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Old 02-14-2023, 10:04 PM   #751
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Nicely done, Jason.
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Old 02-15-2023, 12:12 AM   #752
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitestreak View Post
Nicely done, Jason.
Thank. I guess you got it.
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Old 02-17-2023, 04:23 PM   #753
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Transplant Cuisines:

When Sophants took to the stars they took the foods from home with them. Often of course they would not take locally leaving the option of adapting growing them artificially (by such means as terraforming, hydroponics, or gengineering), or exporting them from the planet of origin. The last option is often so prohibitive that it is something that only the rich and powerful can afford.

Food as always is a cultural symbol and is taken seriously. For instance Maple has taken in a lot of places. Naturally it is impractical to depend on a product which will not profit for decades. So syrup is divided into modified, natural, and Terran (among other more technical divisions), the later of which has the best price and comes from ancient orchards in what used to be New England and Canada. Natural comes from trees who were planted without genetic engineering and sometimes the details of their pedigrees are as closely examined as that of racing animals. Modified is quite common, common enough to make into affordable liquor which the natural format is less often because of the loss of material in the process.

Some of the records of preparation methods are retained in detail so the cooking methods are little different. Some styles though require ingredients with a specialized ecology (like Revived New England, and Revived New Orleans styles). This often needs a Terraforming project though the above two styles are popular enough that Terraformers will incorporate it, in fact making a contract to modify plans will often cut the expense.

Aslan have brought their favorite herd and game animals from their homeworld and products of these are often tasty to humaniti as well. Sylean cooking has high honor, and is an ancient tradition among them. Caledonians are less esteemed because the tradition they base some of their cultural dishes is underestimated. Some things were transplanted almost whole from Ancient Terra however.

Transplant dishes are well known part of the Known Universe and any people with a populous diaspora is likely to have brought contributions.
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Old 02-21-2023, 05:21 PM   #754
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Labyrinth:

This is a tome about strategy from the peculiar perspective of a moderately powerful crime boss. The writer is unidentified of course but he claims to have been counselor to the ruler of a syndicate that specialized in the laundering of the spoils from Corsairs. Equally unidentified is the name of his master although he is identified as being Vargr in decent.

The book uses the vehicle of an allegorical Starport symbolically named Labyrinth during the time of the Imperial Civil Wars. Here it traces the various powers in the town legal and less so. It gives in the course technical descriptions for spycraft, clandestine contracts (including the negotiation of paid assassination), and day to day techniques for smuggling. As well as the techniques of law enforcement groups. It also tells of high-level relations between factions. Finally it deals with urban warfare from the perspective of a time when the author's master had, so he sad, formed a resistance group out of civic patriotism when a pretender to the Imperial throne had invaded the city.

Labyrinth is a classic of strategy and is said to be required study in training by the SPA inspectorate.
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Old 03-13-2023, 07:25 PM   #755
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Fictive Kinship:

Aside from the basic relationships of genetics and marriage many peoples have officially recognized forms of relationships. Like all relations among sophants all contain parts emotionalism and ritual and are often romanticized. But most have a practical aspect. Many of these relationships can and often do overlap.

Blood Siblings: This is a declared non-sexual alliance between two or more previously unrelated parties. It usually involves an oath marked by such rituals as the famous Terran "mixing of blood", the drinking of shared libations, exchange of sacred objects etc. It is commonly found among those of precarious lifestyles who desire an ally. Thus they will include agreements to care for dependents in the event of disaster, exchange of passwords to bank accounts, deposit boxes, or websites. Among those who commonly surf the datanet it often includes a duty to inform the contacts of the other in the event of death or incapacity.

Tentmates, bunkmates, kitmates, etc: This is simply those who happen to have quarters in the same facility in naval or military forces, or in the merchant or scout services. The services exchanged can include sharing storage space and disposing of effects in the event of death (traditionally by auction or by sharing out among the remainder of the group). In some military organizations, "Tent" and "kit" are used in preference to "Squad" and "Fireteam, section, file, etc" respectively.

