The European culture is a general overview of the contemporary culture of Europe, specifically pertaining to those likely to be involved in the crossroads setting. There are five subcultures: Dutch, English, French, Maltese, and Spanish.
Background Skills: Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Knowledge Engineering, Knowledge Geography, Knowledge Nobility, Linguistics.
Background Feats: Cosmopolitan, Deceitful, Noble Scion, Persuasive, Scholar
Native Language: French, English, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin
Bonus Languages: Norsq, Tuniit, Mohawk, Cahokian, Mexican
Mandates: Spreading Christianity and civilization to the various savages around the world.
Taboos: Acting against the Ten Commandments
People from Europe have a lighter type of skin, ranging from pale to reddish-white and olive tones. Overall Europeans are a bit smaller than their Native Vespuccian counterparts and people of European descent living in Vespuccia are a bit taller than people from Europe proper. European males are on average 5ft5 tall (165 cm) while Vespuccian people of European descent are on average 5ft7 tall (172 cm). For women pale skin is preferred to show that you can afford not to work in the sun and rosy-red cheeks are preferred as a sign of health. The mouth is preferably red as well and often a well-placed beauty mark was added as well. For men things are a bit different, it is the duty of a man to look prosperous and well-fleshed in clothing, to show that you are a superior person. Nudity is associated with the savages of the New World.
Upper class men typically wear a knee-length coat, a jacket and breeches completed with a nice pair of shoes. They usually have a fashionable cane and often have a snuff-box at the ready. The men wear a wig with the back hair enclosed in a fabric bag or they keep their natural hair long. Various types of hats are popular, but the most fashionable at the moment is the tricorner hat. Upper class women wear a corset, an underdress or chemise over that and a sack-back gown or close-bodied gown over that. There is a bit of cleavage to leave room for jewelry and for a frilled neckband. Women put on make up and attach tiny patches of fabric on their face in various shapes. Women use a fan hoop in their gowns that pushes the fabric out on all sides. Commoner men wear a long-sleeved shirt that falls to around mid thigh, breeches with a fitted waist that come to just below the knee, thigh high stockings gartered below the knee, some sort of headgear chosen from the various types that were available and a waistcoat, veste of capot. A commoner woman typically wears a chemise, a sleeved jacket or waistcoat, a petticoat that falls as low as around mid calf (although French women typically wear shorter skirts) and a white linen cap on their head. Even the poorest women have at least one gown for finer wear. Commoner women have started to wear fan hoops as well. Also quite common is the bedgown or shortgown, an unfitted or loose fitted garment used for work or for non-formal wear, which basically means that these are worn practically all the time. If money allows for it women will wear a cloak, apron, stockings or shoes as well. Clogs are used when shoes are too expensive.
While taking a full bath doesn't happen very regularly for common people because of the effort involved in heating up a whole bathtub worth of water, higher class people do take a bath from time to time. Most days people just wash themselves with a bowl of water and a piece of cloth. Soap is used sometimes but because of the cost it is usually reserved to clean clothes. The teeth are cleaned using a piece of cloth with some salt on it.
Women's hair is kept in low, simple cuts often with small curls or made into a single braid that starts at the neck, goes up the back of the head and locks around the forehead. Men's hair is kept close to the scalp except for a few locks near the forehead. The long hair is brushed back and kept in a black cloth bag. Ribbons came from this bag and were used to make a pigtail. Both men and women would wear wigs made from natural human hair, low quality wigs are made from buffalo or horse hair. It is more common for men to wear a wig, the fashionable colors at the moment are white, grey and blond. The hair gets oiled with a pomade and then powdered. Current fashion dictates that men are clean shaven, but obviously not everybody adheres to the latest fashion.
In the mind of European people social class is very important. There is a lot of social mobility, but the class you've been brought up in and the way you've been educated will reflect on your whole life. Some will hold your birth against you, others wont care. For a member of the nobility your birth is more important than it would be for a commoner. Associated with this is the idea of superiority, which comes in many forms. A member of the nobility will feel obliged to show that he or she is superior by wearing fancy clothes or donating money to charity or in some other way. This feeling of superiority is also seen in European colonization, they feel the need to bring civilization and Christianity to the savages all over the world.
