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World Design Document v.1.0 By S. Lei Pyke Information you need to know The original creator/author’s experiment Thesis Purpose of this group *please read this first* Currently exclusive to Scribd
Welcome to Caln
This is an experiment in Attribution Share Alike. What that means is that you can make derivatives off of this work, even for commercial purposes, as long as you give me credit for the world, and as long as you expect the same sort of sharing and attribution from other writers. At least that is my understanding of the thing. You can read about this type of creative commons license down below or look it up at creativecommons.org. I chose to do this to play around with the idea of community world building. This is not a new idea, but I am not sure if it has been tried on Scribd, at least in the capacity that I want this to be. If anything, it should be fun for the participants. In this piece I am going to try to explain some of my thought process behind the world as it pertains to the experiment. This is not scholarly research as of yet. So please bear with me if I pass out some links to Wikipedia as references as I try to explain. If anyone wants to try to help me make this scholarly, I will be more than happy to get this refined and properly researched. For now, though, this document will first outline the author’s intent behind Caln, its influences, my take on the concept of fan fiction, the rules for participation, and the role of the Scribd group. These categories are important for the maintenance of the scribd group and the necessary framework for production. In the second part, I will be addressing some of the real world philosophies pertaining to the culture of Caln, the role of real-world mythology and philosophy, and my thoughts on the creation of Caln as a world. Future uploads will expound upon the “Maestros and Other Things,” fleshing out the deities and concepts in that document so that the group has a better idea of the setting.
I am Stephanie Lei Pyke, and I have an Associates of Applied Science in Information Technology-Multimedia Option from ITT-Tech, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance, and I will soon have a Bachelor of Applied Science in Game Design from ITT-tech. I am a writer of fiction and poetry as well. So in one package, you have an artist, a composer, a musician, and a writer.
I created the world of Caln in 2003, but it sat on the back burner for a long time while I dealt with family issues. I stumbled upon Scribd just recently, and after looking through all of the files jammed into my hard drives I rediscovered the world of Caln. I also looked through the novel that I had been working on at that time, and realized that it was not so much of a novel as it was a disorganized amalgamation of several stories that should probably stand alone. You can read it in my profile if you like. That version is the unaltered. It is currently going through extensive clarification and revision. Until I can clarify my concepts and sort out stories, I have decided to do this experiment. By conducting this, it gives me a chance to codify my mythos, and in so doing, provide a framework for the novels I am going to write in this setting. In addition, it provides the group member with the opportunity to witness and participate in the process required to create a fantasy world.
The idea for the framework of the world of Caln comes from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weiss, and Tracy Hickman, and Piers Anthony among others including the long-forgotten authors of this planet’s varied myths, legends, and religions. Each of these are writers that the author enjoy’s immensely, not just because of the fantastic stories, but because of their influence on her own writing. Tolkien(http://tolkien.cro.net/) is the largest influence because he is well known for his Simirilion, which detailed the mythos behind his world in addition to the loads of poetry and prose that keeps coming out in the theme of Middle Earth in anthologies published by his survivors. Tolkien spent a great deal of time painstakingly mapping out his world, detailing his mythos, clearly outlining his races, formulating the laws and boundaries of his nations, fixing the rules and laws of his world, and explaining the reasons for gods, magic, and bestiary within the world he was trying to depict for his readers. C.S. Lewis(http://cslewis.drzeus.net/bio/) is also important influence upon this experiment because of his methodical process of allegory in creating the Narnia
