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Pelorian Orlanthi and neighbours: Homelands/Languages/Customs


Akhôrahil

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I'm looking at putting the northern Orlanthi of predominantly the hilly areas of Peloria into the RQG system of Languages, Customs and Homelands (for Homeland Lore), along with some of the surrounding peoples, and this is the sketch I have so far. Does anyone have any corrections, sanity checks or just other opinions? I'm not looking to be told that MGWV - I want to know if this contradicts canon, deutero-canonical/apocryphal sources, secret lore, traditional viewpoints, or just common sense.

Homelands: I was struggling a bit with this at first, but fortunately the box in the Guide p. 294 turns out to make for a pretty neat list of homelands, at least as far as the Orlanthi peoples go, so it would mean separating Homelands by Lunar Province as well as Talastar/Skanthi/Lakrene/Anadiki/Brolia. On the immediate other side of the Rockwoods, Corolaland, Delela and Karia could be homelands (along with Halikiv, Ormsland and Telmoria).

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Languages: Talastaring, Hillspeech (or Alakoringite). I wonder if these should be broken up into mutually intelligible dialects, though, the way Heortling/Southern Theyalan gets broken into Sartarite and Esrolian with a x 1/2 language modifier? Tarshite and Aggarite might make sense as separate languages in this way - what would the other language breakouts be, if any? Is the language of Anadiki significantly enough different from "main" Talastaring to count as a separate language at 1/2 modifier? What do people speak in Brolia - some really heavy dialect/sublanguage of Talastaring?  

For Orlanthi languages in Ralios, might Vustrian (East Wilds), and Korionite (Vesmonstran) be reasonable? As far as I know, we're not given the names of those languages anywhere, and even the Guide says little except that they're Theyalan - my interpretation is that they function a bit like Talastaring, where there's an original non-Theyalan population in the First Age that is then heavily influenced by the Theyalan missionaries to the point hwere it's turned into a Theyalan language, but still retain enough of the original language to be quite distinct from other Theyalan languages.

What are the reasonable language multipliers? Heortling = 1/5th Alakoringite, Hillspeech/Alakoringite = 1/5th Talastari, Heortling = 1/10th Talastari (possibly 1/5th, not sure?), the Ralian languages = 1/10th for the Central Genertelan Orlanthi languages?   

Customs: Talastarings, Alakoringites (technically I guess the Talastarings would be Alakoringites, but it should make sense from the context). Vustrians and Korioni over in Ralios? Or should cultures for Customs be more fine-grained than this? The rulebook does have Lunar Provincial as a single Custom though, so maybe these fairly large Customs areas make sense? Telmori should be a Custom here, as well.

I'm never quite clear on how Customs and Elder Race Lores for the Elder Races interact - it seems like the skills are very closely related and heavily overlapping without quite being the same? Or does Elder Race Lore replace Customs for Elder Races? If it doesn't, should different areas for the same Elder Race have separate Customs (like Customs (Halikiv trolls) and Customs (Yolp Mountain trolls)?), or are they just less culturally diverse than humans to the point where this isn't necessary?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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I would say a race sees others races in one "custom" ( = lore) for example  a human sees all trolls as one group (and trolls see humans as one group too for sure)

but I would consider that trolls see other trolls customs like humans sees other humans customs.

so yes there would be a Yolp Mountain troll custom, and a different Halikiv custom.

Is a human able to distinguish the difference ? maybe after learning a lot (too much) about troll (= troll lore > 50%/ 70% / ... ?)

 

for the theyalan languages (a century ago), my french genertela says "One speaking a ralian (or other) language gains 1/3 in other ralian languages and 1/10 in all other theyalan languages. but ... that's the same for Kethaela (aka sartarite -> 1/3 of Esrolian if you follow this rule,).

