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Offline Kinslayer

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Midian worksheet
« on: June 18, 2005, 04:35:44 AM »
This is my own game world.  It uses its own specific game system.  It has been extensively played for some years now.  For those interested in the system bits, or more information in general, the full text can be found at http://lost-souls.hk.st/

I am including this here as much as an exercise in defining the wide world of Midian for myself as anything else.  However, feel free to add your own comments, suggestions, and ideas--Midian's Immersive Game World allows anyone and everyone to contribute to the game world.  

Themes and Images:
This is a dark fantasy world.  The setting is overtly swords-and-sorcery fantasy, with liberal doses of horror and focused self-interest of the protagonists, and lightly spiced with bits of sci-fi and steam punk.  There is a decided lack of black-and-white morality.  This isn't a monster-bashing world--your fellow man is much scarier and far more dangerous.  This is a low-magic setting.  Midian is on the cusp of its renaissance.  

Tall derelict buildings loom over rain spattered streets of Gothic cities.  Vicious bandits lurk within thick forests and baren deserts.  Trash-strewn back alleys conceal the shady dealings of cultists, assassins, secret societies, and worse.  Vile and murderous pirates roam stormy seas, with far worse intent than downloading music on their minds.  

Worlds Specs:
It is slightly smaller than Earth, and closer to its sun, but not sufficiently for a terrestrial visitor to notice. The world of Midian has two moons and a marginally greater axial tilt; these make for hotter summers and colder winters, and incredibly violent storms, especially along the outside coasts.

Three large continents cluster one side of an otherwise oceanic world. Polar caps are small and unreachable by land.  There is a wide range of terrain features, from imposing mountains to hot deserts to tropical swamps.  

Most of the common plants and animals would be familiar to a terrestrial visitor.  There are a few fantastic or odd notables, however.  It is worth noting here that there's a definate lack of "monsters" when compared to many fantasy settings, and any sentient and physical race capable of interacting with others would be considered a person, rather than a monster.  Most of the reports of monsters are the result of overactive imaginations or the sorcerous defilement of a beast by a biomancer or nethermancer.  There are Dragons, but these are eastern-style spirit beings, rather than the gold-hording, fire-breathing, winged, western-style variety, and are quite rare.  

Heavier elements are slightly more common than on Earth, and clustered on the three landmasses.  The world is well suited for life and industry.  Wood and coal are found in sufficient quantities for the inhabitants' current needs.  Whale oil provides for a good measure of lighting, especially for urban dwellers.  Resources are not distributed evenly, with metals, food, wood, skilled labour, and other resources clustered, so that certain areas control more of a given resource than another.  

Races and Peoples:
There are more than two dozen racial types. Not all culturally distinct areas are nation-states.  For example, the Gothic areas around the Grimsea cross the boundaries of both the Kingdom of Formour and the Byzant Empire.  As another example, the term "Formourian" can refer to a citizen of that kingdom of any species, someone whose ancestry is ethnically a Formourian Human regardless of where they are from, a Dwarf whose mountain kingdom home is not a part of the Heldannic Confederation, or anyone who lives in the central or south-eastern portion of Norditerre.  The current list of planned and previously detailed species is quite sufficient.  There are over a dozen types of Humans, 10+ varieties of Fae, 5 types of Trolls, 4 types of Dwarves, 3 varieties of Killian (4-armed reptilians), 3 groups of Orcks, 3 types of Ogres, 2 types of Firps (frog people), Ghouls, a partrige and a pear tree.  

Cultural Overview:
The division between nationality, species, and culture are a bit fuzzier than in most game worlds, and can depend upon one's vantage point.  For example, take two Gaijin living on neighbouring islands.  One is a Heldannic Freeholder and the other a citizen of the Killian Empire.  They are culturally quite different; their languages, dress, habits, weapons of choice, and outlook, are quite different from one another.  A visiting Formourian Troll (who would describe herself as a "Rock Troll" rather than just "a Troll" or a Formourian) would describe them both as "Gaijin."  To her, the term "Killian" is synonymous with a four-armed reptilian, and the term "Heldannic" most often means "Dwarf." To further complicate matters, Gaijin are Homo sapiens, despite their great size and red skin.  

The orbital period of the world around its sun is 360 days. This is divided into 12 months, each with three weeks of 10 days each.  Due to great effort of a group of Bizzannite and Elven loremasters (under the employ of the Empire of Byzant), this division has long been standardised. The names of the months, days of the week, and most units of measure, have also been standardised.  A standard system of currency was also one of this group's goals--using Bizzannite coins--but this was not established.  There is no measurable variance in the calendar--each year is exactly 360 days, and each orbital period of the two moons is exactly 30 days.  Even as far back as the immortal Elves have been observing the heavens, there has not been so much as one time when the larger moon was not full on the 361st day, marking a new year. At least three major religions consider this to be proof that their faith is the correct one and that their diety is the creator and controler of the universe.  (And I just noticed that all three are monotheistic faiths...)

Other than sovereign governments, there are other organisations that operate on an international level.  These include the Darklings--whose phantom-agents seem to have their finger on the pulse of just about everything, and phantom-assassins who do the dirtiest work that the organisation requires.  Other groups include the Crimson Order of the Knights of the Shadows, A.K.A. the death knights or shadow lords, a fraternity of necromancy-wielding mercenaries, and the Revenants, assassins and fanatical worshipers of Bhaal, a death god.  A number of syndics have also networked together to pool their resources internationally. There are also a number of influential guilds of various types: mercenary, trading, treasure-seeking, training, etc. Some of these are player created and player driven. Most notable of these guilds are the Way of the Blade Guild, the Shadowed Skulls Guild, the Rolling Iron Guild, the Sundered Guild, the Crossed Stars Company, and the now-defunct Iron Men Guild.  

Laws and Morals:
Legal matters vary by location, and can range anywhere from the mob-rule of the Highlands Orcks to the baroque laws of the Byzant Empire.  What may be illegal in one place may be a requirement in another, and in the case of the Empire, this can even be true within two different parts of the same sovereign nation.

Nuclear families are the traditional norm in Formour, often with lineal, collateral, and affinial relatives nearby, but this is not the case with other cultures.  Among the Heldannic Freeholders and Formourian Dwarves, patrilineal/matrilineal and stem families are the norm, with multiple generations of the same family sharing work and resources.  Among the Heldanns and Dwarves family is held in the highest regard.  Even the most vile criminal would often prefer death to shaming his family. The social structure of the Confederation is based directly upon inter-family ties.  Killian society is very stratified, and the circumstances of one's birth can affect social interactions for a lifetime.  Family status, caste, even hatching order alter such day-to-day fundamentals as what words a person uses to speak with you.  Elven Great Houses are fully extended families with even rather distant relatives (e.g. 4th cousin twice removed) sharing the same family unit.  In other cultures, family takes a less important role.  In the Byzant Empire, how much money you make has a greater meaning than who your parents were, and there are far more single-parent and blended families than among their Formourian neighbours to the north.  For the Hobgoblins, your parents caste and clan determines your own, and they choose your name--formed from elements of their own.  However, that's about it; children are raised communally and one's lot in life is determined more by merit than ancestry (outside of caste and clan).  The Goths don't have a very strong concept of family in the traditional sense of consanguinuity.  Instead, they have a very fluid notion that allows a Goth to alter their last/family name without ceremony to that of a non-blood-relation or even an entirely new name. That is, the person a Goth may consider as his brother may not even be of the same species, but the man who shares the same birth parents is no longer considered a relative at all.  