Chronicles. Good allegory in the style that he wrote in when he wrote for Narnia probably took a great deal of planning to weave a tale that also tells a message. His other writings were also painstakingly methodical where it concerned religion and philosophy, which is a concept that I want at least some of my characters to struggle with in the context of the pantheon of Caln. Robert E. Howard(http://www.conan.com/) is known for his serial short fiction, and for his low fantasy setting of Hyboria. He detailed his world along with its influences in his essay “The Hyborian Age” (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Hyborian_Age). He was also one of the major authors of sword and sorcery and Low Fantasy. Margaret Weiss(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Weis), Tracy Hickman(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracy_Hickman), and R.A. Salvatore(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.A._Salvatore) are three authors with a long history of writing for the fantasy adventure RPG genre as well as for their own standalone works. R.A. Salvatore is best known for his Forgotten Realms, while Weiss and Hickman have worked together extensively for Death Gate, Rose of the Prophet, and Dragonlance. The mythology of the real world is also a key influence in this production. Caln is a world where humans are not native, but they are not transient. When they came to the world, they were in the early part of human civilization. Stargate is a series that capitalized on this concept of humans being flung across the galaxy by aliens masquerading as the gods of early humankind. Caln takes an approach to this concept of displaced humanity by instead letting the god or gods be real, and the portals to other worlds being shut with the advent of original sin. When they arrived on Caln, they dragged their myths, legends, and demons with them. Buried deep underneath the philosophies of Caln are the mythologies of this world, twisted over the millennia into the current Calnese philosophies. In that sense, Piers Anthony (http://www.hipiers.com/)is also an influence upon this world, because of his Xanth series. All joking aside, Xanth is a world where humans are not native, magic is rampant, and humans come in from the real world on a semi-
regular basis. Caln’s human immigration is long past, but the fact remains that humans are not only foreign, but only marginally welcome by the reigning pantheon. Finally, I must include J.K. Rowling as an influence, not just because of her work with her series as well as its numerous accompanying books, but because of her role as a woman who made it as a successful author from almost nothing to an author of substantial fame. The author aspires to that sort of success in at least one facet of her talents.
I have been struggling with the concept of fan fiction for some time. There is quite a lot of it on the internet, some of which is excellent work, but will never see actual print. There are also works of art based on novels that were not sanctioned by the author or the publishers. As a game designer, I am aware of fan art and fan fiction as an outlet for people who enjoy the games they play and want to personally immerse themselves in the worlds that other people have created. The problem is that a lot of the time, Fan art and Fiction actually infringes upon copyright. The problem is that the ideas that the original author has concerning the world in question have the potential to clash with a fan-made concept set within an already existent world. As a result, it has seemed safer, and is more traditional to disallow fan fiction as cannon. Other worlds take a similar approach to the purpose of Caln, but with more limitation. Conan the Barbarian, Star Wars, Stargate, and Star Trek all have extensive libraries of books written by different authors, but usually the approach seems to be either that the publishers or the original author responsible for the world seek out authors to write for a particular world, or that an author must go through rigorous amounts of editing and vetting to make a potential fan fiction legitimate to the cannon of a particular world. This is well known with the tabletop gaming worlds such as Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Ebberon, Arcanis, and Rokugan, and the online gaming worlds such as World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Final Fantasy, and Tabula Rosa and Age of Conan. All of these are gaming worlds that immerse the player but provide no legitimate
outlet for the product of that immersion, which is player creativity based on the world. People can make fan fiction, but it is not recognized by the original authors. As a child, a lot of my early works were of this type. I still have original, handwritten stories in my school journals based on Disney movies, T.V series, books, games and movies that I enjoyed. I wouldn’t be as confident of a writer if I did not begin copying ideas from existing works. Throughout history, that was how the famous artists and composers learned. The World of Caln is an experiment into making a world designed for “fan fiction” style writing. I firmly believe that fan fiction is critical to the maturation of a future author, and I wish, through Caln, to provide a legitimate base for such works. I realize that I am not yet a known author, but I do believe in the ”Field of Dreams” cliché “If you build it, they will come.” I believe that if I lay down the framework for this world, budding authors of all levels will have at least a starting place from which to build their own stories. That is the main reason behind the Attribution Share-alike designation request of this group and of the works contained herein.