That does'nt fit will the rqg rules. Maybe apply the new rate : one region = 1/2; other 1/10

Not sure it helps a lot ^^

 

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9 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I would say a race sees others races in one "custom" ( = lore) for example  a human sees all trolls as one group (and trolls see humans as one group too for sure)

Perhaps in theory, but any troll that tries to apply the idea that all human cultures are the same will probably run into trouble, far more than if you apply the theory to all trolls (I think?). 

One way to handle this might be to have the Elder Race Lore for the general stuff and the specific Homeland for the particulars, but not applying Customs to them on top of that.

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

but any troll that tries to apply the idea that all human cultures are the same will probably run into trouble,

probably but that means the troll was able to meet different culture with enough time to distinguish the disgussing differences

Note that, from my perspective, you don't need a custom roll to know if the guys in front of you with the darkness rune is probably more friendly than the guy with YO in his brow and his spear.

 

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

far more than if you apply the theory to all trolls (I think?).

i think a lot of differences between cultures from one race are seen as very subtile or insignificant by others.

But are we (we irl human gamers) able to play significant difference between trolls cultures ? not sure. With dice yes, with roleplay...

so the big gap is probably here, it's easier to understand what are human gloranthan difference (just because we call these guys "humans")  than any others.

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14 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Note that, from my perspective, you don't need a custom roll to know if the guys in front of you with the darkness rune is probably more friendly than the guy with YO in his brow and his spear.

I disagree... Darkness, Death and Disorder is vastly different to Darkness and Harmony... If a troll can distinguish different customs, then there's no logical reason why any other race couldn't.

14 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

i think a lot of differences between cultures from one race are seen as very subtile or insignificant by others.

Those subtleties are what makes it a separate skill.


Let's consider an obvious example - Mostali. some are Openhandists, and others are very conservative Way of Mostal(i). Lore lets you know there are differences (and in the different types of Mostali. Customs tells you how you should be dealing with the one in front of you so as to not offend it.

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44 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I disagree... Darkness, Death and Disorder is vastly different to Darkness and Harmony... If a troll can distinguish different customs, then there's no logical reason why any other race couldn't.

we agree... yes yes we do 😛

you re speaking about runes signification, which are common to all races. In all case a troll will see darkness so would consider the human in front of him is probably not an ennemy. He will consider the death/disorder more dangerous than the harmony guy but like any troll showing disorder, death or harmony.

That doest mean the troll knows how to greet the human or enter without any trouble in the house /temple / etc ...

50 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Those subtleties are what makes it a separate skill.


Let's consider an obvious example - Mostali. some are Openhandists, and others are very conservative Way of Mostal(i). Lore lets you know there are differences (and in the different types of Mostali. Customs tells you how you should be dealing with the one in front of you so as to not offend it.

yes we agree !

I prove it :

19 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

Is a human able to distinguish the difference ? maybe after learning a lot (too much) about troll (= troll lore > 50%/ 70% / ... ?)

In our example, how many humans know there are Openhandists and other are very conservative ? they may even not know there are other than the openhandists. And they consider that openhandists are very "closed" when other mostalis would say they are too "open"

SO I see the elder race lore as the first step to understand others, but to know the subtilities yes the "other" must learn/study the culture, and for that, must have the opportunity to do it.

 

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On 10/11/2021 at 12:11 PM, Akhôrahil said:

Languages: Talastaring, Hillspeech (or Alakoringite). I wonder if these should be broken up into mutually intelligible dialects, though, the way Heortling/Southern Theyalan gets broken into Sartarite and Esrolian with a x 1/2 language modifier? Tarshite and Aggarite might make sense as separate languages in this way - what would the other language breakouts be, if any? Is the language of Anadiki significantly enough different from "main" Talastaring to count as a separate language at 1/2 modifier? What do people speak in Brolia - some really heavy dialect/sublanguage of Talastaring?  

Generally, my thoughts on your questions:

Talastaring/Brolian/Anadiki (even original Syliling) likely derived on their own path from Stormspeech.

