Dintin Aug 18th, 2014 (edited) 294 Never
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- Absolutely. Hawking is a wildly popular sport amongst the nobility and your Master kept a prized hawk whom he cherished. Dogs are kept as pet, guard, and working animals. Cats infest every Samjan city, to help keep vermin populations under control, they're also kept as pets. Horses are primarily working animals and really only found in the northern, less sandy areas of Pidjata. In the seas of dunes that make up most of Pidjata a sort of sand ship is used, basically a wind-powered sled.
- There are also a range of more exotic animals, including reptiles and various large reptilians. Snakes are fairly common, and you've heard rumors that some under the Samrajya even worship snakes as the worldly agents of a strange, foreign god from the jungles of Elaudia.
- If he were to maintain a proper diet, avoid stressful situations, maintain a tight grip on your sanity, and manage to avoid illness or a violent death Mikhael could absolutely live several thousand years. Hell, he could live to witness the heat death of the universe.
- The issue is that most Samjan cannot do those things. The vast majority die from accidents, violence, or illness between the ages of one hundred and two hundred, and by the time they reach five hundred injuries and stress often turn them into a bent-backed, hobbling cripple. While there are certainly Samjan who are 500+ years old and still look to be in their twenties, they're few and far between.
- I'd also point out that your people do 'age', in a way. Old Samjan will start to grow facial hair and really, really old Samjan will have all their hair start to go grey, then white. Supposedly past a thousand they begin to go bald, but that's only what you've heard.
- As for why your Master didn't heal his eyes, it's because his body didn't really register anything 'wrong' with them. Cataracts are not a normal part of the body but they're not really something that can just be healed, either. He would've needed to scoop out his eyes and grow them back, an unnecessary trial when Nature Magic allows him to see better than he ever could before. After a while cataracts became part of his self-image, so even if he scooped out his eyes and regrew them he would regrow the cataracts with them.
- Elves consider homosexuality abhorrent. They're so busy killing one another that to enter a relationship that won't produce children is viewed as betraying the race. Homosexuals are thus consider criminals with the punishment varying by tribe or city-state.
- Rhynians considered homosexuality acceptable, but their views on sexuality would be somewhat alien to us. There were givers and takers, that was it. The sex of the partner didn't enter into the equation. A famous story amongst your people is the "Rape of Azash". The Rhynians offered to leave the city untouched should it open its gates and allow the Rhynians to seize the city. Their offer was refused, and after a siege lasting a year and a day the city finally fell. The Rhynians marched in and gangs of soldiers roamed the streets to take their pleasure from both men and women (This, mimicking the actual Roman practice. When a city was conquered both men and women feared rape). It was also common for a man who beds another man's wife to be taken to court, where the punishment would be for the adulter to be raped by the woman's husband (This, also mimicking the actual Roman practice). I won't reveal Aleamondian cultural norms, as you don't know enough about them yet.
- Samjan actually mimic the Japanese tradition. That is, a woman having sex with other women is considered a phase, or even cute. It's harmless, just a bit of fun. Men having sex with other men is viewed as disgusting, a problem that ought to be fixed. Regardless, men are expected to marry women and vice versa, if for no other reason than to continue the family line.
- Prostitution is perfectly legal and, though it carries some stigma, isn't really frowned upon. One of the Shah's wives was once a prostitute, and it is common for women working in upper class establishments to end up marrying one of the wealthy patrons.
- Street walkers and cheap whores are considered the lowest of the low, as far as the social ladder goes. Even slaves have more clout.
- Mikhael, as the son of a prestigious and wealthy noble house as well as the apprentice to a powerful Vatis, went to only the highest of high class establishments. More often than not that meant spending several hundred silver to lounge in the most luxurious of seating spaces surrounded by beautiful women, any of whom were available to be bedded but also offered music, food, conversation, sport, games, and various other pursuits. Some were even well educated, enough so to offer tutoring and to bounce ideas off of. Each of them also would've met the ideal of Samjan beauty by default.
