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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    ah yes....strong internal link and tie. and not be able to be in conflict with another clan WITHIN the island nation without being against the whole system. Sure they would have conflicts that are tied to events outside but they would either use the internal dispute resolution system or have to be kept outside the nation (thus two clans could be at war outside the nation but at peace within it. Which I think would fit into your multilayered aspect) It would be strong in the sense that people have very limited ways of expanding beyond their given in born situation. That maritime trade etc (and possibly adventuring is seen as an outgrowth of foreign work/trade) is now a major part of their culture is an effect of the fact they can't buy up their neighbor's farm. So it is a strong caste/blood clan system but over a limited field of action.
    So part of the push to trade, travel, etc, was because it was a way to "get around" those limits without breaking them? Interesting idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    as for your take on just buying the tax.....

    I would imagine that certainly to be the case for some. Though other prosperous ones may see the management of growing a tax harvest as a kind of genteel semi-retirement. The change clan-to-clan would help give them each their own identity.
    Good point.


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    also you may wish to look at Assam, the Seven Sisters States, and the Kachin peoples of Burma. They have very much a blend of Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia features, clothing, food etc. That you may find useful as inspiration.
    Added to the list.



    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Some of the main questions you may want to look into is where they get what they need that may be hard to supply normally in their islands.
    Metal is rare is a possibility but then again islands such as Jamaica, Hispaniola, Ceylon, Papua, Bismarck Islands, and Madagascar all do have significant mineral (metal/Gemstone) deposits if you want to go the other way you have plenty of examples.
    I think I want it to go both ways, as part of what kicked off the trading to begin with -- it started out internal because some islands did have X, and some didn't have X, but had Y that others didn't, and so on.


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Something to build Boats out of. This is normally lumber. and lumber is often space hungry. I would recommend looking at the Tokagawa system of Forestry for possible leads here (lumber taxes were a common thing and this led to large areas of forest being somewhat silvacultured..(You seem like the type to have Jared Diamond in you library-he has a chapter on this in Collapse if you have it) also it could be tied into the a fair amount of "everyday" magic with plant growth spells speeding things up. Smart use of such areas would have layers of uses such as crops that can/are better grown in shade, foraging spaces for sheep or swine, hunting preserves, etc. Then again maybe their boats are made from some special seagrass. (Actually looking at everything from whelk pens, to dugong and seagrass farming (for baskets, flooring covers etc) is something I'd recommend considering since land space would be at a premium and it would help enforce the idea that people are tied to the sea for all kinds of things.) It could be that lumber is either expensive and traded in and thus things like reeds or bamboo (which is another thing that can be grown fast, used in many ways and helps give a strongly Asian flavor in descriptions) are used in any not critical area (decking etc). Either way it will help you develop the look and feel of the place.
    Bamboo is a must for aesthetic if nothing else. Like the idea of silvacultured multi-use forests.


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Fiber. For sails and ropes. Rope making is one of those things that can really make quality based difference clear. Venice was a major working of imported Hemp and exporter of finished rope. But really these guys will need a lot of rope and sail cloth. These will either be massive focus of internal effort or major imports. If they are a major industry hemp oil/seed would likely show up in their food for example and they are likely to have feelings about Hemp's fun sister.

    Caulking. For boats. Oil Seeps (Asphalt) Pine Pitch, Mosses, Latex Saps, whatever. You pick. It will be an important industry.
    Some of the "strange science" mentioned in the "other cultures" post above requires that they have access to rubber, so latex saps it is.


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    actually one thing you may want to explore in fashion for them (especially high/noble fashion) are ideas that either since they mastered the idea of producing a curved surface from a flat one via shape (the triangular sail effect for tacking) they may have a thing for showing such control of cloth in other situations like clothing. So tightly cut clothing with curves that show off the control of tailor may be a thing. On the other end if the wind and sea are such a focus cloths that embody or use wind-like or water-like effects could be thing. Could even be split in gender, or formal/informal/etc if you like.
    I don't know clothing terminology well so finding images is hard, but there's something I've seen before with this elaborate layered / tiered set of epaulets or whatever on the shoulders and those lines continuing across the entire garment from both sides, and your description is making me think of it.

    Ugh, a bit like this, but the effect would across the entire chest from both sides and far more elaborate -- or a sort of clothing-ized version of the shoulders on lorica segmentata.

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    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-01 at 12:12 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    So part of the push to trade, travel, etc, was because it was a way to "get around" those limits without breaking them? Interesting idea.
    Exactly. If pushes competition outside the realm of the ruler so it is boon to them as it boost stability while they also get a cut of anything the clans manage to do by themselves. The clans can feel safe in the home but have a way of advancing their standard of living. It also gives you a great deal of freedom in how they act outside of their islands and thus what role they play in adventures depending on which clan is involved.
    Perhaps on clan started to take a contract to manage the port of a city state because as outsiders they were politically neutral (and had already been operating a few piers themselves for a while better than the others-like the European powers HongKong type operations pre Opium wars) and from that were hired to start filling more and more civil servant positions until they basically ARE the civil service of this city state. And go home to their home island to raise their kids etc.
    Another may publicly be a bit similar but are running the city via puppets.
    Another may specialize in offering marines to strike pirates etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I don't know clothing terminology well so finding images is hard, .... -- or a sort of clothing-ized version of the shoulders on lorica segmentata.

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    I could very much see this in some situations. But it is not great for rope handling, net work, stuffing cargo in the corners of a hold etc. So it may well be a sign of not doing manual labor types or formal clothing.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Barin shaved the wooden bar with his plane, giving it the final curve it would need for its final shape. He passed it down the table to Trin who screwed the vise down on either end forcing it to bow. He tossed the vise and stave into the trough filled with water and staves clamped to curved steel bars.

    "That's it," Trin said. "One hundred twenty-eight staves."

    "Good," Barin answered as he disassembled and cleaned his tools. "Time for a beer."

    "Not yet," said the shop foreman as she entered the workroom. "I need to talk with you two. Finish up and come to my office."

    "Done here, Boss," Trin said.

    She looked at the shavings which had spilled over the pail which had been placed to catch them and Trin smiled saying, "Almost."

    "Five minutes, Boss," Barin said.

    A little less than five minutes later they were in her office, shuffling nervously. Apprentices were seldom called in to speak to the boss, but the drying shed, the hoop mill, and the warehouse were quiet. The journeymen and other apprentices were already gone for the day.

    "You two are a trial, you know that?" she said without preamble.

    "It wasn't our fault, Boss, Guy was the ooof!"

    Barin's elbow was less than subtle, and the foreman paused to look between the two for a moment.

    "I'll deal with that later." She sighed and pointed to the bench in front of her work table. "Sit."

