People of the Green Isle

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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 18th, 2013, 10:19 pm

johndh wrote:Originally, I had only conceived of it being one nation, but this makes more sense now that I know it was one nation among many surrounding smaller cultures. Thus, the southerners who moved to the island would be a mix of Washrahan people fleeing the oppressive regime and those from the surrounding peoples that are victims of their naval raids. Not every group joined Tarva Pah in his campaign against the giant Deshra, so there are many ethnically similar tribes and city-states in the area who are still vulnerable to giants and now also have to defend against Washrahan raiders. These are people who would be very motivated to get away, paying merchants for passage or taking control of the ships and piloting them to the island. "You take us somewhere far away, or we feed you to the sharks with the rest of your crew."

So the Green Isle becomes real melting pot. Like that idea!
A slave labor force would be useful in constructing and maintaining their extensive navy and the aforementioned wall around the kingdom, as well as various other publics works such as extensive irrigation, dams, aqueducts, fortifications, palaces, monuments, etc., giving them a highly evolved culture indeed. They could also learn a lot from the slaves because many of them would be skilled professionals like artisans, healers, and architects. I'm not sure I like that idea, though, as I prefer to think of them as a kingdom that stagnates due to xenophobia, like feudal Japan or the latter days of Sparta. While everyone else in the world is busy exchanging ideas and learning from each other, Washraha is sealed off from the outside world, ironically viewing all of its neighbors as savages even though those savages are busy inventing dentistry and paper. They acquire the inventions of these other groups through violence, but they don't learn how to make them themselves because they think they can just go on robbing forever. As centuries pass, Washraha falls more and more behind the times until at some point they presumably have a rude awakening at the hands of some other nation when they find that their wall isn't so impregnable, their crude iron arrowheads don't punch through steel armor, and horses can apparently be domesticated.

Spoiler:


However, my main concern with the whole slavery aspect of things is that this would mean the only dark-skinned people on Irdya also happen to be the only major group of slaves we know about. :augh: I mean, the slavery angle can make sense, but I'm not sure I want to travel that road. I think Washraha would be perfectly content to sit behind their wall, growing fat and happy off of their stolen goods. This is why I think I would prefer if they were pirates and pillagers rather than slavers. If anything, they could have enslaved many of the giants that they defeated and wouldn't really have a need for any more than that.

Slave raids seemed like a good explanation to me, although I understand why you have a headache about this. I guess the fact, that they the slavers are dark-skinned too, doesn't make it any better.
Besides: There are minor cases of slavery on the Great Continent, as we learn in DW. What if their weren't used for workforce but as soldiers? Don't get me wrong, I don't intend to stick to the slavery thing by any means necessary, it's just that I have a hard time imagining a great empire build by pirates and pillagers.

Besides: I just realised that we are about to invent an entire era ;)
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby johndh » September 19th, 2013, 7:27 am

Elfarion wrote:I'm curious: Do you study or have you studied history? Apparently you have profound knowledge about the development of civilizations.

Thanks, I'm a bit of a history geek and I minored in Anthropology in college. :)

Slave raids seemed like a good explanation to me, although I understand why you have a headache about this. I guess the fact, that they the slavers are dark-skinned too, doesn't make it any better.
Besides: There are minor cases of slavery on the Great Continent, as we learn in DW. What if their weren't used for workforce but as soldiers? Don't get me wrong, I don't intend to stick to the slavery thing by any means necessary, it's just that I have a hard time imagining a great empire build by pirates and pillagers.

That's what makes me feel so conflicted. The explanation makes sense, and many great civilizations were built on the backs of slave labor -- Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Americas (both pre- and post-colonial), etc. Although we're not being racist about it, people can misunderstand and get outraged about the wrong thing sometimes. I'm also concerned that any campaign creator who includes a "token black character" would probably make him an escaped slave, and all the tropes would come with it.

