[WIP] Basically everything you need to know about Satoyama
#1
Following Cand sharing this insane worldbuilding questionnaire, I thought I'd try my hand at it - seemed like a fun thing to do.

Questions of Place
Describe the geography of where your society calls home.
A tropical area - sand and rock beaches at the coast. Further up north are mountainous rainforests, situated at the feet of large, dormant volcanoes. 
Describe the climate your society deals with. How severe are their seasons?

It's very humid. On paper it doesn't seem so hot, but the precipitation definitely makes it seem that way. There are three seasons - warm, hot and hellish. During the first few months of the year and the summer, there are large rainstorms.
What kinds of natural disasters has this society gotten used to?

Monsoons, typhoons, cyclones, earthquakes
What importance (spiritual or cultural) do people ascribe to the geography?

In Kakaido scripture, there are four titans representing each natural element - earth, magma, water and wind. They symbolize the main parts of natural geography. There are also many, many smaller deities that are believed in, but there would be far too many to list.
How do people feel about local landscapes being altered or used for a purpose other than what is traditional?

Especially if it takes place in the northern areas and on the beaches, it's seen as upsetting the natural balance of the country and the ecosystem that resides in it. Religious individuals see it as a surefire way to anger the Titans.
What are the most commonly-grown foods?

Rice, tea, various tropical fruits (bananas, mangos, passion fruit, lemons, coconuts, etc)
What are the most commonly-eaten meats?

Primarily seafood - fishes, crustacea and shellfish. They can be served pretty much any way; raw, seared, grilled or boiled. Chicken and beef, usually in cooked form, are also relatively common. 
What foods are considered exotic or expensive?

Mutton or veal imported from other Kaltach nations as well as exotic foods from nations such as Trefjall. Though eggs from salmon, crabs, flying fish and sea urchin are regarded by foreigners to be a common food, it is in fact an expensive ingredient.
What forms of alcohol are common? Rare?

Beer is pretty common. Although Sake is pretty expensive, it's also relatively common. Akarean rice wine is also an expensive beverage reserved for major celebrations. Anything originating from Terra, such as Edofasian whiskey, is considered to be rare and expensive. Grape wine, especially when it's aged for many years, is very expensive, as is the case everywhere else.
Is there usually enough food and water for the population?

Yes. Although 15% of the country's population is considered to be in poverty, they still get to have enough food and water - just barely.
What is this place's most abundant resource?

Rice, fruits, seafood.
What is its most valuable resource?

exotic animals and plants (might be smuggled abroad)
What resource is it most lacking?

Arable land, fresh water, oil, gas
How do people travel from one place to another?

Subway, double-decker buses, trams, personal cars, cable cars for mountains and rainforests, taxis if you're a stacked dumbass tourist
Are the borders secure? In what way?

All borders in the north and surrounding the coast are secure. There are border patrol troops up north, and there's the coast guard down south. 
How many people live here?

5,025,107
Where in this place do they congregate?

Everywhere in the metropolitan area, but Matsuzawa, Kinza and Chuo are the most densely populated areas. 
What part of this place do they avoid? Why?

They avoid suburban residential areas in the north, near the rainforests, as this is where most crackheads live and do their business.
What are the most common domesticated animals here? And what are they domesticated for?

Cows, chickens, pigs and sheep are kept as livestock. Horses too, but not to be eaten. 
What are the most common wild animals? How are wild animals treated?

Various species of finches, fruit doves and parrots are the most common in the cities. Frogs, lizards, geckos, salamanders and the like are also relatively common. Common house pests include mosquitoes and spiders. People normally feed seeds to the birds in the park, but otherwise they mostly leave animals alone. Most people think Satoyamans are animal whisperers because they almost never get attacked, even by the most aggressive creatures, but in reality that's literally because they just leave them alone.
Which animals are likely to be pets? Which ones won't be?

Dogs and cats are common, as is the case elsewhere, but dogs tend to be more popular pets. Birds are not popular pets. It's not a question as to how endangered they are - if you own a bird of some kind in Satoyama, it's like owning a pigeon or a duck you took from a park in somewhere like, say, NYC. Nobody minds, but you'll be seen as a bit of a weirdo.
What are the most common domesticated plants here? And what are they used for?

Rice plants, tea plants and fruit trees are grown for food. Bonsai trees are commonly used for aesthetic purposes in most households. Opium poppies and marijiuana plants are grown for use in controlled substances.
What are the most common wild plants here? What are they used for?

Palm trees. They're used for the same purposes most trees are used for. There's also coconut palms - coconuts are harvested from them to be drank or eaten from.


