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Old 06-22-2021, 04:03 PM   #1
Sam Baughn
 
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Default Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

Yrth was populated by people from Earth and a lot of their culture has been preserved, but it isn't always clear which populations gave rise to which Yrth nation.
  • Megalos is kind of like the Byzantine empire, only their religion is more like Roman Catholicism, and they speak a Germanic (with a bit of Romance influence) language, and have a bunch of imperial Roman ideas.
  • Araterre is French, but due to geography and cultural mixing probably more like the early-modern French Caribbean than medieval France.
  • Caithness is theoretically similar to Megalos, but seems to have a more Western European feel, with some Celtic names and a more feudal society. I suspect it is meant to be a lot like medieval Britain.
  • Al-Haz is Shi'ite, but seems to be more Arab than Persian, since Arabic is apparently their main language. Without knowing which branch of Shia they follow, it's hard to guess where they come from; the main possibilities seem to be Zaidis from Yemen and/or central Arabia, Zaidis from Morocco and/or Spain, or (I think most likely) Twelvers from Iraq.
  • Al-Wazif is Arab and Sunni, which could mean they were drawn from anywhere in the Arabian peninsula or North Africa. There is apparently a significant Isma'ili population in the west of the country, who seem to be descended from those in northern Iran (i.e. the area around Alamut). If people from roughly the same region got dumped together by the Banestorm (which seems to be the case) that could argue for the Wazifis being descended from people living near to modern-day Iran. Alternatively (I think this is more likely), they could have been part of the same group which formed Al-Haz, assuming they came from Iraq.
  • Cardiel seems to have had a significant Christian and Jewish population even before the Megalan conquest, so I'm inclined to say they were taken from Spain (especially because GURPS Fantasy: Tredroy specifies that the Jews of Tredroy are Sephardic and speak Ladino, which is close to Spanish).
  • The Nomad Lands are a mix of various northern Eurasian cultures, from Ireland to Siberia, but Scandinavia seems to be most influential.
Does that seem about right?
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

I think it is best to think of nations on Yrth as embodying different tropes in 20th century English-language fiction. Those tropes are often inspired by real cultures, but Megalos is the EVIL EUROPEAN EMPIRE, Araterre is the French Swashbucklers + 1600s buccaneers setting, Caithness is the Arthurian land, the Nomad Lands are VIKINGS!, Al-Wazif is ARABIAN NIGHTS + Romo-Persian wars, and so on.

Like the Hyborean Age, the setting is an excuse to allow different kinds of story in one setting. Its a bit more "rational" than the Hyborean Age's omnium gatherum, but it was designed as an adventure setting first (and it had to allow for the adventures of my SCA buddies in a fantasy world where everyone speaks old timey English even if 4e plays that aspect down).
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
  • Al-Haz is Shi'ite, but seems to be more Arab than Persian, since Arabic is apparently their main language. Without knowing which branch of Shia they follow, it's hard to guess where they come from; the main possibilities seem to be Zaidis from Yemen and/or central Arabia, Zaidis from Morocco and/or Spain, or (I think most likely) Twelvers from Iraq.

Shia vs Sunni islam is a weirdly poor marker of culture, at least at a high level and compared to Christian vs. Muslim, Catholic vs. Orthodox, and so on. Shia Islam seems to follow Sunni Islam where-ever it goes. Shia states have popped up all over the middle east, ruling more or less all of it at one time or another (but never all at the same time). At the start of the crusades, the Shia center of power is in egypt, via the fatamids. Fatamid power was broken during the crusade period, by none other than the famed Saladin best known in the west for action during the third (and possibly most famous) crusade. Saladin was Sunni, and changed the official religion of the area to be Sunni. No other major Shia state would rise for another 300 years.



So if you need a simple answer, look at Fatimid Egypt. But seriously, a shia faction gaining power and declaring Al-Haz shia is entirely believable. draw from antolia, north africa, the levant, arabia, or persia.
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Old 06-23-2021, 10:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

And remember that the Banestorm was a long time ago. The 11th century is just around the time of the Western Schism (and the thinkers and high officials behind that stayed on Earth). Its the very beginning of the Persian literary revival (Ferdowsi died in 1026). Crusade theology arrives after the initial wave. So Banestorm nations should not have a precise analogy in our world ... if you threw a few thousand English people from 1080 together with a few hundred Castilians, Magyars, and Xinjiang city-folk (and ten highly educated Ethiopian Christians) culture and policy would start to rapidly diverge from anything in our world.

