Form of familyNuclear, extended, multigenerational, etc.?Larger structure: clan, tribe, religious or political membership(s)
Marriage and divorceMarriage 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.
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.
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?
Of what does worship consist: Ceremony, sacrifice, prayers, combinations?
Public or private?
Places: temple, natural site, portable, none in particular?
MagicFunerary customIs there a concept of magic?
Could everyone, at least in theory, use magic?
If not, who is qualified to learn it?
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?
How do they dispose of dead: burial, cremation, exposure, excarnation, ritual cannibalism, etc.Ceremony involved:
body position: extended, arms to side or crossed, fetal, etc.
Tabu regarding cemeteries or exposure sites?
Graphic and sculpture (paintings, carvings, etc.)Purely aesthetic or religious or either/both?Music and dance
Amateur or professional?
Status of the artist in society.Instruments used, including vocal.
Are dances religious or secular?
Status of performers in society.
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.
Type and extent, if any or taboos regarding such.
Class, gender or other restrictions?
Other - That which did not fit the above.
Separate, living above business or livestock shelter, apartment, underground/above etc.)MaterialsWood, wattle and daub, adobe, stone, etc.; roof: board, thatch, tile, etc.Permanent, portable, or abandoned?
Sleeping facilitiesBed, hammock, on ground, etc.?Cooking
How different if on the move?Indoors, separate structure, or outside?
See Also Food.
By sex and season.
Sumptuary laws: status, occasion, degree and type of enforcement.
What did they eat and how did they get it?
Prohibited food, why?
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.?
What mythical animals did they believe were real?
Which did they know were fictional, but used extensively in art and folkloric beliefs?
What sources (if any) did you draw on for this culture?
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?
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.