1. Eliza Rain
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    Eliza Rain Member

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    Fantastical Afterlife Terminology

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Eliza Rain, Jul 6, 2015.

    So I thought I'd get some input on my afterlife system in one of my series, as I'm having some problems with my terms. Any suggestions would be great!

    To start, there used to be one 'God'. This God sent pieces of itself to a new born earth to create life. By doing this, it gained knowledge through the new life as it reincarnated back to the God. After a certain amount of time, if a soul gathered enough knowledge, the God made them an Astral being called a Reaper. Reapers oversaw the life on the planet, though however did their best to stay neutral in most situations.

    Eventually the most intelligent species at the time were very early humans and a race called Sentients. However, humans strayed away from the interest in magick Sentients had, and thus Sentients found them disgusting and undeserving of magick. The Sentient race cast the first known spell, an illusion of sorts, separating the majority of magickal creatures and plant life on their side of the illusion, and left the rest to the human side. This barrier is called the Veil.

    This caused a problem for the God, as both humans and Sentients both worked for knowledge, but one side was scientific and the other magickal (physical vs. meta-physical). This difference became so noticeable, the God split itself in two, one for human side of the Veil and one for the Sentient side. Like the original God, these two new God's create servants to help it watch over life. The human side creates what we generally call 'angels'. Their purpose is to help humanity be selfless, as they find scientific knowledge is best created with others helping and others in mind. Their opposite are demons, but angels only 'fall' when they give up their selfless identity and morals and follow their own selfish actions like that we know of the seven deadly sins. On the Sentient side, their Astral beings are Fae. The Fae are much more involved with the intelligent races, as they try and preserve the integrity of magick. The opposite of Fae are Elves. An elf is created when they forsake magick is some way. There are very few elves, and they are outcasted most of the time. They're sort of the Amish I suppose of this world.

    If you read all of that, you are a rockstar. Now my actual concern is with my terminology... I'm not very good with 'making up' things as for terms wise. So I usually rely on already established creatures, but they're not always exactly what we generally perceive them to be. There is no true evil in this world, even the demons. So I ask you, the person all of this world construction, do you think my terms are okay? Are some of them not but others fine? If they're just awful all together, give me suggestions, or even a point in a different direction would be great!

    Thank you so much!

    P.S. I am so sorry if I made you feel like you were in school or reading some history book.
     
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I'd avoid using terms like 'fae' and 'elves' and 'angels' and 'demons' if you don't want to bring along all the baggage we typically associate with those terms (ie "demons are evil, elves are tall pretty people with pointy ears"). I think 'astral' is unique enough (though I'm not sure why it's capitalized?) and 'reaper' is kind on the borderline, there; as long as they do have something to do with the cycle of life and death it's similar enough.

    IMO if you're basing your stuff on established lore, the point where it seems like something that can stand alone is the point where it need its own name. What do your elves have in common with folkloric or pop culture elves? Much of anything? Or are you just still using the name because it's where you started from?

    I'd say come up with something new, something of your own. Some people just mash the keyboard and come up with some random term, some prefer to have a basis in some human language, some like to repurpose words like 'sentient' and make them proper, like you've already done. Or you could do a combination of those things. But I would advise moving away from established creature names if your creatures don't have so much to do with them.
     
  3. Eliza Rain
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    Eliza Rain Member

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    Some of the terms I use because that's what humans call these being's likeness. I've been researching a bunch of different creatures and folklore from other areas of the world to give some variety to this universe. The Veil is not a concrete thing, more of a wave where it thickens or thins, meaning some things slip through in between the worlds. Meaning the magickal creatures we know of are because at one point they slipped through and a story was created off of them. So some things are named after what humans named them.

    With the other things you mentioned... My only concern with going too off the grid with certain things like 'angels, demons, fae, etc,' is even if I do go based of another culture or create my own term the reader will find sameness in either appearance, role, what have you and just say: oh, they're obviously just an angel. I myself am not too concerned with fae, well being fae as I think they're close enough to what people will assume them to be, but different enough to leave a new impression if that makes sense? Angels and demons are another thing though as we have this very black and white image of them, which I don't use at all. I've considered calling demons djinn as I thought it might leave more wiggle room for their ambiguity. However I'm torn with angels, because on one hand I want the reader's expectation of them be ruined, while on the other, if an angel doesn't act 'heavenly' they might not consider them one at all despite appearances.

    Also, creating new terms is a skill completely lost on me, so I'm left with more of a re-inventing soft of skill... Agh.

    Thank you for the response! If you know of cultural backgrounds that might help me, it'd make my day.
     
  4. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I personally would find it confusing. LOTR is fresh in my mind, and elves are the good guys.
    I have played in a MUD previously, and have exposure to D&D. Fae are faeries. Not always nice.
    Your angels sound like how I would expect them. They have free will and can stuff up - that's how the Bible's Lucifer came into being.

    Calling a race "Sentients" (noun) is risky, imo, as humans are sentient (adjective - able to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively) and it's a bit confusing, even with the capital letter.


    I am surprised that an author who can come up with a story cannot come up with creature type names. That must be frustrating? One possible trick is to translate the existing names into another language, slightly modify the spelling, and make sure you describe their behaviour and appearance as part of an ongoing reveal to the reader.
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I personally like every name, except elves. lol

    I love the use of angel and demon. I know the terms bring the typical baggage, but I think it's nice. You're redefining a being everyone already knows and making it your own. I LOVE stuff like that.

    I like Sentient. It sounds very magical to me. I'm on the fence about Reaper, but mostly because I once had a story with a creature called a Reaper, and they were bad. lol So that's my own personal bias. I'm also on the fence with The Veil, mostly because it sounds familiar.. I feel like it's been used in a novel or movie before. I also like Fae. Again, it sounds very magical, exactly what you're going for.

    But the elf threw me off immediately. Because as it was said, elves are normally the "good" guy. I know you said there is no evil in your world, but a being who forsakes magic is going to sound like an evil-ish character, so you should have a name that reflects it. I mean, demons and elves just don't compare.

    I love that you're using common creatures, so my suggestion is to stick with that. But call the elves something else. Goblin or pixie (they are often mischievous so don't call up such a "good" persona). Anything but elf. lol

    Otherwise, I really like what you've created. I think it's different and refreshing. :)
     

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