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Author Topic: It is custom to WHAT?!  (Read 4242 times)

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Offline manfred

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« on: March 05, 2004, 06:18:30 AM »
I recently heard about a custom that exists in my country, in one little village. You can expect folk customs to be silly, but this one surprised even me.

A group of smiths (more wannabee-smiths in this century...) uses black soot to make everyone they can lay hands on dirty, that is everyone that does not escape. Strange, but who cares. But later, particularly if they get into the right (drunken) mood, they catch someone, and nail his/her shoes on a fence or a tree, a yard or so above earth. And the unfortunate is of course being held in his shoes while they do it! So you end up standing a yard above earth, the ruined shoes nailed to a fence or what, probably screaming madly at a band of drunks that leaves you there. In winter. :what:

Now if I would end up on that particular holiday in this single village, I would have no chance to know what I can expect...


Continuing the series of various lists in Flesh It Out:

What strange customs can surprise travellers in that innocent-looking, backwater village, town, tribe, or a not-so-well known nation?

- Smoking a piece-pipe was a reknown practice among the Indians. Honoured guests are often prepared special foods, which can turn out disgusting to eat, or made from suspicious ingredients.

- And some have been married to the chief's daughter unknowingly.

- To close a deal with a local, if you are an outsider, you must sleep with the ugliest woman in town.

...
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Offline ephemeralstability

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2004, 06:30:35 PM »
I can imagine some locals taking this to extremes and requiring the PCs to do silly things and humiliate themselves under the guise of "local customs".

Quote
In the province of Rutitia it is considered good manners that a guest cooks his host a meal of fish on the night before his departure/says grace to some heathen house-god (might conflict with a priest's affiliations).


Maybe it would be amusing to make players actually enact these customs...

Quote
The PCs may be challenged to a bob-apple contest, or to compete against the local conker-champion or arm-wrestler. This would be a good one to act out live.


Just a couple of real-life examples...

Quote
Round by where I live in Yorkshire there's a saying that you aren't considered to be local until your grandfather's been buried in the local churchyard, your father's been buried in the local churchyard and you've been buried in the local churchyard. This sort of local in-joke can be used by locals who wish to unsettle PCs during conversation by stressing their foreign-ness.

On the remote Hebridean Islands of Lewis, the Uists and Barra, where the Presbyterian church holds sway, it's impossible to do anything on the Sabbath: the shops are all closed, people journey only to get to church. So perhaps if the players were unaware of this tradition they'd get some funny looks, if they were aware of it they'd be frustrated and delayed by a day.


ephe!
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2004, 08:27:47 PM »
- It is customary in *Insert Name Here*, a desert country, to, when one is introduced, to spit into the other person's mouth. "Sharing of water", Dune style.
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Offline Luke Lavin

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2004, 12:03:13 AM »
In one late country people are only allowed to speak that are written in their holy book by the town's scribe.  Saying words not in the scribes book could be punished by public humiliation of if a severe word is spoken a painfull and drawn out death.

Offline gottgen

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This is an obvious one...
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2004, 01:43:21 AM »
Maybe the adventurers sit down to what they think is a nice meal in honor of their visit to the land in question.  When the main coarse is brought to the table on a wheeled gurny and the cover is lifted, they are greeted by the appitizing site of a dead member of the household with a pear in its mouth.  Glazed, of course.
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Offline Ylorea

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2004, 07:09:23 AM »
In many country's or regions it is fairly or entirly forbidden to speak the name of a god or of the gods. Writting them down is often an even greater offense.

Depending on the religion punishment may anywhere between public humiliation via banishment to even death.

Other customs may include waiting to sit down until the quests have been seated or just the opposite.
(as such it is now customary for trade negotioations between Garvald and Twiliar to take place in rooms without chairs.)

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Offline Ylorea

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2004, 02:16:53 AM »
This morning I was listening to the radio... (Yes we also have that in backward then netherlands *grin*) and my mind was caught by an add....
--------------------
Due to the custom to hang people from a tree when in debt, fifteen people have been severly injured by the colapse of an old oak.
--------------------
Just to be on the safe side, the custom is as such that people are just hung from the tree, but not by the neck. So it is just not a very pleasant feeling, but it will not kill you (we hope)
I can imagine a strong large tree next to the village entrance where some people dangle from the tree. Alive and kicking so to say. I do think most adventurers would be fairly surprised by this.

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Offline Fiona

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2004, 06:10:37 AM »
Also very obvious:

It is considered dirty and basically forbidden to touch anything you're going to eat or any person with your left hand. Everything dirty you HAVE to touch with your left hand.

It is considered incredibly rude to point the soles of your feet to someone. Especially to deity statues!

You are not allowed to look a woman in the eye. Or a priest.

You have to give money or food to the monks or priests collecting in the streets.

All people are vegetarians. Eating meat is heresy!

Offline manfred

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2004, 07:23:19 AM »
Seen that in one movie, and hell, why not?

Requires a large body of water, that freezes solidly in winter. A lake or a bay will serve well.


The locals do fishing and agriculture, and, once the resources are spent, they need to move. And moving they do!

