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What Is Vostau Doing Today?

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Hello, and welcome to What Is Vostau Doing Today?, my fun little corner of this forum that attempts to journal my happy funtime adventures through diachronism to eventually work on making an interesting, fleshed-out modern country with an interesting history of my own. The purpose of this thread is threefold - to document my thoughts and ideas as I go through them, to share my progress to anyone who is interested in dry articles about fictitious culture groups with minimal impact on the events of Eurth, and perhaps most importantly, to gain feedback on what and how I'm doing, especially if people have interesting ideas that I could use to augment my 'wurldbuilding'.

My aims for Vostau:

After watching a lot of Sharpe and Hornblower recently, I undertook the simple yet relatively dangerous decision to create a new country in NationStates. No, this is not my first country here, I have been here off-and-on for about 10 years. The bit that gets me excited about NationStates is the wurldbuilding, and so I decided that I wanted to make a nation set in the 18th Century, likely then at the height of its power. Similarly, I decided that I wanted to make the country's geography somewhat like Iberia's. Mainly, I absolutely adore the history of how Iberia came together, with so many different people groups inhabiting the Iberian peninsula at different times and carving their own nations out of the land there. So that's two things - a map similar to Iberia, and a lot of power in the 18th Century. 

Only problem was coming together with it. I could have thrown together a map and said 'this is where my country is', but it felt far too open-ended and... Well, just wrong. As I was making coats of arms for my ruling dynasty (the same coat of arms you may see as a flag on my profile) I realised that if I wanted something that really felt unique and realistic-ish, I would have to start from the ground up. Thus, I introduce the word I have been completely overusing on this forum so far - diachronism.

Simply put, diachronism is essentially when you wurldbuild from history to the present, rather than making the present and coming up with historical justification for it afterwards. Both systems (diachronism and not) are great, and have their own merits, but for this project, I knew that I wanted that little bit of extra chaos that diachronism could offer me. So, I joined Eurth (because of the map and active community, and because the history is already kinda fleshed out in many respects), and I began my journey towards Vostau.

Early Steps - Creating the Base of Vostau:

Since I knew kind of where I wanted to be going, I knew what I had to draw inspiration from. Which, in my case, being inspired by Iberia, was the pre-Carthaginian (and importantly both pre-Roman and pre-Andalusian) Iberian peninsula. Because the Iberian peninsula was not always the relatively linguistically unified region we know today. Ancient Iberia has perhaps the most well-preserved (archaeologically and anthropologically speaking anyway) collection of pre-Indo European languages we have available to us. The three I mainly wish to draw attention to are the Aquitanians, the Iberians and the Turdetanians/Tartessians, though additionally the Celts of Iberia (referred to, imaginatively, as Celtiberians) and those other Indo European languages, also make for a fascinating group.


So, I decided that since all art must come from somewhere, I could easily follow some of the developments of early Iberia for Vostau. Specifically, I decided that I wanted three culture groups endemic to the landmass that are completely without relatives elsewhere, one tribal culture group to come from elsewhere and invade very successfully, before finally everything coalesces into an Empire analogous to the Roman Empire. This period, from prehistory to the beginning of 'Imperial-occupied Vostau', is my first 'era' that I'll work on.

Specifically, looking at the map, the Tartessian analogue was the most interesting one. See, Tartessia was a very powerful and civilised city state. Much of their power came from the fact that they had the most illusory yet sought-after resources in the bronze age - tin. Tartessia traded tin with most of the trade cities in the western (and even beyond) Mediterranean. Long story short, I wanted some of that sweet, sweet Tartessian tin for my analogue people. Thus, I created the Thafonic culture.

Envisioning Thafon

My vision for Thafon is of a city state surrounded by scores of very complex treaty-based relations. Tartessia was not a city-state that conquered and controlled its neighbours, rather it became so caught up in their affairs that it was indistinguishable from an overlord. This idea was the same as my idea for Thafon. So, I re-used an old conlang I had lying about, changed up some of the phonology and orthography, and named the whole thing - 'Thafon' being 'city' and 'vizon' (the river that Thafon lies on) being 'river'. Truly, the extent of my imaginative naming of places knows no bounds...

