The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Sat 30 May 2015, 03:58

shimobaatar wrote:What's it like inside of a fold? I'd assume it would be dark and void-like, but that doesn't seem to be the case. If a dalar were to hide themselves in a fold, would they be undetectable to just humans, or to other dalar as well? Also, since city-covering folds are only permanent-ish, what could cause them to fail/break/be taken down/or something else?
If we worked it all out logically, there shouldn't be light, etc. inside, but that's one of those things I'm going to flutter my hands over and hope nobody looks too closely at--in the city-wide ones, the sun and sky look like normal, and no, I don't know why. In the person-sized ones, I'm not really sure.

And I thought you might comment on "permanent-ish"! :) They're set up to be sort of self-feeding off of anybody nearby them, so basically as long as there are dalar in an area, the fold will automatically borrow a little of their amati to replenish itself. (if this was not done, the amati used to create the fold would eventually leach out and return to its original "owner", and it would collapse) But what I meant by "permanent-ish" is really that they can actually be moved, if you're sufficiently motivated. The capital Elten has been moved around several places by now, actually.
This sounds awesome! I'm curious about how visibility, reaction time, and such things factor in here, though. Would this only be possible/a good idea to do across flat, open areas, or can especially experienced dalar dodge buildings and such in their way? Similarly, how does this kind of movement look, both to the dalar moving this way and to others (both humans and dalar) observing a dalar moving in such a way? Would dalar have to avoid human-filled areas while doing this so they don't cause a scene of some sort?
It really only works on the order of a couple of feet at a time, which is enough to make you significantly faster than an unaided human, but not enough to leap buildings in an entire bound or anything. Dalar have pretty good reaction time (their mild psychic-ness frequently can give them a warning before they trip or something), but still, I wouldn't suggest it over rough terrain. If you got it out of sync with your pace, you could probably break legs and so on. To an outside observer, it would basically look like someone is making impossibly long steps--the actual folding would be done so quickly and just on ground level, so it wouldn't be too noticeable unless you knew what to look for. It definitely would look severely unnatural, though.
If you were to teleport into Elten, how likely would it be for the investigation that gets opened to actually find you? Sorry if this has been answered before, but what would happen if they did find you?
Probably more likely than not... or at least they work very hard to give that impression, to discourage people from trying. It's just, because the only people who are trying to do this thing are probably mixed up in organized crime anyway, and it takes multiple people on each end to pull it off, the odds of them finding some lead back to you are pretty good. Not sure on the punishment, likely lots of fines for "unauthorized teleportation" and jail time.
...is the kind of system used at high-security areas also faster as well as more accurate?
Dunno if it's faster, but definitely more closely-monitored.
Hmm… any estimates of how large these portals would be, in area, I suppose? Alternatively, any ideas about how many individuals could use a portal at once?
Perhaps large enough for a semi truck to drive through, at the largest. At a time, maybe anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen people (assuming this is one of the official portals with a proper staff. The black market ones being run by a handful of people might only take three or so at a time, to be safer).
I guess crime organizations would at least generally prefer it if their members didn't use the portals all the time, since they'd have to pay?
Yeah, makes sense. :)
Once a portal has been opened somewhere, is it established in that location forever, or only for a limited period of time/number of uses? Also, how specific are portal locations? That is, if a group of dalar were to try opening a new portal somewhere, would they be able to detect/sense an already established (but probably closed at the time) portal in the area, which they could reopen to save themselves time/work? If so, how close would they have to be to the already established portal?
So, a portal is basically punching a couple of holes in reality. If you just let one snap closed, there would be a weak spot left behind. It would heal itself relatively quickly (within the week, say, and it wouldn't be noticeable even to a dalar unless they were explicitly looking for it), but until it healed up, it'd be somewhat easier to create another portal in the same place. (if it was closed properly, there'd be barely any trace, however) When you set up a portal that you intend to use repeatedly, rather than letting it just close and heal up, you instead are trying to maintain that weak spot and the link to the other side of the portal. If this link/weak spot are set up properly, you then can open and close the portal as often as you want, theoretically forever if you maintain it. As for leaving it closed for long periods of time, you'd want to periodically open it up and use it, because it will heal up eventually. But a well set-up portal could easily be left closed for a month and be just as easy to fire back up--or even after several months, it might be a little more difficult but still much easier than opening a new one. (note that this doesn't apply to "ad hoc" portals that are created just for a one-time use, or portals that aren't maintained)

When it comes to establishing a new portal, it probably wouldn't be worth it to try to find a place where a recent portal was created. First, it's not like people are creating new portals all the time or anything, so the odds of finding one are very low, and second, unless you got there RIGHT after it closed up, it would only be slightly easier.
Are there any materials/objects/what have you that can't pass through the portals (perhaps because of amati-related properties)?
Not a clue, but if I ever figure out what materials react to amati, I'll have to consider this side of things too.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by shimobaatar » Sun 31 May 2015, 07:23

alynnidalar wrote:And I thought you might comment on "permanent-ish"! :) They're set up to be sort of self-feeding off of anybody nearby them, so basically as long as there are dalar in an area, the fold will automatically borrow a little of their amati to replenish itself. (if this was not done, the amati used to create the fold would eventually leach out and return to its original "owner", and it would collapse) But what I meant by "permanent-ish" is really that they can actually be moved, if you're sufficiently motivated. The capital Elten has been moved around several places by now, actually.
[:D]

Hmm, interesting! Does this self-feeding ever have a significant effect on any dalar? For example, if there were only a few in the area, would they have a lot of their amati taken? What would this do to them?

