forum Roleplay Worldbuilding (Drifting In the Dead Expanses universe)
Started by @Null-Gravity language

people_alt 79 followers

@Null-Gravity language

Okay. So to motivate myself to properly worldbuild and to get feedback on ideas, I have decided to do all worldbuilding in here. All lore, technology, races and other such things will be posted here. I'll tag my roleplay partner for the actual thing here so they can keep track of what new information is here.


With that being done, the first thing I'm going to do is figure out the name of the first city, the name of the nation the city is in, the name of the whole continent and lastly, the planet's name.

I'm wanting the city to first of all be in a dry shrublands type climate, very rocky with some vegetation scattered around. Huge mountains loom in the (not so distant) distance, and the further you get from them, the more the dry shrublands turn to desert. Of course, the entire ecosystem needs to be worked on but for now, let's keep the general climate of the area around the first city in mind. And keeping in mind this is meant to be a sci-fi roleplay, what's the level of technological advancement here? What secret tech does the nation have? What of it does the first city utilize? Why did the first city the dead space recue have to be this one in particular and not the capital? Or maybe this city is the capital. Why the capital? Is it because it's heavily guarded by sand and heat? Or is it due to the nefarious motives of the ruling class? Maybe the ruling class has no nefarious motives and wants to meet the rescued drifter out of sheer curiosity?

Secondly, is the rest of the nation over the mountains or further into the desert?

I want the nation to be a semi-decent size, more of a small kingdom than any grand empire or conquering force in the grand scheme of things; meaning, they'll mostly be located further into the dry climate of their side of the mountains, so their main form of defense will of course be the harsh climate itself rather than any large, grand army. Keeping that in mind as well, they do have a decent military force, for a medium sized kingdom - about 2-3,000 people ready for war at any point, with most citizens being trained in at least unarmed combat to be able to defend against raiders and bandits. In short, armed enough to defend from small-scale invasions, but not from large scale sieges and attacks.

Third, is it a border city? Meaning, is it the last true city before the mountains?

I want to say no, but I haven't decided. Maybe the nation controls the largest pass through the mountains, having cleaved stone from stone to shape a city inside the mountains. That sounds like a decent idea, so maybe I'll say they stretch a bit past the mountains, but not by much. Anyways, is this city their main source of power? Is this why nobody attacks, is because they control a major trade route or passage to a major trade center? Who knows, maybe. I haven't decided yet. Maybe the city is a stand-by point for troops or a rest stop for caravans travelling from the desert? Is it built or defense, to be a bastion for refugees fleeing wars elsewhere? Is it built in tiers to make sieging the city difficult for invaders? Is it partly underground?

Fourth, what is the underground like? Are there vast catacombs, sewers and caves long forgotten deep beneath the rocks, from before the city was built here? If so, did they settle here because of these ruins or settle here unknowing of the history beneath their feet? Maybe they built these catacombs and sewers and they were never utilized? If so, why were they never used? Predation upon miners? Gas pockets that cause death or sickness? Maybe a shortage of men to work? If there was a shortage of workers, is it still happening? That brings us to point five.

Fifth: economy. What makes the nation notable? What do they have to offer to the world at large? Spices, perhaps? Maybe, but that's overdone. Maybe they provide good slaves? If they do provide slaves, what does the slave trade look like? If they don't, maybe they have a large red light district in a major city? What would that look like for the rest of the world? If they don't, maybe they provide unusual tasting beers and spirits, such as wine distilled from elder sandworm urine?

Speaking of sandworms, what is the ecosystem like? What animals is the nation notable or notorious for having? Sandworms are overdone and usually not done well, so maybe something different - what about a sandshark? Maybe creatures similar to those in the ocean yet so inherently different live in the area spanned by the nation. Since oceans and deserts are such different places it would be an interesting way of making the area potentially dangerous and/or fun. Underground anglerfish, perhaps? Maybe there are different species of sandshark; maybe one similar in biology (at least on the outside) to a Great White here on Earth? Would anything even look the same as it would here in the first place? If not, what would they look like and how could we explain the differences?

Seventh. Why in the desert? What made this spot so important to them? Maybe an abundance of ores and minerals? Maybe at first it wasn't so inhospitable. Maybe the settlers made the desert the way it is to discourage future nations from attacking. If so, how? How long did it take and how did they do it? If not, it's a temporary plot hole until I can figure it out.

Lastly, eighth. What language is spoken? Is a different one spoke over the mountains or further into the desert? Regional dialects, perhaps? If so, that greatly changes how I might name everything. Maybe they have a different name for the planet, maybe they have a translation for it - either way, the language is a real barrier I need to overcome.

All in all, this kinda proved to be useless in determining much of anything. Mostly just things to consider. Possibly in the next post I'll start making a language but for now, this is all I have.