Social classes:
The social classes will vary by location and culture, but generally follow some system of nobility.  The game system and most cultures do allow for upward mobility.  That is, it is possible for a pc to become enobled.  It is interesting to note that there aren't any true examples of feodality among the current list of nations.  The Killian Empire is probably the closest example, and the Heldannic Confederation is pre-feudal, but the Kingdom of Formour--despite the overt European social components--isn't a true feudal nation.  

Political Power:
In most countries, political power is ostensibly held by the nobility.  However, the influence of the Darklings worldwide, the strong merchant class within the Byzant Empire, and the power wielded by certain influential guilds does complicate matters politically. Currently, there are no wars between large nations (with the possible exception of some Elder Kingdoms).  There was a recent large-scale conflict, but the three nations primarily involved weren't nations at the time, and currently have a truce with one another.

In theory, gold is used as the standard in Formour and Byzant.  In practice, wheat really determines economic strength in Formour, and the collective power of the Byzant Empire determines the value of its currency.  Bizzannite coins are also used by many of the Elder Kingdoms, and even those that mint their own money will still accept Bizzannite currency.  The Heldanns and Oldelands Goths use unminted silver (i.e. by weight rather than actual coins) as a monetary system, and silver is also used for commerce between groups in Osterre as a common value point for barter.  Various gemstones are the preferred form of currency among both Orckish nations and the Northern Protectorate.  The bronze coins of the Killian Empire have the lowest regard among other nations, as their purchasing power is determined by the state, rather than the actual or perceived value of the metal they contain.  As resources are not evenly distributed, all nations trade with one another to some extent.  Though the various peoples of Osterre are often hostile to one another, they still trade frequently--Orckish iron for Firpish fruit or Ogre cattle, for example.  The Elves had closed their borders to trade for over a century, but even with their collective knowledge they were not able to fully meet the people's needs without some measure of international trade.  

There are a number of separate belief systems in the world, and a larger number of small cults.  It is worth noting that--with the notable exception of some Demon cults--no deity takes an active role in their church.  That is, no clerical magic, nor miracles and the like.  In Midian, religion is a social institution, rather than another source of magical power.  Each faith is completely separate, and most do not officially address the others in a religious context. In other words, these are not separate deities within the same pantheon, but rather completely different religions.  The Church of Melchom, the Temple of Light, and the majority of druidic faiths do not even have a deific figurehead in the traditional sense, but instead see their "god" as more of an abstract idea than a sentient being.

Technology and Common Power:
The overall level of technology is late medieval/early renaissance.  There are areas that are still the equivalent to the Bronze Age or even earlier, and there are some notable anachronisms in technology, mostly in the form of technomancy.

Military Weapons and Tactics
Traditional medieval weapons and tactics are still the norm:  cavalry, archers, massed infantry, etc. Magic in all its forms (including technomancy) lacks reliability and economic viability to significantly alter most large battles.  Smaller-scale battles however, are often won by virtue of highly-skilled individuals, and there is a slowly growing trend in military thought to incorporate this strategy more, and rely upon massed (and expensive) troops less.

Industrial/ Production
The Byzant Empire and certain Elder Kingdoms have strong and heavy industry. As the Empire is blessed with a number of useful metals and other material, they are able to produce a large portion of the world's manufactured goods.  However, southeastern Formour is growing in industrialisation rapidly, due to Formour's availability of wood and coal to power factories. Mass production at any large scale isn't really feasible for most products yet.  The means of production are largely available, but transportation issues complicate getting things to market.  

As the world is without clerical magic, nor having had a theocratic dark ages period, Midiannite medical knowledge is more advanced than its general technological level would suggest.  As examples, pre-DNA genetics, cell theory, and aseptic/antiseptic knowledge exist.  There is psychic and herbal healing, but these are far from being emergency medical technology or guaranteed life savers, but rather are a notable step up from healing wounds unattended.  These factors have enabled the life expectancy of Humans to be 50-110 years.

The Kingdom of Fourmour is blessed with fertile soil and frequent rain.  Transportable foodstuffs, and other agricultural products (wood, cotton, tobacco, etc.) form the basis for Formour's economy.  This forms interdependent relationships between other nations--Formour needs Byzant's industry, and Byzant needs Formour's food. Crop rotation and other land-management techniques make sensible use of the land... and keep the Eco-Druids from slaughtering farmers' families as "despoilers of the environment."

Formour has a system of networked messengers in place, but elsewhere you need to directly hire a courier to deliver a message. Semaphore is used for ship-to-ship communications. There aren't any reliable or readily available magical methods of communication, certainly none that an average person would have any access to using.  Semi-literacy is the default norm.  That is, most people can tell that a picture of a beer mug indicates a tavern, and some can recognise their name, but reading, writing, and mathematics beyond what you can do mentally, is outside the range of knowledge of the typical peasant.

Math and Science
Science is well-advanced, at least among the learned.  Scientists and scholars--commonly called "loremasters"--typically specialise in one or more fields.  Sometimes these specialisations can become quite focused.  As a general rule, the average person knows as much about science as a typical modern junior-high student.  For example, they know that you need air to breathe, and good air at that, but it would take a skilled alchemist or loremaster to know that means approximately 80% nitrogen & 19% oxygen.  Most people can understand simple mathematical concepts:  multiply rabits, divide the corn, subtract a few coins to buy something, etc. but any equation that cannot be done entire in one's head will be beyond the ability of most--if you can't write the numbers down, it's really hard to add them all up.  

The slightly smaller growth rate (due largely to violence & the environment increasing the death rate) and the simple existance of people like pc's, reduces somewhat the tendency to fortify individual buildings, but increase the feasibility of walling small cities. In the Kingdom of Formour and the Killian Empire, fortifying one's home is an exclusive right of the nobility.  Stoneworking technology is equal to the Romans, Egyptians, or Incas.  Multi-storied buildings are common in urban areas.  Architecture has undergone a number of stylistic changes over the centuries, with some areas showing the ages of the buildings they contain because of this.  In Gothic areas especially, larger cities are filled with imposing buildings.  

In Midian, information is power, and everyone knows it. Certain folk among the powers-that-be would like to keep the populace ignorant and in fear for better control, but doing so now would prove excessively difficult.  The concept that information has monetary value has marked the game world:  mercenary guilds can retool themselves as training guilds, loremasters can make a nice living just answering questions, and spies can often name their own price.  

