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Author Topic: Chelonae ~ Island of the Void (Master Dev Thread)  (Read 7746 times)
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Azhira Styralias
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« on: 09 June 2010, 23:53:04 »

Welcome to the official development thread of the as yet unnamed Santharian Magical Island! This entry has been approved as a group development project so any and all comments, discussion and work is encouraged from everyone! This thread will be the main dev thread. PLEASE FORMALLY POST HERE IF YOU WISH TO CONTRIBUTE. GENERAL COMMENTING IS ENCOURAGED.

--------------------------------------------

Personnel and Contributors:

Altario
Azhira
M'ruk
Bard Judy
Valan
Athviaro

What We Know So Far:

The Island

A beautiful paradise... low mountains, lush jungle, clear skies, white sand beaches
Floating island, cannot be placed on a map and found again
has been encountered by sailors for thousands of years
enshrouded in a fog like mist from the outside, but once inside, the fog is no longer seen
can look out from the fog, but not seen into
a large natural harbour is always the side of the island that a ship will encounter


The People

Biou
pygmy like dark skinned people
very friendly
innocent
villages are small and there only a few of them
non magical, except maybe some rudimentary druid like magic for healing, crops etc

Voulla
regular sized folk
distrustful
shy
guardians of the island (may be magical)
protectors of the Biou (though they don't interact)
villages: unknown

Discussion Questions:

Discussion Question #1
A formal name needs to be decided for the island (from Bard Judy).
Quote
And Pratchett quite cheerfully admits his debt to the earlier stories.... however, while I am a rock-solid fan of Terry's, I think something a bit more medieval AND Tolkienesque would be more appropriate.  The name of the island should obviously be in line with the language spoken there and the names of its inhabitants....

A name has been decided! Chelonae is the official name.

Discussion Question #2
A mythology background (From Artimidor).
Quote
My main question would be how we'd establish a theoretical or at least semi-mythical background how that island exists and why. There could be multiple options, and nothing is conclusive, as is the case with many a myth, though we'd need to have these ideas then at least.

Discussion Question #3
A general purpose of the island (from Alt).
Quote
But, the island acts as a kind of haven for those in trouble (becalmed without supplies, damaged ships after a storm, etc), but not everyone rescued are good people.  The Biou represent pure innocence.  They don't war, they are trusting.  A pirate ship, therefore, might run amok among these people, but the Voulla are there to ensure that the Biou are protected.  As well, greedy entrepreneurs might want to exploit the islands resources, colonize it, etc.  Therefore, the Voulla protect the island from this.  It is supposed to be an unblemished paradise in the world.  The Biou are part of this, while the Voulla are outside of this in order to protect it.  To fight evil, sometimes one has to use evil.  (Not that Voulla are inherently evil, just not afraid to do whatever it takes)

Discussion Question #4
A general location (from Talia).
Quote
Keep the sightings really South, if you imagine it lush and jungle-like. South of Nybelmar, south of Sarvonia (take the name on the map) and west of Yamalquain.
« Last Edit: 20 June 2010, 12:26:27 by Azhira Styralias » Logged

No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #1 on: 10 June 2010, 00:08:18 »

I was thinking, Azhira, why don't we move this to the Northern Forum?  Is not a true North Project, but there we are both Mods, so we can both edit as needed.
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Athviaro Shyu-eck-Silfayr
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« Reply #2 on: 10 June 2010, 00:11:54 »

Perhaps (although this may not work) give the Voulla some very powerful magic, but with the stipulation that it can only be used to defend the island - maybe the island itself is the source of the power? More ideas somewhere, but I've got to go!!
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« Reply #3 on: 10 June 2010, 03:32:21 »

Ok, to pick up my train of thought, perhaps the Biou themselves, in their innocence, are the source of it and the Voulla can almost use this innocence to defend it? Kind of like a tap or pipe - it doesn't make the water, but you need it to get to the water.
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« Reply #4 on: 10 June 2010, 05:17:11 »

The Voulla strike me as very...agile people. Perhaps using long ranged weapons to keep their identity hidden? Light armor to escape into the shadows quickly? They also seem like they would know many secret paths, hidden spots, etc in order to quickly and subtley traverse the island?
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« Reply #5 on: 10 June 2010, 05:22:09 »

Well let's just look at the way things work, shall we?

