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Mixing Cultures in Games: Part 4

Mixing Cultures in Games: Part 4

Now that I’ve given you some tools to combine multiple cultures in your game, I thought you’d like to see my advice in practice. While writing this article I really got into the idea of the French Renaissance, but with a belief focus on animism mixed with judeo christian beliefs (taking my Thai spirit house example one step further).  So, I decided to use that springboard for my example. I decided to take a more fantasy approach to the subject so I could inject active spirits into player’s lives, because I think that is fun.

Here is just a tiny window into the world I created:

All items have spirits and life. Animism is mixed with Christianity, the bible has been interpreted to mean that there are individual ‘spirits’ in all things. Therefore, people have grown to not only worship God, but put respect into the land and items they possess for different reasons (eg- spirits). With the Renaissance, this means that new ideas and creations, have taken on their own lives. The Birth of Venus, for example has its own spirit, the piece is not only respected for its beauty, but for the beauty of the spirit within.


Aside from spirits within items, there are also wandering spirits, celestial beings or mischievous imps that must be appeased. Spirits who find a home on your land can be appeased by the building of a spirit house, a maison de l'esprit.


Spirit houses take many shapes and forms, but are commonly ornate and well kept.

Offerings are placed at the houses to appease spirits and refreshed around once a week. These offerings can range from wine, food, flowers, and even valuable items - depending on how much the spirit needs to be appeased.

 

Spirits who are left alone for too long without an offering will being to play pranks on their human neighbours.

  • After a month, items will begin to break around the house, milk will curdle, and plants will grow at an alarming rate.
  • After a few months to half a year, people will begin to trip in the house, guests will sit on pins, and the gardens will be untamable.
  • After a year the property might suffer from a small earthquake causing a tear in the house. This is a social disaster, it is a faux pas to neglect the spirits on your property, and shows your family is doing poorly.

 

Spirits who are worshipped and appeased on a weekly/bi-weekly basis provide the following benefits, but will be more quick to anger when ignored:

  • (d20 system, D&D, Swords & Wizardry etc.) Players feel stronger in their homes and may crit on their powers on a 19+. Additionally, once per story players may add +2 to the result of their roll, if they are on their property, this action may be taken after rolling.
  • (d10 system, WoD) Players feel refreshed at home and may regain 1 willpower when they have worshipped at the shrine. Additionally, once per chapter players may turn one failed roll into a success if they are on their property, as the spirits come to their aid.
  • (AW) The spirits residing in spirit house have the following move (with a +2 to rolling) they may perform once during a story. “Aid” On a 6 and under the spirits come alive and show themselves in the open, but are unable to help. On a 7-9 the spirits aid their neighbours by assisting in their roll and bumping up to the next success tier. On a 10+ there is the same effect as 7-9 and they may use this power again during the same story.

 

Spirits who are worshipped on a monthly basis will provide the following benefits:

  • (d20 system, D&D, Swords & Wizardry etc.) Players feel stronger in their homes and may crit on their powers on a 19+.
  • (d10 system, WoD) Players feel refreshed at home and may regain 1 willpower when they have worshipped at the shrine.
  • (AW) Once per story the spirits residing the in the spirit house, when the players is on their property, will give the player a +1 to their roll.

 

Someone who steals an item from the spirit houses will suffer the following:

  • (d20 system, D&D, Swords & Wizardry etc.) Players suffer from a constant -2 to all actions performed on this property. Additionally, they may not gain any rest in this area.
  • (d10 system, WoD) Permanent +1 DC to all actions performed on the property, this may be removed if the spirit is somehow appeased again. Additionally, they may not regain willpower by resting in this area.
  • (AW) Permanent -1 to all moves performed on the property, this may be removed if the spirit is somehow appeased again.


Well, that’s it for this series of articles. I hope that I have helped you to be able to combine different cultural elements into your game and that you have the confidence to do so for yourself now! If you decide to use my advice, I’d love to hear from you and see the awesome examples you’ve created!

 You can read the first post in this series here, the second here, and the third here.

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