So the things inside a fold can be moved with it? Where has Elten been moved to and from, and why?
alynnidalar wrote:It really only works on the order of a couple of feet at a time, which is enough to make you significantly faster than an unaided human, but not enough to leap buildings in an entire bound or anything. Dalar have pretty good reaction time (their mild psychic-ness frequently can give them a warning before they trip or something), but still, I wouldn't suggest it over rough terrain. If you got it out of sync with your pace, you could probably break legs and so on. To an outside observer, it would basically look like someone is making impossibly long steps--the actual folding would be done so quickly and just on ground level, so it wouldn't be too noticeable unless you knew what to look for. It definitely would look severely unnatural, though.
Do you mean you could break your own legs, or the legs of people/dalar nearby, or both?

Has this unnatural look ever caused any problems (either in terms of dalar secrecy or anything else, really)?
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Thu 04 Jun 2015, 15:08

shimobaatar wrote: [:D]

Hmm, interesting! Does this self-feeding ever have a significant effect on any dalar? For example, if there were only a few in the area, would they have a lot of their amati taken? What would this do to them?

So the things inside a fold can be moved with it? Where has Elten been moved to and from, and why?
Theoretically, it could indeed have a negative effect. If you're low on amati, you feel sick and weak. If you actually run out--unlikely to happen accidentally--you'd permanently lose the ability to manipulate amati and your own would never return to you. As dalar biologically depend on amati to some degree, this would have negative physical and mental health problems. In other words, you'd go crazy.

So living in a place that's constantly feeding off your amati would increase this risk, because your reserve of amati is smaller, seeing as part of it is constantly being used. Permanent folds therefore generally would never hold just a few dozen people, they almost always are going to have perhaps 500-1000 at the lowest. And the folds with a small population generally are relatively small in size. Both of these would decrease the risk.

As for moving Elten around, it was originally somewhere in Central Asia, and was moved to North America after it was deemed a better/more secure location.
Do you mean you could break your own legs, or the legs of people/dalar nearby, or both?
Your own, the folds wouldn't be large enough to affect anybody nearby. Just if you stepped wrong, like you stepped into the fold instead of over it and then tripped.
Has this unnatural look ever caused any problems (either in terms of dalar secrecy or anything else, really)?
Oh, undoubtedly a time or two. :) I haven't got any specifics, though.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Tue 29 Sep 2015, 20:17

Some legal thoughts...

Sanmra does not have a codified constitution. Its legal framework is more based on a patchwork of legal opinions, official statements by the sarda and nuoda, tradition, various statutes, etc. As a result, there is no single "official" document that sets out the rights and privileges of citizenship. However, there are a few key documents that are widely accepted as laying out these rights. The most foundational of these is the Epardan ni Nonikan ni Adıfasil, the Selected Rights of Citizens.

The Epardan or 'Selection' was originally written by a group of prominent nuoda, although it has been widely espoused by sarda and nuoda alike up to the modern day. It consists of a list of four rights, accompanied by commentary expanding on each right. Here are the four rights, without the original commentary (mostly because I haven't written it yet!):
Selected Rights of Citizens wrote:1. All citizens have the right to participate in the governing of their communities by running for and voting for public offices.
2. All citizens have the right to self-determination in choosing their family, home, and lifestyle.
3. All citizens have the right to speak freely, without fear of legal retribution.
4. All citizens have the right to be treated equally under the law, both in protections and punishments.
They're only interpreted as applying to adult citizens (the document doesn't actually discuss what qualifies one to be considered a "citizen") and certainly don't cover all civil rights, but they're particularly considered important because they're one of the earliest legal documents that makes no distinction between dalar and humans.

Some notes on each right...

1. A strict interpretation of this would mean that humans were eligible for all public offices, but this isn't actually the case--only dalar may become nuoda or sarda. This is kinda controversial, both from the view of people who think humans should be eligible for nuoda seats (nobody seriously believes humans should be allowed to become sarda), and dalar who think humans shouldn't be eligible for ANY public offices.

2. This basically covers your right to choose who you marry, whether or not you have children, where you live, your right to travel throughout Sanmra (and into the human world), your level of education as an adult (children don't have the full rights of a citizen and thus can be legally compelled to go to school), your career, etc. It also covers your right to leave your family without retribution, whether by marriage or to set up your own family, as well as the right to petition a family to adopt you, although they aren't legally obligated to accept your petition.

3. Note that there is no protection of freedom of assembly or freedom of the press. Limited freedoms to assemble/of the press are protected by other documents, but not as strongly as the right to say what you like. The original commentary only mentioned written and spoken communication, but today this is considered to cover sign language, artwork, etc. as well. Hate speech and offensive language ARE protected by this right; basically the only thing that isn't is if you knowingly say something that directly causes harm to another or their property, such as the old standby of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. It also doesn't cover non-legal retribution, like someone telling you to shut up because you're being annoying, even if that person is a government employee.

4. This doesn't guarantee that laws will be non-discriminatory, just that they'll be applied equally to everybody affected by them. For example, a law could be passed restricting humans from buying certain goods, but it wouldn't violate this right so long as it's enforced equally for all humans. It also doesn't say that treatment under the law will be humane or that you'll have speedy trials, as long as nobody is treated humanely or has speedy trials.

