South. (Also, taking any long overland journey runs the risk of being decimated by the Wind, though there might be a safe season) There are also more prosaic culturally-enforced reasons for them to stay: 1) other continents are inhabited by people and cultures hostile towards them (or perceived that way) 2) it’s considered too dangerous to travel, period, and 3) life in the vales becomes normalized. People don’t see the reason to leave: follow the rules, stay safe. Everything becomes enshrined in society.

    However, this does make me think about there being some kind of “green zone” along the southern coast where the Wind tapers off, that might be habitable without so much fortification once the valemen have trained wizards to shield them from residual effects. The trouble is, you have to trek through leagues and leagues of wasteland to get to it, which would be a huge barrier to the insular valemen...

    No, I agree. I don’t really like the idea of there being some sort of commodity (except see below). I haven’t really detailed the main source of warfare in this world, nor really outlined the main conflict. The arctic culture is one of high magic, and during/before the course of the story is invading the vales for their security and to drive the valemen out. (This may begin to sound familiar to a couple people…)

    That is the key--more and more, I’m thinking that the Wind is the major source of magic in this world. That it might have been raised on purpose to access that magic (there’s some kind of rift or source at the arctic pole called the Light at the End of the World where the Wind originates). Maybe other cultures/the ancient Valegard were using smaller, finite sources of magic (mines, meteorites--this is a planet-based magic?) which have now been exhausted. So there is a resource here, but it’s also insanely dangerous, and no one has figured out how to harness it. It definitely can’t be bottled--not really a substance, but an emanation of energy. Well, maybe remotely possible, but not with the level of technology these people have now.

    However, the magical plants/animals I mentioned in the OP would be good candidates for trade to foreign parts, whether or not their magic actually survives transport, even purported powers would do it. How much would this trade clash with the vales, and how much would it support them? I have always liked the idea of people going out into the wastelands after the storm to scavenge. Actually, something even more sought-after would be items from the ruins of Valegard, including sources of magic recharged by the Wind(?), like those meteorites. There might be a lot out there, far from shelter.

    Exposure to the Wind would not guarantee magic, though--it kills you. Now, it’s true that the arctic enclave has figured out a way to increase exposure (involving leaving awoken children on ice floes and/or harvesting the souls of valemen who were driven mad by their awakening...figuring this out but it won’t be nice) but this is a closely-guarded secret. I don’t think people from the South sending their children anywhere near the Valegard is going to happen.

    I’m glad you caught on that the Wind and the Wyrd are the same kind of energy, but the rest isn’t quite what I’m thinking… In fact, I’ve decided the the Wind is causing the Wyrd, and that there was no such powerful magic before its rising, only the lesser forms from those finite sources I mentioned before. That the Wind isn’t an imbalance, but a release, a permanent change that the world will be grappling with.

    Bingo on the stonemasons. I’m imagining a lot of building into and digging into mountainsides, also, but mostly inhabiting citadels and refuges built before the Wind really decimated the population and the power of the Valegard. I like the idea of stone being revered--a number of phrases comes to mind.

    I don’t want to get too crazy colorful, and I like the idea of a wasteland more than a crystal forest...but maybe that’s something that could happen in ice near the arctic. But yeah, I’m thinking there will be some weird things in the wastes--walking trees, eerie glowing pools, strange stonelike creatures, etc. Something to brainstorm.


    Thanks a lot Alyssa, those are some creative ideas! Definitely plenty to chew on.
     
  9. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Definitely on all of this. People should know this is coming a ways in advance, and when it does...I’m imagining a black storm-sky turning white with unnatural light. But it should still be unpredictable in its effects, for story drama...previously safe valleys being hit, or lulls where more life survives than usual. Lots of ramifications.

    There’s an interesting idea. Maybe in some places, near the arctic, the devastation of the storm is more complete and the land becomes a wasteland, but then on the fringes, perhaps this magical-growth effect comes into play. Ties into the “green zone” I mentioned above. That is the question...I don’t really want the residue to be dangerous in a direct comparison to radiation, but also like the idea of having to wait a while after the storm for the last of the Wind to die down.

    Pretty much in the “other stuff” category, as above...magical creatures or plants living in the wastelands, items from the ruins, ancient sources of magic recharged by the Wind.

    I think yeah, to some extent, there is magic that creeps into the valemen purely through environmental radiation, but this is what lies dormant until hit by live magic. Hmm. I’m not very keen on direct fire magic, though. Harnessing the Wyrd is less about burning off the energy (this taxes your body) but learning to channel and control it. People as conduits of the Wind, basically.


    Thanks Thinker! I’m on the same wavelength with a lot of this.
     
  10. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    tl;dr

    Summing up the changes/additions to the OP so far:

    - Food isn't as much of a problem as I first thought. The best vales are more like safe areas where trees and standing crops can grow. The Wind is a once/twice a year phenomenon, probably during the winter when most things have completed their life cycle. Seeds/larva/dormant trees would be able to survive most of the Wind, save for where it's strongest coming down from the arctic, where the true wastelands are. I'm imagining scenarios where vale farmers plant fields outside the vales and have them harvested before the Wind rises.

