Posts belonging to Category Cultures

Warrior Cultures

From what I’ve seen, it’s practically a requirement in speculative fiction to have a warrior culture crop up somewhere or other. Noble or not-so-noble makes no difference—what matters is that there is a cultural emphasis on fighting, and more to the point on fighting in some way that sets them apart from other cultures. It’s [...]

An Acceptable Crime

One of the things I find most interesting about the law, both in its real-world applications and as it’s implemented in world-building, is that it manages to avoid the kinds of dichotomy most Big Issues tend to acquire in fiction. You don’t have a universal “breaking law bad, obeying law good” dichotomy; you get shades [...]

Magic Between Cultures

I’ve noticed that in many of the books I read, magic is rather similar to physics, in that it works the same way no matter where you are and where you came from. Sure, you might get cases where it seems to work differently due to other factors, rather like the way gravity differs between [...]

Universal Symbols?

In response to my riff yesterday on discovering a character through one of her interests, UZ pointed out that there was a certain universal symbolism about tea.
“A villain who drinks tea is a civilized villain. A murderer who drinks tea is an urbane murderer. There is no such thing as a tea drinking contest. In [...]

Why GMs Love Products of Their Culture

Making a character truly belong to his or her culture isn’t just a way to give her depth, color and a distinctive style. For the RPG player, it’s also a way to score points with the GM. What’s so great about a PC who’s clearly been shaped by her environment?
First, it shows a willingness to [...]

Characters and Culture

Some of the characters I’ve run into could fit in anywhere, really. Maybe it’s just being archetypical, maybe it’s being in worlds that have a lot in common with the other worlds I’ve read, but I could swap them with other characters of their ilk all day and all it would get me is amusing [...]

Five Reapers: Myth-Dissection

Over the last couple of days I’ve dipped into mythology a bit, with a crew of anthropomorphized Deaths and a new legendary look at quicksilver. Now I’m going to look back and see where they came from—who’s up for a little myth dissection?
I find the best thing to do when toying with mythology is to [...]

Characterization Exercise: An Exchange of Cultures

This one came about by accident. I’m not even entirely sure what started it, but it was between session, boredom was running rampant, one of my players slipped into voice and I followed, and next thing either of us knew we were watching her PC and one of my NPCs, from drastically different parts of [...]

Character and World: But You Do This Wrong….

A long time ago, I wrote about minimum acceptable skills or knowledge, the kinds of things that people need to be able to know or do in order to be accepted into an organization, be respected in a society, or otherwise show themselves as being worthy of a position or title. But today I found [...]

In the Un-Real World: About Those Old Stories….

The world isn’t what you expected it to be. Things, generally supernatural, are pretending to be completely normal and hiding everywhere from the sewers to your neighbor’s preschool. And you’ve just figured this out and are trying to figure out how to make sense of it. Grasping at straws in the process is a perfectly [...]