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ID: 5689

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June 21, 2012, 9:33 pm

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Posting Societies

By:

tips on posting Societies (part of the Codex Posting Advice)

Thoughts on the Category
At first I had difficulties with this category because I saw the Societies category encompassing 2 very distinct types of submissions: Social Club and Race. I’ve worked this out since and it’s entirely possible that no one besides myself ever saw it this way but I will still talk about it because I think it does offer some insights about posting in this category.

For clarity reasons, I will first provide a brief definition of the 2 terms as I thought of them though they seem pretty self explanatory:
- A Social Club sub is often about an organisation situated within a particular culture (culture as in Chinese versus Western versus Japanese type of divides). This organisation is often formed from individuals of common beliefs or linked in other ways based on similarities in life history, personality etc.
- A Race sub is about a group of ethically/culturally/racially linked creatures and often is about a culture itself. 

As I think of the 2 concepts now, I dont see a need to actually draw a line between the two but I find the distinction useful when trying to come up with a structure for a Society submission (see below).

In addition, I want to raise another point that this issue gets me to think about. That is, what about split offs? For a Social Club, one can picture that as time goes by, split off societies might form as a result of disagreements over principles (like Schools of Thought in scholarly circles or magic) or power struggles within the original. For a Race, theres the persistent theme that individuals are accountable for his/her/its own actions not to mention that the idea of political factions and such apply as well.

Tips
- There should be a history/ backstory that reveals the motivation and goals of a society.  No matter how in detail you describe the core activity of the society, the post really isn’t complete without an accompanying historical section on why the society is formed in the first place. If your post is about a race instead of a society, something similar applies. You cant get away from providing a history that explains their social customs and lifestyle as it is currently.

- Suggested structure/Sequence of Section Headings:
The structure outlined below is for on what I term a Social Club sub. For a Race sub, Selection/Initiation is obviously not applicable, Origin too might possibly be subsumed into the History section though it can still be a separate section if the author wants to isolate the "starting point" of the race, Quirks will become Social Customs. But overall, still roughly the same structure.

Description - covering daily activities, what the society is about;
Origin - how, who and why on the society formation;
Selection/Initiation - how members are selected, initiation rites etc.;
History - how the society evolves, major events that it instigates or that happened and that shaped the society, a paragraph on how it is now;
Optional: Quirks If not covered in previous sections or the author really wants to go into details on the quirks and finds it inappropriate to do so in previous sections
Optional: Roleplaying Notes/Plot hooks - Suggestions on how the society can be used in play



Additional Ideas (2)

The 3-Points-Timeline Method to Constructing a Society

One useful method for constructing a society is what I call the 3-Points-Timeline Method which sketches out the development of a society across time. Basically, it boils down to jotting down the past, the here and now and the future for a particular society. Below are some general notes about contents that could be covered under each time period:

The Past- Basically the founding story that can cover elements such as:
· The founder and his/her/its involvement with the underlying cause for the society 
· How the founder built up the society 
· Circumstances of the evolution/split for a society that is a tributary or descendant organisation from another one with a longer history


The here and now
· Current size and prosperity
· Activities, noting in particular any activities that deviate/branch out from the original cause 
· Organisation structure/key personnel

The Future
· Again, size and prosperity
· The circumstances of its splitting/destruction if it applies
· Other aspects about its evolution from the Here and Now




An illustrated example for this method: Tuner Mage

This really all started off from another sub and is some kind of filler information of one-sentence in length: “A group of mages that can alter the strength and properties of spells or enchanted items slightly but cannot cast a spell themselves”



Using the 3-Points-Timeline Method, I filled out the evolution of this group in the following way*: 
The Past -
· A story about the founder and how he discovered his unique talent (rounded out some details on the mage apprentice system and social ranking for the setting) 
· How and why he started up the society (brought in context about the background era)

The here and now
· Selection and initiation into the society
· Growth (being more accessible to public) and the evolution of activities undertaken (incorporating evolution of relationship with more traditional mages)

The Future
· Split off from this group- Geomancers {one particular school (of thought) amongst this magic system}



*whatever content in brackets can be ignored as far as illustration of the method goes. I’m just joting them down to show how this method helps me to round out my Dragon Empire setting (which is really some additional component that’s not strictly on-topic within this particular sub).


Also, a final note about this method is that it can be used for the basis of multiple related subs on a given society and its evolution if it suits. For example, I’ve dropped the Future part of my Tuner Mage one.

0xp

2013-05-11 09:21 PM » Link: [5689#86814|text]
A few more thoughts on brainstorming/constructing a society:

Function: What is this group's purpose? How do they relate with other groups in the world? If they are a race, do they inhabit a special economic/cultural niche that is unique to them? If a group, what do they do?

Goals: What are their short-term and long-term plans?

Subgroups: Can this group be split up into smaller circles within the main group? What are the conditions for entering one of these more specialized areas?
0xp

2013-06-19 11:25 AM » Link: [5689#88089|text]
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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Michael Jotne Slayer
March 9, 2009, 9:24
0xp
I would be happy to comment and vote on these but my advice is that you follow Val's advice.

"Might want to put these in as advice requested - generally when codexies or scrolls are submitted at full subs, at the very least the author has added something. These are not ready to be main subs."

Val
Scrasamax
March 9, 2009, 14:29
0xp
Codexies = Codices
Moonlake
March 9, 2009, 21:19
0xp
Updated: Added Thoughts on the Category and Proposed Structure for Submissions
Voted valadaar
April 23, 2013, 8:57
5xp
These are decent suggestions, though it feels incomplete and is more concerned with the creation of suitable sections rather then insight into the creation of societies.

Moonlake
April 29, 2013, 22:52
0xp
Thanks for voting and commenting on this sub. I understand what you mean but I'm not sure whether I will come back to work on this sub- it actually started out because of a Challenge in the forum requesting that the tips on writing for each category be populated for version 2 of the Citadel (remember the set of dotpoints you see in the submission input page back then?). Similarly, the suitable sections come about because back then you start from a standard template with particular section headers already put in for you for items and NPCs so I think I was trying to create the same template with standard headers for the Society category and the others.
Moonlake
May 11, 2013, 21:35
0xp
Apparently, wonderlust makes me revisit this again and I've added an additional scroll on a particular method used to construct a society.
Voted Dossta
June 19, 2013, 11:28
0xp
I've added a few ideas, but I agree that this feels a little incomplete. I like the distinctions you made and the categories you suggested (especially the requirement of a history section), but there's not much here on fitting a society in with the world as a whole.
Moonlake
June 19, 2013, 19:51
0xp
I disagree with you slightly. I think some of the issues you raised are there already but just not as fully spelt-out as they could be. On fitting a society in with the world, I didn't explicitly mention it in the straight informative part of this sub but in my illustrated example, you can see that in the Here and Now section, thinking abt the growth of Tuner Mages brings me to incorporate the evolution of relationships of these Tuner Mages with traditional mages, which is one aspect of what you call fitting a society in with the world. There could be other aspects to it but in general, I would think this is in general sufficient for tying a society into a world since not all societies are supposed to have earthshaking influences on a world. However, I do appreciate your comment. I'm not trying to be defensive/argumentative, just replying to comments on my sub that I thought needed replies as is my habit.

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