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Tropican Lore

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Tropican Lore

Post by RKRobot on 11/8/2014, 1:53 pm

Not exactly a character, but a thread created solely for explaining special or intricate things that occur on Planet Tropic such as:
-scientific research
-geography and demographics
-social construction and cultural differentiation
-intergalactic relationships
-language and dialect
-and other misc. stuff...

Read if you're interested in learning about Planet Tropic, OR trying to come up with a bunch of lore for your planets but don't know where to start!
Warning, these little factoids and sections are subject to change at any given time, so what may be canon today may not be tomorrow!  If you are using these as a guideline for your own stuff, however, it shouldn't be too much of a problem to you.
Thank you, and enjoy the information!  Any questions and comments are welcomed~

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Re: Tropican Lore

Post by RKRobot on 11/8/2014, 2:14 pm

Tropican Religion

The following is a school paper that I wrote last year for a Sacred Places class.  The object of the paper was to talk about a sacred place that YOU made up; whether or not it had an entire religion attached to it was irrelevant, as the goal was to talk about the place itself and why it looked/was built the way it was.  Got a good grade on the assignment, and I thought I should share it with you in case you needed help on figuring out what your fictional religion actually looked like!
Good luck, fellow creators!  ^_^

Final Paper – The Mountainside Aeonimbic Temple
It began with an old legend that had told of a strange man who mysteriously came from the sky.  A group of mountain climbers found him coming down from the pinnacle, and brought him down to their small town at the foot of the northern mountain range.  Once there, they let him share his wisdom and stories among them.  His experiences and tales were soon well known all over town.  The teachings of the Aeonimbic Man (Aeonimbic meaning, “of the sky”), as they called him, were highly moralistic.  It is in this way that religion borrows from the Emile Durkheim definition of religion, which states, “Religion is a unified set of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things-beliefs and practices which unite one single moral community.” These sets of unified beliefs, to which most of the population understood, correlated well with nature and withheld simplistic values that could easily be told orally for anyone to pass onto others.  His openly shared and largely agreed upon worldviews and ideas thusly turned out to be extraordinarily popular all across the world.
Many temples and places of worship were created in honor of this pacifistic and humble being after he had mysteriously disappeared from the rest of the world hundreds of years ago.  The temple we will be discussing is a reconstruction of one of the original places of worship.  Modern technology had allowed for this recreation to take place, all while still keeping an environmentally safe theme upheld by the community.  The locals commonly know this cherished dwelling as the Mountainside Aeonimbic Temple; this major (meaning both larger in size and in religious value) sacred place was created shortly after his vanishing.  It holds great value to followers across the globe because it is said to be close to the original location to where the man was found.  This defines that the area around this temple is sacred, if not the entire mountain itself.  Even though the place is welcome to all who want to visit, the greatest task most guests face is actually getting to the temple.
The Location
Location matters greatly when it comes to the overall design of this particular sacred place.  The Mountainside Aeonimbic Temple is quite obviously known for being high up on an already steep slope.  It is complete with a view that stretches across the landscape, making it seem as if the sightseer is at even height with the sky and the mountains in the distance.  This demonstrates liminality.  Even if you are not alone on the hike up the mountain, the feeling of being the same size as any other summit in the range and at times, being able to touch the clouds, is part of being separated from the rest of the world, and yet equal to the greatness that stands before you.  The difference between this and most other types of the liminal stage is the amount of times this can be repeated and at what time of the day it can be done.  The mountain is free to climb and the temple is free to visit at any point.  This does not change the fact that it is still great in elevation, and the weather conditions it undergoes can of course deny any action to reach the temple.
It is not built into the mountain’s face or hidden in the back, but off to the side.  This was done on purpose, mostly because the mound of rock and grass it sits upon is protruding form the western side of the huge hill, and thus can attract attention from both sides of the range.  Like with any religious movement or institutionalized theme of worship, the major and minor Aeonimbic temples are all positioned similarly to gather followers and spread the messages and teachings of the original founder.  This also, specific to this temple alone, collects the most sunlight, geographically speaking.  Aside from the small solar battery powering the internal lights and the lanterns that litter its pathway, it is needed to see during the day.
