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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Ive been thinking it over and over for the world I am building for a campaign for next winter.

    Basically it is a "run-of-the-mill" space opera. Great glorious (relatively) benign empire collapses in civil war. Fractures into smaller empires.

    Ive done most of the fluff, and instead of doing nationalities, they players can pick (or create) a culture of their own choosing.
    You can find people from all cultures within almost any of the empires or independent factions. And to define them, I wanted to create a "stereotype" they can pick from, and receive perks or penalties for them.
    I will so for each of the dominant cultures. A framework will be created for making their own culture.

    So, any thoughts on this idea?

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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Industrialist: highly skilled in one field without much diversity. Overall an Industrialist Culture trains subjects in every field, but trains individuals to be one-trick-ponies. Industrialist characters pay twice the skill points for second and third skills, and three times the skill points for the fourth or higher skill, but gain a bonus skill level for every two points spent on their first skill. These bonus levels may exceed any skill level caps.

    Agrarian: these characters have untrained affinities for firearms use, wilderness survival, and mechanics skills, and may use them without penalties for untrained use. They also gain a bonus level in any of these skills for every two skill points spent, but the total skill level may not exceed skill caps.

    Asteroid Miner: having grown up in space, these characters begin with a skill level in vacuum suit use and low-gravity operations. Miners value diverse skillsets, so no miner may have a skill rank higher than his total number of skills. Miners have an affinity for navigation and small craft pilot and may use the skills untrained when normally such would be prohibited.

    Dense Population: the character comes from a location with an extreme population density and has learned social survival skills. Sense motive, negotiation, administration/bureaucracy, gather information, and other skills related to interpersonal communications may be used untrained without penalty. Additionally, a bonus level is gained for every two skill points invested in these skills.


    Is this the sort of thing you're looking for?

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Joethegoblin View Post
    Ive been thinking it over and over for the world I am building for a campaign for next winter.

    Basically it is a "run-of-the-mill" space opera. Great glorious (relatively) benign empire collapses in civil war. Fractures into smaller empires.

    Ive done most of the fluff, and instead of doing nationalities, they players can pick (or create) a culture of their own choosing.
    You can find people from all cultures within almost any of the empires or independent factions. And to define them, I wanted to create a "stereotype" they can pick from, and receive perks or penalties for them.
    I will so for each of the dominant cultures. A framework will be created for making their own culture.

    So, any thoughts on this idea?
    Traditionally, 'nationality' and 'culture' have overlapped rather a lot. When they don't you require some overriding dominant entity (like an empire) to suppress cultural differences to prevent fractioning into independent polities. In your scenario, of collapse via civil war the resulting successor states should either be culturally uniform or represent mini-empires with a dominant culture and smaller suppressed ones. Cultural identity simply does not flow, stress-free, between different independent states or factions and those cultures that have tried to survive in this fashion have, historically, had a rather tough time of it. In space opera it is actually rather typical for all the important characters to be members of a single dominant pan-galactic (or however big your territory is) culture, one that includes all the movers and shakers and largely oppresses the various planet-bound homebodies who lack any real power.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Industrialist: highly skilled in one field without much diversity. Overall an Industrialist Culture trains subjects in every field, but trains individuals to be one-trick-ponies. Industrialist characters pay twice the skill points for second and third skills, and three times the skill points for the fourth or higher skill, but gain a bonus skill level for every two points spent on their first skill. These bonus levels may exceed any skill level caps.

    Agrarian: these characters have untrained affinities for firearms use, wilderness survival, and mechanics skills, and may use them without penalties for untrained use. They also gain a bonus level in any of these skills for every two skill points spent, but the total skill level may not exceed skill caps.

    Asteroid Miner: having grown up in space, these characters begin with a skill level in vacuum suit use and low-gravity operations. Miners value diverse skillsets, so no miner may have a skill rank higher than his total number of skills. Miners have an affinity for navigation and small craft pilot and may use the skills untrained when normally such would be prohibited.

    Dense Population: the character comes from a location with an extreme population density and has learned social survival skills. Sense motive, negotiation, administration/bureaucracy, gather information, and other skills related to interpersonal communications may be used untrained without penalty. Additionally, a bonus level is gained for every two skill points invested in these skills.


