Culture and Tradition.   Posted by Dragondog.Group: 0
Dragondog
 GM, 67 posts
Sat 5 Feb 2022
at 15:18
Culture and Tradition
This thread will be about the culture and traditions of the various nations on the continent of Remulus. I'm not going to post all of them at once. And just because your character is from a given culture, you don't have to be a traditionalist and do things the way everyone else is.

Obviously, these posts will not be complete.

I have more information on some cultures than I have about others and these posts may give more information about a certain thing than it does for another. And it may not be mentioned at all for a third.

You and your characters can absolutely establish traditions and cultural aspects of the world. And for the places I have less information, you have even more opportunities to do so.

As things move on, traditions may change.

This message was last edited by the GM at 08:24, Fri 15 Apr 2022.

Dragondog
 GM, 68 posts
Sat 5 Feb 2022
at 15:19
Culture and Tradition - Imperium
Ideals: Obedience, honor, and courage. Especially important to high status individuals. Obedience to your father, military and social superiors, and to the state. Honor was based on duty, living irreproachable lives, and acquiring fame. Courage in combat, sacrifice, and in being fearless. Suicide is a common and accepted way of dealing with dishonor.

Family: The family is the most important building block of the Empire. And all aspects of it are based on the family. The Patriarch was the oldest living male of the household and he controlled the family in the same way that the Emperor controlled the Empire.

Marriage: Generally arranged for social and economic reasons. As selected by the Patriarch. Girls generally married when they were 15-18 years old and given a dowry that remained her property even if the marriage ended. Men who get married are expected to provide for their wife. They are usually older than their wives, even decades older. But extreme age differences, e.g. 60 and 16 years old, are usually ridiculed. Marriage is a legal, not a religious matter. And if a man and a woman lived together for a year, they are legally considered married, even if there had been no ceremony.

Women: Women used to be considered the property of their Patriarch or their husband. Now married women generally run their household with full control of indoor servants and slaves. And often take care of all financial matters. They are still considered Second-Class Citizens and do not inherit ownership, nor can they serve as a Patrician or in the military.

Children: From birth their wellbeing was controlled by the Patriarch who even had the right to sell them into slavery or disowning them. Any child young enough not to be on their own could legally be considered disowned if another found them alone by the side of the road. Though the practice of actually doing that is not as common as it used to be. Taking such a foundling home is legally considered adoption.

Slavery: War captives, rebels, and some criminals could be taken as slaves. Your Patriarch could sell you into slavery. Some slavers are less scrupulous and take drunk people or children that they “find” by the side of the road and turn them into slaves. Some may also start expeditions for the specific purpose of gathering slaves in some remote province. The child of a slave is also a slave. A slave is considered property and thus have no rights. Slaves that break the rules are punished severely. Slaves could save tips and money they earned on their free time to buy their freedom. Their owner could also free them.

Inns: Inns were small and sleazy as the upper class made private arrangements for lodging and travelers with governmental authorization could use the postal service’s station houses instead. Caravans made camp in vacant pastures.

Postal Service: Reliable messengers rode as quickly as they could and changed horses every seven miles on major roads. These stations houses were also used as rest stops for these couriers and for any traveling military officers, ambassadors, and other government agents. While civilians had to use the inns.

The Gazette: All cities and towns as well as some villages have notice boards. News and gossip is posted on them daily in cities and sometimes more rarely in smaller communities. The rich send slaves to copy the news and bring them home. Professional scribes also copy them, but sell their copies to citizens that are too busy to go see for themselves.

Medicine: The medical field is considered being TL 4 in the cities and generally being TL 3 elsewhere. And Divine Healers can be quite miracular beyond anything an herbalist can do.

Arena Games: Gladiatorial games, chariot races, and other arena games were the professional sports of the time. And just as popular as professional sports is today.

Clothing: Outside formal occasions, men wear tunics. Women wear long tunics under a long dress and a shawl. Most clothes are made of wool or linens, but silk is imported from Ming. During formal occasions men wear togas.
Dragondog
 GM, 74 posts
Mon 14 Feb 2022
at 22:09
Culture and Tradition - Shinobi
Ideals: The six cardinal virtues of wisdom, loyalty, sincerity, friendship, charity, and contemplation. Merchants openly value financial success while others, especially Warriors, regard them as miserly and greedy. Honesty is less valued than loyalty. People are expected to lie to protect their relatives and their House.

You are expected to show piety to your parents, your parents-in-law, your teacher, and your master/employer. The law classifies killing a teacher or employer as patricide, the same as killing a parent.

They are very polite. They don’t breathe on people of higher rank. They bow to near equals, the depth and number of bows depend on their relative social rank. They kneel to superiors.

