Little Creations

One of the things I try to create once or twice a session, is some little piece of culture that exists in the Ninth World that's different from ours. Things like incidental flora and fauna (that is, things that aren't monsters or treasure), musical instruments, oaths people swear by, crafts, that sort of thing.

Here's what I've got for next session:

River Melon

A river melon is an egg-shaped gourd that grows to between a foot and two feet in diameter, the long way, when mature. They are pale bluish green when immature, and deepen in color as they mature. The rind is quite heavy and dense, and when emptied and dried the rind can be used to make bowls, containers, and various musical instruments. The flesh is thin but sweet, and craftsmen scraping out the inside are often pestered by local children begging for a taste. 

Comments

  • That is good world building. I will after my game this evening I may add some to this thread.
  • I'm a big fan of Jack Vance, and he does this very well. I'm particularly interested in creating semi-ridiculous cultural quirks for the little isolated towns the players will be visiting. For example, I hope to start my first adventure in the town of Quatrevane, so called because it was built around the base of a huge, four-petaled (or "vaned") flower, which some nomadic yokels took to be a good omen. They have since decided that four is the most sacred and perfect number of the universe, and go out of their way to make the façade of every building have four windows (each made of four panes, of course) and have a portico with four posts. Naming conventions are such that every individual has a first name and a family name of four letters each, two syllables each (for a total of four syllables), such as Yaso Nema, Orin Arod, Vera Otan, and various other names chosen randomly from a list I made. Further, four is such an auspicious number, people will take pains to ensure they have at least three friends or relatives on hand at all times, so as to travel in a perfect group of four, called a "receptacle." This has led to a trend of professional "perfectors," i.e., homeless bums, waiting by the city gates offering to round off groups of travelers of three or less in exchange for shins.

     

    That's a town in itself, but I like your idea of including smaller, incidental details as well. Here's a few ideas:

     

    Ruderoses

    These peculiar blue flowers are possessed of an unusual adaptation. When the flower is pollinated and a seed pod begins to form, the flower does not wilt, but rather metamorphoses into a curious insect-like mouth. At this point, whenever a human passes nearby, the flowers will harangue the passerby with a series of crude and juvenile insults, all in flawless Truth of indeterminate age and sex. Humiliated travelers taken to destroying the flowers in a fit of rage are actually helping the thing, for this trauma bursts their seed pod, scattering them to the wind or sometimes allowing them to adhere to the traveler's clothing.

     

    Sarails

    This diminutive species of lizard has evolved a set of membranous wings in place of their forelegs, allowing them true flight. Aside from the obvious protection from predators this affords them, they use their wings for temperature regulation and hunting. The back of their wings are black, allowing them to lay on their bellies with wings outstretched to absorb as much sunlight as possible. The front of their wings, however, are striated with bands and whorls of bright colors, meant to simulate the look of wildflowers. They will stand on their hindlegs in fields of flowers, wings outstretched and mouths open, hoping to lure curious insects close enough to jump up and snap at them. Children are often seen running through patches of hunting sarails just to see them leap into the air, hissing with fury in a whirl of color.

     

    Khlar Knife

    The people of a remote village practice a curious custom involving an ancestral knife. Typically, when a man has lived long enough to have living children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren, it is customary for those of his sons with both children and grandchildren to take portions of their father's skeleton (femurs and scapulae are preferred) to carve into handles for making a knife. This knife, called a "khlar" in the native tongue of these people, is considered a sacred relic, and households fortunate enough to possess one are considered auspicious. The blade is iron and checkmark-shaped, with the cutting edge on the inside of the "checkmark." Many luck-bringing rituals are performed by the grandfather who possesses this blade, such as the cutting of the umbilical cord for newborn children and livestock to ensure health and long life, and using the blade to cut the palm of one of their grandchildren, so as to sprinkle their blood over a field to ensure a fertile harvest. A khlar is kept in a central place in the household, typically on a rack or placard above the den or fireplace, and it said that its magic will be depleted if anyone other than the grandfather to whom it belongs touches it.

     

    That was fun. Feel free to use these, for I almost certainly will.
  • Ember Grass

    Ember Grass is a rare type of vegetation found thru-out Numenera.  It is known as Ember Grass because the plant actually burns and smolders like hot coals, and tends to put off intense heat.  It generally grows near large bodies of water and requires a large supply of oxygen.  Ember grass functions in every way as if it were a fire.  This means it tends to grow in large clumps will little surrounding vegetation.  While constantly burning, the grass itself never burns.  It lets off no smoke and will burn indefinitely.  Once harvested, Ember Grass quickly burns out.
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