    Is this the sort of thing you're looking for?
    Exactly what I was looking for! thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Traditionally, 'nationality' and 'culture' have overlapped rather a lot. When they don't you require some overriding dominant entity (like an empire) to suppress cultural differences to prevent fractioning into independent polities. In your scenario, of collapse via civil war the resulting successor states should either be culturally uniform or represent mini-empires with a dominant culture and smaller suppressed ones. Cultural identity simply does not flow, stress-free, between different independent states or factions and those cultures that have tried to survive in this fashion have, historically, had a rather tough time of it. In space opera it is actually rather typical for all the important characters to be members of a single dominant pan-galactic (or however big your territory is) culture, one that includes all the movers and shakers and largely oppresses the various planet-bound homebodies who lack any real power.
    Nationality and culture overlap of course. But not always, especially in broader strokes. For example, the nordic nations, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Faroe Islands and Iceland share a culture. Not identical, but there is a kinship between the countries, which together create a nordic culture.

    But you are absolutely right with the empires. But what makes this case kind of "unique" is the fallen empire, operated in a similar fashion as the first Persian Empire. Highly decentralized, and allowed nation states to keep their identity within the empire.

    While the Romans assimilated foreign culture into their empire, the Persians created an empire of countries.

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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    I offer ten backgrounds which include redos of the first post.

    When I refer to a skill level 0 I mean it may be used untrained. If it is a skill which can already be used untrained, the penalty for untrained skill use is ignored.

    Where I list a skill with bonus or penalty ranks, the skill points invested come first, then the ranks purchased. Thus, 2/3 means that for every 2 points invested in that skill, 3 ranks are purchased. Record any fractional ranks for future use even though they will have no mechanical benefit.

    Unless specified, bonus ranks may not exceed any skill caps.

    Negative ranks prevent untrained use. A character must invest enough skill points to have rank 0 before a skill can be used. Such rank 0 skills only gain the untrained use penalty if they are prohibited for use untrained.

    Agricultural:
    Born on an agrarian world, these characters are self-sufficient.
    Firearms, mechanic, and survival 0, 2/3 skill points per rank in these skills.

    Decadent:
    The homeworld was once prominant, but now has fallen. Its major export is the cultural artifacts and wealth created by previous generations.
    Criminal, knife, and unarmed combat skills 0, 2/3 points per rank in criminal skills.

    Frontier:
    The character's homeworld is near an enemy empire or unexplored expanse, resulting in mandatory military training.
    1 bonus rank in a military skill, survival 0, 2/3 in combat and military skills.

    High Population:
    High population density creates conditions which encourage good social skills.
    All social skills 0, 2/3 in all social skills.

    High Technology:
    This world exceeds the average tech limits, and its inhabitants are trained in its use.
    Computer 0, 1 bonus rank in every trained tech skill.

    Industrial:
    Citizens of Industrial worlds tend to be well trained in one skill at the expense of a diverse skillset.
    The player chooses a primary skill which advances two ranks for every skill point invested, (1/2), with bonus ranks ignoring skill caps. A secondary skill is selected which advances normally, (1/1), and two tertiary skills are chosen which advance at a rate of two ranks per three skill points, (3/2). Skills beyond this advance at a rate of 2/1.

    Low Technology:
    A backwater homeworld with primitive, usually barbaric conditions results in hardy but uneducated characters.
    -1 in tech skills which cannot be used untrained. Combat skills 0, +1 bonus rank in any trained combat skill, which may exceed skill caps.

    Merchant:
    Born on one of the many family owned and operated independent merbhant ships which ply the spacelanes, these characters are familiar with shipboard life.
    All shipboard skills 0. 1 bonus rank in every shipboard skill trained.

    Miner:
    Born and raised in the far reaches of space, miner characters value diverse skillsets. All miners are intimately familiar with vacuum and low gravity, and the need for cross training limits their ability to focus on individual skills.
    Max rank in any skill equals the total number of trained skills.
    1 bonus level in low gravity movement and vacuum suit. Navigation and small craft pilot 0.

