World Building June Day 6-7 – Plants, Animals, Sex, and the Economy

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  After I exhaust the answers I’ve written, I might just default to Inspector Caracal’s questions.

Starting to catch up from a long weekend of – (checks dates) a *cough* week of not posting. 

Bear Empire
(The setting for Carrone and Deline, Chased in the Bear Empire)

6. How does gender & sexuality work in your world?

I don’t know!  In re. gender roles, I believe some things are gender-specific, but I don’t know which things yet.

There MIGHT be 2 sets of gender roles within each gender (sort of like butch/femme) but I’m still chewing on that.

Marriage can either be an unequal or equal pairing, and one person can be married to: more than one person below them, up to two people equal to them, only one person above them — and generally one does not enter into a marriage of equals while pursuing a power marriage or within one.  Note: If the highest-status person is very high-status, this can lead to a many-staged marriage higher-to-lower.

(No, I haven’t quite figured out status yet, except the Emperor).  

Sex is considered in three ways: Procreative, emotional, and physical-pleasure.  The former is meant to happen only with in a marriage. The middle, it is considered rude to engage in with someone you cannot or will not marry, but is often engaged in as a prelude to marriage.  The final is … fine and acceptable, as long as it does not lead to the other two.

Marriage will involve procreation and the protection and raising of the young, but it is acceptable to take into a marriage a procreation-partner, as long as that partner is treated properly.

Sex with someone of the same sex and/or gender as you is not stigmatized, especially not pleasure-sex, and neither is marriage, especially unequal marriages, as long as, as above, procreation is taken care of within the marriage line.

7. How does the economy work? What sorts of currencies do they use?

Dekleg, the Bear Empire, Halor, & Carrup  all use a currency based on rare metals, which for purposes of translation simplicity we will call “silver” and “gold.”  They have slightly different currencies, but most border places know the exchange rates fairly well.

The Bear currency all has an interesting swirl running through it of a slightly-darker metal, which is considered by the other nations to be a manufacturing defect, but is in fact an additive of something most often simply called Bear-stone.

The exact properties of Bear-stone can be handwaved for the moment.  For this article, the important part is this: It makes the coins much more difficult to debase via clipping or sweating, and almost impossible to counterfeit.

Trade between nations occurs, but the Bear Empire is on much better terms with more distant neighbors than those close up; most of its profitable trade occurs via shipping routes, not over land.  The Empire has mutual trade taxes and tarrifs set up with all three of the other named nations , making trade sometimes expensive and sometimes prohibitive.


Cal Questions, Bear Empire


6- What kinds of wild and domesticated plants grow there? Are there many types or only a few?

Domesticated plants include: two sorts of cold-hardy cereal grains (kosa makes a sturdy bread that is rather rough; genka makes a  smoother flour but has less structure), a very cold-hardy hemplike fiber plant, a number of staples similar to the brassica family, and three very durable root vegetables which overwinter well.  There are also a couple cold-tolerant fruit trees (apple, pear) and some low-lying berry bushes (raspberry, boysenberry) that do well in the harsh climate.

(Durable and hardy are words used a lot in this section for a reason!)

In addition, food-based plants that grow wild include: onion-like things, thistles which can be used as fodder and can be, with some difficulty, eaten by humans, nut trees of several varieties, including one aptly-named bitternut which provides a great deal of nutrition and fillingness, but at the price of tasting like the pith of an orange.

There is a wild grain-like thing that can be used in a pinch but is usually used for fodder, as well; it is very labor-intensive to get the seed heads off and hulled, and easier to just let livestock eat the whole thing.

And there are vast forests in a combination of conifers and deciduous trees, including the Point Trees, which are said to reach down into the heart of the Bear and the Lynx, the Wolf and The Fox, and all those smaller spirits who once had people devoted to them.

Those trees are not quite a tree and not quite a being, usually no taller than the surrounding trees but wider, and they seem to glow.  The area around them is always warmer than the surrounding area, and generally damper and more lush with greenery as well.

7- What kind of wild and domesticated animals live there? Are there many types or only a few?

Domesticated animals include dogs, cats, domesticated foxes, cattle (bison), sheep, pigs, and horses.  

The cats come in a wider size variety than earth housecats, coming up to the size of a lynx and down to something about 4 lbs in size when fully grown.  They work as ratters, lap-warmers, hunting companions, and sometimes in battle. Dogs, on the other hand, are generally Big Dogs, Labrador retriever size and up.

People have also tamed several bird types – predators for hunting aid, long-flying birds for messages – and in a few cases have used some magery or sorcery to make the bird brighter, bigger, more durable, or stronger.

(The same is said to have been done for the dogs, who otherwise might not have been so tractable, or the  larger cat breeds).

The only badgers left are in captivity; the Badger tribe, too, has suffered a similar fate.

Wild animals are those that can sustain themselves in cold weather – elk and reindeer, boars and another member of the Suidae-like family called water-pigs, and the rhoidae, something that bears some resemblance to a moose, only sharper, spotted, and angry.  There are also rodents, mostly large ones or ones made mainly of fur, including a mouse variant known as the puff that is often trapped for its fur, albeit for rather small applications.

There is a wide diversity of animals in the Bear Empire: the wide mountain ranges and deep rivers make travel between areas rather tricky for most such creatures. In many cases five or six varieties of the same animal will exist, depending on where in the Empire they have developed.  


Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

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