View Full Version : Campaigns / Adventures Culture in Thindacarulle

07-16-2008, 09:20 AM
Welcome to Greyhawke, or as most natives call it, Thindacairull. I do hope you enjoy your stay here, and to ease your way I have prepared this little guide.

In writing this guide I am assuming that the players have some familiarity with role-playing and the D&D system.

Use the contents of my books in preference to any material published by WofC. Any conflict in rules is decided in favor of the listed house rules.

Unless they are familiar with the mechanics of the game, I advise starting players to play a human fighter of their own gender as their first character. Sit back and watch. Involve yourself as you feel comfortable doing so. We are all here for a good time, relax and enjoy the game.

I am not a miser with information that your character should have, but you do not. Feel free to ask questions. I, in turn, will try to keep you informed of what you should know. I will do my best not to let your unfamiliarity with my way of doing things hurt your character.

In spite of its permanent appearance this is a work in progress. If you find something you think should be included, please note it and give it to me. As changes will be made from time to time, remember to refer to this book occasionally.

Lastly, keep in mind that I am human and do make mistakes. I try my best to stay consistent in my judgments, but I can, and have, reversed myself. If this happens, let me know. I will correct myself. I don't believe in the DM vs. the player. I want all of us to have fun and that is the only reason I play this game.

Basic Information
Thindacairull is the fourth planet out from a sun not of our universe. It has two moons. The greater, called Hanbrath or "Big Brother", has an orbit of 28 days. The lessor, called Leiancbrath or "Little Brother", has an orbit of 7 days. The year is 336 days long. Most natives divide it into 12 months of 28 days each. Each day has 24 hours.

Each season of three months (or moons) is named for one of the elements. They are Earth (spring), Fire (summer), Air (fall or the harvest), and Water (winter) which is called the Rains. In most cultures the year starts with spring, or the season of Earth.

The climate is semi-tropical over most of the planet, with small temperate and arctic zones at the poles. Temperatures range from the high 90s in the season of Fire to the low 40s during the Rains. Each season's weather is well described by its name.

Earth is the time of planting when the ground is wet from the Rains. People begin journeys and repair damage to the land and buildings.

Fire is the time of greatest heat, and the least rain. It is also the season of war for those states without a standing army.
Air is the mild season. The harvest comes in and many festivals are held at this time. People finish their travels and seek cover for the Rains to come.

The Rains are just that, near on to three months of fog, drizzle, monsoon, and cold. No one travels that can avoid it and the end of the season is also a time of festival.

Technology runs from early renaissance in the more civilized areas to late iron age in the sticks. There are some anomalies to this pattern, but finding them is part of the fun. Magic is very strong, often replacing technology; for example, artificial light is common in the great cities, but of magical origin rather than electrical. There are many centers of culture and the arts are well cared for in most large cities. Medicine, printing, and scientific farming are some of those arts that are practiced in the great centers. This is not to say all the world is entirely safe. For every mighty city there are five pockets of dark superstition, and three or four decadent decaying empires, all for your enjoyment.

The World abounds with sentient life. Race refers to your species, not the color of your skin. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Avians, Centaurs and more rub shoulders in the towns and cities, more or less at peace. This is not to say that bigots do not exist, but they are not common. A good rule is; the larger the town, the more cosmopolitan. The number of different cultures is vast. Almost any character idea can be accommodated.

What follows is a few general bits of information that will be helpful in gaining the flavor of the place. Each culture will have its own take on any one of these items, but I am not trying for an historical recreation. That said, it is a role-playing game and certain terms and ideas will help one get into the mood.

The Quality of Life
In the traditional heroic fantasy life is medieval Europe, with all the mud and grime scraped off. I will endeavor to put some the mud and grime back on, but with the affect of magic taken into account.

Most people work very hard. The majority of people on Greyhawke are farmers of some kind. While sensible methods of farming are known and used, power is still supplied by wind, water, animals, and your back. Crop yields are low by today's standard. Many more people are required to work the land to feed the population.

Most people do not have all they want to eat. They have enough, but no more, and sometimes they have less. Only the very rich have all the food they want, and in hard times even the rich tighten their belts.

Even so, the effects of magic are felt. The presence of Clerics means that the crushing famines and plagues that devastated Europe in the 13th century are impossible. Clerical magic will save the crops, and cure the plagues. Do anything less and the remaining people will have different gods next year.

Life is pre-industrial. This means that ready made goods are rare. Everything from the bit of lace on m'lady's dress to the shovel in the hands of a slave are made one at a time, by hand.

