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.
Warning: Long post.
(The setting for Carrone and Deline, Chased in the Bear Empire)
4. What’s its history? (How did it come to be?)
The legend most often told about the land was that the Bear grew tired of swimming.
That is: There had been a land far to the south, but the Bear was too warm all the time, and the Fox found that its fur was the wrong color all the time. The Cat was being hunted by the ones that did not care about its mighty roar, and it wanted more trees, and the Lynx wanted some place where it did not get mud in its toes and sticky sap in its fur.
So they all worked together, and they climbed onto the Bear, who was the largest of them, and they swam and swam and swam.
And when the Bear was tired of swimming, she curled up in a shallow place in the water, and the others curled up around her flanks, and there, the new land formed, both of and for the creatures who had swum so far.
That’s just one telling.
There were several tribes of people who each followed an Animal deity, and that animal’s magic and power. And after a time, the Bear people decided that they should be in charge of everything, and started conquering.
It is said that they stopped for five reasons: There was nothing to the north but ice. To the west were the mountains, and the Bear lumbers too much to cross them easily. To the east was the ocean, and the Bear did not want to make another mighty swim. And to the south was a river blessed by one who had been here before, and they did not wish to dishonor her by fouling it.
And while these things had slowed the Bear down, the other groups had quietly changed their names, and in some cases the deity they gave honor to, so as to confuse the Bear, who was hunting down and consuming only the other animal-totems.
Or so it has been said.
The Bear Empire has lived as it is for about four centuries, and there is a lot that is lost in allegation and history. Who you ask might change an answer, when you’re going back that far.
What is known is that there were several Kingdoms with animal deities, and now there is the Bear, and that the Bear did unabashedly conquer and conquer… and then stop.
Some whisper that a Bear the size of an empire simply has a very long hibernation period, but within the nation, they say simply “this is the size of the Bear” and believe that that means everything that it needs to.
5. What sorts of civilizations and architecture fill your world?
Ooh, goody! *rubs hands together*
All right, we’ve already noted the Bear, the Deklegion, the Halorians, and the Carrup… Car… Don’t know which part of that is the nation and which part is the people.
With the exception of the Bear, these nations are a little bit bigger than your average Western European nation. They vary in specialties, available technology and magic, and in culture.
The Bear Empire, especially the Heart of the Bear, that valley and the surrounding three mountains that make up the capital and the believed-home of the Bear Nation, like pointy architecture. Everything has roofs that reach up for the sky in a sort of absurd height. They also build in what they call “Winter-Walls” and “Summer walls”; the winter walls are exterior and made largely of doors, so that when opened in “summer” (the slightly warmer season” breezes are aimed properly into the house. There is a corridor, just wide enough for someone to walk through, between these sets of walls in many cases, although in some it is filled with straw or wood or other such things.
As you move south and towards the mountains, you also get a great deal of in-ground structures, what we would call “earth-sheltered.” Often this takes the form of a dwelling built in a declivity between two slopes, with the always-pointed roof being one of the only parts visible. That roof, too, might be covered with moss, so that you end up with just a very pointy-looking hill.
Moving towards the ocean and also southward, the stone that is the predominant building material in the far north is replaced by wood. You still end up with tall, pointy structures, but they are brown instead of grey, and sometimes built, in dryer areas, of stacked wood covered in a hardened mud mix for the first floor, before going on to boards above that.
The exception to this is temples.
Those are generally built in a round shape referred to as the “sleeping bear”, often in a stack of 2-5 rounds, all of them with an opening in one section. You enter the Bear through the mouth and exit it the same way.
The Union of Space
(an entirely new setting (probably))
4. What’s its history? (How did it come to be?)
The United Space of 2407 has been a federated nation for almost 300 years. Breakthroughs in the mid-to-late 21st century in medicine and technology heralded and were heralded by a series of social changes in which humans, shaken up by a series of catastrophes, became both more interested in worlds beyond earth and, to put it very simplistically, became better people (on average).
The colonies were formed as part of a wave of colonization in the early 2300s and late 2200s after a breakthrough in space travel made other M-class planets not a matter of generations of travel but of months or a couple years.
Several attempts were taken at colonization, but the first ones lacked any rigorous protocols. Thus, the University created a study, gained funding, and colonized ten M-class planets with 1000 people each.
At about the same time, several corporations were hoping to lay claim to the vast untapped wealth of these planets — and to the research possibilities held therein. They, too, populated their own colonies, not collaborating with the University in all cases.