In general, if exercise of a right results in something actively illegal--let's say you're exercising your freedom of speech, but you're trespassing on private property while doing it--then you aren't protected.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by shimobaatar » Thu 01 Oct 2015, 03:17

alynnidalar wrote: The Epardan or 'Selection' was originally written by a group of prominent nuoda, although it has been widely espoused by sarda and nuoda alike up to the modern day. It consists of a list of four rights, accompanied by commentary expanding on each right. Here are the four rights, without the original commentary (mostly because I haven't written it yet!):
If you've decided this, when was the original "Selection" written?
alynnidalar wrote: 2. This basically covers your right to choose who you marry, whether or not you have children, where you live, your right to travel throughout Sanmra (and into the human world), your level of education as an adult (children don't have the full rights of a citizen and thus can be legally compelled to go to school), your career, etc.
Are there any limits on who you have the right to choose to marry?
alynnidalar wrote: It also covers your right to leave your family without retribution, whether by marriage or to set up your own family, as well as the right to petition a family to adopt you, although they aren't legally obligated to accept your petition.
To make sure I understand, would leaving your family usually entail an adult child getting married against their parents' wishes, one parent leaving the other and their children, both, or neither?

Also, what is adoption generally like in this society?
alynnidalar wrote: 3. Note that there is no protection of freedom of assembly or freedom of the press. Limited freedoms to assemble/of the press are protected by other documents, but not as strongly as the right to say what you like. The original commentary only mentioned written and spoken communication, but today this is considered to cover sign language, artwork, etc. as well. Hate speech and offensive language ARE protected by this right; basically the only thing that isn't is if you knowingly say something that directly causes harm to another or their property, such as the old standby of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. It also doesn't cover non-legal retribution, like someone telling you to shut up because you're being annoying, even if that person is a government employee.
If this right is now interpreted as covering written, spoken, and signed communication, as well as artwork and other things, wouldn't it therefor cover freedom of the press?
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Fri 02 Oct 2015, 18:43

shimobaatar wrote:If you've decided this, when was the original "Selection" written?
Not a clue! More than 200-300 years ago, though, I would think.
Are there any limits on who you have the right to choose to marry?
You can marry anyone not of the same sex, provided they are an adult (over 48 years old), are deemed capable of consenting to the marriage (e.g., someone with severe cognitive impairment may not be considered capable of consenting no matter how old they are, or someone in a coma could not consent), and they actually do freely consent to the marriage.

However, you may not marry someone considered to be a close relation, meaning anyone: 1) born in your family, 2) currently a member of your family (even if they were born in a different family), 3) any direct ancestor/descendant/sibling of yourself, your parents, and your siblings.

I think that covers it. You can marry a first cousin (but not an aunt/uncle or niece/nephew), so long as they're in a different family than you. I'm not sure if relationship by adoption is counted, or if it's just biological relationships that matter.
To make sure I understand, would leaving your family usually entail an adult child getting married against their parents' wishes, one parent leaving the other and their children, both, or neither?
I should really explain what I mean when I talk about "family". It's not your immediate/biological family, a "family" is a legally recognized entity. You could substitute "clan" or "house". A family has specific legal rights separate from individuals' legal rights, maybe a little bit like how corporations have legal rights as an entity under US law. A "family" generally will consist of a large group of relatives, plus any spouses they may have brought in to the family by marriage. When you marry, you and your spouse must decide which of your two families to join, or if you will split off from both and create your own family. (which, in smaller families, is common, because the family as a whole doesn't have the resources to support you)

If you choose to join your spouse's family, you are no longer legally considered a relative of your original family. Biologically, of course, and you may well still be in close contact with your former family, but in the eyes of the law, you are no longer a member of that family, and are not eligible to inherit or have any say in the running of the family (although you gain rights of inheritance/a say in things in your new family).

So to answer the question, leaving your family generally would occur when getting married (either joining your spouse's family or to set up your own household/family). Leaving your family by yourself is very rare, because only a couple can form a new family and you're giving up a lot of rights that you need to be part of a family for. (for example, all votes must be associated with a family--you can't vote if you're not a member of a family) Usually this would only be done if somebody does something SO dishonorable their family disowns them, or if they voluntarily leave their family because they hate them or something. Even in cases like this, it's much more likely that a person simply physically separates themselves from their family, as opposed to actually legally breaking off ties, as it's a very serious thing.
Also, what is adoption generally like in this society?
Not sure how to answer this one. In the context of petitioning a family to "adopt" you, that would generally apply to adults who left/were disowned by their families (usually asking your family to take you back in) or couples that started their own family on marriage but weren't able to support themselves (again, by asking one of your birth families to re-accept you). The other major case would be in case of divorce/widowing, as the spouse not originally from the family might wish to return to their birth family.