For soldiers, why employ slaves when you've got plenty of pirate gold for professionals? As far as building an empire, I'm thinking of Washraha as a great power less in the sense of Rome and more in the sense of the Vikings -- not the best developed or the largest in the world by any means, but feared by everyone within thousands of miles of their lands. Of course, they could certainly have some nice infrastructure and architecture. After being closed off for long enough, they would have had plenty of time to build extensive roads, canals, etc., but all would be on a primitive level because they've barely progressed technologically at all. A real-life example of this can be found in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which was huge and tremendously well-developed (artist's depiction), but technically still in the neolithic age when the Spanish conquered it with steel and gunpowder.

Besides: I just realised that we are about to invent an entire era ;)

Creativity is hard to turn off once it gets going. I took a walk last night and accidentally came up with a cast of characters in case I want to write about Tarva Pah's war with the giants for Nanowrimo. :augh: I also discovered where the giants come from, and basic concepts for at least two major (very different) tribal nations of the south that help tie the story together.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 19th, 2013, 10:48 am

johndh wrote: Although we're not being racist about it, people can misunderstand and get outraged about the wrong thing sometimes. I'm also concerned that any campaign creator who includes a "token black character" would probably make him an escaped slave, and all the tropes would come with it.

Yeah, those misunderstandings happen sooner than you think and we definitely should avoid the aforementioned stereotypes.

As far as building an empire, I'm thinking of Washraha as a great power less in the sense of Rome and more in the sense of the Vikings -- not the best developed or the largest in the world by any means, but feared by everyone within thousands of miles of their lands. Of course, they could certainly have some nice infrastructure and architecture. After being closed off for long enough, they would have had plenty of time to build extensive roads, canals, etc., but all would be on a primitive level because they've barely progressed technologically at all.

I guess this would allow us to rule out the slave aspect and still have the Washraha raids a valuable reason to emigrate from the continent.

Creativity is hard to turn off once it gets going.

Tell me about it...
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby revansurik » September 19th, 2013, 2:53 pm

Had no time to read or post anything here these days, sorry. :oops:

Well, I agree on the matter of the slaves; that would certainly cause lots of misunderstandings.

As far as building an empire, I'm thinking of Washraha as a great power less in the sense of Rome and more in the sense of the Vikings -- not the best developed or the largest in the world by any means, but feared by everyone within thousands of miles of their lands. Of course, they could certainly have some nice infrastructure and architecture. After being closed off for long enough, they would have had plenty of time to build extensive roads, canals, etc., but all would be on a primitive level because they've barely progressed technologically at all.


I like the idea of a strong and vast, but not very technologically advanced nation; this would give a somewhat primitive (after all, we're talking about an age centuries prior to Wesnoth's founding) and very unique feel to these southern civilizations. :-)

I guess this would allow us to rule out the slave aspect and still have the Washraha raids a valuable reason to emigrate from the continent.


The Washraha could be a culture that greatly valued warfare; their raids on the neighbouring peoples could be like a training for the Washraha warriors, or a test for young Washraha to prove their mettle in combat. That's kind of what the Spartans did to the Pelasgian farmers of the Peloponnese.

Creativity is hard to turn off once it gets going.


Totally agreed; I can't stop characters and plots from popping up in my mind :-P And I still like the idea of the mermaid being in love for a southerner and helping his people go to the Green Isle ;-)

Speaking of which, we need a name for those tribes neighbouring the Washraha (the best name I can think right now is Arkendash; sorry, I was forced to wake up too early, and I've slept only 3 hours last night :-P ). I'm thinking about them as diverse tribes, each with its own peculiarities, but all of them having a common cultural 'core' - like the indigenous Tupi peoples of South America, a large group of tribes that lived apart from each other but were related.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 19th, 2013, 9:26 pm

revansurik wrote:The Washraha could be a culture that greatly valued warfare; their raids on the neighbouring peoples could be like a training for the Washraha warriors, or a test for young Washraha to prove their mettle in combat. That's kind of what the Spartans did to the Pelasgian farmers of the Peloponnese.

Works for me. It seems as we have a quite clear idea on the culture of the Washraha now.

Speaking of which, we need a name for those tribes neighbouring the Washraha (the best name I can think right now is Arkendash; sorry, I was forced to wake up too early, and I've slept only 3 hours last night :-P ). I'm thinking about them as diverse tribes, each with its own peculiarities, but all of them having a common cultural 'core' - like the indigenous Tupi peoples of South America, a large group of tribes that lived apart from each other but were related.

