Αlpha Mensae V — Fureidis

colony-description

#21

I want to use a very light touch in portraying cultures in Flat Black as descendants of cultures prevalent on Earth in the early 21st Century. I don’t want to end up with caricarture-lands. Fureidis’ culture (like the others) ought to come out looking like something that developed in place over seven hundred years.

I do imagine Fureidis’ nudity taboo and obsession with cleanliness as the descendants of Islamic practice, but I’m going to try to write it as giving more of the vibe of Singapore and Japan than of Jakarta. With that and the prohibition against recreational drugs I think I’ve taken enough of Islam.

Loan-sharking and gambling are good fodder for the criminal underworld, of course. And the Mob meets Muslims might be a sufficient seed to grow Fureidis from. But I think I need a strong native element as well, and ought to find it before I extrapolate too much detail.


#22

On one hand, that’s a valid goal. But on another, it’s really a challenge to come up with whole cultural patterns de novo based on analysis from first principles. My usual compromise is to make up cultures with features from two or three Earth cultures that seem to fit together in some way, perhaps with some things made up. There are so many Earth cultures that my players aren’t likely to spot many of my sources. This is helped by having read some archaeology, anthropology, pre-modern history, and comparative history, which give me a broader spectrum of source material.

That’s what I was aiming at in my off the cuff suggestions above. Note that I based them not on present-day Muslim cultures or societies, but on Muslim law going back centuries, and on broader attitudes of hostility to interest found in ancient Israel and in Aristotle’s economic writings (so far as Aristotle can be said to have had any concept of economics); and that I tossed in some original speculations such as the “shabbos goyim” who do the dirty work of borrowing and lending. Though I don’t assume you will adopt my ideas as whole cloth; I was offering them as points of departure, rather in the spirit of your speculations about what the different races of Tela might eat (which my campaign’s player characters are still taking into account, by the way).


#23

It is a challenge, but it used to be my stock in trade as a GM. Unfortunately my brain isn’t working properly about now.

Last weekend, for the first time I recall since 1986, I bungled GMing a session so badly that I had to make it didn’t happen.


#24

It is a solid and plausible foundation.

My weird idea would be for there to be something along the lines of “underwater doesn’t count,” with various things that are normally taboo becoming less taboo as you go deeper down. This could have started out as a practical limitation on enforcement and ended up as an odd cultural touchstone.

Nude dancing and gambling and other hedonism happen in the green-tinged light of windowed submarine habitats (or actual submarines) in the photic zone.

Progressively darker crime happens in progressively darker layers.

Really bad people live in forts in abyssal trenches, and if they stay there the govt is obliged by tradition, if not law, the leave them alone.