Posts belonging to Category Cultures

Cultures and Children

We don’t often think about children in speculative fiction or our games—at least, not once we stop reading entirely in the children’s section. They might be incidental characters, might possibly serve in a MacGuffin role, but they’re not likely to be the protagonist. As such, it’s easy for us to forget about them in a [...]

World-building: Some Travel Questions

One of the nice things about the modern world is that we can take travel for granted, and never realize how much it helps us. There’s a lot more impact to what’s available than you might think—even owning a car vs. taking mass transit can be the difference between a half-hour trip to get groceries [...]

Thought Exercise: Fantasy World Weapon Control

Most cities in fantasy worlds have a vested interest in people not getting into fights to the death at the drop of a hat. It isn’t that different from the real world in that respect, after all. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to limit access to weapons. So that got [...]

Five Interesting Questions When Building a Society

Most of my posts on building worlds have been at least one post per topic, sometimes a full series—which is nice and all, but not very good when covering things that don’t need ages of explication. So instead, I’m looking at simple questions with far-reaching ramifications that make for an interesting way of characterizing a [...]

Why I Love Culture as Character

Yesterday, I talked about the idea of culture as character. To say that I’m a fan is a bit of an understatement—one of the things I was thinking, while sitting through the panel that set off yesterday’s riff, was that I keep trying to angle for an RPG of manners. It’s not just one appealing [...]

Culture as a Character

When I was volunteering at Conjecture, there was one panel that I had decided the moment I saw the schedule that I was going to see. I would carefully schedule my break, I would barter time with the other volunteers—but I was going to go to that piece on Fantasy/SF of Manners and Culture as [...]

Things You Might Want To Know When Mediating a Feud

Two sides, both alike in… something, anyway… is an automatic recipe for drama: just ask Shakespeare! Between the inconveniences they cause and the general waste of life and potential they represent, blood feuds are a prime “problem” in a setting for protagonists to find themselves fixing. But there’s a lot to take into account when [...]

Things You Might Want To Know When Dropping Into a Culture

One of the side effects of dealing with worlds not our own is that we’re likely to be dealing with cultures not our own as well (and if we aren’t, why in blazes not?). From a player standpoint, or from the standpoint of a writer trying to deal with a culture not her own, this [...]

From Whence Warriors?

One thing often not covered in discussions of warrior cultures (or in some cases, only covered in passing) is where they came from. After all, cultures with complex ideas about where the warrior stands in them and what constitutes a warrior don’t just sprout fully formed from a field full of dragons’ teeth—for one thing, [...]

Warrior Standards

One of the most important parts of creating a warrior culture is coming up with the standards to which its warriors are held. Without standards, after all, what is to set a warrior apart from a non-warrior in his culture, or a person who fights from that group of people over there? How is he [...]