Random Conworld idea thread

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Micamo
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Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Thu 26 May 2011, 21:58

Ever have a random idea about your conworld that you want to share, but don't have it in a detailed enough format for a full post and it doesn't really belong in any of the existing topics? Post 'em here!

Here's one of mine:

I was heavily inspired by Chilkat Blankets and want to do something similar with Midhen culture. I even came up with a neat little legend about how they came to be worn:

Midh believe (or rather, once did) that something's shadow is the anchor that ties it to reality. If you lose your connection with your shadow, you can be whisked away to all sorts of horrible places by evil spirits. So, to make sure this didn't happen, they took their shadows and wove them into blankets, black as the night sky, which they wrapped around themselves at all times.

...That probably sounds really stupid, doesn't it?
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Thu 26 May 2011, 22:04

Yesterday I decided that the Eastern Aidisese (or Western, I forgot... well, one of them) would involve some kind of hybrid Celtic-Spanish-Arabic-Byzantine mess. As in, stuff like Conquistadors with Highlander facepaint or something. Or tap dancing flamenco. Or something.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Thu 26 May 2011, 22:17

cybrxkhan wrote:Yesterday I decided that the Eastern Aidisese (or Western, I forgot... well, one of them) would involve some kind of hybrid Celtic-Spanish-Arabic-Byzantine mess. As in, stuff like Conquistadors with Highlander facepaint or something. Or tap dancing flamenco. Or something.
Tap-dancing kilt-wearing face-painted conquistador flamencos?
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Thu 26 May 2011, 22:21

Micamo wrote:
cybrxkhan wrote:Yesterday I decided that the Eastern Aidisese (or Western, I forgot... well, one of them) would involve some kind of hybrid Celtic-Spanish-Arabic-Byzantine mess. As in, stuff like Conquistadors with Highlander facepaint or something. Or tap dancing flamenco. Or something.
Tap-dancing kilt-wearing face-painted conquistador flamencos?
Oh, right, since there's also Byzantine-Arab influence they're also bellydancing at the same time.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Thu 26 May 2011, 22:26

cybrxkhan wrote:Oh, right, since there's also Byzantine-Arab influence they're also bellydancing at the same time.
While wearing one of those silk veils pole dancing around a crucifix and making sweet love to a claymore!

...Okay, that makes me feel way better about my blanket idea.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Thu 26 May 2011, 22:34

Micamo wrote:While wearing one of those silk veils pole dancing around a crucifix and making sweet love to a claymore!

...Okay, that makes me feel way better about my blanket idea.
Yeah, I guess so. Because right now the only image I'm getting in my head for this is some hot chick in conquistador armor with Celtic facepaint galloping on some horse against a stereotypical Irish hills background while holding a 16th century Spanish musket and a Claymore, singing some Irish/Scottish music. Oh, yeah, and some stereotypical Middle Eastern jewelry all over her. Besides the fact that that's a whole mess, I feel like I might have just invented a new hero[ine]-figure for my people, woohoo.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Thu 26 May 2011, 22:40

At least clean it up a bit man!
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Systemzwang » Thu 26 May 2011, 23:19

a detail for some culture: when dealing with bureaucracy, it's customary (in more intricate or substantial cases) to give the person handling your case a flower - this isn't a bribe or anything, it's just a respectful acknowledgment that the official is doing their duty.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Sat 28 May 2011, 07:13

Systemzwang wrote:a detail for some culture: when dealing with bureaucracy, it's customary (in more intricate or substantial cases) to give the person handling your case a flower - this isn't a bribe or anything, it's just a respectful acknowledgment that the official is doing their duty.
So what happens when you don't give the flower? Would that be akin to, say, giving the bureaucrat the finger?

-----

Anyhow, here's a little tidbit of history I thought of last night. It's basically: "(female) trolls protect the world against the commies/Nazis/etc"

So long story short, in my conworld there's a Nazi-Communist-Russia-Prussian con-nation that's the closest to an actual pure evil called Keintapa. A Mutualist Revolution (the equivalent to our world's Communist Revolution) overthrew Keintapa's traditionally autocratic monarchy and replaced it with an autocratic republican dictatorship that's basically the same thing, except worse in some respects. The Mutualist regime is even more chauvinistic, xenophobic, and politically oppressive than the monarchy. However, many women and lower-class citizens turned to the newest technology of the time - the instant telegraph - to express their discontent.