It is good manners to smile when you disappoint or annoy someone. Showing that you accept responsibility and that you are not angry.

Government: The Great Houses control Shinobi on the national level. But the local House, even if it is a lesser House, has greater control over what actually gets done locally.

Daimyö: A Daimyö [Feudal Rank 6, Status 6] controls a House which controls a province. The House is made up of interrelated families.

Samurai: Samurai [Status 2+] are retainers of a Daimyö. They are warriors, tax collectors, administrators, and advisors. Samurai are expected to be loyal to their Daimyö and be willing to give up their lives for his. Only samurai are allowed to wear the katana. At a friend’s home, they leave the katana in a sword rack in the outer hall. At a stranger’s, he puts it on the floor to his right when he kneels if he trusts the stranger. He puts it on the left if he doesn’t or if the host shouldn’t trust him. Placing it so that the blade curves towards you or so that the hilt is facing backwards are both insults as they indicate that the host isn’t a good enough swordsman to be a threat. The wakizashi remains in his obi. If they expect to fight, they generally tie their sleeves up for better combat efficiency.

Magistrate: A Magistrate [Feudal Rank 4, Status 4] is appointed by the Great Houses to control a village and they have the incontestable power of life and death. However, they normally inherit their position and in practice they serve as long as they satisfy the local Daimyö.

Advancement: There are two ways to advance. The first is to gain favor with your superior. Unfortunately it is easier to lose favor. The second is to take his place by secret murder or open rebellion, which have risks of their own.

Classes: There are four classes in Shinobi society. Warriors who fight. Clerics who pray. Workers who work. And Outcasts who do that which others don’t.

Outcasts: Outcasts are beggars, criminals, entertainers, executioners, gamblers, kokuna (ninja), and survivors of suicide pacts. Anyone can become an Outcast, but it means giving up all claim to humanity. Killing an Outcast is not murder, there isn’t even a punishment. Though they have to pay another Outcast to take the body to the graveyard.

Women: Women are equal with men and can achieve any status, rank, or station a man can achieve.

Marriage: Marriage is a legal and financial arrangement, not a romantic one. Parents arrange the marriage through a matchmaker who is responsible for the marriage, the terms of the dowry, and any problems that may occur later, including a possible divorce. The two candidates are formally introduced to each other after the parents have settled the terms at the matchmaker’s house or a public place. Gifts are exchanged and a lucky date selected.

On their wedding day, the young person that is leaving their family to accept the other’s family as their own wears white as a sign that they’re dying to their own family over red as a sign that they are reborn to their new family. There is no honeymoon. Sometimes the young person that retains their last name is sent off on a pilgrimage to celebrate their new status and while they are gone, the other is trained in the family’s ways.

Divorce: The head of the family can divorce their child-in-law from their child in their child’s name. Even in the child’s absence or against their expressed desire. A disowned wife/husband leave their children behind. A Daimyö can order his samurai to divorce (perhaps so that they can marry the spouse themselves).

Children: A couple must have children! They run the business and they pass on the family name.

From their birth, children are one year old. Everyone is considered one year older on New Year’s Day.

Children are not generally raised directly by their parents. 20-50 babies of the same House and Class are raised together in a crèche. Worker Class caretakers take care of their physical needs. Cleric Class teachers educate them. Regular visits from their parents keeps the familial bond strong.

At around 4 years old, they are moved to a second crèche with children up to 16 years old that is a much more complex experience and instruction is taking place constantly. The children are tested frequently. If they are discovered having magical or psionic capabilities, they are moved to the Cleric Class. But if their abilities are discovered after they become adults at 16 years old and leave the crèche, their Class will not be reassigned. And some Warrior crèches only test the children’s academic and physical capabilities to avoid discovering any supernatural powers and losing a member because of it.

After they graduate from the crèche, they start dressing like adults and wear their hair like adults do.

Retirement: At the age of 600, they retire. By tradition, high ranking Warriors, such as Monarchs, Daimyös, and Warlords change Class and become Clerics. But they still retain a court of their own. While Workers have time for poetry, theater, and pilgrimages.

Friendship: Friends owe friends favors and gifts. Giving too great a present is just as insulting as giving too little.

Geisha and Courtesans: Over 70% of Geishas and Courtesans are female. Most are elven. But as contracts are 200 years long, younger races won’t be able to age out of them. The contract can still be bought by another. Or by the geisha or courtesan themselves. But as 90% of what they earn go to the contract holder, that is a very hard way to get out of the contract.