Contrasted with all of this are the many rebellious thinkers. People that go against the Church, against their place in life, against the nobility, against authority. The philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment question everything and everyone, including each other. And these ideas are spreading, they're being discussed in French salons and on English soirees. Both the nobility and the commoners have been inspired by these ideas. The ideas of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, separation of church and state, empiricism, skepticism, rationalism, republicanism, liberalism, free market economy and many others are all being discussed, compared and even fought over. Europeans also adore the advancement of knowledge, scientific and technological advancement. A large part of their success is because of the technology they have that others don't have and they intend to keep that technological edge over their enemies and allies.
INCOMPLETE (Things the culture considers good and evil, and maybe an explanation of the mandates/taboos)
Life in the coastal colonies is not as hard as it used to be, the houses and cities are similar to their European counterparts. There are enough luxury items for them to be a common trade item. The wealthy people live in large comfortable houses, the poor usually live in smaller houses occupied by large families. For the wealthier people it is common to eat a lot of meat and little vegetables. The poor people eat a lot more vegetables, for them meat is a luxury. Fish is a common food source as well, especially near the coast or rivers. Bread is common for all social classes. Food from the New World like potatoes, tomatoes, corn, bananas, pineapples and many more have started to appear on all European tables. It is not very safe to drink water, often it is polluted or just plain dirty. A safe replacement for water is ale or wine, beer is common as well. Hard liquor is available as well, but not used to slake thirst. Small children drink milk if their parents have access to it. Tea and coffee have become common as well.
Typically the men do the hard labor and the women take care of the house and children. This can change a bit depending on the person's class. A farmer would go out to the field and his wife will stay home, tend to the children and animals, clean the house and do various other tasks that might appear. For shopkeepers or craftsmen things are a bit different, there the husband and wife often tend to the shop together, sometimes the wife supervised the subordinates of the husband. People work every day if needed, the Church prefers if people don't work on Sunday but this isn't mandatory and never enforced. Many people work on Sundays.
Arts and Crafts Edit
European art is very varied, but most of Europe is at the moment infatuated with the Rococo movement. This style influenced many aspects of European art such as painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, furniture design, decoration, garden design, literature, music, and theatre. Rococo is an ornate style known for it's use of light colors, asymmetrical designs, curves and gold. It has very playful and witty themes. In Europe it is common for members of the nobility or for the Church to become patrons of the arts. They use their resources to support an artist and in turn he creates art for them to display. This was something a lot of prestige could be gained from. Artists can often become well respected and wealthy people but many live in poverty and squalor because they haven't been born rich or haven't found a rich sponsor.
Craftsmen can become well respected people, a master craftsmen can in fact become very wealthy. Craftsmen are often still organized in guilds, but resentment against guilds and their policies are rising and many craftsmen prefer to work independently. Many people feel that guilds are working against free trade and are too secretive about their trade to properly stimulate innovation. Master craftsmen are very sought after in the colonies where many things still need to be made and built. The Vespuccian Natives will gladly trade for many European crafts and will often pay more than European people.
European people probably have the most and best scientific and technological knowledge at their disposal. At the moment Europe is still firmly in the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason and the Scientific Revolution has started as well when scientists like Francis Bacon developed the scientific method and when Merlinic Wizards like Isaac Newton started to study the arcane arts as if they were just another science. Many Chinese or Indian inventions spread through the Muslim world and into Europe where they were incorporated, improved on and later used when they started creating their first colonies. They have now surpassed India and China. In Europe science is popular, universities and scientific societies have a large number of people that wish to join. It is common for nations to send out scientists to other nations so they can learn there and bring knowledge back. Science and technology is the thing that gives Europeans an advantage over the other powers in the region and they will do everything in their power to keep that advantage.
Magic Only recently have the arcane arts started to be regarded a bit more positively in Europe. The influence of the Church has kept arcane magic to a low point for centuries, only in Britain the Merlinic Wizards were able to keep their influence and were allowed to practice their magic in public without Church supervision. On the rest of the continent only Church controlled arcanists practiced magic. Divine magic was less regulated because it was believed to come directly from God, but divine magic users were still expected to join the Church. Sometimes they were forcefully 'encouraged' to join. Because of all this and the lessened power of magic in Eurasia the Europeans were a lot less skilled at magic than the Natives they encountered in the New World. The Scientific Revolution started to change this. Spearheaded by the Merlinic Wizard Isaac Newton magic started to be seen by many as another branch of science. Many science societies and universities started to study arcane magic using the scientific method. The arcane sciences developed quickly and made a lot of discoveries (although many of these 'discoveries' were just spells stolen from the Vespuccian Natives). European magic is still recovering from more than a millennium of stagnation, they've made improvements but still can't really compete with the knowledge of Vespuccian Natives or with the amount of arcanists they can put to the field. Europeans employ a wide range of spells but don't really have a specialization. Most of the magic they use is a mishmash of spells they took from various sources.
