Mto

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
Axiem
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Fri 26 May 2017, 05:38

I also would love to find a truly good book or website for really getting into the head of Greek/Roman polytheism, or even possibly Hinduism (though I don't know much about it at all). That would give me a good touchpoint, instead of the bland, repeated, and oft-copied webpages that don't really work at an empathetic worldview, but rather a dispassionate historical view.

I want the empathic worldview, to try and get inside this mindset, at least to some degree.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Fri 26 May 2017, 06:07

It also occurs to me that my use of "monolatrism" and "polylatrism" probably are not in line with what theologians generally use. What I'm using "monolatrism" for is probably more akin to "henotheism", and I guess people just kind of assume that in polytheism you worship all the gods.

What I want to make clear is that Mto is polytheistic in that multiple deities exist as peers in a pantheon of sorts. The question is whether people at large choose one deity to form a relationship with (what I'm calling monolatry) or if they choose several to form relationships with (what I'm calling polylatry).

In the latter case, people still might occasionally give votives or something for the other deities, especially if doing something under their purview, but would still focus on a smaller handful to try to please more directly. There would probably also be some people who eschew this, and I'd call them alatrists.

I don't use the word "relationship" all that lightly. While e.g. offerings and prayers would be part of the human's side, the deity would potentially respond by manipulating things in a favorable way, or actively talking or engaging in conversation with the human. The deities are, being deities, able to maintain relationships with a large number of people, though they favor people who share their interests.


Of course, I could just throw this all away and go to the heavy monolatry route again. The relationship bit would be similar, but more constrained in terms of whom the human has a relationship with.
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Re: Mto

Post by Keenir » Sat 27 May 2017, 06:16

I look forwards to reading more about the Mto.
Axiem wrote:It also occurs to me that my use of "monolatrism" and "polylatrism" probably are not in line with what theologians generally use. What I'm using "monolatrism" for is probably more akin to "henotheism", and I guess people just kind of assume that in polytheism you worship all the gods.
I think in polytheism, you have the option of all the gods - if you want problems solved, you'd probably go to Ganesh(a), the Remover Of Obstacles.

henotheism, I suspect it doesn't matter that there are all those other gods, you only go to one (or two?) for anything - marriage, problemsolving, rain, etc.
What I want to make clear is that Mto is polytheistic in that multiple deities exist as peers in a pantheon of sorts. The question is whether people at large choose one deity to form a relationship with (what I'm calling monolatry) or if they choose several to form relationships with (what I'm calling polylatry).
it sounds like the nome system of Ancient Egypt...each town or city, and the area and settlements around them, would have their own trinity or, sometimes, only one or two neteru (what later explorers and archaeologists called gods - Setukh, Horus, etc)

they of the settlement region would prefer to pay homage and offerings to their settlement's trinity...and make token offerings to the imperial neteru (Osiris and Isis usually, tending to be favorites of the Ptolemies and some of their predecessors), as well as to the region's neteru (Sobek the Crocodile was usually part of a trinity, but if he wasn't part of your town's focus, and your job took you down the river for work, an offering now and then sounds like a good idea, yes?)

...as well as to the neteru of Upper Egypt and the neteru of Lower Egypt (fortunately, only one of each)
In the latter case, people still might occasionally give votives or something for the other deities, especially if doing something under their purview, but would still focus on a smaller handful to try to please more directly. There would probably also be some people who eschew this, and I'd call them alatrists.
i like.
I imagine some people would be like "okay, lets toss an offering over to This One (master of rain and holes in the ground), and while we're waiting for the rain, lets dig the fishpond."
:)
Of course, I could just throw this all away and go to the heavy monolatry route again. The relationship bit would be similar, but more constrained in terms of whom the human has a relationship with.
maybe some (people, deities, governments) prefer heavy monolatry, and others don't?
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Sat 27 May 2017, 06:33

Keenir wrote: it sounds like the nome system of Ancient Egypt...each town or city, and the area and settlements around them, would have their own trinity or, sometimes, only one or two neteru (what later explorers and archaeologists called gods - Setukh, Horus, etc)
Possibly, so long as each one was "pick these three out of the finite list of known", as opposed to the Shinto/Roman "every place has its own god/spirit" idea. I'll have to dig in a little more on Egyptian mythology (as my knowledge is sorely lacking).

