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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default [New Advantage] Culture (a method for representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    [New Advantage] Culture

    (Designed for Crossroads: The New World)


    The “Culture” advantage represents the combined attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, superstitions, assumptions, and general worldview of whatever group(s) into which a character has integrated themselves. All characters select a Culture at first level. This culture cannot be changed or lost, though with time and immersion, a character may gain a second (or even a third or fourth) Culture.


    Background Feats
    At first level, a character may select one extra starting feat from their Culture's list of Background Feats. Most of these feats can also be taken later in one’s adventuring career, though some are available only at first level. Some Background Feats are specific to their Culture, while others are merely especially common among members of that culture.

    Background Skills
    At first level, a character selects one skill from their culture’s list of Background Skills. The character counts it as one of their class-skills from then on.

    Native Language
    Each culture has a language associated with it (though this language is not always unique to that culture). All characters begin play speaking their Native Language at the “Native-Speaker” level of proficiency.

    Bonus Languages
    A character may select their starting languages from a list of bonus languages associated with their Culture. They begin play speaking whatever Bonus Languages for which they qualify at the "Intermediate" level of proficiency, and they may invest ranks in their Linguistics skill to improve their proficiency in these languages, at a rate of one rank per proficiency level.

    Gaining Additional Cultures
    In order to gain an additional Culture, a character must live with members of that culture, in complete immersion, for an amount of time equal to ¼ of their current total lifespan, or whatever substantial amount of time the DM considers sufficient to completely integrate. These years do not need to be consecutive, though breaks between immersion sessions will make the process take even longer than it already does.

    Taboos (optional rule)
    Each culture has some actions which it considers wrong, improper, or wicked (in addition to near-universal taboos like cannibalism and inbreeding). Taking any of these taboo actions requires a Will save (DC 20), unless the character gains a Culture which does not consider that action taboo. Even if they make their save, other members of their culture may treat them with fear, horror, disgust, violence, exile, and shunning.

    Special
    Characters with the Born of Two Peoples feat or the Refugee Culture background may begin play with two Cultures instead of one.
    Those with the "Born of Two Peoples" feat may select their Background Feats, Background Skills, Native Language(s) and Bonus Language(s) from those available to either of their parents’ Cultures.


    Cultures
    Spoiler: Culture List
    Show

    At first level, any sentient humanoid character (and some types of monstrous humanoids and fey) selects a Culture from the table below. They then select one Background Skill from their Culture’s list which they treat as a class skill thereafter. They also select one Background Feat (for which they must meet any prerequisites) from their Culture’s list, treating it as a bonus feat. They also speak one of their Culture’s Native Language(s) at the “native speaker” level of fluency, and gain a number of free ranks equal to their Intelligence modifier in any of the languages on their Culture’s list of Bonus Languages, which they may distribute among as many or as few of their Culture’s Bonus Languages as they prefer.

    Name Background Skills Background Feats Native Language Bonus Languages Taboos
    European (British) Appraise, Disable Device, Knowledge (Engineering), Linguistics, Profession (Sailor), Spellcraft Acadamae Graduate, Rapid Reload, Sword And Pistol English Dutch, French, Spanish Eating insects; Indecent exposure*
    European (Continental) Appraise, Handle Animal, Knowledge (Religion), Disable Device, Perform Academae Graduate, Caustic Slur, Dilettante, Duelist, Sword And Pistol, Taunt, Horse Master, Witty Feint Spanish or Français or Nederlands Cree, English, Inuktitut, Norsq, French, Maya, Mixtec,Pueblo, Spanish Making light of the Church; Eating insects; Indecent exposure*
    European (Frontier) Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Ride, Survival, Swim any Native
    Han (Mainland) Acrobatics, Craft, Heal, Knowledge (History), Disable Device Expert Haggler, Mandarin Cantonese, Chinook Jargon
    Han (Frontier) Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (Nature), Survival, Swim Corsair, Crossbow Mastery, Dazzling Display, Expert Haggler, Gunsmithing, Jumper, Landing Roll, Martial Mastery, Rapid Reload, Spear Dancer, Storm-Lashed, Sure Footed Mandarin Chinook Jargon, Salish, Haida, Quillayute Disobeying the Confucian edicts of respect for elders and social superiors?
    Native (Arctic) Knowledge (Nature), Spellcraft, Survival, Swim Big Game Hunter, Endurance, Ironguts, Rugged Northerner, Runereader, Self-Sufficient, Toughness, Trapper’s Setup Adlet, Cree, Inuktitut, Norsq
    Native (Cahokian) Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Linguistics, Sense Motive, Spellcraft Babble-Peddler, Cosmopolitan, Crossbow Mastery, Discerning Eye, Drive A Hard Bargain, Natural Charmer, Savvy Customer, Master of the Ledger Cahokian (Tradespeak) Algonquin, Apache, Choktaw, Comanche, Kiowa, Pawnee, Pueblo, Lakota Engaging in obviously unprofitable ventures.
    Native (California) Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Profession (Farmer), Spellcraft, Swim
    Native (Caribbean) Knowledge (Nature), Spellcraft, Swim
    Native (Great Basin) Knowledge (Nature), Spellcraft, Survival Desert Dweller, Endurance, Knowledge (Nature), Toughness
    Native (Great Plains) Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Ride, Survival, Spellcraft, Swim Big Game Hunter, Focused Shot, Horse Master, Indomitable Mount, Massed Charge, Mounted Onslaught, Mounted Archery, Saddle Shrieker Cahokian (Tradespeak)
    Native (Mammutcha) Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Ride Big Game Hunter, Indomitable Mount, Mounted Onslaught, Mounted Archery Inuktitut, Mammutchadinne Eating mammut-flesh
    Native (Maya) Climb, Craft, Handle Animal, Stealth, Survival Calmecac Education, any Mayan any other Mayan, Español, Nahuatl Abusing a captive;
    Native (Mesoamerica) Knowledge (Nature), Survival, Stealth, Swim any Mayan, Nahuatl, Spanish
    Native (Mexica) Craft, Intimidate, Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (Nobility), Profession (Farmer), Stealth, Spellcraft Bloodletting, Calmecac Education, Desert Dweller, Eagle Eyes, Jaguar Pounce, Rapid Grappler? Nahuatl Español, any Mayan, Mixtec, Pueblo, Tarascan Abusing a captive; Being drunk in public; Cutting down a living tree; Eating food that has been eaten from by a mouse; Stealing
    Native (Northeast) Climb, Diplomacy, Heal?, Knowledge (Nature), Stealth, Survival, Swim Crossbow Mastery,
    Native (Northwest Coast) Climb, Craft, Handle Canoe, Knowledge (Nature), Survival, Swim Corsair, Galley Slave
    Native (Plateau) Knowledge (Nature), Spellcraft
    Native (Southeast) Climb, Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (Religion), Spellcraft, Swim Crossbow Mastery,
    Native (Southwest) Craft, Climb, Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Ride, Survival Crossbow Mastery, Desert Dweller,
    Native (Subarctic) Craft, Handle Canoe, Knowledge (Nature), Survival, Stealth, Swim Endurance, Rugged Northerner, Self-Sufficient, Toughness, Trapper’s Setup
    Native (Vinlandr) Craft, Intimidate, Knowledge (Nature), Profession (sailor), Spellcraft, Swim Berserker's Cry, Brewmaster, Corsair, Galley Slave, Fight On, Rugged Northerner, Runereader, Drunken Brawler Norsq Tuniit, Inuktitut, Cree, Adlet
    Slave Craft, Handle Animal, Profession (any), Sense Motive Careful Speaker, Endurance, Secret Signs, Toughness (as master) (as master)
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-08-10 at 02:21 PM.
    My Homebrew Projects

