Category Archives: Arnaron

Knowing the Past of Arnâron

Arnâron is a dying world, its glorious days long gone. Like life itself, civilization clings on desperately, and has been in a downwards spiral of famines, fatigue, and war related fatalities for centuries. In such a desperate situation, knowledge and technology are of the utmost importance to survival, but on the other hand a lot of “unnecessary” knowledge is lost as other things take priority.

How much, then, do the people of Arnâron know about their own past?

When we try to answer this question, we must distinguish between the learned scholars and the common people. In every remaining civilized society, there are those who know a lot of facts about the planet and the old societies – this knowledge is handed from one generation to the next because it could become useful in the constant wars. These learned men know about a lot of technology – for example about the great war machines that the ancestors used. In many cases they couldn’t build any of it, even if they had the resources – all the technical details have been lost. So for example, a scholar may know about nuclear physics, rockets, atom bombs, combat walkers, ray guns, and so on, but even if he’s given the full support of a nation he won’t be able to send men to the moons unless he rediscovers a lot of basic science and technology first. Likewise, a scholar will know of nuclear weapons as “terrible bombs that harnessed the power of the atom to devastate an entire city”, but he doesn’t know how it was achieved – what the “power of the atom” exactly is.

That’s what the experts know – the historians who deal with such matters regularly. The common people know much less. They know that their people were much more powerful in the past, and roughly what was possible back then. Compare it to what the average person in our time knows about, say, the middle ages. Ask them and they’ll list castles, and knights, and swords, sieges and the crusades, but they couldn’t tell historically accurate details, and they certainly wouldn’t, for example, know how to build a crossbow. The example isn’t the best, but I think it illustrates the principle.

Arnâron Language: Numbers and Plurals

When I said that I don’t have numbers, I wasn’t quite correct – I do have numbers, just no symbols for them.

Numbers

| Number | X-Sampa | Latin characters |
| ————- |:————- |:————-|
| 0 | nuR | nur |
| 1 | ki | ki |
| 2 | do | do |
| 3 | Re | re |
| 4 | so | so |
|5 | at | at |
|6 | mo | mo |
|7 | na | na |
|8 | ge | ge |
|9 | ji | yi |
|10 | ksi | ksi |
|11 | ksi ki | ksi ki |
|12 | ksi do | ksi do |
|20 | doksi | doksi |
|21 | doksi ki |doksi ki |
|22 | doksi do | doksi do |
|23 | doksi Re | doksi re |
|30 | Reksi | reksi |
|40 | soksi | soksi |
|50 | aksi | aksi |
|60 | moksi | moksi |
|70 | naksi | naksi |
|80 | geksi | geksi |
|90 | jaski | jaksi |
|100 | RaJa | ranya |
|200 | do RaJa | do ranya |
|201 | do RaJa ki | do ranya ki |
|1000| zanu | zanu |
|2345| do zanu Re RaJa soski at | do zanu re ranya soski at |
|10000| ksi zanu | ksi zanu |

I originally considered using an octal number system but decided against it for two reasons. First and foremost I wanted to keep it simple, and a base-8 system isn’t the simplest solution, the decimal system is. Secondly, since the inhabitants of Arnâron are biologically humans, and they have ten fingers, they are by far most likely to develop a decimal system.

Uncountables

| X-Sampa | Latin characters | Translation |
| ————- |:————- |:————-|
| nuR | nur | none, no-one |
| kidoRe | kidore | few |
| teRat | terat | some |
| namaR | namar | enough |
| geJa | genya | many, a lot |
| Ruj | ruy | everything, everybody, all |

Plurals

The language uses measure words to form plural or to specify the number or amount of anything. There are five measure words:

| X-Sampa | Latin characters | Used for |
| ————- |:————- |:————-|
| duJa | dunya | humans |
| uRu | uru | living things |
| tai | tai | unliving things |
| Ri | ri | uncountable things |
| wo | wo |abstract ideas |

“Uncountable things” takes precedence over “living things” and “unliving things”, but not over humans or abstract ideas. For example, a crowd of humans always uses the special humans measure word, even if the number of individuals is unknown or even unknowable. On the other hand, grass is uncountable – even though you could in theory count the individual blades of grass. However, if you actually have a defined number of blades of grass, they would become countable living things. This isn’t very different from how English handles it (“grass” versus “blades of grass”).

Another example is land: Land itself is uncountable (“He owns a lot of land”), but it can be countable (“He owns two acres of land”) or even an abstract idea (“Lands of plenty.”)

The use of different measure words may also change the meaning – compare everything: Ruj Ri (“everything uncountable-things-measure-word”) and everybody: Ruj duJa (“everything humans-measure-word”).

To complicate matters further, it is possible to use the measure words in ways other than their literal meaning. For example, one could use the “living things” measure word to quantify one’s enemies. The idea expressed, of course, is that they are “less than human”; a grave insult. It is even possible to go one step further. Referring to enemy soldiers as “unliving things” even further degrades them and implies that they already lost the battle – they are as good as dead.