Rules of Participation
Caln is to be a world where anyone can write stories that become part of the world and its mythos. There are, however some stipulations to this. This group is a managed public group. Basically, that gives me, the author and moderator a level of control. My standards of entry are quite lenient, but I would like to see the potential articles and stories before they are put up to the group for public viewing as part of the group. Pretty much, the reason for this is fact checking and consistency. It is fine to make anything you want of Caln as long as you keep it in your private folder, but as soon as you want it in the group, it has to line up with my framework. This is not as difficult as it seems.
Who may participate
Anyone may participate as long as they are willing to work with me to insure that the foundations of their piece align with the framework I have set. Everyone on scribd has an inbox. You may direct questions to me there. I will try to respond to them as well
as I can. Please realize that if your question is very complex, or deals with aspects of the world that I had not considered, it might take me some time to return an answer. Please inform me if there is a deadline associated with the question, such as if your work which prompted the question is part of a school project. Please also take into consideration the fact that I am a human being with all the failings and vices of that state, such as the need to have a job, an education, and a life. Do not badger me with demands for a reply. I will get to all questions concerning Caln in due time as long as they are in my Scribd inbox. Please realize that this is my original creation and my project, and I care for it every bit as much as you care for your own works. I will not accept or consider anything that comes directly to my e-mail addresses unless I specifically ask for it. When it comes to commercial use, I would be thrilled to see Caln emerge as a commercial work as long as I am attributed as the creator of the setting, and even if I do not personally have a commercial work based on Caln at the time of your own publication. This should look something like: My Creative Work by J. Doe, set in the World of Caln by S. Lei Pyke. If you would then go on to direct your readers to this Scribd group, all the better.
I am not just interested in fiction based on Caln, I am also interested in history, philosophy, music, art, religion, anthropology, botany and zoology. Basically this is an intense exercise in world building. I can lay out my initial basic premises, myths, and their basis in the real world. I can start with a few concepts, habitations, plants, animals, cultures, pantheons, and landmasses, but I am not a god. An entire planet is a huge undertaking, and the concepts that need to go into it are so varied that to make it believable, it needs to be the product of extensive research and crafting. Since this group on scribd is all about document sharing, comparing writing, and advancing our own styles within the context of Caln, then Caln must, to some extent, be in a state of dynamic evolution and clarification. In the real world there are thousands, if not millions of languages and cultures, both currently existent and also throughout history. I want Caln to be no different, with the exception of the fact that the gods and
lesser immortal entities (such as angels and demons) of Caln are very real and somewhat active in the lives of the people of the world. That is another reason why I feel that allowing the world to be open is essential to the project. Fiction Fiction is the easiest part of the world to write for. If you like what you read in the various articles concerning the framework of Caln, and it inspires you to write, then go for it! Do not be afraid that the work will not be accepted, simply write first, and ask questions as they come up—that is, parts of your writing that aren’t covered by any of the available resources. Initially, I expect that this will be a lot of work for me, but as more and more group members become comfortable with the world, I expect this load to lighten as questions can be fielded in the context of the discussion section. Philosophy and Religion The real world is absolutely rich in philosophy. Caln is no different. If you are going to write articles on the philosophy of certain aspects Caln, I would appreciate a closer correspondence. I wish this aspect to be rigid in its creation because inconsistencies in philosophy can lead to a great deal of confusion for the fiction writers. I also expect that philosophy and religion articles will come from more advanced and studied writers. If you are going to write for Philosophy and/or Religion, I will also expect you to tell me how you came up with this concept, and what influences went into the creation of it. My own influences in the creation of what I already have made are going to be explained as each individual article comes out concerning that particular aspect. Also realize that the core pantheon of Caln is the “true” pantheon. While we, the writers and the audience, know that fact, very few of the mortal inhabitants of the world are aware of it. If you wish to create gods, they can be real and active, but the truth of them is that they are renegade lesser immortals that the humans brought with them, or they are the lesser immortals of Caln. I will be discussing the pantheon and its intricacies in another article. Also be aware that though there are real gods, the concept of worshipping them might change slightly from culture to culture, sort of in the way that the Greek pantheon, the Etruscan pantheon and the Roman pantheon are similar but