    The two quickly complied and sat quietly while the foreman shuffled tbrough stacked parchment sheets. She finally pulled two from the stack.

    "You pair work well together. Too well sometimes." Her dark brown eyes beneath bushy black brows glared at the pair until Trin blushed, but Barin's stoic expression, practiced from many disciplinary conferences, remained unchanged.

    "Be that as it may." She refrenced the pages. "You both have worked the kiln, the mill, the hoop forge, the assembly floor, the drying shed, and the shaping shop. You have both volunteered for overtime every time your crew boss asked. And you both have demonstrated the ability to acquire new skills quickly."

    "Thank you, Boss," Trin said, but Barin sat still, as if anticipating something horrid.

    "Don't thank me, thank your crew bosses." She paused. "Both of you have also been involved in any number of disciplinary incidents as well. Usually together. I'll be honest," she said, "This is part of the reason I chose you two. You both are just too smart, or too clever for your own good."

    "Chose us?" Barin asked.

    "Your crew bosses recommended you both for metriculation."

    "Hey!" said Trin, but his excitement faded when he saw Barin's stoic lack of excitement.

    "But?" Barin asked.

    "But I have no room for another journeyman, much less two." The foreman ran her fingers through her hair in a frustrated gesture. "And even so, the thought of the two of you running around my mill for the next twenty years fills me with dread."

    "You're firing us?" The shock on Trin's face was apparent, but Barin only sat waiting.

    "Worse," the old woman said. "Exile."

    Trin sat back confused, but Barin half smiled. "Where?" he asked.

    "A place called Flamingo Island," she answered. "It's a salt works in the South. They need skilled coopers to repair the used barrels that they pack with salt. Typically one of our barrels used in shipping goods gets reused twenty times or more before its useful life ends. Salt transport appears to be a terminal use product, and a lot of barrels are pretty banged up by the time they get to the salt works. You two will set up a cooperage and operate it."

    "As journeymen," Barin stated.

    "As journeymen." she repeated. "The contract is for five years."

    "What's this Flamingo Island like?" asked Trin.

    "Don't matter," Barin said. "We're going."

    "We are?"

    "What're our other choices, Boss?" Barin looked her in the eye with a sready gaze.

    "You can matriculate and go job hunting. You can quit. You can continue here as apprentices doing journeyman work. You can do something I haven't thought about."

    "We're going, Boss. Or I am." Barin looked at Trin.

    "Me too."

    ***

    Goods are not the only exports possible. Skills are extremely valuable, and the exchange of people with desireable skillsets can change an otherwise unprofitable location into a lucrative source of trade goods. Oyster cultivation for food, pearls, and Mother Of Pearl requires a very sophisticated skillset, for example, and an island which otherwise produces nothing could, in a dozen years, become a very profitable point on the trade network through seeking out and encouraging an oyster farmer to settle on the island.

    But the lists of desireable skillsets are infinite and where and why they are needed is highly situational. Each island would have its needs, and many islands would be unable to support all of those who have particular skills.

    Along with mobility of goods, to maximize the impact of each hub of the trade network, mobility of skilled people is also necessary. Even unskilled labor, a burden when in surplus to any economy, can benefit locations with labor shortages.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2018-02-02 at 02:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    When I described the idea I put forward above as pushing competition and conflict outside the islands I probably should have said it limits the scale of conflict within the islands and incentivizes growth outside of it.

    Intra clan conflict would still be a thing but limmited by blood ties, social pressure, and knowing that if the conflict gets so bad that the tax doesn't get paid everyone looses. so there may be disfunctional clans others can take advantage of etc and shows why most develop some level of co-operation. Plus those that won't play nice at home have an easy out by heading to sea.

    there would still be trade conflicts etc but they would largely be price wars, bribes, blackmail, and social manipulation. Courtier type stuff.

    Of course when the above two are not working how someone in power wants and blood or intimidation or theft is needed it would have to be non-public and able to be dissavowed if found. So secretive, stealthy, quick hard hits by small groups...ninja and adventureing parties fit this to a T.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Goods are not the only exports possible. Skills are extremely valuable, and the exchange of people with desirable skillsets can change an otherwise unprofitable location into a lucrative source of trade goods. Oyster cultivation for food, pearls, and Mother Of Pearl requires a very sophisticated skillset, for example, and an island which otherwise produces nothing could, in a dozen years, become a very profitable point on the trade network through seeking out and encouraging an oyster farmer to settle on the island.

    But the lists of desirable skillsets are infinite and where and why they are needed is highly situational. Each island would have its needs, and many islands would be unable to support all of those who have particular skills.

    Along with mobility of goods, to maximize the impact of each hub of the trade network, mobility of skilled people is also necessary. Even unskilled labor, a burden when in surplus to any economy, can benefit locations with labor shortages.
    Overlapping movement of goods, ideas, and people... the aforementioned "those who wish to become become government functionaries must attend the/an Imperial school"... this is turning into a surprisingly de-regionalized 'cosmopolitan' thing... which is good, it makes it less of an expy of any one real culture. But Sktarq's suggested strong internal limits might be a necessary offset just to retain the more traditionalist aspects I had in mind for these people.

    Looking into names and languages, I was also reminded of the concept of naming laws... I can see this being a "state" that registers all births and deaths, and has a list of approved names or retains a right for magistrates or bureaucrats to reject names from official birth registrations.


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    ah yes....strong internal link and tie. and not be able to be in conflict with another clan WITHIN the island nation without being against the whole system. Sure they would have conflicts that are tied to events outside but they would either use the internal dispute resolution system or have to be kept outside the nation (thus two clans could be at war outside the nation but at peace within it. Which I think would fit into your multilayered aspect) It would be strong in the sense that people have very limited ways of expanding beyond their given in born situation. That maritime trade etc (and possibly adventuring is seen as an outgrowth of foreign work/trade) is now a major part of their culture is an effect of the fact they can't buy up their neighbor's farm. So it is a strong caste/blood clan system but over a limited field of action.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    When I described the idea I put forward above as pushing competition and conflict outside the islands I probably should have said it limits the scale of conflict within the islands and incentivizes growth outside of it.

    Intra clan conflict would still be a thing but limmited by blood ties, social pressure, and knowing that if the conflict gets so bad that the tax doesn't get paid everyone looses. so there may be disfunctional clans others can take advantage of etc and shows why most develop some level of co-operation. Plus those that won't play nice at home have an easy out by heading to sea.

    there would still be trade conflicts etc but they would largely be price wars, bribes, blackmail, and social manipulation. Courtier type stuff.

    Of course when the above two are not working how someone in power wants and blood or intimidation or theft is needed it would have to be non-public and able to be dissavowed if found. So secretive, stealthy, quick hard hits by small groups...ninja and adventureing parties fit this to a T.
    I was just going to post some more follow up to this along those lines, you posted while I was typing.