    Crossroads: The New World - Tribes, colonists, trade confederacies, and empires both new and old collide in an alt-history North America, circa 1750 A.D. (On the road to publication!)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Spoiler: Adlet
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    Language: Adlet
    Skills: Perception, Survival. Adlet hunt with all their senses, and are particularly skilled at following tracks and surviving in the wild.
    Special: Adlet characters with the adlet culture can communicate on a very basic level with canines.

    • Description Adlet are tall, slim-built creatures, with long, sinewy arms and legs. They’re covered head to toe in warm fur, ranging from red to black to brown to gray, or even pure white. Their heads are somewhat drawn out front-to-back, with their sharp-toothed jaws extending into a short snout, and their cranium somewhat flatter and longer than a normal human’s. Their ears are longer than a human’s, and can swivel on their head. Females are slightly smaller than males.
      • Clothing Adlet clothing is generally somewhat sparse, since their fur provides for most of their warmth. The most common outfit consists of a vest with a hood, a loincloth, warm gloves, and boots, all made from supple leather and lined with fur. Most adlet wear a knife on their hip, usually carved of bone or ivory, thought chiefs or leaders may have iron weapons. They usually have more heavy garments for blizzards or the depths of winter, including thick capes that could be wrapped around them.
      • Grooming Adlet take careful care of their fur, keeping it neatly brushed and clean. They wash often in the spring and summer, at least once a month. During the winter they make do with regular brushings and the occasional licking. There‘s communal grooming during the winter, where family groups will gather together and brush out clumps and knots in each other. They occasionally wear jewelry and other ornaments of bone, leather, polished stones, or carved wood.
    • Psychology Adlet place survival of the pack above survival of any individual member. In a place like the arctic, where survival is a constant battle, this devotion to pack can be just the edge a pack needs to survive. The Adlet are predators, and the hunt is a major part of their life.
    • Life
      • Arts and Crafts Adlet view art as spiritually important but with little practical importance. Their shamans craft beautiful masks of wood, as well as totems and statuettes representing powerful spirits and creatures. All hunters learn the basics of how to craft their weapons, armor, and tools, though some are better at it than others. All adlet crafts are practical first, and aesthetically pleasing second.
      • Technology and Magic Adlet shamans use magic regularly, and the adlet in general accept the spiritual world and magic as a part of life, but it’s not a central focus of their lives. Most adlet put more faith in the physical world, things they can see, smell, and touch, than anything immaterial. The adlet were perfectly happy using bows and arrows and stone weapons, but advancing technology is forcing them to adapt to keep up with the competition, driving many to begin to learn how to use guns and iron weapons, though most tribes still resist the use of horses.
      • Love Adlet, despite their usually practical view on things, seem to have an understanding with the irrational nature of love. Adlet females go into heat once a year, during the summer. During this time, the unmated males of the tribes leave, seeking out other villages, other tribes, seeking out potential mates. When they find a female, the courtship process is short, and extremely intense. The term ‘puppy love’ is particularly appropriate here. When a male decides to make the commitment, which usually doesn’t take more than a week, the male goes out on a hunt, and brings back the most impressive kill he can to demonstrate his ability to provide for his mate. If the female accept, the male moves in with the new tribe, and the two become a mated pair, with a short ceremony. For whatever reason, the bonds formed in this short courtship are extremely strong, and attempting to harm an adlet’s mate invites the fury of both spouses. If an adlet dies, their spouse usually does not mate again.
      • War Adlet go to war in much the same way as most natives do, though adlet are generally more willing to make war than most tribes, particularly if they feel their pack is threatened. Adlet also tend to be more focused on the kill when it comes to war. It’s adlet custom to eat the throat of a fallen foe, to take some of their strength with you. This has helped to give the adlet their bloodthirsty image.
      • DeathWhen an adlet dies, it is a sad affair all around. The pack mourns the dead for three full days before the funeral, where the pack gathers together and eats the flesh of the fallen, before burying the bones and inedible organs. They believe that by consuming the flesh of the fallen, they allow the dead of the pack to live on through their surviving family. An adlet gone uneaten is believed to just rot, their soul simply vanishing into the dark, or worse, coming back to haunt the mortal world.
    • Society and Culture The adlet culture revolves around the group known as the pack. A pack is a family group, including related females, their children, and married-in males. The females share a bond of blood, but the males bond through shared hardship when they go hunting. The pack can also refer to the individuals an adlet views as family, their closest friends and companions, though for most adlet, the two are the same group. Some adlet have a family pack and a friend pack, but these are usually those who live in more urban areas.
      • Leadership Pack leadership is generally held by the oldest mated pair in the pack. The male holds authority over matters of the hunt, and the female has authority over matters of the homestead. On the tribal level, the pack leaders and tribal shamans hold a council to decide major issues.
      • Social Structure Below the elders, adlet packs have a strict social hierarchy, with all members of the pack generally being aware of their position within it. Movement within the hierarchy is relatively uncommon. At the top are the best at their jobs, with the rest falling into line behind them.
      • Family Adlet view family as extremely important. The main unit of a family is the mated pair and their children. However, these adlet family groups have a tendency blend together into the pack, and the children are watched over by everyone in the pack.
      • TraditionsTraditionally, the adlet hold that a dog‘s life is equal to a human‘s, and as such they are treated as equals. Almost every pack has a handful of dogs that are, essentially, part of the pack. The dogs share the pack‘s food and shelter, and are expected to work for it, helping with the hunt and helping the pack move when food becomes scares, pulling sleds and A-frames.
    • Other Races Adlet have a long history of clashes with the tuniit and the inuit. These clashes are usually bloody, though short, and of late have ended in the adlet’s loss more often than not. The adlet have a resentment for their southern natives, the native tribes that have pushed them from the plains with their guns and horses, driving the dog-folk deeper into the woods. Recently the adlet have been mending fences with the tuniit and inuit, trading more freely and even fighting together against the Europeans.
    • Religion The Adlet revere a wide variety of spirits, but the progenitors of their race receive special treatment. Niviarsiang, the mother, and Nertuerk, the great dog.
    • History and Folklore Long ago, the Adlet were born from the union of Niviarsiang and Nertuerk. Five of the children were adlet, one of each color, and the other five were pure dog. Niviarsiang’s father slew the dogs, and Niviarsiang, fearing for her other children, fled from the shore and moved inland with her newborns. From these five adlet, all modern adlet are supposedly descended.
    • Language Adlet language is very similar to Inuinnaqtun, but separated by many generations of speakers. In addition, an adlet can vocalize like a dog and understand the sounds of dogs, allowing them to communicate on a very basic level with dogs and other canines.
      • Phrasebook (WIP)
      • Written Language Adlet hasn’t had a written alphabet for most of it’s existence, but recently the adlet have adopted the runic system learned from the Vikings, as part of the recent rash of trading with the inuit and tuniit.
      • Names Adlet names are two parts, a personal name, and a pack name. The personal name is physically descriptive until they reach maturity, after which it changes to match their greatest deeds.
    • Cities and Settlements Adlet only really have one permanent settlement, on the narrow strip of land between two large lakes, east of the northernmost parts of the plains, known by the name of Adletmuit. This is where the most powerful elders and shamans meet in times of great turbulence and trouble.
      Most settlements consist of easily-movable tents. Each pack sets up their tents in a C-shape, the opening facing toward a central area, shared by all the packs in the tribe.
      • Economy Adlet mostly trade furs, antler, weapons, and in some cases magical services. In exchange, they take more advanced weapons, farmed foods, and the occasional luxury goods.
      • Example city (WIP)
    • Creating Adlet Characters Adlet characters aren’t particularly complicated to play, so the way to make a truly great adlet character is through the depth of play. Most commonly an adlet character is a hunter, as it’s by far the most common profession for an adlet. But one could achieve a unique character by creating an adlet shaman, or a druid. An adlet gunslinger could be an early adopter of the new technology.
      An adlet character’s high speed and dexterity bonus make them ideal as a ranged attackers, and their bite attack means an adlet with a ranged attack remains a threat even if enemies manage to get in close.
      • Special Adlet Options: (WIP)
      • Adlet as Characters:(WIP)



