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Thread: Cultural Quirks

  1. - Top - End - #31
    Morithias's Avatar

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    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    In the path of evil campaign. Elves are practically endangered after the whole "Miki" incident. Their haughty ways that lead them not aiding against the Demon King has made many of the countries turn against them.

    They're isolated because if they weren't they would likely die out. Their numbers are so few, cross-breeding with the humans will make their bloodline so thin it will eventually delete their race from existence.

    They have a dislike for humans due to the fact that when the humans refused to supply reinforcements (right after the elves refused to do the same for the humans) against the demon king, Apostle Gigai burned down their nation with his forces. Ultimately their weakness is being unwilling to admit that being hypocrites and believing "it was someone else's problem" has possibly lead to the end of their race. Also because their main god was a racial one, the massive loss of followers has reduced the elven greater god to a demi-god.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Sep 2012

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    That can sometimes weird sound. It is not always just same as in the English.
    That know I.. That have I known..
    ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Ettin in the Playground

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    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    Quote Originally Posted by lucky9 View Post
    That know I.. That have I known..
    Or if you speak German yourself, you can have them sometimes drift off into German words to express concepts which don't "translate" well into Common (or if that dwarf doesn't know the appropriate word in Common, and needs the party to help him). Which can also be an opportunity to screw with CSL (Common as a Second Language) NPCs.
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2012-11-14 at 01:05 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Titan in the Playground
    BRC's Avatar

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    Jun 2007
    On Paper

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    For one campaign I wrote up three city-states, each with it's own quirks and social rules. Sadly, it never really came up since the campaign got cut short, but I remember

    Monte Ferro (Steampunk city, high dwarven population): It's citizens like to believe they are above flattery, but in fact crave it. If they think you're trying to butter them up, they'll get suspicious. However, if you make it seem like you're just stating obvious facts that happen to make them look good, they'll be eating out of your hand.

    A different city, whose name I forget, was largely mercantile, dominated by a collection of powerful merchant houses. With it's residents, boasting about one's wealth and accomplishments was a standard part of social interaction. Humility was seen as a sign that you were ashamed of something.

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    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Orc in the Playground

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    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    My “Wood” Elves HATE!!!! Magic, unless it’s used to augment themselves (they make excellent shapeshifters).

    My “High” Elves live in the great southern desert, brown skinned, have a more Persian and Arabic culture, and are matriarchal.

    My Orcs are an artificial race that’s emotionless and obedient; explicitly breed to be the ideal slave race for the “high” Elves. But if after a few generations a human parent isn’t added to the Orcs breeding stock, preceding Orcs are born feral berserkers.

    Goblins have no lands, primitive rafts just washed ashore on the main continent a few centuries ago carrying rag-tag groups of Goblins, so they’re either nomadic travelers or settled in human kingdoms as peasants.

    Dwarves strongly believe life is circular, all events have happened and will happen again (though the names and dates obviously change), and are constantly shifting from a bunch of feudal lords to one big united empire over and over again.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Pixie in the Playground
    CaptainLhurgoyf's Avatar

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    Nov 2012

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    I was recently wondering about what I would do with gnomes in my campaign. Originally, I was just thinking of throwing them out entirely, as I felt that having two "little people" races was redundant (I'm sure a lot of DMs go through this). However, I was thinking about the original concept of gnomes as earth elemental spirits that resembled miniature monks, and I came up with the idea that gnomes in my world are a race of semi-nomadic scholars. Their religion believes that their god died after creating the world, so the god that took over his position asked the gnomes to learn as much as they could about the world so that he could understand what he was supposed to be in charge of. As such, they don't have very many large cities of their own, but they wander around stopping at various places to learn about what goes on in the world, and they do a lot of writing and recording in their down time. Many of them are hermits, but occasionally a group will come together to share their findings and discuss what the implications are.

    As for the other races...

    Halflings are mostly integrated into human society, primarily in urban environments. A lot of craftsmanship and engineering in major cities, particularly shipbuilding, is done by halflings because their smaller hands are less clumsy and they don't take up as much space in a workshop. For this reason, halfling slaves (slavery isn't uncommon in civilised societies, but it's closer to the Roman system where slaves were typically domestic servants and considered part of the family) are more expensive and valuable than human ones.

