Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-03 08:58am

Well, for me, and most brits beavers are north american. Im aware the eurasian beaver was once indigenous to the uk, but even the redwall books only ever had a single occurance. Removal of them was not intentional, simply foxes and badgers are the largest common uk woodland animal in these sorts of stories. Theres also areas like the chslk downs which have never been forest.

I do not understand why you dismiss animals needed to work in teams. A branch to squirrell weight ratio is smaller than tree to human weight ratio, yet humans deforested wide areaa of the uk by the end of the iron age.the swuirrells would need a reason to do so. I thought id made a good reasoning to why the rabbits protected and expanded the grasslands. I also do not understand why you do not consider rabbits grazers.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-04 02:36am

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/infd-6k4kaf types of damage to tree by common uk species. Ill have to go back and review the ratio of grasslands to patchwork to open woodland to dense forest later.

FERRETS
The ferrets are weird. They dance and sing and twine themselves around each other. For a pure polecat, they resemble strange overgrown children who play with adult tools in adult ways. They snuggle like children, and will even tolerate each other in their nest space! Out of all the weasel family, they are the only ones capable working together, and the only group capable of maintaining a techological base. The rabbits accuse them of having stolen fire from them, and it is true that their raids will ofen be for lootvas much as for butchery. However, unlike rabbits, they have the paws and the knowledge to make fires and ties knots. The firebow was a common technology for them for a long time, but their short limbs and poor sight mean that bows were never a practical weapon for them. In the open, they have been known to carry spears against raptors or rabbit soldier charges but these are discarded or used to trap warren mouths once the fighting goes underground. They are fierce diggers, and will often attack a karaal through a side, burrowing straight into the warren. Othertimes they will merely try and take an entrance, somethering the rabbits cook fires with wet leaves and fanning the thick smoke into the warren. Once the Deathmark Warriors started to appear, some ferrets even went so far as to muzzle themselves to avoid their biting instinct betraying them.
A colony of ferrets meant war for the rabbits. Alone the ferrets were deceptive, adaptive and capable of continually raising their technological game. If the karaal was armoured, snares and traps would litter the outskirts. If the rabbits abandoned the land outside the karaal, picks and crowbars would tear holes in the wall, or a compound pulley would allow a team of ferrets to drag a blockdoor and gaurd out into the open for dispatch. For fighting in tunnels where teeth cannot be risked, they use a variety of small hooked blades or short stabbing weapons. Barbed lines and whips are sometimes used, but tend to be part of the ceremonial war dances rather than effective prey tanglers.
From the start ferrets made use of prey teeth and claws as well as stone, bone and shell for cutting edges and axes, but they were often amongst the first to adopt each new metal as it comes along. Nowadays ferrets have many of the coal or iron scratch mines on the hillsides, trading what they extract for fresh and preserved meat as well as other useful goods.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by phred » 2016-09-08 03:35am

I always thought the horse was a standard horse. It's sort of implied that it was acting on instinct.

Perhaps anything over a certain size is a standard real world animal. For instance, the horse seems no smarter than it's real world counterpart, so the same would apply to deer, wolves, eagles, etc.

For the scaling thing, I would keep the badgers at roughly the same size, and scale the the other animals to be closer to it? IIRC The badger in Redwall was 2-3 times larger than the mice, instead of the couple orders of magnitude you would find in reality.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-08 07:18pm

madd0ct0r wrote:Well im sticking with 'real' size, habits and instinct+ magically bestowed intelligence. Mice should be small and powerless, its why children identify with them so strongly.
Nothing larger than fox, badger, beaver or swan
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-08 07:57pm

MOLES
Ignore the surface, there be dragons. Despite the stereotypes, the moles do not spend all their time underground. They do have exceptionally poor vision, and find their deep intutive understanding of vibrations and 'sound' terribly damped down when on the surface. Two moles a meter apart can 'see' each other clearly through the intervening earth, not so on the surface. Mole poetry is deep and resonant with a talented singer literally projecting images (to other moles) with their voice. Frustration with the limited communication with other species is one source of the mole people's reputation for insularity.

