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Old 10-09-2023, 12:59 PM   #771
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

Imperatrice Acero:

The chiefs and nobles of the Commonwealth of the People's of Aceri (whether on Athena/Hecate or on Stephenshold) do not pledge ultimate earthly Fealty to the Archducca even though he or she is head of state. Rather they pledge to what is said to be the genus loci of what is said to be the oldest Maple on the planet usually given the personality of Shana Karunagur (a minor heroine of the Dakhaseri who was supposedly a legal teacher in life she was adopted among the Solomani tale tellers especially those who liked crime fiction, and given that cognomen). It was planted in Caledonia where the Maples are often cultivated, having been originally drawn from a stock in Nova Scotia. Taken as a sapling by a Caledonian traveler on a years long voyage from his homeland it was replanted locally and was the foundation of a private orchard of the then Archducca and donated to the Commonwealth. It is affectionately known as Mother Maple and only taped on special occasions and syrup from it is beyond price. When the Commonwealth was signed, in the local manner it was "crowned" in the the ancient Terran Italian for "Empress Maple." This is not held to be true animism but allegory. It is common in many star nations to use an allegorical figure for the focus of allegiance to disguise the human frailties of living monarchs; Caledonians use King Arthur and many Sword Worlds use various Nordic heroes. In all cases most educated people know it as a legal convenience.

Mother Maple is said to be the guardian of ordered liberty analogous to the Boston Liberty Elm on Ancient Terra. For that reason an image of a leaf from Mother Maple is embossed on the Book of the Law (the Commonwealth Constitution). This is often a source of amusement in political cartoons; Mother Maple is often shown looking at politicians disapprovingly with the appearance of a sharp tongued schoolmarm.

Aslan on Stephenshold are happy enough to adjust to this idea which fits their feudal dispositions with a little imagination. To translate however into their political culture, they prefer to regard Mother Maple as "legally male".

Conveniently for the tidy-minded Mother Maple actually does produce female blooms.
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Old 10-11-2023, 04:54 AM   #772
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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The chiefs and nobles of the Commonwealth of the People's of Aceri (whether on Athena/Hecate or on Stephenshold) do not pledge Fealty to the Archducca even though he or she is head of state. Rather they pledge to what is said to be the genus loci of what is said to be the oldest Maple on the planet
I find myself thinking of the woman in one of Kipling's stories who was married to a fig tree.
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Old 10-11-2023, 11:51 AM   #773
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I find myself thinking of the woman in one of Kipling's stories who was married to a fig tree.
I don't remember that. The idea came from the Boston Liberty Elm. That and that I think Maple trees are cool. And of course that "Acer" roles off the tongue well and is convenient for sci-fi place naming. Fig trees by the way were a favored "totem" among German Americans and can be seen etched on fireplaces as representations of prosperity.

Also I have sometimes played with the idea that a mythical persona might do a good job as constitutional monarch leaving the human monarch (if any) as an official regent. Some tribes do something similar as well as fossilized memories of those tribes (like MacDonalds, or MacLeods or the "Children" of Israel). It personalizes the Constitution without the embarrassment that a living king might have an affair with an American Divorcee or be to buddy-buddy with Nazis or other unfortunate things. The idea was that pledging allegiance to Mother Maple is an allegorical way to pledge allegiance to the law. Another example is St. Mark: for Venice. Mother Maple has some attributes of a patron saint rather than a monarch.

I should have said ultimate earthly fealty because I am picturing Italian style patronage webs influencing politics but that the Archducca is not sovereign but regent of the mythical Imperatrice. I edited thus.

