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    Daemon

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    Default Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    The region known now as Ikela was once ruled by an Evil Dragon Empire (EDE) with its Evil Dragon Knights (EDK) and draconids[0]. And then, X years ago, [the people | a band of heroes][1] rose up, and with the aid of the khalasaa (sea people) and a group of rebel/other Not-Evil dragons and their Good Dragon Knights, overthrew the Evil Dragon Emperor and freed the land.

    Pretty stock origin story. The real question is what is X?

    Parameters:
    1) This event should have faded into "founding myth". The sort of thing that the nobles bring out to justify their reign (claiming to have been descended from that band of heroes), the sort of thing that the commoners look back on as the "golden age" compared to the current "dirty present", when their ancestors kicked out the evil regime (with mutterings that maybe it's that time again). But no one alive[2] should have any personal knowledge, or even second-hand knowledge. No one alive should have known anyone who was alive at that time, ideally with at least one full generational gap (so the grandparents of today's old folks might have known people who were alive at that time, but likely only their grandparents).
    2) Lifespans are roughly "normal". 60-80 years, roughly 20 year generations.
    3) Important: It cannot be between about 275 and 225 years ago. There's another worldwide event that happened 251 years ago that I want to avoid[3].
    4) I want it to have enough cultural resonance that dragons, dragonborn-esque races, and dragon knights are all stigmatized, but not abhorred. Of course the areas closest to the friendly dragon group will not have this attitude, and may even have the reverse (a net positive attitude instead of a net negative attitude).
    5) Tech level is typical D&D anachronism. Mostly literate, but pre-industrial.
    6) Current government is quasi-fantasy-feudal. Nobles, a king, some middle class (merchants and skilled craftsmen, burghers), and lots of peasants (although no serfs, all taxed free farmers with at most short-term indentured debt/post-criminal servitude).

    [0] Humans changed by exposure to dragon "influence", sort of dragonborn-esque. Many of the servants of the EDE, including many of the EDK, were draconid.
    [1] Depending on who you ask. This should be fuzzy; everybody claims the mantle of the "liberators".
    [2] Except maybe some of the dragons still around, but they're not talking/aren't around for normal people to ask.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-09-19 at 08:46 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    My generic answer would be 50 years before people were writing. Once it's in writing, the myth can last until there's a break in writing or people start having a problem with the myth.

    So that thing 275 and to 225 years ago, I think maybe you should decide how that effected the EDE or the post dragon society, and decide which side of that it should go on. Without knowing the thing, I'd say dragon revolution first, golden age for 50 to 150 years, then this other calamity (and some changes in governance during), then 225 years of the elite accumulating power and wealth.

    Maybe with some coups, civil wars, and succession crises, and what-not during living memory to make this age seem less golden.
    Excuses and explanations are different.

    Sometimes when there can be no excuses we must look the hardest for explanations.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    I'd make it more recent than your 225 year cutoff.

    Major group grudges in our world commonly involve real or alleged current oppression. And the exceptions generally involve events that occured within the past 110 years {Scrubbed}
    Last edited by truemane; 2021-09-21 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Scrubbed

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Quizatzhaderac View Post
    My generic answer would be 50 years before people were writing. Once it's in writing, the myth can last until there's a break in writing or people start having a problem with the myth.

    So that thing 275 and to 225 years ago, I think maybe you should decide how that effected the EDE or the post dragon society, and decide which side of that it should go on. Without knowing the thing, I'd say dragon revolution first, golden age for 50 to 150 years, then this other calamity (and some changes in governance during), then 225 years of the elite accumulating power and wealth.

    Maybe with some coups, civil wars, and succession crises, and what-not during living memory to make this age seem less golden.
    The event 251 years ago was (in this part of the world) basically three major things:
    1) environmental upheaval. Changed landshape (ie land rising/falling where it wasn't before), so sea level changes. Although relatively mild.
    2) Diminished magic. Specifically, basically
    2a) if you were a divine caster, you couldn't cast any spells (all the gods were dead for ~50 years).
    2b) if you were a primal caster (ie druids/rangers/etc), things were erratic because the nature spirits were mostly in hiding/non-responsive.
    2c) if you were an arcane caster, there was a period of about 50 years where existing spell knowledge worked, but only poorly. High chance of failure, especially for anything over ~5th level. After that period, you had to completely re-learn/re-research most of your spells, because a lot of them fundamentally changed (new god of magic, new spells to replace the ones he didn't like).

    Mainly, I don't want to tie the end of the EDE in with the Cataclysm, because too many other things are tied in there and I want this to be independent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey View Post
    I'd make it more recent than your 225 year cutoff.

