Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

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Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by tinzin » Fri 18 May 2018, 16:15

Hey all, this is Lynn. I'm gonna be talking about the fantasy conworld me and Fenic are working on.
Not sure what to start with, so... here's a map.
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Some notes about the map:
  • It represents the area all media we plan to create involving this world will take place within, but doesn't quite show the entirety of the planet. It's meant to be about the size of a fairly good-sized continent, e.g. europe/asia.
  • Green regions represent particularly habitable areas, especially those with a good bit of farmable land and such.
  • The swirly dark clouds represent "the blight", a particularly uninhabitable region where the ground is mostly ash and the air is toxic to breathe. (the effect should probably cover a bit more of the areas between the parts it actually does, but we didn't really set it up very well, oops.)
  • The stars generally represent locations of the biggest major settlements.
  • The cold desert is, as implied, an arid region of low temperature.
  • A peck is an in-world unit that roughly equates to something between a kilometer and a mile; keeping it intentionally vague so the world's scale is a bit negotiable.
Summary of some of the key points of the world: Humanity is spread about the world a fair bit more than in reality, not necessarily because of the blight or the calamity that occurred deep in the past, but more because of a strong anti-imperialist attitude among the communities that inhabit the world. Communities trade and communicate frequently but are self-governing and mostly self-sufficient. Conflict between people still exists, but not at any sort of global scale, because there are no global powers for such a conflict to be between. Additionally, we plan to have a much better representation of diversity among humans (esp. race and identity) than in most popular fantasy media. Common fantasy "races" are problematic for this, but in the interest of keeping some aspects of them we consider cute, some additional genetic traits/mutations are semi-frequently present in humans that don't really exist in our world, particularly long pointy ears, tusks, horns, and occasionally even tails. A group of animated statue people known as the Tulo are also present in the north, in areas on the map marked by gold stars rather than red. Many other magical beings also exist in the world, including rather powerful ones known as gods. (Not particularly interested in "ruling" over humans, mind. They're mostly just kinda there.)

We'll be posting more about in-world cultures, the magic system, and the languages soon. Feel free to ask questions about the information presented here in the meantime!
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by elemtilas » Fri 18 May 2018, 17:59

Cool! New world!

Nice map style, by the way, and good orientation information. I think I speak for many who welcome you here and hope to hear more about the AOPA! For example, what makes it aggressively optimistic, what kind of Pockyclypse, etc?
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by tinzin » Fri 18 May 2018, 18:13

elemtilas wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 17:59
what makes it aggressively optimistic, what kind of Pockyclypse, etc?
Well mainly it's optimistic because the way civilization redevelops is relatively idealistic, at least by our standards.
As for the exact nature of the calamity that brought about the blight, i'd consider it kind of a spoiler, so i'm gonna hold off from specifying much for now.
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by sangi39 » Fri 18 May 2018, 18:30

I only have one real question at the moment, concerning the geography, but the Greenblight river and the other river with its source on Mt. Green both travel southwards through the Blight, which you've described as ashen with a toxic atmosphere. Does the Blight affect the water of these two rivers at all?
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26

OK, first things first, and I'm going to put this in bold capitals not because I'm shouting at you but because it's something everything should remember at all times, so it's worth emphasising:

RIVERS DO NOT WORK LIKE THAT.

You've fallen into... well, it doesn't have a name, but let's call it "fantasy river disorder". Nobody knows why it is, but almost everyone who first comes to draw a map of a fantasy world gets the rivers completely wrong, and in the same way each time.

Let's take the rivers one by one:
- the big 'Greenblight' river is the most problematic, because it violates the fundamental law of rivers: rivers do not divide. Rivers join together, but they do not split apart. They only split apart when they are travelling slowly over very flat land - mostly only in deltas, and sometimes on a smaller scale in meandering river valleys. When they do split like that, they split A LOT, so you get complex 'braiding' of channels, and the splits are very temporary, with the channels moving over the course of years and decades. What they don't do is branch neatly in two, and what they never do is branch when they're fast-flowing big rivers far from the sea (ok, occasionally there's a hard-to-erode rock that turns into a little eyot in the middle of the river, but...).
Your Greenblight comes down from a mountain and instantly splits in two - it can't do that. The long branch then travels a long way, then splits in two again, then again, then again. Maybe you could get away with the final split, saying that actually that's an island in an ocean estuary, and not a branch in the river. But the other splits are impossible.

