What is this?
The Republic of Shaelia is many things. It’s a fictional country, a people, a culture, and a language. I’ve been working on all of these aspects since early 2000 in one form or another. It’s been a long, very enjoyable (and relaxing) journey, and the hardest part for me has been finding the proper setting for all of this.
When the Shaels were initially born, they were just a part of my own private fantasy/D&D style setting I called Eshraval. Magic, psionics, monsters… the whole thing. They were just one of many fictional peoples and languages I embarked upon in a great creative spurt, and out of all of that, the Shaels stuck.
After I discovered Geofiction, I joined a community called Aurora, part of a larger community called ImagiNations. Players took on the roles of countries, roleplaying diplomatic relations, citizens in their countries, and reacting to international events as their nations. I established and played a nation called Caelia for a couple of years, fully utilizing the Shaels and their growing language and culture.
The owner of Aurora and I then coded our own nation simulation in PHP, building on the simulation he had already established for Aurora. We created the world of Eshraval. That was in 2005, and Eshraval officially opened on January 1, 2006. It was a quick success, with 70+ players signing up and establishing nations in the simulation. It’s amazing how quickly something meant to be fun can turn into something ugly, though. Eshraval quickly found its share of cheaters, simulation exploiters, and general malcontents. One guy exploited the stock market module to rake in trillions of fake dollars over the course of an evening… then claimed he would be magnanimous and “give the money back”. Yes, you read that right.
Bluntly put, these “players” ruined the game. The last straw was when they banded together and tried to remove the creators (including yours truly)… out of their own game. I personally pulled the plug by erasing the simulation and game forum about two years later. It had to be killed in its entirety. A lot of bridges were burned with that, and a few attempts to continue Eshraval on as a nation RPG faltered (one is still faltering and stumbling on years later).
But lessons were learned, principally, people will abuse whatever you give them, even if it’s all fictional.
Coincidentally, there is still a “version” of Eshraval in existence. It’s called the World of Atoria, but it’s just a sandbox of sorts for some of the more realistic, legitimate players from the old Eshraval (2005-2007). We create what we want, when we want, how we want, with no “game” to participate in and no requirements for participation. I create the Republic of Shaelia there… I know that’s shocking 🙂
Oh, and there still is an Eshraval, but it’s not for anyone else but me now. 😉
After RPG Eshraval’s final demise, I moved onto another ImagiNations game… the original… Vexillium. I played the Republic of Shaelia there (again, shocking!), but that’s really a misnomer, because that group was much more concerned about doing nothing than actually playing or developing anything. It’s a game that’s dead and just hasn’t admitted it yet. After years of watching nothing happen, trying to generate some things with absolutely no interest expressed from others, and the steadfast refusal of the game administrator to open up lands to new players, I left for good in early 2013. My exit was prompted by one player’s continued insulting of my political and religious beliefs with no reprimand by anyone “in charge” there. In fact, when I had finally had enough, I was treated to an email sermon by the “planetmaster” on how I should react… not one thing said to the repeat offender, mind you, only to the horror that I had dared not have the common courtesy to bear the insults from a overbearing Swede. I was actually told that I should be amazed that he was that civil with me, regarding his disbelief, as if I should be thankful (since I’m wrong) that he went easy on me. Ridiculous, but such is Vexillium and the clown who’s in charge there. Avoid this “game” at all costs.
So that deed done, I found myself without a game setting to truly root the Shaels and develop them the way I wanted to develop them. I decided that instead of inventing a whole new world (again), I’d just locate them on Earth. I decided on a location (Pacific Ocean), developed a little back history (the understanding of how they wound up there mostly), then set about creating what would be a very powerful and important country in our world. The true joy is thinking of how the world would be with the Shaels in it. I sit around in my free time and think about how the Shaels would react to things in our world. It’s both interesting and relaxing to me.
That’s where I’m at right now. I have a master file of 80 pages of cultural and development information, a huge OneNote notebook with hundreds of pages, a dictionary of 420+ pages (and growing daily), a grammar book of 50+ pages, and not as much time as I’d like to start putting it all down officially in wiki and website form. But I’ll get there one day… or maybe not. The fun is in the trying.