Dungeons and Darkness
Cultural Customs - Dhampyr & Djinn
In this Fianyarr article I’ll take a look at two of the more highly charged and emotional races alongside some of their quirks and cultural customs. The Djinn might be the most overtly passionate but the apparent stoicism of the Dhampyr hide passions that are just as intense.
The Dhampyr very rarely form societies and when they do they rarely get along. At best villages with a high proportion of Dhampyr occur around underworld entrances where the living breed with the ghosts of their beloved or near places with a great deal of death resonance where the essence itself has seeped into the unborn children and changed them. At worst villages have so many Dhampyr due to vampiric harems or alchemical tampering. Most of their customs therefore are linked to death, isolation and suspicion.
• Dhampyr won’t approach another Dhampyr unless introduced by someone they both know. Otherwise they will wait three days or until the third sighting before making their introductions. This gives them the opportunity to learn about the other one.
• Dhampyr prefer red wine to any other beverage, though the reasons for this may vary from shock appeal to a genuine preference for the taste, due to their connection to blood. They very rarely make toasts and generally drink their wine slowly, only rushing if they intend to actually leave the premises right away.
• Dhampyr only wear the colour white when they are planning to kill someone. This might be quite subtle, such as a ribbon subtly worn around the wrist under a sleeve, or quite obvious such as if they were to wear a white dress. This is because death stands out against white and because in many cultures in this world white is the prefered colour of a death shroud.
• Dhampyr enjoy having some seal of office and prefer to have their own occupation proudly displayed. If there is no badge of office, they will find some way to obviously display the work they do – or simply invent one.
• Dhampyr have a preference for rich colours and durable fabrics. They often have an eye for detail and prefer brocades and complex frills that nonetheless don’t get in the way.
The Djinn have strict hierarchies with long histories that can be readily recounted but their villages are often based around seemingly egalitarian attitudes and a casual yet passionate air. While the lines of nobility are long, a peasant expects to be able to converse with their lord or lady as though they were equally worthwhile, though they will naturally do what they are told by the lord or lady.
• Djinn prefer effusive hugs or warm handshakes with a clap on the shoulder or some of ther warm signal of friendship. If they refuse to shake your hand, it is a deadly insult.
• The Djinn are prone to duels. They are so common that there are a series of powerful rules attached to each form of duel. In many areas such duels are illegal as they often set off a chain of duels. Especially duels over a beloved – which often ends with the ‘beloved’ challenging the surviving suitor for killing someone she also cared about.
• The Djinn are renowned for their hospitality and will always offer at least some food and drink to those who visit their homes. It’s bad luck to the hosts if their guests refuse the offering. In fact, it’s also an insult as it suggests that the guest doesn’t trust the host’s hygiene … or intentions.
• The Djinn like to advertise their availability through jewellery, generally through coloured earrings. There are colours and designs to indicate both availability and form of interest (i.e. men or women).
• The Djinn enjoy piercings but tend to find tattoos a little too permanent and therefore the sign of a staid mind and dull personality. That won’t stop them from admiring your tattoos, however. They’ll just think less of you for it.