Coping with Glastian irrelevancy

Posted by Yuanls on 29 May 2017 in English (English)

I'm not sure how pessimistic or how strange I sound in this entry; my intention is to be purely realistic.

Basically, Glaster is irrelevant. Yes you heard me right. Glaster is irrelevant. It never was a superpower. It never had a place on the world stage. It's like one of those countries that, outside its region, you know only by name, or by a few facts from a Wikipedia entry. Glaster never had an outstanding economy or some special cultural hotspot. The only famous people are dead and confined to the knowledge of historians, or have moved abroad to some more prosperous location.

While this might sound very depressing, here is some of my reasoning (skip to the tl;dr if this section is too long):

  • Glaster is very small. It has slightly larger than real-world Brunei and a population of around 1 million (subject to change). It's not in a very advantageous position, considering that its much larger neighbours were at odds with Glaster until the end of the 20th century.
  • Glaster's small size and advantageous position (at a maritime bottleneck) has meant that it has exploited and suppressed, first by Wyster, then by Ingerland, then Commonia, then by the communist nations surrounding it.
  • Glaster has no deposits of major resources. Iron and coal deposits exist but they are not substantial enough to profit from. Tourism is also out of the question. There's nothing really to see or do in Glaster, and the weather is not great either according to the climatic map.
  • Glaster only reached its level of development by funding from Ingerland to prop it up against communist influence. Now its unsustainable and Glaster is currently in economic decline. It has not been able to modernise its economy sufficiently after Ingerish South Glaster had its unification with less-developed North Glaster.

Tl;dr: Glaster is bad because its economy cannot keep up with its level of development, it has been exploited and controlled since the 19th century and because it has nothing to make money from.

That, however doesn't hinder me from good mapping, or interesting wiki articles. Check around Glaster, particularly look at Harcourt and Plowford for my latest work. Moral of the story: your country doesn't need to be prosperous or successful for you to display good signs of mapsmanship (if there ever was such a thing)!

However, one of my largest concerns is my mapping style. Initially it was supposed to be based around England, for the basis that Glaster was former colony. My mapping style has devolved into pretty much a high-quality English clone, something that is satisfactory in itself but isn't entirely realistic given on the geographical location. Does anyone have any ideas on how to change this into a more believable design that I can still map in detail?

Location: Scotwood Road, Harcourt, Harcourt and Scotwood, Glaster

Comment from bhj867 on 29 May 2017 at 14:13

Inara is the same way, completely dependent on Pretany for rverything. They arent even allowed to have ambassadors.

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Comment from bhj867 on 29 May 2017 at 14:14

Of coure that is a bit of cosmic justice for what they did to the Nortian tribe during the purgatio nortia.

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Comment from Demuth on 29 May 2017 at 15:00

Østermark is also kind of a footnote sort of country. Small, poor, not many resources aside from trees and fish.

I don't have good advice on the mapping, I can just tell you my method, for what it's worth. I'm trying to focus right now much more on nature and rural areas. I haven't even managed yet, after several years, to get my coast fully finished. In terms of infrastructure, my main city is perhaps over mapped. But generally, I'm going with few major highways, and my thinking is to not even fully connect them, with stretches under construction or merely planned.

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Comment from TheHolyEpicpenguin on 29 May 2017 at 15:33

My country's pretty irrelevant too, to be honest.. ( The Gagium Republic )

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 29 May 2017 at 15:36

Those thoughts all make sense to me. The history is a bit unclear, but then it can't really be any other way. Your mapping is based on the cultural aspects that underlie the way RW England developed (as I think is OGF Ingerland). Therefore the links with Ingerland and the time of the breakaway from Ingerland are crucial.

The mapping would be more believable if there was something non-English incorporated in it. That could be as simple as having a few native pre-colonial names for minor places on the map. Even if no trace of the people remains, names might still be there - as in many parts of the world today. Natural features, rivers and mountains especially, could have non-English names. As RW English and OGF Ingerish weren't fully develop until after c1500 it would be unrealistic to have names in 'Ingerish' earlier than this, but any settlements established before then might still have a name originating in a native language. If you want any help in making these feel free to get in touch.

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Comment from BMSOUZA on 29 May 2017 at 22:18

Hey, Yuanls! I like your map-style!