Over the course of several centuries, these nameless women and lower-class citizens would hack telegraph systems - mainly those controlled by the government, media, and/or elites - and basically troll them. For instance, a troll would waste the bureaucracy's time by pretending to make appeals or ask for help in order to waste the bureaucracy's time. Or, trolls would send pornographic images en masse to media outlets, and so on. Or, they would send nonsensical threats to upper-class citizens. Because the telegraph still wasn't as well-developed a technology, it was often difficult to track down these often anonymous trolls who took on pseudonyms (i.e., like internet usernames), and, furthermore, many of these trolls were in fact activists from foreign nations. Plus, there was just so many of them anyways.

In fact, the art of Trolling became associated with the so-called Amazonian rebels, who were stereotypically women in Northern Keintapa who led a prolonged centuries-long rebellion and guerilla campaign against the Keintapans (in reality, they were equally men and women, but Keintapan propaganda turned them into women). By the time the Keintapan nation collapsed, thanks in part to trolling, the "trolling culture" had spread to much of the lower and even middle classes and was an integral part of their folklore and group identity, with famous trolls - whose true identities often were unknown or simply made up by storytellers later on - becoming folk heroes akin to Robin Hood. It spread beyond its original home of the telegraph, being an important part of the now even newer technologies like the internet, or even to older communication systems like newspaper printing and books and urban grafitti.

The trolls were called the "Magnamites", after Magna Pareigus, a famous Empress consort of an even more famous Emperor of the Empire of Aidis, Xomeos XVI Daius. Although the real Magna was actually a very nice person albeit with a bit of a temper, her personality was exaggerated and completely changed by later storytellers, who made her look like a proto-troll-activist. A caricature of Magna - who in reality was a tall, attractive brunette - was used by the trolls as their unofficial symbol.

The end.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Thu 09 Jun 2011, 14:05

I had an idea that I think I want to use somewhere, but I'm not terribly sure where.

The evolutionary reason why we consider incest repulsive is because inbreeding can cause genetic defects. The instinctive revulsion is nature's solution to the problem, at least in humans and some other animals. But what if a different method evolved instead? What if, upon being breached by a sperm, a special piece of organic machinery within the egg scanned both the egg and sperm DNA, self-destructing the egg if too-similar genetic material were found? Such a species would have no evolutionary reason to see incest as wrong like we do, and such relations might even be extremely pervasive in their society.

It's interesting enough to use somewhere, but I don't think I wanna use it with any of my species that I actually like. After all, it is kinda gross.

Another, similarly too-gross-to-use-anywhere-I-like-but-still-very-interesting idea: A sentient species descended from scavengers, who are attracted to the sight and smells of rotting flesh in a similar way humans are attracted to flowers. They'd decorate things with depictions of intestines (how common are floral motifs in human designs?) and burn incense that smells like a dumpster behind a butcher... Bleck.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by teh_Foxx0rz » Thu 09 Jun 2011, 16:52

Micamo wrote:Another, similarly too-gross-to-use-anywhere-I-like-but-still-very-interesting idea: A sentient species descended from scavengers, who are attracted to the sight and smells of rotting flesh in a similar way humans are attracted to flowers. They'd decorate things with depictions of intestines (how common are floral motifs in human designs?) and burn incense that smells like a dumpster behind a butcher... Bleck.
Sentient flies. Interesting :lol:
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Thu 09 Jun 2011, 19:11

Micamo wrote:I had an idea that I think I want to use somewhere, but I'm not terribly sure where.

The evolutionary reason why we consider incest repulsive is because inbreeding can cause genetic defects. The instinctive revulsion is nature's solution to the problem, at least in humans and some other animals. But what if a different method evolved instead? What if, upon being breached by a sperm, a special piece of organic machinery within the egg scanned both the egg and sperm DNA, self-destructing the egg if too-similar genetic material were found? Such a species would have no evolutionary reason to see incest as wrong like we do, and such relations might even be extremely pervasive in their society.
From what I know that reasoning behind incest is still debateable. I've actually looked up papers on this, actually. Although I guess one could say incest is the closest to a universal taboo, there's still noticeable exceptions, and not just within royal families (and even some royal families... it gets complicated) - Egypt during the Roman era basically allowed brother-sister incest (and possibly Sassanid Persia), as it has been documented in their censuses (or something like that), and even if it was limited to a certain social or ethnic minority as some scholars have claimed, that still means it happened to some scale, and nobody really gave a damn until Christianity came rolling through. Apparently it's been really bothering scholars of all fields because this is the one clearest exception to the rule. The other possible exception, Sassanid Persia, is to my knowledge, not as clear as the example with Egypt, and I think I read some paper which said that basically what happened was that you only had incest so that you could "fight" your repulsion for some religious reason.

