Culture (Paramýth Supplement)
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Ravnira is a very utilitarian country, with few needless traditions and customs. While traditions and holidays are few, the ones that do exist are extremely lavish and extensive. The most celebrated holiday is Vymefest, A celebration of the god Vymerus, god of the Forge and Alcohol. He is very important to Ravnira because of how much it's economy is based on technology and smithing. Vymefest takes place in the middle of Andry, specifically the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Vymerus is honored by having each man show off one physical creation of his own, such as a sword, cake, or house, and one liquid creation. Ravnira is famous for exquisite beers. Almost all men brew their own, and some women make cider and wine. The first day of Vymefest involves the display of physical creations. The second day involves the display of liquid creations. The third day is usually not remembered. The 24th is often taken as a holiday as well, but some will return to work that day anyway, especially on an Erys Year.
Politeness and courtesy in Ravnira is very different from other countries. Talking is kept to a minimum, and "Thank You" and "You're Welcome" are kept to single words ("danke" and "bitte" respectively.) Greetings are simply nods, and even those only between acquaintances, while Farewells are usually a wave and, amongst friends, an expression of good luck.
The only people to rival Ravnira in alcohol consumption is Morteim. The drink of choice is vodka, a liquor. A common joke in Morteim, often used as a comeback for references to their alcoholism, is "If you lived in Morteim, you'd want to be wasted too." Morteim has infamously bad weather, staying mostly frozen into late Aneixuary, even early Aianty, and freezing again mid-Vachuary. Famine is a common occurrence, such as the great famine that prevented the Czervone province of Ravnira from successfully seceding, as well as preventing Morteim from participating in Lèchardèr Revolution and the Third Tatsuan War. The people of Morteim are therefor very thrifty with food, making all of their dishes easily preservable and saving everything. Pickling, salting, or smoking of foods is very common for preservation, and food is often frozen by using just the elements. Manners in Morteim are very similar to those in Ravnira, but are even more gruff. Humor is usually self depreciating (see above joke), and is rarely appreciated by outsiders.
Strength and honor are the pillars of Kallaten society. However, the Kallaten sense of Honor is more closely related to glory. To a Kallaten, in battle is the ultimate way to die, and to kill an opponent in any way but face to face is dishonorable. This perception of open tactics and straight forward fighting is the one most commonly thought of by foreigners. It has also resulted in many, many, deaths. While a Kallaten will not stab someone in the back, they will walk up behind them, spin them around, and then slit their throats. They will sail under false colors, wear an enemies uniform, assassinate, ambush, conceal themselves, et cetera. As long as the enemy is can see them when they are killed, or facing the general direction of the Kallaten when they are attacked, or even facing the Kallaten when the assault started, anything goes. Thus piracy and shore raiding is a common occupation for any Kallaten with a ship and crew. Naval ships are held to a higher code, but it mostly amounts to restricting them to military targets.
The longship is the center of Kallaten tactics, being a fast, maneuverable, hard to hit ship used as an escort, scout, and messenger. The longship is usually very lightly armed and armored, with four cannons on pivoting bases, one at the fore prow, one at the aft prow, and two amidships. The prow-cannons were usually heavier, and fired through special breeches in the tall prows of the longships. The pivoting bases for the prow-cannons are less free tracking than those amidships, since they need additional support. Their are three points at which the cannon can be secured: chase, port, and starboard. The chase alignment requires the gun to be run forwards a foot so that it stick out of the prow breech. The breech has a mechanism built into it that allows the cannon to be fastened in, and then the base can be moved to rotate the gun around the muzzle. When firing crosswards, the gun is run back out of the breech, rotated upwards so that the muzzle is pointing to the sky, and dropped into place on the port or starboard side. This alignment allows for less side to side adjustment, but has a similar firing arc because the point of rotation is farther back. When firing crosswards, the gun can be flipped from side to side very easily, allowing shots to alternate sides. The amidships-cannons are much more versatile. They are much lighter, and can be picked up and moved to different firing points. Their are six points that the gun can be placed. Two fore and two aft, one on either side of the prows, and one in the center of each gunwale. This allows for many different firing alignments. Both can be placed at the prow for chasing, and one can be moved to the other prow on the other side for a broadside engagement. There are more complex layouts, such as putting one on the starboard prow and the other amidships on starboard, allowing for circling. Shields are placed on the gunwales to protect the crewmen, and can be moved and removed for cannon placement. When used for escorting slower ships, a third light-cannon is often brought to fill out a broad side. However, the ship must deploy a short pontoon on the opposite side from its broadside to prevent tipping when all cannons are fired. This significantly slows down the longship, but ramps up its firepower immensely. The pontoon can be switched to the other side.