Moles will eat any insect, and a few, rare individuals have been known to break into mice burrows to devour the babies. What moles truly crave, and what they measure most forms of wealth in, is earthworms. They will happily sell their services as diggers, miners and moisture and drainage experts in return for jars of earthworms, worm eggs, jellied or pickled worms or even worm jerky. Only certain songbirds and the hedgehogs will compete over this food, and even the hedgehogs and moles have been known to work together, the hedgehogs providing the leaf mulch, the moles the structure of the wormery.

With heavy bony claws, most moles are clumsy or incapable of using tools. They have a remarkable appreciation of materials though, finding defects, cracks and changes of property easily. A few mole tribes have reacted to the encroachment of technology by creating the White Fingers. By preventing them from digging when digging as kits, the ossification process thst turns their paws into heavy bone shovels was never triggered and a good degree of fine manipulation is maintained, although that mole is incapable of all but the lightest digging.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-09 12:11pm

reading for later. http://www.fao.org/forestry/92118/en/

Trying to figure out how Squirrells can maintain a tech base, including the use of fire.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-15 06:08pm

LIZARDS
Many superstitions exist about the lizards, that they live in fire, that they regrow limbs, teleport from place to place, are immune to knives and are born from stones. Non of these are true, but some have kernals of fact inside the stories.

The small and tough Zootoca vivipara is relatively small, being about the size of a weasel without counting their tail. Just like the weasel they are very fast, being capable of explosive sprints as long as the lizard is warm. They give birth to live young and are avid eaters of worms, slugs snd insects. They hate the cold and are rarely happy except on the hottest of summer days. They are enthusiastic wearers and weavers of colorful cloth, preffering many thin layers to the single cloaks of the furrier animals. They are also fascinated and keen on heat, although for most others that appears to be an interest in fire. A developed lizard clan will have a thick walled log cabin that is warm all through winter, and a larger stone barn like structure for the summer. Fires at lit in the undercroft so that the hot gases flow under the floor slab, keeping it pleasently warm through the night. Many lizard villages will feature complex chimneys, storage heaters and other contrivances to maximise the heat felt from the fuel burnt. It is thought the lizards were the first to invent glass, and they understand lime and metal smithing. Although small, being nimble and heat loving means that they have often sought out or entered into crafting roles, ranging from humble smith to city glass blower or an entire village devoted to a craft like brass casting. The lizards tend to be heavy fuel users, and value charcoal or ground coal for its compactness and ease of storage. At the other extreme, like hedgehogs, lizards will plant and wzter succulent gardens to attract and eat various insects, but espcially worms or slugs.

Lizards tend to cluster in the winters, and this spills over into their settelments. The villages tend to be found anywhere except close to each other , but like rabbits the ideal location is considered to be somewhere well drained, with a mix of open and dense cover. They fear predators quite as much as the mice, even more so since their tail dropping instinct makes them softer targets for a quick snack.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-18 04:51pm

I mentioned my problem with sqwuirells to a couple of people and they instantly both said "they steal tech", with one then going on to put them into alliance with tge corvids. Hmm.

I need to figure out what to do about the 'minor' species. Some will clearly dominate due to xyz - rabbits, ferrets, rats ect. Some will be rare but important- cats, foxes, raptors. I'm not sure whether to keep or not things like newts, dormice, bluetits ect.

Im going to detail all to shake out the major ones, then review predator relationships and tensions over shared food or shared territory to see what else shakes out. Than individual communities or cites and mixed species villages.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-19 08:41am

a somewhat whimisical real world tech timeline for looting:

