Surface of Jhoutai

Featuring accounts of the Adventines and renown scientists

Jhoutai is a stormy, temperate Cradle World, notable for its diversity of life and the abundant presence of coral structures so large they comprise a majority of the landmass.

Massive mountain ranges, harsh weather patterns, and ecosystems that are as vertical as they are broad in breadth leave little to wonder as the origin of the determination of the Sazashi spirit.

From The Accounts of The Adventines:

Can you believe it? We are the first group of scientists ever to get to explore Jhoutai. Not just to set foot on it, but to explore it, to meet the other Kinds of Sazashi and witness the geography and biomes we've been hearing all about!

We’re allowed to take samples for scientific study, and there’s a parallel team of Jhoutaioan Adventines on Earth who are doing the same.

Peace between us and an alien species on the first try? Who would've thought?

Adventine Yosef Riskov
1st Valdutan Envoy, 2208 GS

Jhoutai is a world of wonders and wilds. It was once the perogative of Jhoutaioans—the demonym for the native Verin and Sazashi—to master their landscape and civilize it; now, they encourage its wild rampancy, spreading it to the stars as well.

To better understand Jhoutaioans one must understand Jhoutai. So let's begin, shall we?

Follow along using the below map. Under the map is a jump to each section, and under each section is a link back to the map. This is to make it convenient to swap back and forth as you read.


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Adventines

This article is supplemented by accounts of the Adventines, the first Humans to receive a diplomatic grant to survey Jhoutai.

To provide context, the current year of Ethnis is 3874 Gregorian Standard (GS).

Maps

  • Surface of Jhoutai
    All of the major aspects of the surface of Jhoutai, including sites, reef structures, and topology.

Summary

Type
Planet
Location under
Owning Organization
Alternative Name(s)
Haimar (Ancient Haimarchy)
Surface of Jhoutai
All of the major aspects of the surface of Jhoutai, including sites, reef structures, and topology.

Geoecological Overview

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Geo

Jhoutai's surface divideds into 3 continental regions which subdivide into 64 georegions whose bounds are determined by the geoecological barriers—geography, climate, and coral growth.

Each ecoregion is a part of a larger tapestry. Bioprecipitation in the Nege-Tai Caldera may become Fog Floods in the Kajh-Tai deserts, and a hot day in the Khatoumay Steppes may make for a cold snap in the Valdutani Basin. It is all one system, one body.

Working from the left and moving clockwise, the 3 continents are: Verra, AmujnAlden, and FalguMer'rh. Verra is the cradle of life to the Verin, who created the Sazashi to help settle the other two. Today, the ValuSelu Pact owns all 3, but allows Verin to live on Verra as a reservation.

Georegions layer

From The Accounts of The Adventines:

Trying to pin down an ecoregion schema is proving painful. It's a simple question, but our escort is a mix of four nations and by God there's a lot of politics buried in this topic.

I can see why, though. Jhoutai's coral covering doesn't exactly leave the surface replete with materials to mine. It sounds like that's what most of the border warring was about. They really got into it, too. There's a lot of ancient bad blood between Sazashi.

— Yosef Riskov
1st Valdutan Envoy, 2208 GS

Border Disputes

After a bloody revolution against the Ancient Haimarchy, the Sazashi nations drew their borders acording to georegional surveys conducted by the Haimarchy.

Millenia later, challenging the accuracy of the survey meant challenging a nation's claim to its land. This was finally settled in #### with an updated signing of the ValuSelu Pacts.

Topography

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Topo

From its lofty peaks to its deep trenches, Jhoutai's topography is the weathered hide of a beast which has seen many battles. The surface is a shooting gallery for its asteroid belts, and extreme temperatures and tempestial storms have made erosion an art form.

Altough Jhoutai's landmass is mostly coral (detailed ahead), there is still an underlying foundation of planetary crust upon which that coral grows. In some places, crust punctures the coral, reaching up into severe crags and uneven plateaus.

Jhoutai’s topography is marked by several important mountain ranges: The Faur’rdar’rian Mountains, the Mar’rianiyan Spine, the Verra Highlands, the Valu Divide, the Aempian Skyreach and the Pillars of Kajh-Tai.

