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Cultural Backgrounds - Culture Generation

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Customs and Cultural Habits


This is probably the largest and most useful set of charts I?ve found (and use) for culture generation. It provides a quick outline for a basis for habits in a selected culture (or group of people, or organization). The original set used six sided dice to randomly determine the outcome of cultural habits. It is probably easier to simply decide what you want for the culture, but if you?re stuck (i.e. when I started on Palm Island inhabitants {part of the ?Friendship Tour? of the HMS Lahaina storyline}), just ?roll the dice?. The initial determiner for culture is a chart overview ?Local Customs?; from there it sends you to the sub-chart, come up with the custom (what the custom is), and then to the practicing group (who is doing it). After that, you?ll have to use your creative juices to come up with the application of the custom.

(P.S. 1d6 = 1 six sided dice; 1d6+1d6 = 2 six sided dice read separately ? highest number you?ll get is ?66?.) (Reprinted from GDW?s MegaTraveller World Builder?s Handbook, 1989)


An example from my project?

I chose ?rolled? Miscellaneous Customs 1; then ?rolled? a 23, which was ?Drinking/Drugs Prohibited?. I decided (not rolled) the group it would affect would be the Palm Island facility workers, sooo?


Drinking/Drugs Prohibited ? Workers [in respect to the wide variety of cultures of the representatives on the Palm Island Way Station, a uniform military code of conduct is enforced via EOS treaties. To avoid any potential social conflicts, the central meeting areas between the militaries and contractors from around the EOS do not serve any alcohol or drugs in the entertainment areas of the ?Palm Commons?. In the areas that are dedicated to the specific nationalities/militaries, the national customs apply (i.e. the KBI area allows alcohol and some drugs), but in common areas, there are no alcohol or drugs allowed. Any individuals who show signs of being impaired will not be allowed access to the ?Palm Commons?.]


Another was Miscellaneous Customs 1; a ?rolled? 24 (drinking/drugs required), then a 31 for tourists meaning?


He?e Pakalolo Festival ? The entire city of He?e celebrates a week-long ?Pakalolo? festival (a slang term), and part of the celebration requires all visitors to the city to indulge of the ?sacred leaf? of the Traditionalist faith, along with many other Traditionalist customs and ceremonies. Failing to participate is a grave insult, and may result in retaliation or physical harm to the visitors. Munchies are provided, including Poi chips.


So if you want to add some color to your background instead of being ?just another version? of an existing place, add a little personalized color to you Nation State!


Local Customs (1d6)

1) Dressing habits

2) Eating habits

3) Living quarters

4) Family practices

5) Miscellaneous Customs 1

6) Miscellaneous Customs 2


Dressing Habits (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Same clothes for all sexes

12) Unusual Clothes

13) Unusual Clothes

14) Unusual Clothes

15) Unusual Headgear

16) Unusual Headgear

21) Shaved Heads

22) Shaved Heads

23) Hair never cut

24) Hair never cut

25) Unusual hair color

26) Unusual hair color

31) Unusual hairdos

32) Unusual hairdos

33) Unusual hairdos

34) Unusual eyebrows

35) Unusual facial alterations

36) Unusual body alterations

41) Unusual fingernails

42) Unusual fingernails

43) Unusual toenails

44) Unusual toenails

45) Unusual cosmetics

46) Unusual cosmetics

51) Unusual cosmetics

52) Unusual jewelry

53) Unusual jewelry

54) Unusual jewelry

55) Unusual accessories

56) Unusual accessories

61) Unusual head-gear

62) Unusual hand-gear

63) Tattooing on face

64) Tattooing on body

65) Tattooing on body

66) Hidden tattooing


Eating Habits (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Unusual foods

12) Unusual foods

13) Unusual beverages

14) Unusual beverages

15) Unusual food preparation

16) Unusual food preparation

21) Segregated during meals

22) Segregated during meals

23) Vegetarians

24) Vegetarians

25) Carnivorous

26) Carnivorous

31) Omnivorous

32) Omnivorous

33) Certain colored foods taboo

34) Certain colored foods taboo

35) Certain shaped foods taboo

36) Certain food sources taboo

41) Eat only in a special location

42) Eat only in private

43) Eat with unusual utensils

44) Eat in a special orientation

45) Eat only at home

46) Eat only at home

51) Eat at unusual times

52) Eat at unusual times

53) Eat only at certain times

54) Eat only at certain times

55) Rituals before eating

56) Rituals after eating

61) One sex eats other?s leftovers

62) One age eats other?s leftovers

63) One class eats other?s leftovers

64) One group eats other?s leftovers

65) One group eats other?s leftovers

66) Cannibalistic


Living Quarters (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Live privately