    - Valegard is isolated, surrounded by seas. Only a few coastal settlements rocky enough to be shielded and used as ports. Trade is occasional, migration very difficult. Other lands are more populated, civilized, but with (purportedly) hostile cultures. Magic is extremely rare overseas, because:

    - The Wind is the major source of magic in this world, and has created the Wyrd as it exists now--powerful, raw energy. In the times before the Wind, magic was very rare and came from sources like meteorites or mines that released energy, which would then be depleted by mages over time. These were closely guarded and available mainly to the elite (though only some could become mages, people with bodies and souls capable of channeling magic) Honestly, I was going over the old tropes--ancient magic being restored, learning the old ways, ruined magical civilizations--and I don't like them. So: powerful magic is a new and permanent change, now washing across the North like background radiation.

    - Most populous but decimated by the Wind, the valemen have hidden from magic, but will now begin to harness it to defend themselves from war. The native steppe/tundra people have always had access to some sources of magic, too remote for the rest of the world to harvest them, and the Wind has become part of their new mythology and strengthened their society. The arctic society were once valemen, lead by a group of elites into the north. They were the ones to break open the arctic rift that is the Light at the End of the World, the source of the Wind. They hold to the hierarchy of magic, live in a few magic-shielded cities in mountains and glaciers, and twist the Wyrd (they call it the Light) for more and more power. Their isolated society is over-reliant on magic and not sustainable in some important way, so they begin to invade the comparative safety and fertility of the vales. (Sorry this is so vague, it's still shifting on me! And yes, this is definitely a conceptual descendant of Winds of Ysgard...I gotta recycle everything, apparently.)

    Heh, everyone's been very helpful, giving me so many new ideas...even things that don't work for me help me refine what I'm thinking about. This is so productive it feels like cheating! :D
     
  11. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Dear Nimue, I don't have anything to add to your worldbuilding but I did want to share something with you I discovered on Pinterest last night:

    The Wyrd

    (sorry the image link isn't working for me on this one)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2016
  12. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I'm not sure which of those images you were linking to, but it's appreciated nonetheless ^^

    Definitely guilty of appropriating a cool word there with only vague links to the historical meaning. Not sure if "wyrd" works as well now that I've changed the nature of the magic at work--not an ancient, revered power but a new and dangerous one. Maybe it works better, with the implication that one is fated to be woken to that power (and probably go up in flames)? I'm a sucker for alliteration, either way.

    Everything feels so wobbly...this is why I usually don't try to worldbuild on a large scope, the wobbliness! I like things to be fixed quickly so I can get on with the plot and character drama. ...Of course, I've already plotted out a ton of character drama. Before I know what direction the global conflicts are going in. Priorities.
     
  13. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Woops! How about this one: The Wyrd.
     
  14. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    If not every mountain valley is devistated by the wind, I can see a paragon in the desert. The way I see it the areas that are not affected are going to become like desert oasis' and areas that are highly valued. The people that control the most fertile are going to be the powerhouses. Most likely those areas are going to be very highly deveolped for crops, while areas that are less suited for crops are going to have livestock.

    Above ground land that can grow crops is probably going to be too valuable to place dwellings and other such structures so these are probably going to be A) underground or B) built into rock faces, cliffs, the non crop worthy livestock feeding areas.

    I'm imagining Fjords with cities and town all along the peaks and cliffs while along the valley floor fields upon verdant field and advanced irrigation systems. I'm guessing agriculture is going to advance very quickly due to necessity. I'm also guessing Mining is going to be advanced, again necessity, especially for groups of people who have little access to crop worthy oasis'.

    One thing I think is going to be very valued is wood as someone else mentioned. Trees takes up space where fields could be planted. Cows, sheep, etc cannot eat it so they are probably going to be cut down early on to make room for the former. After a while Wood could probably something that is hard to find within the confines of the oasis'.
    Also I think this is one area where horses have no use.

    I'll think some more and give you any other ideas I can come up with.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  15. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Ah, yes, very cool! Man, that brings up a lot of thoughts about fate for this story...and the idea of choices fating future generations is keenly applicable because of the history of Valegard, the view of that history now that the Wind has risen... *tries not to get distracted with Themes*

    Fjords! It hadn't really occurred to me, but that is exactly the kind of landscape that would harbor settlements in this world. Building into cliffs/mountains is the general aesthetic I'm looking for. Tunneling into rock would form the majority of settlements--earth isn't as good protection.

    It's definitely true that the valemen don't keep horses--they aren't going anywhere. The steppe people, though, keep horses as an important part of their culture, as they travel far more to utilize scarce resources. (they can shield these horses, and their nomadic settlements, with magic, though during the season of the Wind I imagine they return to stone-shielded places as well.) Valemen might start using horses during the war with the arctic society, as they begin to master the wyrd.

    One thing though is that I'm looking to keep the technology and wealth level very low--advanced irrigation would be unlikely, and "powerhouse" in this world would be somewhere that can feed its citizens and raise a decent fighting force. Also, see the note below that with a seasonal Wind, they could likely farm outside the protected areas:

     
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