Scribe is a beautiful and rich planet; it is unsurprising that two groups wanted it. While technically the University group made landfall first, it’s been eighty years, and they landed within a couple planetary months of each other.
5. What sorts of civilizations and architecture fill your world?
Although United Space as a whole is one federated government (simplified overarching laws, a defense military, infrastructure, a basic support system,simplified taxes, and a tricameral system of democracy), there have been several groups which have settled different planets within “easy” reach with the new star drive.
The current legal system of the United Space declares that each planet must obey a certain set of laws and may otherwise be self-contained until they reach the point where they wish to trade with the rest of United Space.
The University colony’s core is built of 3d-printed/”replicated” buildings that all look very similar: nine? blocks of ten houses each are built with interspersed sales buildings, parks, and two stretches of farmland; some farmland still surrounds this city core.
These core buildings are quadplexes; each quad is a 4-bedroom house designed to hold at least 4 adults and possibly 2 children each, so that each quadplex originally held 8 to 16 people.
These houses look very square and tall, with hip roofs and very thick windows.
Outside of that core section, the oldest houses look very similar. Most of those are built in a duplex style, often with a small courtyard between two duplexes. Those too are 3D printed, made of a strong concrete-like substance, and like the quadplexes, they have very thick walls, very thick windows, and are three stories and a shallow attic tall. They all have deep basements, and solar panels provide electricity inside as well as water heating and some house heating/cooling.
Many of the buildings throughout the original colony and both sub-colonies have the same basic look: The winters are cold here, the summers warm, and thick walls help moderate heat changes. The replicator is available and still functions (it was built to function for 150 years and makes its own replacement parts), and so people still build at least the core of their homes and businesses that way.
However, newer homes often incorporate more hand-crafted materials; while an original house might have hand-carved or at least individually 3D-printed and hand-designed trim around the windows and doors, newer homes go for elaborate trim, wooden and stone decorations, reed tapestries on the outside, and so on.
Cal Questions, Bear Empire
4- What kind of day and seasonal cycles do people who live there experience?
The Bear Empire has long days in the summer and long nights in the winter, culminating, in the capital, with the Day of the Bear in the summer (24 hours of sun) and the Night of the Howl in the winter (24 hours of darkness).
Their winter is long (in terms of Earth Months, it would be from late September through early June) and in the middle of it is quite cold. Their summer is brief and pleasant.
Their growing season, thus, is very short. They grow a great deal of root vegetables, with oats being their primary cereal grain.
5 — what is the weather like? Is it natural, artificial, or a combination?
The Bear Empire has some very agressive weather. Blizzards are common in the winter season, sometimes coming super early or rather later in what would be called “winter” by more southern nations.
In addition, storms — sleet, thunderstorms, freezing rain — they are all common, especially in the two months of “spring.” Those storms can actually be more dangerous than the blizzards. Winter gets cold, yes, but spring will get you freezing and soaked.
Most of the weather is natural. There are a few corners of the Empire where one of two things will contribute to kinder weather over, for instance, farmland or a particular festival or ceremony:
Magery can mitigate some weather, the sort of storms that come up unexpectedly. It would take five people working intently to shift a storm so that the weather might, say, rain on a field but not hail or sleet on it, or to make the weather directly over a parade be more mild.
The Blessing of the (I’m going to call them totem spirits for the moment) can sway an entire weather pattern, but this requires the concerted work of many priests of that totem spirit, or many “lay priests”.
Cal Questions, Union of Space
3- What type of climate does it have? Wet or dry, hot or cold?
Many parts of United Space have technologically-balanced
The University Colony is in a sheltered area. Its weather is more mild than the surrounding area, which tends to be cold in the winter, warm in the summer, and generally windy, whereas the University Colony does not get as hot or as cold, although when it gets wet, it really gets wet. Its snowfalls can be inches to a foot more than surrounding areas, but its days below 0F are far fewer than the surrounding areas.
The two nearby colonies are set in similar areas, protected by hills and set near wide bodies of water.
The Company Colony has weather that is neither as cold in the winter (It rarely snows, but it does get rather rainy for a couple months) nor as mild in the summer, with temperatures reaching 100F on a regular basis. It is not as sheltered as the University Colonies, and it is further from any large body of water – trying to stay away from the potential sight of the University Colony boats.
Questions? Thoughts? Tell me!