Questions of Time

How far back does this society’s written history go?
Between 1000 and 1500 BC.
How far back do its people believe it goes?
Same as above.
How was this society founded? Who founded it and under what circumstances? 
By initial groups of settlers in the region, starting off as small tribes and clans before congregating to form one big society under a leader chosen by the Akarean empire.
What were the chief powers in the time when this society was founded? 
Akarean imperial officers, the imperial court
If it originated far away from here, how did it get here?
What is the worst disaster they believe they've faced? 
The Ikari plague, the 1959 disasters, being ruled under the last emperor, living in fear under huge gang activity in the 60s.
What are the major events in this culture's past? 
What was the best thing that ever happened to them? 
The 1972 constitution.
What in their past makes them feel ashamed?
The samurai era
What in their past makes them proud?
The forced abdication of the emperor.
What are they afraid of happening again?
Large plagues, a leader stripping the country of its culture
What are they hoping will happen? Do they think it is likely?
Continued prosperity and freedom. It will most likely happen if nothing serious happens.
How strongly are people attached or connected to their heritage?
Pretty strongly. Ancestors are prayed to by those who are religious.
What do they assume the future will hold?
Further developments in technology, fashion and art.
How has this society changed? Do its current members realize this?
It has become much freer with people being able to study and work towards what they really want, work culture is no longer forced on everybody, arts are much more strongly regarded. 
What are the most popular stories about the past?
Who in the past is the greatest hero? The worst villain?
Do people think the present is better or worse than the past?
Do people believe the future will be better or worse than the present or past?


Questions of Race and Ethnicity


What are the chief races in the region?
Satoyamans, Akareans, Hykkogwa and Hautsingers.
What are the chief ethnic groups of each race in the region? How are they distributed in place?
They are distributed all across the country, but most non-Satoyamans tend to live in the more densely populated metropolitan area.
How do they differ by language, appearance or ancestry?
Satoyamans are the tallest people in the orient and are relatively more well-built and stronger, while also having a relatively lighter skin tone. The Satoyaman language has roots tracing back to 1,500BC, but has major Akarean influences. Hykkogwa and Akareans are shorter compared to the natives. Though they have assimilated into the culture as they are mostly fluent in Satoyaman, they still speak their mother tongues to a similar degree of fluency.
What jobs do the chief ethnicities primarily occupy? Are any groups denied work because of racial or ethnic heritage?
All races occupy jobs of all kinds. It is illegal to assign work on the basis of race.
What are typical attitudes of the native (or majority) ethnos to immigrants and other ethnicities?
Kaltachians are regarded pretty highly. Terrans slightly less so, apart from Alaykans, Drullu and Edofasians. Luxerians and other Orientals are viewed as equals. Many old people have racist sentiments towards Cenaesians, but most people hate their government, rather than their people. Meltorians are perceived to be backwards, though this is due to the general public lacking knowledge about them. 
How has any variety of ethnicity in the region changed society’s culture?
Since ancient times, Akarea has made major influences towards Satoyaman culture, namely in the form of art, architecture, fashion and language. In modern times, due to globalization and exposure to the rest of the world, and as immigrants from other countries came in, it has encouraged work culture to be more open and "colorblind", hiring people of any race so long as they get the job done.

Questions of Family

How many spouses may a man or woman have?
One. Although there is no rule in the constitution forbidding polyamorous relationships, it is still heavily frowned upon by the vast majority of people, and those who are involved in them are labeled pimps.
Who decides on a marriage?
Both people in the couple.
Can a marriage end in divorce? How?
Absolutely. Lack of commitment, infidelity, severe arguments are the most common reasons.
Who usually takes custody of children if a marriage ends for some reason?
Whoever is deemed to be more responsible.
How are families named?
wat
What happens to orphans?
Adopted by foster parents mostly.
How are boy and girl children treated differently?
Biological differences are pretty much the only difference in treatment.
What, if anything, is considered a good marriage gift?
I dunno... rings, I guess.
What inanimate or sexless things are considered male or female?
idk
Does this society connect the ideas of marriage with love?
OH HELL YEAH BROTHA
How big are families, typically?
Most families have 1-3 kids
What constitutes a household? How many people live in one household? How many generations?
Family households typically consist of a pair of parents with their kids, or it could be a group of adults living together. They live under a roof with places to sleep, eat and perform other activities.
Are girls or boys preferred and why?
No preference since ancient times.
How common is domestic violence? Is it understood to be a problem, or a normal aspect of family life?
It is very uncommon and is seen as a primary factor of splitting families apart.
If it is seen as problematic, what is being done about it?
The proprietor is thrown in the slammer to be railed by Big Bernard in the shower


