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Coronoides

Let's talk about Cultures

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Culture

I allow the Priest/Shaman occupation for State cultures. I suspect its absence is a hold-over from Glorantha. Is that true? All the historical Iron Age to Medieval states I can think of had strong religions and therefore priests.

Languages are not discussed much.  All the cultures in a setting could have their own languages if you wanted but then you better  ensure all PCs have at least one language in common! How have you handled languages in your setting?

There are four broad categories of culture in the book (MW18) and I created a new option ‘Solitaire’ (see below).  A setting might define specific cultures with their own languages within these broad categories. Has anyone done this? What categories would you put well known fictional and historical cultures into?

Solitaire ‘Culture’

Some fantasy species live as solitary individuals. This ‘culture’ represents a lackof culture.  Any parental education is minimal. These individuals are educated mostly by the experience of surviving alone, and thus lack sophisticated knowledge except of the wilds they are familiar with. We do assume that before play they have had enough contact with others to pick up a language, or know it instinctively as dragons do in some worlds.  By necessity a solitaire PC is self-reliant in the extreme.

Examples: Abandoned in the forest as a child and perhaps raised by wolves or other beasts. Those who have gone mad, utterly forgetting civilised ways and living like a beast.  Wild talking beasts especially solitary predators like crocodiles, eagles, and panthers. In many worlds dragons, fachans, and other solitary monstrous predators.

Skills: Climb, Hide, Move Quietly, Nature, Sense, Swim, Track.

Occupations: Fisher, Hunter, Lost/Forgotten, Nomad.  

What do you think?

Culture and Race 

Note that while many cultures are dominated by a species, culture and species need not be synonymous as they are in Tolkiens works and much modern fantasy. A setting could allow any species to can come from any culture. If you want to play a dragon living among elves you could in such a world. If this is true then species still determines your base skill %. This could be for several reasons. The physical and mental differences between species affect base skills. Additionally, species cannot interbreed and so families and communities of a species tend to pass some culture down through the generations preserving traditions that emerged on the origin land of the species millennia ago before the great diasporas.

How do you handle species and culture?

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On 1/13/2019 at 4:36 AM, Coronoides said:

Culture

I allow the Priest/Shaman occupation for State cultures. I suspect its absence is a hold-over from Glorantha. Is that true? All the historical Iron Age to Medieval states I can think of had strong religions and therefore priests.

From the MW rule book: "The occupations are a listing of suggested typical occupations associated with that culture." I always read it that if the Chronicler & player agreed a player could have ANY profession irrespective of culture, the list of occupations against each were a prompt / inspiration. 

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Languages are not discussed much.  All the cultures in a setting could have their own languages if you wanted but then you better  ensure all PCs have at least one language in common! How have you handled languages in your setting?

I vacillate between trying to capture the feel of a polyglot setting and exasperation with how easily it can become a frustrating and pointless extra faff that fails to add anything worthwhile to the game. I worked quite hard on an interrelated language tree for my Ulfland setting; there's basically ONE active human language (and one dead one) in the current fantasy campaign I'm developing.

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There are four broad categories of culture in the book (MW18) and I created a new option ‘Solitaire’ (see below).  A setting might define specific cultures with their own languages within these broad categories. Has anyone done this? What categories would you put well known fictional and historical cultures into?

I had started looking at the idea of a Solitary / Solitaire culture for my SF games, but never wrote it up in any detail.

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Solitaire ‘Culture’

Some fantasy species live as solitary individuals. This ‘culture’ represents a lackof culture.  Any parental education is minimal. These individuals are educated mostly by the experience of surviving alone, and thus lack sophisticated knowledge except of the wilds they are familiar with. We do assume that before play they have had enough contact with others to pick up a language, or know it instinctively as dragons do in some worlds.  By necessity a solitaire PC is self-reliant in the extreme.

Examples: Abandoned in the forest as a child and perhaps raised by wolves or other beasts. Those who have gone mad, utterly forgetting civilised ways and living like a beast.  Wild talking beasts especially solitary predators like crocodiles, eagles, and panthers. In many worlds dragons, fachans, and other solitary monstrous predators.

Skills: Climb, Hide, Move Quietly, Nature, Sense, Swim, Track.

Occupations: Fisher, Hunter, Lost/Forgotten, Nomad.

What do you think?

Very elegant, like this a lot.

Quote

Culture and Race 

Note that while many cultures are dominated by a species, culture and species need not be synonymous as they are in Tolkiens works and much modern fantasy. A setting could allow any species to can come from any culture. If you want to play a dragon living among elves you could in such a world. If this is true then species still determines your base skill %. This could be for several reasons. The physical and mental differences between species affect base skills. Additionally, species cannot interbreed and so families and communities of a species tend to pass some culture down through the generations preserving traditions that emerged on the origin land of the species millennia ago before the great diasporas.

How do you handle species and culture?

Not sure I have hard and fast rules, as things can be so setting dependent. For example "...species cannot interbreed..." is a setting specific assumption - in one setting I have the "Tall" species (Humans and Elf / Melnibonean like Shanescue) can interbreed, as can the "short" species (Meldek and Brotan) but the short and the tall cannot. In another setting, each "background" is tied to a specific species and culture - so there two very distinct Elven backgrounds (one state, one tribal) to describe the two very distinct cultures of Elves in that setting. It would _theoretically_ be possible for other species to be adopted in to one of those Elven cultures, but for the other it is in setting such a remote possibility I wouldn't allow it. 

Edited by NickMiddleton
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I think the original book does a pretty good job with generic cultures as templates for the GM to build from. 

Language I find works better when linked to a Culture instead of a species? Culture also allows for differing species to share many of the same traits, having shared a cultural heritage. Much like the main character for ST: Discovery, a human raised on Vulcan. 

 

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