    This heavy restriction on open internal conflict, and some resorting to "shadow" internal conflict, actually might solve something else I was stuck on.

    (There are two sides to this project, one worldbuilding for fiction I'm writing, the other as use for a potential game setting, and this particular problem relates to the fiction. Specifically, a rift between one of the Choumin characters and a character from another culture that I was not finding a good trigger for.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-02 at 04:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Overlapping movement of goods, ideas, and people... the aforementioned "those who wish to become become government functionaries must attend the/an Imperial school"... this is turning into a surprisingly de-regionalized 'cosmopolitan' thing... which is good, it makes it less of an expy of any one real culture. But Sktarq's suggested strong internal limits might be a necessary offset just to retain the more traditionalist aspects I had in mind for these people.
    One thing about such movement. SKILLS are a very rare thing to export. SERVICES are a much more common export. Even without such things like clan loyalty and the like groups who had skills largely tried to keep them secret (at least the methods). The Stone Masons, heck pretty much every Guild etc was about making sure the knowledge did not become so common as to have a glut of the skill in the market and thus keep the price up. And powerful lords etc would try to get the knowledge more widespread but it didn't do all that much good. Teaching people unapproved skills that were considered valuable was a major crime in some places/times (Europe & China esp) where things like Paper, Silk, Porcelain etc were subject to major international efforts to gain access to a few skilled workers that could create homegrown industries in formerly import driven industries. So while I could certainly see islands trying to do just that quite a lot it would also be a kinda big deal. Support at court in trade for a clan's blessing to have a skilled worker to move to another clan or rights to dock at that clans pier at a valuable port type thing.

    Actually the need for central government to not be dominated by clan interests could be a major cause continued reason for the whole Imperial college thing.

    Also transfer between clans brings up how that may happen etc. And figuring out what clan one belongs too etc. I would think the most simple solution would be to make it matrilineal. You are whatever clan your mother was unless special dispensation is granted. Even more so if it a somewhat gendered society where men are more likely to get marketable skills or travel as traders etc. As it would make clan identity a feminine thing and give them a source of social power (they hold to clan identity etc). Also it solves the bastardry issues in a simple way-which will be thing if half the couple are away on long trading missions for extended periods.


    Spoiler: Bit of a tangent
    Show
    These guys.....Rasenna -- human culture; farther away to the west on another continent, but always looking to gain access to trade with the Choumin / Storm People. Think "Roman imperial with hyper-zealous sun-god cult interwoven". Culture cares about "civic duty", public propriety, and proper observances & sacrifices... ... "justified" is largely dependent on what you can get away with (and people with more power and bigger friends can get away with more).

    Just an idea but one of the things about roman culture that I found very useful for game design (and may translate well into other fiction works) is that the Romans often relied to a surprising extent on private donations to create public goods. Large public buildings (Theatres, Sewers, Baths, even aqueducts) were often paid for by rich local. Now this happened less in Rome itself as it was the centre of Government and these were used in large part as major power plays to get recognition in the area. If this idea is played up (esp. outside the major cities) this leads quite easily into significant locals backing problem solving missions and reaping much of the glory-these can just as easily be called plot hooks. But it also explains why there is no system for handling these things on a regular basis-somebody local bigwig always took care of it on the spot before-why they need the characters this time. It also plays into the "civic duty" part of Roman culture you mentioned.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2018-02-02 at 10:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    One thing about such movement. SKILLS are a very rare thing to export. SERVICES are a much more common export. Even without such things like clan loyalty and the like groups who had skills largely tried to keep them secret (at least the methods). The Stone Masons, heck pretty much every Guild etc was about making sure the knowledge did not become so common as to have a glut of the skill in the market and thus keep the price up. And powerful lords etc would try to get the knowledge more widespread but it didn't do all that much good. Teaching people unapproved skills that were considered valuable was a major crime in some places/times (Europe & China esp) where things like Paper, Silk, Porcelain etc were subject to major international efforts to gain access to a few skilled workers that could create homegrown industries in formerly import driven industries. So while I could certainly see islands trying to do just that quite a lot it would also be a kinda big deal. Support at court in trade for a clan's blessing to have a skilled worker to move to another clan or rights to dock at that clans pier at a valuable port type thing.
    Agreed. Notice in my story how the guild leader sent a pair of newly promoted apprentices when the salt merchants could have just figured it out themselves.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Agreed. Notice in my story how the guild leader sent a pair of newly promoted apprentices when the salt merchants could have just figured it out themselves.
    Actually that sparks an idea about workers loaned by one clan to another on contract. Invoking some of guest/hospitality rules of Indian and Japanese cultures. Could open interesting possibilities.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    One thing about such movement. SKILLS are a very rare thing to export. SERVICES are a much more common export. Even without such things like clan loyalty and the like groups who had skills largely tried to keep them secret (at least the methods). The Stone Masons, heck pretty much every Guild etc was about making sure the knowledge did not become so common as to have a glut of the skill in the market and thus keep the price up. And powerful lords etc would try to get the knowledge more widespread but it didn't do all that much good. Teaching people unapproved skills that were considered valuable was a major crime in some places/times (Europe & China esp) where things like Paper, Silk, Porcelain etc were subject to major international efforts to gain access to a few skilled workers that could create homegrown industries in formerly import driven industries. So while I could certainly see islands trying to do just that quite a lot it would also be a kinda big deal. Support at court in trade for a clan's blessing to have a skilled worker to move to another clan or rights to dock at that clans pier at a valuable port type thing.

    Actually the need for central government to not be dominated by clan interests could be a major cause continued reason for the whole Imperial college thing.

    Also transfer between clans brings up how that may happen etc. And figuring out what clan one belongs too etc. I would think the most simple solution would be to make it matrilineal. You are whatever clan your mother was unless special dispensation is granted. Even more so if it a somewhat gendered society where men are more likely to get marketable skills or travel as traders etc. As it would make clan identity a feminine thing and give them a source of social power (they hold to clan identity etc). Also it solves the bastardry issues in a simple way-which will be thing if half the couple are away on long trading missions for extended periods.
    Not sure I want to go fully in that direction. (I already have the anachronistically egalitarian Twilight People and the decidedly matrilineal Moon People.)

    Wonder if it could be a divide between clans based on which specific old culture they originated with, or something. Even that could be take things into some unintentionally message-y directions (frex, the people who founded the Empire are patrilineal, the people they conquered or absorbed were matrilineal... message anvils follow, intentional or not.)