Context makes a lot of difference as well. For example, one could refer to oneself as a “living thing” as a means to humble oneself, or when one wants to explain that one’s life is unhappy and depressing. A soldier may describe himself as an “unliving thing”, meaning that he is a servant of his master, a tool, a weapon of war, and will serve faithfully without questioning his orders. Or he could use it to show that it is only a matter of time before he will fall in battle.

Some examples

The following are in X-Sampa and native script:

Everything
: Ruj Ri (“everything uncountable-things-measure-word”)

Everybody
: Ruj duJa (“everything humans-measure-word”)

Everywhere
: Ruj Ri doR (“everything uncountable-things-measure-word place”)

Everything – The Universe
: Ruj wo doR (“everything abstract-concepts-measure-word place”)

Two women
: do duJa jina (“Two humans-measureword woman”).

A lot of water
: geJa Ri du (“Many uncountable-things-measureword water”)

I really need more words…

Alphabet of Arnâron – Final Draft

After way too many hours spent working on it, I proudly present: the alphabet of Arnâron. I’ll call it a “final draft” because I am sure I’ll still change some things around… But I think it’s roughly in its “final” form.

As a reminder, I covered the phonemes in an earlier post.

Alphabet - Final Draft
Alphabet - Final Draft

A quick sample, “Arnâron”:

Script Sample.
Script Sample.

Unfortunately, the vocabulary of the language doesn’t suffice for a much longer text, yet. I have the basic grammar down, and I can form plurals, but I am missing numbers, future/past tense, imperative, and so on, as well as quite simply a large number of even basic words.

I’ll get there… the main issue right now is that I really want to work on culture and nations, but to do so I need the language!

Designing a language is quite hard, if you’re going at it from a complete lack of any kind of linguistic knowledge. It’s easy to throw something random together, but I find it hard to make it not suck.

In the meantime, it looks like at least two other World Building Month participantsCirellio and LeLoOr – have discovered the joy of designing languages, and I’ll follow their designs with great interest. Hey, maybe we can make week 3 of WBM “language week”? 😉

The Script of Arnâron – Second Sample

Spent more time last night to work on the script. Current samples:

"Arnâron" in native script.
'Arnâron' in native script.
\"I think therefore I am\" in native language and script.
'I think therefore I am' in native language and script.

The first line simply reads “Arnâron”.

The second line reads “tonyo zu des ka zu” which means “I think therefore I am”.

You may notice that I flipped the “A”-triangles (/a/ and /A/ in X-Sampa) over to make for less eerie similarities. The “u” and “û” (“u” and “y” in X-Sampa) are now the two variations of the circle, while the “o” looks like a “u” – and is one of the glyphs I am really unhappy with. Same for the “ny” consonant (/J/ in X-Sampa).

I resisted the temptation to make the script right-to-left oriented, deciding I didn’t need the added headache.

The Script of Arnâron – First Sample

What’s even tougher than designing a language?

Designing the script for it.

I spent a goodly amount of time brainstorming on my alphabet today. In the end, I came up with 21 glyphs that will be the characters of the script… Except that I think they don’t really match each other stylistically. So there’s still a lot of work ahead of me. Still, I wanted to post a short sample just so that I have something to show for the many hours spent.

Script - First Sample
Script - First Sample

It reads “Arnâron”, of course.

Does it make sense that the “A” and “O” kind of look very similar to what’s in the latin alphabet? Well – the triangle and circle are just too simple to exclude them. And I figured since I’ll include them, it does make sense to use them in this way instead of confusing people by making the o-glyph stand for, say, “e”.

That said, it is very much a work in progress, and I am sure I’ll change a lot of characters around.

Schedules and plans

Time is always an issue. I have a regular job that takes way too much of my time, and usually leaves me with little energy in the evenings. And then there are other things. But no matter what I do, schedules always seem to be unpredictable. I knew there was a reason why I do not plan more than a few weeks ahead. It turns out that something I had planned to do won’t happen and that will leave me with ample spare time for the rest of August.

Figures.

So I’ll be world-building.

Since World Building Month is half-over, and I do want to at least have a complete skeleton of a world by the end, I thought about what needs to be done:

  • Language. Very important.
  • Religion. We know some basics already, but this needs to be worked out in detail.
  • Details on the nations – Customs, history, rulers, attitudes.
  • Money and trade: The economy needs to be designed at least in some detail. What do the nations produce, what do they export, and what do they need to import? Where are the main resources located, and what are they?
  • Cities of Ârnaron.
  • Ruins and relics: The shattered past lurks among the dunes.
  • Astrology and zodiacs.
  • Heroes and villains: Create at least a few of each as sample characters, so to speak.
  • Prizes and princesses: What do the heroes and villains fight over, and how?
  • The hordes: There are uncivilized, regressed barbarians everywhere, as befits a savage, mythical Martian styled world. Need to write about these guys, too.

