Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Robert’s Time Capsule: Imaginary Country

Robert, age 13 (yearbook photo)

Long before Museica and the PeacefulPieceful Pie Planet — before NationStates and World of Warcraft — even before Dungeons and Dragons had been invented, then-Muser-aged Robert (see photo, above) and about half a dozen of his friends invented an imaginary country of their own and used it as a setting for role-playing and storytelling. Unfortunately, any original maps and manuscripts that still exist remain buried in the Coontz archives. Robert will scan and post them as they come to light. Meanwhile, this description will have to suffice for any MBers curious about their GAPA’s disreputable history. Read on…

[Robert continues.]

The country was called PRUSSIANIA — a floating island about the size of Greenland, ruled by a king and divided into duchies and counties governed by unruly nobles. Did I say “governed”? Misgoverned is more like it, because Prussiania was the most messed-up, miserable place we could imagine. It was a feudal tyranny whose human population consisted almost entirely of peasants — stupid, ignorant, and squalid. There was also a sizable nonhuman population of oversized armadillos, somewhat more intelligent than the peasants and capable of interbreeding with them to produce a spectrum of strange pointy-eared hybrids, some with armadillo-like carapaces, others without. (I’ll have to find some pictures of them.)

For the rest, the most economical way to describe it is probably point by point.

Geology and geography: To float, Prussiania must have been composed mostly of some sort of lightweight, pumice-like rock. Its surface features included a Lord of the Rings-like assortment of mountains, rivers, and foetid swamps. (We were all big Tolkien fans and copied his style in drawing our maps.) Subregions of the country were named after diseases and mental conditions such as Diphtheria, Euphoria, and Phantasmagoria.

Currency, weights, and measures: Impossibly impractical and complicated.

Language: Even worse than the currency, weights, and measures. Although we never worked it out in detail, we agreed that every verb was irregular and that Prussianian had more declensions than any other language. Whenever foreigners threatened to master the language, the natives would add even more cases to it just for the sheer pleasure of confusing and ridiculing them.

Transportation: The skies of Prussiania were filled with zeppelins, propelled by sails when traveling downwind and towed upwind by mighty bull-armadillos. Some were also equipped with fanlike air-oars, which were useless for moving the airships but kept the peasant crewmembers busy.

History: An endless series of futile rebellions.

Religion: There were two main deities, a fertility goddess named Athea (whose devotees were known as Atheists) and a storm god named Voltus. Oddly, the two sects coexisted peacefully, without religious warfare — probably because the people were too malnourished to care.

Myths and legends: My friends and I developed a whole cycle of Prussianian sagas centered on heroes named after products we saw in the laxative-and-antacid aisle of the local drugstore. There was Petrogalar the Barbarian, raised by armadillos (a sort of cross between Conan the Cimmerian and Tarzan of the Apes); Romilar, leader of a band of outlaws who lived in the woods and all wore pink; and various wizards, witches, mad scientists, sea monsters, and mythical creatures, some of which resembled MuseBloggers’ descriptions of wungs.

It was very silly but great fun while it lasted, and it lasted longer than it had any right to. I’ll try to find some of the original drawings and literature and post them early in 2009.

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