@Null-Gravity language

One other thing I feel may be important is that while M's character may be human or have human genetics mixed with other stuff, it's entirely possible for the planet's inhabitants to look similar to or entirely different from Earth-born humans, meaning that connection on a deep level may prove difficult. Considering that, I've opted for the in between: the inhabitants of the planet looking human (or human-ish) while simultaneously being at once entirely different. On top of that, my character won't have any connection to Earth beyond M's character, so considering all of this at once, my final decision is this: random bullshit, go. I know it's not a viable strategy in the long run but it's all I've got as a basis for now. I'll likely build the character from the bottom up in here while making everything else, meaning a lot of information may get retconned along the way, altered or changed to fit a certain theme, or just outright ignored/removed entirely. In each case I'll go back and edit each post accordingly, providing both the original and the new so that it's easier for me to keep track of.

@Null-Gravity language

Also, don't know how I'm going to do this but I'm hoping to learn to draw so I can finally bring my creature ideas to fruition. Because for the love of god, I have so many. So. Many.

@Null-Gravity language

Anyways, back on topic.

For the language thing, I'm thinking of a basic 30 letter alphabet with specialized letters compromising the extra 5 letters not in the standard English alphabet. I don't know how I'd go about making the symbols for each - I'll learn how eventually - but for now I think the basic alphabet (spelled phonetically, and minus special letters) is what I'll work on while I wait for ideas to flow in from the Great Beyond.

@Null-Gravity language

Okay, so I'm back.

First things first, the name of the main race on the planet is "Elia," (ee-LIE-ah) meaning "born of dust" in the language spoken by our lovely desert people, whose language I have decided is similar to Portuguese. For the record, I don't know Portuguese. I will, however, look it up. Because Google. Yay.

Anyways, the Elia are the human stand-ins for our world, having driven out many other sentient species with extreme prejudice. The two other species they left we shall get to later, but for now, we'll focus on the different types of Elia.

We have Dryland Elia (which is what our wonderful desert people are; dark skin and brightly colored hair, generally have red/pink/purple eyes), Hinterland Elia (Elia who hail from the unexplored region of the planet by the other Elia; wide variety of skin tones, from dark to light, with earth toned hair and deep blue eyes), Marshland/Wetland Elia (hailing from the swamps, bogs and marshes of the planet; pale skin and dark hair, eyes brown, green and hazel), Arctic/Tundra Elia (hailing, of course, from the tundra and arctic regions; lightest skin tones of all the Elia, pure white to platinum blond hair, ice blue, light grey, white eyes), Cavern Elia (a little known subspecies who hide within the caverns of the earth; skin ranges from charcoal grey to fungus white, eyes generally purple or green with some rare cases having red eyes; hair is almost always white, nearly colorless), Highland Elia (in mountainous regions and hills; second most average looking Elia, second closest in appearance to Terrans) and Plains Elia (nomadic, hailing from the meadows and plains of the world; the closest in appearance to Terrans, especially those from the American Midwest). Elia will always have some animalistic features as well. Dryland Elia will have armadillo-like plates on their bodies, starting at the base of the neck and ending just above the end of their tailbones, with similar plates across their chests, shoulders, forearms and calves, plus rabbit-like ears to help with heat regulation. Hinterland Elia have combinations of characteristics of other types of Elia, leading many to believe them to be descended from "taboo" unions between two separate subspecies of Elia. Marshland Elia have spade-like hands and sleek fur across their bodies, useful for digging and swimming. Arctic/Tundra Elia have thick fur all across their bodies for insulation against the cold. Cavern Elia likely have the strangest adaptations: many have fungus-like growths on their bodies, with a select few having snake-like scales and fangs, likely due to their overarching nature as scavengers, eaters of things best left to vultures and fungus. Highland Elia have a similar structure to their Arctic cousins, though with less dense fur; otherwise, they look pretty human. The Plains Elia literally just look like humans. Sorry.

We have that out of the way now.

Second thing to note is that my character will not be Elia, instead being an extraterrestrial being known as the "Pholine," (foe-LEE-nae) a race somewhere in between the Elia of the roleplay's setting and the Terrans of Terra.

The factor that distinguishes them from Terrans and Elia is, namely, their eyes: two sets of eyelids, like a cat or dog, and always one solid color throughout, including the whites. Slit pupils as well. The second distinguishing factor is, likely, their prehensile tails, with grip strengths stronger than a dog's bite, though they tend to keep these hidden.

(EDIT) Pholine will usually have wings matching their size and what type of Pholine they are. All will have a light cover of fur on their backs and arms, as well as their chests and legs. Only male Pholine have hair on their face beyond eyebrows.

(ORIGINAL) Some Pholine even have wings, according to rumors, but no evidence of this is to be found yet. These are the only ways to tell them from Elia and Terrans.

So yeah. There you go.