The climb itself is also very difficult, and this discourages several from personally visiting the place.  Many recommend a guide or group, as the mountain is high enough to pass through the lowest tier of clouds (thus, those with a fear of heights should stay behind).  Furthermore, the atmosphere can be very cold and thin (which requires people to train themselves to breathe in a specific way) and the walk up may injure someone if they are not careful enough of their footing.  A dark pathway made of stone and gravel allows for companies to climb up with more ease, which is lit with bright yellow-tinted lanterns once dusk arrives, but when it rains or snows, it becomes harder to find and easier to slip.  There is a point, however, to the vigorous task of reaching the temple, and that is the pilgrimage to “find the Aeonimbic Man”, or at least where he would have been.  This feat is similar to the several-day tread in the desert for the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.  Once the journey is complete, the visitor can feel at peace of mind until they are ready to begin the trek back down the mountain.  This is a method of embodiment, as it forces the worshipper to walk in the shoes of the group that found the Man, and reach the same enlightenment that they had upon rescuing him.
As part of the local law, no one is allowed to helicopter up for any kind of advantage.  This may disturb any wild life or prayer going on inside the temple, and can also be far more costly.  In short, there really is no easy way to reach the top.  The only way to obtain your personal epiphany is to conquer the summit on your own demand.
The Outer Construction
The temple itself is rectangular in shape, the longest part of it stretching east and west.  This is to fit all the decoration and furniture on the inside.  The entrance or exit is on the western wall of the structure, and is roughly eight feet tall and five feet wide for each outwards swinging door.  A statue of what artists believed the Aeonimbic Man looked like rests above the doorway upon a pedestal, reaching outwards towards two larger quartz pillars (among other, thinner ones).  These fluted columns are of the ionic type with styled necking and capitals that spread no farther than the roof’s overhang.  (Ramage, 75)  This entire front entrance is purely for decoration, showcasing an inviting image into new visitor’s minds, made from local supporters.  If the guests also wanted to, several clear glass windows with thin, but ornamented framing surround the temple’s walls as if it has nothing to hide.
Large windows also mean more sunlight, which is what this temple cares about getting the most of.  A ceiling made entirely out of special solar absorption glass with hidden wiring leading down to the battery buried beneath the foundation is proudly shown from both the outside of the temple and the inside.  Once again, the theme of peacefully coexisting with the environment is strong for this particular practice, and is shared with many of the other temples around the planet.  It is rounded so it can magnify the amount of light and heat that the panels receive in order to maximize results.  This also allows people within the temple to see the sun at all times while in the building, from dawn to dusk.  While more aesthetic than meaningful, it coincides with the natural themes of the religion as a whole, as raw sunlight is better for a living creature’s health than only electric lamps or dim candles.
The big frame that upholds the glowing bulb above the entrance is actually a large letter “A” used by the people of the religion, as a character to represent the religion in the same way a cross does Christianity or a crescent moon and star does with Islam.  This would mean the shape is a summarizing key symbol, categorized through Sherry Ortner’s definition, which emphasizes the content and quality of the object that holds many complete ideas together.  Both major and minor temples across the globe have these metal-crafted characters above their entrances.  This remains one of the only symbols that are consistent with any Aeonimbic temple.
The shingles on the roof and overall slope and shape is reminiscent of Asian architecture, specifically the Great Buddha Style of the Tōdaiji Temple in Nara, Japan.  (Young, 78) The rafters are much more hidden on the Mountainside Aeonimbic Temple, though, and like the entrance, only serve as decoration, but useful during snowy or rainy weather.  In the wetter or colder times of the year, the shingles will allow water or snow to slide off the metallic pieces of roof, and prevent the wood underneath from being ruined with a second layer.  This allows the top parts of the steps, the columns, and windows to stay dry (if there is no wind).