The Theyalan missionaries would have brought the Theyalan tongue north in the First Age.  Assume that the original Talastaring was the tongue of Lokamayadon.  Was this carried south by the Broken Council in conquering Dragon Pass/Esrolia?  Probably a lot of admixture with both derived from Stormtongue.  (Maybe this is like the overlay of Danish on top of Anglo-Saxon?  Or perhaps more like the admixture of older PIE languages across Europe?)

Post-First Age, the Talastaring/Brolian languages would branch again, with influence from DH early and Carmania later.  The EWF adopts/develops Auld Wyrmish out of the First Age Heortling.  That does not really penetrate Talastar regions.  However, Alakoring brings a whole separate Ralian tongue into Aggar/Talastar.  How extensive was this influence?  I don't see a large population migration across the Rockwoods, so I suspect confined more to loan words.  This influences the Northern Theyalan tongues including Tarshite, Aggarite, Holayan, Sairdite (which has more DH influence), and Imtherian. 

However, I suspect there's some line between more Talastaring/Brolian related tongues (extending up through Charg) and the northern Theyalan.  That may be in Talastar itself.

I think the northern Theyalan tongues are likely x3/4 language modifier (e.g. Tarshite to Sairdite or Imtherian).  Talastaring to northern Theyalan might be x2/3 in Talastar but more like x1/2 as you get to Brolia/Charg.

 

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Generally, my thoughts on your questions:

Talastaring/Brolian/Anadiki (even original Syliling) likely derived on their own path from Stormspeech.

Agree, and unsure about the Sylilings as well.

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

The Theyalan missionaries would have brought the Theyalan tongue north in the First Age.  Assume that the original Talastaring was the tongue of Lokamayadon. 

I'm not sure this is a good assumption - it's a couple of hundred years after Missionary contact (in the year 100), and at this point, the Talastarings would be pretty Theyalanized already.

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Was this carried south by the Broken Council in conquering Dragon Pass/Esrolia?

Yes (at least as far as northern Dragon Pass goes), but as an influence rather than a colonizing language - the Hillspeech/Alakoringite language is influenced by, among others, Talastaring, but has fundamentally Heortling roots.

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Post-First Age, the Talastaring/Brolian languages would branch again, with influence from DH early and Carmania later.

To an extent, but they would still maintain contact with the Heortling peoples of Peloria, like the neighboring Aggarites. Language drift is to be expected, though, but there's no isolation.

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

The EWF adopts/develops Auld Wyrmish out of the First Age Heortling.  That does not really penetrate Talastar regions.  However, Alakoring brings a whole separate Ralian tongue into Aggar/Talastar.  How extensive was this influence?  I don't see a large population migration across the Rockwoods, so I suspect confined more to loan words.  This influences the Northern Theyalan tongues including Tarshite, Aggarite, Holayan, Sairdite (which has more DH influence), and Imtherian. 

I agree with all of this. I think the religious influence of Alakoring and what few fliers he could have brought with him far exceeded any linguistic one. I'm also curious about how much was brought back to Ralios - if it's been isolated from central Genertela since the time of Arkat, 1/10th language proficiency would seem generous, if anything. 

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

However, I suspect there's some line between more Talastaring/Brolian related tongues (extending up through Charg) and the northern Theyalan.  That may be in Talastar itself.

I have no idea what people in Charg speak - it could also be a Fronelan rather than a Talastaring offshoot. I mostly picture Charg as halfway between Brolia and Fronela, though, so it's probably somewhat related. But oh boy has it been isolated for a while now!

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

I think the northern Theyalan tongues are likely x3/4 language modifier (e.g. Tarshite to Sairdite or Imtherian).  Talastaring to northern Theyalan might be x2/3 in Talastar but more like x1/2 as you get to Brolia/Charg.

I'm not sure that 3/4 or 2/3 is worth bothering with, ruleswise - at this point, it might be easier to just say that "they talk funny". This is also how I picture regular Talastaring to the somewhat more Heortling Skanthing (originally Heortling, but have been part of Talastar since the time of Lokamayadon). 1/2 for Talastaring to Brolian makes sense - even if it's not strictly another language (which it well might be), the dialect is bound to be really heavy up there.