Other Knowledge
One of the core premises to the game system is that nearly anyone can learn just about anything.  Thus there aren't many examples of exclusive or forbidden knowledge.  Even a poop-shovelling peasant can learn a spell or two, given enough time and a good teacher.  

I'm feeling lazy, so I'll just reprint this section:

Elves typically do not follow holidays, unless influenced by other cultures. Being immortal, Elves do not keep track of days and years, and note only the change of seasons.

This is far from an exhaustive list of the various holidays in the lands of Midian. There are lesser holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, local and regional holidays, births, deaths, victories in sports or in war, religious days of celebration or reverence, and holidays not yet started. Feel free to add to this list (and we would love to hear about what you do add). People seldom need an excuse to get off from work and get drunk.

    * New Year's Day: The first day of the year. This day is typically spent hung-over from the previous night. Syadus 1st
    * Detestation Day: To remember those that you dislike. In most countries (the Elves being a notable exception), this is also a day to remember the departed. By focusing on the negative about those that have passed, it is easier to overcome grief and get on with living. Zarathus 14th
    * Hysteria: Day of jokes--practical and otherwise. Mojus 1st
    * Fête: A holiday for dressing up and partying. This is a celebration for the new spring. There are often death-themes to the costumes and decoration--but this celebrates birth and renewal. It is typical to give up bad habits following this holiday. Gulik 10th to 20th
    * Day of Bliss: The final day of Fête enjoyed by some while heavily sedated.
    * Sea Day: The day when ships are typically put to sea. Eldus 30th
    * Foundation Day(Kingdom of Formour only): Day commemorating the establishment & the unification of the Kingdom. Mandalus 7th
    * Day of the Dead (Ghouls, Goths, & Hobgoblins only): According to myth, the dead are able to walk about on this day. This is originally a Ghoulish holiday about the legendary first Ghoul-Vampire who was able to withstand sunlight on this day. The cultures that practice this holiday spend it with family visiting the gravesites of dead loved ones (just in case). Chaosphe 30th
    * Day of Joy (Dwarves) / Day of Wrath (Hobgoblins): Two very different holidays commemorating the same event from different cultural perspectives. This day marks the defeat of the Olde Empire. To the Dwarves, this is a day celebrating freedom; to the Hobgoblins, this is a day of grim remembrance. Cabbus 2nd
    * Emperor's Birthday (Byzant Empire only): Celebrates the current Emperor's birthday. Ignotius 23rd
    * Halloween: A day for dressing up, partying, and remembrance of the dead. This is also a festival for the final harvest and preparing for the upcoming winter. Erisus 30th
    * Commercialmas: A mid-winter holiday for gift-giving and spending time with family. Malclypse 25th
    * New Year's Eve: The last day of the year. The evening is typically spent in a drunken stupor. Malclypse 30th

One's own feet are the primary means for nearly everyone.  Horses, carriages (Midian wagons use whiffletree harnesses), and boats, nearly complete the list of options.  The other methods of transportation are very rare and limited--such as a psychic using astral travel--and sometimes even unique--such as the steam-powered monorail in the Darkmouth Emirate.

Arts/ Literature:
Though the bulk of the populace is illiterate, Midian does have great classics of literature. There are a number of large libraries, both public and private, containing copies of these works.  Other arts are supported, notably painting, music (in spite of some cruel, minstrel-hating pc's), drawing, and dancing. Some of the famous literary works are listed on another thread.  There are named NPC and pc artists of note in Midian.

Midian is all about shadows. The Darklings in particular have their hands in just about everything: from organised crime to plants in the nobility & military.  Powerful guilds exert a wide influence, often without public knowledge of their actions.  An organisation called the Brotherhood of the Pact has members both high and low--think a cross between the Freemasons and Fight Club--the higher-ups of the Brotherhood are also secretly Changing Folk (lycanthropes).  A loose fraternity of some powerful individuals are currently waging a "friendly war" against each other. Sarcastically called "the Heroes of the Realm," these individuals target each other's spheres of influence, rather than each other directly.  Some of these "heroes" are good friends outside of this conflict, some bitter enemies, and some have never even met.  Even religion gets in on the act of power in the shadows. With so many different groups operating behind the scenes, oftimes infiltrating each other, one often wonders where the illuminatus end and the truth begins.

Ostensibly, power in Midian is held by the nobility in most major countries.  The most notable exceptions to this are ironically on the savage continent of Osterre, where democracy, militocracy, and tribal councils of elders hold authority in the nations there--noble rule is a foreign concept. In practice, wealth and personal influence are far greater measures of one's authority than birth in any feodality.  In the largest and most powerful nation, the Byzant Empire, the citizens hold no illusions that wealth is of far greater importance than noble blood in determing what one can do and who they can do it to. Power is also the province of the learned, to a fairly strong degree.  Loremasters, sages, teachers, and other educated folk can command more money for their services, and speak with a higher degree of authority than their social position would indicate. It is said that the wisdom of a king lies in listening to the wisdom of his advisors.

As a low-magic setting, there isn't much in the way of earth-shattering magic or large paranormal beasts. Caves & ruined sub-levels house rats & disease more than fierce gold-laden foes & magical traps.  Magic is uncommon, but is not restricted to a few select mages. Many people know some minor magic, but the majority get by in their lives completely without interference from the arcane. In Midian, technology is considered a form of magic--technomancy--and someone with a strong background in physics, biology, math, etc. is considered just as knowledgeable and potentially dangerous as any mage.

History Brief:
Spirits develop individuality and begin shaping the flames of their new world.
Some spirits form physical bodies for themselves, some never do, and some can't make up their minds.
The world turns blue and green.  
A mortal Hobgoblin child is born of Goblin parents.
Killian immigrate.
The Olde Empire is established.
The Dwarves are all enslaved.
The Adventus Sanguis (Red Dawn) event occurs--Midian's calendar is dated from this--Humanity descends on Midian like a plague of locusts.
Firps gain sentience; Orcks and Ogres separate into two species and immediately begin squabbling among themselves and their new neighbours.
Humans emmigrate to Suditerre from Osterre; the first Elder Kingdoms are established.
Humans and Hobgoblins war; the Byzant Empire is established.
Humans emmigrate to Norditerre from Suditerre; the Olde Empire is crushed; the Dwarves are liberated.
The Kingdom of Formour and the Heldannic Confederation are established.
A great famine plagues Norditerre, but effects reverbate around the world.
The Scourge reigns terror in the Greatsea; the Northern Protectorate is established.
Orcks gain independence from the invading armies fighting the Scourge, and immediately have a civil war.

As stated above, this world uses its own specific game system.
Midian Dark Fantasy Roleplaying Game
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Offline Kinslayer

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Midian worksheet
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2005, 05:17:57 AM »
This is based upon the American Culture Test, and its imitators.  The categories include two entries:  "F" for "Formour," a large and influential nation of Midian.  The "D" entries are for "Drackonia," a post-modern nation created more as a thought-experiment than a serious rpg country.  I'm too lazy to separate them out...