Arkendash sounds a bit drake-ish or dragon-ish to me (Although I now that Drakes in BfW have totally different names.) But I can't stop thinking of a fire-breathing dragon when I read "Arkendash" out loud. I cannot come up with anything better right now either, but I will shake some syllables and see what comes out.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby johndh » September 21st, 2013, 7:56 am

revansurik wrote:their raids on the neighbouring peoples could be like a training for the Washraha warriors, or a test for young Washraha to prove their mettle in combat. That's kind of what the Spartans did to the Pelasgian farmers of the Peloponnese.

That could work. Perhaps it's not a universal thing for everybody (or every young man), but perhaps for members of a warrior caste. As an inward-focusing nation, Washraha would probably develop a very structured society. Given what we know so far, they probably would place warriors near the top of their hierarchy, perhaps with a special nobility class at the very top, with everyone else underneath. While any member of society can be compelled to fight and die by the ruler, the warriors and nobles are held to a much higher standard. They are also outfitted with better equipment, receive rigorous combat training, and get to partake in the spoils of war. They participate in rites of passage when they come of age, usually raiding their neighbors, and can lose their status if they fail. Their status can also be lost if they show cowardice or demerit (causing them to become pariahs), and perhaps it can also be possible for members of lower castes to earn a place if they distinguish themselves in combat. Rulers tend to perpetuate systems that keep them and their friends and families in power, so the founders of Washraha would place the most honor and authority on the families of Tarva Pah, his lieutenants, and the other giant slayers, in that order. Sailing would also be an honorable occupation.

I'm thinking about them as diverse tribes, each with its own peculiarities, but all of them having a common cultural 'core' - like the indigenous Tupi peoples of South America, a large group of tribes that lived apart from each other but were related.

I'm imagining most of them as being fairly similar, at least by region. Most of the city-states along the coast would be pretty similar because they'd be in contact with each other and share an environment, whereas a jungle tribe or a group of nomadic herders and traders would be very different. Depending on how much of a core you mean, we may or may not be talking about the same thing. I'm actually imagining this nomadic tribe, let's call them the Chomi, as being a sort of cultural unifier for the southern continent. As they are always moving around and trading, every major group on the continent would have interaction with them, and perhaps look forward to their visits at regular intervals. While there could potentially be hundreds of languages across the continent, just about every tribe would have a few people who speak the Chomi language (and almost everyone would speak a handful of phrases), and many of their customs could work their way into a common cultural core. For example, there might be commonly-recognized customs of greeting and parley.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 21st, 2013, 6:15 pm

johndh wrote:That could work. Perhaps it's not a universal thing for everybody (or every young man), but perhaps for members of a warrior caste. Sailing would also be an honorable occupation.

The idea with the warrior caste sounds good to me. I'm just wondering why the coastal tribes would sail to ohter lands while the Washrahan, agressive and warlike as they are, never set sail to find other peoples to raid overseas.

I'm imagining most of them as being fairly similar, at least by region. Most of the city-states along the coast would be pretty similar because they'd be in contact with each other and share an environment, whereas a jungle tribe or a group of nomadic herders and traders would be very different.

That makes sense, although it raises the question about geographic and climatic circumstances. I always pictured the Southern Continent as a vast desert or prairie with inhabitable regions at the coast. (Probably similar to Australia.)
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby revansurik » September 21st, 2013, 7:00 pm

I'm imagining most of them as being fairly similar, at least by region. Most of the city-states along the coast would be pretty similar because they'd be in contact with each other and share an environment, whereas a jungle tribe or a group of nomadic herders and traders would be very different. Depending on how much of a core you mean, we may or may not be talking about the same thing. I'm actually imagining this nomadic tribe, let's call them the Chomi, as being a sort of cultural unifier for the southern continent. As they are always moving around and trading, every major group on the continent would have interaction with them, and perhaps look forward to their visits at regular intervals. While there could potentially be hundreds of languages across the continent, just about every tribe would have a few people who speak the Chomi language (and almost everyone would speak a handful of phrases), and many of their customs could work their way into a common cultural core. For example, there might be commonly-recognized customs of greeting and parley.