Questions of Customs and Social Life


What colours are associated with power? With virtue? With death?
Bright colors of any kind are associated with virtue. Sky blue, gold and silver are powerful colors. No color is associated with death.
If two men get into a fight, how is this supposed to be resolved?
If it's a professional match, then you're scored based on the amount of rounds you win on. After 5-7 rounds, the winner is picked out. Otherwise if it's a casual situation, those around them try to pull them apart from one another and make attempts to calm them down.
If two women get into a fight, how should that be resolved?
Same as above.
How do people demonstrate grief?
Performing a senoto is a common practice in funerals to pay respects to the dead and to pay tribute to the Titans.
Who inherits property? Titles? Position?
What are the most popular games? How important are they?
Video games. 
When and how does someone go from child to adult?
At the age of 18.
How much free time do people usually get?
Work hours are typically 7-8 hours long. The rest of the day is free.
What do they spend this time doing?
Spending time with family, friends and pets
Is society segregated in any way?
What social classes or divisions exist in this society?
The line between upper and middle classes is pretty blurred. And then there's the 15% who are in poverty.
If so, can people move from one class to another? Are there any benefits to being of one class over another?
Yes, if enough determination is involved. 
Is there any discrimination against minority groups (racial, ethnic, religious) in this society?
Meltorians are seen as backwards by most without any hostile sentiments. Older generations view them as subhuman and racially inferior.
How independent or codependent are individuals?
Varies from person to person
What are the typical roles of women and men? What are the expectations of children?
In a family, there has to be at least one working parent, gender doesn't matter. Children are expected to use their best efforts in school and should have a social life of some kind.
Does the government play a large part in people’s lives?
Not really. Parliamentary debates are viewed for entertainment.
Does religion play a large part in people’s lives?
Not really. People do visit shrines every other week though.

Food
Describe how daily food is obtained.
From your local convenience store or supermarket. Or your garden if you grow your own stuff
What foods are the most popular?
Seafood, meats, rice, fruits and fruit juices
What are some typical dishes and specialties of the region?
sushi, sashimi, tempura, rice, flatbread, kami (curry), madon (poke bowls), yakitori, teriyaki, katsu
What type of food is the locality or region famous for?
same as above
What cutlery, if any, do people use for cooking and eating?
All sorts of cutlery is used to cook, won't list that stuff here. You typically eat with chopsticks and spoons. Flatbread is eaten with one's hands.
How is the table arranged?
How do people sit when eating? Is there any arrangement by age or dignity of diners?
On tatami mats, people sit on their feet. Otherwise they sit normally in the presence of chairs and tables.
How many and when are the main mealtimes?
Breakfast, lunch and dinner as usual. Snacks at 4-5PM and 8-9PM.
Are there restaurants, street vendors or other places where food may be bought in public?
Yes, absolutely. They're everywhere. There are also cafes, bakeries and snack houses alongside street vendors and restaurants.
Is there a significant risk of food poisoning? How many cases lead to death? Is there understood to be a link between food and poisoning or illness?
Only time you get poisoned is when you eat raw pufferfish. Even then there's a very minor risk.
How much does a typical meal cost, if bought and not grown at home?
Clothing and Fashion
What kind of clothes do people wear? How does this vary by season, ethnicity, age, profession, etc?
In casual situations, t-shirts, jeans and trainers/sneakers are the norm. Formal wear consists of a collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a tie, leather shoes and trousers or bermuda shorts. Students wear sailor uniforms during major formal events. 
How do the genders dress: what differences are there between men's and women's clothing and accessories?
Hardly any. I mean, dudes can wear skirts and crop tops... if they want. It's all up to them really.
How is clothing made, in small shops or larger factories?
Large factories, mostly abroad. Traditional clothing and expensive suits are hand-made in small shops.
How much does typical clothing cost?
How important is fashion to people? How does this vary from individual to individual?
VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY important. There are obviously fashion trends but at the end of the day, individualism triumphs.
What kinds of jewelry do people wear? And when?
Rings, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, earrings pretty much all the time. Most contain tribal or religious symbols.