The old custom of moving along with tents has slightly changed, now that everybody lives in a house... the house is put on wooden planks, and dragged on the ice to a better location. If asked, the locals may tell a story of bad neighbours, and a bet, that got the first house moving.

And so may winter travellers come to the rare sight of a whole village being moved on ice...
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2004, 08:52:25 PM »
We have some disgusting food habits in some remote parts of Norway(yes, yes... All of norway is remote... I know):

"Lakabodla": This is sheep balls in brine
"Smalahovud": This is a boiled sheep's head,  complete with eyes and a soft, burnt texture to the skin. Yummie!
Smalahovud:


Ohhh, and in Africa: Uganda, Idi Amin, the former dictator of that country, used to decapitate his political rivals. He put their heads in the refrigerator and took them out during dinner. Then he scolded them.

Some British emissaries were less than pleased with this and actually did not eat during supper... Those rude British!  :lol:
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2004, 09:13:36 PM »
Mmm... Smalahovud. Sounds delicious. <voice dripping with sarcasm*
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Offline Cheka Man

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2004, 07:04:51 PM »
It is a custom in the town of Pier Point that two days before the shortest day of the year, somebody from outside the town is chosen as King or Queen and treated like royalty for two days, before being beaten up and driven out of the town.In previous centuries said person was killed ceremonaly with a bone knife and his/her blood was used to feed the crops.If there is a convicted murderer in prison awaiting execution, he/she is made King or Queen and the older custom is still carried out, otherwise, the beating is severe but not life threatening.

Offline Maggot

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2004, 10:36:31 PM »
Prisoners taken by Eshal warriors on slave raids,are treated extremely well before they are sacrificed.During the days leading up to the sacrifice,everything possible is done to make them well fed and comfortable.When this period is over,the prisoners are usually fed to the sacred Red Sharks that are seen as the messengers of the Gods,or are mutilated while they are still alive.The Eshal believe that their Gods are extremely picky and want their sacrificial victims to be as elegantly prepared for the occasion as possible.Kind of like the way a patron at an upscla restraunt expects the food there to be as elaborate and sophistocated as possible.
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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2005, 09:38:46 AM »
To have a daughter is shameful in this warrior society. Directly after the birth of a second daughter, the daughter is immediately taken away without the mother seeing her and sacrificed. The mother spends the next 6 months in mourning and praying for a son. During this mourning period they must carve a very ornate symbol of their lost daugher which will grant the family safety from the possibly retalitory spirit of the sacrificed daughter. The wooden symbols of each daughter are prominantly displayed in the home.

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Offline Kinslayer

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2005, 11:57:29 PM »
In Formour, it is considered rude to sit facing someone while either of you eat. It is highly rude to directly face someone while drinking, especially from a bottle.  Thus, most tables are round or oval, and some wealthier individuals in southern Formour have begun purchasing tables in odd shapes.  When visiting other lands, a Formourian may often turn his or her chair slightly askew, so as to not directly oppose the person sitting across from them at the table while eating.  At the very least, a Formourian will turn his or her head to one side when tipping back a bottle, if sitting across from someone.  Many do this unconciously from a lifetime of habit, and on at least one occassion, this has given away a Formourian spy's identity.  While they don't expect a foreigner to follow this custom, it is still viewed (even unintentionally) uncouth to eat or drink while directly facing someone.  

In the Killian Empire, it is considered polite to fold at least two of your hands while speaking to someone socially superior, and to at least drop your tail down slightly.  A Hi-Killian peasant may actually tuck his tail between his legs if being chastised by a noble Ra-Killian, but the proud warrior Bushi-Killian at most ensure that their tail is never raised high when dealing with a superior.
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Offline AgentTwiggy

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2005, 01:48:47 PM »
In Tryst, unicorn mounts are doled out according to colour and status. Those with pure white hair are reserved exclusively for royalty, and anybody else caught riding or otherwise using one can be punished with public flogging. Glossy black unicorns are the perogative of the gentry, and palemino or golden-yellow are owned by other nobles of varying degrees of importance, including army officials. Any other colours, usually brown or other combinations, are used by farmers and other low-ranked individuals.
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Offline manfred

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It is custom to WHAT?!
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2005, 02:27:53 PM »
In Laaz, especially the western parts, the friendly people are wrongly accused of being inhospitable.

As a matter of fact, to have a guest is for them great honour. However, guests are never given lodging in their house or main living room, it is always in another. Nobody besides the family and most trusted friends or servants is allowed in the most inner and private parts of a house. To poor people, it is a single room. Wealthy people have often a 'house in a house', a reserved part of their palace. The custom is interwined with religion (the area can be blessed by a priest only from outside) and laws (if proven in a trial, one can kill a stranger in his inner house without being sentenced). Occassionaly criminals barricade themselves in their houses to escape guards, and unless the crime is severe, they are not forced to leave, merely guarded and maybe 'smoked out'.

It is of course a great honour to be invited inside.

(Whether the custom comes from problems with demons, doppelgangers, vampires or whatever, or is simply a proof of their isolationist nature, is left on your decision.)
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