However, I've read on some other exceptions in other cultures, too. Apparently in New Guinea there's some tribes where you're encouraged to be in a homosexual relationship with a same-gender twin - the paper on that mentioned some 50 or 60 something twin brothers who basically walk around with each other all day and share the same pair of shoes (as in each one gets one shoe). Then there's also some cultures around the world where opposite-gender twins are automatically married at birth. If I remember correctly, the reasoning behind this is because the cultures assume that twins already had sex while in the womb (I think that's funny... in a kind of weird way), so they automatically have to marry.

Also note (as you probably well know) that definitions of incest vary from culture to culture anyways. I was born here, yes, but I've always been puzzled by how Americans react so violently to, say, 1st or 2nd or even 3rd cousin incest, when it's basically the norm in every other society in the world.

Okay, that was a totally unnecessary side note, but whatever. If you're wondering how the hell I know all this, it's because the Aidisese practice brother-sister incest to some degree (long story), but I had to figure out how to justify that even on a small scale. Also I've always been interested in why Americans can't stand cousin incest when everybody else does it without much ill effect. Still, concerning incest, I think a few of the oddball cultures might provide some interesting ideas here and there. Personally the oddest one I think was some African kingdom where the queen married her sons. That one I just can't compute.

teh_Foxx0rz wrote:
Micamo wrote:Another, similarly too-gross-to-use-anywhere-I-like-but-still-very-interesting idea: A sentient species descended from scavengers, who are attracted to the sight and smells of rotting flesh in a similar way humans are attracted to flowers. They'd decorate things with depictions of intestines (how common are floral motifs in human designs?) and burn incense that smells like a dumpster behind a butcher... Bleck.
Sentient flies. Interesting :lol:
I like that idea, too. Completely fucks up our normal perceptions of prettiness.



Also, my newest idea: dolphins are sentient enough that humans can use them as relatively intelligent killing machines. Same with chimps. Or heck, what not, chimp cavalry or dolphin cavalry.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Thu 09 Jun 2011, 19:24

After looking up some more info on my self-destructing-egg idea, I've come to discover that self-incompatibility mechanisms do exist in plants. So it's quite a bit more plausible than I thought...
I was born here, yes, but I've always been puzzled by how Americans react so violently to, say, 1st or 2nd or even 3rd cousin incest, when it's basically the norm in every other society in the world.
*shrugs*

Beats me. One theory I've read is the west has been very wealthy and well-spread out for a while, which makes outbreeding easier, but this sounds all too materialistic for my liking.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Thu 09 Jun 2011, 19:43

Micamo wrote:
I was born here, yes, but I've always been puzzled by how Americans react so violently to, say, 1st or 2nd or even 3rd cousin incest, when it's basically the norm in every other society in the world.
*shrugs*

Beats me. One theory I've read is the west has been very wealthy and well-spread out for a while, which makes outbreeding easier, but this sounds all too materialistic for my liking.
Yeah, I've heard that too. Supposedly Americans live so far apart on average, the chances of you meeting a cousin you think is hot is pretty low, while in some non-American settlement you're more likely to meet cousins you want to bang.

I've also heard that it's just because Christianity said so. Except that didn't stop royal dudes from banging their nieces. (*cough* Habsburgs *cough*) And from cousin incest from happening in general anyways. Oh yeah, and Einstein married his 2nd cousin, if anybody cares.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by teh_Foxx0rz » Thu 09 Jun 2011, 21:14

cybrxkhan wrote:I've also heard that it's just because Christianity said so. Except that didn't stop royal dudes from banging their nieces. (*cough* Habsburgs *cough*) And from cousin incest from happening in general anyways. Oh yeah, and Einstein married his 2nd cousin, if anybody cares.
Of course there's going to be exceptions. Especially when you're so prominent you're pretty much untouchable (and seriously, look at some of the popes from about the same period O_O ).
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by eldin raigmore » Fri 10 Jun 2011, 01:44

The main evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction is "spinning the combination locks" on predators whose generations are many times shorter than a human life, so they can evolve significantly in a single lifetime.