Crime: No one can be convicted without a confession. So if a suspect is killed by the police or commits suicide, neither he nor his family can be punished, unless a cleric can make the dead speak. But the powers that be may use interrogations, beatings, and torture to get a commoner to give that confession. Samurai are given the option of suicide to preserve honor.

If a suspect dies without a confession and there is no cleric who can communicate with the dead reliably, the suspect is innocent and their next of kin are rewarded with one year of his income. If they prove that they are innocent, they receive an official apology and compensation of one month’s earnings.

At trial, only the Magistrate is allowed to ask questions. Though others may humbly suggest what they should ask. At the end of the trial, the Magistrate decides guilt or innocence.

Capital crimes include adultery, arson, forgery, patricide, poisoning, robbery, treason, sneaking past a provincial border inspection point, submitting a petition to someone above your superior. The culprits spouse and children are also killed. Unless children have married into other families or have changed Class.

Lesser crimes are punished by public censure, fines, lashes, or being handcuffed. Samurai can also receive house arrest, with or without visitors, being disowned and becoming a ronin, or by having their Class forcibly changed to Worker.

Clerics are usually punished by public censure or by the Church.

Daimyö are usually punished by exile.

Killing: Anyone can kill an Outcast. Samurai can kill Workers who act rudely. The usual punishment for unlawful killing is merely a year as a ronin. A samurai drawing a sword on another samurai without permission has committed a capital crime. Suicide is honorable.

Travel: Most people travel by foot. Only nobles and samurai are allowed to ride. Some foreigners may be allowed to ride if Imperial law overrules local law on their behalf.

Commoners kneel by the roadside, their heads in the dirt, when a Daimyö’s procession goes by.

Travelers may wear a shortsword while traveling between towns, but in town they leave it at their inn or have it peace bound.

Commoners need a passport to travel which they are issued in their home village/town.

Armor is worn only by armies or bandits.

All major cities are enclosed by walls and the gates are locked at night.

It is illegal to travel at night without a lit lantern and a guard may kill you for it on the assumption that you are a criminal.

Clothing: Standard clothing include: kimono (“shirt”), hakama (pants), haori (jacket), and obi (sash or belt).

Ninja, or kokuna, wear hooded kimonos and hakama, usually black on one side and the more common blue or gray on the other. Sometimes ninja kimono or hats are reinforced with hidden steel bars. Ninja women sometimes wear shuriken, hishi, or tetsubishi made to look like hair ornaments. Almost any item of ninja clothing or ornament is liable to be a disguised weapon or tool. They may also use the “traditional” ninja outfit.

The Little Things: They read/write right to left. Books start at what most Imperials would call the end. The best rooms are at the back of the house and servants sleep in the front. They are not accustomed to privacy while sleeping or bathing.
Dragondog
 GM, 113 posts
Sat 19 Feb 2022
at 16:22
Culture and Tradition - Wild Wood
There are three types of Wild Elves and all of them are spiritual and nature loving people. The nomadic hunters. The farmers and fishermen. And the city dwellers. The nomads lived in tents and traveled in tribes where the hunting was good. The farmers lived on their farms in wooden structures. The fishermen lived near the water so that they could take their boat to wherever there was fish. The descriptions below focus on the nomads who are the majority of the population.

Men: The men acquired status by performing brave deeds in warfare. Their focus was the hunt. If there actually are fewer men with the talent for sorcery and psionics or if most of the men with that talent suppress it to do more manly things is unknown. But some men do choose to pursue more feminine careers.

Women: Women are generally focused on fertility, healing, and the overall well-being of the group. They embroider and favor geometric designs. More sorcerers and psionics are found among the women. More women become clerics. Some women choose to pursue more masculine careers.

Animals: Animals that are of symbolical importance to the Wild Elves include bears, wolves, elk, horses, turtles, eagles, deer, and owls.

Medicine: The medical field is considered being TL3 with the addition of divine healing.

Revelry: They love revelry and needed no special occasion to host a party. Dancers, acrobats, musicians, storytellers, and magicians often performed where they could be afforded. These could be slaves or professionals. Male or female. Undressed female dancers were particularly popular. Guests also took to the dance floor. When guests danced, they danced individually, not in pairs or coordinated groups.

Death: Those that die in Wild Wood are cremated. A jar with the ashes of an ancestor is very important to the family. Dead ancestors are still part of the family. They visit these jars much in the same way and frequency as they would visit living relatives.

Games: They competed in archery, soldiers and slaves wrestled while the nobility watched, ball games, axe throwing, variants of pentathlon/heptathlon/decathlon, board games, and gambling with dice.

