Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Terrae Vertebrae: Beyond Vertebrea

Vertebrea is formed something like a vast arrow, pointing north, flanked by a few islands. Land masses, different continents stretch away in roughly four directions: East of Talliz, South of Talliz; West of the Nirvanite Imperium and South of the Imperium.

This is all largely on the same basis as world building in Vertebrea, but fairly loosely sketched in - partially out of ignorance, partially out of focus. Though there are some bits I am fairly fond of and seem a touch more substantial.

East of Talliz 

Closer to Talliz one finds something reminiscent of Central Asia; nomadic tribes and vast stretches of steppe. This is comparable to the Mongol hordes or the Crimean Tartars, given their proximity and mutual hostility to the Talliz. 

Beyond such lands, the traveller might find something reminiscent of the Far East. Vast settled, civilised lands; rather better unified (in theory) than Vertebrea. Seeing as Pseudo-European nations owe their characters to national epics/vague notions of personality, the same applies to Pseudo-Asian ones. Thus, not-China is in the middle of and/or in living memory had something resembling the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  

As far as religion goes, the most prominent one is a belief in something called The Heavenly Jury - detailed elsewhere.

Nations that bear some resemblance to Japan, Korea or Vietnam presumably exist. The furthest East one may go probably centres on a Yoon-Suin -like 'city at the end of the earth' in the midst of an archipelago

In the mountains of this land, the Dwarves dwell, upon peaks higher than any other. Their cities can be seen here, steep sided and bedecked with spires. They are difficult to reach and are the subject of many legends. The equivalent of Polynesia and Australasia is unknown.

South of Talliz

South of a great desert, separating the Talliz from them, lie a series of kingdoms on fertile plains sloping down from the mountains. These are most heavily reminiscent of an Africa largely free of European or Arab influences: the Maasai rather than Mombasa and Zanzibar. Far enough to the South presumably lies the veldt and the Zulu.

Some ports exist on the coast, though trade with other continents is irregular. As above, the Benin Empire rather than the Kilwa Sultanate.

West of the Imperium

Across the Traitorous Passage out of the Inner Sea lie a people dotted across the seaboard. They raise a series of proud cities, filled with amazing architecture, decorated in dizzying patterns. A remarkably ornate culture has developed. All these cities owe homage to one distant overlord, but that has not stopped them seeking their own gain, through trade and exploration.

This is, in short, all rather approximate to Islamic civilization: the Arab World of the Thousand and One Nights and the Alhambra rather than the deep desert. It is an urban - and urbane - world, and knows Verebrea as a neighbor rather than an enemy. It has never been the subject of crusades from the Faith of the Eight; the beliefs of these lands bear sufficient resemblance to the Faith to live and let live - unlike some closer to home, South of the Imperium.

Beyond the deserts, we reach two distinct areas: one is once again reminiscent of Central Asia; the Central Asia of Samarkand and Tamurlane rather than Genghis Khan and the High Steppe. Reaching far into the West is a land much like the Indian Subcontinent - which may need it's own entry.

The Dwarves of this place walk among the race of men, openly and unafraid; they have proven time after time the strength of their resolve. Their lands were hard won and hard kept.

South of the Imperium

The land of the unbelievers, the fallen. A great desert, with who knows what lurking beyond. Where ten crusades have faltered. The Land of Punth.

Babel meets Barsoom, on the sands of Arrikis. Suitable reference should be made to the Ancient Mesopotamia of history (rather than the Babel of literature), Snow Crash and the Ascian people from Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.

Verbatim from my notes....

Tharks +Ancient Astronauts + Ziggurats+ Tower Of Babel [Cf. Snow Crash?] + Ascian Language [Book of the New Sun, Loyal to the Group of Seventeen]  Tharks expy = The Qryth

Order of tyrannical Mage-Priests [NB –Cf. White Martians] impose Mind control on Vast nation in times gone by; defeated by Tharks, but psychic after effects shatter language. Tharks have to restructure – in fairly exploitative fashion. Ancient astronaut –esque cult develops around tharks, who live at top of vast Temple Towers, Ziggurats, in Deep desert, &c. All rayguns &c. now purely ceremonial / decayed beyond use / lacking ammo. Martian Barsoom-esque Grand Canal

City peoples more wedded to Ascian than rural. Cf. Fremen for deep desert people; inner resilience, strength, harshness, individuality. ‘Tharks’ remote, but rather an object of sincere faith. City folk called Punthites; Desert call themselves Ka-Punthites (that is, true Punthites). Odd synthesis of sincere faith in the Qryth combined with an awareness (the truth of which being shrouded in the mists of time and folklore) that there was a time when they were not so dominated by another species. Greater contact with northerners, traders &c. increases this feeling(cities aren’t necessarily Hermetically sealed, but not the same level of free interaction) .

Border city; ‘City of Compartments’ on pass between Kapelleron and Punth. Divided into large sections by ancient Cyclopean architecture. City run by Dwarves on top of aqueduct – main water supply.  Desert folk at one end; Northerners at the other. Tension!!! Called Austergate by the Northerners, Ermapunth by the Punth and Karnaras by the Dwarves.

I am perhaps most proud of Punth and the Qryth. Quite derivative in their way, but the notion of a relatively sophisticated Late Medieval world being jammed up against a Newspeak-ridden Barsoom appeals to me. If anything asks for more attention in Terrae Vertebrae, it is this. 

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