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Sideways question - how come Brolia has a population of 100 000 in a notably harsh area, while much larger and presumably less harsh Anadiki has only half that (50 000)? Brolia is actually fairly densely populated (more so than regular Talastar which makes no sense to me!), but Anadiki very sparsely (Skanthiland isn't exactly famous for being fertile ground, but is considerably more densely populated than Anadiki). Did something disastrous happen there recently, or is there anything else holding back the population? It's hard to imagine the terrain could be worse than the notably awful Brolia, so it likely can't be that? 

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Customs: For rulebook cultures, we have individual customs for each Praxian tribe, a Heortling culture for Sartarites (presumably shared with northern Heortlanders at a minimum), Esrolian, Grazelander, and Tarshite cultures, and a single Lunar Provincial culture for Lunar Tarsh. However, the rulebook assumes you're playing a Sartar-centered game. So perhaps instead of taking it as given that Vanch, Imther, Holay, Aggar, and Tarsh all share a single cultural set of customs, we should assume that's a consequence of the flattening effects of distance. 

In the Guide, we have Orlanthi people noted in Carmania, Sylila (specified as primarily in "old Sylila", a rounded triangle between the valleys of the Erinflarth and Oslira rivers), and of course, the Provinces and Talastar. As far as Anadiki and Brolia goes, I think that the Guide maps are misleading, and the Anadiki are clustered tightly around the rivers while Brolians move more freely. In the Provinces, there's a note that all people here are Orlanthi with varying degrees of urbanization, and this is probably the division between Sairdite and Orlanthi noted on these maps. 

So to sum it up, we have:

West Reaches:
Carmanians

Heartlands:
Sylilans

Varying Degrees of Isolated:
Brolians
Anadiki
Talastarings
Skanthi
Lakrene

Provincial Orlanthi:
Aggari
Holayans
Imtherites
Vanchites
Tarshites

I think, then, that we can probably give the first two their own Customs, because they're going to be substantially divergent. I don't know what Carmanian Orlanthi speak, given the way the Guide describes the languages, but I suppose you could give them Pelandan as their native language, and this is described as "closely related" to New Pelorian so it might even be a 3/4ths relationship. (Or identical to New Pelorian ruleswise.) Sylilan Orlanthi presumably speak Syliling and New Pelorian, and this probably is a good model for the Provinces: Aggar and Imther speaking their native language primarily, Holay and Vanch having it half-and-half or even New Pelorian-primary like Tarsh. 

So with that in mind, I guess I would use the following "customs groups":

Customs (Carmania)
Customs (Sylila) (includes Lakrene)
Customs (Aggar) (includes Skanthi)
Customs (Holay)
Customs (Imther)
Customs (Vanch)
Customs (Brolia)
Customs (Talastar) (includes Anadiki)

I'm including Lakrene and Skanthi in the customs groups of their neighbors because of how they are described as linked to their neighboring states. Brolia gets its own group because Brolians are semi-neolithic pastoralists and horticulturalists and this implies they are very different in daily life than Anadiki farmers. You could, of course, collapse the Provinces into a single Customs, or lowland and highland, but if I'm planning on playing in the Provinces I'm not going to be insisting that they're a monolith because that's very clearly not MGF. 

As far as language families go... Pure Horse Tongue and Dara Happan are at 1/10th of each other. That seems like the limit for languages being in the same family. Tarshite, meanwhile, is necessarily a language descended from languages spoken in Saird, and in the tree illustration in the corebook diverges after Old Pavic does. And it's at 1/5th with southern Theyalan languages. So how I would do this...

Talastari Languages: 1/2 with each other, 1/5th with Provincial languages and Ralian ones, 1/10th with Sartarite and Esrolian.
Provincial Languages: 1/2th with immediate neighbors, 1/5th with more distant ones (hijinks ensue!) and Sartarite/Esrolian, 1/10th with Ralian languages?
Syliling: 1/5th with Provincial languages and Talastari, 1/10th with all other Theyalans. 