Based on the grid at http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/1906/culture.html

Original culture test idea at http://www.zompist.com/amercult.html


Attitude toward opera, ballet, theatre, etc.

F:  These are the entertainments of the urban wealthy.  You are much more likely to get your entertainment from a local storyteller or a travelling minstrel.

D:  You've certainly been exposed to the arts:  it's part of the education process.  There are local performers--some quite good--but there's a community theatre aspect that the local stuff just can't seem to shake.  You really wish that some of the more internationally reknowned acts would come by, but you aren't going to complain about this... especially around the local performers.


Things in your house

F: You own your own home, and the land it rests upon, in all likelihood.  Chances are it's a one-room structure, with everything oriented towards the hearth, and the whole family living in close quarters. All of your possessions are simple, but sturdy & functional. The floor is likely dirt, but this just means that you don't mind so much when you track dirt & mud in from the fields.

D:  No one owns their own home; all land is leased from the government. The peculiar arrangements of living quarters in an arcology are unusual to a visitor at first, but you can't understand how they could be comfortable living with a bizzare mix of cramped & wasted space.


F:  You've heard that some people in the big cities have special rooms for this, but it just seems a bit odd.  Wouldn't it smell terrible in such a closed-in space?  In winter or during a storm, chamber pots are used, and dumped in the compost heap at first opportunity. Bathing is done either at a local stream or river, or done via sponge and basin.

D:  You have your own bathroom with shower &/or tub. Bathrooms in public areas aren't segregated by gender, & are large communal affairs (no shower/tub in these).

Both cultures are rather blunt about such things, and use no euphamisms.


D:  Your home has a telephone, if you want one, but unless you want to talk to someone in a different city you can just walk to them in a few minutes.


F:  Summers are hot, winters are cold, and storms of all sorts happen at any time during the year, and are sometimes quite violent. The older one gets, the more likely he or she is to pick "weather" as a favourite conversation starter. The environment is of primary concern to the peasantry, not only does it affect your income by how well the crops fare, but it can rapidly turn lethal.

D:  Winters are lethally cold, summers only slightly less so.  That doesn't matter much to you, though; you are quite comfortably happy in your enclosed city. If the artificial climate "outside" isn't to your liking, you have personal climate control inside your apartment.



F:  While the visual nature of comics would help alleviate the semi-literacy somewhat, there aren't any mass-produced serialised literature of any sort.  Graphic novels do exist, but these are always one-of-a-kind books, so you probably have never seen any.

D:  The word "comic" means something you read on the 'net. Other than that, it's almost exclusively the magazine or graphic novel format. Imported comics from all over the globe are available to you--if you don't mind the extra wait while it's in transit--and are all rather popular among bilingual & polylingual folks. There isn't an age bias for any sort of comics in general, but many are certainly geared to certain age brackets.

Famliar characters, artists

D: Artists & characters famous for their newspaper strips are unknown. Familiarity with foreign artists & characters depends much more on what languages you read than your age. Local comic artists and writers (typically the same) are received with a certain degree of national pride--it's not unknown for the forums/guestbooks of an online comic from Drackonia to be filled with praise by local fans... even if they only visited the site for that reason.


Utilities & companies: public or private

D:  Public utilities--power, communications, and transportation--are all state owned, through a corporation that is a part of the Empire.  This isn't exclusive, and the government will readily allow privately owned businesses to compete, but it's hard to show a profit when your chief competion gives the stuff away for free. You don't really care either way, as long as it's reliable & you don't have to pay for any of it.

Inflation & unemployment

F:  These are foreign concepts to you. While the Crown uses a dual gold/silver based economy (though you've personally never seen the yellow stuff), the prices of everything will adjust to the price of bread. Good or bad harvests will thus adjust the prices of even non-food goods & services, even imports. Unemployment is a non-issue.  You're familiar with the concept--those odd and violent rogues who trample your potatoes on their "adventures" don't seem to have a source of income--but for you it's much simpler: if you don't work, your family doesn't eat, and you die.

D:  You feel secure in the knowledge that your nation is the only one left with a non-fiat based money. In theory, this protects you against inflation; in practice you still see the costs of things slowly increasing, especially imports. You would consider a 10% unemployment rate high. Unemployment isn't currently a problem, but is slowly rising, and you sometimes worry about this. After all, why can't those lazy layabouts do some good for the community?


F:  A tax rate of about 30% would seem right to you, if you were taxed on a percentage of income, and had the requisite math skills. Nearly all of the taxes you pay are regressive--everyone pays the same amount, so it's a bigger chunk of a peasant's income than a noble's.  The nobility are also immune to paying land and inheritance taxes. You see this as incentive to make more & improve your lot in life, rather than a means to keep the lower classes down.

D:: You pitty the poor fools in other lands that have to acutally pay taxes.  Imports are assigned a tarrif, but this isn't passed on to you as a separate payment, rather it's incorporated into the listed price.

Variety of items for sale, haggling

F:  "Variety" means choosing between the turnips one neighbour grows and the carrots another grows.

D:  You thought you had a large variety to choose from, the best from all over the world... until you visited in the U.S.  Haggling isn't done, except when you are doing a service-for-service exchange with someone (e.g. "You fix my computer & I'll babysit your kids for three nights. No? OK, five nights.").

Credit cards

F:  Haggling & barter are the norm. Unless you are travelling, you really don't need coins. The idea of a credit card would be so foreign to you as to be almost inexplicable.  If someone tried to explain it, it would likely sound like evil magic to you.

D:  Everyone has one; they're the same as your ID.  It's possible to have a separate card for your bank account, store cards, etc. but it's so much easier to just have them connect that to your ident code. Credit is a well established concept; to you it's synonymous with money. Even your currency is called "credits."


F:  The surviving spouse inherits the property when their partner dies. When both die, the estate is divided among their children, but real property (land) is inherited by the eldest child. This is a very old and common custom, and is generally done without legal hassles.  "Spouse" here means the long-term partner who was living with the deceased--Fomourian law doesn't distinguish between married or not.

D:  The surviving spouse inherits the property when their partner dies. When both die, the estate is divided equally among their children. "Spouse" here means the long-term partner who was living with the deceased--Drackonian law doesn't distinguish between married or not.


History you learned

F:  Everybody knows that the Old Empire was defeated about 800 years ago, and the Kingdom was unified about 200 years ago, but you couldn't really be more precise than that.  If you wanted to learn more about the history of the rest of the world, you'd ask a loremaster... but you probably don't know enough to know what questions to ask.

D:  You learned a great deal about world history.  It's considered a very important subject in school.  National history is also covered-- even if native-born if you don't pass your citizenship test--covering civics, language, and history--you aren't a full citizen. History is presented as an exiting and vital subjet--it's more "story time" then memorizing dates of battles. However, what you are taught in school about history should be taken rather lightly ("with a grain of salt") with respect to what other people around the world learn. For example, the Piri Reis map is considered an important and factual pre-national historic document, rather than an oddity.