Guilds, Fellowship, Club, etc. This has been called blood siblinghood on a large scale and often shares some of it's rituals. However such organizations are institutional. Some do no more than provide recreational facilities, but others provide, political lobbying, advertising, education and other such services. These groups are prominent in the Principality of Caledonia.

Patronage: An alliance between a more powerful and a less powerful personage.

Fostering: This is often a provisional means of looking after orphans. But it is often a kind of apprenticeship, as well as a means of sealing a political favors

Adoption: the distinction between this and fosterage can be dubious. Among the Aceri (see above) the distinction is a change in the lineage. Previous parents are always remembered and stored in dataholders unless they are unknown or sentenced to Damnatio Memoriae (part of the penalty for those guilty of sexual assault). Adoption is often used for pragmatic reasons, such as a convenient compromise between democracy and aristocracy by "plugging in" an elected heir to a lineage. This can be taken so far as to add fictive years when convenient (for instance an elected clan heir is granted enough years to make him "older" than other children of a previous Capo Albergho (chief).
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Old 03-20-2023, 10:43 AM   #756
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Land Bonds:

A form of Bill of Exchange issued in several nations. Before contact with Aslan these existed but were like any other similar document containing a right to claim commodities, stock options, etc.

They grew in popularity with the influx of Aslan and several states use them for such tasks as paying warriors. It is common for an Aslan to put these in a safety deposit box awaiting the end of a tour of duty and provisions are made by "armsmens guild" type organizations for such.

Some bonds are a claim on an actual landhold while others are on an abstract number of acres, the former naturally being more valued. Bonds issued different states are valued according to how conscientious they are in paying such promises, which in any case is by Aslan standards a very important part of the collective honor of a polity whether Human or Aslan. Indeed one reason why Aslan have been so loyal to the Darrien Confederation despite it's cultural strangeness from their point of view is their scrupulous honor of payment to soldiers.
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Old 04-03-2023, 08:52 PM   #757
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Mead:

The stereotype of beer being the only manly drink in the Sword Worlds is well known. However there is a popular subculture of Mead. It is inevitable as after all it IS good enough for such a luminary as Odin. Though there are popular imports best reputed native meads are from Durendil where much effort is put into the cultivation of Terran bees. The esoterica of the profession has been the subject of many a periodical on that world.

Throughout the Sword Worlds whatever their political affiliation it is possible to find drinking establishments that specialize in mead as well as those who maintain stocks as an addition to a predominately beery stock.

Inns and Pubs:

In the Sword Worlds local establishments are important in social life. They can be political centers in more democratic polities, and serve other purposes in those that are less so. Common themes are drawn from Germanic tradition.

One custom exists which while not unique to the Sword Worlds is genuinely fascinating. Engaging in the hospitality trade is considered an honorable occupation. There is a certain snobbery about this. Palatial hotels are appropriate for the second sons of Hertugs and prominent Jarls. Pubs are run by local gentry. No member of the ruling class will let himself be caught maintaining a starport dive. Some will PATRONIZE a spacer's boarding house as opposed to managing it and write it of as philanthropy.

Managers of such establishments tend to have a faux-feudal relationship with their staff. This attitude between employers and employees is not rare in many occupations in the Sword Worlds but it is especially the case with hospitality establishment. Such skilled workers as mixologists, storytellers, and singers can pledge a feudal oath even to common born managers, as do bouncers who account themselves as and are treated as, a type of man at arms.
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Old 05-04-2023, 11:46 AM   #758
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Hint this was inspired by a scene in the thriller Blood and Treasure in which the characters use a similar (Chinese not Vilani of course) device to access a triad bank:

Vilani signet wand:

This is a wand several inches in length and usually about two inches in diameter. It contains two seals similar to a Terran signet but typically it is meant to be read electronically rather than with a wax impression (though some are made to function in that method).