    Noble:
    As a member of one of the peerage groups, this character has prestiege which helps navigate the often Byzentine bureaucracies of the galaxy and to impress the common folk in social situations. The title usually comes with either an annual stipend or a lump-sum starter fund.
    1 bonus rank in bureaucracy which advances at a 2/3 rate. All social skills rank 0.

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Joethegoblin View Post
    Nationality and culture overlap of course. But not always, especially in broader strokes. For example, the nordic nations, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Faroe Islands and Iceland share a culture. Not identical, but there is a kinship between the countries, which together create a nordic culture.

    But you are absolutely right with the empires. But what makes this case kind of "unique" is the fallen empire, operated in a similar fashion as the first Persian Empire. Highly decentralized, and allowed nation states to keep their identity within the empire.

    While the Romans assimilated foreign culture into their empire, the Persians created an empire of countries.
    So in your example for the Nordic region each country would be its own planet within a shared hegemony and have a distinct culture from each of the others, but to an outsider they're all just those Nordic guys: tall, blonde, like skiing, pickled herring, drink beer, ancestors were all Vikings, and what not?
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2019-07-16 at 09:55 PM.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    So in your example for the Nordic region each country would be its own planet within a shared hegemony and have a distinct culture from each of the others, but to an outsider they're all just those Nordic guys: tall, blonde, like skiing, pickled herring, drink beer, ancestors were all Vikings, and what not?
    What is the rpg you are using? Is it Traveller?

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    So in your example for the Nordic region each country would be its own planet within a shared hegemony and have a distinct culture from each of the others, but to an outsider they're all just those Nordic guys: tall, blonde, like skiing, pickled herring, drink beer, ancestors were all Vikings, and what not?
    You pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kalbfus View Post
    What is the rpg you are using? Is it Traveller?
    You are correct!

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    I am familiar with Traveller, (GDW 1979) and with MegaTraveller, but have not looked into newer editions.

    I envisioned a point-buy system like D&D 3.5, but with Traveller's career-based semi-random skill assignment system it might not work so well.

    Perhaps my idea might work if instead of rolling randomly the character earns and spends skill points.

    Or you can list bonus skills for each background.

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by Joethegoblin View Post
    Basically it is a "run-of-the-mill" space opera. Great glorious (relatively) benign empire collapses in civil war. Fractures into smaller empires.
    ...
    So, any thoughts on this idea?
    If it's an empire, then everyone in it is from the same culture. I think you should concentrate on the political fractions rather than culture. That's what cause the empire to collapse. And it would be more interesting.
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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnhcorey View Post
    If it's an empire, then everyone in it is from the same culture. I think you should concentrate on the political fractions rather than culture. That's what cause the empire to collapse. And it would be more interesting.
    An empire can be of more than one nation, empires typically conquer and there are many different cultures within. When such an empire goes into decline, then the conquered nations try to assert their independence. Alternatively in Traveller, there is not ftl communication, so messages travel at the speed of the fastest ship, that means governance has to be decentralized, viceroys are in charge of various systems and have to keep the order until help arrives from other parts of them empire, the downside of this of course is that these viceroy can be removed by the Emperor if they fall out of favor. Now if the empire falls into decline, then these viceroy will see their opportunity to become rulers of their own kingdoms, and may use local forces assigned to them to conquer neighboring systems, if they see weakness in the empire as a whole.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    I am familiar with Traveller, (GDW 1979) and with MegaTraveller, but have not looked into newer editions.

    I envisioned a point-buy system like D&D 3.5, but with Traveller's career-based semi-random skill assignment system it might not work so well.

    Perhaps my idea might work if instead of rolling randomly the character earns and spends skill points.

    Or you can list bonus skills for each background.
    Been playing mongoose traveller. moving onto 2nd edition with this campaign.
    Personally I prefer rolling randomly than point buy. The thinking was when they select the background they would receive additional skill points to the skills of their culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnhcorey View Post
    If it's an empire, then everyone in it is from the same culture. I think you should concentrate on the political fractions rather than culture. That's what cause the empire to collapse. And it would be more interesting.
    Far from it. Mono culture empires are actually quite rare.
    The first Persian empire, and those who followed had arabs, persians, assyrians, babilonyans, egyptians. greeks for a period of time, amongst many other.
    Romans had the italian peninsula, southern slavics, greeks, iberians, arabs, and many other
    The Mongol empire controlled so many countries and cultures, and they did not impose their cultural imperative upon their subjects.
    The Russian Empire had the Rus, Khazars, Chechnyans, mongols, and more.