The foundation, the very thing that holds the temple up, is quite important.  While it is made from strong stone that does not wear down as easily as the rest of the mountain, it cannot be anything of less quality because it protects the solar battery that powers everything within and around the place.  This newer foundation also is hard rooted into the mountain in case of any severe events like earthquakes, high speed winds or powerful storms come by aiming to knock it over.  Because the foundation is made from this material and is rather large, artists retelling the stories of the Aeonimbic Man and sharing morals with the community have engraved it.  This is similar to the levels of walls of Borobudur in Central Java, but there are not nearly as many layers to fit all the known stories.
Although we have all this information on the outside, we still have yet to venture inside and analyze the details that lie within.
The Inner Construction
While it is not a church in the misconstrued form of the word – which is not a gathering, but a building – there have been and will be times when the temple fills up to capacity and it feels like a modern church gathering, minus the mass and priest. (Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life)  The lack of this mass and priest is a way for the individual to not feel the pressures of the worshipping community of consistently attending or missing out on important new developments in the religion, and denies anyone but the Aeonimbic Man from becoming more recognized and potentially damaging to any temple’s reputation.  This is part of keeping a solid social order and is highly agreed upon by the rest of the community, and thus is an example of solidarity among worshippers.
Ten seats (or pews), long enough to fit four averages sized humans across, are spaced evenly within the structure, bolted down so they do not move.  This was constructed so the shifting attendees do not push and shove the seats into one another and disturb their peace.  However, the noiselessness does not last, as the floor is made of marble-like material that can generate a click someone were to wear any kind of heel.  It is reflective so the size of the temple appears larger than what it is, and to act like a mirror for the guests to analyze themselves as they look down to pray.  This forms a habit, as the traditional Aeonimbic way of prayer is to bend the neck down, hold your hands together in any comfortable matter, and concentrate on hopes and dreams for the future to come.  Closing your eyes is not common, so the personal analysis of the individual can commence.
Upon walking in, one can immediately notice the altar, elevated by a much shorter version of the columns outside.  The altar is rectangular and is about four feet long, two feet wide and half a foot thick, made of similar stone to the foundation.  This was to remind the visitors of the simple roots the religion had, despite all the other changes around the single-room temple.  In the Aeonimbic religion, an altar is typically used like a table.  Hosts of a celebration would come up to an altar to prepare food, share eatables, or use it to hold items like a desk.  The altar is primarily made for holding objects and food, and not any sort of living creature.  If they are not made of stone, steel or other sturdy materials, it is likely to break much easier.  In the Mountainside Aeonimbic Temple, the altar is used similarly by large groups or parties to eat in a safe place away from the cold.  The very few lights in the structure are only on at night and are powered by the solar battery underneath the temple.  They are also quite dim so as not to hurt the eyes, which are more sensitive in the dark.  As was stated, this religion is much more concerned with practicing good health and well being.  In this sense, this temple is more like a commonplace shrine or pavilion, but a lot harder to get to.
The Conclusion
To complete the idea of this temple being a sacred place, remember that the location, the external construction and the internal decoration all matter greatly.  Additionally, not everything is meant to represent one thing or idea, as sometimes the visuals are there just to look nice or to be useful.  The religion prides itself on managing the individual in terms of peace of mind and the health of the body, as well as a place to remember the old tales and teachings of the Aeonimbic Man.  Respect is a primary concern with all temples, major and minor, and the society shows great love for the arts as seen from the beautifully crafted decorations sculpted pieces.  It also holds much value for the location and refuses to participate in any action that would disturb or hurt the surrounding environment.  Many similar themes can be found within this religion as others such as liminality when it comes to reaching the peak, or solidarity when it comes to agreeing that no one other being shall become more powerful than the mysterious founder.  Several details can be claimed to be symbolic, but it is not the primary focus of this sacred place.  In short, the Mountainside Aeonimbic Temple, as one of the major temples across the globe, shall remain a profound location for all worshipers everywhere.

While this religion is not the only religion on Planet Tropic, it is still the most widely practiced in the world.  Expansions on this religion and others in will follow this post once enough information about them has been created.

Notable characters who practice this religion:
-Eve the Robin
-Decoda the Guinea Pig
-Ferina the Ferret
-Lizzy the Squirrel Monkey
-Raven the Crow
-Zane the Hedgehog

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