http://scholar.chem.nyu.edu/tekpages/Timeline.html
500-700
The heavy plow already in use in the Slavic lands by 500 AD.
Horse shoes become common.
Estimated urban population in 528 AD.
Silkworms and the accompanying technology appear in Byzantium, though silk itself has been imported for hundreds of years.
The breast strap horse harness appears in Europe.
600-800
The heavy plow is in use in Northern Italy (the Po valley) by the 8th century.
The stirrup arrives in Europe from China in the early 8th century.
Estimated urban population in 737 AD.
700-900
The heavy plow is in use in the Rhineland in the early 8th century.
The horse collar first appears in Europe.
The use of soap, a Gaulish invention, spreads through Europe.
Iron becomes common in western Europe.
Paper is introduced into the Arab world.
800-1000
The first description of a rotary grindstoneoccurs in 834.
900-1100
Estimated population in Europe in 1000 AD
Estimated urban population in 1000 AD.
The whippletree for the tandem hitching of horses to a wagon comes into general use in the 11th century.
The use of hops in brewing beer spread between the 10th Century and the 14th.
1000-1200
The horizontal loom appears in Europe in the 11th century, and in mechanized form in the 12th century.
The first artesian well in Europe was dug in Artois (hence the name) in 1126.
Percussion drilling was first used in 1126 by the Carthusian monks.
Tidal mills first appear in Europe.
Rat traps are seemingly well-known by the 1170's.
The first usage of glass mirrors is recorded around 1180.
Windmills first recorded in 1185.
Spectacles are invented in Italy in 1285.
Arabic numbers start being mentioned in manuscripts around the start of the 13th century.
Cakes of hard soap enter general use.
1100-1300
Paper is first mentioned in Europe in the early part of the 12th century.
Knowledge of magnets and magnetism available in Western Europe by 1140.
The compass is in use in Western Europe by the middle of the 12th century.
Estimated urban population in 1212 AD.
First illustration of a wheelbarrow in the first third of the 13th century.
1200-1400
Estimated population in Europe in 1300 AD
Though in use in China prior to 100 AD and in Islamic lands since the eighth century, paper usage finally spreads to western Europe in the 13th century.
Cannon first used in Europe in the first third of the 14th century.
Estimated urban population in 1346 AD.
1300-1500
First blast furnaces built in Sweden.
1400-1600
Estimated urban population in 1483 AD.
Estimated population in Europe in 1500 AD
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-10-07 02:43am

SHREWS

Jacques gives them a heavy billing in the books, as sourcevof redshirts and a caricature of Liverpool Dockers. A depressing insightful combination. Are they a minor or major race here?

The shrews are a mixed bag. Awake and eating every few hours, barely living longer then a four season year and fiercely territorial of individual grassy home ranges, they are not behaviours that suggest craftsmen or city builders. They are however, one of the most abundant small mammals. As the saying goes "another day, another shrew." Their teeth are red and extremely tough. Like moles their bite is mildly poisonous to insect prey, and they produce an oil known to taste terrible to cats. To be a shrew is to be a fighter. Not a great tough sheild bearer, but a tiny, desperate bandit never more than a few hours from starvation, or a few grams of insect from a full stomach. They find it difficult to reconcile their territorial instincts to work with each other, but Shrews have been found working for many larger or longer lived animals, as they can provide the guarantee that food supplies will be steady. Fighters, guards, watchers, trackers, pickpoçkets, janitors and pest control all suit their talents and temperament with a shrew frequently adopting a mixed community as their "home range". This is especially common for females to take such positions. In recent years, a few small factories for candles and wasp-paper have been set-up with shrews as the main staff. The manager's find they each need their own clear desk and snack bowl but their small nimble hands, good sense of smell, very short careers and happiness with child labour makes them ideal for short boom unskilled contracts.

Shrews often considered stroppy and short tempered but they reserve a huge degree of antipathy for predators, owls in particular. The "silent death" is a feared thing. Even the poorest shrew will keep a long spear for protection, for what little good it does.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-10-09 04:30am

WILDCATS

Wildcats are not the biggest, the most common, or the most successful of the giant predators, but they are the most feared. It is said that capture by a wildcat is the best time for suicide. They have great eyesight, heating and smell. They are comfortable in thickets, in snow or climbing trees. They will ambush or pounce and dispatch large to medium prey with a bite to the neck, or use their wicked claws to tear skin and tendons. They like rabbit, and pigeon, but will eat most anything they can catch. They are intelligent, but so focused and contained in their role of Hunter it is rare to see anything above tactical consideration. They are silent, solitary territory holders generally, but have been known to express a sense of ownership or prize taking of those in their land. Still, who would trust a cat to protect them from ferrets? Even shrews and frogs, both relatively safe due to their foul taste, may find themselves slowly peeled into seperate organs by a bored wildcat.
Cats are well armed naturally, but are not nimble and tend to posses little in the way of technology. They live to a great age though, and in that time may reinvent different meat preservation methods, from smoking to drying to salting and, in the northern range, ice houses. They are known to build fishing rafts on the shores of lakes, and are capable of basic herbology and medicine. In some cases, where delicate hands are needed, they may capture mice or rats alive and keep them as slaves for a little while, before boredom or hunger overtake the need for their hands.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-10-11 03:53am

FOXES

Foxes are kings of their domain. They are large but light in their body, and fast with it. Their nose and eyesight are both good but their sense of hearing is excellent. They tend to eat mostly mice and shrews, sneaking and leaping great heights to crash down on them. They also eat rabbits, pigeons, ducks, almost anything in fact except moles.They tend to kill smaller predators when they see them. Unlike Wildcats, they also eat frruit and nuts, and have been known to trade, or more really demand protection goods, from less tasty but productive villages.

