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Old 10-10-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
combatmedic
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Default 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

This is a thread about YOUR IDEAS on the culture of the Third Imperium.


It is not a place for pointless arguments about whose reading of the published Traveller setting or rules is 'most correct.' Canon wars are not welcome here. Feel free to bring up things from ANY Traveller source, and that most certainly includes your own campaign materials. Feel free to explain why you developed the ideas that you have, and to ask others why they developed the ideas that they have. Feel free to disagree with others, but please refrain from telling them they are 'wrong.' Keep in mind that YMMV.

What is 'Imperial Culture'? For me, it's the culture of Capital, the Imperial Nobility, and the institutions of the Imperium. It might be narrower or broader than that for you.


Fly, monkeys, fly!



:)

Last edited by combatmedic; 10-10-2011 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 10-10-2011, 06:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Religion-

The Sylean, or Imperial, Church has sent missionaries to many worlds. Joining it is not required for everyone who attains high rank, but it certainly helps smooth one's passage up the line. Some worlds are controlled by the Church. Most military chaplains are part of the Imperial Church.

There are cook-chaplains, a la Jason Taylor's set up, for Vilani troops. There are also informally recognized NCO 'chaplains' for other traditions.

The Imperium neither guarantees nor restricts the religious liberty to the people of worlds under Imperial protection. Such matters are the purview of the member states, not the Imperial authorities.

Various forms of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc may be found throughout the Third Imperium. Syncretic religions, Vilani religions, and other traditions are part of the mix. The Imperial Church is the highest profile religion, but hardly the only faith.


Fashion-

Imperial Court fashions are widely copied on many other worlds. It's quite common to find wealthy people in the further reaches of the Imperium wearing outdated Sylean fashions. Then again, some worlds don't follow such trends. The Imperium is diverse. Many ordinary folks barely have any contact with elite, cosmopolitan, Sylean influenced culture.

Language-

Galanglic is the language of the government and the military. Many people speak something else as their native tongue. People from backwater worlds may speak little or no Galangic.

Last edited by combatmedic; 10-10-2011 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

If I find my thread on Bric-a-Brac of the 3I, I'll post the link here, but I fear Mongoose games cleaned out their system.


However, here's a few little items....


The Jewel Books
Duke Albert (make him a close relative of which ever early emperor you prefer) was interested in two things above all. The Folklore of Terra and quality Primary Schooling for all children. Being highly talented, well connected, and very long lived (even for some with Vilanni heritage) he made his mark in many ways, but the best known way is The Jewel Books.

The Jewel Books are collections of Earth's folktales and Fairy Tales retold in the laguage of the 3I (many scholars say that the Jewel Books created Sylean Standard's literary form). Duke Albert was both a master prose stylist and a truely great storyteller so the Jewel Books get read. Both children and adults love the stories.

Each Jewel book uses a gemstone in its title, "The Ruby Book, The Emerald Book, The Coral Book " for examples (Duke Albert admited that Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colours was an inspiration). The Jewel of the title also relates to the contents. The Coral Book, the Aqua Marine Book, and The Pearl Book, have many sea stories in them, however, The Pearl Book also has large numbers of East Asian tales as well. The Emerald Book has many Irish and Arab tales in it. The Onyx Book has both Mesoamerican tales and Ghost stories. Several books use Vilanni and other languages names for their jewels (the Aqua Marine, Rose Quartz, and Tourmaline Books for example). Duke Albert wrote around thirty volumes.

Because the stories were created with excellent lesson plans by the most influential educator in the 3I, schools picked up the Jewel Books early. Because kids loved the stories, and adults found them wholesome and safe, they became classics.

Like the works of Shakespeare, scholars have numbered every line of the Jewel books. Thus every line of the Jewel Books is a numeric code. As the Jewel Books, because of the opportunities they offer the illustraitor and book designer, are constantly printed as actual books (as well as computor files) they are a constantly availible and highly covert code reasource in plain sight!
This is well known. Many crooks use it, because it's still tough for the police to crack. The police on many worlds deal with the Jewel books as a standard reference text. Crime writers of the 3I tend to over use the idea in pulp fiction. Many con artists use mysterious Jewel Book codes in their scams.

