The Caligoi


My sister Ynza and I have been building worlds near as long as we've been alive, but this project, started by Ynza in 1988 or '89, and which I started collaborating with her on a bit later, is easily the best, and likely the only one we'll ever publish. Ynza's original intent was to make a world that owed relatively little to our own. This isn't like Tolkien's Middle-Earth (bow scrape kowtow), where you find mainly humans, elephants, and other familiar creatures, with a few exotic things like Eldar and giant spiders. All the creatures of this world were intended to be original and unique - of course we succeeded better in some cases than in others, and you may not find anything as beatifully insane as the beings in A Voyage to Arcturus. But, in short, this is a world historically and probably spatially unconnected to our own. Now to some details.

When I first knew of it, this was the Misted Country - a region some few thousands of square kilometers in extent, roughly rectangular, which was surrounded on all sides by an unfathomable perpetual fogbank. At some point we started calling it "Caligo Rektek", from Latin and German words signifying "fog" and "rectangle". It was home to six sentient races, besides many curious animals and plants unknown to our Earth - Ynza enlisted my help then in making up more animals, and in fleshing out the social systems of the Pliv and Slithu, two of the peoples who inhabited this little world. This caught my imagination and I dropped another world-building project of my own, which wasn't going anywhere.

We fleshed out that world in the course of playing role-playing games based in it, as was our custom. Later on, we found out that one of the wild animals of the northern swamps was really a sentient race whose ancestors had been placed under an intelligence-suppressing curse by some powerful mage. Later still, we found that if one could somehow travel through the Mist and survive, one might come to one of several other habitable regions on what turned out to be a spherical planet. These other regions we called Caligo Kreis, Caligo Triyk, Caligo Torodoth, and so forth: the whole set or world is now known (to us, not to the inhabitants) as the Caligoi.

We don't live in our parents' house anymore, so our collaboration on the Caligoi has necessarily slowed down, but we're still developing them. In the last few years I've been focusing on the languages spoken by the natives of the Caligoi.

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(c) 1989-2010 by Ynza Morgan Star and Jim Henry

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Last revised September 2010.

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