    Spoiler: Mayan (WIP)
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    • Description: The Maya are brown-skinned humans who live in the highlands and coastal regions of the Yucatán peninsula in Mesovespuccia. They tend to be relatively short in height, ranging from 4’ 8” to 5’ 2”. Straight black hair is nearly universal, as are very dark brown eyes and large, heavy earlobes.
      Some members of the noble class file their teeth to points, or drill holes in them and fill the holes with jade and other precious stones.
      • Clothing: Due to the climate of their homeland, the Maya typically wear few articles of clothing. Because of this, garments are not as important as status-symbols to the Maya as they are to some other cultures; tattoos, scars, feathered headdresses, and jewelry all carry greater social cache than clothing.
      • Grooming: sweat bath, or zumpul-ché
    • Psychology: (WIP)
    • Life: The Maya consider crossed eyes to be a mark of beauty, and will often tie small baubles to their infants’ forelocks to make them slightly crosseyed. The Maya also flatten their infants’ heads between stiff cradleboards, to produce an elegant, elongated skull and a sloped forehead. Although the practice is frequently fatal, it has not been found to have any effect on the child's intelligence, as infant brains have a great deal of plasticity.
      At the age of four, children transition from infancy to childhood: girls have a red shell tied around their waists, while boys have a white bead tied to their hair. At the ages of 12 and 16, respectively, the shell and bead are removed in a coming-of-age ceremony. Around this time, parents will seek out the services of a professional atanzahab (matchmaker), to find their child a spouse with a compatible horoscope and a reputable family.
      • Arts and Crafts: The Maya are renowned for their exquisite works of art across many mediums, including pottery, jewelry, sculpture, architecture, calligraphy, and featherwork. Mayan potters are among the most talented in Mesovespuccia, and their work is much sought-after for its bright color, its smooth glaze, and the delicate beauty of its painted surface.
      • Technology and Magic: Though the Maya had knowledge of the wheel for centuries before contact with the Spaniards, the concept was useless to them without beasts of burden to pull heavy loads. In the 250 years since then, the Maya have eagerly adopted the horse, pig, goat, and many other domesticated animals, though many farmers are too poor to afford them. Merchants now carry their goods by horse-drawn cart instead of porter, and oxen can be seen pulling iron plows through maize-fields (though the poorest farmers are still forced to till the earth by hand).
      • Love: (WIP)
      • War: Though they are not nearly so warlike as their Mexica neighbors, the Maya are no strangers to the arts of warfare.
      • Death: Ancestor-worship is universal (?) among the Maya. The dead are revered for their ability to intercede with the gods on their descendants’ behalf. In order to keep their beloved ancestors close-by, commoners typically bury their dead under a stone slab beneath the floors of their own homes. About a year after death, the remains of the deceased are exhumed: their bones are lovingly rearranged, and the skull’s mouth is filled with maize and a jade bead representing the soul. The wealthy provide lavish burials for their relatives, and nobles erect temples and pyramids to the memory of their illustrious forebears.
    • Society and Culture: The Maya do not have a single unified state as the Aztec do; the city-state is the basic form of Maya government.
      • Leadership: Each city-state is ruled by a hereditary council of advisors, judges, magistrates, and governors. Kings have not been common since the Great Collapse, about 600 (?) years ago. The causes of this collapse are not well known, even to Maya historians.
      • Social Structure: Officially, Mayan society is divided into two classes: nobles and commoners. In practice, there is something of an unofficial middle class made up of wealthy merchants, talented artisans, and high-ranking warriors.
      • Family: Commoners typically live with their nuclear families in an oblong thatched hut called a na. Extended families live in clusters of two to six na, called nalil (nah LEEL), which are sometimes arranged around a central courtyard used for daily activities such as weaving and pottery.
      • Traditions: (WIP)
    • Other Races/Cultures: (WIP)
    • Religion: The Maya do not make a distinction between the mundane and the divine; every aspect of existence is imbued with divine energy, k’in (k EEN), which suffuses the entire universe, much as blood suffuses every organ in the human body. The gods, who guide the workings of the universe, require sacrifices of human blood to sustain them: usually, this means the offerants simply bleed themselves and smear their blood on idols, though the occasional sacrifice of a human life is necessary to keep the universe in proper working-order.
    • History and Folklore: The Maya have an incredibly long and complex history, though the study of their chronicles is somewhat complicated by the fact that they routinely include mythical rulers matter-of-factly alongside historical kings.
    • Language: The Maya speak more than thirty-five distinct languages, many of which are endemic to only a few villages or towns.
      • Phrasebook: (WIP)
      • Written Language: The written language of the Maya is highly advanced and nuanced: their syllabary is composed of more than 800 distinct glyphs, which can stand for both sounds and ideas, and can be combined with each other in numerous ways.
      • Names: Owing to the immense importance the Maya place on time, most Mayan children are named for the day they are born (Six-Monkey, Eleven-Knife, Four-Crocodile, etc.). Great lords and military leaders often take names based on their accomplishments ("he-of-the-twenty-captives", or "spear-hurler").
    • Cities and Settlements:
      • Economy: Mayan traders range throughout Mesovespuccia, exchanging pottery and jewelry for rare feathers, copal (incense), guns, and magic items.
      • Example City: Chichén Itzá (pop. ???)
    • Creating Mayan Characters: The Maya make excellent merchants, spies, shamans, and warriors.
      • Special Mayan Options: (WIP)
      • Maya as Characters:(WIP)