Sevatin dinners are an important ceremony amongst families. All meals are served at low tables, often with diners eating cross-legged on a cushion, or, in more formal or fancy meal, sitting on a low stool with legs placed in a trench of sorts under the table, forming a sort of bench at floor level. The tables are almost always rectangular, with a preference for long and narrow to more square shaped. Meals are usually single dish affairs, served over rice, noodles, and occasionally flat-breads and on rare occasions renysh, a sweet pastry similar to a biscuit but more airy, like loaf bread. Every meal involves a blessing of the kona-bowl, a bowl of sugar or salt (the kona) in the middle of the table. After the meal is served and the bowl blessed, each diner takes a pinch of kona from the bowl and sprinkles it onto his food, "blessing" his meal from the powder. The diners take their pinches one at a time, going from oldest to youngest, but starting with any guests present. No precedence is given to power or authority, even if an emperor dines with peasants. The Sevatin Islands and coastal communities usually use salt, and inland communities use sugar. A blend of both is used in extremely formal and special meals, such as with visiting dignitaries. It is considered a major faux-pas to run out of kona in the process of the ceremony, and refilling the bowl is frowned upon as well. Since it reflects badly on the host to run out, taking too much kona is also considered an insult to the host, making sizing your pinch an important social skill to learn. Thus throwing salt or sugar at someone is considered a challenge to a duel, known as "scattering the kona".
Sevatim holds age in high reverence, giving age precedence over authority in most formal traditions. Disrespect to elders is considered on par with stealing, and is often punished by whipping and beatings with a rattan cane. It is considered an honor to take care of your elders once they are too old to do so for themselves.
Gambling is very prevalent in Tatsuan society, especially on Horse racing and Poker (Three-Two Hold specifically). The primary card deck used in Paramýth is the Tatsuan deck. It consists of 3 suits, 3 classes, and 4 cards in each. The suits are Blue, Yellow, and Green. The classes are Peasant, Hero, and Royal. The peasants are 1-4, the Heroes are 5-8, and the Royals are Jester, Prince, Queen, and King. Peasant beats Royals beats Heroes beats Peasants, and Blue beats Yellow beats Green beats Blue. All cards are labeled and designed the same. The first and last letter in the suite, card, and class are capitalized, and four pips on the bottom half of the card indicate the cards rank within its class (BluE SeveN, HerO, with 3 pips filled in).
Tatsua is also very fond of horse breeding. There are three breeds of horse that originate from Tatsua: The Dencirk, the Creland, and the Zevros Mule. The Dencirk is bred for speed, strength, and stamina. They are often used as warhorses, as they are easily trained. They are the most prized of all Tatsuan horses, and are the most common breed used for short races. A purebred Dencirk has a narrow, wedge shaped head, and a short, high-held tail. They are also rather tall, usually standing about 15-17 hands at the withers.
The Creland is the strongest of the three Tatsuan breeds, and is usually the most overlooked. A Creland is very strong, capable of pulling twice the weight that a Dencirk can. They are also very adept at dealing with weather, and can survive both a full blizzard and a heat wave easily. Crelands are a cross between a traditional Caurdyan workhorse and the wild horses native to Paramýth. These wild horses, known as Paramine, are very strong and have a lot of endurance, more so than the Caurdyan workhorses. They are also used to the climate of Paramýth, and impart that trait onto their offspring. Crelands are very short, standing 8-9 hands at the withers, and have shorter legs than is normal for horses. They are very thick, and have long manes and tails.