I keep going back and forth on whether there are a multitude of minor deities (as populate Roman mythology, even outside of places), or if I'm with my finite list of somewhere between 10 and 15 (whenever I get together a final list).
Of course, I could just throw this all away and go to the heavy monolatry route again. The relationship bit would be similar, but more constrained in terms of whom the human has a relationship with.
maybe some (people, deities, governments) prefer heavy monolatry, and others don't?
I know that Entleis has a heavy devotion to Anadyel; their capital city is named Anadiel in her honor, and has a giant statue of her someplace prominent. Anadyel (which is the "standard" spelling of Anadiel, I think) is more or less their patroness, and they are her chosen people as kind of a whole.

Speaking at a meta-level, that relationship is where I got the whole "deities playing civilization" thing out of...but if I go a more polylatristic route, I have to contend with "do people outside of Anadyel's Chosen worship Anadyel?" It's possible that it's more complicated because, well, deity; but what would someone think when asking Anadyel for things when they're not Chosen?

Kuvia's also heavily monolatristic, but that's because they have a very warped society and sense of the deities; the (first) novel is about a Kuvian woman who comes to understand that the cosmology is a lot more complicated than anyone thought.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Wed 07 Jun 2017, 03:22

Here
Axiem wrote:
eldin raigmore wrote:What do typical members of one of your concultures1 think typical members of that (or another one of your) conculture2 think of deciding never to remarry after one's first marriage ends (whether in death or in divorce)? And are they right or wrong? (In other words, do typical members of the topical conculture2 actually think that, or do they think something else?)
Most of the people of Mto in general, if asked this about the Tánsùl, and they actually know a thing or two about the Tánsùl aside from thinking them to be "those thieving whistlers", when it comes to a man's wife dying, they would probably think about it for a little bit, and then postulate that the man would normally would commit suicide if his wife dies, so that he may join her. They'd consider this a good thing (in general, no one really likes the Tánsùl), and wouldn't consider it much more than that. As for a woman's husband dying, they'd figure her not remarrying afterwards wouldn't be much of a big deal (and they'd be in favor of that, anyway). As for divorce, they'd say that Tánsùl just don't divorce.

As for reality, divorce is indeed extremely rare among the Tánsùl—it's hard to justify it given how small the communities tend to be, and how marginalized the population is—but their thoughts on widowing are a bit different. In general, if a man or woman is still of "family age" (that is, within the generally assumed age range of being able to have children and support them), they go through a traditional grieving process, wearing a black scarf, and then are heavily encouraged to remarry for the practical reason of family if nothing else (in some situations, the remarriage may be pushed even during the mourning period). If the widowed person refuses to marry again, it leads to community tension, and they are frequently requested to go elsewhere; the widowed person almost always obliges.

If after "family age", though, then there's still the traditional mourning period, but just shrugs for whether or not they remarry.
What do you mean I haven't mentioned the Tánsùl yet? Or the fact that they're called Whistlers because their language can be whistled, which they use for communication sometimes?

Oh, hm. I guess I ought to talk more about them sometime. My vague plans have the protagonist of the third book/novella/story being a Whistler.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Wed 07 Jun 2017, 03:24

And I'm coy with lengths of time and such mostly because I'm still finalizing the calendar, and then I need to make up a nice spreadsheet for conversion between our sense of time (a year being 525,600 minutes) and their sense of time (a year being a fair bit longer, but days being a tad shorter)
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 23:03

Here
Axiem wrote:
qwed117 wrote:Next question: What plant or animals do your conpeople hold lucky?
A stereotype, at least, of the Nairu (that is, members of the Nairu Federation, which has a really more awesome name I haven't come up with in the Nairu language), is that they find whales lucky. It's said that when they go on fishing expeditions (a little perilous, living at the edge of the arctic circle, as they do), seeing whales in the distance makes them think they'll get large hauls for the trip.

This stereotype is mostly true, in the same way that "frat boys drink lots of beer" is mostly true.
From a meta perspective, the Nairu are probably the "oldest" conculture of mine, though their relative importance of them has diminished over time. On the super-rough map, they're N at the top of the world. Their capital city is probably more or less at the north pole, and they have (underground?) trains of some sort (I'm still working out where they are technologically) from there to the coasts.

