Tag Archive | worldbuilding

World Building June Day 13 – A Diagram?

In the post I did yesterday, I mentioned a Jackal house, a “very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive,” in the Bear Empire, reserved for those who are taking advantage of the charity/kindness of others.

If you’ve been following on my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/aldersprig/posts?tag=boom), you may have noticed that I’ve been drawing little maps and floor plans in Excel and Paint.

So when I was like “tiny building, bare necessities….”

Of course I had to draw it.

And I might have mentioned that I’ve been taking all-day Administrative Excellence classes on Wednesdays.

This leads to a lot of doodling and drawing.

So uh.  There’s a reason I draw these things in Excel usually, and below you’ll see both versions.

A “Jackal House” in the Bear Empire, as it might look.  Fire is a required necessity for survival.  Windows are not.

As the sketch shows, a stack of firewood outside the house on the windward side provides more firewood and also insulation.  The high-pitched roofline provides protection. 



World Building June Day 13 – Money and Mooches

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

(mostly Bear Empire now, though I’ll make sure I at least post everything I wrote on the Ezra IV Colonies)

13- What type of economic structures do they follow?

As a whole, the Bear Empire works on a mostly-capitalist structure; that is, people sell goods and services for currency to buy other goods and services.

The exceptions to this are as follows:

* There are still large portions of the Empire (mind you, not lovely portions or anything, but portions) where land is free.  As long as you have four adults or more willing to agree to live there for at least five years, the local governor will build you a house and a barn and give you up to 200 acres (although in many cases measuring those acres is complicated.  Ever measure horizontal land up the side of a mountain?).

* Taxes to the Shire, the [governor-area] and the Empire cover first and primarily infrastructure, but a portion is put aside every year for the following:

– relief for areas stricken by famine or disaster (inside the borders or, to a lesser degree, outside of them)

– Aid for the poor

– basic reading, writing, and religious education for all children from weaning to prepubescence.

This last one is new and still controversial, since it did require a raise in taxes across the board.  

* Within any town or shire, if someone has come upon hard times, there is a “10% rule.”  That is, rather than tithes to the church, people put aside 10% of their goods and harvests as they can, and will give, generally, 1/3 of that to any they encounter who have come on hard times

(on the other hand, if someone is known to abuse that charity, there is a thing called the Jackal House, a very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive. If you find yourself escorted the Jackal House, you can know that you have tried the patience of a town and stretched their 10% further than they are willing to accept.

The primary manner one gets out of the Jackal House, save from moving to another town, is by performing some act of service for every member of the town. )


Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

World Building June Day 11-12 – Language, Creatures, Government

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.  

Still going on the catch-up!

11. What’s language like in your world?

The language of the Empire of the Bear is technically three related languages that have many similarities but are not always mutually comprehensible.  (And three others which are used in very small sections, one of which nobody can understand)

The language family as a whole of the five larger languages is a liquid tongue with a lot of vowels and active tongue use, a popping plosive, and tonal mood shifts and sometimes meaning shifts.  The Lynx language tends to drop initial and final consonant sounds and sometimes repeat vowels; the Fox language involves repetition and a lot more popping sounds, as well as some trills. The Cat people have a lot more trills in their language as well as a whistle-sound.  And the Elk people, only one word in twenty is recognizable between their dialect and the others. Theirs tends towards complicated vowel combinations and often seems to require hand gestures. Continue reading

World Building June Day 10 & 11 – Holidays and Governments

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.  

Still going on the catch-up!

10. What holidays & traditions are observed in your world?

Major holidays in the Bear Empire include:

* A major feast near the end of autumn

* a day called the “day of sleep” after the first major frost.  

* A spring-thaw celebration

(these three above together are referred to as the Hibernation festivals) Continue reading

World Building June Day 9 & 21 – Religions and Bear Necessities

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.  

Here’s two posts this week!

9. What are the religions and cosmology of your world?

Within the Bear Empire and in several of the nations surrounding it, the primary religion – and the one that is supported by/considered part of/supporting the state – is a totemic faith of sorts.  The nation of the Bear considered Mother Bear to be their guardsmen, protector, and guide; the Lynx people still consider Sister Lynx as theirs, and so on.