Why can't rivers branch? Basically, because water finds the fastest route to the sea. If you give water two routes to the sea, it'll all travel down the faster route (except in floods, and even then enough floods will carve a new single route over time). Given that the sea is approximately the same level everywhere, and the start point is obviously at the same level as itself, "the quickest route" just equates to "the shortest route" (although technically "the quickest route" actually means "the steepest route"). Water will only travel down two routes if they're exactly the same length, and hence exactly the same gradient. In practice, the odds against this happening are astronomical. So what would actually happen is that once the Greenblight forms its short route to the sea in that great bay, all the water will pass that way, and none will pass through the longer route.

[Exactly the same is true of electicity - lightning, for instance, finds the route of least resistence to the ground, and circuits are 'earthed' (given an easy route to the ground) so that surges do not pass through other routes, like through people.]


- the big river travelling south from Mt Green. This is not impossible, but it looks very unlikely, for two reasons.
First, lakes. That river is filled with lakes - it looks almost to be one big lake. That doesn't happen. Lakes form when water can enter more quickly than it can leave, so they're associated with areas of slow water movement - either flat floodplains near coasts (when they're common but few) or rugged mountain areas (or flat, post-glacial areas where you get countless small lakes because the glaciers have recently screwed up the topography and it hasn't sorted itself out yet). Lakes are normally near the head of rivers, not along their length. If there are large lakes along the length*, then they must occupy their own basins, which means they're unlikely to be that sort of long, sinuous shape.

Second, the way topography usually works is that if you stand at the mouth of a river, it's uphill in all directions - in other words, the land is draped over the mountains. But your big river seems to have several rivers that join 'in the wrong direction' - traveling 'uphill' before joining the river. That means that in many places it must be lower inland and higher nearer the coast, which is possible, but rare.

Third, that solo lake seems to empty into the river by travelling INTO THE MOUNTAINS to join the river. That can happen but it's really, really rare! Instead, that lake would simply empty into the bay that's so close by.


- this happens again with the river north of 'blight's edge mountain': the river crosses a mountain range to get to the sea. This is less impossible, because that lake is at least inland (there's no very easy way to get to the sea). But even so, rivers almost never cross mountain ranges. The only time that happens is when a very young mountain range has risen up 'around' an old, very big river, and the river has simply held its level as the land around rises up - this happens a few times near the Himalaya. It used to happen with the Amazon, which flowed from east to west, and for a while flowed through the Andes - but as the Andes continued to rise, eventually the Amazon reversed its course to its current west-to-east alignment.


- the river in the southwest: very unlikely. Again, water finds the quickest way to the sea. Therefore, it only rarely travels parallel to the sea for any length of time - you're basically saying there's a big range of hills between the river and the sea - really tall ones, because otherwise the river would indeed cut through it. That's unusual (though see California for an example). We've covered how its early branch is impossible - if the water can get out that quickly, it won't go the long way around. It then branches again to form 'red lake' and its multiple routes to the sea.




Now, I don't expect everyone to make their worlds fully in accordance with climatological and tectonic and hydrological models. But these are really obvious errors to anyone who's seen how rivers work in the real world, so a little revision would make the map a lot more believable.


[Of course, then there are other questions like 'how can it be desert at almost the same latitude as your big green area, given that it's closer to the sea', and 'how can there be a green area inland of the desert? where does that water come from?', but those are easier to handwave.]


----

Since it's fallen to me to be pedantic, I'd also comment:

- it's confusing to use a peck (normally a measurement of volume) as a measurement of distance. Why not use a made-up word instead, to avoid those connotations? Or, indeed, why not use something like 'mile' or 'league', which are recognisably distance terms, but the length of which has varied wildly? Your 'peck' could specifically be re-described as a quarter-league, which already has a great deal of ambiguity in it, while retaining units people recognise at least the name and concept of.