As it stands, I have a macro-history set out for Thafon - an idea of where it will come from and go to. Thafonic tribes are minor trading tribes until about 1400 BCE, when Thafon becomes an urban regional power, possibly even a great power, until the tin trade dries up and Thafon is invaded by our next main ethnic group, the Gauli, heirs to another old conlang I had knocking about. Interestingly, despite the Gauli being inspired by the Celts, the word 'Gauli' is not etymologically related to the word 'Gaul' or 'Gael', but instead roughly translates to 'tribe'. Similar to how the Indo-Iranian people groups often use derivations of 'Iran' in referring to themselves (Aryan, Iron, Alan etc. all being examples of this), the Gauli (in my mind) often (though not always) refer to themselves as Gauli, or just 'the tribe', only being specified as different elsewhere.

Action - What Has Vostau Done Today?

So, for today's list of 'What I have done' (though if I'm honest, it also includes yesterday's work, heheh), we have the following:

  • Founded Vostau (yay!) with an idea of where I wanted it to go.
  • Made my applications here for RP purposes.
  • Wrote the following IIWiki articles:
    • Thafonic civilisation - detailing the ins and outs of Thafonic civilisation and the city of Thafon itself.
    • Thafonici - all about the people group that the Thafonic civilisation belongs to.
    • Orestaii - a stub that will become an in-depth look at one particular tribe of Thafonici.
    • Thafonic patriarchy - a stub about the political entity that ""unified"" the Thafonici underneath the city of Thafon's rule.
    • Vestu - a stub for one of the other three endemic culture groups of the Vostau peninsula - my analogue for the Iberian cultures.
    • List of the Pre-Calresian peoples of the Vostau peninsula - a list which will be constantly expanding, detailing the cultures of Vostau and their languages prior to the invasion of the Calresian Empire.

So, what now?

My plan from here is to work in decreasingly-sized eras and detail the ins and outs of every period. I aim tomorrow to delve into the history of the Early Patriarchy era (1400-1100 BCE - the pre-patriarchy stuff can be quite vague, I feel, as that was also pre-writing, and is also decidedly less interesting to me). Things I wish to sort out soon enough:

  • The Thafonic writing system, and how it would look in its earliest runic form in the Early Patriarchy era.
  • Continue work on the Thafonic language.
  • The tribal makeup of southwestern Vostau in 1400 BCE.
  • Military technologies and cultural military style of the time.
  • Civic titles and their origins.

Anyway, this isn't intended to be a "look at how much I'm doing" necessarily. Partly it's to help me decide where I go in the future, and to offer a chance at feedback if it's offered. Watch this space if you want to, and even if not, I look forward to working with as many people as possible, thank you for reading part or all of my spiel!

Edited by Vostau (see edit history)
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Hi there, and welcome again to What Is Vostau Doing Today? 

I've decided to merge yesterday and today as the things I've done on each individual day are less than I'd have hoped to do (I have some study that I've now completed, so we're all good). In any case, here are some of the things that I've done.

Tribes and people groups:

Perhaps lists are not worth too much, but I have been making a list of the early inhabitants of Vostau. I had tentatively named the people group that would come after these guys 'Calresian', but that name no longer works with my current conception of events. In any case, I'm basically going to work on the bronze age stuff, get excruciating detail with that, then move on. That list contains every current people group I have yet made for Vostau, and will be updated further with the early bronze age tribes and tribal groups as they need or as I give context to each of them. Most of these names have been Latinised, just because I like the Latin convention of naming tribes and people groups, but each of them have a meaning in the languages I'm constructing for each major people group. However, I have made a conscious decision that I don't want to maintain a list of the etymologies of each, so that way I can either hazard a guess or make something up on the spot later on down the line, once the future history has been sorted out more. 

I also have various maps at some stages of development for the tribal locations through the bronze age. These are meta-resources - there is no way that historians of the time would have been able to gather information even this accurate. Here, for an example, is a map of the Vostau peninsula in 2500 BCE, about when attention was starting to be made to the resources and people of the peninsula by Mediargic traders;


Don't worry, there won't be a test on these, but this is the crucial first step in deciding place names for modern Vostau. Sometime in the future, once an empire has taken over the peninsula, it will name certain regions after rough translations of the tribal names of each group. So as Kronk might say; "Oh yeah. It's all coming together."