They also have a flag. The twelve points represent the twelve states of the Federation.

The current vague plan is for Nairu to be the setting of the third book/novella/story.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 04:17

Here
Axiem wrote:
dooooooooc wrote: How independent are children allowed (or expected to be) in your culture? ie, before someone comes of age, what sorts of responsibilities do they have, what kind of decisions can they make on their own, etc, if any? (How are children who are too independent/not independent enough treated?)
In Kuvia (which is where I should be focusing on more, since that's where my in-progress novel is set), the answer to this question depends on the class of the child. Certainly in general, children are expected to be "seen, not heard", and at a young age are pretty heavily socialized into the keep-your-head-down-and-follow-the-rules culture of Kuvia. Children will still be children, and while childish antics are appreciated, they are not celebrated: there is no concept of "hang up your child's artwork" in whatever form.

Full independence is generally frowned up, but children are still allowed to roam free in general. Overly independent children are punished, sometimes severely, both by their parents and by other members of society. On the other hand, no one would bat an eye at a six- or seven- year old walking by themselves to a nearby plantation or store.

Children of the upper classes (that is, of plantation owners and other aristocrats) are almost universally sent to boarding schools from an age that translates roughly into 9–10 Earth years old; while private tutors exist, they're rare and expensive. Boarding schools, on the other hand, do a fantastic job at inculcating the up-and-coming ruling elite into the proper Kuvian culture. These students study the things one would generally expect: law, math, science (that is, magic), literature, sports, and so on. Board schools also enforce roles and chores, with (at times severe) corporal punishment for slacking. Students do get some personal time, which includes open campuses, so they aren't fully imprisoned or anything—but they are forced into a fairly regimented lifestyle. Perfect preparation for their adult life.

Children of the middle classes (which tend to be trade-workers, professionals such as doctors or architects, or merchants) are also trained to be functioning adults. There are boarding schools that cater to the middle and upper-middle class—and some of the more elite boarding schools will grant scholarships to promising individuals—that tend not to be quite as intense as upper-class boarding schools, but are still pretty similar. There are also local cheaper schools in the cities that can provide a reasonable education in at least the basics. These children are often expected to follow in their family's trade or profession, but it's not unknown for them to branch out and more or less apprentice themselves to some other trade-worker. These children receive responsibilities around the profession as generally befits their ability.

Children of the lower classes (which tend to be menial workers, beggars, and so on) tend not to get much of an education. In some cities, the local schools might be affordable enough—or offer scholarships—but the children mostly run free. They're still more or less expected to learn a trade and pull themselves up by their bootstraps—and quite a few are able to—but in practice, the cycle of poverty is not broken. It's not uncommon for them to get trapped into slavery before they become adults; on the other hand, many grow up to be productive citizens, if lower-class.

Children of slaves are put into an odd legal limbo. Since slavery is not justified by race or ethnicity (but rather by "prisoner of war" or "criminal" or "in debt" sorts of statuses), children of slaves are not automatically slaves. Neither are they fully free, either. Instead, they're kind of half-slaves (I don't yet know the term), and are given a much better chance at buying citizenship status than their slave parent(s) is/are. (If either parent is a slave, the child is a half-slave). They're in roughly the same boat as lower-class children, but often with less supervision. Many of them end up getting trapped into slavery "on their own volition", but some are able to eke out an existence and eventually become full citizens, if likely lower-class.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Mon 03 Jul 2017, 20:41

Here
Axiem wrote:
elemtilas wrote:Next Question: Does your culture have any before or after death customs?
I wish I could answer this for Kuvia currently, but I cannot; it's something that I'm mulling over.

On the other hand, I can answer this for Entleis!

Entleis almost entirely does burial-at-sea for their funerary rites. (Cremation would be used in some cases where they can't easily get the body to the sea, and the ashes would later be spread in the water; this is much more likely in the colonies). Entleis itself being a chain-of-islands nation, this usually isn't that big of a deal.

A lot of this is driven by the general belief of the afterlife, in that there are the islands "Enthala" (literally "island of dawn") and "Endras" (literally "island of dusk")—effectively "heaven" and "hell"—that souls are divided between for their eternal whatever. It's known that practically speaking, the boat eventually sinks, and the bodies are dumped on the ocean floor, but symbolically, it begins the soul's journey to its final resting place.

