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A New Player Codex?
08-02-2018, 09:54 AM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2018 10:04 AM by August Dux.)
Post: #1
A New Player Codex?
When discussing the current issues we are facing in terms of recruitment and activity levels, MajorTom brought up something that I think many of us have been concerned about for a while: that Gotha has become quite daunting for new players to get to grips with.

Considering the huge scope of our project and the years existing players have put into the project, its natural that the accumulative detail and knowledge would become a barrier to new players. But MajorTom's suggestion that we create a "welcome pack", or a "New Player Codex", could be a solution to this problem.

I therefore suggest we discuss what should be put into this "Codex" for new players - what information do they need to get to grips with in our project so they are able to contribute.

Examples which have already been discussed on Facebook, include:
  • Continents Overview
  • Major Nations
  • Religion
  • Technology (including how our steampunk setting works)
  • Existing cultures
  • Ethnic groups
  • Geography and climate (including flora and fauna)
I would also add to this list:
  • Major historical episodes (such as the PAW, major migrations, and other major wars or cultural movements)
  • Languages (this is a really important first step in our project, and the often confused rules and layout of the language map etc. can be confusing to new players - MajorTom's Snoland was an example of this initial confusion).
  • Economy and economics (such as a brief discussion of the economics of empires, world wide trade (including recent developments in free trade versus protectionism) and how resources work with the Ledger).
  • Talking of which, the Ledger. This can be one of the most daunting aspects of joining our project. Although this is explained in the TECH pages on the wiki, we could perhaps discuss it briefly in the Codex.
  • The existing geopolitical situation around Gotha: which nations are allied with one another, which nations are neutral, which hate one another or are currently at war etc.; Who are the Great Powers of Gotha; who has the largest empires and most formidable militaries.
  • The solar system and the natural history of planet Gotha.
I quite like the idea that TeamBattleaxe posited on Facebook that we try and create the sense of Gotha as a place you can visit or go on holiday. Alongside the above information on the planet as a whole, it could be a nice idea to showcase some major sites on Gotha. Each nation could maybe present one or two "must see" sites in their nation to add extra flavour to our world.

Last suggestion for now, I also like the idea of assigning an existing player to each of the above categories. Obviously, there aren't many active players at the moment, but by giving new players a person to contact if they have specific questions on the flora of Anaria, for example, or if they want help developing their nation's history in Thultannia, talking to an "expert" player could be a huge help.

Just a few initial ideas. Add more below!

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08-03-2018, 07:11 AM
Post: #2
RE: A New Player Codex?
There is some info about languages, religion, ethnic groups etc already present, we have to find out how we need to repackage it in a way it becomes more accessible. We might need a START HERE button for new players and interested people, leading to a page with the categories you sketched, branching out into existing pages.

So >START >Religion >Orkanan or >START >Religion >Atlas map

Could be wiki category pages with better introducory text, structuring up a bit better (e.g. gove all the Orkanan pages the Orkanan category, but NOT the religion category)

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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08-03-2018, 07:24 AM
Post: #3
RE: A New Player Codex?
Exactly. All we need is a few sentences for each topic as an introduction and then hyperlinks for more detail. It's about presenting this information in an accessible way, as you said. I think a "START" button would help with this.

There is so much information to get through when you are a new player, I think having access to everything of importance in one place (just short, one or two sentence introductions with options to delve more deeply if they want) will be a big help for new playera to navigate our project and the world of Gotha. It's when everything is scattered across the wiki that it becomes tricky.

I think the structure you sketched out with Orkanan could work nicely.

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08-03-2018, 02:39 PM
Post: #4
RE: A New Player Codex?
Quote:Exactly. All we need is a few sentences for each topic as an introduction and then hyperlinks for more detail.

Sounds to me like glossary does this, which might not be bad as a base for your Start Page.

I do think we need to compartmentalise sufficiently and Alex's categories are the way to do it. You could get to work with that on the wiki as soon as for me. We're already starting on the continents so you can put links to those first and then do religions.