If your children's genomes are almost half from some other person, any microbial predator that has evolved to take down you and your mate probably will have to start all over to be able to succeed against your child. Also, your children would be almost half different from each other, so any microbe that could consume one might not be able to consume another.

OTOH if you and your mate are nearly identical, you lose that advantage altogether.

This doesn't prevent some species from "practising incest" as a matter of course.

Termites, for instance, are all children of the king and the queen. If the king dies one of his sons takes over and becomes his mother's mate. If the queen dies one of her daughters takes over and becomes her father's mate. Eventually the king and queen are full siblings as well as having a parent-child relationship.

_______________________________________________________________________________

EDIT:
BTW, a recent study compared the fertility of couples who were 3rd or 4th cousins or 3rd or 4th once-removed cousins, to couples who were 8th cousins or more distant.

They found that in general the 3rd and 4th and (3rd,4th)-once-removed couples were more fertile than couples who were totally unrelated or were no closer than 8th cousins.

A man's third cousin might, for instance, be his {mother's or father's} {mother's-father's-sister's-son's or father's-mother's-brother's-daughter's} {son's or daughter's} daughter.

That would be 7 steps away; they'd have on average 1/128 of their variable genes inherited from the same source (their parents' grandparents would be each other's siblings).

The ancient Roman law permitted marriage between people that close; the ancient Chinese went one step further, requiring 8 degrees of separation.

The ancient German law also did this, but they counted differently; they'd have called this 4 degrees because you'd have to go back 4 generations from each to get to their common ancestor.

This led to a big mistake when a German was elected Pope. He declared that people had to be at least 7 degrees apart by the German count. And he included "spiritual kinships", that is, godparents and godchildren and god-sibs. This meant that you couldn't marry anyone related to you or anyone you knew or anyone related to anyone you knew or anyone known by anyone related to your or ... out to 14 steps. So odds were if you were "within the bounds of consanguinity" you wouldn't even know it.

Anyway; it seems there were several pre-Christian ancient societies which preferred for people not to marry a relative closer than a third cousin.

I don't know whether that could have been because of some unconscious realization that that degree of relationship conferred maximal fertility, but, even if it's only a coincidence, it does.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Fri 17 Jun 2011, 16:19

I had an idea for a simple Aesop-like tradition: 2 sisters, Mea (the older) and Rhea (the younger) having a short, two-line conversation about random things. Here's three ideas I've had so far:
--Futility--

The two of them were preparing a freshly killed carcass for the evening meal.

Mea asked, "I wonder, is it the meat that rests upon the table, or the table that rests below the meat?"

Rhea answered, "It is futile to give answers to questions which are lacking."

--Worthless--

Rhea arrived home with a new, beautifully crafted lamp she had just purchased from the market. Mea greeted her on the landing, saying

"Why did you spend your money? You could have easily made one yourself for free."

Rhea responded, "It would be free only if my effort is worthless."

--Dreaming--

The two of them were wrapped in a blanket together by the hearth.

Mea asked, "Those who dream do not know that they dream. Could we be in a dream?"

Rhea answered, "The fire doesn't know whether it is a fire or whether it is me. Does this mean I could be the fire?"
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by cybrxkhan » Fri 17 Jun 2011, 19:29

^Those have a vague resemblance to some Zen stories, to be honest. But what not.

I had an idea earlier today concerning naming traditions in ancient Merthia. Similarly to a historical practice from parts of China, an ancestor would write a poem, and each subsequent descendant (of the male line of descent, in Merthia) would get their name from the next unused word in the poem. Once the family has reached the end of the poem, the head patriarch would compose the next poem. For the Merthics, the poem composed would be a series of haiku-esque poems (maybe something like 7-10-7 syllable lines).
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by plathhs » Fri 17 Jun 2011, 21:46

I have some ideas about a post-civilization anarcho-primitivist society, or an intentional community of people transitioning from civilized life to primitive (as in Stone Age). They try to reintroduce gatherer-hunter lifestyles, and value non-domestication and undivision of labor etc. This would probably also mean they're aliterate and try to de-symbolize their relationship with the world.
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Re: Random Conworld idea thread

Post by Micamo » Fri 17 Jun 2011, 21:56

cybrxkhan wrote:^Those have a vague resemblance to some Zen stories, to be honest. But what not.
Really? I was trying to avoid that. It's probably just the style.
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