Elf Ears mkII; LARP worldbuilding

I know, I know, It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy. I’ve done some work on my novel, and a lot of work on the history and cultures of my LARP setting. I’ve also added to the lore. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve been on vacation recently to visit family, and I went to a Renaissance festival in Florida. First time going to one. It was a lot of fun, and I met some like-minded people. I also picked up another set of elf ears, this time the long type- as in, six inches. It’s the little things that make life worth living.

As an apology for my long absence, here’s a player handout I wrote about how worship and magic works in the LARP world.

Worship and Magic in Dariad

Most folk in Dariad worship many gods; only clergy and zealots venerate one above the others. For example, a farmer could mainly revere Erisenna and Cerastia, but also pray to Tieran’i or Aelo to keep damaging storms away, Talaira to keep back disease, etc. Any mortal of any race may worship any deity, though their upbringing and morals/ethics make some matches of faith and person unlikely. The highly unusual ones are usually the result of a person searching for the right path, or one who believes a certain deity influenced an important event in their life. Though most faiths welcome any new believers, some do not (or, if they do, rarely) allow certain races, such as orcs, half-orcs, and dark elves. For the average mortal, religion is the primary worship of one deity above-even if just a little above- all others.

How They Worship

Most people embrace a primary deity, and carry some token of that god. Adventurers usually pray briefly to this deity in the morning (if they aren’t in some emergency), as well as in moments of crisis, such as healing a friend. They may offer longer, private prayers at other times- these are usually requests for protection and guidance, and deities sometimes reply with dreams or (rarely) waking visions. These are generally only a feeling of favor or disapproval.

When arriving in a village or town that has an established shrine to their patron deity, many folk attend a service or give an offering. Customarily, this is a coin offering, or something appropriate to the deity. For Cete, hunted game is a good offering, and for Agaron, spoils of defeated foes are favored gifts. Worshippers without these things typically offer information about their doings to priests, or offer to help around the temple. The services asked from them may be anything from “Help move these chairs” to “Help guard the temple tonight”.

A wanderer who stumbles upon an untended or desecrated shrine to their patron deity is expected to cleanse it and pray there or leave an offering. Those in an area with a temple generally attend services at least once every four days.

Every community has a public shrine to most deities, even if it has no temple; the lack of a particular deity in a settlement doesn’t mean that the deity is not honored in the area.

How Magical is Dariad?

Dariad is very magical, as a lot of magic (such as spells, magic items, and permanent enchantments) is always present, and thusly mages too. Everyone has heard of magic, and most city-folk see use or results of magic every day. Many common folk have seen small spells and tricks, such as in the repertoire of traveling entertainers; however, the average commoner has never had magic cast on them, or handled a magic item. Nor have most ever had anyone cast a spell for them, as magic is generally expensive.

A brief life update and some Alternate History.

So, first a brief note.

Due to my experience driving with a permit for three years, I know everything there is to know about driving… right? I certainly didn’t think so… which was good. Because I killed a street sign today.

My mom was directing me as to where exactly to turn, but since neither of us was sure which road that happened to be, I got the message a little late and murdered the stop sign with my car. It put up a good fight, though- it ripped off my driver’s side mirror and shattered the driver’s side window. Also, you can now see the inside door handle from the outside. My knowledge of automotives may be limited, but I’m pretty sure that’s a bad thing.

Anyway, I’m fine, my mom’s fine, my car is… doing okay. I’ll need to vacuum out all the glass tomorrow…

And now, for a bit of random Alternate History that’s been trying to pound its’ way out of my head for a few weeks.

Point in time: the 1980s.

1806: Thomas Wedgewood creates the world’s first photograph.
1843: Scottish mechanic Alexander Bain creates the Fax Machine (predating the bicycle, telegraph, internal combustion engine, and the potato famine, among other things).
1983. Viewtron is created by Norman Morrison in Florida. Later renamed the ‘World Wide Web’.

Dueling sticks around until about the 19th century, but the Victorian Era’s ‘Gentelman’s Code’ of sorts keeps It going. However, it takes on a small connotation: In most duels, your honor is diminished if you actually kill the guy to win. So duels to first blood are more common than death duels. Dueling is identified with fencing throughout the 20th century.
In fact, having a duel aboard an airship placed into an Urban Fantasy novel being written by an inhabitant of this Alternate Timeline (ATL) would be pretty much the same as putting in a paintball battle, tennis match, or political debate- not very jarring.

Also, the Hindenburg Disaster never happened, and gas production stabilized after WWI

Notes of Cliff
So: Due to the earlier photography, we’ve pictures of the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 (among other things). We’ve fax machines and never had a telegraph. We’ve printers, we’ve scanners, and we’ve the internet.
We also have zeppelins. And dueling. And motorcycles.

Culture and Fashion
When invited out to a social event, one often brings several changes of clothes, and they often change part or all of an outfit during the evening.
Eclectic outfits are even more popular- Cyndi Lauper? Pssssh. Too mundane. Add some bright dye and some hair gel; a pair of mechanics’ goggles; a leather jacket or crop top for guys and some rolled up jeans, or really loose high-waisted pants and pretty much any shirt for girls; you’re golden.
So, in other words, while this may or may not happen in this ATL… picture a charity fundraiser. Cindi Lauper and Michael Jackson are dueling for fun and charity on a zeppelin. MJ is wearing goggles on his forehead, and CL has bright blue hair with green highlights. Paul McCartney is singing in the background, and at least twelve crowd-members are videotaping it so they can upload the cassette to the Web.

Archaeofuture

So, one of my current projects is a story set fifty million years from now, after the pretty-much-total extinction of humanity. I’ve also got two stories set later- one 200 years after, one 1200 years after. Bonus points if you can figure out the original words to this ‘ancient chant’:

So shisiz etale asar castuays,
Shere earsor alongong time.
Shale aph tmake she bes tus shinks,
It sona pill clime.

Zephyrst madanis Skipper u
Wildu sherseri best,
Tmake sheu sherscoms terble
Inshirtro picai lanest.

Nophone, nolites, nomoderkar,
Nodis inkleukh zhury
Ly Crobinson Caruso
Itsprim idise azkanbi.

Sojone usere ichwi kmyphrens,
Yoreshur toket asmile,
Fromses enstran dedcas taways
Hiron killkan zisle!

Seriously, if I hadn’t (re)written it I might not understand it. Hint: It’s a theme song from an old TV show.

Creating Myths

Huh. Looks like I’m back. I’m writing about myth and legend today.

Myths are an integral part of a culture. It doesn’t work to have, say, a fantasy novel, or a book set in the Palaeolithic, where the characters do not worship. One or two characters might deny the existence of any deities, but the culture as a whole should not.

A website I’ve found useful, both in my study of extant myths and my creation of mythology for my books, is Encyclopedia Mythica, found here: http://pantheon.org/

Also, think about your myths as you design them. It doesn’t do to have your patriarchal culture live in a desert, walled in by mountains, and revere a goddess of the sea. Make sure your pantheon makes sense.

Enjoy.

Musings of a wandering mind.

As far as worldbuilding goes- it’s important to remember that language is an outgrowth of culture, which is affected by setting. In other words, cultures, and thus languages, evolve differently depending on geography and external influences.

Languages are coherent. It makes no sense to have the word for ‘bread’ sound like ‘Xwixhtltl’ if your word for ‘city’ sounds like ‘Enirtheu’, unless your culture has been overwhelmed by invaders with extremely different language patterns.

Things to consider.