Cost of school

F:  Unless your parents had money, you learned at home & from the others in your village. You were apprenticed, if you didn't take up your parents' occupation or stay to work the farm.

D:  School is free, throughout all grade levels. School lasts all year, and doesn't have long summer or winter breaks--which would be meaningless in Drackonia anyway ("day" and "night" would make more sense). Attendance isn't compulsory, but there's a strong bias towards education--you're some kind of malcontent (or just really stupid) if you don't go to school. Progression is through scholastic aptitude, rather than age, and class sizes are kept as small as possible.


F:  College requires money, and lots of it. This is far outside the income range of most peasant farmers. There are provisions for talented students to be sponsored by a noble, a wealthy person/company, or even the Crown, with recompensation made by working for them afterwards, which can take decades, and non-repayment is a crime. Most higher education is focused into a small scope.  For example, a necropolitan doesn't learn anything outside of that (admittedly broad) subject in college. The term "university" always refers to a specific institution in the singular; "college" is always used in the generic sense.

D:  For upper level classes, you attend university in Dante, but you have to qualify for them. You can however, continue to take preperatory classes until you qualify for university. Whether you are going for a liberal arts degree or a trade-school type vocation, the same school is attended, and "university" is used interchangeably. A large selection of rather esoteric courses are offered. Students are encouraged to take a variety of classes for their own sake, not just to focus on one vocational field, or just because you need one more science/math/language/etc. credit.


Are you a farmer?

F:  Of course you are a farmer. Everybody knows that without people tilling the soil & raising crops, not only would the nation (and many around the world) starve, but the entire economy would collapse. You don't have much, but you know your lot in life is important.

D:  It's highly doubtful that you are a farmer, or have even met one. The closest your country even has to farmers are those who work the hydroponic units or tend the plants out in the common areas & parks--and those are called "groundskeepers."

Can you be fired?

F:  No, you cannot be fired.  It's your land, you can grow whatever you want on it. Of course, this also means that if you quit, you and your family will starve to death, and your neighbours won't be able to trade for your crops for them to eat.

D:  Companies can fire anyone, anytime, for any reason. There aren't many laws regulating the hiring/firing process. However, quality employees are seen as valuable, and there aren't many firings--many companies would rather correct a problem than replace an experienced worker.  

Misc conditions

F:  There aren't many royal edicts protecting you from abuse by the peerage.  They cannot actually commit a crime against you, but they aren't required to treat you nicely or use your tax money to improve conditions.  Many do, but too many don't. The "oil industry" means whaling ships.  

D:  Unless you are a veteran or a knight, you cannot hold a judicial or administrative position in the government. There sure are a lot of people working with computers. Oil is something that other people have to worry about--your power needs are met through hydrogen.

Appointments, punctuality, negotiating

F:  It's unforgivably rude to not show up for a planned meeting of any sort. This is something that a person may hold as a grudge for a long time.  Punctuality is a factor of distance, i.e. if you have to walk quite a few miles, the acceptible time window may be "in a few days." It isn't considered rude to simply walk away from a negotiation if the communication isn't progressing smoothly; "playing hardball" is often counterproductive in Formour. You are a simple folk, and if someone isn't bargaining honestly or politely there's no need for you to stay. Better a completely failed negotiation than a bad one.

D:  You have two time-settings: exactly this certain time, and eventually.  If puntuality is a factor, you are expected to be to the minute, or fairly close. Five minutes late is boorish, and no excuses are offered unless asked. If time isn't a real factor, then you'll get to it when you get to it. "The day before tomorrow" means that sometimes within the next year you'll do that given task (due to the 6 months of day & night in Drackonia). In negotiations you are notoriously blunt. You aren't necessarily rude, but there's no sense in playing games with each other.


Biggest meal of the day

F:  The evening meal is the largest of the day, and is a family affair.  If relatives live nearby, they may join.  It is called "supper" in the south and west, and "dinner" in the east, central, and north.

D:  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day... or so you tell yourself as you get a second plate. "Breakfast time" is defined as whenever you get up, as restaurants operate 24-hours.

What you won't eat (and odd things you will)

F:  If you didn't grow it, catch it, or identify it, you probably won't eat it. However, necessity has taught you that there are many things available to eat, and parts of a plant or animal that someone else would throw away is just an excuse for you to find a new recipe. Generally, domestic animals are kept as useful pets or raised as food, but very rarely both--an occasional favoured pig or rabbit being the rare few exceptions--and then it's still one or the other, you don't eat Fluffy, even if her siblings tasted delicious.

D:  You never kill your own food, and probably wouldn't want to know exactly what is in the food you do eat. Other than fruits & vegetables (and sometimes not even then), your food is mostly processed & unrecognisable from its original form. You see this is a good thing, as much of your diet is krill & algae.  You don't eat animals that you would consider pets, and this is by species, e.g. if you had a pet bunny you probably won't ever eat one. You do eat insects & reptiles, but they are never referred to as such--it's listed as "protein" or some such on the ingredients list.

How you eat & local cuisine

F:  Breakfast is eaten at the table, in the dark, while mumbling cursewords over coffee. Lunch is eaten out of doors, & during a quick break from labour. The evening meal is eaten with family, with everyone sitting at the table & talking (read: arguing). You never sit directly across from someone while eating or drinking. It's very rude. What you eat is determined by what you grow, and what you can trade. Meals are rather bland ("subtle" is how you would describe it), and lack strong seasonings. Meals are almost always eaten with bread & alcohol. The legal drinking age is 2 florins (silver coins).

D:  You don't think of your country as having a national cuisine. You tend to describe meals based on their traditional origin, instead of what exactly you are eating. What a visitor would call "local meals," you term "oceanna meals." These consist of algal mats, et al. in a wide variety of forms, colours, and textures, with an equally large variety of spices used. Meals at home are eaten either on the floor in front of the television or in front of the computer. Some homes have low tables, so that you can sit on the floor infront of the television and the computer at the same time. You might not eat much meat, not by virtue of being a vegetarian, but because "real" meat (read: steak) is an expensive import.

Fast food & restaurants

F:  There are no chain establishments or fast food places. You might have an occasional bite at your local tavern, if your village has one, but mostly you just go there to drink. If you are ever in a foreign land & forced to eat at an uncouth, unartistic, and perfectly rectangular table, make sure to sit at an angle or at least turn your head away from them when putting food or drink in your mouth. Who want's to look directly at someone's mouth when they eat?  That's disgusting.

D:  Meals in restaurants are eaten sitting at a table, often on benches.  Eating out is quite common. American cuisine in particular is becoming quite popular.  Even krill can look tasty when it's deep fried & covered in salt & ketchup.


F:  Packaging is throwing a cloth over your sandwiches & beer for lunch to keept them cool & keep some of the bugs off.  

D:  Milk comes in cans or boxes, but then again, just about everything comes in plastic, cardboard, or cans. Fresh milk is something you have to travel overseas to drink. Few items come in glass bottles/jars.


