Heget's Heresies on Her 'Hood
(my one over-arching vice is alliteration)
(Read this for spoilers about heget's hypothetical hood, hints of what content she's making for her game, background information of a general historical nature, and if you need to ace a test tomorrow over Tolkien)
Also, let me warn for some grotesquely long sentences punctuated and interjected with rambling tangents and sarcastic asides.
I nailed my feet to the floor to finish the rewriting and consolidating of "Master World-Building Plan". What it is boils down to as much completed information on just what content and themes I desire or need for my Sims' game, heavily based on imaginings of The Silmarillion. Because heget decided that was the story she would use as her template and framework to focus a Sims' game, and then she got crazy with it. So crazy she started making and sharing Custom Content.
I am a tad obsessed with The Silmarillion, but still not a qualifier for the extremely obsessed Tolkienite.
....I just typed that with a straight face. Okay, I can explain why. I haven't read all 10 volumes of History of Middle-earth cover-to-cover, nor own anything more than the paperbacks of The Silmarillion and the three Lord of the Rings novels. Well, I bought a copy of Unfinished Tales in the middle of typing this, so adding that to the list.
(All the books I own have terrible covers. If I didn't dislike Ted Nasmith's art in general --guy does gorgeous landscapes; I hate his figure-work-- I would splurge on a hardcover illustrated copy. Alan Lee's art almost makes the idea of reading Children of Húrin palatable. If Jenny Dolfen ever illustrated a copy of the Silmarillion, I would pay for shipping from Germany to own it. She is still my favorite Tolkien fan artist. Actually I almost bought Morgoth's Ring just for "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth".)
But I never published any literary analysis articles even on the internet ('til this) and I can't read or write any Tengwar, Quenya, runes, or Klingon. ^_^
Sigh, yes, my nerd state is higher than I'd admit.
I shall try really hard as I go along to balance between assumptions of fannish lore and informing the reader of the intricacies of picayune details via pasting whole chapters of text.
I always like to start as close to the beginning of play as possible. Building back-story, reading something, creating anything. The Silmarillion, like the "Book of Genesis", starts off with the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient One creating the universe. We can call him Eru, or Iluvatar, or God, or Ox4. And I won't ever put him/her/genderless in my game because I don't want to make a Self-Sim based on Professor Tolkien. (That's it, heget. If your irreverence hasn't sent your soul to the Void, that last bit just did.)
I don't agree with all his imaginings, but they are beautiful and unique. And I have Rococo Valar, so glass house and stones...
With The Silmarillion divided into 5 sections, the first section called the "Ainulindale" is all about the creation of the world. And how, before the world was created, the One produced angel-like underlings of which we collectively call the Ainur. Then he ran by them a pre-screening cinematic storyboard of the universe to be created and everything in it, with all the revisions, before telling them that volunteers could enter the newly formed and currently formless matter of the world and start making everything according to the game plan. The Ainur are like the pagan pantheon working middle management under a Judeo-Christian god. (Tolkien here colluding between Catholic and old Norse belief systems. More Beowulf parallels!) So here come our Ainur picking their spheres of power to inaccurately, lazily be labeled as the gods of said thing, drafting up the cosmos and playing Prometheus. Except that one guy that naturally rebels and become our generic Big Bad source of evil, that which every entertaining mythology needs. He's the troll in the choir that won't sing the program and then plays an air horn to disrupt everyone else.
In Sim terms this is a lot like downloading and designing content and running a tester hood before playing the real game. This amuses me to no end.
I will come back to my ideas for Ainur (see Charmingly Massive 18th Century Posts for more) in a moment, but first let me move onto my elves.
(And my idea of the next lecture will be a "Meet your Ainur", complete with dolls, once I get the meshes and Sims made)
Actually, first thing I should do is list my hoods out so when I call back to them no one is lost. More than they already are. You're just wandering, anyway.
I love the sub-neighborhood function. I abuse it.
Main Hood: 'Aman' or Sim Valinor
Downtown: Beleriand (In general during this post when I call something Middle-earth I'm talking about here)
'Business': Middle-earth post First Age (a. k. a. where the action moves to after most of Beleriand is destroyed)
University 01: Almaren Academie
Far East: Numenor
Other sub-hoods will be: Gondolin, Tol Erresea, Moria, other random unexplored corners of the map. A second university for the characters not living on the main hood map will likely be called something silly like either Isle of Balar Tech Institute or Grey Havens University.
Back to the Eldar (elves). They will make up the majority of my population. The realities of playing a Sim's game with most but not all of the characters with aging toggled off -or at least with elixir cheats to avoid ever moving into elder stage- will affect how I go about setting things up. And generational fun, where a great-grandmother will look the same as her descendent and a family friend would be attending six generations worth of human funerals.
As for each group of elves and the why I have more than one group - here is the link to the mock lecture I did, Professor Elf Heget Lectures. You don't have to click. I'll refresh all the information again here that summarizes the first few chapters of the Quenta Silmarillion.
Elves start off as 3 tribes that awaken by the shores of a lake in a world without a physical sun or moon. Yes, the science behind Tolkien's imaginary world is more illogical than a disc carried by four elephants on the back of a giant turtle floating through space. That's why he toyed with changing it to fit with realities of physics in some later versions. More discussion of this later, but the key point is no sun or moon in the sky for thousands of years.
This painting by Nasmith is ridiculous. Like after the elves woke they worn pristine white linen clothing....
Okay, back to our three tribes. Groups of three shall crop up again. At this point the tribes, and I use this word loosely, have some small quirks to differentiate them, but the most noticeable and major difference is hair color. (My elves are color coded, yay!) As I use Pooklet's hair colors I'm posting the swatch of colors and listing which are acceptable for each group. This is the world-building decisions I deal with.
