Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:43 am

Only those enacted (or altered) during the reign of an emperor are written into his/her hands.

As a result of limited palm-space and limited imperial pain tolerance Daedalean laws are broad and more akin to abridged dictats than highly specific and detailed pieces of legislature. This leaves a lot room for interpretation by consuls, compulsors, magistrates and other provincial and regional officials. One cannot contradict the emperor, but one could bend the interpretation of a dictat and if one gets away with it, it becomes precedent. But then even lower officials might creatively interprete that creative interpretation, and so on. Until a higher functionary steps in to overrule in part or in entirety.

Leave this system in place for a thousand years and you end up where the empire is today, with an incredibly dense and convoluted canon of law and a civil service that is constantly arguing over interpretations, exceptions, meaning and intent of arcane subclauses some high-ranked bureaucrat conceived a hundred years ago to reconcile a number of incompatible imperial edicts from different centuries.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:49 am

The two most notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs in the world are San Dorado’s Prophets of Armageddon and the Iron Host out of Kagaria.

The latter is a exceedingly regimented organization. Indeed the Iron Host is in many ways more akin to a militia than a motorcycle club: the organization is intimately affiliated with a number of highly placed strongmen in the Kagarian security and military services and has been known to act as an unofficial paramilitary and intelligence arm of the Kagarian state.

The Iron Host divides itself into regional units that use pseudo-military names like 111th motor rifles or the 47th Tsagadain, further enhancing its militant image. The Kagarian bikers are lead by the legendary and elusive Janashia Beki, nicknamed "Yekhe Dai", ‘the great’, or simply “the Iron Khan”. Leaders of the Iron Host abroad are without exception trusted lieutenants appointed top-down by Beki. Typically these lieutenants are native Kagarians whose task it is to bend the locals to the will and whim of the shadowy leadership of the Iron Host.

The Prophets of Armageddon are nearly the complete antithesis of their principal rivals. A loose coalition of motorcycle chapters hailing from rough San Dorado neighborhoods like Skin Beach, Dumont Park, Salem Heights or Diemos Square, the Prophets invoke in many ways the San Doradan ideals of freedom to go wherever you like and do whatever you please. In many cases this involves offering ‘protection’ in their broken neighborhoods, the distribution of narcotics, control over prostitution and the trafficking of arms and people - acts that, it should be pointed out, are legal in notoriously liberal and freebooting San Dorado, even if they might not be in neighboring countries the Prophets also operate in.

Another major difference is the type of bike the two ‘clubs’ profess to prefer. The Prophets mainly ride luridly colored lowrider Road Kings with twin-cam engines and lots of chrome, motorbikes perfectly suited for the asphalt of the urban jungle; meanwhile the Iron Host typically drives IMZ-Tabun bikes, heavy 750cc affairs with fat tires and flat camouflage paintjobs, designed for heavy duty off-road work.

It should surprise nobody that the two groups have come in repeated conflict. The most notorious clash in recent memory is arguably the block wars fought over parts of San Dorado’s southern East Side and the northern Sprawl. The Sprawl is home to significant numbers of emigrants from Kagaria and the Sarakan Peninsula, who from time to time come into violent competition over housing and authority with the ‘natives’ (insofar as such a term can be said to apply in San Dorado) of the lower East Side who may be lower working class, but still consider it a point of pride that they are above ‘sprawl-scum’.

Attempts by the Iron Host to violently wrest control over some of the weaker blocks in Menasha and Traverse City away from the Prophets resulted in a violent backlash and a months-long extremely bloody gang war that continuously threatened to escalate to more upscale neighborhoods in East Central. The street war went on long enough to attract the displeasure of San Dorado’s greater powers, at which point the central criminal authority of the city stepped in to mediate.

Corporations reign supreme in San Dorado but that truth does not hold for every neighborhood. Some are simply abandoned as net losses filled up with human refuse, unworthy of the efforts of for-profit police services. In these neighborhoods a different kind of authority arises. When it takes hold it brings its own kind of order, and eventually - once it proves big and stable and profitable enough - it requires banking, remittance, money cleaning and other financial services like any enterprise. Soon it is virtually indistinguishable from other major corporations in San Dorado save for the fact that it is based out of the very poorest of neighborhoods. Natural laws of competition and monopoly do the rest, to assure that in these cases too a single name eventually rises to the top.

Through the years many phrases have been used to indicate the most powerful of figures to arise from the city’s seedy underbelly. ‘The CEO of sedition’, for example or the ‘comptroller of crime’; it is a position that goes back a long ways in San Dorado history. Currently the position of boss of bosses is held by Jackie Sabbadin, otherwise known as Diamond Jackie or Jackie the Saint, once leader of the Duke Street Kings but now recognized informally as the eighth member of the Gang of Seven, and the ultimate gangland authority.