Quality of healthcare & national health insurance

F:  If you are fortunate, one of your neighbours is skilled with the healing arts, or has a kid with a psychic touch. For serious illnesses, if there isn't a healer who can get to you in time, you had best make amends for all the awful things you did in your past...  Health insurance is non-existant--you couldn't get it even if you wanted and could afford it.  

D:  You can count on excellent medical care at a government-sponsored hospital. Emergency services and some general care are free, but most medical costs are out-of-pocket.  These are rather more affordable than they are in many other countries with a fully privatized medical system.  Which is good, because the restrictions on insurance mean that they aren't going to pay out much, even if you did purchase health insurance. You sometimes worry about strange diseases, not from your own nation, but from foreign visitors (and you do live in what amounts to a giant Dewar flask).

Attitudes toward doctors

F:  There are expert healers, some with many years of education and experience, but the term "doctor" just isn't used.

D:  Medical doctors are seen as just another type of engineer. Granted, they're working on your very body, but don't have the heightened status doctors have in most other countries. This does make them seem more approachable, friendly, and "down to earth." You treat your doctor the way a citizen of another nation would treat a trusted mechanic.


Knowledge of world capitals & leaders

F:  You probably can't even find Formour on a map of Formour, much less name capitals & leaders of other countries. News travels slowly, so a new leader can die before you even hear news of their ascension.

D:  Naming capitals is a simple mnemonic trick. Naming leaders is a bit more complicated, as that requires you to keep up on world politics. From your perspective, any elected official will be replaced in a few "days" anyway, so why bother?

Attitudes toward the Americas

F: Where?  Is that one of the Elder Kingdoms?

Canadians are alright, but they are as far away as you can get without entering orbit. You see the US the same way a local merchant might see a circus:  interesting, bright, strange, loud, and with the potential for making some money and more than a little perceived danger. Argentina & Chile both seem a little to overwatchful of your nation & overly eager to extend their maritime claims. However, your nation is on good terms with both diplomatically and you get along with the people of those countries quite well.

Attitudes toward Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.

F: Where?  Is that one of the Elder Kingdoms?

D:  You have strong trade agreements with New Zealand & South Korea, but your nation is too young to have formed lasting relationships with most nations--for good or ill. Generally, you treat people as individuals, rather than as citizens of another nation.

Has your country been conquered?

F:  Unless you count defeating the Old Empire (where Formour now lies), and driving the Hobgoblins away, Formour has never been successfully invaded since its unification, and hasn't been tried (unless you count the Orck pirates) in over a century.

D:  No, and your countrymen have something of a "never surrender" attitude that you find somehow unrealistic and disturbing.  Of course the "we'll die first" mentality is only the result of a country that has never even had a serious invasion attempt before.

World War Two (& other wars)

F:  A theoretical war between your country and the Byzant Empire would probably be the closest you could imagine to a world-wide war.  The idea of a large number of the world's most powerful nations deciding on anything, even less a global conflict, just seems silly.

D:  Drackonia wasn't even founded in the same century or earlier. The nation has never been involved in a war. You think of your military as having an exclusivly defensive role.


Knowledge of foreign languages

F:  Well-travelled folk might be able to at least read Bizzannite (if literate at all), and might know several important phrases, but most of your continent speaks Anglan exclusively.

D:  Being a polyglot is the norm, in particular: Arabic, Spanish, and English. As yours is the only language that speaks Seraphic, knowing other languages is considered important.

Facts about your language; speaking distance & directness

F:  In relaxed social gatherings, Formourians are very talkative.  Otherwise, you tend to speak as little as possible, sometimes not even using full sentences. The comfortable speaking distance is just at the limit that you can smell their body odour/breath.  This of course means that they can smell you unless one of you takes a step back. You don't want to be any closer than that, to be polite, as other Formourians would feel like you are crowding them. Speaking to someone across the room is acceptible, unless there is enough background noise to where you would have to raise your voice.  It's considered impolite to shout at someone to have a conversation.

D:  You intermingle borrowed words from other languages rather frequently (code switching), and expect listeners to understand you, even if they don't know that language. Conversely, you expect native speakers to be more patient with you if you don't know their language well. When speaking, closer is better, even touching is quite common among acquaintances. You aren't obligated to acknowledge someone from less than 10 meters away.  Even if they are frantically waiving and calling to you, pretend they don't exist until you get closer.


Court system & lawsuits

F:  You are proud that your country has a multiple-base judicial system. That is, if you're being charged by a noble for a crime--and you don't trust him--you can have your case tried by a civil magistrate (from the common people, no less). Laws are simply written, and crimes have a maximum penalty.  Any magistrate can assess up to that maximum.  This brings equity with compassion to the law.

D:  Judges always sit on a tribunal. You don't see how you can guarantee justice if decisions are based on just one person's opinion. The civil courts hear redresses, but suing someone isn't a quick path to riches.  The courts tend to favour non-monetary decisions.


F:  You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes. You've heard that in some Elder Kingdoms politicians accept money for favours to try to get elected into office. In your country, the politicians inherit their jobs...

D:  You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes. You are shocked if anyone offers you a bribe, or asks for one.  The idea that someone would want to take a bribe seems dirty to you.

Police & gun ownership

F:  You are guaranteed the right to defend yourself. This means you can wear armour and carry a sword, but these are expensive & impractical for life on a farm. The police force is divided (roughly by half, but this can vary) into local guards and temporary assignments of soldiers. You trust this, as it means that you can rely on both groups to watch each other for you.

D:  You are legally allowed to own a firearm, but why would you want to?  Where would you shoot it?  Going outside to shoot means that you have thousands of kilometers of empty space for a target & sub-sub-sub-freezing cold--not fun. Police are armed, but not with firearms. Electric & sonic "control" devices are used instead.

Dangerous places

F:  Some folks say the big cities are dangerous, but then again, you've heard tell that urbannites say the countryside is unsafe.  The further west and north you go, the fewer people there are to cause problems, but the number of patrols drops at least as fast. Regardless, you want to do your travelling in an unfamiliar area (in either the city or countryside) during the day, just to be safe.

D:  In a word:  outside. You don't consider any part of your city more dangerous than any other, and there really isn't a "night" for you.  After all, it's really all just the same building where you live.


F:  The idea of someone earning a living only off representing someone else in legal issues seems unlikely. The law is meant to be easy to understand and direct in interpretation. For business dealings, contracts, and other complexities, you would hire a syndic, not a lawyer (even if you knew what one was).

D:  There really aren't a lot of lawyers, and these few cannot afford (litterally) to specialise. There isn't as much of a monetary component in civil cases--unlike what you see from American television--and you don't notice the arbitrariness of your own judicial system. You don't really see the need for lawyers.


Dubbing or subtitles?

D: Anime should be dubbed--there's often too much emphasis on rapid action and visual spectacle.  Live movies should be subbed--mouths moving out of synch with the sounds just looks odd.


