Dungeons and Darkness
Cultural Customs - Humans & Nixie
In this Fianyarr article we will learn more about the human race (which has its own peculiarities that distinguish them from Earth Humans) and the semi-aquatic Nixie race. Both races are known for their versatility and curiosity though the Nixies lack humanity’s drive they have a fierce independence that ensures they are equally well-travelled. Both are known for both their fierce wars and their sudden generosity in the aftermath of a disaster where, in times of plenty, they will give much to other communities. While the two mix often, they have a number of key cultural distinctions which ensures that none ever consider the two to be too alike.
Humans maintain a range of settlements that vary quite dramatically between countries. They are also keen to borrow elements and styles from foreign natures, including other races, leading to a delicately wrought combination of styles that is sometimes greater than the sum of their parts. In places of plenty they tend to create more densely packed urban settlements, preferring larger densities of people for reasons of efficiency and protection rather than continually branching out to form small communities elsewhere. Naturally this doesn’t apply to the nomadic cultures, however, only the agrarian ones.
• Humans make a point to never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table or at large family gatherings. To even bring it up is a matter of gross indecency.
• All humans must select a favored weapon, normally that of a beloved older family member, and are mentored from the age of seven. Where possible their first proper weapon is one passed down through the generations, especially due to the costs of a good sword or warhammer, but if they must accept a new one then there is a formal ritual in order to induct the weapon into the family.
• Humans are always armed except in a very few special cases: a mother in childbirth gives her weapon to a shieldmaiden who defends her and her midwife, certain religious ceremonies that are protected by angelics or circles or warriors, and visits to a monarch or other person so powerful that one may safely put down one’s weapon in the knowledge that their safety is assured by the person they are visiting.
• Humans enjoy a variety of tactical games and prefer to gamble on things that involve an element of skill – such as horse racing and certain card games involving subterfuge. This has also made them notorious as gamblers, though not all humans have the gambling bug. Despite their protestations that these are games of skill, human gamblers are notoriously superstitious and are likely to do a number of weird and wonderful things for good luck.
• Humans enjoy a good celebration and will whole-heartedly embrace other people’s traditions, co-opting them to suit their own cultures, and then continuing with those festivals or ceremonies as though they were tradition.
Nixies are a rather bright-eyed race who tend to prefer smaller communities that are built partially in – or at least alongside – sources of water. They might have homes whose basements are flooded, buildings that sprawl half in and half out of a river, or even sea palaces that contain dozens of people with some of the floors flooded and others dry. They prefer to avoid large urban populations, largely due to the resultant pollution of the water.
• Nixies have the most efficient waste management systems in Fianyarr, especially in terms of recycling and magical / creature-based solutions for sewerage. After all, while other races can always dump such waste in the water or in the soil, the Nixies don’t have that advantage. They often get quite cross with any signs of people polluting the waterways in the expectation that the water will dilute it down to nothing as Nixies are aware that it’s a fallacy.
• Nixies tend to be pretty touchy feely people and prefer a hug to a handshake any day of the week. They also like to make a lot of little touches over the course of a conversation, tapping the elbow or touching the shoulder as they talk.
• Nixies generally live within other countries as they don’t often maintain territories too far from water and they take full advantage of this by ensuring there’s a contingent of young Nixies at every local celebration. On the plus side, they’re big on bringing gifts – especially food. It’s considered bad form to refuse a gift of food or to expect it. One must also immediately try the food once they receive it so that the Nixie can see their joy. One can’t eat it all, however, and the Nixie must be specifically asked to have a bit themselves.
• Nixie courtship is a complex dance filled with compromise and confusion for members of other races. One needs to give in at certain times, stand one’s ground at other times, protect the independence of their partner, while simultaneously making them feel needed and welcome. Nixies take to these complications quite easily but members of the other races are often lost.
• Nixies love face painting, especially with ochres, though naturally these don’t last underwater. The trouble is they prefer to look at the face paint rather than wear it, so they generally like to convince landdwelling races to let the Nixie paint their face.