While people in Europe and the Colonies often don't marry for love and most marriages are arranged by the parents, the Age of Enlightenment is causing a shift in this. Before this time married love was considered a bit unseemly. Now there are marriages out of love, but the majority is still arranged by the parents. Love within a marriage is still more rare than a loveless marriage. For the most part people search for love and affection in their family and friends. Or sometimes in an extramarital relation. In the French and English colonies women that marry lose all their possessions to their husband (the British Queens being a notable exception), they are not allowed to own property or land or to control their own assets. Any inheritance would fall under their husbands control. The only women that have their own possessions are widows or women that choose to remain single, they can (but don't always) inherit their husband's money and properties. In the Dutch and Spanish colonies women have more control over their property prior to the marriage and all property gained during the marriage is owned by both partners. The average age for marriage lies around 25, a man and woman have to be 21 years of age to be able to marry without the consent of their parents. Women are expected to remain chaste until marriage, or if they engage in sexual relations before they are expected to marry that man.
The age of plate armor has ended, with the rise of flintlock muskets with bayonets firearms have started to dominate the European battlefields now. Both infantry and cavalry now prefer the mobility of wearing no armor at all to the mostly obsolete armor they used to wear in a large scale battle. Warfare is changing rapidly, for the first time a large mass of poorly trained individuals can enter the battlefield. This is in stark contrast with the highly skilled professionals that used to fight battles. The importance of cavalry has lessened as well, another effect of the rise of gunpowder. Cavalry is still important though, armies like to use artillery to disorganize a group of massed infantry after which cavalry charges in to rout the remaining soldiers. They are still used for flanking armies as well. Massed infantry that can't be disorganized by artillery is deadly for cavalry attacks. A different take on cavalry is the Dragoon, a form of mounted infantry. They ride around with a horse but when a fight is close they dismount and fight as normal infantry. They are very flexible and get used for a wide range of tasks from espionage to internal security to holding bridges and small forts. The Europeans favor organized combat with several firing lines of infantry on the front, artillery behind them and cavalry on the flanks.
The European navies dominate the seas, almost nobody is able to challenge their naval superiority when they decide to come in numbers. While one ship can be defeated, the Europeans have massive fleets and when they send more the natives get destroyed. European ships are immensely strong on their sides, they use broadside fire to take out their opponents. They are a bit weaker on their front and back sides. The only really though opponent for a European fleet at this time is a Tawantinsuyu mothership because it can take a tremendous amount of damage before getting destroyed or a person with a dangerous sea-creature under his or her control.
Diseased or wounded European people are treated in a state-funded or Church operated hospital or, if they can afford it, by a physician who visits them at their house. The state takes other measures as well, they maintaining clean towns, enforce quarantines during epidemics and supervise the sewer systems to prevent the spread of disease. Hospitals used to be all operated and maintained by the Church, but things are changing and now they are often paid for by private people or businesses. They are currently in the middle of evolving from basic places of care for the sick to centers of medical research, educating physicians and researchers and a place to gather knowledge. And with the reduced influence of the Church in these hospitals there is now also room for research into magical means of healing. Divine healing spells have been known and used by the Church for centuries, but now research into arcana healing is taking place in these hospitals. And new discoveries are being made every year.
Care for the elderly is done by the family of that elder person. There are charitable Church institutions to help with this, but if the family is still alive it is expected that they provide the care. When people die they are given a Christian Funeral with a mass in church and a burial at a cemetery. A cross is then placed on their grave. Most Europeans believe in an afterlife with heaven, purgatory and hell. The righteous go to heaven, those destined for heaven but not completely righteous yet must first undergo purification in purgatory and the wicked are bound for hell.
