Ethics and Values

  • What will people swear a binding oath by? What do people use as curse words? Why are these used?
  • What are the most desired and most valuable things in this society—gold, jewels, drugs, money, furs, reindeer, oxen? Why is it desired or valued?
  • Do different races value different things? Is there a race or culture for whom non-material things (information, time, spiritual enlightenment) are the valuable things? How did they get that way?
  • What things are considered to be normal and acceptable in this society that might be considered abnormal or unacceptable by our standards (dueling, drug use, homosexuality, polygamy, brother-sister marriages amongst royalty, infanticide)?
  • What things are considered shocking in this society (a woman showing her ankles, a person eating left-handed, reading in public, using magic)? What are the reactions of ordinary people when someone does one of these things?
  • What are the acceptable limits to honor or honesty in society? Is a binding oath unbreakable no matter what, or can people get out of oaths it if the other party turns out to be evil scum, or if one party wasn’t fully informed or competent? Are “white lies” acceptable socially, or is lying in any form unacceptable?
  • What are the attitudes toward ownership? What constitutes “theft” and what can be stolen with few repercussions? Are thieves organized in a guild, licensed by law, or freelance?
  • Who is considered to be a citizen, with the rights and privileges thereof? What are those rights and privileges (voting, protection from thieves, the right to a trial of peers) and what responsibilities go along with those rights (jury duty, providing funds or knights for the lord’s army)? Can citizenship be revoked?
  • Are there certain groups of people (wizards, foreigners, children, peasants, women) who have fewer legal rights or less recourse than full citizens? Why? Are they considered mentally or morally deficient, a danger to the state, or is there some other reason?
  • What are the most controversial subjects in this culture? What things can you easily start a friendly argument about in any bar? What things will automatically start an unfriendly argument?
  • What are the social taboos? What things are “not done”? What things are never talked about?
  • What would happen if someone did something socially unacceptable? How do social taboos vary for different races and groups of people?
  • What are the biggest social faux pas? What are considered to be faux pas—drawing steel in the presence of a king, noble, or their legal representative, asking a dwarf whether it’s a male or a female? What subjects or actions cause embarassment or discomfort?
  • What are the society’s mores regarding courtship, marriage, and family? Is marriage primarily a civil or a religious institution? Why are people usually married—to produce legal heirs, for love, to keep fortunes “in the family”?
  • What are the standards of beauty for people? For paintings and sculpture? For clothes and furniture? How do they reflect the physical traits of the various peoples?
  • What kind of ideal life do people aspire to? Does everyone want to be an country squire, or is it the New York social whirl, or the jet-set lifestyle, that attracts most people?
  • What kinds of people are the rebels and outcasts of this society? How does society deal with them—prison, exile, decapitation, re-education camps?
  • Who are the arbiters of ethics (as opposed to law)? How did they get to be the arbiters? Who are the arbiters of the social milieu?

Return

Ethics and Values

New World Order - Jungle Edition sarendt sarendt