Monday, August 10, 2015

VoL003: A Mirrored Earth pt. 2, Xenophilia

Spoilers: None
Risk of Change: Mostly no, some wee details yes.
Topic: Races, Cultures/Civilizations

I have a strong fascination with human ancestry and the migration of bloodlines. Not crossing the Atlantic to colonize America or anything like that, but much before that. I’m talking the human migration across the globe out of Africa. The seven daughters of eve. That sort of thing. The broad spectrum of cultures and ethnicities that formed as we dominated the globe are therefore a primary source of inspiration for me–peoples’ architecture, language, art, philosophy, religion, regime, and technology.

I realized years ago that I was thinking much too small with my world. It was once a Pangaea with a few islands, but my brain comprehended the scale of the land as more like a continent. I added a second continent, and then a third and a fourth, and since, their shapes has shifted and the country and culture layout has changed dramatically as I struggled to grasp the scale that I was truly dealing with. It was a planet, not a collection of rpg maps, after all.

I also realized years ago that, for being another planet entirely, it was strange that humans were present. So were various other animals from Earth. “Maybe Noah’s arc was a spaceship and this is where they or a portion of their cargo unloaded to colonize.” …Myriad cliche sci-fi related answers crossed my mind, but eventually, I decided to manage it as typical fantasy realms do and leave that unanswered. However, it wasn’t good enough. I wanted a realistic Earth-like appeal.

All races evolved as they did on earth. Humans evolved in the same way as real humans did, from the same (or similar) line of species. Genetically, the realm’s genetic journey took a very similar route to Earth’s overall, but with room for a plethora of species customization.

Like trolls, for example. They came from a species in the human evolutionary line that branched off and evolved separately. The species that spawned both trolls and humans got divided by plate tectonics and the changing climates eventually lead to one going the human route and the other taking a more super-mammal arctic approach, which lead to ogres. Over time, the ogres would evolve back down in size and become trolls and lesser trolls. (The lesser trolls are the race that would migrate and found civilizations like humans would.)

Both trolls and humans have a migration path, taking them across land bridges, shallow gulfs and bays, and many, many biomes. This lead to a plethora of ethnicities and the birth of many different societies with methods of survival based on their environment. Many human ethnicities do mirror those of Earth, but there are also variants customized by me.

One of my points of inspiration is the villain in the first Conan movie (with Arnold as Conan.) The person in charge of designing his character said that he intended the character to look ‘like he is the last of a race of people that are now gone’ and described how he had a facial structure of african genetic resemblance, his black hair however was straight and of a fine unkinky nature. His skin was paler and his eyes were a blue–he embodied ethnic building blocks put together in a way we are unfamiliar, and it shows.

There are still ethnicities being developed with that sort of method in mind, the looks explained by cross breeding over time, environmental factors, or selective breeding based on what is culturally considered beautiful.

Troll and Nokanese ethnicities are one big toy box for me to play with. There are lesser trolls, trolls, and ogres based off Finnish/Swedish/Danish/Norwegian/etc mythologies, some based off of popular troll tropes in fantasy in general, and the rest are mine, all mine, to design.

I’m doing the same thing with entire cultures, swapping around the building blocks. I’m not taking any real life cultures and employing them as carbon copies in my world, however, like common ‘this is fantasy, this is a race of white people, they must live in castles and medieval hamlets’ tropes. I’m taking extensive pains to make every detail of their societies/cultures unique, while maintaining enough features that they are received as relatable.

I’ll do a culture series for ones that I’ve put the most effort into in the vaults of lore project later.

Have to quit writing and get ready for work soon, so I’ll stop here and leave you with a shoddy scan of a migratory map of the southern contenints that I flash drew awhile back. It’s just an example and all I’ll say is that the big red dot is where trolls migrated out from as a racial origin point (like our Africa) and the purple dot is the human origin. Every time the color of the line changes, it shows where a different ethnicity was born. If the line ends in an X, the genetic line is extinct.

Monday, August 3, 2015

VoL002: A Mirrored Earth Pt. 1, The Calendar System

Part 1: The Calendar System

Spoiler Level: None
Risk of Change: Extremely Low
Topic: Time
Quick ref: Years are called Cycles. 1000 years, or a millennium, is called a Great Cycle. The correct syntax for saying it is the year 4628 in this realm would be 628 4gc. The time in which my stories will take place (to begin with) is in the first half of 6gc, meaning early 6000s. Years have the same number of days as on Earth, and days have the same number of hours.

Years are made up of twelve months, just as the Gregorian calendar is, although which of our days these months start and end on are entirely different than ours. I know that is probably a boggling notion, so I will break it down.