I think with religious belief systems we should not try to tie players down too much so they have to force fit their own ideas into a preexisting frame too much. You have a basic set of beliefs that are prominent in given region and influence it's culture but a nation ultimately may have it's own indigenous set of beliefs and merely interact with say Shoucian in West Davai or Orkanan in Anaria.

This leads to me to suggest when players start, they should have it outlined just how closely they must stick to canon regarding various categories. I imagine natural environments and climates in Gotha should be considered incontestable once they are confirmed in the Atlas and a player should shape their culture and society to the given environment they have chosen.

Also I ran into opposition regarding demographics and ethnicity earlier in my Gotha career, most of which was not unreasonable, it was not a creative open season at the end the day. Maybe though we should be more appreciative of genetic anomalies and outliers that can occur in our own history (I'm bringing up those Tocharians again!). I somebody want to promote a concept like that in Davai-Raia (Mengdaval?) I'd be supportive most likely.

Things like religion, language and social structure are very fluid and I think some major leeway should be permitted in these areas maybe with some general themes in certain regions of the map as I've already mentioned.
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08-06-2018, 06:02 PM
Post: #5
RE: A New Player Codex?
Quote:Things like religion, language and social structure are very fluid and I think some major leeway should be permitted in these areas maybe with some general themes in certain regions of the map as I've already mentioned.

I don't think I can agree with you here. The religions map is there for a reason, and that is to create a common ground for morality, social structures, etc in certain regions. So if you pick a nation in an Orkanan region, you should at least comply with using the Orkanan basics. Otherwise a project lik this just becomes a huge stack of loose ideas without any grounds for interactions. We don't need artistic isolates developed in 100% creative freedom, we need a fabric.

It is for this particular reason I have developed Orkanan as a religious framework with lots of room for own interpretations, new flavors, etc. But there should be a common ground. If you want to develop a religion from scratch, most other religions have not been developed yet, so one should pick a nation in those regions. We still have plenty of options.

The same goes for languages. The language map is there for a reason. Do you want a nation where they use Korean or Basque? It's there on the map. You pick this open space between Helreich and Vittmark on the northern coast of Stoldavia? You'll be stuck with Danish. If you want to develop a nation full of Thai kamikazes believing in the flying spaghetti monster, then this is not the right place to be.

To me, true creativity comes from working within set limitations. On the map of Gotha we have today, you can pick your limitations. If you want to get going quickly and comply to an existing framework, please take Halland. If you want to create something new that fits with the rest, redevelop Errea or pick that Danish spot. Want to start from scratch, D'Runia is you ground.

All those examples I just mentioned are hypothetical, no intention to point out anyone or put down certain dieas that have been posted. But we as admins should recognize a round idea trying to get squeezed into a square hole more easily, and point new players towards areas which might fit their ideas best. I don't have the answer to that, but IMO being lenient with religion and languages is not the way to go.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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08-06-2018, 07:35 PM
Post: #6
RE: A New Player Codex?
(08-06-2018 06:02 PM)Pepijn Wrote:  The religions map is there for a reason, and that is to create a common ground for morality, social structures, etc in certain regions. [...]

The language map is there for a reason. [...]

But we as admins should recognize a round idea trying to get squeezed into a square hole more easily, and point new players towards areas which might fit their ideas best. I don't have the answer to that, but IMO being lenient with religion and languages is not the way to go.

I must say, I agree with Pep on this one. The languages and religions map act as an important glue in creating a cohesive and plausible world. There are plenty of realms for creativity on Gotha, and as Pep says there is ample opportunity for creativity within this established frameworks.

I would fear that if we were to let players loose with languages and religions etc. we would have dozens of societies totally unrelated to one another, with very little in common. I for one have had great fun playing a member of the Orkanan club, and am currently working on an overhaul of my part of the Orkanan religion - there's just so much scope to create with, particularly with a religion like Orkanan.