    Elves are highly xenophobic and form small tribal hunter-gatherer communities in secluded forests. They don't do business with the outside world and are known to attack travelers who happen to intrude on their lands. They worship trees and plants, so they are forbidden from using wood or plant material to make things. Elf PCs in this setting are usually exiles from the tribe, and due to the sour relationship between elves and other races they're segregated into subpar ghettos in most communities.

    Dwarves are primarily feudal, with a small population of nobles who rule over a larger population of workers. Only the workers live underground; the nobles get to live in aboveground towers and castles. They are usually pacifistic and only take up arms when they're threatened by an outside force. They're also isolationist, but unlike the elves it's not so much "we're not doing business with you because you're below us" as much as "we can sustain ourselves on our own, so we don't need to do business with you". However, there are a few communities that do business with humans, and dwarven crafts are highly desirable.

    Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears aren't different species but different breeds of the same species, and a community will usually include some of each. As such, lawful evil orcs and chaotic evil goblinoids aren't uncommon. They have a Mongolian influence to them, as they breed horses and put a heavy emphasis on riding, and their favourite sport is Buzkashi.

    There are multiple human civilisations, and each one has their own quirks. Most of them are patterned after a real-world culture, but with some tweaks. For example, the fantasy-Celts practice ancestor worship, and they have a strong sense of doing heroic deeds to bring honour to your bloodline and to give your descendants someone to aspire to. For them, the greatest sin of all is to break a promise your ancestor made. Another culture is patterned after Poland, Russia, and post-Viking Scandinavia, but they're matriarchal (not to the degree that women are considered superior to men, but the monarch is always a queen) because they're magocratic, and their philosophy considers magic to be a feminine art. They border a culture that's about half-Mongol and half-Saami, who are nomadic goat, yak, reindeer, and llama herders who travel around in clan-based groups. Their religion is monotheistic, believing that all helpful things in the world (such as livestock, crops, fire, and metal) were gifts from a sky spirit who takes the form of a serpent. As such, it's considered sinful to kill a snake. They also revere running water, which is scarce in their part of the world, and rivers are considered holy sites. The area they inhabit is covered in snow and ice most of the time, so they don't have horses and instead train men with snowshoes to do their scouting and message-delivering.
    Last edited by CaptainLhurgoyf; 2012-11-17 at 05:17 PM.
    Ach! Hans, run! It's the lhurgoyf!

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Apr 2012
    NY, USA

    Default Re: Cultural Quirks

    I like to make my elves very viking-y; they're usually called Alfar, have Old Norse names for people and things, speak in the best faux-norwegian accent I can muster (i.e. a bad one), and go around in longships trading with every coastal town they don't think they can pillage and burn. Not an incredibly creative twist, but I'm sick of Hippie Elves and couldn't think of anything better other than just making all elves into drow.

    I also like making human civilizations based on religions and cultures which haven't been completely done to death. So, for example, my latest campaign setting has a Holy Roman Empire style nation of Gnostic Christian Aeon Worshipers otherwise based on late-medieval Frisia. One of their big thing is they believe sexual reproduction is immoral, since you're trapping an innocent soul in a sinful world for your own profit. This means that their nobles end up hiding their kids by essentially dropping them off at each other's doorstops as "orphans", positions are largely won through Ordeals (to demonstrate divine favor) or Quests (to demonstrate ability) rather than passed down, the lower classes are serfs under the pretext that they are too immoral to be allowed to roam freely (they don't generally have the resources to hide their kids and need the labor), and the greatest insult to a person is to refer to their lineage (which starts a lot of fights with other more traditional aristocracies).

    My Gnomes, Orcs, Kobolds and Dwarves tend to be non-existent or stuffed on other planes. I just can't take them seriously, and all of their roles are better filled IMO by other races; Halflings, Hobgoblins, Goblins and Drow are more interesting to me and seem less overused.

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