I'd rather have the Chomi (Um, could we call them Somi, or something like this? Chomi sounds a bit like kids' cartoon characters...) culture being limited to their own lands - that is, the northern shores of the southern continent (name suggestion: Aryajunna); being such a widespread culture would make too strong, and make it less believable that they were forced to flee their continent due to enemy attacks (many different tribes with a common culture and a common enemy would have easily united to face the Washraha).
About the cultural similarity between the Chomi tribes: I'm imagining them as having the same language and the same religion, and very similar customs, but there would be some slight differences between the tribes in terms of ethnicity and cultural codes. This would happen because the Chomi culture is actually an amalgam of different tribes that lived in that region, but which were gradually absorbed into the original Chomi culture, also adding their own customs andbeliefs to it. Thus, the Chomi culture would be somewhat of an unifier too, but only to the inhabitants of the northern (Aryajunna?) shores.

The idea with the warrior caste sounds good to me. I'm just wondering why the coastal tribes would sail to ohter lands while the Washrahan, agressive and warlike as they are, never set sail to find other peoples to raid overseas.


They could have a superstitious fear of the sea; also, the lands to the south of the continent (I'm imagining the Washraha as living somewhere in the mid-north of the continent) could be full of other peoples for them to prey on. And let's not forget the giant Deshra (who may live in a forest of gigantic trees ;-) )
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 21st, 2013, 7:19 pm

If I understood johndh correctly, the Chomi aren't the people that merged with the Aeserians. They are a nomadic culture, travelling around and selling goods and providing for cultural exchange among the various ethnics. Thus they are not strong in a military way, neither would they be an attractive target of the Washrahans because they are not practicing agriculture.
About the name of the continent: Shall we make it Arajunna (no "y")? It seems easier to pronounce.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby revansurik » September 25th, 2013, 6:34 pm

So, let's organize what we already have:


PRE-HISTORY

- The Aeserians, a tribe of the Old Continent, accidentally come ashore an uninhabited island in the middle of the sea. They call it the Green Isle, and start building settlements there. After an orcish attack on their original homeland, all of the Aeserians move to the Green Isle.

- Chomi [johndh, is this really their name] sailors from the continent of Arajunna find the Green Isle as well, and begin trading with its inhabitants.

- In Arajunna, the Washraha, led by the Tarva Dinasty, constantly raid the neighbouring peoples. This forces the various Chomi tribes to search for another, more peaceful land to settle, and thus they go to the Green Isle, where they gradually merge with the descendants of the Aeserians.


THE AESERIANS: they were originally a small tribe from the eastern coast of the Old Continent. Living in a seaside valley surrounded by large mountains, they had very little contact with other civilizations, including the human Wesfolk. Albeit quite primitive in terms of technology, they had some sailing skills, accumulated from years of fishing whales in the Vast Sea. By following the track of those whales, they found that which would be known as the Green Isle, which was then uninhabited, and started building settlements there. One day, the orcs found a way into their valley in the Old Continent, and so, unused to fighting, the Aeserians' only alternative was to abandon their original homeland for the Green Isle.

THE CHOMI: they were a people, or a confederation of culturally similar tribes, who lived on the northern shores of the continent of Arajunna. They were numerous, had relatively large cities and were good at sailing and trading, but weren't very strong in terms of military, and their settlements weren't fortified; thus, they were constantly being harassed by the neighbouring Washraha and, in rarer occasions, by the giants known as Deshra.
Chomi sailors found the Green Isle some time after the Aeserians had all moved there. Both peoples traded goods and knowledge, and were very friendly to each other. They even built a mixed Chomi-Aeserian city in the southern shores of the Green Isle which quickly became a thriving trading centre between both peoples.
Each of the Chomi tribes was ruled by its own king; other than through commerce, those tribes didn't have any strong relationship with each other. This disunion remained even during attacks by the Washraha. However, after a massive attack by the Tarva Dinasty that completely destroyed three of their main cities, the Chomi decided to help each other to evacuate their lands and move to safer Green Isle. Once there, they occupied the lands that were still uninhabited with many kingdoms, and some even merged with Aeserians to form mixed nations. However, as time passed, the Chomi and Aeserian cultures merged to form a single 'Islefolk' civilization.