Adoption of children, I'm not so sure on. Usually orphaned children would be adopted by others in their birth family (or the families of one of their parents); if an external family adopts them, it would probably be because the child was abandoned or abused and thus was removed from their original family.
If this right is now interpreted as covering written, spoken, and signed communication, as well as artwork and other things, wouldn't it therefor cover freedom of the press?
Hrm. I guess I was thinking in terms of it covering the right of an individual to express their opinions, but not the rights of institutions (such as reporters). Perhaps I could work in something about the difference between a layman expressing something as an opinion/belief, and someone who sets themselves up as a reputable source expressing something as a concrete fact.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by shimobaatar » Sat 03 Oct 2015, 01:28

alynnidalar wrote: I should really explain what I mean when I talk about "family". It's not your immediate/biological family, a "family" is a legally recognized entity. You could substitute "clan" or "house". A family has specific legal rights separate from individuals' legal rights, maybe a little bit like how corporations have legal rights as an entity under US law. A "family" generally will consist of a large group of relatives, plus any spouses they may have brought in to the family by marriage. When you marry, you and your spouse must decide which of your two families to join, or if you will split off from both and create your own family. (which, in smaller families, is common, because the family as a whole doesn't have the resources to support you)
Spoiler:
If you choose to join your spouse's family, you are no longer legally considered a relative of your original family. Biologically, of course, and you may well still be in close contact with your former family, but in the eyes of the law, you are no longer a member of that family, and are not eligible to inherit or have any say in the running of the family (although you gain rights of inheritance/a say in things in your new family).

So to answer the question, leaving your family generally would occur when getting married (either joining your spouse's family or to set up your own household/family). Leaving your family by yourself is very rare, because only a couple can form a new family and you're giving up a lot of rights that you need to be part of a family for. (for example, all votes must be associated with a family--you can't vote if you're not a member of a family) Usually this would only be done if somebody does something SO dishonorable their family disowns them, or if they voluntarily leave their family because they hate them or something. Even in cases like this, it's much more likely that a person simply physically separates themselves from their family, as opposed to actually legally breaking off ties, as it's a very serious thing.
Oh, sorry, I'm pretty sure you have described this system before.
alynnidalar wrote: Hrm. I guess I was thinking in terms of it covering the right of an individual to express their opinions, but not the rights of institutions (such as reporters). Perhaps I could work in something about the difference between a layman expressing something as an opinion/belief, and someone who sets themselves up as a reputable source expressing something as a concrete fact.
Ahh, got it. That makes sense. Thank you for all the explanations.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Mon 01 Feb 2016, 18:56

How about some information about Sanmra cuisine... written in Tirina??

This was written for the CoWriMo (Conlang Writing Month) event on ConWorkShop. It's the longest piece I've written in Tirina in one sitting (took about 3 hours!), and I'm pretty darn proud of it. [:)] I'm especially happy because much of it was written off-the-cuff, without significant glossing, and it wasn't really conceived in English first either (which is why parts of the translation are a bit awkward).

Tirina version:
Reankoda dudarn daimuranol ni dıwulin ni perti ni Sanmra iteked "pelelde ote dehisa, sikadle ote ipar". Reidas orn lid ote der'atal, tofisperas ın perti pelelos saru wukir'onle on yes, luan ote tor'atal, tofisperas ın perti sikadol saru tosurenle entimipas serki yes. Uwo aldo, iken eki kunar kenadetal yonol idkasel. Rola kenatoral, wufrafernle susa serkiol denyio oro me'elosir orn udoliles kifeson onid kir'o ko adeifo ife kitimo. Uneanarimir demales suorsa furanolir ato kenadetal ko kenadera iser ton udirnkimir mon kenatoral. (sel, mon yıdariel!) Idkasel, uneanari saiha ato kedarn ton wirn kirapail ni der'ail.

Tewa Elten ko tonpir israd ni Amerikama, wudeyirlin esa oro mandamın onid perti. Saiha ni mandamın esamuran. Pin pertil onarelos rıl saiha rianel eki salsa pelelos me'el. "Salsa pelelos" Amerikaelos salsa ni tomate ko hili ensuren ni Mekikan--aldo "salsa orelniros", luan "salsa furanol" rıl "tomatiyo", suorsa furanol ko ıke pae'kerderos. Enaradki, uneanari oro kunar onid salsa pelelos, onid astulelidan me'elos. Aldo salsa kurimuranol yai kunar pa'kelpaol, iser kolpaol, denyio dudarn yitanar ni tomate. (Tewa Amerika, esa salsa pelelos eki dudarn ni tomate, iser tewa Mekikan, salsa kolpaol de tewa Sanmra.)

Tewa alto israd ni Sanmra, ike dil likiolir iran tofrafern ın kedarn. Fun anadarn ke'fenenol nadiol orn wuyın oro eki kun mıraolir ko yad. Ros kun ko yad onar mornlaolir (uwo aldo, yad alnulaselos ko alnulasil ardinel) fin kunesolir (uwo aldo, yad alnulaselos ko anawil ardinel). Pertil kuraol eki duras ko kui me'el. Du toperas yes eki sıfayolan, sar tofisperas yes fun yio kie. Iser, du toperas yes eki forka, sar tofisperas yes fun yio on.

Idkasel, reinyilin neiroki oro kawi. Tonpir inyidarn eki kedarn sali ko nesi. Kai onareltalos, iser ton deneradkiol. Du toalesınir yes, sar seres onarelanarol yai malta, iser neiroki sınir onarelmuran yai hui. Realesınir pa'kelpaen oro lie sınir yin eki kenadera, denyio kedarn--enaradki ton isfa'ato. Iser idartal, enalesınir nonikaesanarol ote kenatoral.