Some clarification here. At this point in time there is still no sun or moon in the sky. Illumination is provided by a pair of Giant Mystical Trees, one with silver light, the other gold. One of the trees is always shining and illuminating the entire Western continent at all times. The silver one has a softer light, and as it begins to wan the gold one starts to glow. They cycle through about twice a 'day'. So think the summer sun in the northern circle, because that level of never-dark is what the elves are living in all their lives. Only a light much more awesome and magical. And then a spider comes and eats the trees. I will give you one guess who is responsible for that (Sauron as an answer will give you partial credit.) This will make picture taking in-game a headache for a while, as I will have to be careful of timing and substitute lots of extra lights to keep the 'Constant Lighting'.
As for how I plan on making these objects, hriveresse's lamp set, plus my previous fiddlings with the giant Castaway Stories tree, gets me an idea. Whether I can execute it... In short I'll take one of the numerous tree meshes, scale it up to be at least 4 or 5 stories tall (and make it visible for neighborhood view), and do two or three recolors- a silver, a gold, and one recolor to the blackened broken husks. Then it will be easier to make the flowers with their light-emanating dew as separate lights for Varda's handmaidens to gather. If I was good, the lamps would fit on slots all about the deco tree mesh, but frankly this is too ambitious for my skill set anyway, and I'm terrified of lighting meshes. Still, I have it broken down in my head how such an object would need to be.
Because of this exposure to the lights, again all elves that were around the tree light before they get munched are going to have bright light of Aman in their eyes. Aka that Pooklet-Yumedust set.
Now as to the Vanyar as opposed to elves of Aman in general: skin tone will be as tanned and golden as I call get without clashing badly with the blonde hair. Because I'm sorry, but that much light exposure means those elves really should have been as dark as a Dravidic, not the blonde Alfheim folk of the Norse god Frey, which is their direct inspiration. All elves will have face templates with the elf pointy ears, but I'm thinking of which group might get a bit of the more horizontal-styled elf ear and I think my Vanyar are the contenders. (The only canonical mention of pointy ears for elves comes from one Tolkien letter where they are described as 'leaf-like', but the ear shape makes good visual shorthand for my races.)
This group as a whole is going to migrate wholesale to Aman, where more info shall follow.
Yes, the return of heget's silly chalk drawings! Which might become actual game content
Second group is the Noldor - a collective group of knowledge aspiration elves. Seriously- about every single one of them will have knowledge as at least a secondary aspiration. Only about half the Noldor as a group go to Aman, but as they were a larger group to begin with there are more Noldor in that hood than Vanyar. Plus they will have larger families.
This bunch will have dark hair and grey eyes overall, with some red-heads. Therefore I open the range of appearance to all the shades of black (though flashpowder will be rare in my game and usually reserved for 'blacker than the fall of night' or truly magical folk). Dynamite, landmine, shrapnel, depth charge, brisance, and a little of safety fuse and fission. A few noted elves in that one family of redheads will have access to pyrotechnic, molotov, and explosive -because I can't decide which shade of hair for Maedhros. But a majority will have those black-brown shades of relatively straight hair. Eye color is going to be a variety, but again the grays and blacks and browns and some blue. Textual evidence from the description of Maeglin, from the chapter "Of Maeglin," gives the general skin tone of Noldor as pale. And if I remember correctly one of the reasons Nerdanel was considered plain for an elf lady was her freckles. Or that might be heget supposition from the comments of her less than exemplar beauty and that she was the daughter and mother of redheads. (Herself likely a brisance). One of her sons, Caranthir, had the nickname 'Dark' for how his face would flush dark when he was angry- so there's that. And I land squarely on the side of dark hair in the Celegorm the Fair debate (which is only slightly less that the "Balrog have or have not wings" debate). Also our Noldor are, as befitting Knowledge Sims, the craftsmen and lovers of learning and material wealth. Which means their clothing and objects will have the most decoration and ostentation. Blinged out elves. Tacky elves.
The third group -and larger than the other two combined- is the Teleri. This group loves music and water. Another group of dark hair colors, more or less, but I'm using Pooklet family 3 as my range and the lighter browns like safety fuse. As the nuclei of what will become the stereotypical wood elves, muted shades fit. Also if the march-wardens of Lothlorien and Legolas maintain their movie blonde locks, it will be grenade. The other key color for hair is the silver of the Teleri royal family. Whereas the Vanyar are led by Ingwë and the Noldor by Finwë, the supreme ruler of the Teleri -a tall bloke named Elwë- was the only of the three with named brothers, Olwë and Elmo, of which he delegates some leadership responsibility to because his group is too big for efficient management by one elf. Elwë had silver hair, Olwë had white hair and blue eyes, Elmo was another natural gray we assume because of family. Cirdan the shipwright is another on the list of elves with gray hair not because elf hair looses pigment as they age. So a good portion of my Teleri elves will have custom gray hair. Hence the reason why when I recolor hair sets I include as a custom timebomb, mailbomb, and pipebomb. (Olwë has timebomb, Elwë and Elmo will split the mailbomb and pipebomb depending on how dark I decide 'silver' is. Probably Elwë as mailbomb, and the baby, forgotten brother as the darkest gray.) Green, brown, grey, blues -light colored eyes again.
Like the Noldor only about half the tribe opt for immigration to Aman, but as I explained in the lecture only a fraction of the group that leaves make it to Aman to join the Vanyar and Noldor.
The elves that stay in the ancestral birthplace are Avari, and I can pull a Tolkien and mostly ignore them. They more likely than not are our unwilling breeding pool for the creation of orcs - see later notes.
Up next is more discussion of these three groups, the land-mass they live on, and what is on the other side of the ocean, a.k.a. the Downtown 'hood.