Children: Mothers carried their infants everywhere in cloth slings or in leather or basket backpacks. Older children typically were undressed with the exception of a string of beads and perhaps a protective amulet. They engage in energetic freeform play. Girls collected dolls, some of which had moving joints and elaborate wardrobes. They have access to a lot of different toys. Older children, even commoners, were given a good education. Clerics taught all kinds of children, but the wealthy could employ tutors that taught the children at home.

Art: Their art is utilitarian and follow rigid stylistic conventions. Artists do not sign their work. Most paintings were intended to convey information.

Family: A typical household is a husband, wife, and their children. They all share a tent. Extended family may live with them, but this isn’t common. Even less so for male relatives. Being childless is embarrassing. Adoption and having children by slaves were both socially acceptable options for both men and women. Alchemy, fertility magic, and prayers were all common. Property was passed from mother to daughter. While position or profession was passed from father to son or earned on once own merit.

Jewelry: Both male and female and Wild Elves of all classes covered themselves with jewelry. Rings, brooches, anklets, bracelets, necklaces, and circlets were all common. They are obviously not worn, at least not in such abundance that it will prevent them from doing their jobs, while hunting or in combat.

Clothes: They wear clothes made of leather, suede, and fur.

Pets: They kept both dogs and cats as pets. There were three popular dog breeds: a miniature “toy” dog, a compact mastiff, and a moderate-sized guard dog.

Trade: They trade animal products for farming products and whatever else they need, but cannot provide for themselves.

Crafts: They have a rich tradition of crafts. They make jewelry, bows, arrows, knifes, spears, and axes.

Government: The Speaker of the Stars has all political and religious powers vested in him and he treats even minor matters as weighty decisions. Which sometimes meant that problems went unsolved for generations because a ruler didn’t want to deal with it. But the system had worked for Ages, with brief periods of disorder, so no one was prone to changing it. The Speaker of the Stars is a national celebrity and the people love him.

The word of the Speaker of the Star was law in the absolute sense and their term for justice translates literally to “what the Speaker loves” and wrongdoing to “what the Speaker hates.”

The city people had an obsession with record keeping and because of it, there were many records of how earlier rulers had done things and these were consolidated by scholars as guidelines for the Speaker. There was no actual “letter of the law.”

Despite his absolute power, there were rituals and traditions that prescribed most of his life. In addition to daily religious rituals, every festival and meeting of the court followed a choreographed script in which each move had a meaning and every act of the Speaker was important.

As property was inherited along the female line, the Speaker often married his oldest sister or his mother to retain claim to royal property. He also married any other woman who had or might have a claim to rulership to consolidate all such claims in one person. He also married other women for their beauty or for other reasons.

He had a large bureaucracy to help him govern, many positions being completely honorary. The Speaker appointed these officers at both the national and the regional level.

A Counselor does the routine work of running Wild Wood so that the Speaker could focus on the important things. 36 magistrates judged cases of national importance and served as an inner council for the Counselor and the Speaker of the Stars.

Regional Governors ruled each of the 45 regions in much the same way.

In the tribes, an Elder was chosen to lead them. He had the honor of receiving tribal guests. Beyond that, his rule depended on how well he could maintain the support of his people and what they let him get away with. They also appointed one of their wisest as a Judge, though he rarely interfered when his tribe stole flocks from their enemies to avenge some minor insult. But when two tribes had a dispute, the two Judges mediated that dispute to avoid war.

Crime and Punishment: The law was sacred and magistrates had a divine duty to act quickly to enforce it. In theory, anyone who had been wronged could bring their complaint to the Speaker of the Stars, but in practice they turned to local magistrates.

Each governor had a police force that arrested dangerous suspects and forced the people to pay their taxes. It was mostly brute force work. There was no oratory in the courtrooms as all proceedings were conducted in writing. The nearly universal punishment was being beaten with a stick.

Men received their punishment lying down. Women received it kneeling, but were immune to punishment while pregnant. But repeat offenders could be sentenced to slavery for a period of time. And whenever possible, they had to reimburse their victims.

The death penalty was incurred only for murder, tomb-robbery, treason, and perjury. Anyone witnessing a murder and didn’t do anything to prevent it was also judged a murderer. The Speaker of the Stars could commute such sentences to life in slavery.
Dragondog
 GM, 144 posts
Thu 3 Mar 2022
at 16:01
Culture and Tradition - Dune
Honor: Honor and keeping your word is very important. But raiding another tribe’s herd is fine. Though such things could create feuds between said tribes.

Hospitality: No one can afford a reputation of failing to treat visitors well. Only sworn enemies can refuse each other hospitality and even they have to respect certain rules. Though this doesn’t mean that you can enter a stranger’s house and demand food. But a distant acquaintance could. In the wilderness, groups would shelter lone wanderers.