English translation:
An important part of Sanmra gastronomy/cuisine is summed up in the phrase "spiciness at sunrise, blandness at sunset." This means that in the morning, you should eat spicy foods to awaken yourself, and in the evening, you should eat bland foods so you will sleep easily. For example, soup with hot sauce is certainly a good breakfast. For supper, simple porridge without anything extra added will help to calm your body and mind before sleeping. Green vegetables must be part of every breakfast and lunch, but they are not required for supper. (though they are appreciated!) Of course, flatbread is part of every meal, regardless of the time of day.

In Elten and other enclaves in North America, corn is frequently added to food. Corn-based flatbread is very common. One common dish is made of deep-fried flatbread with spicy salsa on top. "Spicy salsa" is an American sauce of tomatoes and chili peppers, originating in Mexico--this is "red salsa", and "green salsa" is made with "tomatillos", a green vegetable with a papery husk. Usually hot sauce is put in the salsa, for extra flavor. This salsa is thicker than traditional hot sauce, but smooth, without chunks of tomato. (In the US, salsa often has pieces of tomato, but in Mexico, salsa is smooth, like in Sanmra.)

In all Sanmra enclaves, sweet things are a popular way to finish off a meal. Fun /fun/ is a delicious, fluffy baked good served with fresh fruit and fruit sauce. The fruit and sauce could be of the same kind (for example, apple sauce with sliced apples) or different (for example, apple sauce with sliced pears). The dish is complete with sugar and cinnamon on top. If you're eating with chopsticks, eat the fun with a spoon. However, if you're eating with a fork, use it to eat the fun.

Obviously, coffee is always drunk. Other drinks with meals are water and fruit juice. Tea is not common, but not unheard of. If you're drinking alcohol, wine is more common than beer, but hard liquor is more common than both. Drinking any kind of alcohol is traditionally either with lunch or without any meal--usually the latter. However, more recently it is more acceptable to drink at supper.

(translation notes: the usual Tirina word for 'sauce' is actually salsa, so when talking about the sauce called 'salsa' in English, it's referred to as salsa pelelos 'spicy salsa'. Sınir, translated "hard liquor" above, is the generic word for alcohol, but in a context like this, it specifically means distilled spirits like whiskey.)
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by shimobaatar » Sat 11 Jun 2016, 22:20

alynnidalar wrote:How about some information about Sanmra cuisine... written in Tirina??

This was written for the CoWriMo (Conlang Writing Month) event on ConWorkShop. It's the longest piece I've written in Tirina in one sitting (took about 3 hours!), and I'm pretty darn proud of it. [:)] I'm especially happy because much of it was written off-the-cuff, without significant glossing, and it wasn't really conceived in English first either (which is why parts of the translation are a bit awkward).
This is so awesome! [:O] [<3]
alynnidalar wrote: An important part of Sanmra gastronomy/cuisine is summed up in the phrase "spiciness at sunrise, blandness at sunset." This means that in the morning, you should eat spicy foods to awaken yourself, and in the evening, you should eat bland foods so you will sleep easily.
Not a bad idea at all.
alynnidalar wrote: Of course, flatbread is part of every meal, regardless of the time of day.
Yay!
alynnidalar wrote: In all Sanmra enclaves, sweet things are a popular way to finish off a meal. Fun /fun/ is a delicious, fluffy baked good served with fresh fruit and fruit sauce. The fruit and sauce could be of the same kind (for example, apple sauce with sliced apples) or different (for example, apple sauce with sliced pears). The dish is complete with sugar and cinnamon on top. If you're eating with chopsticks, eat the fun with a spoon. However, if you're eating with a fork, use it to eat the fun.
Sounds like a lot of fun. [:P]
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Tue 27 Sep 2016, 21:16

Hey look, this thread still exists.

Here is some poorly thought-out stuff I wrote on a Sanmra creation myth, for the NaNoWriMo forums:

Long ago, there existed the Unnamed Spirit. Or maybe the Unnamed God--whether or not it should be worshipped depends on who you're talking to. Back then, everything was chaos. Things existed and didn't exist at the same time. Events happened before their causes. Beings lived in both the spirit world and the physical one simultaneously. There was nothing certain, nothing specific, nothing permanent.

The Unnamed Spirit moved around through the chaos and wasn't satisfied. Sometimes the spirit would come across something interesting or beautiful, but it would disappear or change as soon as the spirit found it. Even the spirit's memories changed as quickly as everything else, so it knew that as soon as it discovered something amazing, it would forget it. So the spirit decided that rather than searching through the chaos for interesting things, it would create them itself--make them permanent, real, so that whenever it wanted, it could come back and enjoy them.

The Unnamed Spirit created many things in the midst of the chaos, stars and realms and planets and people, but it found that no matter how hard it tried, it couldn't create true permanence. All of the spirit's creations were still affected by the chaos surrounding them--they still moved and changed, just in a more orderly fashion. So the spirit continued to travel throughout the universe, creating more and more, never fully content, never able to achieve its goal.

We, here on Earth, are just one of the Unnamed Spirit's many creations. The Unnamed Spirit created Earth and everything on it, and for a little while, it thought we might be perfect. It created four guardian spirits--four gods--to watch over Earth and to protect it. The eldest, Ani, was placed over the seas. Eri was placed over the hills and mountains. Iwi, the patron of the dalar, ruled the forests and green places. And Oni, the youngest, was given the empty places of Earth, the wastelands and deserts. But Earth, like all of the Unnamed Spirit's creations before us, was affected by the chaos as well. Humans, dalar, and the fisherfolk (who have since ceased to exist) were born, grew old, and died... learned new ideas, built new structures, created new objects. We changed. And so the Unnamed Spirit moved on, leaving Earth and its guardians behind to fend for ourselves.