European leadership is very varied: from the French absolute monarchy to the British parliamentary monarchy to the decentralized Spanish monarchy to the Dutch republic. In most nations leadership is determined by aristocratic succession where a member of the same family takes over the throne when the previous ruler dies or abdicates. Even the various republics that dot the continent often have members of the same family or of a limited number of families that get elected.
The power of European leaders is as varied as there are nations. The French monarch holds absolute power, the British monarch's power is limited by the parliament. The Spanish monarch lies somewhere in between. The Dutch Stadholder holds monarch-like power, but is limited as well. There are nations where the monarch's power has been hollowed-out by the nobles and there are nations where the clergy has done the same thing.
Social Structure Edit
European society is a very fractured and layered one. From the ruler of the nation at the top to the higher and lower nobility, the wealthy landowners, the merchants, the guilds, the clergy, the middle class, the craftsmen, the laborers and lower class. In earlier centuries the nobility and clergy held most of the power, but times have changed rapidly. Merchants have become very wealthy and powerful, the guilds rose to power but are now starting to lose part of that power again. And on top of that the rise of muskets has changed everything as well. The armies of later centuries have grown larger and they don't need extensive training to use their weapons. This has given these commoners a base of power. Suddenly there are large groups of commoners with weapons they can easily use. If they rebel they can cause serious trouble for any nation. So nations are now forced to take the will of the masses into consideration. The social structure of Europe is rapidly changing and social borders have started to become a bit more vague. The effects of this will be felt both in Europe and the New World.
The average European commoners had about eight to ten children, but because of high infant mortality only five or six of these children survived to adulthood. Children were treated well enough and fed as much as the parents could afford, but they started working for their parents at an early age. Children are considered important assets, once they reach a certain age they can start bringing in money or labor and when the parents reach old age the children are expected to help them. Poorer families that can't provide for their children often leave them to fend for themselves. These children often become pickpockets, beggars or thieves in order to feed themselves. If they are caught the justice system treats them almost as harshly as adults, for example by cutting off fingers. Richer children are provided with an education. What often happens is that they don't form a strong bond with their siblings because of inheritance issues, but this depends on the family.
Marriages are not usually done for love or affection, but they resemble business deals. People marry for social and financial reasons or because their parents arranged the marriage. The lower the class, the more likely a marriage for love is. The husband leads the household and owns all of the money and property, his wife is dependent on him and must often get permission to work outside of the home.
Most households have many animals living under their roof or in separate stables. Ranging from horses to pigs to cows to dogs to cats to birds and sometimes even exotic animals like monkeys. Most of these animals were used to work or to provide food, but many people keep animals for companion as well. Sometimes they love their animals more than they love their relatives.
INCOMPLETE(A specific tradition that is particularly interesting or unique)
Other Races Edit
It is difficult to be a nonhuman in Europe. At best they have to face discrimination, at worst they should fear for their lives. Many nonhumans have been hunted to extinction during the previous centuries. Most of this has happened under the guidance of the Church, they believe Man has been created in God's image and thus the nonhuman races must have been created by the Devil. This ideology has been the cause of the massive migration of nonhumans and magical creatures to the New World where they aren't prosecuted that harshly. And if they make it to Native controlled territory they're most likely safe. Half-human hybrids are a difficult case, they have something from God in them but something from the Devil as well. Are they a soul that needs to be saved or a soul tainted beyond repair? The Church has no official doctrine on this and leaves it to local priests or inquisitors to judge the situation. But even if the hybrid has been judged a soul that needs to be saved he or she will still be discriminated against and will have a very though life.
Christianity has dominated Europe for more than a millennium. The religion has fractured into various different sects but there's no other religion that can compete with Christianity. The Catholics, Protestants, Reformed, Orthodox, Huguenots and many other Christian sects all believe they are the one true path to salvation. Overall the Catholics and the Pope leading them are the most powerful, especially in southern Europe. The more to the north, the more followers of other sects will be encountered. Christianity may be a divided religion, there are also many people working to reunite Christianity under one banner. Both the Knights Hospitaller and the Inquisition have made this into one of their goals and work from within the Catholic Church to achieve this. The Knights Hospitaller believe that the Church needs to adapt to the new times and should reinvent itself using the ideas of the various Christian sects. The Inquisition just wants all people that have strayed from the true path to follow the correct doctrines, they want to reconvert all the other sects. The Catholic Church is split between the ideologies of the Knights Hospitaller and the Inquisition and the various other factions that prefer to remain neutral between the two large factions. The Pope is usually chosen from one of these neutral factions since neither the Knights or the Inquisition would allow a pope of the other faction as the Pope.