Jackie the Saint stepped in to mediate the conflict between the Prophets of Armageddon and the Iron Host. The Host responded with an assassination attempt against Diamond Jackie in the middle of Downtown. A week later the heads of the six most prominent lieutenants of the Host in San Dorado were found stuck on wire-spoke wheels in the middle of P-Square, well inside nominal Iron Host territory. Their bodies were never recovered. The Host and the Prophets agreed to a division of territories that saw the Prophets restored to full control of South East only a handful of days afterward.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:59 pm

Thinking of changing the Sultanate to a Malikate. I'd like to keep the intrigue-riddled royal family but otherwise shift the focus from pseudo-Arabic and toward ziggurat temples with big lizards as holy pets. Shifting away from 'sultan' and all the connotations that has might assist with this.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:18 am

Firas al-Haramayn Aman Hor-Ahr is the is the ruling monarch of Dar Qimr. His full title is "the Lion and the Sun, Malik of Dar Qimr, Enduring in Kingship, Prince of Sitarah and Emir of Tshkumkara, Master of Kifar and of Amlathi, Shadow of God on Earth, Guardian of the Willow Sea, High Steward of the East and the West, Custodian of the Holy River and the Immaculate Mansions, Protector Regent of the Ibrian Coast".

At 65 years old he is 39 years into his reign, which has been a period of near-unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendour for Dar Qimr. After a previous century of political and economic instability Firas stabilized the realm, ruthlessly squashed the opposition, and ushered in an era of expansion. He has been a major patron of the arts, laid down policies that bolstered the economy of the Malikate and reasserted his grasp over far-flung areas of the realm despite stiff opposition from Dai Xich and Teyrnon Canhastyr.

Dar Qimr is arguably at a peak of artistic and international power unrivalled centuries, but its monarch has now reached an age where the sons and daughters of his six wives are starting to seriously think about a future that does not have their father in it. Although there is little to suggest Firas will relinquish the Shadow Throne any time soon intrigue in the royal court is on the rise, fed no doubt by foreign interests eager to take the Malikate down a peg or two.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Invictus » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:33 pm

All of this continues to be solid modern world-ish worldbuilding and I'm especially impressed that the wider setting around San Dorado seems as fascinating as the place itself.

I also observe that over the years, you tend to write in a number of quasi-oriental despotic regimes in your universes/stories/RPGs? Is that really a thing you like to do?
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:56 pm

I don't think Siege has written anything, oriental or otherwise, that's non-despotic. I am sure San Dorado's free society doesn't count. :D

The sacred lizards remind me of Pakistan's sacred crocodile shrine.

Al Jazeera's articlehas pretty pictures too.

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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:49 pm

Thanks for the compliments, all.
Invictus wrote:I also observe that over the years, you tend to write in a number of quasi-oriental despotic regimes in your universes/stories/RPGs? Is that really a thing you like to do?
Eep. Uh, that almost sounds like I'm now known for portraying folks from the eastern world as despotic and villainous. I'm certainly not consciously trying to Yellow Peril it up in here.

Despotic regimes do feel easier to portray in fiction by virtue of power concentration, requiring fewer people to work together to achieve meaningful impact on the story. It's easier (or at least quicker) to write the autocratic Maharajah declaring such-and-such be done than to depict legislation laboriously winding its way through bicameral multi-party parliament.

I also try and make an effort to stay away from filling my worlds with easily recognizable polities full of white people. That aspect really began to grate on me about Old Familiars near the end of its run. I try and diversify, and hope that the occasional perfumed hypostyle and black garbed assassin aside I at least avoid most offensive orientalist charicatures along the way.
Shroom Man 777 wrote:I don't think Siege has written anything, oriental or otherwise, that's non-despotic. I am sure San Dorado's free society doesn't count.
San Dorado is just run by a different brand of despotism :). So far there is at least one state that is non-despotic. By and large though this world so far isn't particularly democratic, that is true. Maybe I should reconsider the current balance.

Also and WRT the crocodile shrine, you can tell it's a shrine because that dude has to have a hell of a lot of faith in those crocodiles. They're right behind him, for god's sake! Give that man a show on Discovery and don't let him near any manta rays...
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:39 pm

How about something where, while there may or may not be a ceremonial king-leader or something, the country has a council - a house of lords, perhaps - of philosopher monks, specialists in arcane knowledges from their esoteric religions to natural philosophies and alchemies (that are just funny-sounding but actually totally legit sciences) who are drawn from layfolk who wish to pursue the higher knowledges, who co-manage a society along with a democratic, egalitarian caucus thing. Like the North American native tribes' democratic ways (that the Murcans appropriated while miscrediting the Greeks), combined with Buddhist Shaolin monk, Taoist priesthood-analogues to the Maesters from Game of Thrones or the Mentats of Dune or the Asimov's Foundation-dudes or the Followers of the Apocalypse from Fallout. And then give them the burden of educating the barbaric northern wartorn tribes, sending the more adventurous wisemen and wisewomen to treat with the jarls and whatnots of the pale, hairy brutes. :D
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:43 pm

BTW you could use a master's list thread to condense the subjects.