Topology layer
After a Fog Flood almost killed Dana, we had to wear ENV suits on surveys. Thanks, Dana.

Organic Gigaforms

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Giga

Jhoutai is host to such alien and mighty organisms that to attempt to classify them as strictly flora or fauna, or to pin them with the 'mega-' prefix, does a disservice to their unique nature and gargantuan size.

These organisms, hereafter referred to as Gigaforms, shape every aspect of Jhoutai by their very presence. They may very well represent some of the oldest evolution patterns on the planet, and are considered key to understanding the origin of life on Jhoutai.

While there are many region-specific species and subspecies, the two Gigaforms which most deeply shape Jhoutai are Nege Trees and Jhoutaioan Coral.

Gigaforms layer

Jhoutaioan Coral

Jhoutaioan Coral is centerpiece to the Jhoutaioan ecosystem. Not only does it create the landscape upon which all other life subsists, but it is in eternal concert with that life—both as provider and consumer.

There are several subspecies of naturally occurring Jhoutaioan Coral, and several more which are derived from them and adapted to rapid growth for use in terraforming other worlds.

Ring
Grows into massive mounds. As these mounds age, hollow, and collapse, they leave behind ring-shaped craters miles wide.
Coral-Ring.png
Table
Spreads a wide base and then grows kilometers thick. 100s of kilometers of corralums, weave through them.
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Labyrinth
Spreads out in meandering, cellular patterns which grow up and over each other until they solidify into chambers.
Coral-Ventricular.png

Without the coral serving as the bedrock of the world, most terrestrial life, including the Verin and Sazashi, may never have existed, let alone grown into Sophonce.

Layers of Jhoutai's Coral
We paused along Nhicoranni to survey an impressive cluster of coral pillars

Nege Trees

Nege trees are colonial organisms comprised of many zooids. On top of being a part of an ecosystem, they are an ecosystem unto themselves. For all their dangers and disorientation, Nege trees can make for rich habitats. There's no shortage of resources within Nege forests.

Explore the map of the Nege tree to learn more.

From The Accounts of The Adventines

It's very alien, being inside of another organism. You'd think it would be comparable to a forest, but no. At least in the deepest rainforests on Earth you can look up and see sky above the canopy. Inside of a Nege the only light is from biolume, and that comes from every which direction. It's like being in a city, at night, but everything is humid, and alive, and twisting.

I don't know how the natives live here, let alone thrive. I get motion sickness just looking around, yet they traverse up, down, and across the somacyst axons with ease.

— Adventine Zravis Punell
1st Nege-Tai Envoy, 2209 GS

Accounts of The Adventines

Putting these notes down before I forget them...

Nege trees are found above the aquifers and cisterns of the labyrinthine corralums. They begin as "whogs" probing their roots into the corralums in search of nutrients and water. If they find a good source, these hollow roots will grow in diameter to fill the entire tunnel, and will siphon water up. The natives call these "whog ways" and grow algae in them.

Where the sun strikes the outermost entanglement of somacysts, they form a bark-like skin and grow together into a shell around the entire system.

As the tree matures, the cysts diversify. Some become storage for water, while others secrete a digestive acid the natives call "slog", which is sticky and attracts insects and other small creatures to trap and digest. Tall vertical shoots develop fronds which capture and convert the solar energy.

There's a lot of ways they're not like trees, but they look close enough and so that's the name that stuck.

— Adventine Mortefactus J. Hume-Rothery
4th Nege-Tai Envoy, 2210 GS
Nege Anatomy
While wandering the axons of a Nege tree, I came across a peculiar creature.

Climate

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Clim

Jhoutai's landmass appears equal-to or even greater-than that of Eden, yet is more wet. This is because most of the landmass is hollow coral.

Corralums are natural tunnels bored into the coral by bacteria, and are a critical part of the global ecosystem. They permit nutritious seawater and aquatic life to reach thousands of kilometers inland. Only an ~15% of the landmass is without water near to its surface, which keeps the planet extremly wet.

This coral, as well as similar organic gigaforms, the shadow of the planetary asteroid belts, bioprecipitation, and pollution factor into Jhoutai's tumultuous climate.

