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Alien Culture Template

Special Campaign Information

  • Who Are We In The Setting?
  • Additional Skills In Quartermain
  • Free Everyman Skills List
  • Special Physics Notes
  • Team Specialist Packages
  • Special Notes From The GM
  • Humans, Hybrids & Other Alien Race Packages
  • Template For Alien Cultures
  • World of Quartermain

  • Each New Alien Species should have its own page of cultural information that fills in as many of the following headings (In Red) to answer the questions noted in detail. This will allow a better understanding of where your character comes from. A character does not have to be bound to the rules of their culture, they may be on Quartermain because they oppose one or more of the social norms and cannot remain on their homeworld because of such, but this should shape their mindset in some way.

    Social Structure

    Form of family
    Nuclear, extended, multigenerational, etc.?
    Larger structure: clan, tribe, religious or political membership(s)

    Marriage and divorce

    Marriage restricted to within or outside the tribe, or to a specific other clan?

    Monogamy or polygamy: polygyny and/or polyandry, concubinage, etc.?

    Divorce: easy or difficult?

    Attitudes toward adultery; patriarchy/matriarchy etc.

    Government

    Form of government: feudal, tribal, democratic, suzerainty, empire, etc.? Structure: centralized or decentralized?

    How leaders are selected: Hereditarily, vote - from restricted or unlimited pool? (Some cultures have a mixture: with inheritance playing a role in the passage of power, but subject to veto or election by those ruled.)

    Social rank Class structure Gradations: slave, serf, peasant, yeoman, nobility, royalty, and the distinctions between them, or gaps in the gradient? Mobility from one class to another: possible or not; if possible, how difficult? Etiquette and its enforcement How elaborate are social behavior codes? Are they different for different classes? How are they enforced: legal system, reduction in class, tabu, ostracism? Slavery Extent: how much of society is slave? Oppressiveness: do slaves have rights, how much and what kind, can they own slaves, etc.? Possibility of freedom: purchase, freedom if escape for a period, restrictions against owner emancipation, etc.

    Religion

    In some cultures religion may not exist, or may only be practiced by a small minority. If religion has been replaced by a scientific philosophy or somesuch you should expand details in regards to such herein.
    Cosmology and pantheon

    Gods and their degree of involvement in mundane affairs.

    How does religious affiliation affect the average adherent?

    With the god worshiped?

    With the other gods?

    With the worshipers of other gods in society?

    Spirits, ghosts, etc. - agents of the gods, opposition to the gods, or neither?

    Liturgical form

    Of what does worship consist: Ceremony, sacrifice, prayers, combinations?

    Public or private?

    Places: temple, natural site, portable, none in particular?

    Magic
    Is there a concept of magic?

    Could everyone, at least in theory, use magic?

    If not, who is qualified to learn it?

    Shamanism

    What form does shamanistic activity take: trance, vigil, vision, etc.?

    Extent of physical healing as a function: magic or herbals, or both.

    How does one become a shaman?

    Funerary custom
    How do they dispose of dead: burial, cremation, exposure, excarnation, ritual cannibalism, etc.
    Ceremony involved:

    ritual accompanying

    body position: extended, arms to side or crossed, fetal, etc.

    Coffin shape?

    Grave goods?

    Tabu regarding cemeteries or exposure sites?

    Art

    Graphic and sculpture (paintings, carvings, etc.)
    Purely aesthetic or religious or either/both?

    Amateur or professional?

    Status of the artist in society.

    Music and dance
    Instruments used, including vocal.

    Are dances religious or secular?

    Status of performers in society.

    Sports and games

    Types of recreational activity.

    Are they strictly work or combat related (barn raising, quilting bee, husking bee, fencing, wrestling) or other (ball games, riddles, board games), etc., and specific types?

    Status of players in society.

    Tattoo, scarification, body art and piercing

    Type and extent, if any or taboos regarding such.

    Class, gender or other restrictions?

    Symbolism.

    Other - That which did not fit the above.

    Architecture

    General type

    Separate, living above business or livestock shelter, apartment, underground/above etc.)
    Materials
    Wood, wattle and daub, adobe, stone, etc.; roof: board, thatch, tile, etc.
    Permanent, portable, or abandoned?

    Sleeping facilities

    Bed, hammock, on ground, etc.?

    How different if on the move?

    Cooking
    Indoors, separate structure, or outside?

    See Also Food.

    Clothing

    By sex and season.

    Sumptuary laws: status, occasion, degree and type of enforcement.

    Food

    What did they eat and how did they get it?

    Prohibited food, why?

    Packs and containers

    Materials: pottery, basketry, parfleche, fabric, etc.

    What did they use to pack things for transport: backpack, crate, amphora, travois, wagon, etc.?

    For storage: baskets, jars, shelves, etc.?

    Fabulous Beasts

    What mythical animals did they believe were real?

    Which did they know were fictional, but used extensively in art and folkloric beliefs?

    References

    What sources (if any) did you draw on for this culture?

    Plot Hooks

    List possible plot hooks peculiar to this particular culture, or at least not common to most. This can involve culture-shock from: clothing, diet, attitudes and prejudices (either way) or against third parties (also by either side), etc.; law and tabu; from the terrain or climate of the culture; magic or religion; etc.

    How would the group react upon seeing/meeting some NPC from that culture?

    More importantly, how would they react about coming on a whole village of this culture?

    Would they try to conform or remain aloof?

    Would there be a faux-pas according to the etiquette of that culture, and what would the repercussions be?

    What if there were no common language; how would they communicate?

    What about trade? What do they consider valuable?




    Legal Notice:

    Guardians of Quartermain is an outline of an unofficial science fiction setting for DOJ, Inc.ís Hero Systemô 5th Edition (ISBN 1-58366-000-3). It requires the use of the Hero Systemô 5th Edition rule book. It is not in any way authorized by DOJ, Inc. nor is it intended to in any way infringe on their copyrights or trademarks. Contents are Copyright 2002 by Joseph Teller & Kiralee McCauley. Permission is granted for all non-commercial usage and duplication, in part or in full. All other usage requires written permission by the authors.


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