Anywhoo, the tangent on reptilians is because I'm reading biology literature that says that there are actually two species of Nile crocodiles, scientists just found out about it recently. The typical ones we see in nature documentaries eating wildebeests are actually fairly young, the species is about as old as homo sapiens and has genetic commonalities with crocodiles in the Americas! Whereas there is another, smaller species of Nile crocodile that's older and has been in Africa for a longer period of time, and these are the sacred crocodiles that the Egyptians venerated, keeping them as housepets, because they have agreeable, docile demeanor and people can swim with them in the wild.

I don't think the Pakistani ones are of the same species, but Sufis in Africa also practice veneration of sacred crocodiles. So who knows!

And the current "type" of crocodiles we see is actually a fairly "modern"... thing, crocodiles used to be more varied, a lot of them were like hunting dogs and even herbivorous creatures that supposedly ate from trees. So maybe in the Shear Anarchy planet, a lot of these now-extinct crocodile species... or just generic quadruped reptilians, including monitor lizards, could have expanded niches, including non-predatory ones and domesticated ones! :D
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:08 am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:How about something where, while there may or may not be a ceremonial king-leader or something, the country has a council - a house of lords, perhaps - of philosopher monks, specialists in arcane knowledges from their esoteric religions to natural philosophies and alchemies (that are just funny-sounding but actually totally legit sciences) who are drawn from layfolk who wish to pursue the higher knowledges, who co-manage a society along with a democratic, egalitarian caucus thing. Like the North American native tribes' democratic ways (that the Murcans appropriated while miscrediting the Greeks), combined with Buddhist Shaolin monk, Taoist priesthood-analogues to the Maesters from Game of Thrones or the Mentats of Dune or the Asimov's Foundation-dudes or the Followers of the Apocalypse from Fallout. And then give them the burden of educating the barbaric northern wartorn tribes, sending the more adventurous wisemen and wisewomen to treat with the jarls and whatnots of the pale, hairy brutes. :D
:D I'm all for it. It is not dissimilar to a concept I mulled over for Krung Khes Kraom, warlord-priests representing various temples serving on a kind of council that jointly ruled the country as a kind of federation. I was looking to avoid kung-fu as the way to get onto this council because, well, I mean honestly... So yeah the way the Six Nations of the Iroquois did things could be a shoe in.

Thinking more about the Malikate after what 'Vic said got me thinking, I'm considering if maybe its provinces are self-governing to an extent. Many regions outside the heartland of Dar Qimr are populated by peoples that were conquered, assimilated or otherwise pressed into subordination in the semi-distant past. The Maliks mostly used the Mongol (or for that matter Britain-in-India) method of simply putting their own strongman on top of the existing local government; this governor is frequently a son or daughter of the monarch.

The open succession system of Dar Qimr means the fittest child inherits the Shadow Throne. This means jockeying for position and that means that those sons or daughters given remote governorates need to present themselves as advocates of that region's people if they are to get any local support at all. This is clever because when you assign a troublesome son to a troublesome region two things can happen:
1) The troublesome son doesn't get any local traction whatsoever, effectively neutralizing his potential to cause headaches for the central government. The locals can't work with him, also neutralizing their ability to properly advance their cause beyond their immediate region and when after a few years the governor gets recalled it gives the impression the monarch gives a shit about the locals whilst disgracing the son in question.
2) The troublesome son does get local traction, meaning the troublesome region now feels like the central government actually gives a shit about them, neutralizing a lot of their troublesomeness. However to do this the son in question typically needs to 'go native' to some degree, which hurts his ultimate electability in the grand scheme of things.

Basically this is the Malik of Dar Qimr pulling a Shaddam IV by sending Duke Leto to Arrakis. And in 99% of cases this goes swimmingly.

Of course there's always that 1% where the son of Leto turns out to be Paul Atreides and, well, we all know how that ended up working out.

