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  • Culture and Archetypes

    After reading this blog on culture as well as this blog on race in RPGs, I'd like to come up with some one-column summaries of the culture of nations in Thedas, so that I can play different cultures in a meaningful way.

    Behaviours
    Five or so bullet points about the behaviour of people of this society, as seen by outsiders or described to an outsider. These points must be observations, rather than beliefs. An outsider can see, for example, that Orlesians wear masks in public, but has to infer the cultural belief behind the behaviour.

    These are not all good. A culture is defined by its bad points just as much as by its good points.

    Admirable Qualities
    Adjectives that most members of the society believe to be admirable traits. Ideals that members of this society generally try to live up to (either successfully or unsuccessfully, it doesn't matter).

    Disreputable Qualities
    Adjectives that most members of the society believe to be undesirable traits.

    Archetypes
    The character types that are likely to come from this society.

    I'd like your input into this. Please post your ideas for the different societies in Thedas.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Havokk; 12-19-2014, 05:58 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Culture and Archetypes

    Here is some of what I have so far.

    FERELDEN
    Behaviours
    • Fereldens follow merit; not blood or sex.
    • Fereldens tell it like it is.
    • Fereldens dominate the natural world and bend it to their will.
    • Fereldens use coarse language and coarse humour. They never use polite expressions.
    • Fereldens like dogs.
    • Fereldens treat dogs better then they treat Elves.

    Admirable Qualities
    Brave. Honest. Forthright. Hard-working. Kind to animals. Fair. Self-reliant. Strong.

    Disreputable Qualities
    Shoddy. Lazy.

    Archetypes
    Landed Knight. Impoverished Noble. Bounty Hunter.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Culture and Archetypes

      This could be a problem, since everyone has their own vision... Even in the very first example, one that we encounter through the whole DA:O, I immediately have to disagree on certain points... Where did the dominating of natural world really come from, for example, especially compared to other nations? If anything, they tend to be quite in tune with nature, unless you look at them from dalish perspective...

      Take a look at how different my vision of Fereldens is:

      FERELDEN
      Behaviours
      • Fereldens use coarse language and coarse humour. They never use polite expressions.
      • Fereldens like and respect their dogs.
      • Fereldens respond to insults quickly and often violently but rarely hold a grudge.
      • Fereldens quarrel and fight among themselves over seemingly petty things.
      • Fereldens rarely lie and value their word highly.
      • Fereldens despise Orlesians.
      • Fereldens hold little respect for designated authority, be it religious or secular in nature.
      • Fereldens despise slavery more than any other human nation.
      • Fereldens dispense justice on their own rather than seek it from proper authorities.


      Admirable Qualities
      Brave. Loyal. Independent. Forthright. Hard-working. Fair. Self-reliant. Strong.

      Disreputable Qualities
      Submissive. Insincere. Treacherous. Tyrannical. Indolent. Cowardly. Greedy. Manipulative.

      Archetypes
      Landed Knight. Impoverished Noble. Wronged freeman seeking vengeance. Bandit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Culture and Archetypes

        An interesting concept, but one that I think pushes things in the wrong direction for DA. One thing I have noticed about DA in general is how much BioWare has enjoyed trying to mess with the idea of stereotype. DA:O set us up with a lot of them and gave us a very specific world view that DA II and DA:I have been working to smash those conceptions to bits.

        DA strikes me as a world that should be open enough that you encounter people who will wildly break the stereotype. Using a mechanic like this, while it could be handy to template out some very basic level NPCs, with major characters it could potentially do an injustice to the overall concepts in DA when put to use. Then, as eliastion pointed out, we can easily run into the issue where interpretations of the cultures vary enough as to make these templates not pan out for a large number of troupes. These would have to be very slim, very basic, and very carefully considered to be of practical use.

        Don't get me wrong, I like where you are going with the idea - ways to help make the world feel a bit more real and alive. It just strikes me that this may not be the best method to go about it, but on the same note if it works for you don't let anything I said here discourage you (as again, the spirit of what you are pushing for is great).
        Dragon Age: Requiem

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Culture and Archetypes

          Red Eye, you're both right and wrong. It's obvious that stereotypes are not set-in-stone national character traits. People - especially the special ones - tend to break stereotypes often. Still, stereotypes do come from somewhere and cultural values prevalent in one's environment are important. Imagine, say, a dog-hater. A person who passionately hates dogs in Orlais is a bit strange, but who cares? In Ferelden being a dog-hater is a trait that (though seemingly minor) can easily make you "untrustable", sicnce clearly there is something wrong with you.
          That's just a single example, but it goes much further - what virtues are admired and which ignored (or even treated as flaws)? How grave certain insults are and what reaction to insult is socially acceptable? Getting together some stereotypes for reference doesn't mean that any NPC (much less PC) will ever be an image of "stereotypical Ferelden". But you can expect them to be brought up in society that has some ideas about what's good and important.
          It's good to have an idea what kind of society certain character comes from - to make exceptions you need to know what you are making exceptions from

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Culture and Archetypes

            True, but this is all presented well enough in the context of details provided on the cultures in the books, and if we do want to approach applying some general details as such to this, then at best we would want to keep it fairly spares and down to just some core concepts. If we try to push it too far, which I feel the currently presented outlines are, we run into a lot of interpretative conflict (as you showed by following with your own divergence of how a Ferelden should be viewed).

            The key with that is you both did tend to share some principles across your lists, and these would probably be the aspects best left in while the others are cut. It will leave a smaller framework that still accomplishes the same desired results. Perhaps my previous attempt at laying that out wasn't quite precise or clear enough on that point.

            Again, the concept is sound, but it feels like it is being stretched a bit too far presently and should be narrowed in the scope of details. Less is more, as it were, and leaves that wiggle room needed to help add personality to the NPC in question without having so much detailed that they become walking cliches of the culture they represent. All in all I hope this discussion keeps rolling and more ideas keep coming out. I don't have any frameworks myself to contribute to this, but I figured I will still point out that we may be going a little too far with it all.
            Dragon Age: Requiem

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Culture and Archetypes

              Nothing to see here, move along.
              Last edited by Fildrigar; 01-12-2015, 12:08 PM. Reason: Dirty spammer

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              • #8
                Re: Culture and Archetypes

                Originally posted by Aliraza351 View Post
                I get the feeling this game is played with a full set of tarot cards, both major and minor arcana, due to a reference to some cards being played upside down.
                Do not go to that URL

                I believe this is a spam account due to it using something I said elsewhere.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Culture and Archetypes

                  Off the top of my head, I would use a modification of the system I use in Pathfinder.

                  A PC can have a number of drinks without effect equal to his/her CON. After that, each subsequent drink requires a CON test (TN 7 + number of tests already made) or suffer a -1 penalty to DEX and WIL. This penalty is cumulative, and when either one reaches a negative value equal to the character's CON, they pass out for 2d6 - CON hours.

                  You could play with the TN of the CON test depending on what they were drinking, of course.
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