Climate layer

Contributing Factors

Extreme Temperatures

Looking solely at the record extremes of Jhoutai,-100°C to 60°C, doesn't do justice to understanding the variance and severity of climes across Jhoutai.

For example, it's harsher deserts reach 40-55°C range in summer, and the valleys and crevasses of the polar ranges average a frigid -45°C.

Bioprecipitation

Jhoutaioan Coral and the Nege Trees are the primary source of bioprecipitation, and are responsible for seeding 70-80% of the rainfall on Jhoutai.

These forces are such an integral part of the Jhoutaioan ecosystem that they are considered an essential part of the ValuSelu Pact's terraforming toolkit.

Scars of Civilization

Jhoutai is not without its wounds of battle or its industrial malaise. Pollution and war have taken their toll on the climate. Only in recent centuries has it seen repair.

There are many instances, but the chief one is a decrease in global rainfall and temperature after the Valuser'rh razed the Khatoumay Nege forest during a civil war.

Gigaforms

Aside from their effect on bioprecipitation, the gigaform organisms of Jhoutai are so massive that they change the flow of the currents of the sky and the sea alike.

Nege forests, some over 800m high and reaching kilometers across, reshapes the sky while Jhoutaioan Coral pushes out against the sea incessantly.

Accounts of The Adventines

I write this hunkered down in the lobby of an upscale hotel provisoned to us by our generous host, Emporer Akotan.

I am grateful to him for the grant to study in his country. I've never slept in a more comfortable bed, and the food is so rich I feel guilty eating it, so I say this with only respect for him and his people:

Aempians, and I suspect all Jhoutaioans, are totally mad.

In all my years studying typhoons in Singapore I never saw storms like happen here. Aempis suspends its cities on a scaffolding of towers instead of building at ground level. I see why now. A lush forest grows between the towers; today only their tallest crowns crest a raging river.

With each roaring squall I fight the urge to run, screaming Mary, to higher ground. The Aempians enjoy my terror.

— Adventine Sal Ritter
3rd Aempis Envoy, 2209 GS

Notable Climate Features

Temperature Snaps

Shaped by the extreme topography of the Nege and Coral, and perpetuated by the extreme temperatures, the pressure fronts of Jhoutai can sweep in suddenly, bringing temperature shifts of up to 40°C.

Life on Jhoutai must be well adapted for barometric shifts, lest a sudden shift in temperature kill them.

Fog Floods

Tidal forces, displacement, and seismic activity periodically push freezing floods of water out of the corralums.

The freezing blast creates dense fog in warmer regions, veiling a flood of water and whatever pockets of poisonous gasses may have been dredged up by the flood.

Fog Geysers

Similar to fog floods, but vertical and less lethal. Fog Geysers are stunning to behold, as rainbows cascade in their wake.

These geysers, and the cisterns the spout from, are rare enough to be coveted by the wealthy and the spiritual.

SveoK'khak'khamaThon

This phenomenon, which means "Hell bridging earth and sky" is the perfect confluence of pressure systems, climes, and fog floods.

There are several kinds of hellstorm, each with their own features and terrors.

Accounts of The Adventines

I'm don't want to go home yet, but I'll have to anyway. I'm writing this in an infirmary, high on whatever pain meds they gave and reading the other ongoing accounts.

If any of you think you've got it bad, you should know that I just got pulled out of a flood of mud onset by nothing less than GLASS RAIN. Say it with me: GLASS. RAIN.

I owe my life to the guide. I was exploring a corralum when a fog flood swept me up. I broke some bones slamming into rocks and getting twisted in what was by now a mud flood. Our guide fished me out, but not before the storm flayed off a few layers of skin from my face and back.

This is going in the history books. I am so embarassed.

— Adventine Dana Chou
1st Kajh-Tai Envoy, 2209 GS
Even where the cold is lethal, the Sazashi think "oh let's plonk a city down here!" Insane.

Metaphysical Perils

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Meta

As the first planet with access to The Meta, Jhoutai has experienced many unfortunate stumbling blocks dealing with an incomplete understanding of the Meta.

