Shared World

I'm looking to start a shared world group, maybe 5 to 8 people that can create a world, creatures, magic, history, etc. The world could be used for gaming or novels.

Post here or email me at
twilight duel

Question on Characters

I have an idea for a book that I'd like to try and write, that I have ideas for the plot and setting and things like that, but I'm having a little trouble with characters. I've been thinking about this for a while, I'm stuck, and thought I'd see what other peoples' opinions are on the subject.

The story would involve a university, which there is only one of on Earth. In the story, I'd only be focusing on about four or five of the students and I can decided on nationalities for them. I live in the US so I'm more comfortable writing about characters who have a past there, but at the same time, it seems unrealistic to have all of them being from the US. On the other hand, I feel like it just seems like I'm trying too hard to get characters of different nationalities if I make each of them from a different country.

I've probably just been thinking about this too hard, but if anyone has any opinions, I'd love to hear them.
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On Dragons

This is a bit of background I did for one fantasy world. I was trying, as so many have, to create a unique spin on dragons, as well as to create something that was, if not plausible, at least consistent. To this end, I made them metallic lifeforms which literally breath (i.e. inhale) fire in order to power themselves. Other specific details about their life cycles and behaviours are contained below. I started out with a creation myth, just since I'm so fond of writing them.

As told by Shiess, High and Most Perfect:

From the first, there was only magma. Stone and metal in liquid forms, so hot they melded together, so fierce they were intertwined and bound and one part of matter could not be told from another. There was no respite, no escape, no exception, no place to be found away from that ferocity, save for the cold and indifferent sky, which was black and empty. The essence of the Flame pervaded all. Such was the beginning of our world.

And then the water came.

From the heavens, in a great torrent that obscured the sky, it came, quenching the burning stone, emitting a cloud of steam vast beyond imagining; this became the sky we know, of blue and white and red. The earth hardened, and some of the water rested upon the lowest part of it to make the seas; and the Flame retreated deep into the earth, to the center. It waits there still, churning, forever at odds with the coldness that invades from the sky.

But in wide and fiery caves below the ground, a curious thing occurred. Fine dust from the brittle stone gathered, and there amidst heat it mixed with the air and mist that came from the sky. Earth and air, Flame and water combined, and a new thing, life, was made.

Spirits, like tufts of smoke, were born, and became ever more numerous. And each spirit walked the earth, or swam the oceans, or floated within the sky, and in each place the spirits took the matter that was around them– the dust, the water, the clouds– and made a body. So were the forms of life made: from earth and dirt came burdensome beasts, dense and heavy things. From fine clouds of dust and vapor came birds and insects, light and quick. And from the water came the many fish and things that swim the seas.

But one spirit sank, instead, into the earth, following the caves from which life was born, down, toward the hot center of the world were the magma still churned. And finding such powerful, molten substance, the spirit pulled pure metals from the froth, forging for itself a body. While the many forms of life propagated upon the surface, making little use of their primitive forms, the spirit toiled for ages, extracting the metals and combining them, purifying and compounding them, until finally its body was complete, and awoke with living eyes for the first time.

So was the first dragon, the first of the Drei Conn, born. Khierr was its name. While all other creatures in the world composed themselves of flesh and bone, or leaf and wood, only Khierr was made of metal: the strongest of creatures, the longest-lived, a perfect life-form, fed by the Flame at the center of the world.Read more...Collapse )
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Need advice on making a map for an unusual planet.

I have this planet in this fantasy universe, the planet is called Orion. Basically, it's enormous, artificial, and uses magic to even exist. It's got the same surface area as Jupiter, it's hollow, and supported on the inside with a matrix of adamantium beams, as well as a layer of miles-thick adamantium below the molten level. Gravity is the same as on Earth.

What I need help with is, I need to make a map of just one area of the planet. Orion has oceans so large that super-hurricanes large enough to swallow Earth go barrelling around the planet, so I figured out a basic plan for the area in question: a super-continent wraps around a sea the size of all or half of Earth's oceans; smaller continents (which are big enough to be regular continents on Earth) exist in that sea, and house humans and other civilized life. The only access to the larger super-ocean is a gap a few miles wide on one side. This design means the super-hurricanes slam into the super-continent and lose most of their energy, if not all of it, before getting to the inner ocean, becoming manageable for civilization on the smaller continents.

The trouble is, I need there to be enough air flow over the super-continent for there to be rain, so rivers can feed the inner ocean. But the super-continent also needs to be able to slow down or even stop the super-hurricanes. Is it just a function of how much land is between the super-ocean and the inner ocean? Or are mountains still necessary? I figure the edges should have higher elevation than the inside, to channel water into the inner ocean, but I'm unsure what the measurements would have to be on that scale. Do it wrong, and either all or most of the water will be blocked at the edges, or the water will pool in the middle. Or is pooling in the middle a good thing? Lakes and so on in the land between the two oceans could feed life, and the lakes could possibly make rivers to the inside ocean.

