Culture Building


  • Pitcrew

    While this is applicable to Arx, I wanted to bring it up here in the general sense because there are lots of games where you can create subcultures.

    I had an interesting exchange with a fellow player about an org I had written up. It's a county on Arx based on a coastal culture. I took some inspiration from the Ama, women in Japan who pearldive, and a little bit of Polynesian attitude and the like. In my write up, I mention pearls as an industry that mostly has women doing the diving, and tied it off by saying that since the ocean is the domain of a goddess, the local folklore is that women are the best at finding her offerings. So women, in majority do the pearl diving. Men are not forbidden from doing so, it would just get them funny looks and low expectations of success from others. Maybe some frowning.

    I was asked what the men do that is exclusive to them and my answer was...nothing. I created a gender based task designed around being favored rather than demeaning, and didn't feel like it created a vacuum for men, or implied they were "lesser" as people. But I think I had a hard time conveying that aspect of it.

    So. What are people's thoughts on culture building? Especially when you go outside of the norms of our contemporary modern life, or even humanity's past history?


  • Pitcrew

    As we discussed on the subject, there's nothing wrong with creating a niche for any particular group within an imaginary culture. It just adds story to tell and there's nothing wrong with that. My question was largely intended to ask if men possessed their own specialty or niche, but not in a tone that suggested they must have their own.

    It was a question of curiosity, rather than any sort of feeling that one group or another should be totally equal in uniqueness to the other. You already know this of course, given our discussion. I figure it's worth noting for the MSB crowd. We know how they love their torches and pitchforks.


  • Pitcrew

    True, true.

    For the record! This discussion is not me tossing shade at @Faceless, which he knows because I asked him if he was okay with me posting about this before doing so. I AM interested in a discussion about building cultures outside of our current cultural expectations and assumptions.



  • A short story, part of the myth can with the right word choice convey all of that. Gift. Sea Goddess domain.

    "And so when one looks for pearls to decorate the Clan Kai'intu on Fullnight, one looks to sisters whose generosity and daring most please the Goddess."


  • Coder

    @Cupcake You had a hard time conveying that aspect of it because it's fairly indefensible in the setting.


  • Pitcrew

    @Glitch How so? There's justifiable folklore attached, and it is not a designation meant to be demeaning.


  • Coder

    You can't write the folklore and then call it justifiable with that as your reason. You're creating a gender privileged role that I'd argue is entirely against theme. In a more general sense, what you're doing is fine with me, but as it pertains to Arx? I think it's entirely against setting and theme.


  • Pitcrew

    @Glitch It's not a deal-breaker element to my write-up so I think I'll keep it and see if it passes muster. If it doesn't, I won't cry.



  • Could try explaining that it is women are favored because they are smaller and less broad than men, thus able to dive for pearls easier. It is weird for men to do it because they are too bulky to fit into the smaller places and children are not used because it is dangerous.


  • Coder

    @icanbeyourmuse That is ridiculous.



  • @Glitch Folklore is often ridiculous is it not? @Cupcake did say folklore.


  • Coder

    @icanbeyourmuse Your example wasn't folklore. There are plenty of female warriors and badasses on game and no restrictions due to physicality. Trying to shoehorn in IC reasoning doesn't change the fact that gender bias is not supposed to exist in Arx.


  • Pitcrew


  • Coder

    @Cupcake You realize that means nothing in the context of Arx? Historical analogs for gender roles are not part of Arx' setting or theme.


  • Pitcrew

    @Glitch: You asked for a viable justification for why that would be the case and I provided you a reason from the inspiration.

    Like I said, I'll put it through with the rest of my write up and if it gets nixed, that's fine. You're oddly vehement about this. If you're confident it won't pass muster anyway, why worry?

    That being said, I didn't set this thread up just to have my idea analyzed (though we can continue talking about it if folks want) I wanted to talk about building cultures outside of our own norms. Kushiel's a good example for all that it's not an original world.


  • Coder

    @Cupcake I didn't ask for a viable justification, I said writing folklore does not make it justifiable; it doesn't matter if your folklore is historically sourced.

    You posted something. It got a response. Whether or not I should "worry" will be up to me.



  • It all feels rather... SJW to deny the possibility of gender-favored roles in cultures. It doesn't place women above men, it simply gives them a favored profession via religious beliefs.


  • Pitcrew

    I agree that when the theme is set up specifically to remove gender roles, it's weird to add one -- even one that isn't negative/demeaning. It doesn't exist anywhere else in the theme. Could easily just be something like "smaller-framed people tend to be favored in the society" to contrast how warriors are so often the ones in power in martial cultures, etc.



  • Wouldn't it mean that lady's maids, ladies-in-waiting, valets, etc shouldn't exist then? I saw a lady's maid or something as a bit. Lady's maids are a female role and valets are a male role.


  • Pitcrew

    I am going to have to side with Glitch. Arx's theme, Thrax aside, is that there are no gender roles. Identifying as any gender cannot determine anything, unless Thrax. So if you're write-up is for a Thrax culture, you should be good. If it is any other kingdom, it probably won't work.

    However, back to the spirit of the conversation, culture building is my favorite aspect of MU*s. Exploring other cultures is mainly why I play.

    @icanbeyourmuse said in Culture Building:

    Wouldn't it mean that lady's maids, ladies-in-waiting, valets, etc shouldn't exist then? I saw a lady's maid or something as a bit. Lady's maids are a female role and valets are a male role.

    I think this is the prince/princess thing. They are titles for what are essentially the same role. It's not that a male gendered person couldn't be a lady's maid. They absolutely can, but they would be called a valet.


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