    Major group grudges in our world commonly involve real or alleged current oppression. And the exceptions generally involve events that occured within the past 110 years, e.g. ones connected to WW2, genocide, or colonial occupations that lasted at least until WW2.
    That was my dilemma. I'm walking a wire--I need to involve dragons in a relatively heavy way (to explain why dragonborn exist in this area at all, when the "natural"[1] race isn't anywhere around here, as well as to explain why there are dragon knights but they're relatively unknown), but I don't want the dragons to be dominant here; I don't want most of the narrative of this place to revolve around them. So they can't be recent or still in power, but they can't be forever ago so no one remembers either. Because in that latter case, the dragonborn (which require a relatively recent presence of dragon involvement, since that form don't necessarily breed true without that) wouldn't really exist or would be too weird and exceptional. Which bugs me.

    [1] not natural at all, they're an artificially-created "stabilized" form that required significant "engineering" (and atrocities) to create. Although the current ones don't bear any stigma from that, since that happened nearly 1k years ago and caused a half-continent-scale magical-nuclear civil war when people found out about the atrocities involved.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Because in that latter case, the dragonborn (which require a relatively recent presence of dragon involvement, since that form don't necessarily breed true without that) wouldn't really exist or would be too weird and exceptional. Which bugs me.
    Unless there some rule I'm unaware of, the child of two dragon born is a dragon born, yes?

    If there were enough dragon born around at the revolution, they could have formed their own ethnicity. That would just require about 500 people that were in mutual contact.

    Or maybe two ethnicities. The golden dragon born, who are related to the "good" dragons . The bastard dragons, who are descended from alienated children of the bad dragons who sided with the rebels. Descendants of those on the wrong side actually exist, but aren't claimed.
    Excuses and explanations are different.

    Sometimes when there can be no excuses we must look the hardest for explanations.

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    It's a common trope in fantasy worlds for history to move much more slowly than it does in ours. But if you don't want to lean into that -- and if people's views in your world of atrocities are similar to the views in ours -- then for reasons previously stated I wouldn't go too far back.

    What I would suggest is that you work out a sequence of events that happened, with developments occurring perhaps in as little as 10 years or as much as 50.

    {Scrubbed}

    If we spelled that out in enough detail to risk unwelcome-in-this-forum political discussions, it would be clear that significant change occurred in any 40-year period you'd care to name, and indeed in most 20-year ones. {Scrubbed}

    So what I recommend is that you work out a few mileposts of how attitudes changed, and then decide how much time passed between each pair of successive markers. I'm guessing you'll be satisfied with something like a 150-year timeline.
    Last edited by truemane; 2021-09-21 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Scrubbed

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Quizatzhaderac View Post
    Unless there some rule I'm unaware of, the child of two dragon born is a dragon born, yes?

    If there were enough dragon born around at the revolution, they could have formed their own ethnicity. That would just require about 500 people that were in mutual contact.

    Or maybe two ethnicities. The golden dragon born, who are related to the "good" dragons . The bastard dragons, who are descended from alienated children of the bad dragons who sided with the rebels. Descendants of those on the wrong side actually exist, but aren't claimed.
    Very very different world and assumptions. Basically there are two types of "dragonborn" (the game-mechanical race). each with different origins.

    1) "True" dragonborn. These are the n-th generation children of a true-breeding group of artificially-created individuals, created by fusing shards of dragon souls with unborn human children via blood magic. They only exist in one small area of one continent.
    2) Dragon-touched[0]. These are the result of humans (or hobgoblins[1]) being born in areas heavily saturated with dragon influence. Tribes that serve dragons directly (especially ancient dragons, and especially-especially flights of multiple dragons including an ancient) find that some of their children are born dragon-touched. But their children might not be. Especially if the dragon influence is diminished. However, "throwbacks" can occur for many generations thereafter, mostly at random.

    The dragonborn in this particular area are all type 2, ie dragon-touched. There are no true dragonborn there since the true dragonborn homeland and this place have never been in direct contact, and haven't even been in indirect contact since the true dragonborn were created. Which means that there had to be a significant continuing dragon influence, or at least the memory of such a thing. I don't want lots of dragonborn walking around. Not even as a known minority. It should be a throwback oddity which could happen to any family (with varying results depending on the family; some might abandon the kid at an orphanage or the streets, others might cloister them, yet others may say "well, that's different" and carry on, but it should be rare).

    [0] This same process, with different forms of influence, actually explains most of the "weird" races. Genasi? Elemental plane-touched. No genie sex here. Aasimar? Astral[2] plane-touched. Angel sex optional (and usually the cause of falling), and no guardian angel necessary (5e version of aasimar). Tieflings? Fiendish influence. This one has lots more "direct" influence, due to the nature of such things. But may not. People born in areas that worship and summon devils are much more frequently tiefling, even if both parents were 100% human. Even a lot of the other races such as the azer follow this pattern (fire-elemental touched dwarves). Kobolds are the result of dragon-touched goblins. Halflings were the result of wild-magic touched goblins.

    [1] humans are the artificial result of "stabilizing" hobgoblins with elven influence long ago. My goblinoids are...different.