Funerary rites are typically done within the first week or so of death. A traditional mourning period goes for a month from death-date, though I don't know the full details on that period.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 03:05

Here
Axiem wrote:
Parlox wrote:Are any of your concountries in the middle of civil war? What caused a civil war? Does the rebellion get any help from other Concountries or are they on their own?
There are still large portions of my conworld that are pretty hazy for me, but as far as I know, there's no outright civil war going on. On the whole, Mto is in a relatively stable political state at the moment, with a handful of big players calling the shots.

However, in Kuvia, there are factions of people who are chafing more and more under the autocratic rule of Queen Älkestra, and underground societies are starting to spring up fomenting a potential revolution—though they also have a tendency to get found out and the conspirators and their families purged. That doesn't stop the continued desire, and there's whispers that some other nations (such as Situnya, Nairu, and especially Hîgara) are funding and encouraging this in an attempt to destabilize Kuvia.

Now, whether that will ever end up in all-out civil war...I guess that's what the novels are for ;)
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Re: Mto

Post by Rheddie » Thu 24 Aug 2017, 21:53

Axiem wrote:I also would love to find a truly good book or website for really getting into the head of Greek/Roman polytheism, or even possibly Hinduism (though I don't know much about it at all). That would give me a good touchpoint, instead of the bland, repeated, and oft-copied webpages that don't really work at an empathetic worldview, but rather a dispassionate historical view.

I want the empathic worldview, to try and get inside this mindset, at least to some degree.
The best thing is just to read contemporary texts (or translations of them if you don't know Latin/Greek). The actual myths surrounding the gods and philosophers' and other people's takes on them.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Thu 07 Sep 2017, 04:12

Source
Axiem wrote:
Parlox wrote: Next Question; Does one of your concultures believe in a form of the afterlife? If so, why?
Turns out, this is a pretty key aspect of my conculture's cosmology/metaphysics. It's not just belief; there's real, tangible truth to the existence of an afterlife.

As a bit of background, Mto is polytheistic, with deities that have interactions with people, and particularly their devotees.

Here's what's currently written on the afterlife for them:
Upon death, a human’s soul is brought forth for the judgement of the deities. Should the human be claimed by a particular deity—almost always the human’s patron in life—then their soul migrates to an etherial palace dedicated to that deity’s worship and service, providing an eternity of bliss for the human. It is possible for this claim to be overridden by the other deities, should they judge the human unfavorably by their scales, which is why humans will still seek the favor of more deities than simply their patron.

Particularly special claims by a deity—usually of their dedicated clergy—can result in the promotion of the human soul into an angel, one of the messengers of that deity.

Should the human not be claimed by any particular deity, they are judged merely on the favor they have from all of the deities. Should the human be favored, then their soul migrates to Elysium, the Land of Bliss. Here, their soul will live an eternity of quiet bliss, if not as blissful as life in an ethereal palace would have been.

If a human has a pledged patron, and has gained enough of that patron’s disfavor, then the deity can banish them to an etherial land of pain and suffering distinctly in opposition to their palace. Here, their soul will exist in a state of ultimate pain and suffering.

On the other hand, should the human be judged unfavorably without special condemnation from their patron, then their soul is banished to Hell, the Land of Torment. Here, their soul will exist in a state of pain and suffering.

Particularly spectacularly disfavored humans can be further banished, their soul sent to the Abyss, where they will wander aimlessly. It is not a place of torment, but rather a place of boredom—until the soul is itself dissolved into the ether, leading to complete ego obliteration.

Most humans therefore pledge themselves to a patron deity, whom they work to form a relationship with and maintain that deity’s favor, while also maintaining favor with the other deities. Some cannot bring themselves to form as deep of a bond with one particular deity, and will act accordingly. And there are a scattered few who disbelieve these stories of the afterlife and decide to take their chances.
There's a name or two of things in there I don't have figured out quite yet.