By the way there is a local legend that ancestors sometimes come to guard their children or favored clients in the form of a domestic animal, or in this case a tree. This is simply an elaboration of that but needed some work including looking for Vilani sounding names (and using the fiction that the proper format was corrupted by cultural transmutation as I doubtless got the Vilani naming format wrong).
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Old 10-12-2023, 10:29 AM   #774
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Space Industry:

A tendency going back to the Ziru Sirku. As a planet becomes more mature and wealthy, and gains the wealth to support automatized and/or hazardous environment facilities it becomes common to place "less aesthetic" things on moons, outer planets, or even artificial outposts. This is an area where there are War Sats (robotic military outposts), comsats (datanet stations), navsats and beacons (comsats devoted to traffic), outports and prospecting camps. But there might also be intensive industry, mass mining, prison cities, etc. In such a situation the planet is returned to whatever the inhabitants consider aesthetic which might mean large wilderness areas, retro seeming architecture, or conversely, hyper-tech architecture with an ideal of beauty and/or comfort for the inhabitants rather than utilitarianism. In such a system the primary world is for living on and the outworlds for supporting it.

Adventure Seeds:

1. A free trader adventure within a system.

2. A ghost system contains a ruined labyrinthine structure rumored to contain the precious metal reserve of an extinct state and to have deadly security features (this is a dungeon crawl).

3. A tension between the inhabitants of the primary planet and the outworld. A good inspiration is Star Trek,"The Cloud Minders."

4. And related to 3. A classic cyberpunk in an ignored area of an industrial city under a dome. Ruled by a corporation, the government, the mafia, or Fill In Faceless Foe. In this ghetto area gangs clash over the leavings much like gulls or crows crowding around a restaurant. The PCs are high tech, mercs, bounty hunters, vigelantes, freedom-fighters, etc.

5. Whatever
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Old 10-17-2023, 01:33 PM   #775
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Interactive Drama:

This is an artistic media that came into fashion in the twentieth century (New Gregorian Calendar). In fact it has two sources. One is mass media including an oft-mocked show where a number of histrionic amateur actors in skimpy clothing are stranded on a desert island where they spend their time betraying one another. A more serious inspiration for interactive drama comes from a folkloric media popular among adolescents which involved meeting in the house of one and having adventures with the help of a computer or pen and ink. Modern interactive drama takes it's inspiration more from the later fortunately, and in technologically updated format it still exists.

However with the aid of technology it is now possible not only to simulate the adventure more gracefully but to do so in front of spectators either in real time or by recording. Because of this some PCs and gamemasters have become celebrities especially if they have an arousing and aesthetically pleasing physical appearance (an element of theater that has not changed), or some other striking attribute. Modern technology as well allows the simulation of not only the appearance but the gait of a given actor/actress.

Many governments are concerned with the possibility of citizens becoming addicted to this activity to the neglect of needful work (a curiously common fear through the ages). Communications firms meanwhile are concerned with maximizing profits. The usual compromise is to charge subscriptions; for instance a periodical might charge one price for the whole, one price for professional shows (usually subscribed to separately) and one to submit an amateur production or watch those of others. It is usually, of course, permissible for amateurs to gather privately on screen as a simple recreational activity, much as in some places gaming halls need licenses but private card playing does not.
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Old 10-21-2023, 10:28 AM   #776
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Also I have sometimes played with the idea that a mythical persona might do a good job as constitutional monarch leaving the human monarch (if any) as an official regent. Some tribes do something similar as well as fossilized memories of those tribes (like MacDonalds, or MacLeods or the "Children" of Israel). It personalizes the Constitution without the embarrassment that a living king might have an affair with an American Divorcee or be to buddy-buddy with Nazis or other unfortunate things. The idea was that pledging allegiance to Mother Maple is an allegorical way to pledge allegiance to the law. Another example is St. Mark: for Venice. Mother Maple has some attributes of a patron saint rather than a monarch.
Austin Tappen Wright's Islandia has a variant on that. A thousand years or so ago the then king of Islandia disappeared during a war. But they didn't have confirmation of his death, so someone stepped in as regent/acting king. And then somebody else succeeded them. And now, much, much later, Islandia has what amounts to a constitutional monarchy, where the original king is still considered to be missing rather than dead . . .
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Old 10-22-2023, 09:28 PM   #777
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The idea was that pledging allegiance to Mother Maple is an allegorical way to pledge allegiance to the law.
They will have to designate an heir to Mother Maple eventually. Maple trees live 100-400 years.
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Old 10-23-2023, 08:03 AM   #778
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They will have to designate an heir to Mother Maple eventually. Maple trees live 100-400 years.
Not necessarily. They can preserve the dead tree in a museum.
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Old 10-29-2023, 01:15 PM   #779
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The Imperial Office of Holidays

This is an interesting little cluster of anthropologists and economists has the job of analyzing and "improving" holidays. Holidays are powerful ideas. The 3I wants to see which ideas are being promoted.

