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Lord Agragax Presents: The Fantasy Realm of Escalonia

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl, May 19, 2019.

  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Seriously? I was not very subtle.

    You have given me much constructive criticism and helpful brainstorming, so I am trying to return the favor by encouraging anything you decide, but seriously. Write some mahrlect World Anvil articles about the Tarkalians. You are long over due
     
  2. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    The Tytoss have little wooden tree houses, much like the Ewoks in Star Wars, and hide their young in those, but yes, the principle is the same.

    I've thought of the concept that due to having to live in forests that are 'owned' by other races much of the time, the Tytoss race has developed the practice of 'sleep-shifting' where, rather than sleeping through the entire day or night, each individual sleeps for a period of time, then acts for a similar period of time, then sleeps again, with each individual choosing their sleep-shift periods. That way there will always be someone awake to look out for the mobs with torches and pitchforks, who can sound the alarm and send out an ambush force to deal with the threat.

    This is a great point.

    Tytoss still survive by hunting, mainly rabbits and other similarly-sized creatures that a humanoid owl would be able to swallow whole (owls have pretty big mouths for the size of their heads, so human-sized owls would probably be able to swallow a rabbit or stoat). They will eat fish occasionally, if land-based prey are scarce, but don't like the rough texture of fish scales. They are True Neutral.

    Tarkalians have a big meat diet despite being good guys. Some in poorer communities still fish with the basic rod and line just for themselves, but most of the Kingdom's population eat fish that have been reared and by wholesale fish farmers whose establishments lie along the banks of the Western River, or caught by fishing boats that ply the coast to the west and the Central Lake to the very east. Some Tarkalians in more rural communities will eat venison, though communities along the coast and along the Lake's bank eat an entirely piscine diet to support the local sea fishing industry, and because they feel killing and eating their loyal cervine mounts and beasts of burden is immoral. Tarkalians are Neutral Good.

    The Rhacids may be based on eagles but mainly eat fruit as part of their civilised lifestyle. They are Lawful Good.

    Felinids will eat pretty much anything that moves and they have a chance of catching. They particularly like other humanoids which they torture in games they have called Chases, which ultimately result in the prey being killed and eaten. They are Chaotic Evil.

    Gnolls, much like their real-world cousins, are scavengers, preferring to eat stuff that other creatures have already killed due to a mixture of Gnolls having naturally flat feet and being too lazy to kill their own prey. They use their numbers and weapons to drive off large plains predators. They are Chaotic Neutral.

    The Insectoids will carry off humanoid prey caught in raids to their nests, where they will be quickly torn apart and divided between the members of the Hives most deserving of food. They are Lawful Evil.

    The Minotaurs of Iotheiles were originally carnivores, but have since found they can become vegetarians with the Manidean Reforms, meaning they are omnivorous, contrary to their portrayal in the original myth and in franchises such as Warhammer. They are Lawful Good.

    Lizardkin predominantly eat meat, typically roasted or as pastries, but will also eat jungle fruits as snacks. They are Neutral Good.

    The Serpentines are the one race that I'm not sure about. All snakes are carnivores, but given the Serpentines have a strict martial code of honour that would not suit them. Perhaps they'd be suited to eating suitably sized jungle fruits that can be swallowed whole easily. They are Lawful Neutral.

    Orcs, both Greenhide and Earthskin, are carnivores. Greenhide Orcs will eat anything they can pillage from their enemies, while Earthskin Orcs sustainably hunt the large herds of Tunka that thunder across the southern plains. Greenhide Orcs are Chaotic Neutral, Earthskin Orcs are True Neutral.
     
  3. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    How common are humans?

    I'm betting human societies are all highly militarized and living in constant fear because the world is full of intelligent humanoids that could potentially eat them...
     
  4. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    It's about time I answered your question given it's been almost a year since we last discussed Escalonia here. Work on my novel (which is in its last few chapters) and more recently my first job have largely detained me from producing material here or on World Anvil.