    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Spoiler: Bit of a tangent
    Show

    These guys.....
    Rasenna -- human culture; farther away to the west on another continent, but always looking to gain access to trade with the Choumin / Storm People. Think "Roman imperial with hyper-zealous sun-god cult interwoven". Culture cares about "civic duty", public propriety, and proper observances & sacrifices... far more than private behavior. The strong rule the weak, power is its own reward, dominance is the natural way of things, and what is "justified" is largely dependent on what you can get away with (and people with more power and bigger friends can get away with more).

    Just an idea but one of the things about roman culture that I found very useful for game design (and may translate well into other fiction works) is that the Romans often relied to a surprising extent on private donations to create public goods. Large public buildings (Theatres, Sewers, Baths, even aqueducts) were often paid for by rich local. Now this happened less in Rome itself as it was the centre of Government and these were used in large part as major power plays to get recognition in the area. If this idea is played up (esp. outside the major cities) this leads quite easily into significant locals backing problem solving missions and reaping much of the glory-these can just as easily be called plot hooks. But it also explains why there is no system for handling these things on a regular basis-somebody local bigwig always took care of it on the spot before-why they need the characters this time. It also plays into the "civic duty" part of Roman culture you mentioned.
    A bigwig might decide to handle it by hiring the party... they might hire a party of adventurers to solve some dire problem for the same reason they'd pay for a bath or theater or forum to be built...
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-03 at 10:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    It doesn't get mentioned often in pop culture, but Japan was already inhabited when what we think of as early Japanese arrived. So there could easily be one or more "old" cultures that are either a subsection of the main culture or are outsiders/backwoodsmen to it. The difference might even be as little as a diferent naming convention.
    Two other things I would want to know about. What kind of ships do they use? Different types of ships have different purposes, but also astetics. This or this has a very different feel from this or this
    Also what weapons and armor do they use? Most natical groups wore little in the way of armor, as it would make them sink even faster. While Japan had little iron to make armor out of, so found alternatives. This also brings up what tech-level are they using? Are they mostly bronze-age with their weapons and tools, with the occasional iron import? Or is there a class distinction with materials? Creating bronze almost requires a good trade network, as copper and tin are rarely found in the same areas. Or do they use more esoteric materials.
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Not sure I want to go fully in that direction. (I already have the anachronistically egalitarian Twilight People and the decidedly matrilineal Moon People.)

    Wonder if it could be a divide between clans based on which specific old culture they originated with, or something. Even that could be take things into some unintentionally message-y directions (frex, the people who founded the Empire are patrilineal, the people they conquered or absorbed were matrilineal... message anvils follow, intentional or not.)




    A bigwig might decided to handle it by hiring the party... they might hire a party of adventurers to solve some dire problem for the same reason they'd pay for a bath or theater or forum to be built...
    Actually I wasn't thinking of an egalitarian society...
    On matralinial I was meaning to focus on clan identity issues. More you are Jewish if your mother is a Jew type than anything. And that while if men rather that women are the ones to leave their their clans it would allow for some clan movement in a non-egalitarian society.

    And as for the tangent - that was exactly what I was thinking. it enhances the patron's gloria but he never had to get his hands dirty, appear in improper garb, speak non-native languages, or other things that may be erode his dignitas
    Last edited by sktarq; 2018-02-03 at 12:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Actually I wasn't thinking of an egalitarian society...
    On matralinial I was meaning to focus on clan identity issues. More you are Jewish if your mother is a Jew type than anything. And that while if men rather that women are the ones to leave their their clans it would allow for some clan movement in a non-egalitarian society.
    So is the thought that leadership and property inheritance, and maybe the immediate family name, and such would lean patrilineal / patriarchal, but that clan membership would be through the mother's line?
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    So is the thought that leadership and property inheritance, and maybe the immediate family name, and such would lean patrilineal / patriarchal, but that clan membership would be through the mother's line?
    That was was my thought. i was the CLAN and all that implies comes from the mother. Anything else would still up in the air and I would suggest patriarchal. I put it out there to clear up half breeds, And while I would say such arranged cross clan marriages would be rare they would a clan tool. take advantage of another clan to get rid of a rival claimant to your clan leadership or troublemaker by sending him off to sea...if he comes back richer marry him out of the power structure and into another clan. But it gave me the idea that women may hold the social fabric of the clan, its history, and its blood and use that kind of power. Paybe even add in some Classic Jewish mother &/or Asian Tiger mom traits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    It doesn't get mentioned often in pop culture, but Japan was already inhabited when what we think of as early Japanese arrived. So there could easily be one or more "old" cultures that are either a subsection of the main culture or are outsiders/backwoodsmen to it. The difference might even be as little as a different naming convention.
    I know of the Jomon, Emishi, Ainu, and Ryukyuan.


    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    Two other things I would want to know about. What kind of ships do they use? Different types of ships have different purposes, but also aesthetics. This or this has a very different feel from this or this
    For actual ships, definitely wooded with bamboo where possible to save wood or weight; I am still researching which sorts fit. They need to be able to sail across and against the wind efficiently, maneuver well, and carry sufficient cargo.

    For the smaller boats, picture something with an outrigger and sails able to tack, down to a size usable by a single person to sail from island to island on personal voyages.


    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    Also what weapons and armor do they use? Most natical groups wore little in the way of armor, as it would make them sink even faster. While Japan had little iron to make armor out of, so found alternatives. This also brings up what tech-level are they using? Are they mostly bronze-age with their weapons and tools, with the occasional iron import? Or is there a class distinction with materials? Creating bronze almost requires a good trade network, as copper and tin are rarely found in the same areas. Or do they use more esoteric materials.
    This culture definitely has access to steel. Part of what kicked off the internal trade that grew into the great network was the fact that some islands had metal deposits including iron, and some had effectively no metal, but other resources to trade for it.

    On weapons, I want to avoid katanas and the like because of the cliches they've become in gaming and the inane mythology surrounding them in western culture. I'm thinking more along the lines of the Chinese jian (straight sword), ji (spear / dagger-axe hybrid), spears, and compound bows.

    Armor, it depends on who and where. Some of the islands are large enough for significant land combat to take place (see, Japan, Philippines).
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    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    That was was my thought. i was the CLAN and all that implies comes from the mother. Anything else would still up in the air and I would suggest patriarchal. I put it out there to clear up half breeds, And while I would say such arranged cross clan marriages would be rare they would a clan tool. take advantage of another clan to get rid of a rival claimant to your clan leadership or troublemaker by sending him off to sea...if he comes back richer marry him out of the power structure and into another clan. But it gave me the idea that women may hold the social fabric of the clan, its history, and its blood and use that kind of power. Paybe even add in some Classic Jewish mother &/or Asian Tiger mom traits.
    Here's what I had written about marriage and arrangements prior:

    "The culture sees the purpose of marriage as continuing the family and providing stability, but a happy marriage is seen as more likely to fulfill these goals than a forced or bitter pairing. Marriage is “by custom” an arranged affair, but in practice if starting with an official matchmaking between families won’t finalize until both potential spouses are satisfied with the arrangement -- and may in fact result from mutual attraction prompting a couple to surreptitiously nudge the matchmaking process into gear.