    Spoiler: Mexica (Aztec)
    Show

    • Description The Mexica are tanned humans of the Mexican Valley. They vary as all humans but tend to have dark hair and brown eyes.
      • Clothing Mexica clothing varies drastically by station, but is generally loose and light. Everyday clothing is made of ayate fiber or imported cotton. Males of the lower class often wear simple loin cloths and tilma (triangular cloak) while females wear skirts and sleeveless or short-sleeved shirts or blouses. Lower class clothing is almost always made of plain ayate fiber, but may have embellishments for those of slightly higher rank.
        The same basic premise was followed for the clothing of the upper class but there was much more decoration. Gold, feathers, furs, and bright colored dies were all used to adorn the clothing. Nobles also wear symbols of their affiliation on their clothing or on a headdress. Merchants are in a class of their own and are allowed to wear what they like. The military dresses according to what group they are a part of, such as eagle or jaguar warriors.
      • Grooming The vast majority of Mexica commoners wear their hair in similar fashions. Men wear their hair long, trimming it at about neck length, and some choose to have bangs. Married females wear their hair long, but twist the ends into bundles that are brought up and pinned over the forehead, a style known as an axtlacuilli. Young boys have their heads shaved until they reach 10 years old, but young girls are allowed to grow their hair out long and loose. After that, long, loose hair is a sign that a woman is unmarried and available. Priests never cut their hair. There are many different styles for warriors, and the styles can even tell people what rank you are and where you're from.
    • Psychology (WIP)
    • Life
      • Arts and Crafts The Mexica create a rich variety of art, including paintings, jewelery, stonework, pottery, and ceremonial clothing. Because of their broad trade network they have a wide variety of dyes available, and the Mexica love to use them. Anything that can be dyed or painted is splashed with vibrant colors. They also have a rich history of music and poetry. The poetry is most often recited and memorized, but recently it has become more common for it to be written down.
      • Technology and Magic -I'll wait on this one-
      • Love Mexica marriages are usually arranged by the parents. The man is usually in his early twenties while the woman is usually a bit younger. Love comes second to politics and the need to help the family get ahead. It was not uncommon for wealthier men to have more than one wife, but children of his first wife took precedence in inheritance or succession.
      • War The Triple Alliance is constantly at war, both for conquest and to keep the gods strong. These are almost as a rule large scale conflicts involving huge numbers of soldiers. It is not uncommon for a young man of the Mexica to join the military in order to seek a higher station in life, as the military is the surest way for a commoner to become a noble.
      • Death The Mexica do not fear death as some cultures do. The dead are revered for their contribution to the living. The Mexica believe in a complicated afterlife with many possible places a soul can end up depending upon their station in life and how they died. Funerary rights differ based on where the soul is going.*
    • Society and Culture The Mexica culture is dominant in the Triple Alliance and thus is influenced by the many differing cultures that make it up. Overall the Mexica are a very structured people ruled by religion and tradition.
      • Leadership The lowest level of leadership is the Calpulli. A calpulli is a council that speaks for several families or a small region, such as a neighborhood. The calpulli owns the land that they live on communally and are charged with making sure the groups basic needs are met. The city council is the next level of leadership and is made up of the leader of each calpulli. They run the city as a whole. Each city council has a sort of executive council and one of them is the tlatoani, or Speaker, who leads the city. The Triple Alliance is led by the Huey Tlatoani, or Great Speaker. He is supported by the city councils, priests, judges, and other officials. While he has great power the system is semi-democratic and he can be voted out. Power is not necessarily hereditary, but successors tend to be related.
        Lands conquered by the Triple Alliance are not ruled directly, but only required to pay tribute. They stay autonomous and have their own leaders.
      • Social Structure There are two main classes in Mexica culture, the pilli, or nobility, and the macehualli, or commoners. They also had slaves but slavery was not hereditary and it was not hard for a slave to buy their freedom and become a commoner.
      • Family The man is the head of the family but women run the household. Men are allowed multiple wives, but adultery is punishable by death. It is not uncommon for families to be very large. Families own their own home and the women are allowed to run business out of them.
      • Traditions Elders were respected, and the Mexica recorded their history so that it would not be forgotten. Education was compulsary so these things could be passed down.
    • Other Peoples As a nation the Triple Alliance sees itself as a chosen people, tasked with helping Huitzilopochtli fight through each night to keep the world moving. On an individual level the Mexica aren't too concerned with other cultures. They trade far and wide for exotic materials and foods, and incorporate many other cultures into their empire so they don't have any particular issues with socializing with them. To them all people share the same duties, so at best they are accepting and at worst they are arrogant and dismissive.
    • Religion The Mexica worship a massive pantheon of gods, but Huitzilopochtli is their primary deity. He is their patron and the Mexica are charged with keeping him strong and providing him with reinforcements. Because of this, sacrifice is very important to the Mexica. Their gods are powered through blood. Tlaloc, the god of rains and fertility, shares the Great Temple (Huey Teocalli) in Tenochtitlan with Huitzilopochtli. They also sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca to keep him appeased, and to Quetzalcoatl in thanks for his sacrifice.
    • History and Folklore
    • Language Nahuatl is the language of the Mexica. It uses a system of roots and compound words to express complex ideas. In the years since the Spanish attempts at conquest it has picked up many loan words from Spanish, mostly related to items and technologies they brought from Europe.
      • Phrasebook Teipanyoc: literally "until later" This is said as an informal goodbye.
        Nahualli: A witch or warlock
        Noehēcatlapalqui cōāmichtēnqui: "My hovercraft is full of eels."
      • Written Language The Nahuatl writing system is logographic and read from bottom right to top left. Writing is often accompanied by pictures and serves to describe what is going on.
      • Names
      Mexica do not have surnames. Many mexica are named for the calendar day that they are born on, but it is not uncommon to have other unique names. For example Cuauhtemoc means "Descending Eagle" and Nezahualcoyotl means "Hungry Coyote"
    • Cities and Settlements
      • Economy The mexica of the Triple Alliance have a massive trade network. Cacao beans are used as currency at markets.
      • Example city Tenochtitlan is the capitol of the Triple Alliance. It is a sprawling city built on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. The city center is dominated by the Great Temple. Canals are cut through the island for travel by boat and floating gardens are constructed all around the island to create more useable farmland. Three massive causeways extend over the water to allow access to the city by foot.


