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Author Topic: Desert setting- Which to choose?  (Read 2015 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« on: December 31, 2004, 12:19:59 AM »
I'm planning on making a desert-based setting. I have two different options. One is a fairly recent development, the other is one that I have been stewing over for a while.
Which one should I pick?

Option 1
Preliminary name: A Mouthful of Dust

Primary inspiration: The funky underground hip-hop tunes of the Handsome Boy Modeling School and a late-night trip through northern Utah

Basic idea: Post-apocalyptic Gamma-World-ish strange society. The planet Earth (6000 years from now) has been changed by global warming, the decay of the ozone layer, and other factors, including nuclear warfare, human factors, and changes in rotation and distance from the Sun, have made most of the world a blazing desert of blowing white dust (hence A Mouthful of Dust). Oceans have shrunk and continents have changed shape due mostly to human factors. Below or above a certain latitude on the north and south poles of the planet, there are huge bands of tropical forest spanning the globe.

In the past  (-4000 years or so), there was a huge Tribulation. Whether it was a war, a catastrophe, giant economic depression, or whatever, it destroyed the hypertech society of the Earth. The people of the new Earth refer to dead civilizations, especially those who ended in the Tribulation, as Babylon.

The world, sky, and surrounding space is littered with the remains of previous human civilizations, from hyper-technology to the ruins of relatively new barbarian kingdoms.

Almost all of the humans on this Earth are black-skinned, because of the insane levels of sunlight. Mutations and evolution have made human resistance to UV and such very high. There are no Caucasians as such; there are less-dark people who dwell deep in the jungle.

There are two splits of human civilization- the Elohim, hypertechnological people who dwell in domes in the tropical regions, and the Pagans, a blanket term meaning "everybody who isn't an Elohim".

Elohim dwell in quasi-religious, caste-based, techno-psychic societies in their dome-cities. They live in peace (mostly), but they keep a lot of weapons on hand, just in case Pagans decide to attack, or another Tribulation happens. They regard themselves as a "perfect society", and the reason that Babylon fell was that they were "less perfect".

Pagans are everbody else. They may dwell in the jungle, or in the desert (very few here).

Inevitably, some Elohim get fed up with "perfect society" and leave, generally to die in the forest, or die in the desert. But some thrive, carving out Pagan kingdoms.

That's all I have for that one.

Option 2
(I started to make a website about this one long ago, but I abandoned it)
Prelimenary Name: the Ageless Desert

Primary Inspiration: Dark Sun D&D setting, Dune, hiking in the Boise foothills

Basic Idea: Desert world with no real set borders except for the huge mountain range in the east. Two flanges of mountains partially encircle or hem in a region of less dangerous desert and more readily-found water called the Inner Desert. Outside is the (apparently) endless Outer Desert. Long ago, Gugalmak, the Sun Chiszto (sun god; he is an evil god, not a good one) was born when Ptolkhi (the War Chiszto) raped Evertnoe (the Chisztoe of Air). When he was born, he rose up into the sky and burned the land, making it an eternal desert.

There are two classes of intelligent beings in the Desert- People, who were created by the great Chisztos, and Monsters, who were created by spirits and lesser Chisztos.

People-
Umii- The humans of the desert, called the Umii, are the live in many clans and tribes who all speak a common language (with dialects) and worship the same gods, the Chisztos, as well as numerous spirits and little gods. Some are warriors, some are traders, some live in cities, some are nomads.

Mahjeszti- these are elf-like earthbeings who dwell in the foothills of the mountains in the Inner Desert. They are bizarre, rare beings who enjoy tricking Umii into their spells. They are ruled by the Hill Elders, who are their ancestors- when a Mahjeszti dies, it becomes a Hill Elder and turns into stone. They worship only one Chiszto, the Dawn Goddess, Evertnoe.

Thruuki- the Thruuki are the children of the dead Chiszto of Waters, Kamon.  They are small frog-like beings who are all stricken with a sort of racial malaise, as well as numerous physical ailments. They are all mostly dying, because they are not suited to the desert climate.

Ukufutani- these are the children of the Chiszto, Ukufut, the Guardian of the Sacred Cenotes. Ukufutani are gnomish, mouse-like beings (right down to huge ears and snuffling nose) who live underground. They are great allies of the Umii.

Monsters-
(I have only one race of Monsters right now)
Razorbellies- The "orcs" of this setting. Razorbellies are the principal foes of the Umii. They are nasty warlike reptilian beings, with a row of razor-sharp crest-plates on their chests and bellies (the belly-scales on a normal lizard) which give them their name.

Animals-
Insects are always called manylegs.
Behemoths are huge, incredibly dangerous desert-dwelling beasts who are seen in the Outer Desert.
Sand-grazers are herd animals (for their cows).
Sand-striders are running animals (for their horses).

There are a lot more details, but I'm cutting it short for now.


SO.... Which one should I do?
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Offline Maggot

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2004, 01:29:09 AM »
The first one I'd say,since it seems to have more potential,given the relationship between an advanced culture and it's savage neighbours.
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Offline Strolen

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2004, 02:47:45 AM »
YES!