    But you are right that concentrating on political fraction is something that is easier to put in front of the players and for them to delve into. Political fractions and cultural groups played both into the fall of the empire. The reason I am currently focusing on the culture is simply for flavor.
    Possibly even created flavor the players will not notice or even ignore. But frankly, I do not care if they do. I do it more for my self, in the spirit of improving myself in world building.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kalbfus View Post
    An empire can be of more than one nation, empires typically conquer and there are many different cultures within. When such an empire goes into decline, then the conquered nations try to assert their independence. Alternatively in Traveller, there is not ftl communication, so messages travel at the speed of the fastest ship, that means governance has to be decentralized, viceroys are in charge of various systems and have to keep the order until help arrives from other parts of them empire, the downside of this of course is that these viceroy can be removed by the Emperor if they fall out of favor. Now if the empire falls into decline, then these viceroy will see their opportunity to become rulers of their own kingdoms, and may use local forces assigned to them to conquer neighboring systems, if they see weakness in the empire as a whole.
    Exactly!
    Basically, the power structure in said empire was heavily decentralized. The empire was split into Sectorates. Each Sectorate is semi autonomous. Free to even have their own different kinds of power structure. For example one Sectorate is ruled by a council. One is ruled by a hereditary monarch, one does not have a conventional "ruler", but the planets chooses a representative to answer to the imperial seat. Each Sectorate has an X mount of representatives to on the Serene Directorate, which is basically the galactic parliament. Each Sectorate has to follow the Ciprianic Constitution (Ciprian was the name of the first emperor of the empire), and meet quotas to avoid imperial intervention. If they meet these criteria, they can do it however they like.

    The biggest and most important power of the Serene Directorate, is that they have to approve new emperors.
    It is not typical for emperors to sit on their throne until death comes along. it happened a few times, but usually they resign. And they have to name a successor, which has to be from an eligible pool within the dynasty. It is not enough to have the name. You actually have to prove yourself worthy.
    When the emperor names his successor he has to be presented to the Serene Directorate, and has to be approved by its members. If not, the emperor has to choose a new nominee.
    In the case of if an emperor dies without a nominee, a Dowager is placed in the seat. A spouse, child, sibling or parent, who can hold their seat for a maximum of two years, for the sole purpose of getting a nominee through the floor of the Directorate.

    This system is not perfect. it it's 800 year run there were two major breakdowns related to imperial succession which the empire overcame. When the 3rd breakdown came along, it broke the empire.

    Just felt like sharing that with you!

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Beholder

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    It occurs to me that you may also want to think a bit about political ideologies. This can lead to further diversity among different nations and could be something quite interesting to consider (ie neoliberal free market vs socialist state economy). You could even include some more flavourful ones such as a worker collective ownership deal which could prove to be quite different from what your players are used to experiencing.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joethegoblin View Post
    Far from it. Mono culture empires are actually quite rare.
    The first Persian empire, and those who followed had arabs, persians, assyrians, babilonyans, egyptians. greeks for a period of time, amongst many other.
    Romans had the italian peninsula, southern slavics, greeks, iberians, arabs, and many other
    The Mongol empire controlled so many countries and cultures, and they did not impose their cultural imperative upon their subjects.
    The Russian Empire had the Rus, Khazars, Chechnyans, mongols, and more.
    I hate to be a killjoy here but these groups are more drawn along ethnic lines, not so much cultural. While it is true that within an ethnic grouping there tends to be a shared culture, the tends to be because of a shared nation in the past. Hence cultural differences tend to be predominantly decided by nationalities. Of course the opposite is also true with cultural differences helping spur spur the creation of nations (ie Armenia after the October Revolution), but this tends to be the reunification of a long ago nation.