Further history:

I have been focusing on the history of the Thafonic Patriarchy for the moment, as it is probably the most interesting state on the peninsula. I have detailed Thafon's rise to prominence, and am detailing its highest point in history. I have yet to detail its fall, but I will hold off on that. I intend to detail what's going on elsewhere in the peninsula, to show how things are developing there too, as nothing is simply static. Likely, certain other urban centres would have been founded, emulating Thafon in all its tin-having, mercenary-using, slaving glory. I have begun trying to work out what society would be like for people in each main group, and it's likely that the main things I'll be RP'ing for the near future might be 'Day in the Life' sort of things, or something akin to it. 

Language and writing:

As you may have seen from the IIWiki article on the Thafonic Patriarchy, I have begun the process of detailing the Thafonic semi-syllabary. Based in part on the Phoenician script, the Thafonic script has some syllabic characters (that represent vowels and consonants), some vowel characters and some consonant characters. I have also begun to try and see what it would look like written. It doesn't look that nice to me, which is perfect for a rather primitive bronze age script, akin to the Paleohispanic and Iberian scripts of IRL history. And yes, it looks sloppy deliberately. You think ancient city-folk had time to make their scrawling look pretty? There are goats to look after! Anyway, here are some samples for perusal:


Again, I feel it'd be best to keep the meanings of these texts vague so that I can come back to them later and try to guesstimate what I wrote. Either way, I've worked out how to make simple-looking text fragments, so if you see more in future, that'll be why! 😛

In summary:

  • Have written in scant detail about the cultures of the Vostau peninsula in the bronze age.
  • Have worked on language stuff, including making a script for Thafonic.
  • Have begun to gain an idea of the history of the Thafonic people.
  • Wrote in the following IIWiki articles:

So yeah, some fun stuff all around, and I hope to keep working on this after work tomorrow. We'll see, anyway. Have fun everyone, I'll catch you all on the flipside!

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Hi there, and welcome back to What Is Vostau Doing Today? 

Unfortunately, today's post will be very short. Not because I haven't done anything, just because none of it really looks like much at the moment. It's all in preparation for later points. So, I shall write out the in summary. I guess it's my way of proving that I haven't given up on the project 😛

In summary:

  • Thafonici:
    • Have the history and settlements up to 900 BCE for all Thafonici tribes outlined. 
    • Have the culture mostly worked out (as in, how the tribes would have worked, etc.), just need to write it down concisely.
    • Have the Kings of Thafon up to 1105 BCE written down in this IIWiki page.
  • Vestu:
    • Have the culture mostly worked out (as in, how the tribes would have worked, etc.), just need to write it down concisely.
    • Beginning to work on the history and settlements.
  • Elmorici:
    • Adding a lexicon to the Elmorici language - about 400 words in. I'm planning for this to be the only native Vostauc language alive in the modern era, kind of a mix in situation between the Bretons and the Basque.
    • Beginning to work on the history and settlements.
  • General stuff:
    • Have written an outline of the history up to the modern day as a guideline. This includes the new plans with Sayf, and does not require a big empire like my original idea did.
    • Working on some maps. Got the rivers fully mapped out, with some (especially around Thafon) named, and some regions and waterways named also.
    • Wrote in some IIWiki articles - I plan that once I have the majority of the Bronze Age stuff sorted, I'll begin to work in earnest on the IIWiki articles.

Based on the progress made thus far, I think it is entirely possible that by next fortnight, I could be out of the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age. Watch out for roving bands of Gauli, a breakdown of earlier trade, and strange newer invaders from the north...

Anyway, yeah, a bit thin on the ground. No nice pictures today, as the ones I have been working on recently still need some work. Watch this space for (hopefully) less disappointment!