The island itself is obscured by "magic". It can only be found by those in need. That already cuts down on the number of people who could arrive there, and is probably more magic than we need.

The Voulla seem like they shouldn't need magic. A modified version of Clarke's law comes into play here I think: Sufficiently advanced X is indistinguishable from magic. Something that is seemingly magical in its effect, but not in its cause.

Maybe they're very sneaky. Maybe they're in tune with the island. The disadvantage of being a stranger in a strange land is that almost anyone will know it better than you. So it might seem mystical that they can blend into the scenery, appear seemingly at will and all that good stuff, but there's really nothing magical about it. Maybe they're a little like the morlocks (live underground, generally terrifying). Essentially what Agran is getting at. Keeping in mind that this is a people existing almost in isolation.

The arrangement really reminds me of Ringworld for some reason.
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« Reply #6 on: 10 June 2010, 05:24:15 »

Yes, which could seem like magic to visitors? To clarify, I did not mean that the Voulla have these powers, but that the legends give them these. Quite important on a semi-mythical island. Or they could have some fairly serious magic, but not as powerful as people say.

EDIT: I see that I should have posted earlier on this subject, Val. I didn't mean them actually to have these powers
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« Reply #7 on: 10 June 2010, 05:26:51 »

*sigh*

Are there no fresh ideas left in the world?

Hehe, I really need to expand my Fantasy fiction read books list.  So far, LoTR Trilogy, Dragonlance Chronicles (the original Trilogy) are about it.  The rest is movies or TV.  All my other reading is Historical Fact.

Do I need to lookup Ringworld in order to distinguish it from it, or are we far enough away already?
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« Reply #8 on: 10 June 2010, 05:40:15 »

I think the problem is, Ath, from my perspective, you're doing things backwards. Trying to spin mythology out of whole cloth instead of building it around the base of facts and meta. Or building a house roof first.

@Alt: Ringworld is science fiction, Niven's to be precise. It's quite good, and tends to eschew science for interesting where it can.
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« Reply #9 on: 10 June 2010, 05:43:07 »

Never even heard of Ringworld, and my Fantasy reading is as short as yours.

Eragon books, Some Warhammer, the Hobbit, and Rangers Apprentice...which realy isn't fantasy.

Never read LOTR (I've been meaning to though)

Perhaps there could be magical items on the island? Or rather, plants and things that have amazing/unqiue effects? Maybe we could go for a Pandora from Avatar like island, where everything is amazing and unknown to the strangers. Rocks that glow in the dark, flying plants, etc. In fact, I have an idea for Voulla arrows.

Arrow shafts are covered in liquid taken from plants or trees, could be sap/whatever. The liquid basically acts like oil.

The arrowhead could be made of flint.

Voulla strike arrowhead on piece of metal attached to their person. Spark lights the 'oil', they shoot arrow.

Boom, you Voulla capable of magic arrows.
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« Reply #10 on: 10 June 2010, 06:15:05 »

@Valan: The reason it appeared like that was because I only had time to get my key ideas down, not the reasoning behind them. Genuinely, I did not ever intend them actually to have vast powers.
@ Agran: I would class R.A. as fantasy, but that's just me  :P Seriously, has no-one here read Eddings? In my opinion, as great as LOTR any day of the week. Try the Belgariad and the Mallorean (it might interest you to know that Paolini was heavily influenced by Eddings, especially the Belgarian. Look for the similarities, like the mark on the palm, illiteracy, old man who is really very old and a magic-user, but first appears as story teller, who is secretly his ancestor... the list goes on.)

