The World So Far: An uncharted and largely oceanic world, dotted by islands and coastlines, full of strange wonder, abundant resources and tropical beauty. An incoming force of humans, from a number of distinctly 16th century-feeling cultures, have sailed over the edge of their flat world to arrive here, to begin colonization and eventual exploitation of these resources. The local inhabitants, however, are powerful undersea kingdoms, full of dynastic struggle, ancient tradition and military might, and are quite unsure how to react to the presence of these foreign colonists.
I nearly forgot about Worldblogger this week. Whoopsie.
This week, we're talking undersea history and politics. As befits my Ancient Chinese model, the undersea kingdoms need to feel like these immortal powers, nations and cultures that have stood since virtually the dawn of time.
Looking to our map, we can see the world divides the most neatly into four seeming political territories, Kingdoms A-D:
The obvious parallel here is the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history, but I actually my needs are little more expansive. Rather than the Three Kingdoms originating from one large civilization, I think I'd want those divisions to be deeper, for the Three Kingdoms to have their own cultures, to better clash with the cultures of the incoming colonists.
Maybe Japan, China and Korea are better analogs?
In that case, Kingdom A seems the most obvious analog to the Japanese, based purely on geography. Distinctly isolated from the other three Kingdoms by distance and geographical barriers of islands, it makes sense the people of this sea would develop their own distinct culture, society and traditions. They presumably have trade with the other Kingdoms, Kingdom B at least, but trade doesn't seem to be their main practice, since they're so isolated. They'd need to be relatively self-sustaining.
Borrowing from the Japanese model, I could see them having a distinct martial tradition. If that's the case, the onset of the Colonists would maybe have an interesting affect on this particular civilization, if they'd perceive themselves as being invaded or at least encroached upon.
For Kingdom B, the next parallel seems to be China. Inhabiting the most terrain and centrally located, it seems like it would be a center of prosperity and trade. It probably maintains a powerful military as well, but I imagine its reluctant to use it – I like the idea that it's friends with everyone, seemingly. A powerful ally and a dangerous enemy, Kingdom B could crush an opposing civilization by restricting trade to flow through its borders.
I think, unlike Kingdom A, Kingdom B would support and favor the incoming Colonists, as they bring new technologies and new goods into the territories. Too large, too beneficent to possibly be threatened by a few measly wooden ships, Kingdom B doesn't seriously feel threatened by this sudden influx of colonists from another world.
Kingdom C, naturally, would become the Korea-analog. This is separating somewhat from actual Korean history, but I like the idea that Kingdom C used to be merely a province of Kingdom B that acquired its independence relatively recently. Therefore, I imagine its fiercely independent and guards its borders with impunity. This is a topic, certainly, for another day, but I wonder if the inhabitants of Kingdom C are actually a slightly different race than the inhabitants of the other two Kingdoms. I haven't decided, necessarily, whether all these undersea races will be of like species, but it's an interesting thought.
I do think I'll establish an ethnic divide there and assume that the C Kingdomers were oppressed under Kingdom B's rule. In fact, let's maybe even say that there's some dispute over that – records are not especially reliable about the original divide. Kingdom C claims one thing, Kingdom B claims another. Whatever the case, the wound is fresh and the two people have only recently established a peace between them.
That leaves just Kingdom D, a Kingdom I created on a whim whilst drawing the map. (See, kids, maps can be useful). This notion of different species, races or ethnicities continues to amuse me and I think I'll have the occupants of Kingdom D also be of a distinct race from the other three Kindgoms. The Mongols seem to be the parallel that comes to mind. Warlike, marginalized and prone to bouts of conquest, I like the idea that, every few generations, the people of Kingdom D rear up and come lashing out at Kingdom B, raiding and pillaging their settlements.
I think that's pretty decent for a conceptual idea of the Three Kingdoms!
Next Wednesday: Colonist Cultures!
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