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The Land of the Lensbearers

       By: Wulfhere

There is a land where every person wears spectacles. Those without eyeglasses are considered to be the lowest stratum of society, so adventurers without glasses are treated like outcastes. It certainly would explain those heroes wearing sunglasses for no apparent reason...

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | March 29, 2007 | View | UpVote 1xp

The Champion

       By: Wulfhere

In a city where the justice system features judicial dueling, plaintiffs and defendants are permitted to request a champion to take their place in the duel: Someone chosen by lot from among the foreigners in the city. When anyone first arrives, they are given an enchanted ceramic pendant that marks them as a candidate for "court duty".

Wealthy folk entering the city are often escorted by burly guards, paid to carry pendants on their behalf: They elude court duty in that way.

Adventurers may seek work as a rich man's proxy or may find themselves magically summoned to serve as a champion.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | March 9, 2007 | View | UpVote 1xp

Fear the Gods

       By: manfred

Culture/Religion: based on fear and respect. Gods are very dangerous creatures, sometimes friendly, often not. Temples are the way to make contact with them... if not easier, then at least more concentrated in one place. Were it not for the temples, gods could be running amok among the people. Therefore, mortals have to keep the gods close to temples, entertained and worshipped. It doesn't make the bad ones any friendlier, though (and is no guarantee some won't go on trips now and then). Still, there have to be priests that are hardy men, able to survive the rigours of their position, get a sufficient number of worshippers to make the gods feel important enough, and mediate the contact between mortals and immortals.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | December 15, 2006 | View | UpVote 1xp

       By: Psalmanazar

In the Middle Ages, and even up to the early twentieth century, most of Europe's executioners were related: the Sansons and Deiblers in France, the Pierrepoints in England, etc. The reason for this was that, it generally not being socially acceptable to, well, kill people, executioners and their children could, generally, only marry other executioners or their children.
The parallels with massively inbred, Hapsburg-style dynasties are obvious- imagine a rather clever but politically inept satirist noting this, and being sentenced by the latter to a meeting with the former; even worse, imagine a dynasty of deranged and deformed executioners- think Texas Chaisaw Massacre with government funding.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | November 11, 2006 | View | UpVote 2xp

Fun Fun Fun

       By: Cheka Man

Historicly, we have had plenty of rl groups like the Taliban and the Puritans who supressed anything which was in any way fun. What if there was some group that was the opposite? (which in time would cause problems of it's own for the civilians under their control.)

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | September 22, 2006 | View | UpVote 0xp

Eternally Mine

       By: Wulfhere

In an isolated mountainous region, the local miners build their stone huts right next to the sarcophagi of their dead. In the winding tunnels of their mines, the spirits of their ancestors toil alongside them, sensing where the best deposits will be found and guiding their picks' strokes.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | September 11, 2006 | View | UpVote 1xp

       By: Dozus

Rich Romans raised fish in private pools at their villas. A favorite fish was lamprey, a parasitic fish which sucks off blood and flesh but made an excellent meal. A particuarly gruesome punishment for slaves was to be thrown into the lamprey pool, where their flesh was ripped from the bone by swarms of the jawless fish.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | August 21, 2006 | View | UpVote 1xp

       By: Dozus

Medieval Britons didn't write contracts. Instead, men making agreements would clap their knives onto an altar and recite the agreement three times to seal a deal. Even after the Normans introduced written contracts, British nobles would wrap the parchment around a knife to authenticate it.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | July 27, 2006 | View | UpVote 2xp

       By: Pariah

In 1500 B.C. in Egypt a shaved head was considered the ultimate in feminine beauty. Egyptian women removed every hair from their heads with special gold tweezers and polished their scalps to a high sheen with buffing cloths.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | July 15, 2006 | View | UpVote 1xp