Foxes tend to intelligence, but are not nimble and are unable to relight fires that go out. They are social and will typically live in large families within a single excavated den. The dens tend to be large simple affairs with a packed earth chimney and cob and stone bake chamber seperate to the fire. Some foxes become excellent cooks, fashioning tools that can be held in the mouth for specific tasks. They know the secrets of leather preparation although they cannot join pieces to make clothes or armour. Those who overcome their instincts about the smaller predators often become empire builders. Fear and vicious cunning holding a disparate army together. Such forces might well use slaves or ferrets to make weapons for their Lord, and such armour or weapons tends to be preserved and reused by foxes for generations to come. Foxes are excellent singers and put a lot of stock by old songs of haunting cross melodies that span five octaves.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-10-23 02:46am

BADGERS

It is said that when any tale is started the words "there once was a badger" are uttered in the first verse. They have a tendency to attract narrative. This is from a few things but especially their size and varying nature.

BOARS - a young male badger will often leave his home and go roaming for a period. These are dangerous travellers, stronger than anybeast else and always hungry. Killing and eating smaller beasts over points of honour or laws of hospitality are a common mode of behaviour for these boars. Although not nimble or quick, brute strength and natural heavy claws and tough skin make them formidable opponents. An adult badger is capable of tearing open a wasps nest and eating both the wasps and honey. They will eat almost anything, from orchard fruits to root veg to carrion and fresh meat. They can be beaten but it requires teamwork weapons and numbers.

SETTS - Otherwise, badgers tend to live very social but settled lives in large rambling borrows called setts. These setts tend to be old and expanded and worked on by successive generations. Badgers tend to the obsessive levels of house pride and cleanliness and have put a lot of effort into latrine systems, wall finishes in plaster or tiles. They value thick furnishing hangings, cushions and mattresses that are replaced, washed or aired frequently and all forms of woodwork and stonework although expression and fashion range from minimalist to gaudy. This level of construction requires deep well drained but cohesive soil. Like moles, engineering badgers soon learn to distinguish the sand silt and clay parts to a soil to avoid those prone to flooding or collapse. Where nothing better is available Badgers have been known to construct reinforced dens using timber, clay or lime. They will live and build above ground too, although they favour thick walls more than windows. They do not truly hibernate but, like most beasts, doze or whittle through the worst winter months.

Unusually, right back to ancient times badgers have been known as landlords to disparate species from foxes to rabbits. A sett will house an extended family of badgers, and often multiple families or guests too in connected but seperate corridors and apartments. Foxes will bring back parts of their kill for their landlord, and rabbits will bring fur and felt for the furnishings. At least one colony of rabbits, living tightly with badgers, worshipped them as avatars of the worldbuilder and freely offered up their dead to be consumed.

Although they must eat some meat in their diet, badgers are capable of subsisting almost entirely on fruit nuts and insects. Badgers will plant and gaurd orchards, brew beer, tend beehives as well as till fields to grow a variety of crops. Although their heavy blunt claws are useless for delicate tasks, their strength and fastidious nature can lead to good gardening.

Due to their sheer size and strength, badgers can do things that would require planning and teamwork for smaller beasts. Their flexible diet and stable locations make their setts natural focal points for (cautious) traders or beasts needing to hire them. This ranges from mice seeking a barn raising to a ferret ironworks needing a cartier or a squad of rat mercenaries on commission to destroy a wildcat.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-10-31 12:12pm

Species still to look at: raptor CORVIDS gulls starlings rats pigeons, frogs and toads and newts, what else?

Question: how common are rats when no humans?

