Disclaimer/Caution: I came up with these tables as a way to randomly generate fantasy cultures. They represent my attempt to quantify things about large groups of make-believe people and are patterned after D&D's ability scores. This stuff is pseudo-sociological at best. It's not intended to reflect the real world anymore than a dungeon crawl reflects a trip to the grocery store. I chose these particular attributes because I think they offer useful ways to describe how cultures operate and interact in a classic D&D setting. No baby orcs were harmed during this imaginary exercise.
1 Cultural and Sub-Cultural Attributes
- IMG: Imagination (Artistry)
- MTP: Metaphysics
- STR: Stratagem
- LYL: Loyalty
- FEC: Fecundity
- IND: Industry
The culture's ability to conceive new thoughts. Cultures with high imagination tend to be very productive in idiosyncratic ways. Low imagination cultures tend to peak at levels just above survival and maintain unchanging modes of existence.
The culture's technical awareness of reality, including the various material and non-material manifestations that populate it. High metaphysical cultures exist within the deepest fissures of magical knowledge and experience. Low metaphysical cultures tend to be of limited perception with an intense focus on the near future.
The depth of the culture's tact in a general sense as well as its ability to manipulate other cultures. Cultures with high stratagem often dominate large regions. Low stratagem cultures are often isolated.
The culture's sense of responsibility, especially when entering into contracts with other cultures. High loyalty cultures tend to be staunch allies and terrible enemies. Cultures of low loyalty breed distrust and have difficult dealings with neighboring cultures.
The culture's birth-rate, specifically, and its ability to produce offspring more generally. Highly fecund cultures tend to over-populate areas quickly. Cultures of low fecundity breed very slowly and are often near extinction.
The culture's rate of material production and willingness to be productive. This especially applies to economic aspects of the campaign. High industrial cultures will tend to be very wealthy. Low industrial cultures typically suffer from overbearing, high industry neighbors. Sometimes they maintain low industrial development because of the benefits of a hospitable locale where industry is not necessary for survival.
2 Random Attribute Generation
Roll 2d30 + 2d6 six times and arrange results as desired among the six attributes.
3 Random Wealth Generation
Roll 1d4 and add or subtract any wealth modifiers (see Section 1) to find culture's total wealth score. Negative results are always "0". Consult table below.
4 Example Culture
Name: The Half-Men
Province: Tsul-at-Tsul, an island fortress
Reputation: Creepy mystics
Wealth: Low (5)
IMG: 41 (Exceptional)
MTP: 61 (Genius)
STR: 37 (Moderate)
LYL: 31 (Moderate)
FEC: 19 (Low)
IND: 37 (Moderate)
The Half-Men of the Fortress that is called Tsul-at-Tsul have lived isolated from the mainland for many centuries. Their legendary mystical powers are said to be the result of miscegenation with phantom beings from the Old Lands who are known to haunt the Outer Sea. Mysterious and eccentric, the Half-Men have puttered away for generations in their red stone fastness developing their peculiar form of sorcery. Uninterested in other cultures, they tend to avoid dealing with strangers directly. Due to this insular nature and the limited food resources found on their island, the birth-rate of the Half-men is low. They produce few materials that are of interest to the larger Outer Sea economy.