Culture

Table of contents


The Blight that killed most of civilization and left just this cluster of survivors is a great mystery, is the focus of quite a bit of mythology and ancient stories, and has left a huge impact on the society and social interactions. It has stolen away much of the modern technology, only the Turritella itself a sign of the great knowledges people once had. There is running water and glowing orbs of light, ancient and widespread, but other than this technology is rare and expensive.

Life in Kaipalu and the Countryside is restrictive, regimented; people are expected to dress decently, to attend church on a regular basis, to adhere strictly to certain social norms, and to always obey higher authorities. Family values are held in strong esteem, with men as the heads of households, marriage an expectation by the age of thirty, and children very important. This is a dying world - giving birth is one of the most valuable things a woman can do, leaving them secondary to their male family members in everyday life, the home keepers and mothers. Sexual deviancy, whether outside of marriage or homosexual in nature, is strongly frowned down upon. In the small countryside cluster towns, it could result in exile.

On the flip side, however, life to these lower and middle class people in the Turritella is close knit, personal, and comfortable. In the small towns in the Countryside, civilization is more like a large family than a cluster of strangers. 'Neighbor' is a word with strong connotations of helping each other, whether emotionally, physically, or economically. Most people are raised by villages of friends. In Kaipalu, the great city itself, lines are cut across the edges of neighborhoods; there is more anonymity and strangers, loners and anti-social behavior is tolerated, to a degree, but that support system is there if people are willing to give as well as take. There are no orphans, because even the strangest of children are precious, will be adopted into the fold.

The Estates, to the north, are an entirely different story. The people who live in these great white buildings are the Aristocrats, wealthy and largely related, and their social interactions are about gaining status and respect - or crushing other people. They are family, but not a loving, neighborly kind of family. Intrigue is a game designed to keep them from growing bored, and some deviant behavior is acceptable, but only once the prerequisite two children have been produced.

Below, in the rooftops and Cessnock, the rules change entirely. Here, it is no joke that anything goes; murder is still frowned down upon, even among thieves, but prostitution and gambling, drugs and fighting and general debauchery abound. Only the surface-dwellers themselves have a code of conduct. There is no honor among thieves and exiles and criminals.

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Genetics

There are no more 'races', as there are only roughly a hundred thousand people still alive, and separating this small group into yet smaller group would be counter productive. However, there is a wide range of skin tones, hair colors, eye colors, features, and builds. Frequently, this appearance reflects a certain magical strength or focus.

Fashion

Clothing is very structured and severe, many-layered, in primarily natural or subdued colors. Canvases, denims, and flannels are the most common and least expensive fabrics, easy to work with and dye and sculpt. Low-end Chitin and Actin are used as reinforcement, boning or buttons, in the middle classes; in the upper classes, they fashion elaborate and indulgent, revealing or well-tailored fashions.

Technology

Building, constructing, creating: these are all borderline religious activities, and require expertise and licensing. Most technology has that same organic look as Architecture?, sometimes even resembling living creatures in their form and movements.

Entertainment

There are many tiers of entertainment in Newgulf, and many kinds of Entertainers. These might range from dancing girls in Cessnock to traveling circus groups or singers around the Countryside to theater groups or singers in Kaipalu and great musicians, opera singers and talents in the Estates.

Food

In Newgulf, food is generally simple and hearty fare. Certain strains of livestock have adapted shockingly well to the way of life aboard the Turritella, and are thriving in its manufactured landscapes. There is quite a lot of cattle, sheep, goats, chickens. Grains, too, have somehow survived in the station, growing across the plains of the Countryside, and with the population as small as it is it's easy to grow enough corn, wheat, and other basic plants. There are also quite a few tasty cacti that fill the gaps left by the less-hearty fruits and vegetables. There are few root vegetables, and fruit trees are only common in the Estates.

Drugs

These also make their way into many aspects of society. Light drugs make a difficult job easier, make an unpleasant existance better. Middling drugs can provide some small enlightenment, increase prowess in important tasks, release endorphins. Higher end drugs are passed around among the Aristocrats like candy, and sought after by those seeking to raise in the ranks.

Transportation

While there are some magical vehicles, used as transport, these are expensive enough that buying one is problematic, even for a well-off tradesman. More common are classic modes of transportation: walking, where possible, and horses or beasts for those wealthy enough to afford it. Transportation between Kaipalu and Cessnock is also possible, but is extremely regulated. Travel without a permit is difficult and dangerous... or at least is for those who aren't familiar with the clandestine routes.

Money

Coin exists, among the people of Newgulf, in the form of metals from the surface of the planet. Most of this coin has been around since the Turritella was constructed, and is in the form of faceless, well-worn round and flat shapes. There are several different colors of metal, and this determines the value. This is the only purpose metal is put to, and on its own, coin has virtually no value, it is just a token with a false value attached to it. Most people, however, operate in trade and barter — and the Aristocrats function almost exclusively in IOU notes and promises.

Weapons

The weaponry that exists in Newgulf is all highly organic, fluid, and stylistic. As almost all of it is grown from chitin of varying quality, creating weapons is an elaborate and well-respected job for an Artisan? to have, and many weapons have been passed down along families as a kind of torch or honor. They are easy to acquire, but having a shoddy weapon is a sign of poverty or a lack of self-respect. People strive for beautiful, elegant weapons.

Crime

Crime runs rampant on the Surface and in Cessnock in particular, but the Turritella isn't entirely bereft of the law breakers that pervade any society.

Slang

There is quite a bit of slang, as well as other important words that invade their way into everyday life. Much of it comes from magic, from half-forgotten mythology, and the awe-inspiring surroundings in the Turritella.