    Spoiler: Vinlandr
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    • Description Vinlandrs are an olive-skinned people, slightly fairer in complexion than the inuit who originally inhabited the lands. They have black or brown hair and brown eyes, though blue eyes arise periodically.
      • Clothing Typical dress for a vinlandr is made of fur and leather, though wool is becoming more common in some regions, gathered from trade with Europeans. The male garb consists of a belted, long-sleeved tunic with a knee-length skirt, warm leggings, tall boots, and a hooded cloak that can be drawn closed against harsh winds, stopping at about calf-height. Female dress consists of a soft leather shift that covers from ankle to wrist, and a fur overdress with short sleeves, a large hood, and an extra pouch under the hood that can be used to carry a baby. Gloves of seal leather or fur, depending on weather, are common on both sexes. Both genders wear a short knife in the hip, usually made of walrus ivory, mammoth ivory, or for the wealthy, iron.
      • GroomingVinlandrs are quite conscientious about cleanliness and grooming, unlike many of their neighbors. Traditionally, every member of the house bathes once a week and washes their face and hair each morning. In the warm moths, they may do this with stream or lake water, but in winter months it may require heating water over a fire to thaw it. Combed hair is the norm, and both males and females wear their hair relatively long. The males take great care maintaining their facial hair, which is much thicker than their inuit relatives. The styling is up to the individual, but most commonly it includes a moustache.
    • Life The daily life of most vinlandrs consists of the business of survival. The men hunt and fish all through the year, and the women tend small gardens and the household in general. Children typically help their mothers with household tasks until they come of the appropriate age to start hunting.
      • Arts and Crafts Vinlandr art is mostly sculpture, but can vary in medium from ivory, bone, wood, iron and stone. They favor intricate carvings of animals, people, and spirits, usually representational rather than abstract. Some who have spent time with Europeans have learned the art of scrimshaw and are quite adept at it.
      • Technology and Magic Vinlandrs are the first culture on the new world to mine and refine iron ore to weapons and tools. The clans of jarnholt, in the northern reaches of vinland territory, work several iron mines and have extremely talented forge masters capable of creating beautiful and deadly works of iron. In addition, the runic language the vinlandrs spread through tuniitaq forms the basis of a unique sort of magic know as runecasting.
      • Love Vinlandrs typically have arranged marriages, where the families of both partners arrange for their children to be wed while the children are very young. Love marriages are acceptable, but relatively rare. Typically, there’s little ceremony. The wedding is accepted, but not truly official until the first child is born. Polygamy is acceptable, but rare, as a man must be able to provide for all of his wives and children. Either partner may demand divorce under certain circumstances, and sometimes there are arranged spouse-trades, which is somewhat beneficial as both families will still have both partners in the relationship.
      • War Vinlandrs rarely have full-scale war, though it’s relatively common for clans to raid one-another for supplies. Honorable combat takes an important place in vinland culture, and fighting dishonorably is considered shameful. Most combat simply uses the ubiquitous knives or spears, but most jarls and some particularly skillful warriors may use iron weapons. Firearms are generally disliked, but those who regularly come into conflict with Europeans may find them necessary. Oddly, the dislike of firearms does not apply to cannons, which they take great pleasure in using.
      • Death Vinlandrs believe it is important to die an honorable death or bring shame on their ancestors. An honorable death requires you to die in the process of accomplishing something, such as dying in battle, or in childbirth, or at the forge working on something. A dishonorable death comes from sickness or age. When one dies an honorable death, they are first buried for a week, then disinterred and placed in a canoe with their knife and some of their favorite belongings. The canoe is then pushed out to sea and set afire with a flaming arrow. Sometimes rich individuals will be buried in a canoe under earth and stones, and have an inuksuk constructed atop their resting place, carved with runes to tell of the important events in their life. Some important jarls will even have the inuksuk animated to protect their resting place and their treasures.
    • Society and Culture Vinlandrs typically live in wide-sprawled clan settlements, with multiple related families living in close proximity to one-another. Each family is largely independent, but they cooperate on large hunts or other large tasks and submit to the authority of the clan jarl. Sometimes multiple families will share the burden of a small farm to produce extra food or other goods, but only in latitudes that will support it.
      • Leadership Each clan is typically led by a jarl, an elected male who settles conflicts between the families and generally looks out for the well being of the clan as a whole. The jarl’s family moves into the Jarlheim, a wooden home centered in the clan’s territory. The jarl and his family are fed, clothed, and generally supported by the rest of the clan as long as he continues to serve their best interests. Most jarls have influence over between 12 and 20 families. The most powerful jarls may represent as many as 100 families. Jarls are generally in charge of large-scale trading, selling surplus leather, ivory, food, and fur to their neighbors for various important goods such as boats, weapons, and even iron goods. There’s no term limit for a jarl, but he can be removed at any time if he fails to look out for his clan.