"Like a Jewel Book Tale" is a common phrase. It can mean lovely, etherial, phoney, delusional, or false/deciteful. "Tell me another one Al" (refering to the author) is a common way of saying the author is either deluded or lying.
More later, including Candy Colours of the Third Imperium!!!!
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Cool beans, Astromancer. These sorts of details make the setting come alive for me.

playing cards-

About three centuries ago, decks of playing cards imprinted with images drawn from Imperial history and legend became popular among Navy men and spacers in the Domain of Deneb. The cards quickly spread from there to other parts of the Imperium. Emperors, heroes, and villains of the first several centuries of the Imperium make up the face cards. No proper names of persons are used on most decks, possibly as a legal precaution. Still, few students of history would fail to note the uncanny resemblance of the Red Empress card-face to Arbelletara, victrix of the Civil Wars. The numbered suits are rockets, blades, stars, and moons. Some scholars have suggested that the oddly archaic choice of rockets suggests an ancient origin for this sort of deck, and that the identification of face cars with Imperial figures may have developed long after the cards were first introduced.

This sort of playing card is usually printed on cheap plastic sheet material, but heavy paper is also popular.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Quote:
Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
Religion-

The Sylean, or Imperial, Church has sent missionaries to many worlds. Joining it is not required for everyone who attains high rank, but it certainly helps smooth one's passage up the line. Some worlds are controlled by the Church. Most military chaplains are part of the Imperial Church.

There are cook-chaplains, a la Jason Taylor's set up, for Vilani troops. There are also informally recognized NCO 'chaplains' for other traditions.

The Imperium neither guarantees nor restricts the religious liberty to the people of worlds under Imperial protection. Such matters are the purview of the member states, not the Imperial authorities.

Various forms of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc may be found throughout the Third Imperium. Syncretic religions, Vilani religions, and other traditions are part of the mix. The Imperial Church is the highest profile religion, but hardly the only faith.


Fashion-

Imperial Court fashions are widely copied on many other worlds. It's quite common to find wealthy people in the further reaches of the Imperium wearing outdated Sylean fashions. Then again, some worlds don't follow such trends. The Imperium is diverse. Many ordinary folks barely have any contact with elite, cosmopolitan, Sylean influenced culture.

Language-

Galanglic is the language of the government and the military. Many people speak something else as their native tongue. People from backwater worlds may speak little or no Galangic.
As the setting of my heroes is in a client Pocket Empire outside the Imperium I am separating cultures.
Imperial(refers primarily to the Imperial nobility, secondarily to Travellers who have little or no pariochial ties, like soldiers, bureaucrats, merchants, etc):
Religion:
Their is no official institutionalized Imperial religion IMTU. CoH Imperial Nobles, however has some elements that would make it demi-religious; indeed it could hardly not after all this time. Most Religions common in Terra at the time of the ISW are reasonably known at the time of the Imperium though some have become minorities and others have sprouted new sects and other sects have disappeared. Confucianism is popular among the Imperial Nobility as is Classical Stoicism because both of those fit well with CoH Nobles. A number of nobles are Stellerists as well. Maar Zon is a minority faith but looked on as "colorful". Interestingly Sikhism has gained in popularity among the frontier nobility because of it's warlike tendencies and some Imperial Aslan have converted to Skhism and become enthusiastic followers.
Falarthan(the country of the heroes with several scattered planets on each of which they are one of several Balkanized powere-therefore I refer to Falartha as a nation or as a tribal federation rather then a planet):
Religion: Primarily Christianity. Judaiism secondary. Maar Zon has a presence. As do various Vilani beliefs. There are a few Sikh clans as well, most of these are highly active in government service, including the regular military. There is little religious strife as such though theology is a perfectly valid subject in philosophical debate and this is one of the favored national sports. Clerics are organized into orders which espouse a particular doctrine. Traditionally a congregation choosing a particular cleric is choosing his order's doctrine as it's official doctrine but that does not preclude guests from visiting. Shipboard and military medics tend to conduct religious services in the absence of an official chaplain, including shipboard marriages when such take place(one small fashion among the rich is to take one jump away from home just to have a shipboard marriage); the famed Order of St Luke's trains large numbers of medical professionals for this. The topmost grade have to pledge celibacy, renunciation of clan ties, and renunciation of the use of force except in protection of those under their charge(I.E. Their shipmates etc). Many are not prepared for these especially the second vow, which is why a lot of fully qualified doctors are not top members of the Order of St Luke's.