Furthermore, if you want to create your own religion that doesn't fit the location of your nation, why not create an ancient or extinct religion? The possibilities are endless there! Just a potential alternative Smile

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08-06-2018, 10:04 PM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2018 10:05 PM by TeamBattleaxe.)
Post: #7
RE: A New Player Codex?
Thanks for you input so far guys. I do think that we could work with languages and religions on a case by case basis, especially regarding the latter. It's true with languages you will get more prominent languages slowly replacing more archaic languages in a region that means sticking to a preset linguistic map would be reasonable. I'd still like the option for players to use languages of antiquity like Etruscan, if they would like in a region where that would make sense though.

As to religion, I did mention that in a given region a dominant religious philosophy would still have to be included in your nations history somehow but you don't have to be affirmatively in harmony with it. A player could, if it's well executed, subscribe to a holdout pagan religion, cult or mystery of some sort or a migration within the bounds of historical themes. Otherwise, like I've done with Celestialism, you could take a few aspects of your regional zeitgeist (Totemism in my case) and run with it in divergent structural format. Like you said some region have underdeveloped religions anyway. Some like Naskel are supposed to be a manifestation of African traditional religions which are so diverse that the only thing uniting them is they are African in origin, so Naskel could simply be the sprachbund term for 'religion' in it's context. Go from there.
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08-07-2018, 08:59 PM
Post: #8
RE: A New Player Codex?
TeamBattleaxe Wrote:I'd still like the option for players to use languages of antiquity like Etruscan, if they would like in a region where that would make sense though.

I, unfortunately, do not agree with this. The idea of ancient languages being spoken next door to their linguistic descendents just does not make sense. I had this issue with modern Auresian being classical Latin, next door to Italian. I understand that Etruscan is different to Latin, in that Latin subsumed it, but we're still dealing with a language which would not have evolved in tandem with the languages around it if spoken in modern Anaria.

Now, if someone wanted to conlang what a language descended from Etruscan might look like (if Latin hadn't subsumed it), now that would be fun! But as for Etruscan to actually be spoken next door to modern Italian languages just doesn't make much sense.

This may sound rather hypocritical of me as many Anisorans (and I hope some non-Anisorans) speak Pastanan, which is basically classical Latin. However, it is a purely revived language as I wanted to see what a revived ancient language would look like as a major scholarly and aristocratic language - it was a concerted linguistic effort to revive the language and is now taught in certain schools alongside basic Anisoran (mostly for rich children). I basically did this because I thought it would be cool and I was studying Classics at university when I joined Gotha, so I wanted to use my Latin knowledge in the project. Plus, as an Italian (Anisoran) speaking people, this made sense for my Anisorans. I hope the distinction between an academic push backed by aristocratic fashion to revive a dead language and an ancient language being spoken next door to its primary descendent makes sense.

In terms of religion, I do understand where you're coming from. However, like Pep alluded to earlier, if creating a religion is your jam, there are vast swathes of the world which are labelled "Indigenous religions" - literally a blank canvas for you!

However, I will say that the current religions map is FAR too neat for my liking. Religion is messy as hell, and we should accommodate the possibility of an Izhaic nation (either ruled or with a religious majority or minority) popping up in Southern Anaria, for example. Religions do not follow continental divides; they follow societies. If a player wants to establish an Izhaic nation in southern Anaria because of the ruling house being Izhaic, while their subjects are mostly Sadarinists, or establish historical reasons such as major religious wars, forced conversions, or religious genocide, then that should be allowed to happen in my opinion. I, for example, have pushed back the Izhaic religions in Anisora further west to make them a minority, as I wanted Anisora to be an Orkanan majority nation.

Those above could be examples of religions being treated on a case-by-case basis, so on that respect I perhaps agree with you. However, I do not agree with every player creating their own religion from scratch in every corner of the world. The above scenario creates great interaction between those two established religions. Creating a brand new isolate religion does not.