      • Social Structure The social structure in vinland is simple. The man is considered the head of the household, though the woman has much more influence and many more rights than traditional European family groups. A child is considered under his parent’s authority all through his life, even once they have a family of their own.
      • Family The typical family group in vinland consists of a husband and wife, their children, and the husband’s surviving parents. Families in vinland are patrilineal, with possessions and names being, largely, passed down from father to son. However, a dying individual can leave instructions to be carved upon a marker stone as a sort of will, indicating who they wish to inherit what.
      • Traditions Vinland traditions are a blending of native inuit traditions and norse. One example is the typical vinland wedding. When both children come of age, the man is sent out to hunt alone, to bring back an offering of food to prove he can support his wife-to-be. The larger the offering, the better. If the woman accepts, they go a specially prepared private tent, where the woman prepares a ceremonial meal from the kill. They eat it together to seal the bond, then consummate the union until morning.
    • Other Races Vinland is home to a number of tuniit, the giant-born making up about 25% of their total population. The vinlandrs rarely contact the adlet, but they have been introduced through their mutual allies the tuniit. The vinlanders once upon a time clashed with the tuniit, but were eventually brought into the fold through a sequence of political marriages with various jarls.
    • Religion Vinlandr religion is largely shamanistic, almost wholly transferred from other inuit cultures, but there is a ‘great spirit’ known as Anirnialuk, king of all the spirits, who, upon a close examination, very closely resembles a Christian god. Legends of Christ’s life have fused with legends of Kivuq, the resultant individual know as Vitrqristr.
    • History and Folklore One tale known by all vinlandrs is the story of the breaking of the colonies. More than 300 years past, there were two colonies near the southern tip of greenland. But there was a terrible disaster. Some say a sea serpent destroyed the ships bringing supplies to the colonies. Others say a thunderbird attacked the colonies in a storm of elemental fury. Others still place the blame on pirates. But once the colonies broke, the survivors, barely able to survive the winter, begged the mercy of the natives they lived alongside. In their mercy, they let them into their tents. Over the following years, the children born on the coast were fairer skinned than their neighbors.
    • Language Vinlandrs speak Norsq, a fusion of Old Norse and Kalaallisut. The language shares most of it’s grammar rules with other inuit languages, but borrows a lot of vocabulary and sounds from the norse tongue.
      • Phrasebook (None yet)
      • Written Language Vinlandrs use a largely unchanged version of the old norse runic alphabet to spell out the sounds of their words. The alphabet has a few symbols added to accommodate the new sounds of the native languages.
      • NamesVinlandrs often inherit names from their ancestors. Vinlandr names are unisex, and so it‘s not uncommon for a girl to be named after her grandfather. When a vinlandr child comes of age, they can attempt to earn a title of sorts, by accomplishing some great feat, like hunting a monster or creating some particularly beautiful sculpture or powerful spell.
    • Cities and Settlements Most vinlandrs don’t live in cities, and indeed, may go their entire lives without seeing a proper city. The vinlandrs only have one truly notable city, Jarnholt, the city in the north where the vinlandrs mine great quantities of iron and forge it into a multitude of tools, weapons, and even armor for the most wealthy.
      • Economy Vinland economy is cycle of iron and food. Ships from the southern island sail north with food from their farms and fish from the fertile seas. Ships sail south from jarnholt with iron weapons and tools. Once a year just before winter sets in, a massive shipment of cod makes the journey north in nitthoq, a mighty artifact ship that’s sailed the waters of Vinland for almost 500 years. Along the way, it stops along the shoreline to take on tribute for jarnholt’s jarl, gifts of furs, lumber, ivory, and other such things. The shipment is delivered to jarnholt and when the seas thaw again, it makes the journey south again, giving gifts of iron tools to those who paid appropriate tribute on the journey north.
        There is smaller-scale trading done between neighboring jarls. However, the chance that your neighbor will offer a trade or raid you for what they need is always in flux.
      • Example city The city of Jarnholt is in the north of vinland, on the western coast of greenland. There is only one overland route through the ice fields, and the terrain shifts each year. The port is quite full, with ships from all across vinland eager to trade for iron. In the winter, the seas freeze over, leaving the city isolated. There are four jarls in Jarnholt, three representing individual iron mines, and one who represents the ironsmiths who forge the raw ore into weapons and tools. Some here hunt seals, whales, and fish, but most work in the mines or the forges, and the bulk of the city‘s food is gained in trade. Women and men work alongside each other in the forges, the women tending the flames while the men work the metal.
    • Creating Vinlandr Characters Vinlandr characters are most often brutes, hunters, or runecasters. When creating a vinladr, consider where in vinland they were raised, as the drastic difference in latitude can change how they lived day to day. The latitude can affect the availability of iron, the availability of vegetables and wine, and the wildlife.
      • Special Options (None yet)
      • Vinlandrs as Characters Vinlandrs have a wide breadth as characters, from a wise runescribe that records historical events, to a fearsome berserker who goes into a frothing fury in battle, to a hunter who seeks to slay some fearsome monster, or a magic-wielding jarl seeking revenge for the slaughter of his clan.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-05-07 at 07:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Awesome write-up! I shall go through it, momentarily.