Anyway in this case the Malikate has local democracy, just with a supreme ruler capable of issuing an ultimate 'nyet'. That would further differentiate them from the Daedalean Empire and Teyrnon Canhastyr, with the former being an absolute theocracy and the latter being about as democratic as the Holy Roman Empire (which is to say, not very).
Shroom Man 777 wrote:[T]he current "type" of crocodiles we see is actually a fairly "modern"... thing, crocodiles used to be more varied, a lot of them were like hunting dogs and even herbivorous creatures that supposedly ate from trees. So maybe in the Shear Anarchy planet, a lot of these now-extinct crocodile species... or just generic quadruped reptilians, including monitor lizards, could have expanded niches, including non-predatory ones and domesticated ones!
The Impact Archipelago is probably full of crazy crocodiles, including very large ones that can go from freshwater into the sea to hunt like dolphins for snacks and shit. Maybe some are very smart super ancient grizzle-scarred crocodiles that are venerated by remote tribes as gods. They live in vast brackish coastal mangrove forests and are basically this world's version of El Chupacabra, few people believe they actually exist because even fewer people survive encounters with them. They also take bites off those symbiotic islands 'Vic described earlier 'cause that's like a delicacy. Their only natural enemies can be tentacled sea monsters that have competed for centuries for the same ecological niche!

(Maybe in this world and in that region dolphins are even more likely to attach themselves to humans and their ships because they know they're common allies against the horrors of the deep!)

The animals venerated in Dar Qimr are probably (I say probably bececause I'm not fully zeroed in) somewhere between komodo dragons and chameleons, with roughly catlike intelligence. But yeah they can be fed strawberries by temple women whilst naked ladies fan them with leaves on floating river boat temple platforms. Or something. I haven't decided on the details yet ;).
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Invictus » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:49 am

Siege wrote:I also try and make an effort to stay away from filling my worlds with easily recognizable polities full of white people. That aspect really began to grate on me about Old Familiars near the end of its run. I try and diversify, and hope that the occasional perfumed hypostyle and black garbed assassin aside I at least avoid most offensive orientalist charicatures along the way.

San Dorado is just run by a different brand of despotism :). So far there is at least one state that is non-despotic. By and large though this world so far isn't particularly democratic, that is true. Maybe I should reconsider the current balance.
I appreciate that, really. Even "all despots all the time" doesn't bother me much, in the sense that it's plausible in an alternate history that the Peace of Westphalia and all the developments regarding what a modern nation-state should be simply didn't happen.

On the other hand, I'd like to see where the capitalism came from? :D While San Doradan exceptionalism might be an actual thing backed up by unique historical factors, I'd like to see the history of that in the world.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:38 pm

Invictus wrote:On the other hand, I'd like to see where the capitalism came from? :D While San Doradan exceptionalism might be an actual thing backed up by unique historical factors, I'd like to see the history of that in the world.
Working theory is that until the 16th century San Dorado was a fairly unremarkable city-state, admittedly well-off but not significantly moreso than for example Akka or Tshkumkara. The most interesting thing about it was that the city was governed by a council of patrician families instead of a more typical potentate - oligarchy instead of monocracy.

Then at some point a Fugger-type banker emerged who organized a consortium that accumulated an insanely enormous amount of wealth, possibly by establishing monopolies on the trade of certain goods and/or exploiting wars between Dar Qimr and Teyrnon Canhastyr. The ludicrous amount of money available in the city allowed it to wield such disproportionate influence that it could quash mercantilist protectionism for a good while. It essentially bribed powers-that-be to abstain from discouraging imports from San Dorado or implementing tariffs, and paid for misfortune to befall competitors on its continent and around the Central Sea.

This wasn't without its ups and downs; multiple attempts were made to blow up the city with money or through more conventional punishment expeditions, but these attacks met with limited success at best. Fleets of privateers might have been involved also. So the city persisted for two centuries or so until philosophers at Ashcroft University laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory in the 19th century. Fast forward from there and here we are.

That's the gist of it as it stands right now. San Dorado was never the only mercantile/commercial power in the world, but it was - by dint of geography and fluke of history - the biggest (or at least the most useful/neutral/universally palatable). The main reason why San Dorado was never levelled by annoyed imperialists was that it proved too much of a hassle and that actually it was quite convenient to have a readily accessible source of external credit.

As for why San Dorado never set off to establish conquests or colonies of its own, I'm thinking it could have had to do with the fragile balance of power between the ultra-rich. The old patricians simply thought it unwise to send Caesar off into Gaul with a big and loyal army, because at some point he might decide to march that army back to the city, and then what would happen? And over time that sentiment morphed into a kind of cultural aversion to war amongst the upper classes. Good lord man, war? How vulgar! What possible reason could there be to pay good money to fit the lower classes with weapons, when you can simply bankroll someone from abroad to do the fighting for you and end up with him owing you money for it?

"The imperialists are mistaken. The key to power is not armies or crowns or the admiration of men. The great princes dictate their conflicts with cannons and frigates, but in turn it is our credit that has charge of them. Our coin buys the blackpowder and pays the men. Our coin sharpens the pikes and floats the ships.

Our coin makes slaves of kings and generals.