Clothing is a luxury. It takes a family of four an entire year to spin enough thread to weave the cloth for one shirt. Those wealthy enough to own spinning wheels can work a little faster. As a result most people have one outfit. If they saved their money or bought used clothes they might have two. The rag man and used clothing seller are important businessmen. The limiter is not how well you sew, but how quickly the thread can be spun. Only the rich have a variety of clothing.

People do not travel. Doubtless everyone has heard the old saw that "Most people never traveled more than twenty miles from the place they were born". It is true. Most people didn't, and that tends to be the rule on Greyhawke as well.
Magical forms of travel are expensive and rare. Boats, animal power, and feet are the way travel is done, mostly by foot. Few places have roads worthy of the name.

People are parochial. Strangers will be viewed with suspicion in places that seldom see strangers. Rumors will abound about other nations and people that have never been seen. Such rumors will bear little resemblance to the truth. The maps of our world created before anyone had seen the world are good examples. "Here be dragons." It is less a statement of actual dragons than admitting that "We don't know". Nations of people with their faces in their chest, wolf people, Prester John, and so forth. The world was populated with ignorance.

Greyhawke is, for the most part, an armed society and as such is a polite one. A rude son-of-a-dog doesn't live long. In even the most civilized cultures, an insult will be discharged with blood. Honor is a person's one true claim to respect, and the poorest wretch will defend it to the last breath.

Money is a subject near and dear to the heart of every adventurer. What is money? What will it buy? Much more than you might think is the answer. One needs to rethink their idea of money to get into the feeling of heroic fantasy.

Fantasy adventure conjures up hoards of gold and piles of gems. While such treasures can be found, the common form of money is far more mundane. Most games give the general impression that one Gold Piece equals a dollar in buying power. At least in this game it is closer to fifty dollars in buying power. The prices are not what you might expect. That which we consider common due to the influence of mass manufacturing is rare and expensive. Those items that are considered quaint and rare can be commonplace and cheap. Not everything follows this rule, but it is a good rule to consider.

In Chapter Six we will detail money and exactly what it will buy. Right now we want the basics.

Money is coins. No paper, no checks, no plastic. Money is the hard metal stuff and if you have 1000 gold you have 1000 gold disks you need to protect and/or transport. The names will vary from place to place but the following coin standards exist in my world.

The general exchange rate is five copper to the silver, ten silver to the gold. Remember, "five and dime".

Copper: The common man's money. One Copper Piece is about a dollar in buying power. That means most places will have fractional copper coins. From the "Cash" of Domain worth 1/100th of a copper coin to the Eyrian fractional "Marks". The common Eyrian saying of "A quid and a lineage will get you a pint" indicates the value of the copper coin. A "quid" or an Eyrian quarter copper coin will get a pint of cheap beer.

Silver. The silver coin is a tradesman's day wage. While the common laborer will get three copper, about three dollars, the tradesman gets five. Silver is the coin of most trades, be it called the Noble, the Shilling, or the Mark. Silver in the pocket is security.

Gold: What every adventurer wants. Remember that a single gold coin has the buying power of fifty dollars, of the 1940 not 2000. A gold piece will buy a decent suit of clothing, nothing fancy, but it will do to be presentable in the temple or the exchange.

The Stratified Society
There are few, if any, democrats in Greyhawke's societies. People are satisfied with the social order. This does not mean that people do not seek social advancement, but they will do so from within the framework of the society.

Most societies on Greyhawke can be broken down into the following general classes:

Royals:This refers to the King and his family. These are usually the people in charge. How much power a King really has varies from place to place. It can be anything from total power over the very lives of his subjects, to a mere puppet of the nobility or the church.

Terms of Address: Usually Your Majesty whether itbe a King or a queen. Your Highness is reserved for the children of the royals.
A word on the royal "we". Only the most pretentious Kings will use this in day to day speech. By custom a King is considered his country. When the King is speaking for the country it is proper that he speak as "we" as he means everyone in the that nation. The King that uses such a form of address in the third person on a personal level is laughed at behind his back.

Nobles: Traditionally the King's retainers. In many lands the nobles are literal servants of the King and proud to hold the post. In each case they are considered slightly less important than the royal family. Should a dynasty fall, it is among the nobles that the next royal will be found.

This often places the nobles in a delicate and dangerous position. Being next in line for the throne in a situation where the King and his family are frequently plotted against is a delicate position, even if said noble is a dedicated retainer.

With power comes responsibility. While the Nobles are certainly powerful they have responsibility to match.
Terms of Address:Lord or Lady followed by the name. In some lands the noble is styled by his title. The Earl of Chestnut would be called "Chestnut" by his peers. M'lord or M'lady is proper only if they are indeed your lord. It is not used with the name; "M'lord, diner is served." not "M'lord Bill, dinner is served."