    Living arrangements – extended family in a compound or large connected house, with some segregation of shared cooking, common, and gathering areas, from the separate sleeping/living areas of each immediate family. Which extended family a newly married couple will live with leans toward the man’s family, but is also a matter of social standing and prestige, exchange of wedding goods, available room and resources, etc, agreed upon between the two families."


    I like where your idea is going, but I want to make it work with the above as well.
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Some ideas, in no particular order, with varying amounts of inspiration by real world cultures:

    The dominant religion of the islands might consider it impure to eat eggs. Birds were very important to the ocean-faring Polynesian cultures, because they often acted as signposts at sea, letting a particularly skilled follow their migration patterns to discover far-flung islands that would otherwise be suicidally difficult to find. It could be a total cultural revulsion with people who eat eggs, akin to how we might feel about someone who eats animal fetuses. Or it might be more like priests and attendants to the gods who abstain completely, with common folk only avoiding eggs during holy festivals or when they are observing certain rituals to connect to the gods/appear pious to their neighbors.

    The stars would be of great importance to a seafaring people. Maybe give them a zodiac system, like the Chinese or Greeks, where the patterns of stars present at the time of your birth are held to be of some significance to your personality or destiny. Perhaps it isn't just divided by month or lunar year, but also by particular planets that were bright in the sky on the day of your birth, and even what time you were born (and thus what constellations or stars were actually visible). The central government might track all such birth information (at least for citizens of means and breeding), using the zodiac readings to help them make decisions such as where to assign newly trained government officials, or which envoy to place in charge of a fleet sailing for distant trading ports. You could even go so far as to have these astrological readings determine a child's last or middle name.

    Speaking of names, the Chinese have a tradition of not naming a child until it reaches a month old. A lot of other cultures have something similar. You could mix that up somewhat maybe. How about if children aren't immediately given a name when they are born. Instead, every year on the day before new year, there is a giant festival where every child who was born during the previous year is presented to the community in a giant festival and officially given a name. This also serves as a way for the central government to easily get a census every year of every child born and their age.

    On a boat, having large, heavy weapons are very dangerous and inconvenient. At the same time, there are all sorts of tasks that call for a cutting edge. So maybe every sailor goes around with a traditional knife, like a garab knife or kukri. Knives like that are good for whittling, chopping lines in a hurry, beheading fish, preparing vegetables, and of course, settling vigorous maritime disputes.

    I don't know what kind of wildlife you have in your world, but maybe the sailors of this culture might be known for using flying messengers to keep communications going between their ships and their homes. Maybe some kind of seabird acting as messenger pigeons, maybe something more exotic (drakes? small pterosaurs? flying fish?).

    The setup you have with the island chains and large trade volumes pretty much is ideal terrain for piracy. So you probably also have the need for a large-ish number of ships to counter that piracy. Maybe those ships are all funded and commanded by the central government, or maybe they are constituted more locally by merchant families or nobility or local governments (not sure how society is structured at that level) and then either paid for locally in lieu of taxes paid to the central government, or even paid for locally and then reimbursed by allowing whoever is paying for it to levy taxes on the islands which they protect (though that setup would basically be encouraging factional conflict for control of the most lucrative trade routes and even rebellion).

    Somewhat similarly, fleets of peace-keeping ships need crew to man them. Maybe there is some sort of mandatory conscription program? Every citizen has to spend 2 years in government service, whether it be manning patrol ships, serving in local government, working on irrigation or infrastructure projects, working in the government shipyards or mines, etc. Rich people can buy off their service or use it to advance their government career, and some poor people actually see it as a great boon because it gives them a chance to get trained in a skilled profession.

    What arts are important? It might cool to have sail art be a traditional mark of prestige and group identity. Kind of a combination between heraldry and hot-rod custom painting. Any island or family group with any status makes sure to have an elaborate mural or design worked into the sails of their ships, and even some small ships like privately owned fishing boats will pay to have one commissioned if they have a good year.

    Sorry for the wall of text, hopefully something there is interesting!
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    A relevant term: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalassocracy

    Not that this is how the islands themselves are governed, but rather just fodder for considering the way they might set up and rule trade colonies along the continental coasts.
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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Kinds of boats and ships:

    Catamarans, themselves evolutions of the humble outrigger canoes, were pioneered by the Polynesians, and almost no one else. They are extremely seaworthy, versatile, very economical of valuable lumber.

    And wholly unsuited to the choppy storm-lashed sub-polar seas.

    Catamarans in such seas would toss their occupants around and wrench themselves apart. What is suited to sub-arctic conditions are closed top vessels like kayaks or high-bow vessels such as longships which knife through chop and wave peaks, and which tend to remain upright due to ballasting while rising and falling on the slopes of waves.

    Tall-sided vessels such as were common in the Mediterranean and Yellow seas serve best in sheltered waters with ready access to ports, while low decked dhows and sloops deal with storms and vast open oceans.

    The kind of boat used can derive a great deal from the culture from which they spring, but cultures develop seamanship in a particular region, and their boats tend to be perfected for that region. Kayaks were built by the Arctic peoples of Earth, for example, but when Hawaiians had need of a similar one-crew fishing boat they developed the surfboard. Can you imagine the people of Beringia hunting whales from surf boards?

    Until a region's sea conditions are analyzed, the proper boat for the resident culture is unknown. Placing Polynesians in the Aleutian chain might result, for a generation or two, in catamarans in Arctic waters, but they will begin adopting more suitable boats. High frequency wave patterns will result in constantly torqueing the main hull resulting in frequent breakage of spars and loss of the outriggers. Logs and dugouts will be heavy, resulting in tall waves frequently breaking over the boat, soaking occupants who might die of exposure in extreme cold conditions common to the Northern seas. Thus, lighter frame boats with stretched hide shells will quickly prove superior. In a short time such a culture will quickly begin to appear as the natives of our Arctic seas because the materials available and the environment shape the tools and technologies of survival.

    On the other hand, the Polynesians of New Zealand retained their seagoing technologies more or less due to a reduction in the dependence on the seas and the open nature of the Southern Ocean which, while colder, retains many of the sea state characteristics of the open South Pacific. So, it is the sea, not the culture, which determines which boats people use.

    You can tell a lot about wherd a sailor came from by the ship he sails.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Kinds of boats and ships:

    Catamarans, themselves evolutions of the humble outrigger canoes, were pioneered by the Polynesians, and almost no one else. They are extremely seaworthy, versatile, very economical of valuable lumber.

    And wholly unsuited to the choppy storm-lashed sub-polar seas.