    To recap on Escalonia humans, they are very common, but mainly stick to the regions ruled by the following factions:
    Calderon - Celtic Warrior culture who have allied with the Lizardkin and Tarkalians
    Xastustec - Aztec Warrior culture who have allied with the Medusae, Amazons and Serpentines
    Aquileona - Definitely the most militaristic and xenophobic army being based on Republican Rome
    Esworo - Protected by the Knights and thus highly militarised
    Upravania - Stark-raving-mad depraved Cultists of Necromancy tend not to worry about the intelligent humanoid animals, they're too obsessed with fulfilling every sick fantasy they can think of to care and have the power to reanimate their comrades and any said humanoid animals they kill in battle
    Scaramonde - Again highly militarised, ruthless, aggressive and allied to the barbarous Greenhide Orcs who often raid and pillage in their name

    There are also several tribal groups who are less restricted to those regions but are less organised and coherent:
    Grey Mountains Tribesmen - Tough and fierce neo-Viking barbarians that hide out in mountain strongholds which are easy to protect
    Glenclans - Savage neo-Gaelic barbarians that live in fortified tower settlements based on Pictish brochs but much bigger
    Coacans - Again live in the mountains, allied with Xastustec and ride massive Altotheres in howdahs
    I was also thinking of adding in Plains Peoples as another loose faction that can respectfully represent either First Nations tribes or Zulus (or perhaps both, given that there will be different tribes), that ally with Gnolls and Earthskin Orcs to stay alive.

    So yes, pretty much all my cultures are militaristic in some way in order to survive, mainly because Escalonia was always designed to be a wargame setting, and it wouldn't be much of a wargame setting if none of the factions were particularly fighty, but you are right in that this also lines up well with common sense to confirm that these factions would survive in the hostile, fairly dark world I'm developing.
     
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  5. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I'm all about playing as the Tarkalians and not just so I can quote the South Park otters though that this a side benefit.
     
  6. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I found a great blog from a professor of anthropology that applies a lot of his formal knowledge to worldbuilding fantasy worlds. It might help you develop Escalonia.

    His main site is here.

    In my opinion, the crown jewel of his blog is his breakdown of the basics of polytheism. Given that you barely scratched the surface on Escalonia (and Scalenex wants to see MOAR) you should give it a look when you have time.

    I especially like his captions.

    [​IMG]
    Pictured: Cult center for the veneration of the founder-deity Abraham Lincoln (c. 1922), with the cult statue clearly visible. Approximately eight million pilgrims visit the shrine to show their respects to the Great Emancipator every year (but for some reason, when I try to sacrifice a sheep or a goat there, everyone gets upset!)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2022
  7. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    Thank you for this, I'm sure it'll be useful, though I've done more than scratch the surface of Escalonia, I simply haven't had the time to publish much of it on here or World Anvil.

    EDIT: I've read the most recent article. Certainly fascinating stuff, and I wonder if it has answered a significant question of mine (not related to Escalonia but still significant in my mind).

    In several PC games I've played (Age of Empires and Rise of Nations immediately come to mind), monotheism is considered an 'advancement' over polytheism, in that in these games it is a technology that can be researched to give additional bonuses to your civilisation which is assumed to start out as polytheistic. As an aspiring Celtic Pagan I initially saw this as a bit of an insult, perhaps devised by a Christian who wished to reinforce the idea of the 'triumph' of his religion over polytheism, but that article may hold the key to the reason why this mechanic was included - the idea that practices and rituals in ancient polytheistic religions were practiced because they simply were 'what worked' and were perceived to ensure survival, as opposed to later religions like Christianity that aimed to encourage the following of a specific moral code with the intention of improving society, suggests that the latter does possess a certain advancement over the former.

    However, the PC game mechanic is not entirely off the hook, because there are modern polytheistic reinventions of ancient religions that place a moral code at their heart (indeed I follow my own personal code that I could choose to tie in with my religious beliefs), and I imagine there were a lot of ancient monotheistic religions (like the brief period where the Egyptians abandoned all their gods to worship the Sun alone, or that in the Old Testament, the Christian God is openly murderous and vengeful at times, suggesting that in the time before Jesus lived and died, he was sometimes be a hostile deity that had to be appeased to ensure survival), that were practiced again simply because it was believed they seemed to ensure survival better than polytheistic religions. Thus a suitable alternative for this mechanic would be something like 'Moral codes' or 'Codes of Honour', because that was the real advancement, not simply swapping many gods for one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2022
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  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I hadn't thought of this denigrating polytheists. I played Civilization 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and Monotheism is usually an advancement. I just figured they were following the flow of history. As of Civilization 4, you can pick a religion. The "invention" of Monotheism just lets build new religious building. Civilization 5 lets you build your religion from the ground up and decide what their core values are (at least the core values that impact gameplay).