The Office was started when an Imperial anthropologist noticed that the ancient American holiday of July Fourth was celebrated on large numbers of worlds settled from the USA. Most of these worlds also celebrated Lincoln and Washington's birthdays. The anthropologist showed the holidays helped keep the ideals of democracy and a deep hostility towards the Nobility. She recommended gently but firmly discouraging these holidays and replacing them with holidays that promoted the values of the 3I. She also suggested that making sure the new holidays were profitable to the planets economic elites would aide in the replacement of unwanted holidays.

For PCs, the Office of Holidays is a patron that pays you to go to parties and festivals. You could be sent to understand what makes Holiday A so much fun, in order to export it. Meanwhile, learning anything about Holiday B that could be used to kill it.

The heightened emotionalism of holidays and festivals make for drama. Drama that can hook in the PCs.
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Old 11-14-2023, 01:47 PM   #780
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Largesse: It is naturally assumed in many cultures that nobility will devote themselves to largesse. In some cases this is institutionalized: for instance among Aceri there is a state subsidy specifically for this purpose (with regular audits and payment into the noble's privy purse as a reward for successful projects). This is considered to some degree a substitute for welfare as it is often used for projects that gain public approval like poor relief and education and it is believed this dispenses with heavy bureaucracy and allows private initiative.

On Caledonia it is common to cultivate trees of Terran origin. The maples of Caledonia are famous and the syrup and other products are widely exported as are transplant saplings. Cedar is often grown too for their scent as they are in the Sword Worlds (the famously gendered Swordies consider sylvan scents masculine and floral feminine). Though Caledonian Cedar often has the cachet of expensive imports among Swordies. Siviculture is indeed considered a noble form of agriculture as it often requires many years and an orchard that takes decades before being productive is a loss rate many businessfolk cannot afford but nobles with a heritable fund can. Furthermore doing long term projects is widely considered a very fitting economic and social niche for a segment of society whose chief selling point (and unfortunately on many planets, ONLY selling point), is simply providing long lineages.

Often too, whole miniature ecologies are cultivated. The chief export of Stephenshold besides soldiers are pastoral and agricultural but especially pastoral products. Aside from mass moneymakers like beef, Stephenshold exports fine horseflesh, hunting hounds, raptors for sport and Persian Chetahs. As with siviculture in a lot of cases the point is the same: nobles have the time to maintain ecological networks (thus planetology is a noble occupation). This is similar to the Sword Worlds. While a yeoman is most a man if he is a small farmer, a Jarl will idealy have a whole private ecology of his own.

Historic buildings are widely favored. Inns and other hospitality establishments are often noble occupations in many places and the older and more revered the establishment, the more likely it is to be maintained by a noble. Artistic projects are common with patronage given to favored artists. Among the Aceri it is the peculiar custom to endow funds for artistic or intellectual contests of various kinds. The peculiarity is that there is an entry fee for just providing proof that someone has done a reasonable amount of work. The idea is that to often art becomes to much a zero-sum game from the fact that demand actually goes to a small number of artists, but making it possible for mediocre artists to get along just by trying will reinforce the tradition.

Largesse is a highly regarded activity of aristocrats in the Imperium and beyond. It is good for propaganda of course and just plain good anyway, and puts the privileges of the class to socially beneficial uses. While most aristocracies idealize military service, and some idealize trade while others despise it, no one has objections to largesse. Even aristocracies that maintain brutal and anachronistic systems like tax farming or serfdom, are likely to have largesse as a brighter side.
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