distinct. Also be aware that there might be some cultures that reject gods altogether, even in the face of their reality. The underlying philosophy behind Caln’s pantheon is that the gods are not omnipotent omnipresent sky gods. They are not infalliable, but they are immortal and quite powerful. The immortals of Caln do serve a singular creator god, but that god is very distant from Caln, and is generally known only to the true immortals. It plays no physical role in anything of Caln, except for in the motives of the world’s deities and immortals. Fundamental to Huanity’s role on Caln is the fact that Humans, like the immortals themselves, were created by this creator god, and the immortals have been trying to reconcile that fact with what this Creator expects of both Humans and Immortals, and how it affects their own creations, all while trying to keep these true motives a secret from the humans. Culture, History, and Anthropology I am going to go into detail with other articles later, but I am going to give the basics here. If you want to write about or create cultures, nations or tribes that fit into the world of Caln, you will need to run the concept by me via my Scribd inbox first, and then write your piece once I have okayed it, and finally, submit it. Be prepared for revisions and clarifications to be suggested on my part, and please heed these suggestions. My role as moderator of this world is to make sure that your work becomes part of the world itself, and it must fit with the other cultures around. Please realize that when you create a culture for Caln, it must be complete, because other writers will potentially use your culture as part of their own stories as the world of Caln develops. I as the world Moderator, and we as the audience and as the group of writers need to know the who, what, where, when, why, how, and also the quantity of people in your proposed culture or civilization. Caln is an ancient world. I will be putting up a rough timeline in as soon as I can. Humans have existed on Caln for roughly 20,000 years, and Caln is in its third age of its second cycle. The current age is only 2,000 years old, and is known as the Age of the
God-Emperor, the Age of Man, or the age of Diaspora, depending on which culture is noting it. The current cycle is the Cycle of Trial as recorded by the immortal historians. The first cycle was the age of Innocence. This is the long, largely unrecorded or forgotten age before mankind, and includes the origin of all native life as well as the creation story of the immortals and humans themselves. Mankind does not know anything of this era. The native sentient races know, but they were forbidden from revealing it in the second age. In the third age, the god-emperor delved into the mysteries in consultation with the demons, and received a flawed interpretation that left out all mention of the One god and of their true origin. The result is that in the third age in the Cycle of Trial, though it is one of the creation stories, it is one of hundreds of accepted theories about mankind and creation. The second cycle and the first age of that cycle began when humans discovered the pathways between the stars and arrived on Caln, dragging their foreign gods with them. The foreign gods were fallen immortals (demons) that not only helped to prompt mankind to evil, but also tainted the perfection. The gods of Caln were not sure of intent at first, but when it became clear that these new gods and the humans that brought them were seemingly going to destroy their work, they initiated a war that resulted in humans being loosely locked up in a city called Arynstar, named after the gods’ name for the planet of human origin. There they were given all the food and amenities that they needed as long as they remained in the city. This is known as the Age of Chaos. The second Age of this cycle is referred to as the Age of Arynstar by humans, or as the Age of rebirth by the native races. While humans were given all their survival requirements, the gods dealt with humans by offering equal plans of salvation, both to the humans, and to the now-fallen native races and also to the new, twisted, cursed hybrids that were the result of human depravity. Peace existed on Caln for a very long time as the gods rebuilt their torn world. The gods intended to let humans out slowly, so that they could integrate them as full citizens of Caln, but humans and their demons would destroy that plan. The third age begins with the god-emperor of Arynstar teaming up with the demon god Thrass to destroy the temple of Caius in Arynstar. The Gods had been ignoring humans, believing them to be contained as they repaired their world. This king