Knights: Knights are not nobles, although many nobles are also knights. They tend to get lumped with the noble class. Properly, a knight is a warrior that has been recognized as someone special by the King or even the proper noble. In practice, this can be literally true or not depending on the Kingdom. A knighthood can be a stepping stone to the nobility.

Terms of Address:Sir or Dame. Some places do not use the feminine "Dame", and uses "Sir", man or woman. The Sir comes after any titles. The person might have, but before their name, "Captain Sir Isaac Blowhard". Nobles will have the knighthood mentioned after their name, "Lord Salsberry, Knight Order of the Beef."

The Clergy: Priests are an interesting problem. Depending on the circumstances they could be considered as slightly less important than tradesmen, or they could be the ruling class. The more religions present, the less important the priests of any given religion will be. If there is only one religion in the land it is because the one religion has considerable political power. In any case, Priests are generally respected.

Terms of Address: Titles will vary widely. Any Priest will accept "Your Worship" from those that don't know the proper form of Address. Gods are called "Your Holiness", or the Most High and Holy or anything they want to be called. Yes, it does come up.

The Gentry: The Gentry are landowners. Less than nobles but they will consider themselves better than anyone else by virtue of their landowning.

This does not translate into cash wealth. It is possible to be land rich and cash poor. However, being land rich can improve your cash flow if you use it wisely.

Rich Gentry are usually looking to break into the peerage, or nobility. This can be done several ways depending on where they are. The two most traditional are marriage and grant.
Grant is straight forward. You do the King a good turn, and he makes you a noble. Done deal.

Marriage is a little more involved. Often the noble lifestyle drains the pocket of money. Noble families can find themselves with title and lands, but no money. The solution is to go shopping among the rich non-nobles for a fortune, and marry into it. As most Gentry are usually shopping for a title, this generally works out.

Terms of Address: "Goodman" or "Goodwoman" (rarely Goodwife) This address can generally be used to any non-noble with whom you are not familiar.

Tradesmen: These are those practice a profession. Tradesmen would include anyone that makes things or provides a service for a living rather than farming. Magicians and Healers fall into this category, but they are generally given more respect for the power they wield by those that socially outrank them.

Terms of Address: Generally anything you would call the gentry. "Apprentice", "Journeyman", and "Master" by the trade. In most cases the trade title is not used except for Masters. A Journeyman blacksmith is "Goodman Jones". When he makes master it is then "Master Jones".

Magicians are usually given appellations, "Adept" being the most common, "Bob the Adept". Magicians are not considered Wizards unless they can cast 9th level spells. "Mage" or "Magi" is generally like a knighthood, an awarded title. Among most magician societies it is recognition for adding to the body of magic knowledge.

Only a truly pretentious magician calls themselves an "Arch Mage". That's a title that you get when other people call you one.

Yeoman & Peasants: The salt of the earth. These are tenant farmers. They comprise the majority of all populations. These are the people that work the land.

Yeomen are not Serfs. Serfs are little more than slaves and have few rights. A Yeoman has specific rights. Although where he lives can greatly affect what rights the Yeoman has. In some lands he is a serf, in others an equal to the Gentry but without land.

Terms of Address: The same address as you would use for Gentry if you are polite. "Hey you", if you are not.

Slaves: The lowest of the low. Even the worst starving, beaten, muck-digging serf can look down on slaves. The practice of slavery varies widely. In some lands the slave has rights, even though he is owned. In other lands a slave can be killed if his owner got up on the wrong side of the bed. The common condition of the slave is ownership by another man.

Next: Human cultures.

07-16-2008, 11:15 AM
Nice, very well thought out with lots of good background details. I'm diggin' on it :D.

07-16-2008, 11:29 PM
It should be noted that the profiles of each of the races listed below follow only what is typical for that race or culture when left to be itself. Variations can and do occur. However, please admit the impossibility of me knowing and listing them all. The profiles are provided for you to form a baseline as to the culture and give you an idea as how to play a given race, whether they are a typical specimen or not.

Human Culture
Humans make up the majority of the world population. Although humans are treated as a single race, they come in all the varieties we know on Earth and a few we don't. A human player character can have whatever racial characteristics the player and DM can agree on.

I do not have the room to list and print all the possible variations for Humans within my game. Any character concept can be accommodated, and any number of cultures, either existing already, or yet to be created can be accommodated. Please do not think that the shortness of this entry as a lack of interest in humans. It is more a case of too many choices. Art & Culture, religion, family life, politics all of these have no "typical" examples for humans because humans run the full range of the possible.

Of particular note are the following established cultural sets. These represent what has been established in the game, not the only choices.

Amerind: The Amerind people occupy the temperate layer of the great plateau. Amerind people are of average human build. They are of a bronze complexion with black hair and dark eyes as the rule. They have little body hair. Men can seldom grow full beards.

