Splintered Core Lore – Deadlanders In DetailPosted by admin
In my previous post about the Deadlanders, questions were raised on several fronts. In this post I’ll talk more about these people, and work out the finer points of their culture. What I would NOT do however is reveal their origins, because like all other cultures in the game, history hunting is a huge portion of the side quests so talking about it here would probably be counter productive to the player’s game experience.
First thing that I need to clarify is that the deadlanders are NOT savages or tribals. I’ve tried to stay away from such stereotypes because honestly, I don’t see a reason for their existence in the general theme of the game. What I want is a struggle between mutant races on one side of the spectrum, and then complete unity between the mutant races on the other end of the spectrum. That was the general theme of the game, and I don’t see how adding the tribal vs civilized world angle is going to add anything to it.
Allow me to explain in detail. The wildlands is geographically located in South East Asia, but this does not mean that it should retain all values and culture from this continent. Remember that when the plague hit, survivors worldwide flocked into this continent, triggering the Outsider Wars which later led to the Dark Age. This meant that whatever culture that survived, it’ll mostly be a mix between various existing cultures, and thus there is no point of defining a savage culture when technically that applies to all communities in the game world.
The Deadlanders are neither tribals nor are they savages. Their ancestors have roots in the military, which should explain the strict martial culture that exists in the community. They identify themselves as warriors, and take pride in that. Like I said, there is a healthy amount of Spartan inspiration thrown in when designing the Deadlanders. Like the Spartans, they consider martial training to be essential, leading to a community where even old ladies are to be feared in single combat.
So to recap, they are NOT savages. Yes, non-deadlanders consider their culture to be savage and uncivilized (especially on the issue of infanticide and sacrifice), but who are they to talk about morals when slavery,racial cleansing and mass murders are practiced freely in their own backyards? This is a question of perspective, where the deadlanders consider themselves to be enlightened for HAVING a moral system (however skewed it is), compared to non-deadlanders who seem to thrive in chaos.
Another point that came up in discussions were that a matriachal society is generally impossible in a post-apocalyptic world, especially in a culture where martial skills are honored above everything else. I would, however, beg to differ.
It is true that most primitive cultures, especially the more martial ones, largely run on patriarchal systems. The reason is simple – in a world where the strong survive, men would always win out in most areas when it comes to physical tasks. Biologically men can grow more muscles, and with that perform more strenuous physical tasks.
So where does the matriarcal society comes in? The reason lies in specialization. Without spoiling the origins for the player, the matriarcal system came about naturally. The men start off as warriors and raiders, while the women remained behind to maintain the household. Over time, this created a clear division amongst the genders, where the men focus their entire lives in the study of martial knowledge while the women dedicate themselves to ensuring the men have all they need to raid caravans and bring back supplies.
Therefore, women are counted on for almost everything non-martial: cleaning the house, washing the clothes, maintaining the guns, producing ammunition, treating wounds, and most importantly, performing rituals. In most primitive societies, where everybody has a healthy amount of superstition, the last job (performing rituals for those who fail in reading) is perhaps the most important, where the men depend on the women to grant blessings and appease the gods of the land. This forces men to depend on the women for a lot of things, which works wonders in a superstitious community where knowledge is strictly controlled by a small segment of elites. This also mean that the men dare not oppose the women because they are taught since birth that submission to Aladha and the womenfolk is something that cannot be questioned nor challenged.
Again I would like to emphasize – the deadlanders have a culture that has an extremely clear separation of duties. The men are pure warriors, nothing much. They prefer to spend their lives on a blade’s edge rather than dabble in “pointless” politics and management, and over time the matriarcal system developed.
Think about it. Dedicating your lives to a certain domain requires a certain level of submission. You have to admit that you need help in other areas in order to shift all your attention towards that specific domain. And this is where the women come in. Sometime along the way, somebody decided to leverage on this situation and plant the seeds for a matriarchal system. And to do that, they had to encourage the men to continue doing what they do best, and at the same time remind the men that they owe their success to those those who take time to sort out their logistics.
In effect, they created a chain of command where the men become the foot soldiers and the women became the generals. In a martial society, this wouldn’t be that hard to achieve. There are always soldiers who prefer to remain a soldier, preferring the adrenaline rush of fighting in the mud than the bland politics in the office and war rooms. All you gotta do is to turn these people into heroes, add some religion sprinkling on it, and soon everybody would want to be a “heroic” warrior than a “boring” general.
So here it is, how a matriarcal society works in the deadlands, and how it came about in the first place.
Beware of the scheming bitches.
Male Characters Leading the Deadlanders?
There was a question on whether male characters can join and then lead the deadlanders. Yes, that’s possible. After all, it’s only 400 years of women-rule enforced with propaganda, genetic selection and deep religious brainwashing that the player has to overcome with a few lines of dialog, right? Not a big problem at all.
Not a fucking chance. This is the part where we wanted to give a far different angle in how genders play out in an RPG. Having flavor dialog and different paths to solving quests (why does it always have to be seduction for women?) is good, but barely enough. Our goal in creating Splintered Core was to present an RPG where decisions made in-game actually mattered. Not only will it determine the outcome of quests, it will also funnel the character to completely and mutually exclusive plot lines, delivering a very different playthrough experience for different character builds.
So no, there will not be a chance where the male character can ever dream to achieve anything in the deadlander society other than being a lowly (but HONORABLE! it’s PRESTIGIOUS!) warrior.