Fashion:
Imperial: Tends to the appeal of "retroness" like most imperial cultures. High-class Vilani clothing is popular, as is the Victorian era of Ancient Terra. Both masculine and feminine clothing tend to emphasize "grandeur" as a theme. Silks and brocades and the like are popular.
Falarthan: Emphasizes "heroic" rather then "grand" as theme. Standard female clothing is a "pragmatic" which is a knee-length dress with a bottom half that can be unbuttoned in half and each half rebuttoned around the leg to form ad-hoc breeches. Male clothing includes fairly ordinary looking trousers and shirt. Decoration is applied directly onto clothing in the female and with males it is applied onto tools or weapons worn at the belt. In both cases these are usually perfectly functional; it is the custom to buy them plain and decorate them slowly, often with heraldry, caligraphy, decorated datachips and other devices containing information of personal import to the wearer. Some variations of this are claimed to act as charms in peril. Formal wear goes along a similar theme and usually each clan and guild has it's own attire both formal and informal. Like Imperial's they like a retro theme. Some clans have an unusually baroque attire and others advertise their "Spartanness". On the whole though, clothing that is suspected of being too grand is disliked. The High Chief for instance has no set of regalia as such and usually wears a uniform similar to an eighteenth century naval officer on formal occasions. Someone with Heraldry skill can tell a Falarthan's clan, guild, city, ancestry and kin, religion, philosophy and political beliefs by examining his clothes.

Language:
Imperial: Galangic with both a High form for the mighty and a Low form as a tradespeak.
Falarthan: Same, but with local variations. Most Falarthans can understand Imperial Ganglic well enough.

Art
Imperial: Byzantine style mosaics are popular, as are stage productions of famous plays. Music tends to include what Ancient Terrans would have called "Classical". Vilani Musical styles are also popular.
Falarthan: Computer art is popular. As is decorative heraldry to be applied to clothing, tools and weapons. One common variety is a sort of cryptic heraldry which contains messages within messages within messages like a Russian doll. This is usually done with the use of electronics. Oral storytelling is popular as are works that are "guildstamped"(given a trademark)by the Bardic Guild thus telling that it is high quality. Some works have been guildstamped merely for their historical importance and would not pass if written at the time. Low class tales tend to take the form of short stories. Guildstamped tales are often elaborate sagas and epics often crossreferenced within themselves and with other epics in a wiki like format. Falarthan epics often deal with themes like travel, frontier life, migration and the like. They are more descriptive then many examples of the kind, and sometimes include such things as loving descriptions of machinery. Borrowing from other cultures is quite common. Aslan sagas are popular, as are pre-starflight Terran ones. It is not unknown to find a Falarthan who is reasonably familiar with
a number of ninteenth and twentieth century works in various media. Various kinds of music are liked. Terran Classical is appreciated, but folk ballads have a large following. Terran "Country" is also appreciated. There are several other musical traditions, some native, some borrowed. Bagpipes are often favored as an instrument and bagpipe music is often played on various occasions like Departure day(the setting out of trade ventures) and Homecoming(the return).
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:02 PM   #6
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More about Sylea/Capital-

Sylea is often known as 'Capital', in much the same way that the citizens of the East Roman Empire used to call Constantinople 'The City.' Over time, the designation has become so common that it has even entered into official records. On Sylea/Capital, many natives use the old name for the planet when referring to the world as a whole, and reserve 'Capital' for the Imperial administrative districts and the Imperial Palace.


Sylea is a heavily urbanized world, but it actually does have plenty of green space. Huge pleasure gardens, automated farms, and carefully maintained wildlife preserves stretch over much of the planet's surface. Some of these green spaces are open to the public, but many others are private estates.


