Page 1 of 1

Background Culture

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:46 am
by warlock1971
Hi Guys.

Perhaps a silly question but one of my human races in my homebrew setting is a fallen civilization, once great and powerful, now analogous to Earth's Inuit people. These folk follow the seals and "their" herds of migratory elk. So the question is, would Primitive or Nomad be the better choice of Cultural Background for them? I can't decide either way ... :oops:

The world is a fantasy world, and the people were decimated by their own Sorcerer-King in a ritual he used to attain undeath, a long time ago. At the height of their power, they were a successful race that built several cities and dominated that part of the continent. Now all that knowledge has been lost, with warnings against arrogance and "civilized" ways handed down through a rich oral tradition.

As a race, these people now have access to Common and Spirit Magic. They have lost much of their religious lore and have turned their backs on Sorcery.

Any advice will be appreciated! :D

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:53 pm
by soltakss
warlock1971 wrote:Perhaps a silly question but one of my human races in my homebrew setting is a fallen civilization, once great and powerful, now analogous to Earth's Inuit people. These folk follow the seals and "their" herds of migratory elk. So the question is, would Primitive or Nomad be the better choice of Cultural Background for them? I can't decide either way ... :oops:
I would say "Primitive".

For me, "Nomad" implies some degree of animal husbandry, tending flocks, whereas this culture follows herds/seals. If they had some kind of herd-management (castration of males, milking of females, mating control) then they would be nomads.
warlock1971 wrote:The world is a fantasy world, and the people were decimated by their own Sorcerer-King in a ritual he used to attain undeath, a long time ago. At the height of their power, they were a successful race that built several cities and dominated that part of the continent. Now all that knowledge has been lost, with warnings against arrogance and "civilized" ways handed down through a rich oral tradition.

As a race, these people now have access to Common and Spirit Magic. They have lost much of their religious lore and have turned their backs on Sorcery.
It might be worth having some divine remnants, hero cults, half-forgotten founders and so on, for variety and access to more powerful magic.

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:15 pm
by tarkhan bey
Hi,

The Xoth setting includes Decadent, Degenerate and Enlightened as new cultures. They are described in Song of the Beast Gods.

The description for Degenerates includes the line 'outwardly they resemble savages, but they carry the taint of fallen empires.(or something along those lines :))

Of course, it depends on the niche they fill in your setting as to whether this would be appropriate.

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:21 pm
by warlock1971
:D Thanks for the awesome replies! They don't have animal husbandry skills any longer I don't feel, and that explanation seems completely logical to me, thanks Soltakss! I could easily enough include a hero-cult in the mix, perhaps the first major leader to emerge after the cataclysm.

@ tarkhan bey, I have that book so will need to check it out, for sure! Thanks for the info ...

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:48 pm
by havercake lad
The Bastaan folk of the Dakwinsi Steppe in the Elric/Pathfinder book Secrets of the Steppes gives an example of a culture very similar to what your discribing, bar the use of horses. You might still be able to find a copy advertised on the internet .

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:57 am
by Fonso
soltakss wrote:
warlock1971 wrote:Perhaps a silly question but one of my human races in my homebrew setting is a fallen civilization, once great and powerful, now analogous to Earth's Inuit people. These folk follow the seals and "their" herds of migratory elk. So the question is, would Primitive or Nomad be the better choice of Cultural Background for them? I can't decide either way ... :oops:
I would say "Primitive".

For me, "Nomad" implies some degree of animal husbandry, tending flocks, whereas this culture follows herds/seals. If they had some kind of herd-management (castration of males, milking of females, mating control) then they would be nomads.
I would prefer Nomad.
Nomad don't need to be relationed with animals, only with travel. A zingaran troup, who travel on carts, or even walking from place to place is, to me, a perfect example of nomad's way of live.

You could walk, or travel by boat, along a yearly route following the elks perfectly whitout animals (although I agree that some kind of mount or vechicle can make his lives easier).

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:01 pm
by auyl
Fonso wrote:
soltakss wrote:
warlock1971 wrote:Perhaps a silly question but one of my human races in my homebrew setting is a fallen civilization, once great and powerful, now analogous to Earth's Inuit people. These folk follow the seals and "their" herds of migratory elk. So the question is, would Primitive or Nomad be the better choice of Cultural Background for them? I can't decide either way ... :oops:
I would say "Primitive".

For me, "Nomad" implies some degree of animal husbandry, tending flocks, whereas this culture follows herds/seals. If they had some kind of herd-management (castration of males, milking of females, mating control) then they would be nomads.
I would prefer Nomad.
Nomad don't need to be relationed with animals, only with travel. A zingaran troup, who travel on carts, or even walking from place to place is, to me, a perfect example of nomad's way of live.

You could walk, or travel by boat, along a yearly route following the elks perfectly whitout animals (although I agree that some kind of mount or vechicle can make his lives easier).
Really depends on how "Nomad" evolved in the world the OP is playing in. Soltakss is right about how the traditional term "Nomad" came about with animal husbandry, but it could be different in how the GM has set up their world. I would still agree with Primitive though since I'm more about traditional understanding of terms rather than recreating their meaning.

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:26 pm
by Ynas Midgard
We aren't talking about general terms but game terms that have an effect from a systemic point of view. Check what bonuses Nomad and Primitive grant and which professions they allow; then choose accordingly.

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:00 pm
by Lord High Munchkin
Well, as long as the points add up you could simply make a new background for your setting.

Re: Background Culture

Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:26 am
by warlock1971
Thanks for all the input guys!

The original race once dominated the north western section of the continent, with numerous smaller villages and towns, and a central, large city-state. Governed by their sorcerer-kings, they worshiped a range of deities. This all ended, roughly a millennium ago, when the sorcerer-king entered into a dark bargain with a foul demon. In exchange for performing a terrible ritual, the sorcerer would gain immortality. The ritual demanded a sacrifice - essentially, all those souls living in the central city were drained of their life force, and the sorcerer-king became a powerful "lich".

The remnants of this race, those living in outlying villages and so on, were spared the devastation of the race, they have now gone on to become the dwindling race as it is now. These, Inuit-like people are nomadic but not inherently evil or degenerate.