Wednesday, September 2, 2015


This is a new stonepunk/sandalpunk/silkpunk setting I've come up with that I call Paleoworld.  Its not alternate history, but it should appeal to that crowd.  As you can see, I was inspired by both Dinotopia and Tekumel.  

Several centuries into the future humanity has spread out to distant worlds and far flung stars.  Many planets were life-bearing worlds, but there were just as many that had to be terraformed; including the the planet at the center of our story.  What was once a lifeless rock was made to support life, and many creatures from Earth's prehistoric past were cloned to serve as beasts of burden and to create and ecosystem for the planet.  The terraforming process made the planet resemble land masses from various periods in Earth's geologic past.  For many years the worlds colonized by humans had lived in peace with one another, but that was not to last.  A great interstellar war broke out and the young world, still in the process of being settled, was forgotten.  Due to the lack of easily accessible metals technology and society eventually regressed to ancient/agrarian levels.  

Eventually the humans, and other sentient life forms, forgot that they weren't native to the planet; their true origins long since faded to myth and legend.  Still, remains from the more technologically advanced days are scattered across the planet, but most people don't realize what they are.  Robots are somewhat common features, but range from being viewed as magically creatures to outright feared as metallic monsters.  Most of the languages the original settlers of the planet brought with them have changed quite a bit.  English is still studied, but in much the same way Latin was during the Middle Ages and Enlightenment.  Life went on, empires rose and empires fell and thus a new world was born: Paleoworld.  Many of the nation's of Paleoworld strongly resemble civilizations from Earth's past.  Let's go meet them.

The yellow nation is The Celestial Empire.  Their culture includes elements from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.  The Celestial Empire is arguably the most advanced nation in all of Paleoworld.  Their head of state is an emperor, but in many ways the emperor is a figure head with the real power resting with the imperial bureaucracy.  Anyone can join the bureaucracy of the pass the civil servant exam.  Unfortunately, this mostly amounts to measuring one's knowledge of the ancient classics, though as of lately there have been reforms put forward to make the exam fairer for everyone and more of a measure of aptitude in multiple areas.  The military makes use of several different feathered dinosaurs; such as microraptors for spies and scouts, velociraptors for assassins and shock troops.  Dinosaurs like therizinosaurus and protoceratops are used in the military as well, but they are more so used to help with farming.  

In the event that a city cannot be saved and is going to fall to an enemy their is a last resort: Tarbosaurus.  Cities located close or within Tarbo Country have high ringed walls surrounding them, or are built in the middle of lakes.  Those cities in safer lands are less well defended.  Several calls and scents are used to lure them in, and of course there's an equal number used to drive the Tarbosaurs away.  The religions are primarily based on ancestor veneration and leading a moral life.  There are gods that are worshiped, but the Celestial Empire's religions tend to be more on the philosophical side.  The more intelligent dinosaurs live as equals with humans.  The Celestial Empire does its best to have strong diplomatic ties to the other nations of Paleoworld.  

The silver nation is The Mammoth Rider Hoard.  They're based on various tribal and nomadic people such as the Mongols, the Sioux, and the Massai among others.  They aren't a single nations, but are more of a loose confederation of tribes.  Besides mammoths they also use dire wolves, lions and certain tribes have even tamed cave bears, elasmotherium and megaloceros.  In the past the tribes had a bit of a reputation for raping, pillaging and murdering.  There are certainly still a few tribes that do that, but on the whole the tribes have begun to settle down, with a few even establishing year-round settlements.  The tribes prefer their harsh but fulfilling existence to the ways of civilized societies.  Most civilized people are perfectly happy to live and let live as long as the tribes don't attack them.  

Mammoth Riders have pretty good gender equality, with women being equal to men in almost all regards.  Women who die in childbirth receive the same funeral rights as men who die in battle.  Marriage is common practice, but purely monogamous relationship are less so, and on the whole Mammoth Riders are pretty free love.  One's wealth is determined by the number of children and mammoths one possesses; if you have a lot of one, but not a lot of the other, then you are poor.  Dead bodies are left out for predators and scavengers after funeral rights have been provided.  It is believed that burial hurts the earth (scientifically speaking, it does) and cremation is generally frowned upon.  Leaving the body is also viewed as the dead's final gift to the world.  Religion is fairly animalistic/shamanistic with emphasis placed on paying respect to the spirits of the natural world.  

The bronze colored nation is The Kingdom of Rig Tal.  Their culture is influenced by East Africa, South India and Australian Aborigines.  Rig Tal is a major maritime power both in terms of trade and military.  Their navy and shipping fleets utilize dunkleosteus, liopleurodon, orthocones, elasmosaurus, ichthyosaurus and basilosaurus among others.  They're also quite the force to be reckoned with on land, as their possession on the mainland show.  They follow a monist religion that preaches that everything in the universe is a part of God, and worship is focus around the greater aspects of God, which we might think of as gods and goddesses.  However, as of recently there's been a schism in the faith.  The mainland has developed a strictly monotheistic version of Rig Tal's religion, and many worry this could potentially lead to war. On the whole, however, Rig Tal is reasonably peaceful and prefers good trade relations and diplomacy.  

Rig Tal is renowned for its excellent cuisine especially, not surprisingly, it's seafood.  Shipwrights from Rig Tal have served as consultants to many of the other navy's on Paleoworld.  Part of Rig Tal's religious beliefs is that all life originated from the seas, and swimming is viewed very much as a religious experience.  Upon death, and after funeral rights, the bodies of the dead are sent out to sea.  Riding the great sea beasts is considered a right of passage for many youth in Rig Tal.    