Their culture is similar to the North American cultures of the Iroquois nations with the exception they have native metals technology. Their culture is defined by the roles of hunter and warrior (male), farmer and nurturer (female). Their culture carefully divides the gender roles, but neither is considered superior.

Being of a temperate climate, clothing is a necessity to the Amerind people, not simply a luxury as it is in most the world. Amerind people are modest, but prefer to dress in a manner that allows easy freedom of movement. Leather is the primary material for clothing as they have no native textiles, summer and winter wear are vastly different. Full coverage in the winter, and as little as modesty will allow in the summer months. Modesty will allow that as long as the genitals are covered you are modest.

Amerind people consider 2 feet a comfortable conversational distance.

Anorian: The Land of Anorian runs from the southern Eyrian border to the sea and from the Arabian lands in the east to the wild lands in the west. Anorian people run the full spectrum of color. Skin tones run for deep chocolate to milk white, and hair from black to platinum blond. Any eye color found in humans can be found.

Traditionally Anorians are a people driven from "elsewhere". This is reflected in the diversity of types.

Anorian is a man's world. However, strong women can buck the norm and become persons of power and prestige. The wry adage that a woman must be twice as good to be considered half as good applies. Women are the "fair sex" the "weaker sex", to be placed on high and marveled at, but don't let the dears near anything "important".

Anorian culture is a reflection of the "Sun King" period in France, including the warts. Clothes make the man and to be less than well dressed is to be no one. Body modesty is extremely important. To be caught naked is shameful, even if you are in bed.

Anorians consider 4 feet to be an acceptable conversational distance.

Arabic: People that inhabit the land south of the Moreland Empire up through the Hundred Kingdoms to the west of Egypt. They are the majority type within the "Hundred Kingdoms". Arabs have swarthy to light complexions, dark eyes, and brown or black hair. They are known for large noses, and hirsute bodies, but that is by no means a rule.

Arabic people are firm believers in their traditions. The most important being that a guest in one's house is treated as a king. This is expressed in the "Bond of Salt" by which you may not cause harm to anyone you have shared salt with for three days.

Arbaic cultures are male dominated to the extreme. Polygamy is practiced both in multiple wives and with many concubines for the rich and powerful. Poorer men must often do without. Women are considered chattel of the household. An unfortunate widow can find herself sold with the estate.

Arabic cultures are very modest, some requiring females, but not males, to hide all exposed flesh. Arabic cultures have a high tolerance for personal closeness and prefer a conversational distance of two feet.

Arilaner: Arilaners are especially tall humans with a vaguely English Tudor background. Arilaners come from the Plains of Arilan and can be from either Domain or Eyrie. Arilaners average 6'8" for men, 6'6" for women, but with a mesomorph's build. Arilaners do not look that tall until something scales them. They tend to be blond and fair skinned. Eyes tend to green and blue.

Arilaners are "English" in their outlook, but with no connection to the sea. They once had a great empire, and often allude to a lost golden age. Some can be quite insufferable about it. Most are goodly and pleasant people. There is no gender domination within Arilaner society.

Arilaners are casual about nudity, but understanding of the fact that a little mystery goes a long way. They delight in clothing that suggests without giving up the whole show. Arilaners prefer a conversational distance of at least three feet.

Catilan: The majority human type in the Domains. They have Spanish flavor. Catilanese are average height for humans. They have swarthy skins and dark hair, with black predominating. Eye color is brown or black.

Catilan society is male dominated in all respects. A man is expected to show machismo or "manliness" in word and deed. Women are expected to be submissive to the men.

Catilan society is highly modest, especially women. However, it takes an unusual form as to what may and may not be bared. The shoulders must never be bare, as that is the sign of a slave. A Catilanese woman would sooner bare all else before her shoulders. In the Court, bare breasts, and massive shoulder pads are common. Slaves are not permitted modesty, and often are seen naked in the streets. By law a slave of either sex cannot wear clothing above the waist. What ever else they wear is dependent on their master.

Catilanese prefer three to four feet as a conversational distance.

Canu: Canu are the human people of Volanda. "Canu" is the Avasu term for any non flier. It means "scoundrel". This should indicate how the Avasu feel about humans.

Canu are used to living with no rights, no respect and no wealth. This is slowly changing under the new Moreland controlled government, but old habits die hard.

Canu are two inches taller than the human average, and tend to have a reddish cast to their skin so thoroughly is Phoenix blood mixed into the local population. Builds tend to be on the lighter side of the human norm. Hair is usually blond or light brown and redheads are common. Eye color tends to be green or blue with the occasional amber and gray.