       By: Pariah

An example of a mythological worldview misinterpreting scientific practices occurred in Africa, where an aid organization, focusing on slowing and stabilizing population growth, distributed abacuses with red and white beads corresponding to a woman's menstrual cycle. Women were instructed to move one bead a day, only having intercourse on days represented by a white bead. However, the experiment failed, and the population grew in the households using the abacus. The women believed the abaci were magical, and that they would be protected from pregnancy by moving a white bead into the place of the red bead before intercourse.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | July 12, 2006 | View | UpVote 0xp

       By: Scrasamax

In a savage area, the bodies of the dead are cremated, and their ashes are placed in a hollowed out pod like a gourd or a coconout and tossed into a river to bring good luck to the tribe.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | May 12, 2006 | View | UpVote 0xp

Rings and Things

       By: Spark

Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | March 9, 2006 | View | UpVote 1xp

Don't go to Behar!

       By: Murometz

In the province of Behar in India, there is a bizarre custom that persists to the present day. Young men are kidnapped at knife (gun) point, and forced into marriage. If they refuse or cause trouble upon meeting their blushing bride-to-be, they are told that their family members will come to harm or even be killed if they resist. Some manage to fall in love or accept their fate. This scenario can be adapted to any rpg, ideally with a pc in the role of the abducted future husband!

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | February 22, 2006 | View | UpVote 0xp

Punishment

       By: manfred

There are crimes for which a man is not killed, but chased into the wilds, away from his home and country, to not return or be killed on the spot. In one culture is the condemned mutilated, and even his vocal cords are damaged so that the voice is unrecognizable to his friends and family. This is the punishment for people too obsessed with their own prestige.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | December 30, 2005 | View | UpVote 0xp

       By: manfred

What about a 'criminal' society with distinct laws - for stealing, the larger the value of something stolen, the less punishment the courageous thief recieves (but must return it of course). For this pirates(?) caught petty thieves deserve to be punished harshly. If you take, you better take a lot.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | November 28, 2005 | View | UpVote 0xp

       By: MoonHunter

I was in a game with a GM that had a Masters in History, who made is a point to mention that the local peasants didn't have wheelbarrows. The rest of the players just shrugged that off but I knew that the GM was trying to tell us the peasants were on the knife edge of starvation.

All that from wheelbarrows? Yes, because before the invention of the wheelbarrow it took two men to carry that load. In it's time the wheelbarrow was the most explosive production multiplier that the peasantry could get their hands on.

This is worth two tips: One about the power of the Wheelbarrow and the other is the moral of the story...that people need to know the point you are trying to make.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | October 19, 2005 | View | UpVote 2xp

       By: CaptainPenguin

"The Cetemi have a most curious custom that in their celebrations must all men don the garb of women and women... the garb of men, to the aim that none shall... know another." -An Account of Barbarian Lands, Lord Shakthur

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | September 30, 2005 | View | UpVote 0xp

       By: Cheka Man

A demagogue imimates the warrior-king or military officer of a long past age-his followers have the uniforms and weapons of that past time and are a dangerous group.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | September 28, 2005 | View | UpVote 0xp

       By: MoonHunter

Carnival revelers wear masks and concealing clothes. (Wearing of masks in Venice was first documented in the late 1200s) It allows for the social classes to mix, easing social tensions.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | September 22, 2005 | View | UpVote 1xp

       By: Cheka Man

One day a year is the Day of Turning where those on the bottom of the heap for the rest of the year get to live like Kings. Privates question Generals, the people get a say in running things and there is great merriment and gift giving.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | September 17, 2005 | View | UpVote 0xp

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       By: manfred

You meet a large number of villagers, walking and weeping beside the coffin of an old bearded man (or adapt to your funeral customs). If asked properly, you learn about an old wizard, a wise man that long helped the tiny village to grow and prosper. Even after death he shows his favour: he gave most of his possesions to the poorer members of the community. All the villagers show him now respect this way. Why do you ask, are you adventurers? (As a last wish, he left a tiny case for the first group of adventurers that crosses the village).

Encounter  ( Locations ) | August 21, 2003 | View | UpVote 1xp


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