You could get even further and delineate a network of incomprehensibility, but that seems a bit over the top. My main purpose here is to produce concentric rings of familiarity- being a Skanthi or Lakrene means you can speak easier to other Talastarings even though there's a real cultural difference at this point. Being from one of the Provinces means that the people on the other side of the river talk funny, are obsessed with their Babeester-damned cheeses/probably fuck their sheep and have tiny ram's horns under all the unruly hair, but there's still a kind of solidarity. Sylilans, who have long been part of the Lunar Empire and are presumably regularly reminded that the Red Goddess rode the Sky Bear all over the sky, are also somewhat isolated from everyone, but still with that cultural connection. 
 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

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9 hours ago, Eff said:

Customs: For rulebook cultures, we have individual customs for each Praxian tribe, a Heortling culture for Sartarites (presumably shared with northern Heortlanders at a minimum), Esrolian, Grazelander, and Tarshite cultures, and a single Lunar Provincial culture for Lunar Tarsh. However, the rulebook assumes you're playing a Sartar-centered game. So perhaps instead of taking it as given that Vanch, Imther, Holay, Aggar, and Tarsh all share a single cultural set of customs, we should assume that's a consequence of the flattening effects of distance. 

In the Guide, we have Orlanthi people noted in Carmania, Sylila (specified as primarily in "old Sylila", a rounded triangle between the valleys of the Erinflarth and Oslira rivers), and of course, the Provinces and Talastar. As far as Anadiki and Brolia goes, I think that the Guide maps are misleading, and the Anadiki are clustered tightly around the rivers while Brolians move more freely. In the Provinces, there's a note that all people here are Orlanthi with varying degrees of urbanization, and this is probably the division between Sairdite and Orlanthi noted on these maps. 

Thanks for the comments and helping me think about this! 

Customs is tricky because we have so few data points. We get Sartar (which as you say should include at least traditionalist Heortland) as opposed to Esrolia, Lunar Provincial (unlike you, I do believe this is intentional, but it should only applied to the actually Lunarized populations, such as Aggarite lowlanders, but not traditionalists), individual Praxian tribes (Vishi Dunn has Customs (Praxian), but this is presumably an error).

Sartar and Esrolia are geographically close but to an extent even culturally antagonistic, and I think different Customs make a lot of sense here - if you're a Sartarite going to Esrolia with no idea what to expect, there will be a culture shock. Does this happen between different Alakoringite Orlanthi? I'm not sure - in all likelihood less so, at least - my reading is that the differences would be larger than between Provincials from different provinces (where the Lunar Way has streamlined the cultures a bit), but less than between Sartar and Esrolia. Enough for different skills? That's what I'm trying to find out, here.

I'm also trying to see if it helps to apply real-world reasoning - at what level would we apply a Customs skill if applying the RQG rules to the current world? Do I have a Customs (Swedish)? I don't think so - if I go to another Nordic culture, there won't be any culture shock. Not identical, to be sure, but the differences are minor. I think I would be able to use Customs (Swedish) at 9/10ths value in the other countries, and at this point individual skills don't seem productive (meanwhile, Language would be at 1/2 to Norwegian or Danish (and with some Danes, not even that), so in this case Customs would differ less than languages... although some linguists say Swedish/Danish/Norwegian is just one language in three dialects and only the accidents of history makes us pretend otherwise). Should there be a Custom (Nordics) instead? That could be a sensible design choice, but it's worth considering whether it should even be expanded to Customs (Germanics). When we get to Germany or Austria, the difference in culture increases to be sure, but perhaps not necessarily enough to require a new Customs area. I would not go above this though - Customs (EU) seems outright silly.

Similarly, let's say we hack RQG for the late Roman Republic. It seems like a non-starter to have a separate Customs skill for each Germanic tribe (for gameplay reasons if nothing else!). I would be inclined to have Customs at the level "Customs (Gauls)", "Customs (Germans)" and so - it might be a simplification, but not grossly so, and seems like it would keep the skill list from simply exploding. 