[a league is traditionally the distance walked in one hour. but of course, that varies - who's walking? what are they carrying? Your league could be the distance walked by a trained scout in an hour, and could be four miles, or it could be the distance walked by a farmer carrying a bushel of firewood, and be two miles. Or anything in between.]

- the fewer big 'powers', the more war there'll be - local wars are bloodier and more frequent than world wars. And note that we didn't have 'global wars' until pretty much the last 100 years, so you could easily be describing the middle ages there.

- a world without any major powers probably has no major settlements. Remember, outside of empires and industrialism, most human settlements are tiny - rather than a couple of major settlements on a continent, you'd have countless small settlements all over the place.

- Your approach to races is a matter of taste, of course... but personally I find it distasteful. One the one hand, giving black people or the japanese monkey ears or cat-tails seems to be unnecessarily othering them - aren't humans distinct enough without having to overtly mark "races" with more obvious physical characteristics? In humans, race is essentially a social construct**, but if different races really do have tusks, horns, tails, etc, then you seem to be reinforcing racialist conceptions. On the other hand, what's wrong with fantasy races from the point of view of diversity? How does turning "elves" into "humans that look like elves" increase "diversity"? Surely it decreases diversity, by making everyone more alike?

Basically, there are two common lines of attack against the 'fantasy race' idea. One is that by making other races into other species, fantasy races excessively alienise the other - pretending that different races are fundamentally different when in reality they're not. The other is almost the direct opposite: that by making these theoretically alien races into thinly disguised humans, fantasy races narrow the scope of diversity and pass up the opportunity, unique to the genre, to encourage reader to empathise with the genuinely alien. But your approach seems to exacerbate BOTH problems at once!



ANYWAY. Please don't take this as rubbishing your suggestions. Please take it just as constructive criticism enjoining further research (on issues like rivers) or further consideration (on issues like race).



*the only really notable example of this is the Great Lakes
**skin tone is of course a physical feature. However, as well as being non-binary, skin tone is actually, genetically, an extremely superficial marker - it is a very inaccurate indicator of ancestry. [many white Americans in the South, for instance, will be more genetically related to African slaves than many black Americans are]
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by tinzin » Fri 18 May 2018, 23:08

Okay Salmoneus lemme just address your thoughts real quick. ((reply to sangi's question at the end))
Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26
RIVERS DO NOT WORK LIKE THAT.
While i appreciate the suggestions here i unfortunately can't do anything about the rivers at this point; modifying them would require redoing the entire map, and i unfortunately don't think i could effectively recreate the process i used to make it in the first place. If i ever end up needing another, completely redone map, i'll consider reworking the rivers, keeping your advice in mind.

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26
it's confusing to use a peck (normally a measurement of volume) as a measurement of distance.
honestly i had to look up whether a "peck" meant anything already. The unit-of-volume usage is relatively archaic, and i don't think there's really any way to confuse the scale of a map with volume, so it might just be you that's worried about that. *shrug*

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26
the fewer big 'powers', the more war there'll be - local wars are bloodier and more frequent than world wars. And note that we didn't have 'global wars' until pretty much the last 100 years, so you could easily be describing the middle ages there.
Not necessarily! I have some ideas for how this world would differ on that. Full-on local wars require a certain mindset in addition to particular reasons for conflict, and again, the vast majority of the world happens to have a firmly anti-imperialist, anti-"conquering" mindset. Settlements generally want to live in peace with each other whenever possible.

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26
a world without any major powers probably has no major settlements. Remember, outside of empires and industrialism, most human settlements are tiny - rather than a couple of major settlements on a continent, you'd have countless small settlements all over the place.
I may have worded that bit badly; the stars are referring to areas where there are more settlements, not necessarily specific really big ones. There are plenty of settlements besides those specific points, and they aren't hugely more dense, just notably so.

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26
Your approach to races is a matter of taste, of course... but personally I find it distasteful. One the one hand, giving black people or the japanese monkey ears or cat-tails seems to be unnecessarily othering them - aren't humans distinct enough without having to overtly mark "races" with more obvious physical characteristics? In humans, race is essentially a social construct**, but if different races really do have tusks, horns, tails, etc, then you seem to be reinforcing racialist conceptions. On the other hand, what's wrong with fantasy races from the point of view of diversity? How does turning "elves" into "humans that look like elves" increase "diversity"? Surely it decreases diversity, by making everyone more alike?