Some of these perils are the result of disaster, most are the result of thousands of years of Meta building up and adopting unforseen behaviors.

In places of great misery or of great joy, an Echo of the Soul remains. Left unchecked, these may spiral into such terrors as Selschaeus Deposits and Sanity Marches. Measures can be taken to counter this, but Jhoutai has many hidden scars and bruises leftoever from finding this out.

There are places on Jhoutai you simply do not visit.

Ambient Meta layer

Visceral Pool
Visceral Pool by Rostyslav Zagornov
It was when I saw the corpses that I realized the red waters were not caused by algae.

Jhoutai is a cruel world of cruel people.

We are 12 days and 9 deaths into the survey of the previously forbidden FalguMer'rh Region, a region I lobbied aggressively to survey. They agreed, under the stipulation that they would'nt supply guides.

A willful death sentence, in retrospect.

I will spare you the gruesome details of our journey so far, reader—if even this is ever read. We found wonders of magic here, and were possessed to go deeper. Now, we are in land where its rains blood, where there is no sun, yet beyond the hills an eternal red dawn beckons.

Our equipment is gradually failing, even the flashlights. I hear mumbling in the dark, the voices of our dead.

Lana, I love you. Give our boys my best.

Farewell.

— Yosef Riskov
1st Mar'rianiyan Envoy
Written: 2224 GS
Recovered: 2383 GS

Comments

Author's Notes

Describing a full world, it's lifeforms and topography in one article is a giga-task (pun intended). But the article is greatly structured, well organized and pays attention to the essential information. The vast amount of images and maps allow to quickly get an understanding of the synergies and the very clever navigation helps to find your way around things. I would love to explore that planet myself: "There are places on Jhoutai you simply do not visit." - Try me!
— Till Lammer, Dungeonfog


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4 Apr, 2020 16:42

The layout and alternation of text to images helps bring your eye around the page, and they layouts are strong as always. However, the text was overwhelming and almost dizzying at some points by walking the line of academic and bursting with information; I wasn't sure what information was important and which was just dressing. The land and its inhabitants/flora/fauna were intriguing, but I would recommend having the section on 'gigaforms' sooner, since it's mentioned very often in the earlier section and leaves one a little confused as to what it means as there's no tooltips, or it was a link to another article and pulled away focus from what was currently being read.   This may just be me, but the highlighting of the text with numbers was really disorienting and since I often use my cursor to guide me when I read, the flashing of highlight and the numbers kept pulling me out of the flow and the information.   I feel like it may benefit from breaking it into smaller articles perhaps, but that's just my opinion. You've gone above and beyond for the challenge in regards to maps, and you've planned out so much of the setting (climate, topology....!!!) It's really impressive.

Eternal Deity Ademal
Ademal Jacklyn
17 Apr, 2020 08:31

Thank you for the feedback! I moved the Gigaforms section up one so they're right after the Topography section now! I kept the hover effect but got rid of the alternating lines in it and toned down the numbers on hover, hopefully that helps make it a bit less distracting.   Thanks again!

explore-ethnis.png

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

18 May, 2020 18:59

That worked really well, especially lowering the numbers. It's not as distracting/pulls me out of it now. Glad my feedback could be of some help.

16 Apr, 2020 21:05

As usual, it's impressive! I love the immersion that happens between the use of images, layouts, and content. Just really ... wow.   The use of font icons in the way you have them here is something I never thought of before in that manner. I've seen it but this is the first time it REALLY registered in my head. I like that! Those convey a lot about the content real fast.

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
Eternal Deity Ademal
Ademal Jacklyn
17 Apr, 2020 08:35

I'm really glad you like it, and really glad you commented. I like likes, but I love comments—they give me a much better idea as to what drew someone into an article!   Feel free to @ me in the discord if you want some pointers on how to use the icons! I've been playing around with different ways to use them and am very proud of how I handled them in this article!

explore-ethnis.png

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

17 Apr, 2020 11:21

You got it! I might @ you pretty soon!

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
30 Aug, 2020 05:04

This article has so many wonderful aspects that I cannot articulate them all. Once again you have layers of worldbuilding, and the quotes just add more depth. Beautifully done!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
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