By the way, it's great that both you and @jajagappa raised the issue of Sylila - even if one goes with a single Customs (Alakoringite), Sylila isn't quite part of it. And yes, Carmanians certainly get their own Customs skill - that was just outside what I was considering here (Carmania also likely gets four separate Homelands).

9 hours ago, Eff said:


So with that in mind, I guess I would use the following "customs groups":

Customs (Carmania)
Customs (Sylila) (includes Lakrene)
Customs (Aggar) (includes Skanthi)
Customs (Holay)
Customs (Imther)
Customs (Vanch)
Customs (Brolia)
Customs (Talastar) (includes Anadiki)

Just wanted to comment here that RQG tends to list Customs by people or population, not area, so even under your construction, it should probably be "Customs (Carmanians)" and so on. But that doesn't matter for the general discussion.

My thoughts:

Lakrene: Ethnically Talastari, and some parts of Lakrene ceded just decades ago by King Hakon. Are they really more Sylilan than Talastari? I mean, maybe - Dara-Ni is a strong influence, after all. But if lumped into Customs (Sylilings), it would seem more geographical than cultural - it's not like they have much of anything in common with the Syliling population.

Skanthi: It's so hard to tell whether to bunch the Skanthi in with the Aggarites or the Talastari, both culturally and linguistically. Yes, they were originally Penenthelli (i.e. Vingkotling), but in my interpretation, they were joined with Talastar by Lokamaydon, well over a thousand years ago, counting as one of the Talastari tribes ever since. On the third hand (thanks, Pocharngo!), they clearly retain close contacts with the Aggarite highlanders. 

Provinces: How big are the differences between Orlanthi in Holay/Imther/Vanch/Aggar? By the reasoning above, I could easily see using the same Customs (Germans) or Customs (Nordics) here. Basically, do you get any culture shock or make gross mistakes if you only know of one and go to another? Do you need the separate Custom to function properly in society? I don't think so, but I'm willing to be convinced. They were last unified under Orlanthland and the EWF, which certainly was long ago but less so than with the Talastari peoples, and unlike the separate (south) Heortlings, they were then not isolated from each other for hundreds of years. Displacement and refugees during the Lunar conquest or under Sheng Seleris might have further reduced the differences.

Essentially, I'm leaning about equally towards one Orlanthi Provincial/Highland/Alakoringite cultural area and the breakdown you suggest for In-Gloranthan reasons, but kinda prefer wider Customs areas for gameplay reasons.

9 hours ago, Eff said:

As far as language families go... Pure Horse Tongue and Dara Happan are at 1/10th of each other. That seems like the limit for languages being in the same family.

Agree.

9 hours ago, Eff said:

Tarshite, meanwhile, is necessarily a language descended from languages spoken in Saird, and in the tree illustration in the corebook diverges after Old Pavic does. And it's at 1/5th with southern Theyalan languages. So how I would do this...

S:KoH goes as far as identifying Tarshite with Sairdite: 'Also called “Hillspeech,” “North Mannish” or “Sairdite,” Tarshite is a group of Northern Theyalan dialects spoken in southern and western Peloria, Wintertop, and the Far Place.' This even seems to imply that Tarshite is a single language (with different dialects) shared by the Alakoringite Orlanthi. I can't imagine that non-Tarshites would say they speak "Tarshite" though, which is why I like "Hillspeech". The Guide supports this as well for the Provinces: "Various Theyalan dialects, varying with each region." Strong dialectical differences (like between Esrolian and Sartarite within the Heortling language) gets represented with a 1/2 modifier in RQG.