Basically, there are two common lines of attack against the 'fantasy race' idea. One is that by making other races into other species, fantasy races excessively alienise the other - pretending that different races are fundamentally different when in reality they're not. The other is almost the direct opposite: that by making these theoretically alien races into thinly disguised humans, fantasy races narrow the scope of diversity and pass up the opportunity, unique to the genre, to encourage reader to empathise with the genuinely alien. But your approach seems to exacerbate BOTH problems at once!
I feel like i may have made the race thing a bit unclear. The fantasy aspects like pointy ears and such are genetic traits that are largely independent. People of any given skin tone or ancestry aren't more or less likely to have a given set of ears in this case. I'm including these features to give a bit more flavor to humanity as a whole, i suppose. Also i don't really want to make race a source of conflict in this world, that's part of the idealistic aspect. The idea is simply to give people of color more representation, since most fantasy fiction seems to make people appear predominantly white to a rather absurd degree. Honestly i don't feel like i can speak much on racial issues, being white myself, so i'm opting more to make my character cast diverse (and like actually diverse, not "only half of them are white" "diverse"). If i do end up making any sort of comment on such issues it won't be here, and i certainly don't want to make anything an allegory of it, as that has its own minefield of problems.

Anyway, advice appreciated, sorry i can't do much about it lmao




Anaad addressing the question from sangi:
sangi39 wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 18:30
I only have one real question at the moment, concerning the geography, but the Greenblight river and the other river with its source on Mt. Green both travel southwards through the Blight, which you've described as ashen with a toxic atmosphere. Does the Blight affect the water of these two rivers at all?
The toxic air doesn't affect the water to any particular degree, mostly because it's of a density that lets it float just a bit above ground level near that particular river. If you keep your head down and breathe very carefully you could possibly survive a ride from Mt. Green down through to Greenblight on the river.
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by elemtilas » Sat 19 May 2018, 00:49

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 18 May 2018, 22:26
OK, first things first, and I'm going to put this in bold capitals not because I'm shouting at you but because it's something everything should remember at all times, so it's worth emphasising:

RIVERS DO NOT WORK LIKE THAT.
It's a FANTASY WORLD.

Rivers can work however the geopoet wishes them to work.

Good thing to remember at all times.
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by Nachtuil » Sat 19 May 2018, 13:17

The rivers instantly jumped out at me too. It is easiest to think of rivers as trees in how they branch. You don't get trees with multiple trunks. There is the matter of deltas but those tend to be very confined relatively speaking. I'd buy that split directly around that green bay settlement for instance. Lots of people make this error so don't feel bad. The next map, as you say.

I hope to see further development of your world. Do you plan to do some conlangs for this world?
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by elemtilas » Sat 19 May 2018, 23:14

Then, there's the Great Banyan.

At any rate, I think most of the river "issues" in your map can be pretty easily explained and you won't have to entirely rework the map or discombobulate your world. Rivers dó bifurcate, and there are plenty of examples here on Earth. There is one the USA that divides, one half flowing to the Pacific and one half flowing ultimately to the Atlantic via the Gulf of Mexico. There are plenty of examples on other continents as well.

The Greenblight River, obviously, has two bifurcations that can't just be handwaved away. Two bifurcations might be stretching things a little, but like I said before: this is a fantasy world (by your own admission). In fantasy, unless it is your goal for the world to be entirely based on realism, you get to do things that don't follow the norms of known reality and may spook or irritate those who insist that you keep it real. (And rivers bifurcating seems to be the singular most irritating thing geopoets do that gets complained about on e.g. Reddit or Stack Exchange or other worldbuilding forums.) Down in the Greenblight, you've got a healthy delta system (in the vicinity of Green Bay), so I don't count that as bifurcation.

If this were my map, I'd leave the two distributaries alone and damn the critics.