12) Live privately

13) Live apart in groups

14) Live apart in groups

15) Live in special locations

16) Live in special locations

21) Live at place of work

22) Live at place of work

23) Live at place of work

24) Live under special conditions

25) Live under special conditions

26) Confined to quarters

31) Live under special care

32) Have extravagant quarters

33) Have extravagant quarters

34) Have minimal quarters

35) Have minimal quarters

36) Have minimal quarters

41) Have unusual quarters

42) Have unusual quarters

43) Quarters are taboo

44) Quarters are taboo

45) Quarters are taboo

46) Quarters must be visited

51) Quarters must be visited

52) Quarters must be visited

53) Live with extended family

54) Live with groom?s family

55) Live with bride?s family

56) Live with children?s? family

61) Live with relatives

62) Live in communal housing

63) Live in communal housing

64) Live in communal housing

65) Live only in certain terrain

66) Must move around (wandering)


Family Practices (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Child named by ?*

12) Child named for living relative

13) Child named for dead relative

14) Child named for hero

15) Child named for ?

16) Child named for object

21) Child renamed at adulthood

22) Child renamed when married

23) Marriage arranged by ?*

24) Marriage performed by ?*

25) Marriage arranged by parents

26) Marriage arranged by parents

31) Marriage performed by parents

32) Marriage only within group

33) Remarriage prohibited

34) Remarriage required

35) Groom?s family pays dowry

36) Bride?s family pays dowry

41) Dowry paid by outsider

42) Very short marriages the rule

43) Very long marriages the rule

44) Non-marriage the rule

45) Very short marriages prohibited

46) Very long marriages prohibited

51) Non-marriage the rule

52) Divorce and remarriage required

53) Widow must marry husband?s relative

54) Widow/Widower must commit suicide

55) Widower must marry wife?s relative

56) Onerous prerequisite to marriage

61) Onerous prerequisite to marriage

62) Marriage only at certain times

63) Marriage must be blessed by ?*

64) Polyandry practiced

65) Polygamy practiced

66) Communal polygamy practiced


Miscellaneous Customs 1 (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Unusual sleep location

12) Unusual sleep time

13) Unusual sleep duration

14) Unusual sleep orientation

15) Special language for ?*

16) Sacred symbol for ?*

21) Unusual duties for?*

22) Anonymity required for ?*

23) Drinking/drugs prohibited

24) Drinking/drugs required

25) Bodily abuse prohibited

26) Bodily abuse required

31) Special privileges for ?*

32) Special privileges for ?*

33) Special privileges prohibited

34) Unusual greetings

35) Unusual greetings

36) Unusual mannerisms for ?*

41) Unusual leave/vacation

42) Unusual secret societies

43) Closed meetings taboo

44) Non-national contact prohibited

45) Non-national contact prohibited

46) Non-national contact required

46) Non-national contact required

51) Unusual gift giving customs

52) Unusual gift giving customs

53) Free clothing required for ?*

54) Free clothing prohibited for ?*

55) Specialized cultural clothing for ?*

56) Specialized cultural footwear for ?*







(The charts went really Sci Fi on me for the last six, so I guess you pick again!)


Miscellaneous Customs 2 (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Free food required for ?*

12) Free food prohibited for ?*

13) Free education required for ?*

14) Free education prohibited for ?*

15) Unusual punishment required for ?*

16) Unusual punishment prohibited for ?*

21) Unusual punishment required for ?*

22) Unusual punishment prohibited for ?*

23) Unusual responsibilities

24) Fixed times for visiting ?*

25) Bargaining/haggling required ?*

26) Bargaining/haggling prohibited for ?*

31) Travelling far away required for ?*

32) Travelling far away prohibited for ?*

33) Unusual holidays for ?*

34) No holidays for ?*

35) Unusual leisure/recreation

36) Regimented leisure/recreation

41) Unusual maturity ceremony

42) Unusual attitudes towards ?*

43) Unusual significance for flora

44) Unusual significance for fauna

45) Unusual significance of smell

46) Unusual significance of sound

51) Unusual significance of color

52) Unusual significance of air

53) Unusual significance of water

54) Unusual significance of light

55) Unusual significance of clothing

56) Unusual significance of computers

61) Unusual significance of technology

62) Unusual significance of transportation

63) Unusual significance of art

64) Unusual significance of superstition

65) Daytime siesta/rest period required

66) Daytime siesta/rest period prohibited


Practicing Group (1d6 + 1d6)

11) Certain political groups

12) Certain political groups

13) Certain geographic regions

14) Certain geographic regions

15) Certain sex

16) Certain sex

21) Certain sex

22) Enforcement figures

23) Enforcement figures

24) Entertainment figures

25) Heroic figures

26) Athletic figures

31) Visiting Tourists

32) Visiting Tourists

33) Religious figures

34) Religious figures

35) Military figures

36) Military figures

41) Certain occupations

42) Certain occupations

43) Political figures

44) Political figures

45) Medical figures

46) Medical figures

51) Certain age groups

52) Certain age groups

53) Scientific figures

54) Scientific figures

55) Academic figures

56) Academic figures

61) Low social class

62) Low social class

63) High social class

64) High social class

65) Convicted criminals

66) Convicted criminals



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