9 hours ago, Eff said:

Talastari Languages: 1/2 with each other, 1/5th with Provincial languages and Ralian ones, 1/10th with Sartarite and Esrolian.
Provincial Languages: 1/2th with immediate neighbors, 1/5th with more distant ones (hijinks ensue!) and Sartarite/Esrolian, 1/10th with Ralian languages?
Syliling: 1/5th with Provincial languages and Talastari, 1/10th with all other Theyalans. 

So yes, this all makes sense to me, and is a good breakdown.

I think it's an easier design to say that there is one "Hillspeech" language (your Provinical Langauges) but that differences in dialect mean that you can get a 1/2 modifier between them, depending. (If we go back to the Scandinavian languages, you get over the initial hurdles very quickly once you're subjected to the other ones, and university courses in one country often hand out literature in one of the other two (the Danes are the leaders in Archaeology, for instance), telling you "you'll get used to it" and expecting students to be able to read at essentially full proficiency after a week or so). Similarly, Anadiki/Lakrene/Skanthi/Brolian should count as Talastari dialects, although I would also be inclined to let Skanthi understand Aggarites at 1/2. I think I like "GM choice" here, letting any dialect penalty go away after spending some time with the new dialect. This is also a gameplay choice - language difficulties can be fun at first but soon wear out their welcome, so adjusting to a dialect helps out with that.

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Yeah, I see your reasoning on these points of difference there! I think my emphasis for Skanthi and Lakrene is that these are places which have definitely tried to attach themselves to not-Talastar people and so my thought there was that they speak Talastar languages but have different customs because they're liminal between these zones- but that's all a matter of "what do you find fun?" And of course, language rules are themselves kind of dependent on GM choice in any case- do you ask for rolls to communicate things, or are there rolls when there's something complicated and delicate being asked, like purchasing a kit to repair a flat bicycle tire, or do you just ignore most of it? All are definitely valid responses.

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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I think with Customs, it's important to allow fairly good "related" skills, so that you can use, say, Customs (Alakorings) at 1/2 (or at worst, 1/5) for Customs (Talastarings). With this kind of overlap, it becomes less crucial exactly where the lines are drawn, and it makes no sense (to me, at least) to say that these cultures that have very significant similarities would run under completely unrelated skills.

I do this for Homeland Lores as well - unless there's a reason against it, you will be able to use one Homeland Lore towards a neighboring Homeland at 1/2 or 1/5 skill - your area knowledge doesn't stop dead at the border! Homeland Lores might even be used to tell customs of sub-areas apart - if, for instance, I run one single Customs (Alakorings) skill, Homeland Lore (Aggar) might be able to tell you about the particular Aggarite practices that certainly exist even if I have this wide Customs skill division.

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On 10/12/2021 at 3:11 AM, Akhôrahil said:

I'm never quite clear on how Customs and Elder Race Lores for the Elder Races interact - it seems like the skills are very closely related and heavily overlapping without quite being the same? Or does Elder Race Lore replace Customs for Elder Races? If it doesn't, should different areas for the same Elder Race have separate Customs (like Customs (Halikiv trolls) and Customs (Yolp Mountain trolls)?), or are they just less culturally diverse than humans to the point where this isn't necessary?

To explain the difference Between Customs and Elder Race Lore, remember that joke part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy says of Marcus Brody:

"The hell you will. He's got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he'll blend in, disappear, you'll never see him again."

Well, obviously Indy was lying about Marcus, but the fact is, Marcus likely had a very high Lore skill (Middle East), which is an academic understanding of everything he is seeing, and maybe even some language skill in Arabic, but a very low Customs (Middle East) which is more of a practical day-to-day "get along with the locals" skill (and obviously Marcus had no Disguise or Streetwise).

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Modern Germanic customs differ strongly by larger geographic region e.g. when it comes to consumption of alcohol. Central Europe differs from Northern Europe as well as from the British Isles. And the various German-speaking parts differ between themselves in that regard, too.

1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Similarly, let's say we hack RQG for the late Roman Republic. It seems like a non-starter to have a separate Customs skill for each Germanic tribe (for gameplay reasons if nothing else!). I would be inclined to have Customs at the level "Customs (Gauls)", "Customs (Germans)" and so - it might be a simplification, but not grossly so, and seems like it would keep the skill list from simply exploding. 