Still, I need an estimate of about what would be necessary, on at least one side, to keep the giant storms at bay and yet still be getting enough water into the inner ocean. So any help is greatly appreciated.

(no subject)

I forgot to mention, in the previous post, descriptions such as "beautiful" are practically obligatory for deities and divine messengers in the old myths. Some myths contain elaborate physical descriptions. Some with rather explicitly erotic descriptions. Some versions of the following myth can be quite erotic, but the version described herein is rather tame.

The stranger remained at the mother's house, and they spoke throughout the day. The stranger continually avoided answering questions about himself, until at last the mother, exasperated, asked him why he never said anything about himself.

"I must confess that I do not answer your questions because I do not know the answers"

"How can you not know the answers to questions about yourself?"

"I do not know. It is strange. I have no memories before this morning. I found myself in a clearing, knowing only that I was to come to your house. I think the gods created me on this very day and that I do not know my past because I have no past to know. I know only what I said to you before. That I am not god nor man, and I am both."

"I am of men, and I am of gods, but I am not a man, nor am I a god"*. And with that, the stranger's form changed from that of a beautiful man to that of a beautiful woman.

"I understand!" She exclaimed. "You are not a man, but you are of men. You are also of women, but are not a woman. And you are not a god, nor a goddess, but a deity**! You are both mortal and divine!"

The stranger smiled. "You are correct. I am the one who is of men and of women, of gods and of mortals. I am the bridge between man and woman, and between mortal and divine. I am the one in the center, and on the edge. I am not truly in those categories, yet I share them."

"You are truly remarkable!"

The rains fell and the crops in all the village produced thrice their usual yield. The stranger was asked to remain in the village, and served as priest/priestess** to the village. Xe*** lived in the mother's house and, though xe only lay with the mother as a woman, and the mother lay with no one else, the mother produced two more children. Likewise, the stranger produced two children of hir own, though xe lay only with the mother.

Their descendants served as priests and priestesses to the village, and spread to other villages, using their special connection to the gods to bring stability and prosperity throughout the land. To this day, their descendants are found in every village, and in every clan, and most Houses, though their blood has been so mixed that many do not know they possess the stranger's blood, until they produce a child who is like the stranger****.

*"Am of" and "am" are my attempts to translate the difference in Classical Kasshian between two copulas, the verb kataf, and the verbalizing prefix s(a)-. Both are generally translated as "to be" in English, but the first indicates that the subject is part of a category or set defined by the predicate, thus his statement "Katafoc nrakos" means something like "I am in the category 'man'" or, in this context, can be interpreted as "I am classified as a man", while the prefix s(a)- indicates "to be" as an integral part of one's identity (gender is normally indicated with s(a)-), thus hir statement "Srakusoc fel" means "I am not a man" as in "Maleness is not part of who I am".

**Epicene gender in the original

***The Kasshi language recognizes three genders, male female and androgyne, reflecting their culture. The androgynous gender is also used as a gender-neutral form for unknown gender or, in plural, mixed-gender groups

****That is, intersexed or transgender/third-gender. This myth served to explain the third gender in their culture, and the special religious role they often filled.

Myth: A Mother's Sacrifice

In ancient times there lived a poor, but righteous, woman. She lived in a small house with only a single young daughter. It came about that a famine fell over the land, and they went hungry. The crop was poor, and finally she was left with almost no food left in the house, and of her animals, only a single vazhiina [a food animal roughly analogous to pigs on Earth]. She prayed every day to the gods.

One day, the mother was looking for wild berries in the forest when a messenger from the gods appeared before her, appearing as a beautiful man, with flawless skin and long hair, black as night. She fell on her knees before the messenger.

"The gods have heard your prayers and are prepared to end this famine. They demand only a single sacrifice"

"What do the gods desire? I have so little." The mother replied.

"The gods demand the ultimate sacrifice. You must offer your daughter as a burnt offering upon an altar. Your land will become fertile, as will you, and you shall have compensation for your sacrifice"

The mother was shocked by this demand. "How can I sacrifice my daughter? I love her far too much!"

The messenger was unmoved by her plea. "That is the sacrifice demanded of the gods. Sacrifice her and live, or die of hunger" And with that, the messenger disappeared.

The mother was shaken by what she had seen and heard, and returned to her home, grieving.