Well known performers, etc.

F:  Word-of-mouth travels fast--you've heard of far more famous performers than you've actually heard (or seen).  

D:  You have all of the world's best music available to you, but you probably have a self-chosen style that you listen to almost exclusively. What you think of as "old rock" is what others call "classic rock," and what you call "classic rock" many people elsewhere would term "new wave" (especially in America)... and it's making a come back, though you don't understand why.


Decimal point

F:  You never use decimal points. The concept would have to be explained to you, and you would have a hard time following if you weren't literate, which you probably aren't.

D:  A decimal point is a dot, not a comma.

Definition of a billion

F:  It's not a real number at all.  "Slappywagillion," see I can make up words too.

D:  A billion is a thousand times a million, or 1,000,000,000, but you understand that for some countries a "milliard" (or something similar) referrs to the same number.

System of measurement

F:  You use imperial measurements.  Metric is an unheard of system.

D:  You use metric, except for travelling distances--these are measured purely in minutes, and you have no idea how to measure them otherwise.

How date is written & most important dates

F:  The format is day of the week, date, month, year, eon:  Sacrament, 16th of Cabbus, 745, 3rd eon (and you know what happened on that date).

D:  The format is 2-digit day, month abbreviation, year, all shoved together:  30OCT2004 (and you know what happened on that date).


Political parties

F:  Alliances of nobles can't be a good thing. However, common people who band together for political reasons also are never up to any good.  

D:  You find government run by any political parties to be unnatural. Not having career politicians is one of the benefits of living in a theocracy.

Attitude toward Socialism & Communism

F:  You are a bit too jaded to find the idea of people actually living like that anything but comical.

D:  Technically, your government is socialist, but non-exclusive.  That is, if you think you can start a business that provides the same service that the government does, you are free to do it, but few would be so willing to throw perfectly good money away like that.  

Does government listen to you?

F:  In the best way. Local problems are handled at the local level, and larger scales are handled accordingly.  This is the best of feudalism in action, as long as there isn't corruption or incompetance on any levels... and that couldn't apply to anyone in Formour, could it, certainly not Baron Kreiger...

D:  Not really.  Unless you want to join the military, you cannot vote.  Besides, there isn't much to vote on.

Can problems be solved?

F: It's hopeless. If a problem could be solved by people working together, either they already would have, or it will never happen.  

D:  Any given problem can be solved by a suitable application of intellect and resources.  Of course, Occam's Razor holds that most problems involving people would go away if there were no people...

If a politician cheats on his wife...

F:  It's a sin in your eyes, even if he isn't a member of the Church.  That doesn't stop you from enjoying the gossip about it, however.

D:  So?  That's between the two of them... OK, three of them.  Of course he's dishonest--he is a politician. It's not at all newsworthy.

Military involvement with government

F:  The military is the government.  Specifically, all troops are under the command of the Crown, former soldiers in the employ of a non-royal noble seem to keep the same military culture they had in the army. Service is voluntary, and conscription is restricted to veterans under a voluntary separation agreement (and has never been done, as far as you know).

D:  The military and politics are intrinsically linked--only veterans can vote. You expect the military to stick to their area of expertise though.

Freedom of speech, patriotism, royalty, changing names, misc.

F:  You can say with pride that yours is the only country to base its legal system on the rights of the people, not restrictions.  This isn't quite true, but you don't know about those other nations... You can say whatever you want, legally.  Morally however, is a completely different story. Names are just matters of convenience.  Patriotism is right and proper--after all, Formour really is the best--but there's no sense going on about it & rubbing this fact in foreigners' faces. It's natural that the country is ruled by a hereditary nobility.  Who knows what kind of brain-dead, warmongering, smirking, monkey-looking, "C" student we would have if the common folk had to choose someone to run things? Your national anthem is in Old Anglan, so while you recognise it, you don't understand any of it.

D:  You can change your name quite easily. All it takes is a few minutes at the registrar's office, and the only real paperwork involved is when they ask you how to spell your new name. Getting other people to call you by your new name is a different matter. While free speech isn't legally protected, there aren't any laws restricting it, and being able to speak one's mind is only natural. Do we even have a national anthem?


Variety of races / attitudes about race & foreigners

F:  Most Formourian nationals are ethnically Formourian, but you don't really differentiate between them. The idea of separating people by skin tone seems silly to you.

D:  There's a fair chance that you are a Kainnite, which is a non-exclusive ethnicity.  Either way, someone's colour has more to do with how the subdermal symbiotes grow (if they have any), rather than ancestry. People from all over the world have the same chance at gaining citizenship.

You make jokes about...

F:  Both Heldanns and Bizzannites are the common butt of your jokes.  The former are barbaric and the latter are money-grubbing (and if you're a woman, you're likely to add "sexist" to the description). You'd gladly make jokes about the Elves, but you don't know any... besides the Elves are just too creepy.

D:  If you are from the continent, you make fun of the islanders, and vice-versa. Islanders are occassionally called "sunspots," and those on the continent are called "penguins," but the jokes aren't considered mean or hurtful by either group.


First names & forms of address

F:  First names are the norm, and may be assumed. Surnames are only used to differentiate between people with the same name, which is not unusual as there are only about a dozen commonly-used names. Nicknames are also quite common, and you are expected to acknowledge any new nickname that someone bestows upon you with good grace.

D:  It is impolite to assume anyone's name until they tell you, even if it's on a name tag. Whatever name they thus say, is the only form you should use, unless they tell you otherwise. If someone really want's to be called "The Lizard King," who am I to judge?

Arranged marriages & wedding customs

F:  Unless you're noble (and you probably aren't), arranged marriages just aren't an issue.  You've heard of some noble families that use marriage for political reasons, especially for the higher ranks, but you find the idea of marrying someone you don't love to be a tragic idea. It's expected that you will (at least someday) marry someone, but it's purely a religious and civil matter--it isn't mentioned in the laws at all that you know. A marriage is to be with one person only, and should last "until joined forever in oneness with the Light."  Weddings are big affairs, where family comes far and wide, and the whole village gets involved.

D:  Weddings are a social phenomenon, and Drackonian law doesn't differentiate between long-term relationships and church-approved marriages.  You are free to wed whomever you desire: man, woman, both, but this freedom also means that divorces are quite common.

Importance of family background & social status

F:  Family status has some degree of importance to you, but only because your family probably has none. You know that it's possible to improve your station in life--even become enobled--but being from a poor peasant family makes this quite difficult. The higher one's social station, the more importance it has... or at least the more self-importance.

D:  You really don't care at all about someone else's family--your own has its own share of drama. Legally, when you become a citizen, you become a whole new person:  whether born here or immigrated you are asked what your legal citizenship name will be, and if you forget to mention your familial birth name...  The closest thing to a social class division is knighthood, and that's not inheritable.

Preferences of physical appearance

F:  If a woman is a bit plumper than average, it can only improve her looks.  No one wants to be reminded of the Great Famine, and someone who looks like their still suffering it aren't considered attractive by most.  Then again, some do find the thin Elven look attractive for some reason.