And what I mean by yes is....

YES!

A Mouthful of Dust == (Desert + Jungle = Options)

the Ageless Desert == (Desert + Background = Options)

Options = Options

Thus they are equal. Put them both together. Use all your races and such from the Ageless and slap them into the Desert of the Mouthful. They are all Pagans, fine, but they don't consider themselves Pagans so who cares what the tooty Elohim thinks.

I personally always like variety and while only desert would probably work great, there is always the treat or tease of a different environment with different rules that beckons your typical adventurer. Less so with mountains north, south, east and much desert everywhere else.

You always have great settings so whatever you choose will be correct regardless of my scholarly, intelligent, mindful, able, acute, alert, alive, all there, apt, astute, brainy, bright, brilliant, calculating, capable, clever, comprehending, creative, deep, discerning, egghead, enlightened, exceptional, highbrow, imaginative, ingenious, instructed, inventive, keen, knowing, knowledgeable, original, penetrating, perceptive, perspicacious, profound, quick, quick-witted, rational, ready, reasonable, resourceful, responsible, sage, sharp, smart, thinking, together, understanding, well-informed, whiz, wise, witty remarks.

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2005, 11:17:34 PM »
Any other opinions?
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Offline Strolen

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2005, 12:25:44 AM »
What? Like mine isn't good enough. Like mine leaves any doubt as to what should be done. Like I am just nothing, a infidel encroaching on the enlightened?

Or do you just want another opinion?

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2005, 12:49:00 AM »
I'm trying to get all sides of the story as it were. :)
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Offline Scrasamax

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2005, 06:20:47 AM »
Mouthful of Dust smacks of The Time Machine to me. Perhaps too much.

The second setting seems to have more potential, in my opinion. You could keep the ruined civilization from the Mouthfull but drop the Elohim, and the Hypertech. The bands of jungle and forest around the polar regions are a sort of distant heaven to the desert tribes, or a place where their dead go to dwell. (Fear of the painted natives)


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2005, 06:01:42 PM »
Okay... Anyone else?
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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2005, 07:58:38 PM »
I like the first idea best. They are raw scetches right now, but they show quite some promise.

The Babylon idea is cool. I really like biblical references. In my post apoc desert setting I have a lot of references to the civilized era. They are mostly screwed up and weird misconceptions about the past. A great way to picture today in stark contrast to our inbred and indoctrinated views.

The first setting definitely. I'd love to see you flesh it more out!
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Offline Ylorea

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2005, 04:13:20 AM »
Option one seems to have  more back-ground and feeling for you, so I would suggest that you use that one.

On the other hand, I like the second option better, but that is probably because I am not realy into modern or post modern stuff.

I do see some strangeness in the carving.... you imply that the desert is the most important area for you, but still most people live in the forest bands. In general, I do understand why the not-so-civilised pagans live in the forest, but as you speak of the Elohim living in dome's, I would expect those domes to be found near area's where you would now (or around 2000 years from now) find highly populated relatively rich area's. According to my logic, you would find such a dome for instance near new-york, or chicago, or paris (in europe), but not in Norway and certainly not in the north of the former USSR.
If I understand you correctly, the desert would be where we now have a temperate climate or warmer and the tropical forest would be where now we have a realy cold climate. Which would imply that the domes with the Elohim would be located mostely in the desert area's.
I can not imagine that 4000 years after the Tribulation, all domes are still in tact. In fact, I would imagine the Elohim society would be crumbling by now and the pagans would be on the verge of taking over. My expectation would be that in about 1000 years, none of the domes remain and there would be little of the Elohim society remaining. The world would be divided again between pagan's who have not addopted any Elohim and pagan's that have. the latter would be the new "rullers" of the land, as they would have adopted part of the technology and so they would be much more advanced.

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2005, 03:39:57 PM »
The domes were built post-Tribulation. And remember, it has been 6000 years since our time- who knows what has become of the ancient population centers?
But still, you make a good point in pointing out that many Pagans live in the forests. Perhaps the Elohim police the forests and force the Pagans out into the Dust?
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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2005, 05:14:01 PM »
I like the second idea better.

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Desert setting- Which to choose?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2005, 12:40:57 PM »
I like what Strolen said.  Put them together.  From the point of veiw of the desert dwellers, or the Pagans, it's the Ageless Desert, and after six thousand years, they've developed their own cultures and religions.  If there was nuclear war involved in the apocyalpse, then the new creatures are the result of mutations.  And since the geography has changed so much over the millenia, then most people won't realize that it's a post-apocalyptic Earth.
I would assume that the Elohim would have retained their technology, and so they still know what really happened, but they fear the deserts.  To them, the Pagans are a vague entity, and they probably have many misconceptions about them (something similar to the misconceptions held by Europeans about minority groups a couple hundred years ago.)  They might not even believe that there are really people living out in the deserts or any stories of strange creatures.
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