"What is the matter, mother?" Her daughter asked

"I have had a vision. The gods demand a great sacrifice to end this famine, but I do not know if I can do it"

"If the gods demand a sacrifice, then they should have what they demand. The gods always keep their word"

The mother contemplated the daughter's words. Later that day she went into a clearing in the woods and began to build an altar.

"What is their demand?" the daughter asked

"It is terrible. I shall tell you later" The mother replied.

By the end of the evening, she had finished building the altar. She went to bed grieving.

Early the next morning she arose. She told her daughter to wait in the house and prepared the altar, gathering wood for the fire and oil to burn. She stood before the prepared altar for a long time. She looked up to the heavens. "I have heard and considered your demand." She said. "You shall have a sacrifice." And with that, she lit the wood and climbed upon the altar. "You shall not have my daughter. Take me instead!" And with that, she lay upon the altar, gathered her strength, and plunged a knife into her heart, just as the fire was starting to rise towards her.

The gods witnessed her sacrifice and were impressed. They sent the same messenger to the mother. The messenger raised his arms, and the fire abruptly extinguished itself. Then he walked up to altar, and lay his hands upon the mother's chest. Immediately, the mother was restored to life, with the knife wound healed.

"The gods have witnessed your love and devotion, and are impressed. Such love for your daughter! To defy the very gods for that love! The gods have taken pity upon you. Go, return to your home. You shall never again go hungry, if you obey what I am about to command you"

The mother looked at the messenger, shocked, astonished that she had been brought back to life. "Speak your commands. I shall obey, if they be just."

The messenger laughed. "You are a brave woman! Return home. Prepare a feast from what food remains in your home. Slaughter your last vazhiina and invite your neighbors. Leave not a crumb in your house by sunset. If you do this, then tomorrow a stranger shall come to your house, with a gift of great value. Let him into your home, and you shall never again go hungry"

"I hear and obey" the mother replied. "But I have one question, what gift will this stranger bring?"

"It is a gift such as no mortal has seen, a gift of great value, which will keep you from hunger" And the messenger disappeared again.

The mother returned to her home and told her daughter what had transpired. Together, they prepared a feast from all that was left in their home, and invited their neighbors to share. Obedient to the commands, they scoured the house to ensure nothing was left.

The next morning, as promised, a stranger arrived, a beautiful man, tall, with hair the color of sunset, and eyes of deep green. The mother invited him in.

"Greetings, O Devoted Mother" the stranger greeted her. "Are you the only one awake, or has your daughter awoken as well?"

"She remains asleep" The mother replied.

"Wake her up, and send her to the altar upon which you sacrificed yourself. Tell her to look below it, where your blood splashed onto the ground. There, she will find a small plant that was not there yesterday. Have her bring it here, to be planted in your field"

"Is that the gift the divine messenger promised?"

"No. For that is a gift that came from your love. Send her out and I shall give you my gift". And so the mother sent her daughter out. The stranger presented her with a bag. "With this bag you shall never go hungry again. Whenever you open it, you will find food, whatever food you were thinking of"

"Are you a god or a man?" The mother asked.

The stranger smiled. "I am neither god nor man. And I am both god and man."

"I do not understand"

"You shall. Now look in the bag, and prepare a meal for you, myself, and your daughter"

The mother prepared a meal, as her daughter returned. "What is this plant?" The daughter asked asked.

"Let it grow for six months, give it plenty of water and make sure it gets plenty of sunlight. In honor of your maternal love, the plant will produce round fruits with a milky liquid. Drink, and you shall feel no pain, even in childbirth. In honor of the blood you shed in defiance of the gods, the plant shall produce bright red leaves. Boil these leaves in water, and you shall see the gods. In memory of the sorrow you felt at the gods' command, chew the stems and your sorrow shall flee"

And thus did the Mother's Love plant come to the world.

(Part two, revealing the identity of the mysterious stranger, tomorrow)


Dzesa. Until now I only knew her first name. There's actually two different Dzesas, one of whom is the great-granddaughter of the first and a member of the Imperial Family.

The first one was a noblewoman who held the title of First Adviser to the Empress for much of the early part of the Empire. She was, for a large part of that time, the power behind the throne. She engineered the restoration of the various Kasshi monarchies and their reunification into the Kasshi Empire, with the former Queen of Ivets as the new Empress.

Anyways, I now have a full name for her: Dzesa Tsalenekh of Kithel in Heart-of-Darvet. For most purposes, that can be shortened to Dzesa Tsalenekh of Kithel.