    In my opinion, culture is merely an extension of nationhood - all nations have different cultures even if they occupy the same space and peoples that their predecessors used to (ie Persia and the islamic Republic of Iran)
    Last edited by TheHighWayMan; 2019-07-21 at 12:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    The stolen merchant vessel dropped out of jumpspace into a graveyard of warships. It was not a densely packed zone filled with hundreds of hulks visible to the naked eye. There were very few places one ship could be seen from another without the use of a powerful telescope. But in the vast void between two stars which shared a common center of rotation about which they would orbit every thousand years, over fifteen hundred vessels drifted.

    It began two centuries before with a war between rival empires. Two fleets squared off and pummeled one another, and both sides lost. Then a battle was fought over the remains. For years first one side then the other tried to claim the hulks which had once been capital warships and which represented billions of man-hours of work and materials. In the end both sides fell to other powers, their vast fleets consumed in the war to capture the graveard. With the loss of both empires, the graveyard was forgotten.

    But it wasn't deserted. The surviving crews had, from the start, fought to stay alive. Two centuries later their children remained, still recycling and repairing the old life support systems.

    And they had begun to build a fleet of their own: a pirate fleet which preyed upon the empires which had long ago destroyed their worlds in nuclear fire.

    Three heavy fighters dropped out of jumpspace almost simultaneously, all near enough to the merchant to be seen without a scope.

    "Little White Lie to Victory Squadron, mission accomplished. They handed over the cargo and never knew we weren't the MV Juno Dee."

    "Commodore Victory to Little White Lie, well done. We had a little skirmish with Pantera System Patrol, but that only encouraged the J.D. To delay its departure. We'll have to come up with a new trick next time."

    "Victory Two to Victory Squadron, we've been thinking about that. What if we attack a merchant then lure the patrol away while White Lie comes to 'rescue' them?"

    "Commodore Victory to Victory Two, it has possibilities. Lets work on it some more.
    "Commodore Viatory to Victory Squadron, form up on Little White Lie and make for DISS Mercy. First beer's on me."

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Ryujo Nis stood by the transparent bulkhead watching the young enhanced neo-sea lions play. They were old enough to be allowed [h]outside,[/i] and soon so would he.

    His world had always been Indica Habitat, and it had always provided for him, but to him and the dozen classmates of his grade who had been selected, it was confining. As diverse as the small group was, they had in commom the feeling of confinement.

    As a scout for the fishing fleet he would be able to go outside for days, even weeks at a time, alone except for his seal...

    "Alone?" a voice asked.

    "To be by oneself, without others nearby," he said.

    "The idea is frightening. Terrible."

    "It is not a permanent condition," he said. "One can return whenever one desires."

    "Who are you talking to?" asked a classmate.

    Nis looked at his classmate, then looked around and saw the smiling face of a sea lion looking at him through the transparency.

    "Ryujo Nis," a voice announced on the intercom, "Report to Medical Bay 11."

    He had been selected! First in his class! He would receive the modification which would allow his left lung to function when filled with water and he woukd be introduced to his companion.

    Then he realized he had already met his companion.

    "I'll see you again soon," he said to the sea lion then turned toward the lift which would take him to Medical.

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHighWayMan View Post
    It occurs to me that you may also want to think a bit about political ideologies. This can lead to further diversity among different nations and could be something quite interesting to consider (ie neoliberal free market vs socialist state economy). You could even include some more flavourful ones such as a worker collective ownership deal which could prove to be quite different from what your players are used to experiencing.





    I hate to be a killjoy here but these groups are more drawn along ethnic lines, not so much cultural. While it is true that within an ethnic grouping there tends to be a shared culture, the tends to be because of a shared nation in the past. Hence cultural differences tend to be predominantly decided by nationalities. Of course the opposite is also true with cultural differences helping spur spur the creation of nations (ie Armenia after the October Revolution), but this tends to be the reunification of a long ago nation.

    In my opinion, culture is merely an extension of nationhood - all nations have different cultures even if they occupy the same space and peoples that their predecessors used to (ie Persia and the islamic Republic of Iran)
    I suppose one could look at the one of the larger powers in the western hemisphere for examples of differing cultures within the same empire within the same ethnic groups. Also, of differing ethnic groups, but that is a separate conversation. Rural vs urban, east vs west, coastal vs fly-over, north vs south, and all those out of a "melting pot."