To be granted an estate on Sylea is a great honor. These estates are granted by the Emperor, and can be taken away by him. Of course, no rent is charged. That would be beneath the dignity of the Iridium Throne! Estates are only repossessed for treason or corruption (at least, this is the official policy). Sometimes troublesome nobles are required to retire to such estates, and there kept under virtual house arrest by Imperial forces.


Sylea is home to an unusually large proportion of very wealthy subjects, but there are more subjects of middling or lowly station living on the planet. These 'little people' mostly work in service industries.

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Old 10-14-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Quote:
Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
More about Sylea/Capital-

Sylea is often known as 'Capital', in much the same way that the citizens of the East Roman Empire used to call Constantinople 'The City.' Over time, the designation has become so common that it has even entered into official records. On Sylea/Capital, many natives use the old name for the planet when referring to the world as a whole, and reserve 'Capital' for the Imperial administrative districts and the Imperial Palace.


Sylea is a heavily urbanized world, but it actually does have plenty of green space. Huge pleasure gardens, automated farms, and carefully maintained wildlife preserves stretch over much of the planet's surface. Some of these green spaces are open to the public, but many others are private estates.


To be granted an estate on Sylea is a great honor. These estates are granted by the Emperor, and can be taken away by him. Of course, no rent is charged. That would be beneath the dignity of the Iridium Throne! Estates are only repossessed for treason or corruption (at least, this is the official policy). Sometimes troublesome nobles are required to retire to such estates, and there kept under virtual house arrest by Imperial forces.


Sylea is home to an unusually large proportion of very wealthy subjects, but there are more subjects of middling or lowly station living on the planet. These 'little people' mostly work in service industries.
In other words it is a Planetary Palace.

Actually that is what it would be IMTU. It is also a great trade hub as a function of being a planetary palace. Like Constantinople.

A number of Sylean patriots and their sympathizers still insist on calling Capital "Sylea". Falarthans do too, mainly because they find a name representing someone else's tribal loyalties more appealing then a name representing generic Government.
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
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In other words it is a Planetary Palace.

Actually that is what it would be IMTU. It is also a great trade hub as a function of being a planetary palace. Like Constantinople.

A number of Sylean patriots and their sympathizers still insist on calling Capital "Sylea". Falarthans do too, mainly because they find a name representing someone else's tribal loyalties more appealing then a name representing generic Government.
Yup.

The palace does have sewers, of course. There are nasty, unpleasant, downright dangerous parts of Sylea- only most nobles will never see such places. Neither will visitors who have armed themselves with a proper guide.
If you know where to look in the cities, you can find brothels, underground duelling arenas, and black market 'agoras.'

Strict gun control laws haven't prevented professional criminals from making, stealing, or smuggling in firearms. A shooting is a good way to attract police attention, though.

In some cities, the criminal underclass have adopted the noble custom of duelling. Of course, the underclass duel is a rather less dignified and polite matter than an affair of honor among two nobs. Still, there are some rules; no guns, two men for one fight, surrenders should be taken. Knives or spacers' blades are used at least as often as proper swords. Betting on the outcome of a fight, and cheering from the sidelines, are not only expected, but encouraged.
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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If I may, we had a similar discussion about this on the SFRPG boards - see http://www.sfrpg-discussion.net/phpB...hp?f=45&t=1918 (saves me reposting everything I said there...)
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malenfant View Post
If I may, we had a similar discussion about this on the SFRPG boards - see http://www.sfrpg-discussion.net/phpB...hp?f=45&t=1918 (saves me reposting everything I said there...)
I note that you don't seem to like the vaguely defined culture of the published Third Imperium.

That feeling is one of the reasons for a thread like this! :)

IMC, the Third Imperium actually does have a 'cultural core.' Sylea/Capital provides that core. Noble ranks, the Imperial code of honor, duelling with swords, distaste for anthropomorphic robots, etc are all related to the culture of Capital. I added a strong 'glue' element that's missing in the published TU, a state religion.
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