D:  Real women have curves, no matter what the television and magazines say. However, being bombarded by an unrealistic image, a woman may think of herself as "fat" while all around her refer to her as "skinny."

Sexuality & attitudes toward homosexuality

F:  No one cares what you do with your sex life if it doesn't involve them. There is a strong cultural push to form a long-term monogamous relationship, regardless of sex or even species.

D:  What you do on your own time is your own business, as is whom you do it with.

Relations with family / visiting / misc.

F:  You see nothing wrong with stopping by uninvited, but you'd likely bring something, especially food.  Your family mostly lives nearby; in fact, your family, friends, and neighbours are all largely the same pool of people. It's rude to eat without offering to share with guests, no matter how little you have. It's generally easier to accept & eat something when visiting then deal with the constant insisting offers. If they are in your home, you should feed them.

D:  Stopping uninvited is common, but you won't enter their home without them specifically inviting you inside.  Indeed, the living quarters are designed for communal closeness, so you see no problem with knocking on someone's door just for a chat. Meals generally involve invitations, whether eating in or out. The person making the invitation is often expected to provide the food (or at least pay the bill). You see touching as a sign of closeness and affection, even for someone you just met, if you get along well enough.


Major religions & attitudes toward them

F:  There is one major faith:  The Temple of Light. You are probably a member, and even if you are not, it colours your outlook. The Royal Family are Lightwalkers, but it's not a state-supported religion.  There are other religions, especially in other countries, but in Formour they are definately in the minority.

D:  Your nation is a non-ecclesiastical theocracy.  The divine is very real to you, in fact, you can meet him.  You've certainly seen him on television. Despite the God-Emperor creating your entire civilisation, there are no requirements to worship him, and no state-sponsored churches. Chances are you don't practice any formal religion.

Relationship between church and state

F:  Legally, the Church doesn't affect the state, and the reverse is true as well.  In practice, the Crown has always (at least publicly) been religious, and this affects the resulting decrees.  The oldest laws and rights are almost verbatim from commandments in the Book of the Cannon.

D:  The state is the church, in that the Pharoah is a divine ruler. However, there isn't an official priesthood or church. There aren't any requirements for worship (and the Pharoah is on record as stating he doesn't answer prayers in the traditional sense), so you don't see how there is a real effect of a "church" at all in politics.

Christmas & other holidays

F:  Commercialmas is a mid-winter holiday for gift-giving and spending time with family. It has no religious overtones. Most holidays seem to serve as an excuse for drinking rather than working the fields. After all, those potatoes will still be there in the morning...

D:  Christmas is in the summer (or daytime, depending on how you want to look at the issue). It's not a national holiday, but it is commonly celebrated with family.


Attitudes toward social security, welfare programs, unemployment payments, medical assistance, charitable aid

F:  If you don't work, you don't eat.  If you are unable to work, you can turn to family, friends, and the Church (which ammounts to turning to family and friends...), but there are no government social programs or aid. It's up to your family to take care of you if you are sick and unable.  

D:  You get a regular check from the government, so does the wealthy bloke down the way, for the exact same amount. In theory, this can be used if you cannot work, for healthcare, to improve your education, to start a new business, or to save for retirement.  In practice, some people will put this money to the good uses mentioned previously, and others use it as an excuse to not work so much (or at all).


Popular sports

F:  The fastest growing sport in popularity is an Orckish import from the wilds of Osterre: Deathblade.  Unless you count such "sports" as jousting (and other events which require far too much money and free time), Deathblade is the only organised sport going. Other popular sports are impromptu competitions:  running, jumping, climbing, throwing.  

D:  The limitations of space affect the sports you can play. Getting a game of football started takes up most of the park greens (and not even then in some cities), space that children, walkers, etc. also want to use. You get confused sometimes when watching the news when two completely different games are both called "football." In spite of the fact that you live surrounded by thousands of kilometers of ice, you don't have a hockey team worth mentioning. Various martial arts are quite popular. The smaller a space required, the more easier it is for you to be able to play it. You're hoping that league sports start up soon.  


Well known celebrities & programs

F:  You don't have mass-media, but you do have celebrities.  Gossip is spread about interesting guildmasters, nobles, and loremasters. Despite how long travel times are, news travels surprisingly quickly.

Subjects covered by talk shows

D:  Special-interest shows seem the most common; think:  live-action newsgroups... sometimes even with all of the flame-wars.  

TV news, newspapers, & print media

D:  The national news service has a television program and a newssheet, and is government owned, but you wouldn't call it propaganda. E-books are rapidly growing in popularity, as you don't have to wait for them to ship, and there's no import duty.


F:  There is no public transportation.  The local noble is responsible for upkeep of the roads, but some do this much more poorly than others.

D:  You don't own a car.  What would be the point? Even if you had somewhere to go that you couldn't get there faster walking (or via tube/flying for other cities), where would you drive it, where would you park it?  The only transportation possible to other cities is public... unless you want to walk through the Antarctic mountains to get there... Short flights are common, and taking the tube through the ice moreso. Transport is quick and reliable. Pedestrian safety, et al. isn't an issue:  the entirety of your national architecture is based on walking. There are, of course, no taxis.


Amount of vacation time

F:  You can take some time off for holidays, but that's about it.  The farm isn't going to take care of itself.  

D:  You get at least three weeks of vacation a year, and count yourself fortunate to get five or six.  Of course, there aren't any legal holidays, so this makes up for that somewhat.

Topless & nude beaches

F:  You would have no problem going to a nude or topless beach, if you lived near a large body of water. You would find the idea of a country legislating clothing to be absurd. It's the norm for a person to bathe in a river or stream, and you may see several people doing so at the same time.

D:  While you see no problem with walking about topless most of the time, you would never do so at the beach.  For one thing, you would freeze to death in a matter of seconds.  For another, the beach is located under more than a kilometer of ice.

Hotel rooms with private baths

F:  Inns are located about every day's walk or so in more civilised areas, and you may have to rely upon the kindness of strangers otherwise. Unless you are very wealthy--and can find an inn with such facilities--bathrooms are communal or nonexistent.

D:  Hotel rooms look quite similar to the living quarters of an average citizen. You fully expect a private bathroom, with hot and cold water, whether home or abroad.

Popular travel destinations & recreational activities

F:  Large cities are the most popular destination for rural Formourians who were able to travel.  Citadel in particular was very popular, until that whole overrun-by-zombies problem. If you get a chance to see a carnival or faire, you jump at the chance... unless it happens in your area all of the time, in which case you spend the rest of the year complaining about it and wishing you were the one who could get away and mess up someone else's town.

D:  Anywhere with an open countryside that doesn't include thousands of kilometers of ice and snow is a popular destination. Interestingly, islanders often visit the continent for a change of scenery as well as the reverse being true.
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Offline Kinslayer

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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2005, 05:27:55 AM »
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