Take heed: behind every blood-spattered conqueror you will find a loyal, respectable, patriotic banker who knows damn well that the true value of war is the debt it creates. Iron wins battles. Gold wins wars."
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:51 pm

Kansa-Asari Liminal is a national corporation owned jointly by the Thirteen Temples of Krung Khes Kraom. The temples exert control over the operations of Kansa-Asari through the Unbroken Fan, the convention of gurus that set philosophical and political guidelines for the nation.

As a government-owned company Kansa-Asari's main objectives are to shield Krung Khes Kraom from foreign economic pressure and to help produce revenue for economic development and welfare. Within Krung Khes Kraom the company is most visible in agriculture, construction and real estate, but it has branches as diverse as entertainment and defense. All together Kansa-Asari easily rivals certain competitors from San Dorado in terms of revenue.

Unlike San Doradan megacorporations profit from Kansa-Asari's businesses doesn't flow to individual shareholders but is distributed nationally according to the Seven Auspicious Kindnesses. The money is used to build roads and bridges, construct learning facilities and fund universities, maintains health clinics -- but it is also used to uphold the DMZ bufferzone with Dar Qimr on the Isthmus of Khrua Alor.

Outside of Krung Khes Kraom the company is frequently in direct competition with rivals from San Dorado and Dar Qimr. This antagonism is especially fierce in Shan Assam and Sankara.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:01 am

All Hallows On The Pits is the largest Nazhindri temple in San Dorado. Of medieval origin, it was originally called All Hallows Ashe until a partial collapse of the transept during the great storm of 1674. In the recovery after the passing of "Tyche's clarion" it was discovered that the old temple stood over the sepulchers of a much older necropolis, giving rise to the byname 'On The Pits' by which it would eventually become universally known.

Even though when it was built the temple was located well outside the city walls, San Dorado's expansion caught up with it well over a century ago. All Hallows On The Pits today stands in the ghetto of Menasha, deep inside the southern Sprawl. The tower and part of the attached monastery were demolished in 1862 so that Ropery Way could be widened to accomodate increasing traffic. A new tower was built on the south, facing Behind The Hallows and in the direction of the Marrowbones. Its steeple is built over an arched gateway, which forms the current entrance to the Nazhindri monastery. This is frequently where unwanted children are abandoned. All Hallows On The Pits is also the largest orphanage in the Sprawl.

All Hallows On The Pits is the heart of the large Nazhindri community between Vassar Terrace and the Sloe Scadden; not quite the worst part of the Sprawl yet, but definitely a crime-ridden area of poorly underserviced infrastructures, inadequate and overcrowded housing and a median income close to the lowest in the entire city.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:31 pm

Dai Xich is an empire of aesthetics. Beauty and morals are inextricably interwoven: an aesthetic wrong is a moral wrong. If a thing is ugly it is wicked. If it is beautiful it is good. But this sentiment flows both ways: if a thing is good it becomes beautiful.

There is a sense that a work of art's success is vital to the nation's well-being, and its failure is an affront to all that is good and decent.

This conviction is visible even in the great conurbations of the Red Empire, where architects go to great lengths to blend functionality with a sense of human elegance and grace. The greatest good is to bring beauty into the world.

For this reason more than any other the Red Emperors have never gotten along with traders from San Dorado. San Dorado is ugly, ugly to the point of contempt. It is a terrible, wicked place, ill-considered and insulting to the spirit.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu May 19, 2016 1:27 pm

Ctokari (Sh-toh-car-i) are hefty, stocky reptiles native to Khem Qimr. Scaled and lizard-like, they are many-colored and were revered as holy creatures in ancient Khaset-Hedj; although the old religion is gone the adoration for the Ctokari remains and replicas of lizard-god statues still abound.

Ctokari average about 40-50 cm in height and 55 cm in body length, females being slightly larger than males, with tails averaging 60 cm in length. However, Ctokari continue to slowly grow larger as they age, and thus very old individuals are much larger. On average mature specimens weigh between 15 and 20 kg. Particularly large and old individuals however have been known to weigh upwards of 100 kg. Ctokari are relatively highly intelligent, forming complex social groups and having demonstrated the ability to distinguish individual humans by recognizing facial features. They are cold-blooded omnivores, susbsisting mostly on plants but also eating the occasional piece of carrion or, in some cases, actively hunting rodents and other small creatures.

Ctokari swallow stones to aid their stomachs in breaking down complex plant products like grass and lianas. As the stones slowly grind down the heavy metals in them filter into their anatomy. The unique Ctokari physiology subsequently uses these metals to harden the creature's scales and bones. This biological process makes the very oldest specimens appear as if covered in armor plate of organic iron. It is this trait more than anything that made Ctokari holy to the old denizens of Khem Khimr. The temples of Khaset-Hedj used to feed their holy lizards gold and silver, which would eventually express themselves as elaborate filigree patterns of precious metals on the armored scales of the Ctokari, a process that is repeated to this day at the court of the Malik of Dar Qimr.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sat May 21, 2016 12:49 am

Maliks of Dar Qimr are embalmed in honey after their deaths.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:54 pm

Hydrazoans are weakly sapient but eminently (if inhumanly) intelligent sea-dwelling creatures from the south of the Caldera Sea. They are extremely hostile to humans to the point where many local peoples consider themselves to have been at war with these creatures since times immemorial.