THE WASHRAHA: [I'll leave it to you, johndh; I was going to use the description you wrote in the first page, but, if I'm not mistaken, we've decided that the Washraha aren't going to be sailors]
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 25th, 2013, 6:47 pm

This all sounds good to me. It gives reasonable explanations, allows us to introduce dark-skinned people in the game and opens an entire continent to be filled with peoples and history. Great! If I am not mistaken, we still need to figure out, how the Wesfolk eventually learned about the existence of the Green Isle.

And shouldn't the Washraha and other questions related to the Southern Continent be discussed in a different thread. One that is to be opened as soon as we are done here? This would probably avoid some confusion.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby johndh » September 25th, 2013, 11:54 pm

Replying on this forum from a mobile device is somewhat less efficient, so my response shall be brief. Regarding names, at this stage we can call them the names of vegetables for all I care. :-P Names can come later and are easily changed and replaced, so worrying about them now seems futile, as long as we can tell one group from another. As far as the Washraha not being sailors... what?? My concept of them has always included sailing and naval raids to be central to their identity. That's why everyone along the coast is afraid of them and many are trying to get away, and why anyone in the south knows about the Green Isle. I'm not sure how any of this is supposed to work if they're not prodigious sailors.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby Elfarion » September 26th, 2013, 8:35 am

johndh wrote:My concept of them has always included sailing and naval raids to be central to their identity. That's why everyone along the coast is afraid of them and many are trying to get away, and why anyone in the south knows about the Green Isle. I'm not sure how any of this is supposed to work if they're not prodigious sailors.

The question, that occurs to me, would then be: What keeps them from devastating the Green Isle's rising civilization?
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby revansurik » September 26th, 2013, 7:26 pm

As far as the Washraha not being sailors... what?? My concept of them has always included sailing and naval raids to be central to their identity. That's why everyone along the coast is afraid of them and many are trying to get away, and why anyone in the south knows about the Green Isle. I'm not sure how any of this is supposed to work if they're not prodigious sailors.


The Washraha could scare the hell out of everyone else in the continent with land-only attacks; if they were sailors as well, then I don't see how anyone would even be able to escape them, for they'd be pretty much invincible to the other nations of Arajunna. As for the coastal tribes, living so close to the sea would easily invite them to find ways to explore the waters, and thus they'd reach the Green Isle - these coastal tribes wouldn't be very advanced in other areas, but sailing is their specialty.

The question, that occurs to me, would then be: What keeps them from devastating the Green Isle's rising civilization?


That's exactly why I don't think making the Washraha great sailors is a good idea.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Postby johndh » September 28th, 2013, 4:57 am

revansurik wrote:The Washraha could scare the hell out of everyone else in the continent with land-only attacks; if they were sailors as well, then I don't see how anyone would even be able to escape them, for they'd be pretty much invincible to the other nations of Arajunna. As for the coastal tribes, living so close to the sea would easily invite them to find ways to explore the waters, and thus they'd reach the Green Isle - these coastal tribes wouldn't be very advanced in other areas, but sailing is their specialty.
The question, that occurs to me, would then be: What keeps them from devastating the Green Isle's rising civilization?

That's exactly why I don't think making the Washraha great sailors is a good idea.

*grumble grumble* Alright, let's see how this can work without them being sailors. If they aren't at least a little bit backward in technology, then they'd be a serious threat to conquer all their neighbors (and I think they work better as raiders than conquerors), and their lack of advanced tech is also an incentive to steal from the more advanced groups in the area, so I think that is best achieved if we keep the somewhat isolationist attitude that they have, which was previously made possible by them being a naval power with a wall circling all of their land borders -- they can get out but nobody can come in. Alternatively, Washraha could be an inland empire, protected by walls, impassable forest, high mountains, and/or other geographical barriers. They raid their coastal neighbors to get those sweet trade luxuries and such, and some of the weaker peoples find it preferable to escape by boat than to stand and fight. The problem here is that if Washraha isn't the iron-fisted dominator of the coast, then what is keeping Haldric et al. from fleeing south instead of east?
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