Athviaro
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« Reply #11 on: 10 June 2010, 06:30:54 »

I just took 12 Eddings books out from the library 2 hours ago after reading Belgarath the sorcerer and Polgara the sorceress. Bloody amazing, I can tell you that.

Anyway, I agree with Agran and Valan here. Not that I disagree with you, Ath. I think they should most of them should minor magical powers but there should be a few, perhaps charged with keeping the island hidden, that have immense magical powers, either trained into them like hereditary rulers are trained in statesmanship or just naturally born with it.
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« Reply #12 on: 10 June 2010, 07:51:48 »

Ath: I've read Eddings forwards, backwards, upside down and sideways. The Belgariad, the Malleoreon, the Elenium, the Tamuli, Redemption of Athalus (the best of the lot), Belgarath and Polgara and the Dreamers, I've even got a copy of the Rivan Codex. I binged on the stuff, and by the time I'd gotten to the Tamuli, you could see the "twists" coming a mile away. When you get down to it, it's all pretty much the same book. Not quite Tolkien.

Look, making the people magical is not going to make things easier. In the long run, it would be easier to say that the island itself is magical, rather than giving the people living on it magic (since that would pose a snake's nest of problems all it's own).

If the island is magic, that means that the fog barrier is inherent to the island, as is the source of locomotion (assuming it's not on the back of a turtle, or a bunch of seaweed or something) rather than some spell cast by a person.

Because if you were to look at it, you would have to ask why they would allow anyone to come near the island in the first place, if they were controlling such powerful magic? They could stop pirates and ne-er-do-wells from ever coming near the island. Those questions become moot if the island is magical because it could simply be the nature of the magic on the island. The fewer questions you have to answer like that, the easier it to focus on things that are important.

As simple as possible, and no simpler. This doesn't mean shallow, it just means that we shouldn't do things because everyone seems to think it's a good idea at the time.
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« Reply #13 on: 10 June 2010, 07:54:27 »

Let's try to keep discussions on the given questions so we can start to get a direction here. The magic issue is part of Alt's proposition in question #3.

My thoughts:

Name

I voted Chelonae because is sounded nice and exotic to me.

Mythology

We can't just pluck a floating island out of nowhere. A semi-mythical background is essential to explaining the nature and purpose of the island. I feel that the island should have an origin somewhere in the far past. I personally like the myth that it appeared from the Ethereal Void somewhere in the far South. The Void is a perfect excuse to create people and things far removed from current Caelereth knowledge. I created the Mists as a way to create strange, twisted things, places and people that wouldn't ordinarily fit anywhere else. The Void is wide open to all sorts of strange myth and it would explain the uniqueness of the island and its inhabitants.

Purpose

I like Alt's generalization. I like the idea that the island is a removed place that only certain people in certain situations ever get to visit. If everyone visited the island, then there would be nothing mythical about it! If everyone visited the Mists, then what mystery would there be? The island opens itself to unique and special individuals and only a small handful of information ever gets out. Those that do visit the island finds a paradise never before seen.

Goodly folk who visit the island find a fascinating place to rest and study. Perhaps evil people may want to take advantage of the island and its people. I don't feel that the island's natives have a choice in the matter of who comes and goes. I think the island itself should be "alive" of sorts.

Location

I think it should remain in the Southern areas as a mystical place in warmer climates. We already have a mystical place in the North (Mists) and one in middle Santharia (Thaelon) so a deep south location is best in my view.
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #14 on: 10 June 2010, 08:09:56 »

Location Keep it to the West of Sarvonia. The east is a little on the crowded side in terms of islands. Quel'tra'loh, the Crimson Isles, R'unor and Nybelmar are all over there. There's plenty of open sea where they might not show up for a while in the south-west on the other hand, but enough traffic that they'd still encounter sailors, since Denilou, Quios and Doranthakar are all over there.
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