A Gaming World You'll Never See
Previous - this entry written on April 20, 2007 at 10:51 am - Next

I woke up thinking about a truly odd little bit of our planet's history, a society and setting that is not found in most gaming systems or fantasy books, a strange culture indeed.

It had a distinct caste system which could, with a lot of effort and a bit of luck, be traversed - it was possible to change your caste, but it wasn't easy and was not regarded as socially acceptable for the most part. The differences between the groups within the society was displayed very physically.

The warriors were divided into two distinct groups: the heros, those who were considered blessed by the gods and who attempted to keep their bodies pure, unblemished, and always at the peak of physical conditioning... and those blessed by darker gods, antiheros if you will, who also kept their bodies perfectly tuned but marked themselves for the gods they served with tattoos. Both groups would use alcohol as part of their celebrations of victory and as a tonic against fear when preparing for battle.

Women often painted their faces, most using exaggerated cosmetics to create dark lips, pale skin, and eyes decorated with fairly natural patterns and colors that reflected the woman's caste. A few went beyond that, those who dabbled in magic, prophecy, and other such arts - often, their faces would be marked with more intricate patterns, though fewer colors would be used. Symbols of the deities they worshiped, representations of natural forces such as wind and lightning, and the darkening of the eyes and lips to mimic the appearance of animals or the dead were common.

Some women were, of course, devoted to the deities of light; they could be recognized easily because they kept their faces bare, for the most part, no tattoos or paint, and dressed simply. A small token worn as a necklace or attached to a bangle around the wrist were also common indicators.

With men, it was always a bit harder to judge their caste on first appearance, as only those who followed darker gods had much to do with paint other than in preparation for battle, or marked their prowess in battle with depictions of their skill tattooed into their flesh rather than with simple statues, tapestries, or illustrations of their deeds on paper or on the walls of their arenas.

Still, you could judge by the dress; each caste had fairly unique styles of clothing, both in cut and in color. You could judge by the speech as well; as in many ancient cultures, each group had their own unique variation on the common language.

They had barbaric rites of passage, usually involving ritual humiliation, displays of sexual prowess, sometimes involving piercing or scarification as well. A child's entrance into this society is often marked by brutal treatment until the child has chosen the path they will follow, the caste they belong to; then any torment is for the most part purely ritualistic and much less frequent, and only those rites and rules relevant to their specific caste have much effect on their lives.

As I'm sure you've guessed by now, this is not a culture that most people would want to roleplay as - hell, we get into gaming, D&D, Shadowrun, White Wolf, just to get AWAY from this culture. Welcome to high school.


Is it any wonder this country is so fucked up?

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