D&D General World view and play impact (Role playing discussion)


I'm currently the DM in our 3,5 campaign, though this discussion is more or less system/revision independent.

In my game the party is on the Elemental Plane of Fire. In D&D terms, the predominant society is "Lawful Evil".

So what does that imply, in terms of the way society works?

When the PCs arrived they were warned by their guides that (to quote a Disney ride), "These are the last friendly words you'll hear". The concept of a "friend", someone who will do something for you just because they like you, without expectation of recompense, is foreign here. In my view of this world, the word "friend" doesn't exist in the Ignan language. If a culture doesn't have a concept, they don't have a word for it either.

A servant at a hotel was asked if she knew where to find a jeweler. She agreed that she knew of such a place. And then she stopped talking. If they wanted that information, it would cost.

The standard for minor directions is a single copper piece. "A penny for your thoughts" has a different meaning here. Advice you got for free was worth exactly nothing, or less.

When one of the PCs dropped a couple of gold on a tray, as a thanks for service, she presumed that they were offering to hire her as a guide, and she agreed. They had already paid for the room and the meal, so there was no reason for them to pay again, unless they were paying for something else. And she wasn't that kind of girl, at least not at that price. :)

So now that I've shared a few examples, think about the different cultures that exist in your game worlds. How do they differ from each other, from "normal"?

I mean, we used to joke about the low-grade Sci-Fi, where the aliens and monsters were obviously just men in rubber suits. (Think every classic Godzilla-ish movie ever made) Different worlds/nations/races/planes shouldn't just be American culture in a rubber suit, should they?

So share with us your favorite "other" society, and how it's different from what the PCs/players would expect.

A penny for your thoughts? ;)

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