Hydrazoans spawn from deep-sea polyps as dense clouds of tiny jellyfish-like bulbs of gelatinous tentacles. They are immediately cannibalistic, devouring each other in a piscivorous frenzy of osmotic feeding until a relative handful survive to spread out into the oceans. They are asexual and have the capacity to absorb undifferentiated biological cells into themselves; because its development depends on these stem cells, how large and succesful a Hydrazoan will be later in its developmental stages is to a great extent defined by how many of its own siblings it can devour early on.

As they grow older Hydrazoans continue to grow, feeding on deep-sea life until after approximately 50 years they hit second-stage development. At this point surviving Hydrazoans begin to develop segmentation. The outer skin of their glutinous bodies now develops dermal scales like interlocking rows of miniature shark teeth. Second-stage development can take as long as another 50 years, during which the size of the Hydrazoan increases significantly. By the time the specimen reaches third-stage 'maturity' it is typically between 20 and 30 meters in length, with clouds of tentacles sprouting from a central mantle. It is at this stage of development that Hydrazoans finally come up from the depths to more shallow water, to hunt for the more bountiful fish that lives there.

Mature Hydrazoans 'bud', growing large numbers of conal protrusions around their tentacle stalks that eventually disperse on the currents, sinking into the deep sea where they will eventually settle and develop into polyps, beginning a new cycle of birth and spawning.

Although study of the species has proven highly difficult there is evidence to suggest that third-stage Hydrazoans rarely attach each other. They appear to have formed a rudimentary society and are capable of tool use, as evidenced by orchestrated attacks on fishing ships by multiple Hydrazoans at the same time. Mature adults continue to grow over a lifespan measured in centuries, with the very largest known Hydrazoans spanning hundreds of meters and weighing multiple tons. It is such specimens are responsible for sailor's tales of terrible underwater monstrosities pulling even very large ships under water in seconds. Fully developed Hydrozoans are capable of surviving for a limited time outside of water, and reports exist of specimens crawling onto land to attack remote villages. Certainly they are known to pull unwary sailors from their boats into the watery depths.

Hydrazoans have roamed the seas for at least 700 million years, and possibly over a billion years or more, making them the oldest creatures on the planet.

Although Hydrazoan activity is mostly confined to the warm deeps around the underground volcanos of the Caldera Sea individuals have been spotted in seas across the world. Because of their particular method of reproduction this means any 'fertile' undersea area can become a Hydrazoan spawning area, with unfortunate results for local fauna, fishermen and coastal villages. Because of this risk it is generally recommended that such areas be regularly checked and any polyp infestation be removed posthaste. The Golden Navy of the Daedalean Empire in particular has developed deep sea depth charging techniques that are quite effective at cleansing suspected spawning grounds.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:53 am

I like these things, and from an outside perspective it gives some intriguing hints about the nature of their world. 700 million years is more or less the estimated age for any kind of animal life on Earth, so the fact there was something that big, that long ago, demonstrates a very different history.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:14 am

Group Anasi is an organization established after the collapse of the totalitarian Amadou regime of Upper Sankara after the invasion by Shan Assam troops seven years ago. Its short term aim was to help wanted former regime officers escape to Kayor and Ciskayor. This now mostly accomplished (insofar as these officers were not executed by the new government), it has now moved on to its medium term goal to destabilize the current Assam-backed government, in order to (in the long-term) regain control over both Upper and Lower Sankara.

It is believed that like several similar Falangist remnant organizations Group Anasi is in contact with Miram Amadou, the son of dead dictator Ikram Amadou. Ikram killed himself when Sham Assam forces and their Makranan backers took the city in an effort to end his depredations, but his son Miram is still on the run somewhere in Vedica.

Group Anasi is one of the more succesful Vedican paramilitary organizations, a mix of commando's, ideologues and collaborators in the Sankaran army and civil service reïnforced by international mercenaries financed from old hidden government accounts in San Dorado and with bank Mor Llaw Gyffes of Teyrnon Canhastyr. It has infiltrated the occupation government to a worrying degree, perhaps chiefly because it promises something more than an armistice with the south and subjugation to Makranan interests.