When we look up at the stars, we're seeing the other creations of the Unnamed Spirit spread throughout the universe--other fixed places, where logic and natural laws exist. And the dark spaces in-between--well, that's where the chaos still swirls with the possibilities we tap into every time we use amati, every time we use creativity, every time we change.

Some say that the Unnamed Spirit will return one day, that it will finally accept it cannot create true permanence and will return to its old creations. Some say the Unnamed Spirit has already achieved its goal, and is happy somewhere far away. And some say the Unnamed Spirit will never be satisfied, but will wander the universe forever, always creating but never content.

(I, of course, say it's a nice but terribly unscientific story. And that's not even getting into where humans and dalar supposedly come from, the war between the gods, whether or not the gods are actually gods in the first place, what all this has to do with the spirit world... etc.)

Although tbh I'm not entirely satisfied with this myth as a major part of Sanmra religion/culture. A major thing I've come up with is that despite being vaguely prescient (and perhaps because they occasionally see the future), the dalar don't really believe in fate. When you're seeing the future, what you're really seeing is the logical outcome of the choices you've made thus far; everything is a result of the choices you or other people are making. (This is reinforced because people rarely see things very far in the future; usually what you see is things like a warning you're about to trip over something. The immediate future, that is, the one most directly shaped by your current choices, not the long-term future.) They're very big believers in the existence of free will.

So I'm not sure how that jives with the whole chaos-out-of-stasis thing, which implies a lot more randomness in the universe. Perhaps this is an old form of the myth, from before current attitudes regarding fate were developed. (in which case, I suppose I should develop a newer form of it, edited to fit modern attitudes as myths so often are) Or perhaps it's less "chaos" and more "change"--the ability of people to determine their own futures and change their fates. Hmm, I can work with that.

EDIT: although yes, I know the whole order-vs.-chaos, stasis-vs.-change thing is from Elder Scrolls
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Fri 26 May 2017, 19:12

Here's some religion stuff.

Most Sanmrans would not consider themselves particularly religious. It's somewhat like Japan; most people participate in traditional rituals and practices, but do not consider themselves part of an organized religion. (It's also reminiscent of Shinto in the emphasis on natural spirits and ancestors.) These traditional practices can be referred to as kowut, which literally means "rituals".

According to kowut beliefs, the universe is divided into two parts, the physical realm and the spiritual one (called dinili). Just as physical beings inhabit our world, so too do spirits inhabit that one--the dini, nature spirits, and kesyed, ancestral spirits (the spirits of the dead). Technically, the guardian spirits I mentioned in the last post are themselves dini, the diniato, the greatest of the spirits.

The physical world has little to no impact on the spiritual world, but it's believed that the reverse is possible: nature spirits can and do affect the physical world. Therefore, they can be invoked for everything from protection to curses. The spirits don't have morality like we do, but will listen to prayers based on curiosity, friendliness, or boredom. However, the most powerful spirits (especially the diniato) are difficult to attract the attention of.

That's where the ancestors come in. Aside from remembering your ancestors simply being the right thing to do, the spirits of the dead can communicate much more easily with nature spirits. Therefore, you can petition your ancestors to intervene with the spirits on your behalf. Understandably, you have a closer connection with your dead relatives, and thus they might be more likely to want to help you out. The spirits of the dead fade over time, so remembering them through rituals and regular prayer is highly important.

(as with the creation myth, this is all belief--not necessarily literal truth. In fact, many Sanmrans would claim not to believe any of it literally, even though they still perform rituals and pray. Ask one to explain this paradox for you sometime. Watch them squirm.)

I'll see about putting together something on rituals and holidays next. I have some details for this (especially regarding prayer), but should expand on them.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Wed 05 Jul 2017, 21:50

I lied. Instead, here's a bunch of Sanmran clothing terms and some comments on how they're worn.

Traditional Sanmran dress consists of fitted pants, a fitted long-sleeved shirt, and a long, possibly sleeveless jacket worn over top. While variations on this are still common in modern Sanmra, it's also common to see people wearing Western-style dress, or at least incorporating Western clothing into the traditional style. (e.g. wearing jeans or leggings instead of traditional tekon)

tekon - pants/trousers. Traditional tekon are close-fitted trousers worn by both men and women, although men's tekon may be somewhat looser. (also used for Western-style pants and leggings)

anukeni - shirt. Traditional anukeni are fitted, sleeved shirts that can range in length from waist (uncommon) to mid-thigh. To accommodate the hip, women's anukeni usually have a looser, more flowing hem, while men's are very straight. They may button up the front, be pulled over the head, or wrap around and pin or button at the side. (men's anukeni usually are pullover, while women's are often either buttoned or wrapped) In cold weather, a thin anukeni may be worn as an undershirt. Necklines vary, but are usually lower than that of a sarha. (also used for Western-style shirts)