I think that mostly covers it. I’ll probably deviate here and there and throw some other stuff in, as ideas pop up. But if I forgot something important or if there’s anything you actually want me to work out, do let me know via comments.

Flags of Arnâron – Draft 1

Preliminary flag designs:

Flag of Nation A

Flag of Nation B

Some notes:

  • I used mostly blues and reds – blue representing water and the red being so strongly associated with Mars.
  • As the number eight is a “lucky number” for the people of Arnâron, stars used in the design have eight points, and nations G and K even go so far and use octagons in their design.
  • Flags on Arnâron are usually triangular, and have the ratio 3:10. Nation H is the only exception, and this was a deliberate design choice to distinguish their flag as much as possible from their arch-enemies, nation C, while still containing elements similar to the flag of their most important ally, nation G (triangular shape; basic colors are similar). The use of 9 stars is for symetry reasons – I experimented with using a larger ninth star, but it looked bad.
  • The two moons – used in the flag design for nation E – are a symbol of the destruction of Arnâron, and are therefore considered “unlucky”. Their use in the flag of nation E will not endear them to other rulers.

Technology on Arnâron

When Arnâron was still pleasant and inhabitable, its inhabitants built an advanced technological civilization. They lost most of that technology since the cataclysm occurred that sent Arnâron into a slow, creeping downward spiral of death. But not everything was lost; like Arnâron itself, civilization and technical knowledge seem to fade slowly and not suddenly.

The people retained a good knowledge of architecture, and while they lack advanced construction machinery, they have an intimate knowledge of building sturdy, protective buildings. Their buildings, while not fancy by modern Earth standards, are well-built and able to endure centuries. The capability to build new large-scale canals has been lost for a long time.

Personal armor is limited to reinforced leather armor. While metal armor like chain mail could be made, it is exceedingly uncomfortable to wear metal armor in the climate of Arnâron. In addition, the availability of guns makes rigid metal armor rather useless, and warriors instead rely on surprise, speed and maneuverability.

Due to its state of constant warfare, weapons manufacture is one the most advanced technologies on Arnâron. The people of Arnâron know how to make extremely durable steel, and from this they fashion swords and other metal weapons of the finest quality. Guns are the most important weapon; highly accurate pistols and rifles are available but the required precision makes them very expensive. As guns need ammunition, which may be in short supply in many locations, soldiers always carry melee weapons in addition to firearms. Cannons are the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the various armies, and are often employed in sieges. Powerful pieces of indirect fire artillery are the strategic weapons of Arnâron.

Personal transportation is strictly on foot or, for those who can afford it, by riding a mount. They are expensive but fairly commonplace, every middle class citizen should be able to afford one if he so desires. Long distance travel is done in caravans, which are organized between many cities. The other available transport for long distance travel are canal barges and sailing ships. Naturally, these can only travel along the canals, rivers, and on the remaining seas.

Agriculture is, by necessity, efficient and productive. Crops are rotated, irrigation systems built, dung and excrements are used as fertilizer. Most nations make a point of burying their dead as well, for the same purpose.

Medicine remains fairly advanced – even when most other technologies regressed to more medieval levels, there are some things not forgotten; germ theory, antibiotics, and so on. Most of the nations can still perform quite complicated surgery – you’ll be out of luck if you require brain surgery or a pace maker, but Mid-20th Century level surgery isn’t generally a problem.

Power generation is based on muscle power (slaves and animals) as well as water and wind power. Steam engines are known, but many areas do not have anything they could burn for fuel – coal mines are few and far between, and inedible wood is much more valuable for construction or for the manufacture of items and weapons. Solar power is used in many areas to heat water, but solar cells can no longer be manufactured. Electricity is known and used in the most advanced cities, mostly for illumination.

Astronomy is fairly advanced, while a lot of details were lost over the centuries, the basic layout of the universe is known – that the planet circles around the sun, what the galaxy is like, what stars are, and so on. Astronomy is a science for the rich nobility, who possess some very powerful telescopes for this purpose. The thinner air, and lack of light pollution, makes Astronomy from Arnâron’s surface easier than from that of Earth. Astronomy often has a dual purpose, as astronomers are also astrologers and try to divine the will of the gods and the destiny of various people from the stars.

Generally, manufacture is at about a 19th Century level – with small factories and workshops rather than mass production. Machines used in the factories are unsafe, loud, and noisy.

Communication over long distances is conducted by messenger and heliograph and similar optic communication (signal fires, signal flags, and so on).

A good deal of technology that was once forgotten is still known to be possible. In some cases, the only thing that prevents it from being used is lack of resources and tools; in other cases the basic idea is remembered, but it seems like magic. As a general guideline, everything to mid to late 20th Century technology will be known in some or great detail to a historian or engineer, while all “futuristic” technologies are firmly in the realm of myth and legends.