    [2] Very different planar structure, somewhat of a mashup of 4e + 5e + a bunch of my own influence. Gods, angels, and devils all live in the Astral, and most "angels" people meet are actually devils who are just on assignment from an ascendant (rather than being summoned by a mortal). Those scary shapes that devils take are mostly just traditional/contractual. Their real shapes...aren't really shapes at all, as they're made from diffuse anima and bound together by True Words (as opposed to the "real" soul of a mortal).
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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    I suppose the main thing would be to decide whether you want the Big Thing to have happened before or after the Founding Myth. If before, I'd put the Founders around 180 years before now--time for them to conquer, consolidate, and begin to decline. If Big Thing happened later, I might put the Founding about 400 years ago, and then Big Thing had an effect on the realm, perhaps a change like the Roman Republic changing to Empire.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    Unfortunately, the mods saw fit to censor my post, to which I'd devoted considerable effort.

    I wish you good fortune in the world-building to come.
    Last edited by Corey; 2021-09-23 at 12:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    Well I would set it before your other cataclysm from what you said.

    Why?

    Because as player i would likely tie it to that anyway in history just as a delayed effect.
    During the cataclysm this empire cracked down on dissent, became more of a command economy, started exploiting marginal land, etc etc and while that got them through alright afterward the changes led to corruption, dissent, destruction of said marginal resources, etc that eventually led to revolution a generation or so later.

    Also you could have the revolution be quite young at the tie of the cataclysm and was possibly quite different between founding and the cataclysm vs post cataclysm. Allow you to paint whatever you need for ideas of founding myths without a huge question of the "how the changes happened" or dealing too much with any hypocrisy that may exist between founding myths (and the ideal proclaimed therein) and what is going on now.



    That said you could HAVE the revolution be a delayed effect of the cataclysm in a way. That while the empire made it through the changes that occurred (again probably internal organization and societal ones) left the empire unstable and more open to such a revolution. It was a direct one to one but it contributed. It was the scale that fell off, but the revolutionary party still had to shoot the arrow to hit it.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    I ended up setting it about 150 years ago (so ~100 after the event). Based on the timeline and talking to people[1], that seemed reasonable. The "historian"'s reasoning was that the Cataclysm weakened the neighboring dragons (the good ones) in a way that it didn't the Empire (because both geography and differences in magical style), which led to the Empire invading the good dragons. Which broke the Law of the Flight (which forbids such dragon-on-dragon-via-mortals wars), which allowed the good dragons to openly back the rebels.

    Basically, the Empire had become fully rotten and lax, over-extended itself because it saw a neighbor being weak, which made it vulnerable to a feint attack from teh good dragons and the neighboring tritons (who hadn't been enslaved because it was too difficult to get at them under the sea, but who had been paying tribute) as well as human rebellions, while the rebel human heroes[2] went in to destroy the evil dragon's secret power source. The head good dragon then was able to pin down the (weakened) evil dragon for the assembled forces to kill.

    This is muddled entirely by a different event about 4 years ago, which scrambled all the history books and a lot of longer-term memories of some events. That's campaign-related timey-wimey "stitch local history back together from a thousand fragments of alternate histories because someone did a dumb at the wrong place and a good chunk of time got...erased? Consumed? No one knows" mess. The scholars are fighting through all of their primary sources disagreeing with each other. And even disagreeing with themselves. Anything outside of living memory (and even a chunk of living memory around the event) are scrambled. Thankfully it was contained to just this region.

    [1] trying to figure out how long ago the oldest people would have known people. Based on talking to my dad about which of his ancestors he talked to, then extrapolating to even older people, 150 years seemed like a good minimum. And any further back would have run into the Cataclysm's direct after-effects.

    [2] who the current nobility claims descent from, but the peasants believe otherwise.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-10-06 at 06:00 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Figuring out when an event took place: National Founding Myth

    Using kingdom of Hungary as an example, the origin myth of Kingdom of Hungary was written down in it in ~1200. We know from other sources (Byzantines, mostly) that Magyars arrived in the Panonian basin in ~900 and took over.

    By the time Gesta Hungarorum was written, 300 years after the events, the details of those events were little more than tall tales - the names of kings and kingdoms were wrong, their borders were at wrong places and so forth, and the Magyars forgot where, exactly they came from. We still don't know for sure to this day. Even ethnicities of some of the most powerful noble houses in Hungary at the time Gesta was written weren't right, turning at least two Slavic families into Germans.

    This is all with the Byzantine chronicles from 900 available to the contemporary historians, at least in theory. That gvives you a pretty solid estimate of "definitely okay after 300 years even with written records". For non-written ones, there was a sort of administrative overhaul in Hungary in about 1000, when a lot of things started to be written down, various chancelleries were established and so on - it's quite possible that some sort of written account that Gesta Hungarorum drew from was made at this time and later lost.

    So, without written records, you have a real world case of things being lost after only about 100-150 years. This being the early medieval period, median length of life was 40 years at best, so you get 8 generations for written and 3-4 for unwritten.
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