Typically each seal has a geometric design made in a complex format. Each seal is quartered and a wand has a seal on each end, making for a minimum of 8 possibilities. As electronic locks can read superimpositions, there are far more combinations allowed simply buy placing the quarter seals in prescribed order. Often treaties and contracts are finalized by superimposing the seal of one party on that of another in a given order.

The shaft is often made of valuable material and displays heraldry as well as sacralized artifacts such as a dataholder containing the laws of a given demesne. In the past such devices were subject to sumptuary laws and only nobles could possess them. In the Third Imperium it is permitted to copyright individual signet wands but not signet wands in general.

A variation with which it is often confused is a writing wand. These contain the eight most common Vilani characters. They are detachable so that the holder can replace them with the blocks for other characters.

Signet wands are often used as regalia by a noble house, or similar officeholder. Lending them is a sign of trust; it is effectively declaring a person to be a lawful agent.
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Old 05-08-2023, 01:04 PM   #759
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The Authorized Legal Archive of the Principality of Caledonia:

This is a library and museum in Selkirk on the Principality of Caledonia

From outside, it is an austere hall of white marble surrounded by parkland with groves of stately oaks-cleared in places to give a clear view for visitors who wish for an outdoor holographic picture. On the front gate there is a ten-foot tall traditional statue of a blindfolded Justitia with scales and sword.

Inside there are shelves with towers of old fashioned books of all kinds, sometimes in gothic script, sometimes even illuminated-in cases using such materials as shell gold, malachite, ochre, and crushed lapis. In one case a commentator with a dark sense of humor used red ochre to introduce an essay on capital crimes.

The primary subject is the Anglic tradition of Common Law. There are however works on the laws of several civilizations going back thousands of years before starflight on Terra. Naturally Terran and Vilani law is stressed but traditions of many other cultures have representation as well as works on related subjects such as political philosophy. It is common too, to exchange with similar institutions in other polities.


It is the normal right of any citizen of the principality to visit the archives and make copies. Paper books are artistic works and important matters of cultural heritage and cannot be removed from the archives. However every work is available in digital as well as paper format as well as many not represented in the book library. This is a necessity for as well as being a cultural statement the Authorized Library is an active tool for ongoing cases in the Principality. Every world has a branch in which attorney's can search for material relevant to their case. It also has a memory file to keep out those presently serving on a jury lest they compromise themselves-one pragmatic exception to the right to visit the archives.

The right to choose the Board of Curators belongs to the House of Lords. They are chosen based on notable achievements in legal scholarship and are an honorary position. The actual administration of the archives is in the hands of the Leabhar Neich-Gleidh which is itself a well respected position. The Curators do have some power, over the choice of books to be included in the selection.

The ALA is one of the most venerable institutions of it's kind in Known Space, and other polities often copy details from it.
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Old 05-25-2023, 08:31 PM   #760
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Avbryt Staat:

Often translated "divorce of the state". A legal practice in the Sword Worlds, the word means is the temporary forfeiture of state protection for defaulters of required services to the state such as conscription or taxes. It practice it means that proving default on the victims part is a de facto reduced or dismissed charge. How this is applied varies with jurisdictions; in many cases it is only lawful in civil courts. It is sometimes confused with Kjede og Galge or with Nithing (both of which are also confused with each other), but almost never applied to such an extreme though some jurisdictions reserve the theoretical right to do so. Usually Avbryt Staat can be removed by the payment of back taxes with interest and the defaulter restored to full protection.

The law is known in several places and may not have even originated in the Sword Worlds. It is widely accepted there however. Partly because it suits the Sword Worlder's grim idea of justice. Partly too because in the volatile politics of the Sword Worlds the claims of legitimacy are often doubted. But at the least no one doubt's even a usurper's right to refrain from exercise power if it has no treaty obligation to do so (which presumably is the case when the obligations of vassalage to the government are not met), and no one doubts the simple rule that people who cannot stand the heat should stay in the kitchen as the still used ancient Terran saying has it.
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