Canu can possess residue Avian traits. The "Avian eye", and the hand talons are possible, as is a resistance to fire. No body hair is also a possible trait, but has no "game" advantages. Each Avian trait present causes a multiplier on the experience rider chart.

Avian Eye: +1. This allows an eight times greater visual acuity at a distance.
Hand Talons: +1. This allows the character to attack twice in a round without weapons causing 1-3 points damage with each strike.
Fire Resistance: +2-+3. This gives the permanent effect of a potion of fire resistance (5 or 10).

Canu suffer from a twisted reverse modesty. In Volandai nudity is status. Winged people and clothing are a difficult mix. Besides if you are "flame pure", the weather doesn't bother you. Demonstrating this by standing unconcernedly nude in chilly weather displaying your hairlessness is strictly for the Avasu. People without wings, or possessing body hair are unfashionable. Canu are by law forbidden to show any hair but that on their heads. Furthermore, shaving the body is an offense against said laws. Hairlessness is a sign of a more perfect body, and you are not allowed to fake it.

Punishments are equally draconian. The end result is people that are fearful of displaying anything but their heads in public, but wear nothing in their own homes. While it is true that these laws have been stricken from the books any bare skin in public is shocking.

Canu are use to speaking in only the lowest of whisper lest the Avasu notice them. They consider one foot the ideal conversational distance.

Celt: Celts are found in the northwest part of the continent and on the major islands of the area.

Celts follow the expected cultural set with regional differences.

Celts are tall dark haired, light skinned people. Blonds and redheads are rare among them. Eye color is usually blue, with other colors possible.

Celts live with the idea of the Geas. It is a vital belief of their religion. The more powerful an individual is, the more Geases he will have on him. Keeping to one's geases is a good thing and you gain benefit from it. Breaking one has equal consequences to keeping it. A typical geas is something seemingly trivial, but important to the character. It is something that the character themselves can only keep or break. No one else can break someone's geas. A typical geas will be on the order of not eating pork butchered by a woman. Never sitting with one's back to a fire. Always arming the left side before the right. Each geas will have an associated bonus and a penalty. The bonus or penalty will never be greater than +/-1. I.E. Sean must never walk windershins around a horse. If he keeps geas, he gets a +1 to all riding based skills, and if he breaks it he takes a -1 to all such skills till the next dawn.

Granted abilities might have even more powerful geases attached to them. For example a permanent ability of resistance to fire will depend on the character never putting a fire out. In such cases the penalty is permanent until the proper cleric casts an atonement on them.

A character will never have more than one geas per five levels, and must be of the indigenous religion to have geases.

Celtic modesty is practiced for the benefit of those around you. Celts are uncomfortable if not properly dressed, and activities that require nudity are practiced in strict privacy. Outside a rather prudish attitude where bare flesh is concerned Celts are an unfettered and broadly expressive people. Friends are greeted by backslapping and hugs. A bit more restraint is shown between genders. Gender roles are not at all distinct. Each member of the couple retains their own property, and who is the most important is determined by relative wealth. A man might stay home and raise the children, if that is how the couple wishes it to be. His wife might go to war. Only in child bearing is a specialty recognized. Celtic women heavy with child or with child at breast are expected to make the care of that child their primary concern.

Celts think two feet is ideal conversational distance.

Egyptian: Egyptians come from Egypt, no shock there. A surprisingly fair skinned people that usually appear darker than they are due to tanning. Egyptians run from sandy to black haired and eyes from golden brown to black. Social status is related to skin color. The higher the status, the fairer the skin. Nobles and the rich do not work all day beneath the sun, and therefore do not tan.

Society is what you expect from all those specials on Ancient Egypt. Society is highly stratified, and social mobility is limited.

Egypt enjoys a hot climate. Clothing, when more than a loin cloth is worn, is light and often translucent. Cotton and silk are the favored fabrics. Usually little more than a light robe to wick sweat from the skin. Public nudity is common for all social classes. Children regardless of social status are always nude until about age eight. You cannot embarrass an Egyptian catching them nude.

Egyptians consider two feet the ideal low class conversational distance. Add half a foot for each social level above that.

07-17-2008, 12:21 AM
every time you post here, i am more and more disappointed that i dont live in se michigan...

07-17-2008, 05:32 AM
every time you post here, i am more and more disappointed that i dont live in se michigan...

Don't feel to bad...you're not alone on that one!

07-17-2008, 06:12 AM
impresive. nice :biggrin:

07-17-2008, 09:24 AM
Germanic: These people are found in the area to the north of the Inner Sea. Germanic people range across the north from Coranth to the Fells. Germanic people are from average to tall for humans. They have stocky bodies and shorter than average legs. Germanics are slower runners than most humans. They will move 1 inch less per round, but will mass 20% above weight for their height.