    Background feats: I was initially concerned about the idea of an extra bonus feat, especially since humans already get a bonus feat. However, since culture applies to all the races, I don't think it'll be too much of a concern, particularly if the list of background feats is carefully monitored.

    Background skills: Instead of free skill ranks, I would just suggest allowing players to pick one background skill and treat it as a class skill.

    Native languages/bonus languages: Very nice solution, I was trying to work out how that would work.

    Gaining additional cultures; I think we could keep the 1/4 your lifespan thing as a suggestion for DMs, but allow them to decide what is an allowable time period. For example, in the last samurai, the american guy was only among them for a year or so before he was fully integrated. (granted, not the best example, but the only one I could come up with off the top of my head).
    Also, we should probably make an 'extra/adopted culture' feat, one you can take at later levels.

    I like the taboos. Nice touch, adds a lot of flavor.

    In the example culture, you give a bunch of powerful feats as culture bonus feats. I would say that we should try to limit it to relatively minor feats. Things that are useful, and add flavor, but aren't particularly powerful. We should also try to avoid anything with prerequisites that you can't meet at level 1.
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Hm, I myself thinks it lacks nuance.

    I would put in some form of cultural standing- favored, average and shunned. sure culture is an important part of people, but how they stand within that culture because of their own views and attitudes is far more important.
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Hm, I myself thinks it lacks nuance.

    I would put in some form of cultural standing- favored, average and shunned. sure culture is an important part of people, but how they stand within that culture because of their own views and attitudes is far more important.
    What sort of effects should that have though?

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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    at the very least, a social bonus or penalty to persuading them depending upon your standing.

    but thats all I really got, I just see culture as less of a trait that one possesses and more like a thing you have a relationship with, which might mean that I need to make my own thing for that...
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    That would require every member of that culture to know you though... So I guess the vast majority of people would be average, but really that seems more akin to a reputation bonus with a particular set of people than anything tied directly to culture. GURPS has a system for that kind of thing.

    This is basically the definition of Culture we're working from
    a : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations
    b : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time <popular culture> <southern culture>
    c : the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization <a corporate culture focused on the bottom line>
    d : the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic

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    yea, but is any of that really one thing? it seems to be more of a list of things.

    I mean culture is so wide and abstract, that I'm not sure whether it can actually be modeled as a trait, it seems more like an all-consuming concept that encompasses…pretty much everything.

    I mean how is that actually defining anything? the definition of "culture" seems to raise more questions than it answers, and incorporates way too many factors to actually be something concrete that we can actually discuss.