TeamBattleaxe Wrote:Some like Naskel are supposed to be a manifestation of African traditional religions which are so diverse that the only thing uniting them is they are African in origin, so Naskel could simply be the sprachbund term for 'religion' in it's context.

Why do you say that Naskel is supposed to be African traditional religions? I can't find any information on it.

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08-07-2018, 09:38 PM
Post: #9
RE: A New Player Codex?
(08-07-2018 08:59 PM)August Dux Wrote:  
TeamBattleaxe Wrote:I'd still like the option for players to use languages of antiquity like Etruscan, if they would like in a region where that would make sense though.

Now, if someone wanted to conlang what a language descended from Etruscan might look like (if Latin hadn't subsumed it), now that would be fun! But as for Etruscan to actually be spoken next door to modern Italian languages just doesn't make much sense.

I'll mention this though you might already be aware but Etruscan was not an Indo-European language like Latin and had a drastically different structure. It may have been related to Basque but this is not certain, it is certainly considered Paleo-European though. If Basque can be a thing in RW and Gotha then I think a language like or similar to Etruscan would not be that out of place. Heck, you could have added a linguistic minority in Anisora or nearby that would be like the 'Basques' of your empire or alternatively allow some other player to stick them on a periphery somewhere like the far-south of Anaria. There the stated language is Illyrian which itself is an extinct language little known about. I presume That's there to leave the way open for any Pre-Indo-European Lingo adopted by a player...

(08-07-2018 08:59 PM)August Dux Wrote:  
TeamBattleaxe Wrote:Some like Naskel are supposed to be a manifestation of African traditional religions which are so diverse that the only thing uniting them is they are African in origin, so Naskel could simply be the sprachbund term for 'religion' in it's context.

Why do you say that Naskel is supposed to be African traditional religions? I can't find any information on it.

There is in fact no information on Naskel at all. Not developed in the slightest from what I've seen but it is located where our African-type ethnic groups live so that was my presumption. Still a complete blank slate though.

Are you ready to put some of the start page together then? Might as well start ASAP to keep momentum going Big Grin
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08-08-2018, 08:38 AM
Post: #10
RE: A New Player Codex?
TeamBattleaxe Wrote:Etruscan was not an Indo-European language like Latin and had a drastically different structure. It may have been related to Basque [...] If Basque can be a thing in RW and Gotha then I think a language like or similar to Etruscan would not be that out of place.

There is certainly a case for Etruscan, I'll concede. However, the key difference between Basque and Etruscan is about 2,000 years of linguistic evolution. My reluctance still lies in the fact that Etruscan heavily influenced Latin and therefore potentially Pastanan/Old Auresian/Dragaric etc. on Gotha. It may not be an Indo-European language, but it played a major role in the formulation of Latin, and so remains a part of Indo-European and Romance language history.

I may be splitting hairs here and arguing too strongly for some sort of linguistic purism, or it might be the Classicist in me, but I'm still unconvinced. If a player came up with a plausible scenario, I'd be happy to discuss their concept as a minority language, if it doesn't affect the linguistic history of established languages elsewhere in Gotha. Etruscan as a modern language, it could be argued, would profoundly affect the history of the Dragaric languages. There are, however, counter arguments which may work in our setting.

TeamBattleaxe Wrote:There is in fact no information on Naskel at all. Not developed in the slightest from what I've seen but it is located where our African-type ethnic groups live so that was my presumption.

Just because the religion is located in a region of African-type ethnic groups, doesn't mean the religions they follow have to follow the forms of those on earth. I would still argue that Naskel, whatever the final form of the religion will be, will be the dominating religious influence in that region - plenty of scope for variation, heresy and unorthodoxy of course. Look at northern Africa - almost entirely Sunni Muslim.

TeamBattleaxe Wrote:Are you ready to put some of the start page together then? Might as well start ASAP to keep momentum going Big Grin

I'll have a start with this today (I'm currently on holiday so have more free time). Lots to do with the continents pages nevertheless! I'll keep you all posted Smile

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