rose, forming a rebellion against the Calnese gods, turning the people to believe that the Calnese gods were evil in their intent, and were planning to enslave and incarcerate humanity indefinitely, if not eventually destroy them outright. The demon gods struck out against the Calnese gods, and won the battle, resulting in the demonic “Pantheon of Man” overtaking Arynstar. The destruction of the temple of Caius broke the unceasing light of the city, and the humans found that they were no longer sustained. Humans loyal to the Calnese pantheon fled, some under fire from the king’s armies. Humans, in contact with the surface for the first time in millennia, began to build the city of Arynstar on top of the old, eventually creating a huge city in the desert from which the god-emperor began his rule. The old, underground city became the Undercity, and though it is the holding place for the most impoverished humans on Caln, also contains the remaining temples to the true pantheon along with their entrapped followers. Those that fled have populated the world, and the world has become dominated by mankind, with the native sentient races being pressed out of their habitats and diminishing rather than living in harmony and increasing with humanity. Currently, only the draconic Rysyth race is flourishing, due in part to the fact that they inhabit the oceans. In total, there are more cultures current in Caln than ever before. There are the human cultures, some of which follow more gods than simply either the pantheon of Caln or the pantheon of man. Some worship their ancestors, or the minor immortals of either pantheon, but nobody knows about the Creator god, and nobody knows how humans got to Caln, or who created them except for the immortals. Many gods have told false stories to their followers. All foreign or fallen immortals teach that mankind is the master of Caln, and the gods are the master of mankind. Humans who follow the Calnese pantheon are taught that they are foreign to Caln, but have been entrusted with the care of the world, and so must cooperate with the true gods and the native sentients to maintain what good is left in the world, and also to fight against the other gods, who are intent upon the domination of everything. The worship of the Calnese Pantheon, then, is one of cooperation between humanity and immortals, while the false pantheons stress dominion of Immortals over humanity. There are also humans who worship no gods at all. The false pantheons and followers always strain to convert or kill these people, while the Calnese gods and their
followers leave them well enough alone. In the minds of the Calnese gods, these humans are fine as long as they do not fall to destructive behavior. In the greater cosmic scope, neither the Calnese gods nor the false demonic gods have permission from the creator to demand compliance or subservience from humanity, but they are not forbidden from being worshipped. The whole point is that those humans that are on Caln come from a fallen branch of humanity, and have been rejected by the creator, and have been given over to the pantheon of Caln as a test for the true immortals. The Calnese Pantheon followers only proselytize in the sense that they are trying to reveal the false nature of the Pantheon of man. It is up to the audience to decide to accept the truth or to ignore it. Followers of the Calnese pantheon never ask other humans to join their churches. The sentient natives are required to worship them or face damnation, but humans can follow or not, just as long as they abandon the Pantheon of man. That a human would follow a Calnese god, then, is an honored measure of respect and trust between individual humans and the Calnese pantheon. The pantheon of man, on the other hand, is a typical cult worship style pantheon, in which each god has their needed sacrifices, and they lord over humanity as most of the ancient and modern gods of the pantheistic real world religions do. What citizens of Caln lack altogether, however, is a sense of a singular, infallible god, or a dualistic singular good god and singular ultimate evil opponent philosophy. The humans on Caln are quite homogenous in appearance. They come from Mideastern stock, and vary from pale skin with blue gray, hazel or green eyes and dark hair, to deep olive with brown eyes and dark hair, with an in-between state in skin color, and brown eyes being the dominant appearance. This homogenization is due in part to the fact that only a few tribes found their way to Caln, and also due in part to the long incarceration in Arynstar City. Humans of both genders are generally squarely built, and not inclined to be overweight, scrawny, stocky or gangly. Men and women both do not tend to be more than 6’ tall or less than 4’5”, and the average is around 5’ 3,” though history reveals that under the incarceration in Arynstar City, the average height of humans was closer to 6’5” due to the fact that while they were incarcerated they were sustained in nutrition and in
health. After the Diaspora, that began to change as humans began to depend on the land for their resources in a world unprepared for their habitation. As for other colors and types, Red hair is a spontaneous mutation that occurs only occasionally. Albinism is quite common amongst citizens of the Arynstar Undercity, where with lack of natural light, they do not suffer many the common effects of their condition. Blond hair is truly seen only in Arynstar as a result of that albinism. Dwarfism and gigantism are as rare among Calnese humans as they are among real world humans. Purplish-blue eyes with gold flecks and/or golden fingernails and toenails are a sign of hybridization with the native Linyth species. Hybrids and those that display these characteristics are cursed by the Calnese pantheon and revered by the pantheon of Man. If you have not already guessed, the root of the name Arynstar comes from the root word Aryan, referring in its classical definition to the Indo-Iranian cultures. To know what a Calnese human looks like, simply research the many cultures of Iran and its surrounding countries both past and present. Human languages on Caln are all derivatives of Sanskrit.