The Gregorian calendar, the calendar that reads January through December, is based on precise mathematics and astronomy. The world in the realm of Drumlore is based on the planetary parameters of Earth as much as possible so that it is, unquestionably, a functioning planet. That being said, I imagine the math behind the year and seasonal system would be about the same as that of Earth’s, so as the cultures of the realm advanced enough to start keeping track of the stars and refining their timekeeping methods, they would end up with a pretty similar calendar pattern to ours.

The differences between the Gregorian calendar and the Novan-Gan calendar (as called by the Nokanese people only and is used here as a placeholder) are where the months begin and end and where the year itself begins and ends. Gregorian year begins with January 1st and ends with December 31st, which falls in middle of winter as far as the season goes. The Novan-Gan calender’s beginning and end point falls where we understand March 20th and 21st to be, in the spring.

Why? What significance does March 21st hold and why would the year begin there?

The months are based on our “pseudo science” astrology*, or the zodiac. Based on the pattern of the zodiac (at the time I designed this calendar, anyway), March 21st is the first day of the Aries zone, and Aries is the first in the twelve-step zodiac cycle. This would begin the month of Harskaelun in the realm, as the holy archon Harskael is the equivalent to our Aries. The year is based along this pattern, so that the months begin and end when each zodiac does. In the dominant religion of Drumlore, in its various cultural iterations, a child is born belonging to the archon that dominates that month, making it a driving variable to keep track of.

*It is presently undecided whether the twelve archons will have anything to do with star constellations, though. I’d rather them not, as these archons are manifested entities with their own symbolism and mythos.

The lunar cycle will run the same course as it does on Earth, and for simplicity’s sake, be recorded on the same corresponding days. For example, if the moon was full on the 21st of March for a year, it would be a full moon the 1st of Harskaelun in the realm. Same actual day, recorded as a different name/number. The same can be said for seasons.

The months are as followed, named after their corresponding holy Archon:

  •  Harskaelun (March 21st through April 19th)
  •  Urwalun (April 20th through May 20th)
  •  Bismodun (May 21st through June 21st)
  •  Sharmillun (June 22nd through July 22nd)
  •  Adinathun (July 23rd through August 22nd)
  •  Grothun (August 23rd through September 22nd)
  •  Erilun (September 23rd through October 23rd)
  •  Rubalkun (October 24th through November 21st)
  •  Jarnikun (November 22nd through December 21st)
  •  Cernikun (December 22nd through January 19th)
  •  Parkarun (January 20th through February 18th)
  •  Eudikun (February 19th through March 20th)

Monday, July 27, 2015

VoL001: The Floaters and the Midsummer Walkers

Vaults of Lore Issue 1: The Floaters and the Midsummer Walkers

Spoiler Level: None
Topic: Mysteries, People

In the lands in the east of Sas-Akrana and Torlynn, where the lowland piney forests become a steady ascent to the high crests of mountains, there flows a river of staggering length. Much like the Nile or Amazon of Earth, this river, unnamed at present, is one of the longest in the realm, hugging the length of the mountain range that separates the two previously mentioned countries from the inland seas to the east and the countries of Nimb and Morodaldi. It then breaks away from the low point in the mountain range to spread west into the plains of Jhordona, branching into many smaller rivers, including the winding Tengali of the Mahali Wetwoods.

For hundreds of years, the residents of towns built on the leg of the river near the mountains of Sas-Akrana and Torlynn have whispered of strange people drifting northward on the waters. These solitary floaters pilot medium sized rafts stocked with woven urn-shaped baskets and clay pottery. They are never spotted with company, and when called to from shore, the response is never more than a gesture. They clad themselves in humble garb, usually robes of rough fabric and shawls or capes of fur for warmth. The people themselves, however, come from many different backgrounds, and of what race, gender, or age they will be next cannot be predicted.

Documentation in the realm will exist dating to the mid 4th great cycle (4gc), written by various road scholars travelling along the river, although the most well preserved and well recorded account comes from a scholar in 5gc, which I will write about at a later date.

Another point of interest is that, more rarely and only occurring in the warm seasons, similar mysterious people can be found following the roads of this area northward. They carry large pack animals with them, as well as live vipers whose species cannot be traced to a known point of origin. They were dubbed the midsummer walkers by locals. Their appearance follows the same formula as the floaters on the river, of unpredictable race, and they are equally quiet. Merchants encountering them on the road have reported getting a word out of them here and there, but it is always in the region’s trade language, and always a polite decline to trade and good wishes as they disengage from conversation.

These people are never spotted farther than where the river breaks away from the mountains and ventures into Jhordona, and the same people are never seen returning southward.


The snakes are a breed of viper specifically bred to empower their venom, making them slightly less fatal, but increasing the potency of its side effects. The venom triggers a state of shock and dementia , causing paralysis and hallucinations on a critical scale with the intended purpose of giving the bitten an out of body experience. The cult tending the snakes promise the answers to a thousand personal secrets, but warn that most do not survive the journey.