    Catamarans in such seas would toss their occupants around and wrench themselves apart. What is suited to sub-arctic conditions are closed top vessels like kayaks or high-bow vessels such as longships which knife through chop and wave peaks, and which tend to remain upright due to ballasting while rising and falling on the slopes of waves.

    Tall-sided vessels such as were common in the Mediterranean and Yellow seas serve best in sheltered waters with ready access to ports, while low decked dhows and sloops deal with storms and vast open oceans.

    The kind of boat used can derive a great deal from the culture from which they spring, but cultures develop seamanship in a particular region, and their boats tend to be perfected for that region. Kayaks were built by the Arctic peoples of Earth, for example, but when Hawaiians had need of a similar one-crew fishing boat they developed the surfboard. Can you imagine the people of Beringia hunting whales from surf boards?

    Until a region's sea conditions are analyzed, the proper boat for the resident culture is unknown. Placing Polynesians in the Aleutian chain might result, for a generation or two, in catamarans in Arctic waters, but they will begin adopting more suitable boats. High frequency wave patterns will result in constantly torqueing the main hull resulting in frequent breakage of spars and loss of the outriggers. Logs and dugouts will be heavy, resulting in tall waves frequently breaking over the boat, soaking occupants who might die of exposure in extreme cold conditions common to the Northern seas. Thus, lighter frame boats with stretched hide shells will quickly prove superior. In a short time such a culture will quickly begin to appear as the natives of our Arctic seas because the materials available and the environment shape the tools and technologies of survival.

    On the other hand, the Polynesians of New Zealand retained their seagoing technologies more or less due to a reduction in the dependence on the seas and the open nature of the Southern Ocean which, while colder, retains many of the sea state characteristics of the open South Pacific. So, it is the sea, not the culture, which determines which boats people use.

    You can tell a lot about wherd a sailor came from by the ship he sails.
    So they need lots of types of boats that work for the different local conditions across various parts of the chain / arc of islands.

    Yay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    Some ideas, in no particular order, with varying amounts of inspiration by real world cultures:

    The dominant religion of the islands might consider it impure to eat eggs. Birds were very important to the ocean-faring Polynesian cultures, because they often acted as signposts at sea, letting a particularly skilled follow their migration patterns to discover far-flung islands that would otherwise be suicidally difficult to find. It could be a total cultural revulsion with people who eat eggs, akin to how we might feel about someone who eats animal fetuses. Or it might be more like priests and attendants to the gods who abstain completely, with common folk only avoiding eggs during holy festivals or when they are observing certain rituals to connect to the gods/appear pious to their neighbors.
    That's an interesting possible taboo / tradition.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    The stars would be of great importance to a seafaring people. Maybe give them a zodiac system, like the Chinese or Greeks, where the patterns of stars present at the time of your birth are held to be of some significance to your personality or destiny. Perhaps it isn't just divided by month or lunar year, but also by particular planets that were bright in the sky on the day of your birth, and even what time you were born (and thus what constellations or stars were actually visible). The central government might track all such birth information (at least for citizens of means and breeding), using the zodiac readings to help them make decisions such as where to assign newly trained government officials, or which envoy to place in charge of a fleet sailing for distant trading ports. You could even go so far as to have these astrological readings determine a child's last or middle name.
    That sort of interest in the stars might be a good tie-in for one character (on the fiction side) in particular, considering where he's supposed to end up.

    Actual divination in this setting is tricky, because fate is what someone makes it -- a mortal shaping their own life, and/or a divinity manipulating the threads of time and space to push a mortal's life in a certain direction. But learning to read the stars (or whatever) could maybe give clues as to what one or more gods might have planned for a person, if anything.

    And knowing the stars is still important for navigation and knowing the seasons and so forth, either way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    Speaking of names, the Chinese have a tradition of not naming a child until it reaches a month old. A lot of other cultures have something similar. You could mix that up somewhat maybe. How about if children aren't immediately given a name when they are born. Instead, every year on the day before new year, there is a giant festival where every child who was born during the previous year is presented to the community in a giant festival and officially given a name. This also serves as a way for the central government to easily get a census every year of every child born and their age.
    I'll have to consider whether an annual census of births and deaths works better than a general requirement to register all births and deaths.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    On a boat, having large, heavy weapons are very dangerous and inconvenient. At the same time, there are all sorts of tasks that call for a cutting edge. So maybe every sailor goes around with a traditional knife, like a garab knife or kukri. Knives like that are good for whittling, chopping lines in a hurry, beheading fish, preparing vegetables, and of course, settling vigorous maritime disputes.
    Kukri knives... so tempting to include them. I have to consider whether I'm agreeing they make sense because I love those knives, or because they objectively make sense.



    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    The setup you have with the island chains and large trade volumes pretty much is ideal terrain for piracy. So you probably also have the need for a large-ish number of ships to counter that piracy. Maybe those ships are all funded and commanded by the central government, or maybe they are constituted more locally by merchant families or nobility or local governments (not sure how society is structured at that level) and then either paid for locally in lieu of taxes paid to the central government, or even paid for locally and then reimbursed by allowing whoever is paying for it to levy taxes on the islands which they protect (though that setup would basically be encouraging factional conflict for control of the most lucrative trade routes and even rebellion).

    Somewhat similarly, fleets of peace-keeping ships need crew to man them. Maybe there is some sort of mandatory conscription program? Every citizen has to spend 2 years in government service, whether it be manning patrol ships, serving in local government, working on irrigation or infrastructure projects, working in the government shipyards or mines, etc. Rich people can buy off their service or use it to advance their government career, and some poor people actually see it as a great boon because it gives them a chance to get trained in a skilled profession.
    There's likely a navy for the "home waters", but for overseas trading voyages the traders are likely responsible for their own security.

    And long with outright pirates (foreign and domestic), some clans, families, and enterprises have likely turned pirate, or gone back and forth, or straddled the line, as their circumstances have changed.

    And there's probably tension between the "whatever happens overseas, happens overseas, as long as we all follow the rules at home" attitude, and the need to maintain good trading relations... and some motivation for competing families to use pirates, or employ privateers, in their overseas disputes even while being perfectly cordial and civil towards each other in the Imperial court, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    What arts are important? It might cool to have sail art be a traditional mark of prestige and group identity. Kind of a combination between heraldry and hot-rod custom painting. Any island or family group with any status makes sure to have an elaborate mural or design worked into the sails of their ships, and even some small ships like privately owned fishing boats will pay to have one commissioned if they have a good year.
    Sail art... I like that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Here's what I had written about marriage and arrangements prior:

    "The culture sees the purpose of marriage as continuing the family and providing stability, but a happy marriage is seen as more likely to fulfill these goals than a forced or bitter pairing....Which extended family a newly married couple will live with leans toward the man’s family... agreed upon between the two families."