Explanation of the name:

Dzesa is her given name
Tsalenekh is a matronymic, the suffix -kh (-ka after consonants) means "child of", thus her mother's name was Tsalene (it can also be added to the father's name, and children frequently use both, connected by the conjunction ku (or qu' before vowels) meaning "and", but in adulthood one is chosen.
Kithel is her House, a sort of extended family, generally consisting of all descendants of a common living ancestor/ancestress, who is Head of the House, or a group of siblings (one of whom is Head of the House) whose parents are dead and their descendants. Rarely any more distant relatives. When the Head dies, generally one of their children becomes the new Head, and the new Head's siblings break off to form new Houses (thus, a person's House name can change over their life time)
Heart-of-Darvet indicates her Branch and Clan. Everyone belongs to a Clan divided into various Branches. Commoners usually leave out this last part, and even nobles leave it out in informal contexts. "Heart of" indicates that she is of the core of the clan, the leading Branch. The head of that Branch is also the head of the Clan (although in modern times, that's a largely honorary position, Clan and Branch leaders don't really have any power over the members of those Clans or Branches)

I'm still working out what her noble titles were.

Dzesa was a historian who, in her youth, had fought in a war that I'm still a bit hazy on. In this war, she was severely injured and came close to death. She survived, but was left paralyzed from the waist down, and had a large scar on her face, and possibly some other scars.

While in the hospital, she became obsessed with the idea of Kasshi Reunification and anti-democracy/anti-capitalism. She believed in a doctrine called Popular Monarchism which is something similar to constitutional monarchy, but with a powerful monarch and a parliament reduced to an advisory role.

She became convinced that she had been chosen by divine providence to reunite the Kasshi peoples and wrote numerous books and pamphlets agitating for this, organizing pro-unification groups, which eventually became the Yatta ("Heritage") Party.

Her major book, The History of the Kasshi Peoples, came to the attention of Tarana Maretska, heir to the defunct Throne of Ivets, who met with her. They joined forces and rallied their followers to vote in pro-monarchist politicians in their various nations or, where that didn't work, to organize monarchist revolutions. In rapid succession, one after another republic fell, and Tarana became Queen of Ivets.

Dzesa had fallen in love with Tarana. I'm not sure yet if the feelings were mutual, but Dzesa definitely loved Tarana. She also arranged for her son to be married to Tarana's daughter, Chara. Eventually their dream came true and the various Kasshi states began negotiating a treaty of unification. But shortly before the treaty was finalized, Tarana died in a tragic car accident. Her daughter succeeded her as Queen of Ivets and, once the treaty was ratified, Empress. Chara was still in adolescence and Dzesa, as her First Adviser, reigned from behind the throne. Some conspiracy theorists claim that Dzesa had Tarana killed, but this is false. Dzesa loved Tarana deeply. Though Tarana never actually reigned as Empress, she is sometimes considered the first Empress of the modern Empire. Chara Taranakh had a long reign before abdicating in her daughter (Chara Charakh)'s favor at the age of 100 (in their years, around 71 in Earth years), establishing a tradition of abdicating at 100.

She was strongly nationalistic, and sought to strengthen the Kasshi Empire, once formed, and expand it. She was, however, nominally anti-colonialist, and used language of "enlightening" and "protecting", claiming to be temporarily administrating other cultures "for their own good" (of course, in practice it was simple colonialism with no intent to grant independence)
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  • lhynard


This question is similar to the last one asked here:

How many of you have come up with calendars for your cultures?

Do you base them on a 365.25 day year? Or do you invent your own astronomy to come up with different days?

Is is lunar? Solar? Both?

Do you have weeks? How long are they?

How many months?

How many seasons are there?

I just finished designing a calendar for one of my concultures. I have it set in an alternate solar system where there are 309.33 days in a year.

There is no moon, so months never evolved. There are 8 seasons instead, of 37 or 39 days each, depending on which part of the elliptical orbit the planet is. There are waxing seasons and waning seasons centered around either the equinoxes or the solstices. They do not count as falling in a season; they only mark the divisions, and they function as festival days. There is aslo a New Year's Day and (every three years) a Leap Day.

This totals up to 309 or 310 days a year. The date is given as days away from the nearest holiday, such as, it is the 31st day until solstice, or the 12th day since equinox.

They have weeks of 10 days each, and they rest on the 1st and 6th of each week. They skip a day of the week if there is no Leap Day that year, such that there are exactly 31 weeks in a year and holidays always fall on the same day of the week.

Anyhow, what about the rest of you? How much detail do you have?

x-posted to conculture and worldmaking


How do you record time in your world i.e. what terms do you use istead of b.c. etc and what do those terms mean? Lately I've considered using the initials of King's, although this method has probably been used thousands of times both in the real world and in other people's conworlds. Do you know of any real-world examples that once used this method to record time?