Music and Art
I encourage all forms of music and visual art with Caln as the Theme. The logo you see in the front is the symbol of the pantheon of Caln, and I will go into that later. I will try my best to give an accurate description of the creatures and places of Caln, and I hope that other writers will do the same. I am going to trust that those who wish to create music or visual art actually read the descriptions provided as they do their work. Other than that, it is as easy as writing fiction for the world. Simply make it and submit it. I am actually more lenient on visual art than I am with the fiction writing. Chances are, if you make something, it will probably be accepted.
I am a very large fan of games. I play dice and paper tabletop games on a regular basis and I am going to school for game design. I would like to be an integral part in the
creation of a game; either tabletop or digital, preferably commercial, but non-commercial as well. Contact me via my Scribd inbox if you are interested in starting this kind of project or if you are part of a company that is willing to pick this project up for use in the gaming industry.
Role of the Scribd Group
The role of the group is going to be vital to the success of this project. I have noticed while browsing fiction groups on Scribd that discussions seem to be largely ignored. I want this group to be active. It must be active to maintain communication between writers, and to bounce ideas off of each other. By communicating, we can put this world together. Initially, feel free to start a discussion introducing yourself. Then, it is ok to ask questions on the discussion page. I will put up good questions that I received in my inbox. Eventually, I will compile them and come up with a new article about the world. The idea is not to be afraid to share your ideas as a writer. I sort of get the sense from looking around that people are still afraid to share their ideas, tips, tricks, and methods. To create within the world of Caln is to let go of those traditional, protectionist ideals for a little while and feel that you are part of a greater creative process. By sharing within the setting of Caln, you are not going to lose your identity as a writer. In fact, you might even improve your writing as you explore and help to develop this open source world, and as you share with writers that are developing this world alongside you, you might get your own ideas for original works. Those, you may take wherever you wish.
Please expect that your writing is going to be critiqued and checked. Please do your best to follow at least the spelling conventions and a majority of the grammar conventions of the language you are writing in. Please consider the fact that every writer is human, and that every critiquer is human. Be constructive, not obstructive or destructive. If we are to learn together as
writers, we must be prepared for the observations of people who understand the nuances of written language, dialogue, and fiction writing. My hope is to have people here that come from all ages, and eventually to even have multiple languages involved. Just be polite, sensible, and mature. Don’t write anything about someone’s work that you wouldn’t want to receive about your own. Communication in a text only format is difficult enough. I do not want to kick people out. No flame wars. This goes for everything related to the group especially when it comes down to the discussion forum. No spam discussions. We know how to get to your profile by accessing your user name on scribd. They have made it easy to do this, and also to follow friends to different groups. Be kind and do not advertise on my group or spam inboxes with *Check this out* messages. I am fairly certain that most of us on Scribd are experienced enough internet users to understand what is appropriate and what is not. As for explicit content, Caln is supposed to be a dark and gritty world, but if you suspect that your work is too gritty for say, a fourteen-year old, please feel free to put up the explicit or adult content warning. I am going to trust my group members to adhere to Scribd’s policies on this. The total role of the group is to provide a place for our essays, articles, stories, and other derivitave works of the world of Caln to be stored, and also to provide a forum for discussion, alerts and critiquing if desired. That is about it for part one of this document. I will address part two in another upload, mostly because I feel the need to get this up urgently.
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