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    As an idea on the idea of nations. A nation state is a sovereign state whose citizens or subjects are relatively homogeneous in factors such as language or common descent. Japan is a nation state, with a few very small pockets of ethnic differences, while Canada and the United States aren't actually what would be classified as nation states because they are composed of many people from many nationalities that choose to live together.

    There are very few sovereign states these days that fall entirely long national ethnic lines, Japan and Iceland are probably the two most clear cut examples. Japan has a population of around 126 million people, some 98% of the people are culturally/ethnically Japanese. Iceland's population is around 400 thousand, and about 90% Icelandic by ethnic background.

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    We're talking Empires here. Empires composed of many worlds.

    So the first thing we mu7t do is define what we mean by Empire. Is it a group of worlds conquered by an outside power with government administered from a distant capital? Is it a group of worlds dependent upon trade networks controlled by hereditary feudal lordships? Is it a single parent world exercising political, cultural, and/or economic hegemony over colony worlds seeded by it?

    I rather suspect the OP has all of these and more when he suggests multiple competing empires.

    Next we may want to consider cultural Balkanization. The ease of travel and communication limits the area a single culture may occupy. Other factors like enforced isolation can further limit it, but any culture which grows beyond its communication radius begins to diverge. Example: England, U.S., Australia.

    So a single world colonized from a single culture can Balkanize if population groups become isolated.(By economic collapse or war, perhaps, which results in technological regression.) likewise a diverse population on a world colonized from many culturer can homogenize if the ease of global travel and communication is maintained or improved.

    There are, of course, many other factors involved. But this scales up to the level of empires of worlds. Depending on the ease and frequency of travel, an empire may be composed of one culture or it may be composed of hundreds of worlds, each of which contains dozens of cultures.

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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    The science fiction WIP setting that stews in random notes and files... has a history of humans discovering an ancient gate network (so old none of the aliens they met knew who built it) and using it to colonize a swath of worlds, with a lot of colony ships drawing people from particular nations for various reasons, so some of the worlds were settled by particular nationalities from Earth, especially along a certain fringe.

    Then the gate network fell. Hard. All the colonies were cut off. Those that survived, all developed in their own various directions. By the time neighboring aliens found human colonies and shared (long story as to why) their technology for FTL without the gates network, "human culture" was deeply Balkanized, and certain groups of worlds then also came under the willing or unwilling sway of all sorts of regional governments -- coalitions, alliances, unions, empires, hegemonies, etc. So out on the fringes, you have a world where the culture is a sort of conglomeration of Southeast Asia, and a group of worlds over yonder that all have names of Greek city-states, and so forth. But Earth itself is still lost, at least to the humans in the game setting's span of worlds.
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    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    Her stateroom on the MV Rio Peso offered seventy cubic meters of volume, with a lavatory she didn't have to share. She was rich!

    Back on Innisi she had lived in the Mimosa Arcology where she had shared eighteen cubic with Jinsa 138, and a common lavatory with the other one hundred twenty-seven girls of her social bloc, in an arcology housing over 1.6 million people. They all thought her crazy when she announced her intent to test for duty on a merchant ship.

    "You'll be so alone!" Jinsa cried.

    The truth was that Jinsa would be alone. Poor dependent, helpless, needy Jinsa who pretended to love when what she was really after was someone to do her thinking for her.

    Enough! That tear-filled farewell was done, and she had seen the anger Jinsa so carefully concealed until then. The hate. There was no going back.

    She jumped when the chime announced a visitor.

    "Enter!" she said.

    The hatch opened and the very male figure of the ship's helmsman stood outside in the corridor.

    "Hi, I don't know if you remember: I'm Third Officer Grahame Hine. I'm just stopping by to see if you are settling... Is something wrong?"

    "I'm fine," she lied.

    The truth was that she was perspiring and fidgiting, and aroused by the simple presence of this male more powerfully than she had ever been by Jinsa's most practiced seductions. The tingle of anticipation in her middle was almost overwhelming, and intensified as the scent of his perfume reached her.

    He was saying something and she hadn't heard a word. Then he paused and gave her a look that caused her to blush fusiously.

    "Do I make you uncomfortable?" he asked.

    "No!" she blurted, lying again.