...this reminds me that I ought to actually release the URL to Mto's website publicly :/
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Re: Mto

Post by alynnidalar » Fri 08 Sep 2017, 15:05

I'm reminded a bit of the Daedra in the Elder Scrolls--if you dedicate yourself to a particular Daedra (even if you don't intend to, e.g. if you're a werewolf), they get a claim on your soul after death. It's a matter of some speculation in the fandom of what happens if you end up doing this with multiple ones, which can easily happen over the course of Skyrim! (as a dragonborn, you "should" go to Sovngarde, but if you're a werewolf, Hircine has a claim on you, and if you go through the Thieves Guild questline, Nocturnal has a claim on you, and if you do the Dragonborn DLC, Hermaeus Mora has a claim on you...)

To tie this back around to Mto, can you cultivate this patron relationship with multiple gods at once? If so, or if two gods claimed your soul for some other reason, which one gets your soul? Is it first come first serve, based on the relative power of the gods, is there some neutral arbiter god who decides...? And would it ever happen that a god would be particularly interested in a specific human, even though that human didn't directly claim them as a patron, and claim their soul anyway?
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Fri 08 Sep 2017, 18:05

alynnidalar wrote:To tie this back around to Mto, can you cultivate this patron relationship with multiple gods at once?
In my current formulation, no. I think to actually designate a patron requires some degree of formality, though what form that takes I'm not entirely sure (and though some cultures might have elaborate ceremonies for it, the actual pledge might just be a small portion therein). I'll have to think on it more, but in general I think of it similarly to how Christianity might view confirmation or baptism. Though, one can also designate a patron in private/secret, and outside of the deities, I don't think there's a way to know where a person's pledge actually lies.

And if you tried rapid-fire pledging, like switching your patron every day, I'm pretty sure one of them would basically be like "uh, nope.", which implies that there's a reciprocal nature to this, as well: the deity has to accept your pledge. And much as a woman might say "you proposed to someone else yesterday; do you really think I'm going to say yes today?" to a rakish man, so might a deity decide your vacillation is unworthy of patronage.

Which probably also draws disfavor from the other deities, which is bad for you. You want the deities to more or less like you; it makes your life (and afterlife) much smoother.
If so, or if two gods claimed your soul for some other reason, which one gets your soul? Is it first come first serve, based on the relative power of the gods, is there some neutral arbiter god who decides...?
They have rules that are unknown to mortals for adjudicating this sort of thing. There's some relationship somewhere to how the game they're playing is scored, but alas, it's opaque to us.

And would it ever happen that a god would be particularly interested in a specific human, even though that human didn't directly claim them as a patron, and claim their soul anyway?
I could certainly see that. Each of the deities has their interests ("domains", if you will), and tend to like people who engage in those interests. It's a bit odd that someone might e.g. do lots of sailing without necessarily forming a patronage relationship with one of the deities who's into sailing; but if they do, and don't really have a patron (I mean, there are some people who just kind of ignore the gods), then I could see one of the sailing deities being like "hey, I know she didn't really pledge or anything, but I'm clearly her patron because of the fact that she sailed a lot, and I like sailing, and I sent her help even though she didn't pray for it" and claiming the soul for their paradise. Kind of like a common-law marriage.

Hah, actually, I can see a metaphor of sorts, that patronage is kind of like marriage, though with a lot more allowance for dallying with other deities.
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Mon 02 Oct 2017, 05:31

So, all this time, I've been calling the star that's Mto's sun by the name Nzara. This name is meant to be in Situnyan, since Situnyan is kind of the lingua franca of the world.

However, as I was working on building out the pantheon and naming the deities along with determining their domains (hopefully I can post something on this soon and get feedback), I realized that Situnyan does not, in its current conception, have any sounds in it that map back to the letter <r> when writing.

Which means that the name I've scattered everywhere for the sun is a word that can't actually exist in the language it's supposed to be from.

[:'(]
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Re: Mto

Post by Axiem » Mon 09 Oct 2017, 04:00

Here
Axiem wrote:
Reyzadren wrote:Next question: Vehicles in your conworld that are not utilised on Earth?
Mto has airships, which I'm pretty sure are of the Final-Fantasy-style propellers-on-top variety. Etheric manipulation is a pretty large component to making sure they keep running, but they've been around long enough that it's a pretty well-understood technology.

Airships are more expensive to take (or use for shipping) than waterships, but they're also faster. Most goods are still shipped by watership, because of this.
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