WB04.1 Kingdoms and Sociology (People and their culture.)

WB04.1 Kingdoms and Sociology, people and their culture.

There are four basic steps for describing a kingdom, we will be breaking this down into 3 parts and combining steps 3 and 4.

  1.  Detailing the people and their culture within the kingdom (Part one)
  2. Charting the physical boundaries and terrain within the kingdom (Part two)
  3. Describing how the people live in the terrain and where they have changed it, built cities or farmlands etc. (Part three)
  4. Populating the region with monsters, fantastical ecologies and adventure possibilities (Part three?)


Detailing the people and their culture within the kingdom .

Who lives in the area? What are they like? How do they get along?  These are some of the questions we will answer as we create a culture for the kingdom.  Culture  in reference to the guidebook is a broad generalization of several gross characteristics  which include:

  1. Race
  2. Language
  3. Technology
  4. Government
  5. Social Alignment
  6. Situation
  7. Class and kit biases

Cultural Archetypes

It may be easier to use existing preconceptions of certain cultures  then to completely invent an imaginary one from thin air. Use any cultural model that you think fits your need but the guide book has a table (table 21) and descriptions  with the following cultural characteristics.

  • Aboriginal
  • African
  • Arabic
  • Aztec/Incan
  • Barbarian
  • Central Asian
  • Egyptian
  • European
    • Renaissance
    • Middle Ages
    • Dark Ages
  • Indian
  • Oriental
  • Persian
  • Roman
  • Savage
  • Viking


  • Race  besides human, kingdoms and realms can be built by demihumans, humanoid or monstrous races.
    • Number of Races, primary and secondary races, who are they?
      • Small kingdoms
        • 1d2 primary and 1d4+1 secondary races.
      • Moderate kingdoms
        • 1d2 primary and 1d6+1 secondary races
      • Large kingdoms
        • 1d3 primary and 1d8+1 secondary races
      • Empires
        • 1d4 primary and 3d4 secondary races
      • Primary races comprise 25-50% of the total population
      • Secondary races account for 1-10% of the population
      • Sub-races can be substituted for different races.
    • Race Status and position, how do they get along?
      • Table 22 lists possible situations
        • Completely intermixed
        • Common communities, separate districts; one race is dominate over the others
        • Common communities, separate districts; one race is dominate but secondary race is considered equal
        • Separate communities, one race is dominate over the others
        • Separate communities, one race is dominate but secondary race is considered equal
        • One race enslaves the other
    • Good vs Evil races
      • Normally good races find it easier to cooperate together, share a realm and get along.
      • Evil races seldom run together unless when command to do so by a more sinister power.


  • Language – how do they communicate?  this is an important marker in cultural boundaries.
    • Language as a social distinction
      • When one race subjugates another language can be a mark of distinction between rulers and subjects.
    • Common tongue
      • This can be the tongue of the dominate race in the region and thus can change  from region to region or you can have an actual universal language that is common.
    • Literacy
      • Possession of a written language is a key characteristic of a culture.
      • In the absence or a written language a strong oral tradition of memorized epics can serve as an alternate for recording tales.


  • Technology – what level is it?
    • Four basic categories in AD&D following a European model
      • Ancient
      • Dark ages
      • Middle ages
      • Renaissance
    • Kingdom technology level (table 23) also breaks down additional levels
      • Stone age
      • Savage
      • Bronze age
      • Roman
      • Dark ages
      • Crusades
      • 100 Years war
      • Renaissance
    • Other technologies
      • If you are referencing a specific cultural archetype you can also pull from their technology level or as always create what works best for the story or campaign .


  • Government – who runs the kingdom?
    • Table 24  provides some possible options
      • Autocracy
      • Bureaucracy
      • Confederacy
      • Democracy
      • Dictatorship
      • Feudalism
      • Geriatocracy – reserved for the old or very old
      • Gynarchy -reserved to females only, paired with another type
      • Hierarchy
      • Magocracy – wizards
      • Matriarchy
      • Miltocracy – military leaders, martial law
      • Monarchy
      • Oligarchy
      • Pedocracy – scholars or sages
      • Plutocracy –  wealthy
      • Republic
      • Satrapy –  conquerors and representatives of another govt.
      • Syndicracy
      • Theocracy


  • Social Alignment – like individuals a city or kingdom can have an alignment describing the way people get things done. Can affect the laws of the land  and unwritten codes.
    • Table 25 provides these options
      • lawful  good
      • lawful neutral
      • lawful evil
      • neutral evil
      • true neutral
      • neutral good
      • chaotic good
      • chaotic neutral
      • chaotic evil


  • Situation
    • This is a catchall for any kind of scenario or fantastical element you want to add into the immediate campaign or story.  Examples could be:  disorder, unusual organization, unusual laws, mature of magic, persecution, plane-walking and spell-jamming as examples


  • Classes, Races and Kits
    • Are there any special character considerations to be aware of?  Examples: if you have no oriental cultures the samurai or ninja characters would be travelers from a far away land, or if only one human kingdom in the world knows the secrets of magic then human mages should be from that kingdom.
    • Look at all the classes, races and kits and determine what would be considered native to that kingdom.


Next part we will look at the physical cartography of a kingdom.








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