About to be irrelevant... well, why some of my (five) countries would be relevant to other users? Maybe, the only one who got some interest was Goytakanya, exactly the poorest of them, hehehe

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Comment from Sarepava on 29 May 2017 at 22:57

Ireland seems an obvious real-world example. A British colony for hundreds of years, then divided by war during and after independence, few natural resources, just bards, sheep, peat and stout beer. Nowadays economy has picked up thanks to financial services and tourism. As this shows, a country doesn't have to be world famous to 'work'. Global trade means that exporting raw materials or goods is no longer the only game in town, silicon has replaced gold and warships and allows tiny countries to thrive using their brain power.

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Comment from Yuanls on 30 May 2017 at 15:23

Thanks for the feedback and advice everyone! It's great to hear that others share my thoughts on irrelevancy as well.


That's certainly a viable suggestion, and there are a few remaining Glastian place names still around like Tibrin, Stowkel, Polbak Hill (although it is not mapped) and Fodlan. I cannot say they're the most 'exotic' sounding names but then again I haven't been able to construct the Glastian language to any extent. What I can say is that Glastian was displaced by Wystrian in the 16th century and then by Ingerish in the 19th century. So in general, little of the population can actually speak Glastian anymore. Most pre-existing names in the former South Glaster have been approximately transliterated and then 'romanticised' into believable places. For example, Mynkhuty > Monksbury, Wandhelm >Wyndham, Decadecan > Decton. The absence of a Glastian language explains why they weren't restored after decolonisation.


Good point there. It looks like Glaster's future might not be so dim after all. I'll keep that in mind as I develop the country.

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Comment from Alessa on 30 May 2017 at 17:34

I think your post hits on a few interesting things, Yuanls. You are right that Glaster, like most of our countries are irrelevant. But, if I might offer the other side of the coin: that actually makes all our countries a bit more relevant. We don't have a lot of large, imposing, potential middle-high powers. The gaps in our map, the visibility of some users, and the level of mapping all contribute to our view of where "importance" lies in the OGF world. Ingerland is an important middle-high power simply because people assigned it a colonial past and it looks developed from a level-11 zoom or so. The same goes for Gobrassanya. It looks (over) developed, it has a lot of community engagement, and it's location is potentially near some important water or air routes. But, Gobrassanya is not that large.

I think that Glaster is a country that would derive strong regional importance because of its maritime situation. I know you referenced Brunei, but Glaster's position is better than that. It is regionally very important because of where and how things can be shipped. I'd imagine that the country has two very different faces: 1) Ellmouth/Reyston with decent development, some key industries, a sea-focused approach. Perhaps there's some transshipment areas and industries clustered near the ports. The Elle River area might be a bit more developed with a stable service sector as a relic of Ingerish investment. There would be some money still floating around. 2) Everything else in Glaster, with some pockets of stability like Harcourt or Decton, but a slightly less developed area with a more land-focused approach like farming and livestock. I think you could easily capture this by having things like brownfields and abandoned industrial areas, similar to what you've done with the contamination zone in Plowford. I've used the tag landuse=brownfield and =greenfield to denote these things too. Greenfield doesn't render, but brownfield and construction do.

Also consider the situation of Ireland that Sarepava mentioned. Ireland has reinvented itself, so Glaster could too. One thing that isn't mentioned is the fact that there is a huge Irish diaspora in the rest of the UK and the Americas. This really helps with tourism, promotion of culture, etc. (both good and bad, I know). If Glaster was oppressed, like you say, wouldn't people have fled to neighboring safe-havens? I don't want to speak for other users, but I could imagine small pockets of Glastian population around the EUOIA, maybe totaling around two or three million. If you wanted, I'd even be happy to talk to you about how there could be some small pockets of the Glastian diaspora in a neighborhood of Salda or Iola. Those are maritime-focused cities, so Glastians might try to settle there.

Speaking of the EUOIA, I could imagine that with Glaster's regional importance, it would be a valued member of the EUOIA. It might not be the most powerful or have the most sway, but it'd be important. Also keep in mind that the OGF world doesn't have a lot of historical conflict. This means that our present history is likely to be something where a lot of smaller countries banded together to keep the peace but formed functional international blocs. The EUOIA could be a descendant of something even older. That means that whenever Glaster joined, it was becoming part of something bigger and more influential. Few countries would want to mess with the EUOIA as an alliance, even if our individual countries are not that important.

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Comment from zhenkang on 31 May 2017 at 09:00

I slightly disagreed though that Glaser is irrelevant. After the third glaster war, Chiano Lu from Commonia died during a trip in Glaster, then after that Commonia was divided.

Some Glastian Communists also have influenced Singkangia in some ways however, through the communist rule, when they ran away from Glaster as they saw they were losing.

Singkangia also played a little rile in the world, however, but is still slightly relevant based on the trade it has now.

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