Christianity is very important in Europe but now in the Age of Enlightenment criticism of Christianity is becoming more common. There are philosophers that are skeptic towards the existence of a divine being that controls a form of magic, they are theorizing that magic may be another natural part of the world and not something divine. There are philosophers and writers that have confessed to be atheists or that are against organized religion. Most Europeans regard other religions as little more than superstition. In contrast to the older polytheistic religions that often 'adopted' a deity into their pantheon, the Europeans believe in only one God. Any other believe system is often described as something for the savages and it is the duty of any Christian to convert the savages and bring civilization to them.
History and Folklore Edit
The Arthurian tales had in the 17th century lost a lot of their popularity. But when Isaac Newton and the Merlinic wizards started to apply the scientific method to magic and got great results with it things started to change again. Arthurian stories became more popular again and people started to research these tales for hidden arcane knowledge. The Merlinic wizards have always loved these stories about their founder. Contemporary literature like Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders and many other books are all popular as well.
Does not apply (The dominant language/s of the culture, how they sound, other languages.)
Does not apply (A handful of terms or phrases that are particularly flavorful or warrant further detail)
Written Language Edit
European written language is one of their strengths. The Latin alphabet is easy to use and very flexible. The European number system, wich they stole from the Arabs, is also easy to use and write. It is easy to create large numbers with just ten base number signs to choose from. A decent amount of European people can read and write, although the ability to read doesn't necessarily imply the ability to write. Literacy is a sign of education, those that can afford it will send their children to learn how to read and write. Reading and writing is used for a lot of things in Europe: from simple correspondence to complicated bookkeeping and intricate novels. The printing press makes things a lot easier, ever since it was invented books don't need to be copied by hand anymore and knowledge can spread more easily.
Naming in Europe is done very traditional. Often a name is passed on in a family through various generations. Most names are names derived from the names of saints. When that saint is celebrated, a person who shares his or her name with that saint will celebrate the Name Day. Surnames are commonly used in Europe as well, mostly by a patronymic system where the name of the father is given as a surname to the children. Sometimes a surname is taken that represents a habit, personal appearance or occupation. In some nations it is common for women to take the surname of their husband when they marry. There is a difference between boy and girl names, but there is a number of large number of unisex names as well.
Cities and Settlements Edit
European cities have probably been the driving force behind many of the changes that happened on the continent. The growth of the cities started the liberation of the serfs a couple of centuries ago, many of the great inventions happened here, many great pieces of art were written, painted or sculpted in the cities. Roughly 10% of European people live in cities, those cities are supported by the agriculture and crafts coming from the other 90% that live in rural areas. People living in a city often look down on people living in rural areas, they feel better and more civilized. Cities like London, Paris or Naples have a population in the hundred thousands. New World cities are considerably smaller, ranging in the ten thousands.
Europeans trade just about anything. They trade with everyone as well, if you have goods they want they'll find something to trade it for. And if there's something they can't trade for, they come in with an army try to take it by force. Trade is the lifeblood of European cities, without trade they wouldn't be able to keep the population fed or clothed. A well known part of the economy is the triangular trade between Europe, Africa and Vespuccia. Vespuccian sugar, tobacco, rum, hemp, molasses, etcetra are shipped to Europe. Textiles, rum, manufactured goods, copper, guns and ammunition, etcetera are shipped from Europe to Africa. And finally slaves are shipped from Africa to Vespuccia. This trade is mostly beneficial to Europe and the Colonies obviously. Europeans also have economic theories, the dominant one being mercantillism. This theory states that a government must regulate its economy for the purpose of increasing their power over that of their rivals and that a monetary reserve of gold and silver must be accumulated. This is done by selling manufactured goods and trying to keep gold and silver from getting exported. Europeans use currency, both from precious metal and paper. They have banks that give out banknotes and lend out money.
Example city Edit
No idea what city to choose for this.(An example city)
Creating European Characters Edit
(Things to keep in mind when making a character)
Special Options Edit
(Special options available to characters of this culture)
Europeans as Characters Edit
(What classes they usually are, what roles they fill, how common are adventurers)