Iranians have ruled southern Iraq for a good fraction of the past 3,000 years (the current borders mostly come from a Safavid-Ottoman treaty) and many peoples in the borderlands traditionally migrate back and forth so even things like Iran vs. Iraq are complicated.

Edit: Yrth's Moslems don't have to worry about an unconquerable steppe full of Turks and Mongols, and they do not have contact with China or India. Just those are two gob-smacking cultural changes!
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Old 06-23-2021, 11:06 AM   #5
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culture and policy would start to rapidly diverge from anything in our world.
If Yrth was completely governed by rational cause and effect it should have. There are very significant examples of cases where this did not happen (languages for one).

Or curved swords for Islamics. Those came into the Islamic world mostly after the Banestorm.

Then there's trying to explain why the tech ban works.

I wouldn't bet anything about rational cause and effect on Yrth.
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Old 06-23-2021, 11:57 AM   #6
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If Yrth was completely governed by rational cause and effect it should have. There are very significant examples of cases where this did not happen (languages for one).
In 4e Yrth Anglish has no default to Modern English (p. 33)

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Or curved swords for Islamics. Those came into the Islamic world mostly after the Banestorm.
Where does GURPS Banestorm say that anyone uses sabres? I do not see it on p. 124 or 132. In general, GURPS books avoid details about low-tech weapons, and the art is not supposed to be technical.

In my Yrth, gunpowder just would not work because the principles of alchemy are not the principles of chemistry, and Yrth has gotten very few visitors from Earth in the past few hundred years. Since it is smaller and has fewer resources than "all of Earth", it never had an industrial revolution.
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:11 PM   #7
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In 4e Yrth Anglish has no default to Modern English (p. 33)

.
I was actually referring the unchanged nature of Classical Arabic.
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:54 PM   #8
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I was actually referring the unchanged nature of Classical Arabic.
Isn't Classical Arabic like biblical Hebrew, a language which is learned so people can recite and read sacred texts in a widely understandable way? The Yrthian equivalent of "tv announcer Arabic" might be more different though ... my understanding is that for political reasons, proud Arabic speakers often brush over the distinctions between different Arabics, just like proud Chinese speakers insist that the Sinitic language family is all one language unified by characters.

Edit: the cool thing about Yrth is that you can draw on different real-world inspirations. It is a setting designed to let the GM add details to parts she or he is interested in, not a setting with a Bible which must never be contradicted. If you think a bit of real-world culture is fun and fits the setting, pull it in! There are lots of reasons why something which was obscure on our Earth might be prominent on your Yrth and vice versa.
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:02 PM   #9
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Isn't Classical Arabic like biblical Hebrew, a language which is learned so people can recite and read sacred texts in a widely understandable way? The Yrthian equivalent of "tv announcer Arabic" might be more different though ...
Banestorm says not very different. Any speaker of Classical _or_ "Modern" Arabic (as if there were just one version of that) gets the Yrthian version at one level lower.
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
In my Yrth, gunpowder just would not work because the principles of alchemy are not the principles of chemistry, and Yrth has gotten very few visitors from Earth in the past few hundred years. Since it is smaller and has fewer resources than "all of Earth", it never had an industrial revolution.
IMHO way too much focus on gunpowder being this big game changer. In reality in world with readability accessible magic gunpowder wouldn't be really useful until mid ETL5.

Early cannons and guns were just as likely to blow up as to fire their projectiles and were more a psychological weapon - something a mage can do and they far less likely to blow up and take out the men around them.

As far as industrial revolution goes James Burke's Connections and Jean Gimpel's The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages show that the Middle Ages did have their own Industrial Revolution. Heck, the assembly line was known by the Roman Empire.

Ytarria is the only known continent on Yrth but as GURPS Banestorm states there are others. I have always assumed that the continent where Caravan to Ein Arris takes place was on Yrth.

More over it is heavily implied that Yrth is as large as Earth so its actual land area is unknown. There easily could be a gunpowder using continent that is just getting its ships strong enough to survive the rough and dangerous (powerful currents, wild storms, monsters, and supernatural strangeness) seas.
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