Culture Views

Part of a human’s value system is how that person views various cultures. A person’s notions about other cultures allow them to generalize when interacting with new people and influence their behavior toward members of those cultures. Each colony’s local culture also has metrics that describe its population’s overall perception of other cultures, and these metrics can govern interactions at the diplomatic and societal level.

cw_views_on_dagoroths

Graph showing how a Core World colony’s societal perception of Dagoroths has changed over time.

Summary

  • A person’s view of a particular culture consists of ratings on 3 axes.
    • The first rating is the kindness-brutality metric.  It describes how vicious or merciful an enemy or ally combatant generally is. This rating exerts most of its effect in combat behaviors and fear calculations.
    • The second axis is the puritanical-degenerate rating. This rating isn’t so much a judgment on the moral character of another culture as it is a measure of respect for another culture’s steadfastness in its beliefs. Certain behaviors, like the communal living of Kelgonians, will always be seen as strange by individualistic Dagoroths. This rating is more of a description of how fiercely a particular group adheres to its value system, whatever that value system may be. Its effects are mostly felt in determining how reliable another person or group is, which also affects combat.
    • The third axis is the cool-uncool rating. This mostly affects attractiveness ratings in romance and likability ratings in socialization.
  • Culture views influence a wide variety of behaviors, particularly those that involve other people.
  • Behaviors and experiences also influence culture views. A mother whose son was killed in battle by a Core Worlder is almost invariably going to hate Core Worlders.
  • The way that other cultures are portrayed in media has a profound effect on the views of your society. While individuals are affected to varying extents, controlling the media available to your colonists can go a long way toward promoting the views that you want.
  • Expedition law, though a heavy handed approach, can also indirectly influence cultural views. Banned socialization and media regulation will indirectly influence views over time.

Overview

An NPC’s views on cultures exert significant influence on its behaviors that involve other NPCs. As such, it’s important to foster views that are in line with whatever goals you want to accomplish. In order to foster the right sorts of views, this section should provide a useful explanation of both how culture views work and what culture views do.

quarthanid_view

An individual Core Worlder’s view of Quar’thanid culture. They’re somewhat savage and very uncool, but are steadfast in practicing their customs.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that culture views exist both at the individual and societal level. Each individual NPC has its own thoughts regarding other cultures, and this NPC’s particular views are largely defined by its individual experiences. Each colony’s local culture also has a set of general views of other cultures, but this, like most aspects of a local culture, is simply an amalgamation of the individual views of all the colonists. As many individual views change, the local culture’s general view changes with them.

The individual and group views exert somewhat different influences. When it comes down to individual NPC behaviors, the individual view of that particular NPC govern decision making. Formative views that affect development in children and social norms are defined by the local culture’s views.

As for culture views themselves, they’re defined by three separate and largely independent ratings. Each rating, like personality traits, is a value on a continuum between two extremes. The three ratings are measures on the following axes:

  • Kind-Brutal
  • Puritanical-Degenerate
  • Cool-Uncool

These three axes were chosen because they generally cover some important aspects of how a real person might feel about a culture and because these three scales are highly applicable to behaviors in Outer Colony. Each rating acts in a different way and can be used to influence different kinds of behaviors.

Kind-Brutal

The kind-brutal rating exerts a great influence over decision making in combat situations. Cultures that are perceived as kind are seen as very likely to accept surrender and to treat captured prisoners and occupied populations with fairness. Cultures that are perceived as brutal are viewed in the opposite way. They’re likely to summarily execute prisoners and commit atrocities against civilian populations. These considerations factor into several important combat decisions. If you want your people to fight to the death, portray an enemy population as extremely brutal. Your combatants will perceive little benefit in surrendering, since it’ll likely result in execution or worse.

This rating also has a very important influence on fear calculations. Imminent defeat at the hands of a brutal enemy is one of the strongest possible sources of fear, and the more brutal the view of an enemy, the stronger the influence of this fear on a person’s behavior. Again, this can have strong positive or negative effects on your populous, and the potential costs and benefits need to be considered in fostering these sorts of views in a propaganda campaign. Your soldiers may fight to the death when driven by intense fear, but mass suicide may erupt as a result of hysteria.

Puritanical-Degenerate

This rating describes how strictly a culture is seen to adhere to its ideology. This isn’t a judgment of whether a culture’s morals are in line with another. A Surssian’s militarism is (almost) always going to be viewed as perverse by a Kelgonian. However, the Kelgonian may perceive the Surssian as being puritanical, in that he adheres strongly to his own set of beliefs. This rating factors into respect calculations, which are used in projection of future events to determine how likely it is that another person will accomplish his objective.

For example, if our Kelgonian above is locked in battle with a Surssian opponent, his respect for the Surssian will increase the likelihood that his enemy will endure and succeed, making his own defeat more likely when considering the future.

Cool-Uncool

The cool-uncool rating has some of the simplest effects on behavior. It mostly factors into attractiveness calculations when selecting romantic partners and likability calculations when building social networks. NPCs from cool cultures can be seen as more desirable and likable, while those from uncool ones are less agreeable in these regards.

Cause and Effect

It’s also important to note that cultural views don’t just influence NPCs’ behaviors – the views themselves are also influenced by an NPC’s experiences. Just as the view that an enemy is brutal might drive a soldier to execute a surrendering foe in battle, witnessing that act will have a very large impact on how nearby NPCs perceive the culture of the executioner. Views influence behaviors, behaviors create memories and memories influence views. Self-propagating cycles can break out between undisciplined forces in wars that can irrevocably change an entire population’s set of views. As leader of a colony, culture views can sometimes be hard to control, but the effort is worthwhile for achieving your aims.

Media and its Influence

In addition to personal experiences and memories, your colony’s media can gradually influence thought patterns of your population, changing their views on cultures.

treatise_ig

A treatise on Iron Gear culture. NPCs who read this may change their culture views according to the values shown.

Whenever an NPC consumes media, it can exert an influence on that NPC’s entire value system. As such, promoting appropriate portrayal of both your culture and other cultures via media is important in guiding NPCs to developing the right sorts of views. The effects of media will be discussed more in the upcoming media article.

culture_views_policy

A culture policy showing the official views of various cultures.

Be sure to configure your culture policy and propaganda policies the way you want to achieve the desired effects in promoting culture views. Gifted authors, competent bureaucrats, and appropriate media laws all play important roles in getting your NPCs to think the way you want them to.

Posted in NPCs