Germanics once had a unified culture. In the many thousands of years since they arrived that has splintered. Most Germanics live a hard scrabble agrarian existence away from any hint of civilization. They tend to be suspicious of strangers or other races.

Germanic people practice a rough equality between the genders. Gender roles are clear, and one is expected to fulfill them with public censure as the price for not falling in line. In the small communities in which Germanic people live, this can be a severe punishment. Women own their own property and without their direct permission a husband is expected to let it be. Women usually pass their property to their daughters as men pass their property to their sons.

Variations due to religion or local custom will exist, but most Germanic people are practically modest. No customs exist that promote public nudity, and it is not encouraged. Children are not seen nude and less so with adults.

Typical Germanic conversational distance is three feet.

Greek: This is the majority human type on the Inner Sea. Greeks are found in any number of nations. Greeks are average height and build for humans. They have olive complexions and tend to dark, curly hair. The occasional red head or blond is noteworthy. Eye color is toward the darker colors with blue eyes popping up once in a while.

Greek culture is highly modified all around the inner sea from the Eyrian Empire to Greece itself. No single culture set defines the Greeks.

"Greek" Greeks are what we would call Hellenistic. Society is stratified by class and gender. Men rule. Women breed and keep out of politics. Greek philosophy contends that the purest love is not tainted by sex. Therefore, the purest love can only be attained between men (women do not matter and are not addressed). Upper class Greek men are known to strive for this state. The higher the social status, the harder this barrier becomes. Common farmers will consider their wives equals. The nobility considers women breeding stock.

Greeks are casually nude in public when the activity requires it. Exercise is commonly taken in the nude. Greeks are fanatics about the body beautiful. Failure to be fit and beautiful is seen as a moral lack, as well as physical. When the activity does not require nudity it is common to dress, and it is impolite to be nude.

Greeks like a conversational distance of three feet.

Hindustani: The minority in the Domains and majority on the south west coast. Hindustani are 4 inches shorter than human average, and are very dark of skin, from brown to golden brown in color. Hair is always black and eyes are black or brown. The occasional golden eyes do occur.

The Hindustani are under the thumb of the Domains. The Dark Lord has a heavy influence over the rulers of those lands he does not directly control. Traditional society is one with four levels of stratification. The fall of the traditional gods and conquest by Domain have cracked the hard facade of the caste, the Hindustani culture's primary coping mechanism. It is in the process of change.

Nowhere is caste better exemplified by degree of complexity and systematic operation than in the Hindustani lands. The Hindustani term for caste is jati, which generally designates a group varying in size from a handful to many thousands. There are thousands of such jatis, and each has its distinctive rules, customs, and modes of government. The term varna (literally meaning “color”) refers to the ancient and somewhat ideal fourfold division of society. They are:

1) The Brahmans, the priestly and learned class. This class of people i9s nearly all dead as a result of the Elf/Hindu war. Those that remain are forced to the fringe of society.

2) The Kshatriyas, the warriors and rulers have been wiped out by the conquest. The have been replaced largely by foreign Dons and their hired muscle, that wield the power, but not the respect.
3) The Vaisyas, farmers and merchants. These people have been hurt, but not destroyed. They are forming a moneyed middle class with the restrictions of the old order swept away.

4) The Sudras, peasants and laborers. Their lives remain poor, difficult, and bleak, as it as always been.

These divisions correspond to what were formerly large, broad, undifferentiated social classes. Below the category of Sudras are the untouchables, or Panchamas (literally “fifth division”), who perform the most menial tasks.

Hindustani people are by nature modest. Covering the primary and secondary sexual characteristics is considered modest. Having them covered is enough, but more covered is better. The higher your caste, the more important modesty is. Signs of affection are not displayed in public. Holding hands is enough to get one frowned at. This is contrary to their art and dance that can be highly erotic.

Hindustani people consider 3 to 4 feet to be a good conversational distance, except in Domain proper, where they stand much closer in order to not be heard.

Janordain: Most Janordians are "Greek" in type. Other variations do occur as Janordain is a cultural set. Any variation in human appearance can and will be found.

Janordians are the "show me" people of the inner sea. The area was one of the first to recover from the holocaust, and has been a bit smug about it since. Genders are considered equal, although you will typically find more men in political posts than women. Eyrian meta-culture is present throughout the area. It is the second oldest part of the Empire. A light "Roman" feel without the slavery and debauchery parts.

Janordians are not fanatically modest. It is considered proper to wear clothing in public but no one is going to be shocked if you get caught with your pants down. Public nudity is expected in venues that require it, the baths for example. Janordians are fanatical about the public baths. The bath is not just a place to get clean, although that is important. The baths are a social setting to see and be seen. More deals are cut in the steam rooms than are made in the drawing rooms. So important is the bath that most baths are publicly supported, and no fee is required for the basic service. Additional services such as laundry and barbering are at a cost above the basic bath.

