The World of Palgnon; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Swamp

9 Nov

Hey CWC! This is a brief (ish) summary of the world we built a few weeks ago for our worldbuilding unit.

Everyone collaborated on developing the basis for a world by selecting a genre, a general place, and a few key facts about the world. From there, we all split off into groups to work on our individual aspects.

The basic world was post-apocalyptic, although actually several hundred years after the actual apocalypse, while humanity is finishing the process of recovering. The apocalypse was caused by biological and nuclear warfare, so remaining health issues and mutated creatures are a frequent issue for the inhabitants. The area is a partially flooded swampland, and the denizens have built raised platforms and houses out from the trees to live in and travel across. The swamp is divided into city-states which are controlled by a deified dictator.

From there, things got cool!

The Lay of the Land

This is where I would leave the photo of the map we made, but…

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-48-46-pm

…anyway.

The basic tenets to take away from the map is that the city states are all clustered together in the central swampy location. The dictator’s home is in the city with the largest tree, where he lives with the rest of his court. The aristocracy lives in the lower branches / roots of the tree, while commoners are further away.

Surrounding the swamp is an area of flatlands where dangerous creatures like skunk-apes and—sigh—wizard alligators roam. As far as the civilians of Palgnon are concerned, civilized society ends where the swamp does, so there’s no telling what exists beyond the areas for the skunk-apes roam.

The Founding of Palgnon

According to myth, Deon (the god of the land) created humanity and placed them on earth so they could create lives for themselves. However, humanity is essentially corrupt and evil, and turned against Deon’s will. With their advanced weaponry and arrogance, they single-handedly began destroying each other—and the world that Deon had created for them.

Deon, disgusted by what He saw, decided the only solution was to wipe humanity out. However, he did not want to completely get rid of humanity, and in His infinite mercy, saved some of them. He appointed the man Zyarrion to be the leader of these chosen people, and entrusted with him the task of leading his people to a promised land and building a new society for them.

Zyarrion, being a devout man, gladly undertook Deon’s task, and lead the group of survivors to the swamp which had been marked for them by Deon and which is now known as Palgnon. Zyarrion is remembered as a great man—a peacemaker who brought order to deeply troubled times and assisted Deon in restoring the world to a more proper one. The people of Palgnon are his descendants, and they revere his memory.

The land was chosen because it was a place where a nuke was dropped but did not detonate. The people believed this was the sign from Deon that they were looking for and built their city around it. Over time it has sunk deeper and deeper into the ground, but it still sleeps under the city. Over the years the story changed from a nuke to a sort of beast, known as the Telem, which sleeps underground awaiting orders from Deon. Should the people of Palgnon ever fall once again to corruption, it is believed that Deon will awaken the beast once more and let it destroy the remainder of humanity for good.

Political and Religious Structures

The ruler of the unified city-states of Palgnon is the dictator, or Zyarri. Zyarris are also religious leaders, and are believed to be inhabited by the spirit of Zyarrion. When a Zyarri dies, the next successor is chosen from the monks by the highest-ranking priest or priestess based on a vision they receive. The selected monk then undergoes a special ceremony to inherit the spirit of Zyarrion and the Zyarri before them.

There are six city-states in Palgnon, the first being the church state Zogeshes Katem, where the Zyarri and their court resides. The other city-states are Tokem, Poshton, Agrashon, Gogushem, and Pemashes. These city states also receive the “Katem” suffix in formal situations where the city should be referred to by its full and proper name. The individual cities are lead by priests from the court of the Zyarri. Communication between the cities is handled by messengers with swift feet and clear memory, who are known as Shonprivem.

Social Customs

Each of the city-states hosts a fast during different times of the year, in order to ensure enough food is available for everyone.

All six city states celebrate “Vaenar Zoles” (which roughly translate to “doom day”), a week-long celebration in which the people of Palgnon give thanks for being saved. Celebrations come to a high point on dictator day, when Palgnonians flood the streets of Zogesesh Katem. During this massive musical festival, skunk-ape skin drums and bone flutes are played wildly until sunrise. The rising of the sun announces the new year.

Children enter adulthood by hunting and successfully killing a skunk-ape at age 14 or 16. If successful, they lose the neutral -em ending of their names and instead gain a masculine -ion or feminine -s.

Houses are built into trees with scrap metal. High-ranking houses use cleaner and nicer metal; lower-ranking houses are a bit more grungy looking.

Travel is conducted on foot on solid ground or with paddleboats in the flooded areas of the cities. Treehouses are connected by pathways in the canopies of trees, lit by lights strung along them. Many locations have pulley-operated elevators in the trees which facilitate movement of people and items.

Palgnon has a lot of pre-apocalyptic materials and technologies, especially military ones, and survive mainly on hydroelectric energy.

Gasmasks feature rather prominently as well–they are frequently worn in battle or while hunting due to the toxic gases emitted throughout the swamp. People have come to decorate the gasmasks with warpaint-like designs over the years.

 

There’s a lot more random info circulating about Palgnon, but this is a very basic overview! We may or may not be using this for our plot-building exercise tonight, but even if we don’t, I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Palgnon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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