- Of course, due to the cost of the experience Mikhael only went twice. Once with a handful of close friends when he was a teenager, and once after he attained his Vatis robes. He never had much of a dating life, as it's improper for a noble to seriously pursue a low-born woman and most of his fellow apprentices, though high-born, were far too absorbed in their studies to consider romantic entanglement. The concept of friends with benefits isn't particularly common amongst Samjan, certainly many young men and women engage in copious amounts of casual, meaningless sex but rarely do these encounters lead to any relationships or last for more than a night. It's generally considered that if sex gets involved in a friendship the proper thing to do is wed.
- Drinking & Drugs:
- Drinking is viewed in a generally positive light. Most everyone drinks and refusing a drink is considered rude. They produce a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, primarily wines and liquors but beer, ale, and mead as well. There is an 'ideal' drunk, those who get angry or weepy after copious alcohol intake are viewed as weak-willed, a proper Samjan ought only become jovial and relaxed.
- Hashish and opium are in common usage, as is tobacco. Mixtures of pipe weed often contain large amounts of one or the other. Your Master swore by smoking an opium laced mixture before he meditated, stating it helped him slip into and remain in his meditative trance.
- However, he discouraged you from using as it built a dependence. These days he can't meditate at all without taking a puff from his pipe.
- The legends say that Hiacian vatis, before going into combat against the Rhynian Empire, partook of the divine 'Spice'. Said to give them god-like power. Unfortunately this god-like power was never expounded upon and the method used to extract spice has been lost to the ages.
- Friendship is taken very seriously in Samjan culture. Good friends are expected to sacrifice for one another willingly without considering it an imposition or a debt owed. It is simply what a friend ought to do.
- Friends are not made quickly or easily, but rather one will typically observe an individual and take into account their qualities and flaws before deciding whether to become friends. It isn't something that just sort of 'happens' but rather a life-long commitment to help that person. The traits primarily sought are honesty and moral clarity. A friend is someone who clearly knows good from evil and makes conscious decisions regarding their actions with these definitions in mind.
- Typically if one wishes to initiate a friendship with someone they will be invited to dine with one's family and other friends. It's very similar to presenting a new girlfriend to one's parents, except their approval isn't particularly important. If the recipient of the invitation wants to be that person's friend they'll accept, if not they'll either propose eating somewhere else if they think they might want to be the person's friend or outright refuse if they have no interest in friendship.
- Standards of Beauty:
- I'll leave Mik's preferences up to the players if it ever comes up, but the Samjan ideal for both men and women, at least in the West, is slender and athletic. A runner's body. They also usually prefer their women 'short' in that they're closer to 6 feet tall than 7. By this metric Darzi is actually very attractive. MIkhael used to be a bit too soft to truly be considered attractive, but two weeks of slim meals and constant physical activity have improved his looks.
- In the East you've heard they actually prefer their women to be chubby or even downright obese (a la the Mauritanian ideal of beauty). Something about it offering assurance that they don't suffer from any of the innumerable diseases that seem to come out of the Elaudian jungles, and an indication that they're wealthy. Most Westerners think it's disgusting.
- The Elven ideal of beauty is 36-24-36. That classic hourglass shape. The Rhynians prefer women with a more pear-shaped look. He would probably favor the former but it's not like you've discussed this with him.
- The Rhynian ideal of beauty is small breast and wide hips. Large breast are viewed as comical, and a sign that a woman has already had children or is aging poorly. Rhynian women will often bind their breast to make them appear smaller while wearing clothing that emphasizes the hips.
- Rubbing the ears is a sign of affection that carries similar significance to a peck on the cheek. Kissing and hugging are both practiced and carry obvious meaning. Touching one's fore and middle fingers to their forehead and chest while bowing means that the recipient is in your heart and mind, basically a sign of great respect. It's the courtesy one ought to show the Shah, the Royal Family, or nobility if one is a peasant.
- Samjan have a multitude of obscene gestures. The most common is what we would know as the bras d'honneur. Thrusting the fist upwards with the arm bent and slapping one's bicep. It basically means 'up yours' or 'I will sodomize you with my fist'. Biting one's thumb and waving the rest of the fingers of that hand in the air means 'Suck dicks'. Flicking the tips of one's fingers along the bottom of one's neck means 'fuck off'. Grabbing one's own ears and tugging on them roughly means 'lets have casual sex'.
- There are various others I have stockpiled for various occasions as well.
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