The Group has ties to governments abroad, notably the Fiann Saren of Teyrnon Canhastyr, the Third Temple of Krung Khes Kraom and various industrial cabals from San Dorado. It has notable support inside Upper Sankara from industrialist Okar Chidera, whose Industrial Development Organization purports to support the collaborationist government while feeding intelligence to Group Anasi. Which is all to say that whilst Group Anasi might have a formidable array of backers currently, if and when it achieves its goals and retakes the country it will owe a great many favours to increasingly powerful foreign interests...
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:09 pm

Those Hydrazoans are so fucked up. I mean, polyp-budding things... so they breed like corals or jellyfish... but are at least as intelligent as octopi... but are also at least as large as the largest giant/colossal squids... AND older than they well should be... are they even genetically related to any other organism there? This world's biology must be messed up. Jeez.

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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:27 pm

The Iramka Confederation (Kolwa Iramka) was an isolated, cruel and xenophobic collective of city-states on the Iram island, west of Katangha, south-west of Dai Xich and east of the Caldera Sea.

For some time the prevailing polity on Iram was Gethar, the City of the Pillars. Between 1848 and 1892 Gethar together with two principal allied city-states Ophir and Caphtorim conquered or otherwise dominated the other states on the island. Rulers of conquered cities were left in power so long as they agreed to pay tribute to the alliance as well as supply military forces when needed for the war efforts. These levies were typically expended as disposable shock troops, bleeding vassals dry in order to reduce their ability to succesfully revolt.

Iram religion revolved around complex, layered and intersecting netherworlds each associated with a specific set of astronomical objects. People, objects or places within the world were seen as reflections, that is antipodes or negatives, of these netherworlds. Rulers, be they a local tekteuch or the central Egon of Gethar were dark negatives of the sun, the fulcrum upon which the worlds turn. Political order was therefore also a cosmic order. Militaristic state rituals were performed throughout the year, and to keep the wheels of heaven rotating the states of the confederation practiced human blood sacrifice in their great circular temples to the zodiac.

After two brief, bloody and ultimately unsuccesful wars of conquest with Katangha in the early decades of the 20th century the states of Iram entered a period of isolationism, in which very strict regulations were applied to commerce and foreign relations. The penalty for breaking isolation for either native or foreigner was invariably ritual death, which made it very difficult for foreign entities to understand the machinations of the island's politics and culture.

What is known however that in the night of 17 on 18 January 1966 the Iramka Confederation self-destructed in an apocalyptic holocaust of atomic fury. In a span of midnight hours the cities of Iram vanished under mushroom clouds.

To this day the cause for the self-immolation remains unclear. The island's elite perished to a man and international expeditions to the island found themselves beset by shifting streams of radiation and terrible diseases. Inferring that whatever terrifying apocalypse the leaders of Iram had unleashed must have included biological and chemical weapons, the island was by rare international consensus quarantined indefinitely.

To this day Iram remains blockaded by a contingent of warships from Katangha and Dai Xich with orders to shoot everything either coming to or from the island. Only very recently has a single isolated outpost been established on the island's westernmost tip, from where experts from a variety of nations attempt to piece together what has happened and is continuing to happen to Iram.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:14 am

I'm gonna presume their techno-alchemy led to unforeseen results before the nukings had to happen. :D
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:36 pm

That sounds eminently likely ;) .

The Black Internationale is a communist movement most visible throughout the southwest of Transkagaria, with cells active on Astrafica and in the near reaches of the Caldera Archipelago.

Coalescing out of mid 19th century discussion circles and social turmoil in Donja Soli and elsewhere on the Sarakan peninsula (at the time still Daedalean territory), from the get go the embryonic communist movement faced harsh repression by imperial authority. Daedalon Outremer saw regular surges of civil unrest ever since the Emperor took possession of the peninsula during the Lesser Calamitous Age of the 15th century, with rebels and revolutionaries typically either put to death or driven across the Hinder Sea.

The communists and their radical egalitarian ideology proved more difficult to dislodge however. They appealed not to the rights of long-lost noble bloodlines or the proto-nationalist grumblings of the censored bourgois in their well-to-do clubs, but to artisans, wage-earners and the urban unemployed - the growing groups of victims of the modern machine production of the day. But unlike the peasant revolts of previous centuries the communists could count on a cadre of middle class revolutionary thinkers, educated in the universities of Sarakovar, Tshkumkara and Daedalopolis itself, to organize the overwhelming majority of the population against the rich and the dominion of the emperor.

The immediate precursor to the Black Internationale itself was founded after eruptions of revolutionary fervor were brutishly put down by imperial troops in 1839, 1842 and 1847. With the blood of anarchists and subversives still running through the streets of Sarakovar, Zagrad and elsewhere, one group of surviving revolutionary thinkers reorganised themselves in a secret society. Surmizing that the failed insurrections had lacked the critical mass necessary to overthrow the imperial yoke the newly found League of Partisans sent out writers and ideologues across Transkagaria to spread their ideology to ensure that in time it would have the irreversible momentum to overcome the statist antirevolutionary forces arraigned against them.