FARMING
Humans have the following types:
annual staples,productive and easily stored, normally grain, sometimes tubers, sometimes vines from lentils to beans and gourds. Annual others, Inc herbs, other roots, onions and other stuff grown 1) variety and 2) smooth out food supply 3) fill holes in the rota
Permenants such as vineyards (a staple at the time) , orchards, fruit bushes, nut trees
Ungulates -grass eaters like camels cattle and goats, either grown for meat or to use land unsuitable for crops. These can be dry areas, seasonal areas for nomads or low temp areas such as north UK where good quality wheat is impossible so You have choice of bad wheat, unpopular barely or oats or cattle. With good trade links the profitable solution is cattle, wwith bad trade links, your own staple oats more important. Non killing harvesting of blood and milk worth noting here too.

Scavengers -pigs and chickens. Very rare on medieval farm to feed good grain to these.Very useful for recapturing energy and protein in table scraps, paryially rotten or off food or inedible to human food (like bitter acorns).


In our world we have a range of species from grass eaters like rabbits to non-unon-ungulate herbivores like mice (seed eaters), different types of insectivore, omnivores and obligate carnivores. Much more complex.

1) let's assume farming intelligent livestock is difficult. Slavery of grass eaters might be possible, but you would need a very high rabbit to Fox ratio to maintain the rabbit slave population, which would make it harder for the slave owner to maintain power and avoid escapes. It might be possible but seems unlikely to be common. Thoughts?

2) farming of insects looks much more possible. Farming of slugs and snail's seems doable. Rotten log farming where a tree is ddeliberately felled, holes chewed or burnt in the top to promote water collection, and the resulting grubs and woodlice periodically harvested seems very doable. A wild tree might take decades to rot away naturally. This would accelerate it with perhaps each trunk being the equivalent of a field of sheep.

Intelligent insectivores might increase the range of their diet too. A shrew is smaller than some bugs, but humans are smaller than some cattle, and with tools like hedges, gates, whips, sticks, lassoos and bolas, a few humans can control a large field of larger cattle. That said, we also use dogs and horses, something directly lacking in this world. There would not be domesticated animals like horses or dogs, but partner or serf species. It is possible to imagine hedgehogs, toads, starlings and shrews working together to provide gatekeeping, ground speed, flight and scouting and nimble hands or possibly just numbers respectively.

Nomadic herds seem unlikely due to the relatively large distances that must be covered each day to beat the seasons. Maybe you might get starlings herding flying locust swarms but not in the UK, too temperate.

Crops have been bugging me. The majority of our crops are annuals since, by a quirk of genetics they breed true when most nut and fruit trees don't, and they permit ploughing between crops, which, for humans is a time efficient way to control weeds. Mice and hedgehogs are not going to be digging down two foot to overturn the soil, especially when weeds are the size of bushes to them. To be continued.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-03-02 12:54pm

reading back over this thread, I think I can see the source of the disagreement between me and Alyrium. I was assuming a history very like british history up until late stone age when Poof! humans and large animals vanish and small animals get smart. He was taking it to the same all the way through, in which case the massively dense forests (like hedgerows and thickets but on orders of magnitude larger) simply prevent small creatures establishing open ground. the 'world formerly known as britain' would be dense temperate rainforest basically.

Any interest in seeing this project revived, and then maybe panel beaten into something a little more like an actual story?
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-02 05:11pm

Yeah, I'd be interested. I was a big Redwall fan as a child, then got old and experienced enough to realize that it wasn't actually that well-written. Still love the hell out of Watership Down, which is more "realistic" (relatively speaking), but more importantly far better-written and less repetitive/cliché.

So I'd be interested to see a similar story with a focus on solid world-building.
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Re: Worldbuilding - racial implications of redwall type setting

Post by Steelinghades » 2018-03-05 08:41pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-02 05:11pm
Yeah, I'd be interested. I was a big Redwall fan as a child, then got old and experienced enough to realize that it wasn't actually that well-written. Still love the hell out of Watership Down, which is more "realistic" (relatively speaking), but more importantly far better-written and less repetitive/cliché.

So I'd be interested to see a similar story with a focus on solid world-building.
Well if you're interested in books similar to Redwall there's always the Son of masguard series, we're you take a load of Redwall sequence animals and throw them into a magical world with 18th century technology. I haven't read huge amounts of it, but it's definitely more fantasy then Redwall, what with the talking/kidnapping fog and the griffins the main character sicks on a group of attackers.

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