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On 4/8/2021 at 10:57 PM, Orioni said:

@Vostau — Very interesting reading. I have a question about your lore: where is the Natos complex and why did it change to Kesolon? https://iiwiki.us/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Thafon

Very good question! The Natos complex is located quite far from Thafon, near to the tribe of Xepurton (Cheroni). The notable thing about Xepurton was that it was by the sea, and Xepurton made booming trade in sea salt. The Thafonici, who used salt in funerary rites for nobility and the wealthy, made a trade agreement with Xepurton - salt for food and metals. They agreed. The Natos complex, built between Xepurton, Thafon and Tkesonepkon (Hepsoni), would use salt from Xepurton, and gold from Apkon (Laconi), to bury nobles and monarchs from Thafon in small, sealed stone structures. 

King Kesolon was a legalistic and well-governing King, whose reign saw the establishment of many trade routes, including what has been termed the Vizon-Pedh trade nexus - copper and tin from the upper Pedh and mid-Vizon, gold from Agepkon (Heptaroni), and Apkon (Laconi), and salt from the large salt mines of Ŋapurṯon (Natoni). The trade network was centred at the crossroads near to Marəkai (Rhasseni), and in that position, what with the increased quantities of salt and the other important resources that would be able to make the mausoleum there possible, the Kesolon Complex was founded, and the monarchs buried there for the remainder of the High Patriarchy and some of the Late Patriarchy era. 

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Hello again, and welcome to What is Vostau Doing Today, in a special m a n y   w e e k s   n o t   u p d a t i n g edition! Don't worry, just because I have not been updating here does not mean that I have not got some things to show you. Without further ado...

A map:


Now, some of you might be wondering what this map is. It's Vostau, yeah, but what does it show? Well, this map shows the rough political situation as of 300 CE. In the time that I've been away from here, I have managed to just about do some history. Not as much as I could have, but I'm going into intense detail, and even this is without names for most of the states here. But I can give you a rough overview of the people groups. 300 CE is a pivotal time in the history of Vostau, and so a lot of what I've got here will be applicable into the future. So - on with the tour.

If you remember my earlier people group map, there were three colours, yellow, green and red. Well, only two of those colour groups exist on this map at this point.

For the yellows, the Vestu people, there are two groups. The large conglomeration on the west coast is the remnants of the bronze age tribal structure of the Vestu - specifically, the Vausii and Temesti people groups. Over the course of the last few hundred years, their ranks have been bolstered by refugees fleeing from some of the other groups on this map, but we'll get to them later. In early years, they were probably the most advanced on the peninsula. In the 2000s BCE, they had adopted a pretty much wholly agricultural lifestyle, but later than that, many among them engaged in piracy along the Keelpijp coast, or rudimentary trade with outsiders. But as attention shifted from them to Thafon, further into the bay to their east, the Vestu people gradually lost their eminence. They are one of the least advanced people groups on the whole peninsula now, even when compared to their close cousins.

Inland a way, past the winding rivers as you move to the highlands, the people group marked in reddish-brown. They are the Meresti, another Vestu people group, though one with perhaps an even greater history than most, that had fallen so much further. The Meresti emerged as a confederation quite late in Vostauc history, around 1000 BCE, but at the height of Thafon's power, as a key opponent to the great city state and its surrounding Patriarchy. Cobbled together from the loose bands of Auosi deserters and Meresti pillagers, the confederacy had a meteoric rise, cutting a gash southwards into Thafon's patrimony. They might have thanked their god Sce, patron deity of rain, for their good fortune. But they weren't to know that another, more ruthless power had already been attacking Thafon, and that by weakening the Patriarchy, they were only opening the way up for them to invade the whole peninsula. After they had finished off Thafon, the new invaders turned to the Meresti, and drove them up into the mountains, where they yet remain. 

Let's travel to the east now, for the people group marked in red on my earlier map. These are the Elmorici, who live in two groups. 

The people opposite the Meresti, on the other side of what they call "the Giants' Table", lie the Conconii. Like the Meresti, they have a proud history, standing toe-to-toe with the mysterious Galli and the witch-men of the Toirii, who have both disappeared to the sands of history. The Conconii rose to prominence with their feet already in the mountains, but were driven further towards them over centuries of wars. They follow the god Awhi, who they believe gives and takes, offers great treasures and wonders, but will also test his children to ensure they are strong and independent. They might well see their current situation as another test from Awhi. But poor as their situation is, they remain alive, more than can be said for their kinsmen who lived in the region thousands of years ago.