sarha - jacket, sometimes translated as "overshirt", "vest", or "coat". sarha come in a multitude of forms, but the most prototypical variety is a padded, sleeveless tunic-type garment that comes to thigh-length, worn over an anukeni. A sarha is not overly fitted and buttons (or, in modern times, zips) up the front, usually with high collar. They may have long sleeves. Men's sarha are almost always at thigh-length, but women's sarha can range in length from knee-length (formal, old-fashioned) to the natural waist (very informal and modern). Traditionally, in formal events a long sarha would be worn over a short anukeni so only the sleeves of the anukeni could be seen; in modern times, it's fashionable to show a bit of your anukeni's hem, and in informal contexts, a short sarha is worn over a long anukeni. (sometimes used when referring to Western-style suit jackets or vests)

sariki - "dress" or robe. Essentially a large piece of cloth draped around the body and pinned very carefully, like a toga. It may or may not have sleeves. (Sleeves may be sewn into the cloth ahead of time, they may be sewn/pinned to the body of the dress after it's put on, or they may be formed out of folds of the cloth. If they're formed out of the cloth itself, they're likely to be short/cap sleeves.) The sariki is always worn over a tekon, and optionally over an anukeni as well. (in cold weather, it is usually worn over a long-sleeved anukeni, but may or may not be at other times of the year) (sometimes used to refer to formal dress in general; sometimes also used to refer to a Western-style dress (for which the term rılorhanol sariki 'Lorhan-esque dress' is also used))

kapan - coat or overcoat. A thick coat worn in cold weather, layered over top of a sarha. The kapan is mid-calf to ankle-length, to keep the legs warm as well, and buttons up the front. A traditional outside worker would likely wear a shorter kapan with the lower part unbuttoned, to allow freedom of movement, while in a city, people would wear longer, completely-buttoned versions. In formal contexts, a lighter, elaborately-decorated kapan can be worn over a sariki (and removed once inside). (also used for Western-style coats)

kiwo - shoes. Flat-soled footwear with a leather sole and a cloth top; not very tall. Variations on the same basic pattern are worn by all people, in all contexts. (used as a generic term for any kind of footwear)

maniwo - boots. Flat-soled footwear with a stiff leather sole and a cloth top that comes to mid-calf, worn with hornapa (socks). Just wide enough to be worn over tekon. Generally only worn as cold-weather clothing. (can be worn with sariki, but you'd switch to kiwo once you got inside) (used as a generic term for any kind of boot)

istin - gloves. Worn both as protection when working and for cold weather. Working gloves were traditionally leather and fingerless, to allow for greater dexterity, while cold-weather gloves were made of lined, softer leather or cloth. While out of style for many years, they have made a comeback as a fashion accessory--young Sanmran men and women wear leather or cloth gloves of any color in informal settings, while women of any age could wear cloth gloves formally, made from an expensive material like silk and coordinating with their outfit. Istin can also refer at large to any sort of hand covering, including arm wraps. (these are very common for women in formal settings, covering the forearm when wearing something sleeveless--they can either be a sort of detached sleeve, or an arm-warmer style that hooks around the thumb, without covering much of the fingers/hand)
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Fri 26 Jan 2018, 15:18

How about a new post? Let's talk about Elten.

Elten is the capital of Sanmra. It's located in the largest enclave in the world, at almost 25 square miles; about a third of that is the city itself, and the remaining two-thirds are rural, primarily woods. (some farming is done in the enclave, but most of this area is essentially a national park used for recreational purposes) The city has a population of about 160,000, but that rises to almost 200,000 on workdays.

Elten is divided into three main sections, separated by tradition and major roads: the Inner Ring, Middle Ring, and Outer Ring. The Inner Ring is the political center, containing the Aliseta ni Sadilan (the capitol building where the legislature meets) and the Sarda's Palace (home of the heads of state). Most families with political clout maintain residences here, and almost all members of the legislature live in the Inner Ring while they're in session. Other notable locations include:
  • Elten University - the alma mater of most politicians. Specializes in law and political science
  • The Royal House of the Dead - the mausoleum housing the remains of most sarda and some other major political figures
  • The Elten Law Library - boasts the largest collection of law books and legal resources in Sanmra. Many notable historical documents are also housed here.
The Middle Ring is the ordinary residential part of the city, surrounding the Inner Ring. It's densely populated and contains most of the schools and religious buildings in Elten. Buildings here are primarily made of stone or brick and are built close together in narrow, winding streets punctuated with parks and green spaces every few blocks—even in a city, the dalar appreciate the outdoors. Because the roads are so narrow, many parts of the Middle Ring are difficult to reach with cars (which are rare in enclaves anyway). Most inhabitants instead use motorcycles, bicycles, or old-fashioned walking to get around. The Elten portal station (for transport to other enclaves) is located on the outer edges of this ring.

The Outer Ring is "everything else": everything that sprawls beyond the borders of the older Middle Ring. Commercial and industrial facilities are located here, along with some residential neighborhoods. Historically, these neighborhoods were home to the poor and blue-collar workers, but some "new money" families have discovered that the Outer Ring has things like "space to build a nice new house instead of living in a cramped apartment" and "straight roads" and have started to move into the area.

Unlike the Inner and Middle Rings, whose borders are strictly delineated by major roads, the Outer Ring doesn't have a well-defined boundary; it just sort of peters out. A couple of small, unincorporated population centers (with perhaps a thousand inhabitants each) are located beyond the Outer Ring; they're administered as a part of the main city, but are distinct in practical terms.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Wed 28 Mar 2018, 03:52

I wrote a whole bunch on family records when I was at work today, in lieu of doing work. It's fine.