Over the next two decades the League sowed the industrializing world with slowly growing circles of radicals. Ever persecuted but never quite rooted out its ideologues found sympathizers in the war-shattered north of the Daedalean Empire, underneath the smokestack forests of San Dorado but most importantly amongst the khanates of Kagaria, where the still evolving communist philosophy of egalitarian communes fused with the old tribal confederacies of the Deep Steppes. By 1880 the Kagarian circle, calling itself the Black Internationale, was the largest and most prominent group within the League, and at the Fourth Congress held in that year it displaced the Sarakan circle to assume de facto leadership of the clandestine movement.

Under control of the Black Internationale the League partially abandoned its concealed nature and assumed a more confident, assertive and bellicose stance. Its open encouragement of the proletariat to arm itself and rise up resulted in the Revolutions of 1895, a wave of popular discontent which began in the harbours of Niksic and immediately spread to most of Transkagaria and parts of Astrafica. Tens of thousands of people were killed in unrest and the inability of Daedalean authorities to swiftly restore order lead directly to the Canhastyri invasion of Sjenska in 1899 and the subsequent War of Three Emperors that raged between Teyrnon Canhastyr, Dar Qimr and the Daedalean Empire between 1900 and 1906.

Apart from the incredible devastation, particularly on the Sarakan peninsula, the south of the Empire and to a lesser extent Tamdoult on Astrafica, the war caused an unprecedented shakeup of the political landscape in Transkagaria. Daedalean rule over the Sarakan peninsula was broken, the khanates of Kagaria were more united than they had been in centuries and the Canhastyri are forced out of nearly all of Herceowic after revolutionary forces cross the Deifr Firth from Kagaria and Sjenska and together with local revolutionaries overwhelm the depleted colonial garrison. The Serene Empire doesn't accept this state of affairs even years after the war has ended, fighting an increasingly savage and fruitless series of politional actions that end ultimately in defeat and withdrawal of the White and Silver.

With this, Herceowic in 1910 becomes the first nation fully under the control of a revolutionary communist regime. By this time already animosity was developing between the Black Internationale and the great khans, and in response the fulcrum of the movement's activity began to shift from Kagaria to Herceowic. The supreme political authority of the Black Internationale is guaranteed by the 1912 Herceowic constitution; the movement keeps up some appearances of a pluralist society but is a de facto one party state.

In the decades since the Black Internationale has made Herceowic a base of operations as it continues to operate, with significant ups and downs, as a more-or-less unified revolutionary movement throughout the world, weathering punitive attacks from Kagaria, Sigmaringa, Teyrnon Canhastyr, Dar Qimr and even Sjenska for their interference in the affairs of those nations. To much of the world Herceowic and the Black Internationale have become synonymous, and the fact that despite so much international opposition the communists are still on top has itself become a major symbol of the strength of the communist cause and ideology, attracting cadres of revolutionaries and ideologues from across the world. Herceowic receives these comrades with open arms, training them and then sending them back out into the world in the service of the movement. Of particular notice was the involvement of Black Internationale revolutionaries in the Great War, the Sanctuary Wars of the 1950s and more recently the Vlasenican civil war, whereafter the movement became an integral part of the Vlasenican Government of National Reconciliation.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:46 pm

I didn't like the earlier layout of San Dorado, so I drew a new one (warning: large image):

http://j07i.imgup.net/SanDorado41a8.png

Geographically the concept here is that the peninsula was once a fairly gigantic volcano that in some primordeal aeon blew itself the heck up. The remnants collapsed into a caldera lake. The islands that form the current Downtown area are lava platforms (or in case of Manor Rock, cinder cones) that formed during later eruptive periods. To the south are the steep flanks of the Catkins, the range that separates the peninsula from Palmara and the rest of the Astrafican continent.

The north and south banks immediately south of where the river Slate meets the ocean are industrial zones, harbours and container terminals, paved over in concrete and busy day and night. The central islands and their surrounding banks are the Downtown area, the tinsel forest of skyscrapers that everyone thinks of when they hear the name 'San Dorado'. West is everything south of the as yet unnamed lake-river thingy that branches northward: light manufacturing, services and variants of suburbia that range from well-off to very well-off. East is basically everything east of the easternmost Downtown island: packing, warehouses, train yards, blue collar neighborhoods progressing from decent close to Downtown to increasingly squalid the farther south you go.

When you go far enough south from basically anywhere you end in in the Sprawl, endless tracts of blighted slums cascading up the Catkins. The Sprawl actually extends into Palmara, but Their Graces prefer to pretend it doesn't, leaving San Dorado to put the Sprawl in order (which it mostly neglects to do). The Sprawl grows every day, a seething mass of squalor, crime and misery. It is every San Doradan's worst nightmare to end up living there, and particularly foul areas like the Marrowbones or The Ovens are some of the bleakest places on the planet.
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