Two of those groups were the Boanii and the Dovapari. They inhabited the semi-arid steppes that comprised the Asachal Peninsula, a sub-peninsula of the Vostau. Neither the Boanii or the Dovapari were particularly great warriors or farmers, thinkers or artists. In fact, if one were to look at their situation at the time of powers like the Galli, Thafon, the Conconii, the Meresti and such, one would assume they would be lost to history as a footnote. However, the poor land that they made their homes, and their position off to the side of every major power's path, proved to be their strength. The peninsula was largely defensible, and since the land was arid and, for the most part, unwanted, they were able to unite their people groups, the Asachali, and fight as hard as they could, and that was enough to defend their land. Even now, though, their grip is slipping. But a later people group might prove to be their unlikely salvation...

Moving onwards, the large blue fields that have painted Vostau were not present on the first map. These are the Gauli, represented here by two clans of Lathi, one of Scylha and one of Gauli-proper. The Gauli are ruthless invaders and rabid colonisers. In their great invasion of Vostau, they must have killed many thousands, maybe millions, in what would best be termed a genocide. While most of the people groups in ancient Vostau fought battles that could almost be called ceremonial - they killed, yes, but they never reaved, raped, pillaged or plundered - the Gauli did all of those things. Most notably, they took every chance to chase down their fleeing opponents, destroy their tribal villages and burn their wheat fields. The Gauli believed that manner of invasion to be a mercy - they see imprisonment and slavery as the ultimate crime, the fruits of one's own labour to be more honourable than the fruits of someone else's, and brotherhood as crucial, even as far as collaboration amongst tribes and a relatively complex legal system. 

To the southeast, the Gauli-proper have almost forgotten how to fight. Having invaded into Vostau in 2000 BCE, they have come far. One might say they represent (currently) all that is good of Gauli society - an independent will, made of brotherhood and law. To the southwest, the Scylha most definitely have not. They have spent the past few hundred years wiping out the Thafonici and the Vestu people. Themselves a cross-breeding of Elmoric and Gauli traditions, they fight hard, and see themselves as holy and honourable warriors. To the north, both east and west, the Lathi lie. A different culture to most Gauli, where women are given high place in the tribe and inheritance is strictly regulated. But they fight just as hard as the rest of them, the easterners against the Asachali and the westerners against the Vestu. 

The Gauli people groups operate under a strange system of spoken-word vows. Each tribe has a vow with the next tribe, and the next tribe beyond that, all of them acting independently, but given how important spoken-word vow is to the Gauli, while it would be tricky to mobilise them all, they are more closely related and allied than most of the earlier people groups were in Vostau - perhaps what allowed them, above anything else, to invade so successfully. But there is a final people group yet unmentioned who promise to change things.

They call themselves Ruageut. They are not endemic to Vostau like the Elmorici or Vestu, nor have they been on the peninsula for thousands of years like the Gauli. They arrived in the year 282 CE, under the command of their lord, who went by the epithet "Blakar" - 'Black Eagle'. By 302, Blakar would be dead, and his first son Ernfara would be dead by 310. But Blakar promised that, no matter how many of his countrymen the Gauli tried to throw back into the sea, they would keep coming...


So I'll admit, I let myself get a little bit ahead when it came to history. I'm still in ~2100 BCE in terms of language, and most of the tribes, other than the major tribal names, I only have in untranslated and unevolved forms. But it's coming along nicely, and I have no doubt that I soon ought to be caught up in terms of language and such. 

A really awful summary:

So that's a large amount of what I've been doing. I've also done some work on the flora and fauna of Vostau, but though I've got a lot of stuff there, it's nowhere near any kind of presentable stage. But yeah, that should give you an idea of where I am, where I have yet to go, and what kind of things you may expect going forward! Watch this space, as always, and have a good one!

Edited by Vostau
Fixed to Ruageut, added better map (see edit history)
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