    "I understand your home world segregates the sexes. If you want I'll give you some space."

    "I'll be okay," she said. "I have to get used to it. I'm a steward, and I will have to deal with passengers who will be... Like you."

    He smiled and her knees almost buckled.

    "The Captain will expect you for dinner at eighteen hundred in the wardroom."

    "Will you be there?" she asked, then immediately felt like an idiot for asking.

    "No. Junior bridge officer. I get to relieve the Captain and Mr. Coh for meals and, of course, I get the midwatch. But everyone else will be there. All four of them.

    "I'll let you get back to unpacking. Call me if you need anything."

    "I will," she said, and blushed again when he smiled at her. Even after the hatch closed her ears burned.

    She drew a long, deep breath then sharply blew it out. Working with males was going to take some getting used to.

    Then she wondered: males? Or that male?

    She left her unpacking for later and headed to the lavatory to shower as she considered the question.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2019-08-11 at 12:07 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    "F. Jarod, 15a759ec06, report to Desk 12."

    One of the half-dozen young men sitting in the waiting area stood and approached the desk with a 12 emblazoned on its front. Though the guidence councillor behind the desk was seated in a marginally comfortable plasform office chair, there was no chair for F. Jarod. He stood waiting for the councillor to acknowledge his presence.

    Two minutes later the middle-aged woman looked up and said, "Mister Jarod."

    She paused and sighed, then shook her head causing a ripple in the tips of her hair which was trimmed in a regulation bob with bangs that covered her forehead to within a centimeter of her sculpted eyebrows.

    "Mister Jarod, you are a non-conformist," she said.

    He bristled at the insult, but she went on.

    "This is your seventeenth disciplinary hearing, and your third in this quarter. Your outbursts are becoming more freqtent as you get older, and they are becomming disruptive and even potentially harmful to your peers. Therefore I have signed the release for your reassignment. You are no longer a member of Class 15a75."

    "You can't do that!" he protested, then paused when he saw her frown.

    "It is already done. What concerns you now is the choices you must make for your future. Before you are three options. The first is a rehabilitation class."

    She paused long enough for that to sink in. Rehabs were socially stigmatized, and were never allowed to achieve success in their vocation. They performed menial jobs and lived voyeuristic lives on the margins of society.

    "You could opt for personality correction."

    PCs were often able to blend in to society, but there were problems with the procedure, as in the case of Mr. Warrow, the custodian of the school Jarod attended. Slack-witted, clumsy, and only marginally more intelligent than the equipment he monitored, Mr. Warrow was said to be a PC whose operation had left him brain damaged.

    "Or you can join the Imperhal Marines. The Marines allow corporal punishment, but they also reward inniative and individuality. There is a twenty percent chance of a combat wound, ten percent chance of disabling injury, and three pescent chance of death in the line of duty in a standard twelve year career, but veterans of the Imperial military achieve positions of respect in the Empire."

    "I won't be allowed to return," he guessed.

    "There would be no place for you in our planned and regulated society."

    He nodded and said, "At least I won't be a brain-damaged pariah."

    She frowned at his harsh language then toggled a switch and a yellow light flashed above her desk.

    One of the unobtrusive but ubiquitous disciplinary officers stepped to the desk.

    "Marine candidate," the councillor said, and the officer gripped his upper arm and marched toward a door in the rear of the office.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Space Opera: Culture, not nationality

    The command and control car hovered above the massive pit from which a column of dust rose like billowing smoke and drifted downwind. Of course, there was no fire on Epsilon Voralis IV: there was no unbound oxygen in the planet's atmosphere to sustain one. The dust was a byproduct of the haline mining equipment which slowly chewed up and digested what once, eons ago, had been a seabed.

    The complex salts which remained were not difficult to manufacture, but the mostly robotic mine could produce enough of the minerals the deposit contained to supply the industrial needs of many worlds. After all of the costs of production and transport were paid, profit margins were minimal, but with economies of scale the profit was enough to justify the operation. And it eliminated the need to strip-mine more habitable worlds or divert limited manufacturing capacity to the production of industrial feed stocks.

    And it gave an employment opportunity to Clevious Tonada, a part time student eighteen standard years of age.

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