The Suebes apparently had their very own, quite variant customs compared to other Germanic-speaking tribes in their neighborhood, at least according to Gaius Julius. OTOH the Suebe Ariovist was able to insert himself as a king of kings in Gaul, which means that some of his customs were sufficiently congruent with those of the Gauls to be accepted. But then he had a native wife and a powerful military.

The typical suebic hairdo was found in non-suebic burials on mare suebicum (aka the Baltic Sea), too. Possibly with local variations? To recognize such variations takes quite an immersion in the specific customs. Other Germanic groups had different coiffure, e.g. the Langobards (long-beards) who would wear their long hair open, in the same Woden-style that Rimbert ridicules the Meroving royals for.

For central and most of western Genertela, there seems to be a lowest common denomination - Theyalan customs - which would be shared west of Genert's Wastes, and various specializations - e.g. Heortling from non-Heortling, southern Heortling from northern Heortling/Sairdite, Sartarite from Vendref, Sun Domer, or Esrolian (all of these southern), etc.

Theyalan customs would be or entail a bare minimum of behavioral rules for all species on and under the Unity Council to initiate and maintain peaceful encounters with one another, although the Bright Empire which inherited from the World Council of Friends and the Second Council introduced Pelorian lowlander components which grated upon many of the earlier adopters.

Issaries and Argan Argar both rely on these basic Theyalan customs to go after their trade, and Etyries quite likely inherited from Issaries.

 

To handle related customs in a way similar to how related languages are handled sounds like a good idea to me. The practical problem there is to define the similarities and difficulties between customs, though. One way to approach this might be neighborhood - even if you don't like them, you will probably know a few basics about your neighbors, if only to be able to insult them. Shared religions, similar languages or shared overlords will increase the similarities, different ancestors and hostile historial interaction may decrease them somewhat (but even hostile interaction is better than none). Add a big dose of handwavium.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 minute ago, Joerg said:

For central and most of western Genertela, there seems to be a lowest common denomination - Theyalan customs - which would be shared west of Genert's Wastes, and various specializations - e.g. Heortling from non-Heortling, southern Heortling from northern Heortling/Sairdite, Sartarite from Vendref, Sun Domer, or Esrolian (all of these southern), etc.

I agree there's a baseline Theyalan set of customs, but that's probably more that every Theyalan culture gets some thing like 1/2 to 1/5 to any other rather than them sharing the same Customs skill. I think you can probably find hospitality in any other Theyalan culture if you can at all speak the language (which you likely can, since again it's all fundamentally Theyalan - even if it just comes out as "Hospitality? Will behave. Will thank. No hurt.").

7 minutes ago, Joerg said:

To handle related customs in a way similar to how related languages are handled sounds like a good idea to me. The practical problem there is to define the similarities and difficulties between customs, though. One way to approach this might be neighborhood - even if you don't like them, you will probably know a few basics about your neighbors, if only to be able to insult them. Shared religions, similar languages or shared overlords will increase the similarities, different ancestors and hostile historial interaction may decrease them somewhat (but even hostile interaction is better than none). Add a big dose of handwavium.

I'm thinking most Theyalan customs will relate to each other at 1/2 or at worst 1/5, while subsections within a Custom might be 1/2 until you get acquainted with them or unless you have the Homeland Lore skill for them. But you probably only need to roll when you're at risk of embarrassing yourself, risk getting yourself hurt, or trying to pass as a native. Everyone knows that strangers (as opposed to foreigners) are weird but can become friends - that's a nice part of Orlanthi culture. Meanwhile, you're going to get treated like an unwashed barbarian if you fail your Customs (Lunar Provincial) roll, and worse (potentially far worse if you're in Alkoth) if you fail a Customs (Dara Happan) roll, and you won't even have the skill in the first place unless you managed to pick it up somewhere.

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