    My friend Eron has a created a polytheist system with universal moral codes. That is because most his gods and goddesses are tightly allied and (mostly) share the same values.

    I have my nine deities, aka "The Nine" for so long, I don't think I could change them. Originally I assumed Scarterra would be shaped by nine separate moral codes awkwardly meshed together in a conflict ridden world, but now the ritualistic interpretation gives me a different way to approach this.
     
  9. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    I have Civilisation IV but have barely played it, having spent much more time on the Total War franchise, Rise of Nations, Legion, Supreme Commander, Worms and others. Might give it another go one day.
     
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  10. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I think Civ 5 is the best of the set in my opinion though as some people pointed out online, there are some crazy loopholes you can exploit if you power game. I do like the historical scenarios on Civ 4. Civ 6 was disappointing for me. The animation kind of sucks and I don't like the diplomacy AI at all and there are even more crazy loopholes than Civ 5.

    Anyway, post more Escalonia please.
     
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  11. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    Interesting you would choose that one, because for me Civ 5 is the one I was aiming to avoid, chiefly because it shows the poorest grasp of historical accuracy and respect toward specifically the Celtic civilisation - as somebody who wishes to make clear the divide between the Britons and Gauls and the comparatively primitive Gaels and Picts, Boudicca dressed in a tartan kilt and standing amid the Scottish Highlands in the manner of Mel Gibson, with Pictish and Gaelic phrasing everywhere, pretty much epitomises the modern lack of knowledge regarding Britain's Iron Age past. In 4 you have Brennus who was a formidable Gallic commander (though getting him and his warriors to speak Irish at the same time makes me cringe) and 6 the Gallic civilisation led by Ambiorix appear to possess general all-round greater accuracy toward a specific Celtic people rather than lumbering them all together as some messed-up hybrid that embodies Scottish nationalist mythology.

    Also I'm generally not keen on how the English civilisation is always led by either Victoria or Elizabeth I, as if there weren't any male English/British monarchs who led our civilisation to significant greatness (when we had such powerhouses as Alfred the Great, Offa of Mercia, and Edward I among others).

    I'm getting all this knowledge through the wiki by the way, not from gaming experience.
     
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  12. Bowser
    Slann

    Bowser Third Spawning

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    Is your novel done? Where can I buy it and read it? This is all very awesome. I really like the Medusae having a somewhat chaotic and temperamental goddess who may just decide that today is Gorgon day!

    I have always loved gnolls, and while they are chaotic, I tend to think of a PC gnoll being a bit more Baloo, carefree, a bit lazy, but still can be fierce when the time comes.

    Tytoss are fantastic, though as tree dwellers, I almost wish they had a symbiotic relationship with an Ent/treeman or dryad race.

    The insect people are awesome, but I always think of Inferno from Beasties or Beast Wars, calling Megatron Queen! Would be a great fish out of water to have one be found young and brought to a different settlement, and it just chooses someone inappropriately as their queen and just follows them around awaiting orders.

    The Minotaurs are great, I really like the origin story here. With these magical crystals, you could see a full storyline of an usurper and their cohort stealing these crystals, slowly inflicting their awful will on the others, until mad with power demands that the other two pieces be given to him, and then explodes. A true villain story, not thearted by a hero, but by himself.

    The rivers being Sky Serpents is an amazing bit of lore.

    Anyway, get to work on that wargame, though I may want to also give this a 5e D&D adventure. There's a lot to play with, 4e may work better, given the wargame structure, but this is definitely a fun sandbox. Anyways..... MORE!
    images.png
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022 at 11:59 PM
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