The Zevros Mule is the most curious breed of Tatsua; it is a cross between a horse and a "zevra", a striped equine found in Dhulya (across the Antardesiya Sea from the Jangaphar Peninsula). The Vake began experimenting with horse-zevra crossbreeds, and while they where unable to produce any fertile hybrids, they discovered that the hybrids had significantly more stamina than a normal horse. When the Vake where overthrown, they brought a herd of Zevras with them, in order to continue crossbreeding. The Tatsuan princedom attempted breeding with the Paramine, and found that they where a perfect match; the offspring of either a Zevra or a horse and a Paramine was not only fertile, but could breed freely with horses and zevras, and produce fertile offspring with them as well. Thus through complex breeding chains, the Tatsuans created an equine which was effectively half Zevra, one quarter true horse, one quarter Paramine. The Zevros are notable for their endurance and strength. They are somewhat short, standing approximately 12-14 hands at the withers, and barrel chested, with a short, wide head, similar to a mule. Zevros are typically black with golden bay stripes and belly. The most prized and rare coloration is a chestnut Zevros with lighter stripes. This coloration is known as a "Cherry-Maple". Zevros are used mostly as couriers in Tatsua, but Ravnira makes much heavier use of them in their military, preferring to use horses to move troops to a location, instead of to fight upon. Zevros are often the horse of choice for wanderers and roamers, as they are also very intelligent, with excellent eyesight and hearing. However, the maximum speed of a Zevros is not particularly high, and they are not very fast sprinters. Their advantage is in longer distances, being able to keep a full sprint for half again to twice as long as a Dencirk, and can maintain a medium-fast canter almost indefinitely.
NOTE ABOUT CARDS: The Tatsuan deck is altered slightly in some countries. In Morteim and the Tiefling Lands, Green is instead Red because the ink is easier to make there. Sevatim uses Emporer and Matriarch instead of King and Queen, and in the Aasimar Lands each class repeats 1-4, so the highest Green Royal is just a Green Royal 4. In Vonaisu and the Badlands, the suits are known as Footmen, Horsemen, and Bowmen (blue, yellow, and green respectively.) Ravnira, Morteim, and Kallaten also have a "Fool" card instead of the Yellow Jester. The Fool is given special rules in some games, but is treated the same as a Yellow Jester for most games.
Paramýth's most common calender, known as the Post-Vackel or New Ajantian calender, is centered around the the seasons. Each of the four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) is divided into two pseudo-months known as "quadragents" to the academic. Most refer to them as "months", but they are not in-fact months. Other countries, such as the Gharans, use lunar months, but they divide the year into 7 months instead of the eight quadragents. The first two quadragents belonging to spring, the second two summer, the third two autumn, and the last two winter;
- (47 days) Ianarus (usualy pronounced , but is pronounced in Sevatim and Tatsua)
- (46 days) Aneixuary
- (47 days) Aianty ( , but called in Sevatim and Tatsua)
- (45 days) Messotary
- (47 days) Vachuary
- (46 days) J ary (called in Ravnira and Morteim)
- (47 days) Umbruary
- (47 days) Pheanuary
It is based off of the original Vake calender, but Caudruary was replaced with Aianty, and the quadragents were shifted so that they fell on the same seasons in the southern hemisphere as they did in Caurdya in the northern hemisphere. The year has 372 days, with one day removed from Aneixuary every 3 years (called an Erys day). Before the revolution, The first month in summer was Vachuary, while Aianty and Messotary where shifted back one.
The nations each have a country that they get a lot of things from, especially names, language and accents.
- Morteim=Western Russia
- Sevatim=Hollywood Asia/North Carolina
- Tatsua=America/Native American/Britain
- Vonaisu=Super Siberia