It looks like Mount Green is the source of three rivers, the Greenblight, the river that flows south towards the Cold Desert and the river that flows north into an outletless basin west of the Angel Mountains. Rivers do flow into blind basins: but be aware, there has to be sufficient evaporation to counter the inflow of water. Otherwise, the lowest point of that lake's shoreline wìll overflow and form an outlet river.

That river to the south has things that look deceptively like bifurcations, but I think can easily be explained as ordinary, if slightly ambiguous appearing tributaries. I might conclude that the little river flowing the lake to the south of Mt. Green is simply flowing through a valley with lines of N-S hills on either side before it simply meets up with the main river. A bit lower down in western Blight Valley, you've got an ordinary tributary; and below that the river broadens into a lake with a tiny tributary to the east. Down at the end, there is a delta. No issues there, and all apparent issues can be easily explained.

The Red River down in the southeast appears to be the most problematic. There is a bifurcation in the north, just south of Blights Edge Mountain. Okay, but that's a thing. That strange bifurcation near Red Lake, along with another bifurcation and a debifurcation is indeed problematic. Of course, this is not a map based on satellite imagery, so it's kind of hard to tell what might be going on. This is how I'd explain it, allowing you to keep the map as is: I would interpret the piece of land with the Red Starred City as a (large) island within Red Lake. This means that the Red River's "second bifurcation" really isn't. It's just where the river broadens out into the waters of the lake. This would also mean that the reconvergence / debifurcation below Red Star City is not. That is simply where the waters of the lake constrict and flow out through their natural exit point. That leaves the Southern Gulf outlet as an oddity.

But again, Nature shows us the way! Bifurcation lakes are also a thing! (The Great Lakes, once upon a time, had two outlets, for example.)

Another thing to consider: perhaps several (if not all) of these bifurcations are not even rivers at all! They could be remnants of ancient canal systems. Particularly the one up by Gold Star City on the Greenblight. There could indeed have been a natural bifurcation that was improved for shipping, or a canal that was built and has simply become a naturalised river distributary since the great Calamity. The Red Lake bifurcation would also I think be a good place for a canal: any Red Lake trade going up along the east coast would not have to travel around the cape.

Just some food for thought!
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by Axiem » Sun 20 May 2018, 04:37

elemtilas wrote:
Sat 19 May 2018, 23:14
There is one the USA that divides, one half flowing to the Pacific and one half flowing ultimately to the Atlantic via the Gulf of Mexico.
...which one is that, again?
Conworld: Mto
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by elemtilas » Sun 20 May 2018, 05:07

Axiem wrote:
Sun 20 May 2018, 04:37
elemtilas wrote:
Sat 19 May 2018, 23:14
There is one the USA that divides, one half flowing to the Pacific and one half flowing ultimately to the Atlantic via the Gulf of Mexico.
...which one is that, again?
Check out Two Ocean Pass in Wyoming.

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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by svld » Wed 23 May 2018, 08:54

elemtilas wrote:
Sat 19 May 2018, 00:49
It's a FANTASY WORLD.

Rivers can work however the geopoet wishes them to work.

Good thing to remember at all times.
I think the rivers are not "fantastic" enough to get away from being judged by real world standard.
Maybe pouring them into the sky instead of the sea will do.
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by tinzin » Tue 12 Jun 2018, 13:49

Lol could y'all not argue over the rivers please. I've said my say on it already
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by Isfendil » Tue 12 Jun 2018, 22:35

I was excited about this just from the title and you all ruined it with your buggering Ecclesiastical Council on rivers. We don't know anything about this world and you're are arguing about running water. Seriously just quiet down and let the author talk.
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 12 Jun 2018, 23:35

For me it’s not ruined. But I do want to read more of the author’s words!
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Re: Tukiri: The Aggressively Optimistic Post-Apocalypse

Post by elemtilas » Wed 13 Jun 2018, 00:56

eldin raigmore wrote:
Tue 12 Jun 2018, 23:35
For me it’s not ruined. But I do want to read more of the author’s words!
When I saw that tinzin had replied, I was rather hoping to find exactly this, more about the world itself!

I was rather disappointed to discover that the month-out-of-date "ecclesiastical council", which tinzin himself participated in!, was dredged up from its swampy grave instead. Sleeping dogs, and so forth.

[:'(]
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