    I like where your idea is going, but I want to make it work with the above as well.
    Quite simple. The above is true within intra-clan marriages (which would be most of them by far) and it would be to the woman's if inter-clan.


    On Eggs and Polynesia....If Easter Island wasn't famous for its giant stone heads it would be famous for its stone chicken houses. And its religion about annually harvesting wild eggs from the sea birds who nested on offshore islets (because they eaten them all on the main island). A taboo about eating eggs may have been a good idea but it is not one they had. (and their animal spreading was basically chickens, pigs, and rats) - then again perhaps only birds that fly are protected by the storm god and chickens and rails are thus fair game or something.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2018-02-05 at 01:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    The Starfinders Guild

    These are combined astrologers and navigators. By far tbe majority are Expert class NPCs whose knowledge captains hire for long voyages or excursions into unknown waters. PC Starfinders tend to be sorcerers, bards, and wizards.

    To be a Starfinder one must be a member of the guild, which is obtained by recommendation of a guild member in good standing. To earn journeyman standing which enables one to assume the duties of ship's navigator, the following prerequisites must be met:
    Knowledge-Astrology
    Knowledge-Navigation
    Profession-Starfinder

    Such a guild would make the skills available but limited to a clan or more likely several clans who would maintain the secrets and promote the mystique of Starfinding. There may even be several competing guilds, one which mechanically measures a star's angle versus one which reads the changing stars versus one which divines one's location and course.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Some added background for this setting, in rough notes.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Many human cultures and religious traditions of the world tell some variation of this story.

    Before the beginning, there was only the darkness, the endless void, the evernothing... Khaos, if one had to give the nameless a name, or simply The Enemy.

    Two deities, The Creators, brought Light and form and life to the universe, and pushed back the darkness to the far places, and the deep places, and the lost places.

    The Creators shown bright and pure in the early sky as twin suns.

    The Creators brought children into being, lesser divinities to share the joy of creation with and to delegate tasks to. Many Peoples were brought into being -- Earth People, Storm People, Fire People, Moon People, Sun People, etc. The Sun People were blessed with the closest connection to The Creators and the Divine Light, and were set to rule over the world and maintain order and law and truth.

    The Sun People built a civilization of bright glory and enlightenment and order. Each new their place, and their place was for them.

    Meanwhile, the darkness was making a mockery of Creation by spawning shadow children of its own, and in turn from these came the Twilight People, who crept into the hidden places of the world and built their own dark civilization.

    But it could not compare, and the jealous dark entities and their Gaunt children sought to tear down the Sun People and cover the debris in shadow and dust. There was a great war, and the Twilight people were pushed back to the dark heart of their shadow empire, in the far north. Rather than surrender, the forces of darkness used all their vile power in a suicidal act of spite, shattering The Creators into endless shards of Light as they destroyed themselves and blighted the land for several weeks march around the battlefield (see The Scablands referenced prior).

    The Bright Age was over. The twin pure perfect lights were gone, replaced by a single weary sun that fell to rest at the end of each day, and the inconstant efforts of the moon.

    The entirety of the Sun People died in that instant as well, shattering the civilization they had built. Those they had guided (humans) were left to fend for themselves, and in many places fell into barbarism. Wars broke out, as the survivors battled for leadership or even simple resources. The great works of the Bright Age fell to ruin.

    Spoiler: this is at best half the truth
    Show

    The darkness came before... it was there before "before" had any meaning at all.

    The Two Creators were interlopers here, but were tolerated with curiosity by the darkness.

    The darkness wasn't mocking creation, it was seeking to understand.

    The war was started by the Sun People, who could not stand the very idea that the Twilight People even existed, outside the perfection of Light and outside the perfection of their bright order. Their order was built as much on the backs of human labor and servitude, as their own miracles and wonders, and they kept humanity "in its place".

    The last act of the quasi-deities of darkness wasn't out of spite, it was a deliberate sacrifice to save the Twilight People from destruction. Those dark entities now exist as wan shades at the fringes of reality.

    The Sun People died because The Creators tried to save themselves by sucking all the Light out of creation and into their own powers in that last instant, but only succeeded in pulling it out of the Sun People, who had always been conduits for the Light.

    A small number of the Sun People, who had mastered the flow of light within themselves, were able to resit the pull, and actually survived, Somewhere in the world today, these "Star People" (as they have renamed themselves) still survive, immortal, and I think without a single child born since that day.


    Humans across the world, left standing in the broken remnants of the civilization they had once labored to build and maintain, rebuilt and grew and fought and split and blended into the various civilizations that exist at present.

    When the Bright Age ended, most humans had been at most semi-literate, educated only to the degree deemed necessary to fulfill their roles, so much of what had been known by the Sun People was lost





    So when the subject of stars, and divination, and navigation, and starfinders, came up... my mind immediately went to that last bit. There's a member of this culture that several of you have been so helpful with, who I plan to have meet the (by the name obvious) People mentioned in the spoilers, and if he's as fascinated by the stars as they are...
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-05 at 08:24 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Related to our marriage discussion upthread -- http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2018/02/02/new-worlds-marriage/
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-05 at 08:37 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Oh hey! I loved the Memoirs of Lady Trent books. Time to dig through another writer blog and be intimidated by what I find there!

    As an aside, I was intending for the astrological readings and calculations thing to be more of a world-building cultural thing than necessarily an actual magical valid method of divining something about the world. To be honest, it slipped my mind as I was writing that it might be possible in your world for said astrology to be entirely valid! But reading about your backstory for the Star People is really interesting, and it would be cool for their to be some ancient connections there between those folks and the early members of this modern civilization.


    Have you ever heard of the Chinese treasure ships of the early 15th century? They were massive vessels many times larger than the largest European ships for several centuries (or so the stories go; actual fact may have been slightly different, but this is a fantasy world so Rule of Interesting) made for a kind of mix of exploration, trade, prestige, and geopolitical ****-waving.
    Spoiler: Chinese Treasure Ship compared to the Santa Maria
    Show

    Might be cool if these huge ships were built and maintained as status symbols by the largest merchant families, and used as mobile strongholds to impress opposing delegations in tricky negotiations and trade arrangements. Not necessarily built for military purposes, though as large as they are they carry intimidating cadres of elite troops, but capable of serving as massive transports stuffed with valuable cargo, resupply ships for entire fleets on long voyages, mobile banks and fortresses for storing valuables in the home islands, and just as damn impressive mobile scenery.

    Some scions of merchant families might spend their entire childhoods aboard one of these massive ships, along with their families and essentially entire mobile estates for the wealthy and industrious.