Janordians consider 3 feet conversational distance.

Markian: Markians are seldom seen in the normal course of the campaign. Markia is on the other side of the world. Few of its people ever come to Anadolintor apart from a handful of traders.

Culturally Markians most like the Japanese with touches of Chinese and Korean. Gender roles are rigid and enforced by deep tradition. Likewise mobility between social classes is rare. Markian philosophy holds that each being has a proper place, and should not stray from it. If you are born into a fishing family, then you should accept being a fisherman.

Markians are also marked by a deep racism. They believe theirs is the best of all possible Human cultures, and to be born outside of it is a moral flaw on the part of the outsider, or Gaigin, as they call them.

Markians are Greyhawke's Orientals. Markians are on average four inches shorter than the human norm. They usually have straight black hair and brown eyes. The endoplastic fold is common. Skin tone ranges from golden fair to golden brown.

Markians are noted for an ability to mentally compartmentalize life. Modesty is one such thing. While nudity of itself is not a bad thing, it is not good in the places it is not expected. Where it is expected, it is uncommented on. Markians are private about their persons, and do not like to be touched. Physical contact by strangers is considered an insult. The common form of greeting is the bow. You will not see even marrieds embrace in public.

Markians think 4 feet is an ideal conversational distance.

Norse: The Norse are found in the far north west of Anadorlintor. A land of mountains and deep bays.

The Norse are a culture of farmers and seamen with a strong warrior tradition. Tall, broad and expressive in life and in art. Norsemen average 2 inches taller than the human norm. Fair skin and blond hair are the rule although darker skin and other colors of hair do happen. Eyes are generally blue or green.

Many years ago on the far world of Midgurd the Norse gods held Ragnorok. Due to other intervention only Loki and Sif survive. They are busy rebuilding the gods of their culture, and as a result the culture on Greyhawke is more subdued than on might expect. Without Valhalla to look forward to no one is as eager to die in battle. In other cases known facts apply. Norse art is as archeology presents it. Traditions and customs likewise.

Contrary to the Hollywood view Norse culture is not all fighting and feasts. Most Norse people are farmers eking out a living on less than idea land. As the sea is always handy, farming is supplemented by fishing. Viking is not as popular as it once was, but still done in the off season.

Norse society is male dominated, but not to the subjugation of females. A wise man takes council of his wife. They do keep slaves. The Norse are modest for the comfort of others. Getting caught in the nude is shameful. Activities that must be done nude, are done in private. The Norse consider two to three feet a comfortable conversational distance.

Nubian: The Nubian people are found to the north and west of the land of Haven as well as within that area. They also congregate around the great shallow lake to the east of Coriath. Nubian have no unified political body although they do share a culture.
Nubians are average for human height and build. They have dark milk chocolate to deep dark chocolate skin, wiry black hair and black eyes.

Nubian culture is built around an extended family built on chain marriage. Older men marry young wives, in turn the older widows marry younger men to pass on the family wealth and teach them how to take care of the younger wives they will soon marry. Often spouses, with the approval of the older spouse will marry the younger partner well before the death of the older partner. This continuity is approved of and encouraged by society at large.

Nubians have few large cities of any size, and most live in towns and villages that contain mostly interrelated family groups. The average Nubian is a farmer or herder. Those living along the great lake will also fish for a living. In these small towns a typical "small town" everyone knows everyone social pressure keeps the general peace.

Gender roles are defined in Nubian society. Men farm and herd, women keep the small livestock and the house. Women raise the children, men protect the community. Deviation from these roles will get you talked about. Neither gender is considered the better of the other.

Nubians are by nature a modest people with a lightened sense of what is modest. If your groin is covered, male or female, you are considered modest. Generally, the older the person, the more clothing they will tend to wear. Children under the age of 7 are not expected to wear anything. Any one sexually mature, or getting there, is expected to conform to accepted modesty. Clothing is a mark of position, so while minimal modesty is fine for youth showing off their young bodies, older folk with position to display will do so.

Pict: Picts live in the northern reaches of the Gaelic Iles. These native people, once covered all of the islands, but have been pushed out by the Celts and Saxons. Picts hold on in the far reaches of Hibernia and Caledonia. They are a marginal people even there.

Picts are 6 inches shorter that the human norm. They tend to have stocky bodies, swarthy skin, dark hair and dark eyes.

Picts maintain hardscrabble farms, and fish from leather boats. They live in stone villages, the houses half sunk into the earth. These villages are small. No more than four to five families will live in a single village.

Families are the traditional extended families. Man and wife with children, grandparents, and often aunts, uncles and their children as well.