I read a couple of articles on koseki, the Japanese system for recording births/deaths/marriages/families. I realized that a similar system would fit very well in Sanmra, as a great deal of society revolves around membership in families. So I put some thought into how such a system would arise and what it'd look like today.

History of family records
Dawin, family records, have existed in various forms in Sanmra for over a thousand years. Aristocratic families, back when Sanmra had a real nobility, would maintain lists of heirs for inheritance and genealogical purposes. Over time, it became standard for a person to only be a member of one family at a time (i.e. when marrying), and these lists became a way to determine who "really" was a member of a given family. Because of the rising importance of these records, external recordkeepers cropped up to serve as theoretically objective arbiters.

In the eleventh century, there was a time of social upheaval and civil war known as the Great Warring Period that, among other things, diminished the importance of aristocratic families and offered paths to power for non-noble families. Several factors came into play that emphasized the role of family records and recordkeepers:

First, increased upward mobility caused "common" families to adopt "aristocratic" behaviors, including the decadent practice of paying someone to keep track of who's in your family.

Second, with new laws restricting who/how many members of a family could hold government positions, the government became a great deal more interested in tracking who was in a family (which determined their eligibility for political office). The government thus began to train and license recordkeepers.

Third, the ties between families and their home enclaves became solidified (with families restricted to holding office in a single enclave only), which meant the recordkeepers' role was expanded to include tracking where members of the family lived, property holdings, etc.

Eventually, the recordkeeping system became closely tied to the court system (as such records were considered virtually unassailable in court), and recordkeepers, being considered highly trustworthy, were used to register/notarize other events/contracts/documents as well. All of these pieces--family recordkeeping, expertise with the courts, and notarizing documents--became the expected services of a recordkeeper, now called a kida. As kida spent more time advising families in law, mediating between families, etc., the government fully took over the recordkeeping part of the operation, creating the lawyer/mediator/notary combination that defines a kida today. (Some time after this, it would become tradition--then law--for civil judges to be certified as kida before being appointed.)

When the government took control of the family record system, it was extensively standardized and expanded, now incorporating contracts, voting records, professional licenses, tax records... all the information the government needed to track about a family. This system is what exists today.

Modern system
In the modern dawin system, records are kept on a family-by-family basis, not for individuals. (a person without a family isn't part of any dawin, but generally has a similar record called a kaele or dawin kaesol) A dawin is recorded in whichever enclave is registered as the family's home enclave, even if no member of the family actually lives there. (families are encouraged to move their records to wherever they actually live, but this doesn't always happen) Events that occur in other enclaves will be recorded there, but will also be sent to the home enclave for official registration. For example, if a family purchased property in Elten but their home enclave was Mekeras, the property transfer would be recorded in Elten, then sent to Mekeras to be permanently recorded. Even if an event is recorded in another enclave's records, it's not really "official" until it's a part of your family's official dawin in your home enclave.

All information in a dawin is accessible to any registered member of the family. Some parts of dawin are accessible to the public (e.g. marriages), but most other information is more difficult to get access to (e.g. voting records). There is precious little digitization of records, so virtually all of it is still recorded on paper (although today it's more likely to be typed up and printed out than written out longhand). At least record offices have phones now, to quickly check records with other offices!

Information recorded in a dawin would include:
  • the legal head of the family
  • an up-to-date list of current members of the family
  • the family's home enclave
  • entrances into the family (e.g. through marriage, birth, adoption)
  • exits from the family (e.g. through marriage, death, disowning)
  • voting records
  • tax records (probably--I haven't decided if these are recorded separately)
  • property records
  • contracts
  • civil court decisions/arbitration
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 16 Apr 2018, 01:09

I am both fascinated and envious.
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Re: The Dalar: Culture, Biology, and Other Things I Think Of

Post by alynnidalar » Fri 18 May 2018, 21:18

Started writing up more extensive details about the dawin system on the dalar wiki. Still got quite a bit I'd like to add (about the history especially).

It also uncovered a rather serious issue in the voting system... I've always said that families vote as a bloc--that is, the family submits who they're voting for, and you get as many votes as you have legally-registered family members. People can vote individually if they want to vote for somebody different, but then they have to go submit their vote independently. But this leads us to a big question: what determines the elections a family can submit votes for?

Is it the family's legally-registered "home enclave", which could be a place where nobody in the family lives?

Is it the family's legally-registered official residence, even if many (or even most!) members of the family don't reside there?

Maybe it's based on property ownership--wherever you own property, there you can vote--but then a rich family could easily buy up property in every enclave and vote in every election. And families that rent wouldn't be able to vote at all.

Perhaps a member of your family needs to have a permanent residence in a given enclave--but then a large family could have all its members claim to be "permanent residents" of a large number of enclaves, and again vote in every election. (and if you're rich but don't have a large enough family, you could just round up a bunch of people and adopt them in to use their votes)

Maybe a particular percentage of your family (or a minimum number) need to live in an enclave before you can vote in elections there?

Whatever I choose, it's surely going to be ripe for exploitation (which is fine, the whole family system is ripe for exploitation)... the problem is making sure it's exploitable in the right way. While rich and large families certainly have a lot of power in Sanmra, I don't want it to be impossible for them to be outvoted, if everybody else worked together. My ideal solution would allow families to vote in multiple enclaves' elections... while not allowing them to vote in every enclaves' elections. But I'm not sure how to limit it without having some explicit law that's like, "your family can only vote in up to three enclaves".
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