    I think culture more as a tool of establishing and enforcing hierarchy, with different reasons why you are either successful or unsuccessful within the culture. I mean someone may have grown up in a culture, but that doesn't necessarily mean they agree with it or goes along with said culture, and that could lead to pretty different characters to my point of view.

    so….how would this accurately portray someone who goes against their own culture? there is always those backlash elements that like to do things differently. this system might portray people who go along with the culture well, but I doubt it would accurately model people who go against it.
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    I would put in some form of cultural standing- favored, average and shunned. sure culture is an important part of people, but how they stand within that culture because of their own views and attitudes is far more important.
    That would require every member of that culture to know you though... So I guess the vast majority of people would be average, but really that seems more akin to a reputation bonus with a particular set of people than anything tied directly to culture.
    Well, I think you're right, Lord Raziere, but most DMs would probably find it easier to just wing it, rather than using a specific rule-system. Representing culture is probably complex enough already, and shunning really depends on your reputation preceding you.

    For example, if you play a Dothraki who is widely known to have no compunction against touching corpses, then any Dothraki you meet who has any familiarity with you would lower their starting attitude towards you by two categories. But if you met with a Westerosi soldier, he wouldn't give a fig whether you loot the occasional body or not, since such behavior is not just common in Westeros, but expected (though not entirely kosher).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    I mean culture is so wide and abstract, that I'm not sure whether it can actually be modeled as a trait, it seems more like an all-consuming concept that encompasses…pretty much everything.

    I mean how is that actually defining anything? the definition of "culture" seems to raise more questions than it answers, and incorporates way too many factors to actually be something concrete that we can actually discuss.

    I think culture more as a tool of establishing and enforcing hierarchy, with different reasons why you are either successful or unsuccessful within the culture. I mean someone may have grown up in a culture, but that doesn't necessarily mean they agree with it or goes along with said culture, and that could lead to pretty different characters to my point of view.

    so….how would this accurately portray someone who goes against their own culture? there is always those backlash elements that like to do things differently. this system might portray people who go along with the culture well, but I doubt it would accurately model people who go against it.
    Mainly, this system was developed so that, for example, characters who've spent their whole lives in the European colonies can't just throw on a wolfskin and take a few levels in Skin Walker or Medicine Man. Communing with the Spirit World in the same way that a medicine (wo)man does is something that would take years or decades of practice for a European to learn, not to mention an uncommonly open mind. (Conversely, an Iroquois who wanted to become a Fusangese rocketeer would have a lot to learn, and couldn't just put a match to gunpowder and start gaining levels in the class).

    Since we're representing real-world cultures in this setting, we don't want to cheapen their institutions by allowing just anyone to come along and take levels in them. Gaining levels in a culture-specific class should require time, learning, and great respect for the culture involved (on the player's part as well as the character's).

    Additionally, this system gives players a mechanical difference between playing members of different cultures (I hope), which is important to the setting, since most PCs are going to be Human and magical races will be relatively rare. If you want to play as a mounted warrior, then choosing a Culture with strong ties to horsemanship, like "Comanche" or "Mongolian", should help you do that. Moreso than a culture like "Swedish", anyway.
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Awesome write-up! I shall go through it, momentarily.

    Background feats: I was initially concerned about the idea of an extra bonus feat, especially since humans already get a bonus feat. However, since culture applies to all the races, I don't think it'll be too much of a concern, particularly if the list of background feats is carefully monitored.

    Background skills: Instead of free skill ranks, I would just suggest allowing players to pick one background skill and treat it as a class skill.

    Native languages/bonus languages: Very nice solution, I was trying to work out how that would work.

    Gaining additional cultures; I think we could keep the 1/4 your lifespan thing as a suggestion for DMs, but allow them to decide what is an allowable time period. For example, in the last samurai, the american guy was only among them for a year or so before he was fully integrated. (granted, not the best example, but the only one I could come up with off the top of my head).
    Also, we should probably make an 'extra/adopted culture' feat, one you can take at later levels.

    I like the taboos. Nice touch, adds a lot of flavor.

    In the example culture, you give a bunch of powerful feats as culture bonus feats. I would say that we should try to limit it to relatively minor feats. Things that are useful, and add flavor, but aren't particularly powerful. We should also try to avoid anything with prerequisites that you can't meet at level 1.
    I fixed the feats for the Dothraki like you suggested. These ones should all be available to a first-level character.

    Glad you liked the taboos.

    As for the four free ranks to one Background Skill, that's how The Wheel of Time RPG handled it, so I say there's precedent for it. Plus, if everyone gets it, it's not that big a deal, right? But if you really don't like it, it can be removed.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2013-08-13 at 10:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Representing cultures in Human-focused settings

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    As for the four free ranks to one Background Skill, that's how The Wheel of Time RPG handled it, so I say there's precedent for it. Plus, if everyone gets it, it's not that big a deal, right? But if you really don't like it, it can be removed.
    Ahh, but wheel of time is based on 3.5, and we're working off pathfinder. In pathfinder, you can't have more ranks in a skill than you have HD, so four free ranks at 1st level would break the rule. However, if you put skill points into a class skill, you gain a +3 bonus to that skill, so the DCs are effectively the same (while still removing the whole '3+HD max or 3+HD/2 for cross class' confusing math thing).

    I think just making it a class skill would be a sufficient benefit, honestly. You could say make it a class skill an get a free rank in it, but that doesn't seem to flow as well.
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    Default Re: [New Advantage] Culture (a method for representing cultures in Human-focused sett

    OK, I fixed the bit about free ranks, and some other little details. I think it's more-or-less ready for use in play, at this point. Once we've drawn up a list of cultures in the setting, I'll edit the second post and add 'em to the list. Along with a GIGANTIC disclaimer at the top of the post, to (hopefully) avoid offending anyone.

    I mean, realistically that's probably not something we can hope to avoid entirely, but we can make it clear that it was never our intent to offend, and that we're not implying that all members of any culture would know these skills/feats, or that other skills/feats weren't common among them, too.
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