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    On Eggs and Polynesia....If Easter Island wasn't famous for its giant stone heads it would be famous for its stone chicken houses. And its religion about annually harvesting wild eggs from the sea birds who nested on offshore islets (because they eaten them all on the main island). A taboo about eating eggs may have been a good idea but it is not one they had. (and their animal spreading was basically chickens, pigs, and rats) - then again perhaps only birds that fly are protected by the storm god and chickens and rails are thus fair game or something.
    Yeah that one was one I made up from whole cloth, but I thought was kind of interesting. The sort of thing you could slip into a scene when your players first arrive in a place, and that they'd be likely to remember about that particular culture from then on. I like your other thoughts on how the taboo might be applied, and maybe it could also be something like only the absolute upper classes are allowed to eat eggs from flying birds, a food considered far too sacred and holy to be consumed by mere peons (with potentially sever penalties, depending on how much you want to play it up).
    Last edited by Steel Mirror; 2018-02-05 at 09:45 PM.
    For playable monster adventurers who would attract more than a few glances at the local tavern, check out my homebrew monster races!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    Oh hey! I loved the Memoirs of Lady Trent books. Time to dig through another writer blog and be intimidated by what I find there!
    Marie Brennan is a compelling writer and a nice person -- I can hardly recommend her books enough.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    As an aside, I was intending for the astrological readings and calculations thing to be more of a world-building cultural thing than necessarily an actual magical valid method of divining something about the world. To be honest, it slipped my mind as I was writing that it might be possible in your world for said astrology to be entirely valid! But reading about your backstory for the Star People is really interesting, and it would be cool for their to be some ancient connections there between those folks and the early members of this modern civilization.
    If there was, it was covert. They want everyone else to think they died with the rest of their people, and they have no interest in restoring an order they look back on as fundamentally wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Mirror View Post
    Have you ever heard of the Chinese treasure ships of the early 15th century? They were massive vessels many times larger than the largest European ships for several centuries (or so the stories go; actual fact may have been slightly different, but this is a fantasy world so Rule of Interesting) made for a kind of mix of exploration, trade, prestige, and geopolitical ****-waving.
    Spoiler: Chinese Treasure Ship compared to the Santa Maria
    Show

    Might be cool if these huge ships were built and maintained as status symbols by the largest merchant families, and used as mobile strongholds to impress opposing delegations in tricky negotiations and trade arrangements. Not necessarily built for military purposes, though as large as they are they carry intimidating cadres of elite troops, but capable of serving as massive transports stuffed with valuable cargo, resupply ships for entire fleets on long voyages, mobile banks and fortresses for storing valuables in the home islands, and just as damn impressive mobile scenery.

    Some scions of merchant families might spend their entire childhoods aboard one of these massive ships, along with their families and essentially entire mobile estates for the wealthy and industrious.

    I was looking at those off and on over the last week.

    Can kinda see them as specialized ships for very specific roles, but they're too big and too unwieldy for just about all the ports in this setting.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Marie Brennan is a compelling writer and a nice person -- I can hardly recommend her books enough.




    If there was, it was covert. They want everyone else to think they died with the rest of their people, and they have no interest in restoring an order they look back on as fundamentally wrong.





    I was looking at those off and on over the last week.

    Can kinda see them as specialized ships for very specific roles, but they're too big and too unwieldy for just about all the ports in this setting.
    Do not make light of the junk. While in many cases similar to the longship in seaworthiness and shallow draft, it scaled up to the monster vessels which could have dominated the Pacific had the Chinese not burned their own fleets. The junk tries to combine a shallow draft trading hull and a keeled seagoing sailing vessel. Small junk rigged vessels from 30 feet, (10m) up to 80 feet (25m) could be handled with a crew of three, and because the bottom is built of isolated boxes, a huge amount of junk can be stowed on a junk. European hulls of similar length tend to have about 1/3 the cargo space due to their trim hull design. While junks tend to prefer to avoid storms, they are quite seaworthy but difficult to handle in rough seas. They tend to serve best as coastal traders and fishing boats. Such designs are perfect for the Yellow and South China seas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and other bodies of water which are protected from the open ocean.

    The dhow is the Sea of Arabia, Red Sea, Eastern Mediterranean version of this hull with lateen rigging instead of junk rigging, but dhows tend to be open topped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Do not make light of the junk. While in many cases similar to the longship in seaworthiness and shallow draft, it scaled up to the monster vessels which could have dominated the Pacific had the Chinese not burned their own fleets. The junk tries to combine a shallow draft trading hull and a keeled seagoing sailing vessel. Small junk rigged vessels from 30 feet, (10m) up to 80 feet (25m) could be handled with a crew of three, and because the bottom is built of isolated boxes, a huge amount of junk can be stowed on a junk. European hulls of similar length tend to have about 1/3 the cargo space due to their trim hull design. While junks tend to prefer to avoid storms, they are quite seaworthy but difficult to handle in rough seas. They tend to serve best as coastal traders and fishing boats. Such designs are perfect for the Yellow and South China seas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and other bodies of water which are protected from the open ocean.

    The dhow is the Sea of Arabia, Red Sea, Eastern Mediterranean version of this hull with lateen rigging instead of junk rigging, but dhows tend to be open topped.

    Not making light of the basic design, just noting that those largest "treasure fleet" ships might be too big.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    BTW, this has been very helpful... it's produced 13 pages of single-spaced notes in my file for these guys so far. I can't promise that every suggestion makes it in but just being able to bounce ideas and discuss is so useful.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Not making light of the basic design, just noting that those largest "treasure fleet" ships might be too big.
    Well considering things like the undulations in the wood of the industrial steel braced Wisconsin (maybe Wyoming? a W state) caused issues at a smaller size there is precedent for that. But then again water or storm spirits into the boat (and in an animist culture binding a new spirit to boat would make sense) in a world with magic...logical size limits can be stretched.

    And there is no such thing as TOO BIG when a major point of them would be to show off how wealthy the group commissioning the ship is. So if a clan or alliance of them shows up to the capital in one for the headman to visit the king/emperor etc. and they fit all their retainers, and children going to the imperial university, and the animal sacrifices for the main temple, and their tax harvest...all on one ship they may have bragging rights that come in useful in clan to clan negotiations and status gaining.
    And many of those size estimates put them in same 300-3000 ton range you find European Galleons in-if a century earlier.

    Also with a glance at your map those ships sailing East (and into the storms off a very large ocean area) from the home isles could well be very different than those heading to the coast. In big long 1-2 trips a year that crossing the larger ocean would entail ship size would be a boon if you could find engineering ways to hack it.

    Also the generally V shaped nature of the isles as seen on your map would enclose a sea that would have distinct characteristics. And "enclosed" doesn't have to mean calm. The Gulf of Mexico has huge storms roll in and the North Sea is also notably stormy even though both are protected from a lot of ocean swells and the like.

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