It is the belief or at least a tenet of this faith that the Bear is the ancestor of the Bear people, the Fox of the Fox people, and so on.  This sits in the realm of pre-history with the story that the totems came here because their prior land was too crowded.

I mention  Priests of Axes and temple of Axes in my story.  So, let’s see.

The options are: Axes is the name of the Bear in a certain aspect.

Axes was meant to be Axis, and it refers to the pole.

Axes are the weapons of choice of the Priesthood of the Bear, and so the casual name for them is the Priesthood of Axes.

I like that third one the best.

Cal Questions


21- What do people in the society consider basic necessities? What resources do they take for granted?

Stone.  Stone is definitely taken for granted.

Granite, even.

Stone, and wood, and water – clean water – and the very thin underlying force of magic which powers things most people don’t even think about (like the Bear-stone bracelets and other Bear-stone items).  All those things are in abundance in the Empire of the Bear. As is, ah, natural refrigeration.


Basic necessities include: Shelter-and-heat, bread-and-salt, mittens-and-boots. In some parts of the country, it is considered a grievous sin to deny anyone who asks any of these things; in others, it’s considered an equally grievous sin to ask.  In both places, if you ask and it is given, or if it is given freely without asking, a bond has been formed that neither can break.  In three seasons out of four, lack of any of them can kill you, and in the fourth, lack of the bread and salt might still kill you.

Close behind in necessity: The support of your totem.  The knowledge of your kin-group. Knowing who has your back in a fight and having at least two people who will.

This is one reason marriages are often tripartite.


Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

World Building June Day 8/18 – Running and Running Around

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.

Well, I’m still posting.  Sometimes.

8. How is your world run? Who’s in power?

The Bear Empire is, as it sounds, an Empire. It is not the largest Empire.  It’s not even the largest Empire I’ve written.

It is ruled by a Emperor or Empress, a role which is chosen from a small pool of available candidates – these include governors of areas or of subject matter (the governor of trade, of foreign relations with Dekleg, with Halor, etc), the children, spouses, and family of the last emperor, especially those who have been given a position of authority or responsibility along with their title-of-relation, and generally three people picked from the population as potential candidates, usually by those listed earlier in the list.  

The pool is chosen by the pool in a voting process which can last months.  In one situation, the pool is known to have lasted five years, during which a woman not part of the pool (the down-spouse of the former Empress’ equals-spouse) ruled the country.  A governor from the Lynx territory is credited with finally nominating her into the pool, at which point she became the first laundress to become Empress (as known, at least) and the first unanimous vote of the Imperial Conclave.

Ruling the empire is a group affair.  The Emperor has a privy council, a voting council, and a speaking council.

Cal Questions


18- What kind of transportation and communication do people have access to? What is its range and speed?

The Bear Empire is still primarily on foot- and horse-based travel.  While riding on horseback is common during the summer month, during the winter time, carriages, stagecoaches, and other such enclosed conveyances are more common.

The Empire has two competing empire-wide stagecoach companies which will take you just about anywhere in the Empire; in addition, there are several smaller companies that focus on a single area.  There are also two lines that only handle border crossings, taking either the one bridge or the most-established ferry across the wide river between Dekleg and the Empire.

When your feet/hooves are tired, river and coastal boats are common for both freight and passengers, with boats travelling the three long lakes (“the Scars”), the major and minor rivers within the nation, and the coast from the glacial wall to the northern edge of Dekleg.

The Lynx Mountains also have a series of carts, something akin to a ski lift, which lift people up a large mountain and then back down into the middle of the mountains, generally on rails and run by steam and magic.


Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

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!

World Building June Day 4-5 History and Civilization

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.

Bear Empire
(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!

World Building June Day 3: Who?

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.

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

3. Who lives in your world?


Actually, that’s a very good question.

I don’t know about non-human sentient races yet.  If they exist, they probably are either completely integrated into society or they live off in their own little corners. Continue reading

World Building June Day 2: Geography

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

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

2. What’s the Geography of your world?

The Bear Empire is mountainous, with sprawling fields.  It’s the top part of the continent – or if not, everything above it is un-livable, and it probably claims right up to the pole as a matter of course.

The mountains form a border on one side for at least one other nation.  Near the south, the borders are often more drawn on paper than in the landscape, but at least one of them is a wide river prone to seasonal flooding. Continue reading