The pink, teal and blue nations are The Triple Alliance.  Their culture is based on various Native American cultures, but especially the Aztecs and Mayans.  Originally they were three separate nations, but have since been united under a single ruler.  Speaking of that ruler, The Triple Alliance is unique among the nations of Paleoworld for actually being ruled by a dinosaur; in this case, a troodon.  The emperor has traditionally been selected via trail-by-combat, but in recent times test of other skills, such as intellect and closeness to the gods, has become equally common.  The Triple Alliance is often stereotyped as being obsessed with human sacrifice, but the truth is a bit more nuanced.  Human sacrifice has largely been phased out in favor of making other offerings to the gods in the form of something personal.  It can be a meal, or some personal time but I must be something meaningful to the person in question.  

As far as dinosaurs go The Triple Alliance has all of the classic ones; tyrannosaurus, triceratops, stegosaurus, brachiosaurus, diplodocus, ankylosaurus, utahraptor, deinonychus and many more.  The Triple Alliance also keeps an air force with primitive hot balloons, gliders, pteranodons, quetzalcoatlus and other pterosaurs.  The blue colored part contains jungles with unusually high oxygen content due to force fields and leftover terraforming equipment.  These jungles are home various Carboniferous arthropods such as meganeura, arthropleura and pulmonoscorpius among others.  The Triple Alliance is very good about providing equal rights.  Women are equal to men in almost all areas of life, including reviving the same education, and intelligent dinosaurs live as equals with humans.  When possible, it is preferred for cities to be built on lakes.  

The dark brown nation is The Republic of Pindaros.  It's culture is primarily influenced by Greece and Rome.  Pindaros contains a mix of European dinosaurs as well as various Mesozoic mammals and birds such as leptictidium and gastornis.  Pindaros is famous for its many philosophies, and it is partially governed by a council of Philosopher Kings.  The Philosopher Kings serve to guide and advise the nation, but the real power is with the people themselves, and Pindaros is the only true democracy in all of Paleoworld.  This has earned them a reputation as a nation of anarchy and mob rule, but on the whole Pindaros is reasonably peaceful.  Pindaros used to worship many gods, but what little religion they still have is of an extremely philosophical nature.  Emphasis is placed on living a moral and just life rather than on prayers and piety.  

The red nation is The Kingdom of Ragnaroon.  They're culture is based on the Vikings and medieval Western Europe.  Much like Pindaros they feature a mix of Mesozoic mammals and dinosaurs such as iguanodon, baryonyx, archaeopteryx, kentrosaurus and related species.  Ragnaroon was originally a series of tribes until they were united under a single ruler.  Despite having settled down Ragnaroon still maintains a strong warrior ethos, and in particularly tough times has been known to raid its neighbors.  Despite these occasional scuffles they maintain strong trade relations to other nations.  Society is a strictly stratified feudal hierarchy with limited mobility.  Religion is based around the worship of gods who are considered cool and best not bothered.  In general, life is harsh in Ragnaroon, but its citizens try to make the best of things.

The orange nation is The Empire of The Sun.  It's culture is based on South American civilizations such as the Inca, the Moche and the Mapuche.  The Empire of the Sun is spread out across a series of vast and rolling grasslands, and it's scattered cities are connected by a series of well maintained roads; the most famous of which is The Trans-Imperial Trailway.  They use dinosaurs such as giganotosaurus and argentinosaurus, but they also have Mesozoic species such as smilodons, terror birds, giant ground sloths, giant armadillos and macrauchenia among others.  The roadways ensure that goods reach all corners of the empire incredibly fast.  In fact, even cities far from the coast can enjoy fresh fish thanks to the road system.  The government system of the empire is actually quasi-socialist.  Towns have grains stores, with rations given out everyday, and jobs are assigned based on desire and need.  Citizens work a government assigned job part of the week, and a job of their personal choosing the rest of the week.  

Giganotosaur attacks are a constant concern along the trailways.  To get around this shipments can be sent by argentinosaurs, which are big and provide more space for goods and ample protection, but are also quite slow.  Alternatively, the various mammal species can be used, and they are considerably faster, but provide less potential protection if an attack occurs.  Most cities include public gardens and parks with elaborate sculptures.  The empire's religion has many gods, but the most important (not surprisingly) is the sun.  The Empire of the Sun has also dabbled in primitive hot air balloon development.  

The green nation is the Kingdom of Aredesh.  It's based on Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Arabia during the Golden Age of Islam and with a bit of West Africa thrown in as well.  Aredesh is a lush and fertile land with plenty of rainfall year round.  Consequently, they're a major agricultural producer and are the top shipper of produce on Paleoworld.  Black is considered the sacred color of life, good fortune and prosperity; red, on the other hand, is considered the color of death, bad luck and evil.  Aredesh is famous for its stills in magic, but in reality most of this is due to their having discovered lost technology from the more advanced days of Paleoworld.  

The purple nation is the Kingdom of Mujungdar.  Not much to say other than that they're culturally similar to Rig Tal and have lots of volcanos.

The burgundy nation is the Uluru Confederation.  Culturally they're based on the Maori, Polynesians and Australian Aborigines.  Their animals include Tasmanian tigers, moa, dodos, giant eagles, giant wombats, giant snakes, dwarf elephants, megalania.  This is another part I haven't quite fleshed out.

Finally, the white nation is the Twilight Isles...I haven't really figured this one out.  

Okay, obviously there's a few "here there be dragons" territories, but I hope you enjoyed it.  I've certainly enjoyed making it and I might just makes some stories set in this world some time.