A visitor can claim the privileges of guest for three days, after that it would be impolite not to help with the chores. But an individual traveling with a tribe could go from family to family every three days to avoid that.

The symbol of hospitality is bread and salt and once that is accepted, a visitor becomes a guest.

Sports and Games: Outdoors they enjoed horse-racing, polo, mounted archery, foot archery, wrestling, footraces, weight lifting, animal fights, and pigeon racing. Indoors they enjoyed several types of board games. While women also played dancing games in the harem. Betting on these events was also common. A chess-like game was especially popular and a skilled player could make a living on teaching his tricks to the upper class and their slaves.

Inheritance: Two thirds of a person’s wealth is distributed as law dictates. A will can only control the distribution of the final third. Family, wives, parents, and children must all be provided for. A woman retains her dowry. Power or authority, on the other hand, is inherited from father to son. Unless it is taken by force.

Women: Women used to be considered property of their father or husband. They are, at least in theory, considered equal to men. They inherit wealth as men do. Female infanticide and bride-stealing are forbidden in law. But some males have taken it upon themselves to protect their female relatives from those forbidden practices by locking them away and restricting their freedoms.

Marriage: Marriage is generally arranged by the family, but romantic love-matches do happen. Technically the couple should consent to the match before they are wed, but that step is frequently skipped. The husband to be provides a dowry the woman can keep even if the marriage fails. The contract is legal rather than religious, but clerics still officiate. A man can have only one wife, but he can have as many concubines as he can support.

Harem: A harem houses a mans wife, concubines, pre-pubescent male children, unmarried daughters, female domestic servants, and other unmarried female relatives. And they are guarded by eunuchs, often foreigners.

Slavery: Slavery is permitted, but no longer encouraged. In earlier Ages, all subjects were considered the ruler’s slaves. So there is no stigma for being a slave. There are firm rules on how slaves can be treated, but they are often bent or broken. Raids are often slave gathering expeditions. When freed, the former owner is expected to give the former slave money and property. If a slave female has a child and a free man acknowledges the child as his, the child is his and free, and the woman would become free when the man died.

Nomads: Most people of Dune live in nomadic tribes that move their herds across the desert.

Inns: Inns are small. Usually used only by merchants and adventurers. The few other travelers stay with relatives.

Sages: The sages are the scientists of the day. They are experts in diverse subjects such as astronomy, chemistry, engineering, geography, mathematics, medicine, navigation, and physics. They study at universities, especially the one in Lessat-Ha where there also was a prestigious library.

Oaths: Oaths are legally binding, whether they are given in court or elsewhere.

Amirs: Amirs are landowners given command over a province. The more important ones are titled H’Amir and are given command of larger or more important provinces.

Tribes: The tribes are led by Sheikhs. They keep herds of animals that could subsist on the local vegetation, such as camels, horses, goats, and sheep. And some rarer cattle herders. Their diet is mainly milk and meat, but they add dates, which grow in the area where they travel, and crops traded or stolen from farming communities in oases or on the desert edge.

Cities: Resting places for travelers, markets, sites for palaces and universities. Water was a necessity. Only wealthy citizens could afford baths, gardens, and courtyards. While the poor lived in hovels. Some lived in rented homes to keep cost down, and might even share their home with others to divide the rent.

Most buildings have flat roofs and surround a central courtyard. On hot summer nights, the roof is the coolest place to sleep. During hot days, the courtyard provides shade. The greatest symbol of domestic luxury is a cool home. Houses often have covered porches towards the street. Visitors to the house would be entertained in a chamber with one wall open facing the courtyard; rich households could have two or even four such chambers.

Interior furnishings were sparse and simple. Heavily decorated furnishings, among the rich, was often limited to a few low benches, many rugs, carpets, and cushions. And not present among the less fortunate at all. The rich could decorate their interior walls with mosaics or glazed tiles. The great luxury was a garden, preferably with audible running water.

Their palaces and holy places often used domes, arches, and pillars.

Bazaars: A bazaar is a marketplace. Often the heart of many towns because of the importance of trade. It is under the complete control of the Merchants Guild and access is banned by strict curfews outside of daylight hours. Various guilds have been given various streets to sell their wares within the bazaar.

Trade: Most land-based trade routs to Imperium go through Dune. Long distance trade was generally carried by caravans of camels. Wheeled vehicles could only travel on the Imperial roads, but these haven’t been maintained since Dune left the Empire.

Medicine: The medical field is considered being TL 4 in the cities and generally being TL 3 elsewhere. And Divine Healers can be quite miracular beyond anything an herbalist can do.