Pictish ways are dying. May Picts have forsaken the traditional ways and live among the Celts, blending into that society and passing without notice.

Picts in their native culture are by nature unmodest. They will wear what clothing they must for protection, and decorate their skin with wode (blue dye) in magical designs, body piercings, and other jewelry. Picts consider one foot a good conversational distance. A particular habit of Pict, one they do not remember the origin of, is never raising their voice. An angry Pict will speak quieter, not louder. Picts are leery of loud and angry people.

Persian: The Persian people are found in the southeast of the continent. They come from a number of political states but share a common culture.

Persians are a dusky people of the Human norm in height. Hair is either black or brown, with the occasional redhead. Eye color is black of brown with green or blue cropping up rarely.

Persian culture is in a state of change. Once a united Empire lead by the worship of the bloody Malok Talwas the Persian Empire fell to internal troubles. For roughly a generation the then called "Thousand Kingdoms" squabbled with each other. In time the warring states were united by Damian, who introduced his own religion and banned, on pain of death, the practices and worship of Malok Talwas.

What is now called the Empire of Moreland is an active theocracy with the religion as government.

Persians are known throughout the areas around their land as shrewd traders and merchants. Obviously they cannot all be merchants. Most of the people that do not live in the great cities or large towns are farmers. Social life revolves around the local temple, and in the practice of that pragmatic religion.

Pragmatic can be considered the overriding Persian operating principle. With the rule of the country changing as much as it has you don't get attached to things, and roll with the punches.

Persians are slightly more modest than Egyptians. The higher the social class the more important clothing is. One definitely dresses for the occasion, be that a formal ball, or butchering a hog. Persians are an intimate people that prefer two feet as a conversational distance.

Saxons: Saxons are a people living in the North and west of the continent, in the Eastern part of the Corathian Empire.

Saxons are of average height and build. Hair and eye color tend to black and brown. Blonde and red hair is rarer but not enough to comment on. Eyes can be of any normal human color. Saxon complexion is on the fair side.

Saxons pride themselves on being a practical people. Their culture is what we would call Anglo-Saxon. What England was before the conquest. A country of Yeoman farmers with nobles not afraid of working the land themselves. Saxons have along tradition of law and of rights for the common people. The poorest Saxon will call you on his rights, and demand lawful treatment. They are also the sueingest people around. A Saxon will drag you into court for a broken fence.

In recent history the Saxons ruled a good many of the Celtic peoples, notably Coranth. This situation has been turned on its head. Ten generations later the sting is still felt. The Corathian Empire has swallowed the Saxon lands whole.

Saxons do not keep slaves in name. The practice of sefdom was legal in the time of their own government. This is no longer the case. The hint that your ancestors might have been serfs is buried deep.

The Saxons are modest for the comfort of others. Getting caught in the nude is shameful. Activities that must be done nude, are done in private. The Saxon considers two to three feet a comfortable conversational distance.

07-17-2008, 10:02 PM
There was only one more Human culture, added above. This post to refresh the "New posts".

The rest of the non-Human cultures next.

07-22-2008, 07:28 PM
impressive as always. =D

i happen to speak fluent japanese from having lived there for a couple of years, so if you should ever want some phrases or other interesting stuff to flavor any particular npc of markian origin, just let me know! ^^

07-22-2008, 10:30 PM
impressive as always. =D

i happen to speak fluent japanese from having lived there for a couple of years, so if you should ever want some phrases or other interesting stuff to flavor any particular npc of markian origin, just let me know! ^^

I would actually. Most of the translator programs have Japanese output in kanji. Sensible, but I can't read it. I'm not too proud to take all the help I can get.

Two off the bat I would find useful. "Phoenix" and "Son of Heaven"

I try and use at least some phrases in many of the Cultures. Dwarven words come from Anglo Saxon, Elven from LotR. Some Phoenix and Leoman words are just made up. It gives a bit of flavor for the player to grasp.

07-23-2008, 09:41 PM
son of heaven might have a special honorific version, i'd have to look that up, but generically you can just say "ten no musuko".

again, i think firebirds have a specific name, but i don't have the books with me right now... they would either say "fu`e-nik'su" which is simply a transliteration by sound (commonly done for words of foreign origin... a famous example is "pasokon" (desktop computer) which is literally the first parts of "personal" and "computer" pronounced in japanese syllables.) or "hitori", more probably "hidori"... as "hitori" also means "one person"

specifically, "hi" in japanese means "sun" or "fire" depending on the character, and "tori" means bird. when combined into another word the "tori" becomes "dori" in most cases. (isn't conjugation fun!?)

feel free to pm or email me any and all other questions! =D i will happily do research. and i don't want to derail your thread any further than i have. ^^'