Entertainment
Does the culture have outlets for dramatic arts (theatre, puppetry, cinematography)?
There are traditional theatres in the historical districts of the city where disciplines like noh, kabuki and kigekido are performed. Cinematography is viewed at theatres all over the city, mostly in large malls. There are some large open theatre rooms which allow more unconventional seating and staging plans where immersive forms of modern theatre can be performed.
What other major forms of entertainment are there?
music, theatre, live-action and animated films and series
Is the populace literate and numerate?
Yes, very much so
Do people read for pleasure? If so, what do they read?
Manga, novels
How much do books, magazines, broadsheets and the like cost?
Is there a public library system? Who uses it?
Yes. By everyone.
Who are popular authors and poets?
Who are some of the more famous characters from literature?
How has this changed over time?



Questions of Manners



Who speaks first at a formal gathering?
Anyone who has a decent income
What kinds of gifts are considered appropriate or in extremely bad taste?
Just don't gift ticking bombs or used condoms and underwear to people and you'll be fine
How do younger adults address their elders?
kaa-san and tou-san for parents, ji-san and ba-san for uncles and aunts, jii-san and baa-san for grandparents
When is it rude to laugh at something funny?
When others in the room are not in the mood for jokes or humor
What kinds of questions cannot be asked in public? In private? At all?
Do not ask detailed questions about income and sexual practices in public.
What parts of the body are routinely covered?
balls dick pussy ass tits feet
How private are bodily functions like bathing or defecating?
They are done behind closed doors.


Questions of Faith


Is the culture religious or nonreligious?
What are the major religious groups in the region?
What are some of their core doctrines, dogmas, beliefs and practices?
What is the overall cosmology and eschatology in religious terms?
Is religion a cause of dissatisfaction, dissent, or hostility in the region?
Are religious traditions and any scriptures oral or written in nature or a combination?
Is there a set canon of what constitutes officially sanctioned scripture?
How are scriptural/traditional exegesis accomplished and by what hermeneutics?
What is the role of myth within religion?
Is there a formal creed or set of credal statements that define the faith?
What are typical symbols used in the religion and their meanings?
What ritual objects are used in the religion (relics, talismans, medals, charms, etc)?
What religious officials are there? Is there a formal clergy? How are they organized?
Are there monks, saints, faqirs, nuns, prophets, apostles, disciples, preachers, friars, shamans, martyrs, mystics, seers, vates, sages, ascetics, religious heroes, saviours, redeemers, etc?
What do people believe happens to them after death? How, if at all, can they influence this?
What happens to those who disagree with the majority on questions of religion?
Are there any particular places considered special or holy? What are they like?
Is there a set religious calendar? What are the most popular rituals or festivals?
Are there liturgical, meditative, and contemplative aspects to the religion?
What is the basic structure of the religion (unitary, dualistic, etc)?
What is the basic theology of the religion (i.e., monotheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic etc)?
What do people have to offer to their Deity or deities?
What do people want from their Deity or deities? How do they try and get it?
Are there differing denominations or sects of the religion?
How do their religious practices differ from their neighbours?
Are issues such as orthodoxy, heterodoxy, heresy and apostasy keys in the religious life?
What gender, ethnic, national or racial issues exist within the religion?
Is ecumenism engaged in, or are other traditions treated as adversaries or enemies?
What is the most commonly broken religious rule?
What is the least-violated religious rule?
How are such infractions punished? Is it possible to expel a community member?
How can an outsider join the religious community?
Does the religion send out missionaries? What role(s) do they play?
What factions exist within the dominant religious institutions? How do they compete?
Are the differing groups a result of schisms or mutual and cooperative separation?
Are there monastic groups? What do they do and how are they organized? How do you join one?
Are there cult groups within the religious community?
How are those who follow different faiths treated?
What relationship do religious and political leaders have?
What superstitions are common? What kinds of supernatural events or beings do people fear?
What kinds of supernatural or other-natural beings exist in this religion (angels, demons, devi, asuras, spirits, ghosts, sprites, etc)?
How are dreams and visions encompassed by religion?
How is religious action expressed (spontaneous or ritual liturgy, song, dance, music, ritual action, sex, miracle plays, etc)?


Questions of Labour

Describe any kind of division of labour, such as into physical versus mental versus spiritual.
Is there any especial prestige attached to some category of labour or a particular job?
What jobs are considered mucky or are particularly depreciated?
What professions or activities are considered masculine?
What professions or activities are viewed as feminine?
What are the usual working hours? Are there days of rest or holidays?
How does this differ between different jobs?
What jobs have few workers and why?
What are typical wages for various jobs?
How does work affect lifestyle and health?
What sorts of jobs are preferred by which people? Are some jobs denied to certain groups?
What are the ethical oaths or codes that govern various jobs? Is there a difference in ethics between manual and mental or spiritual work?


Questions of Art

What are some favourite art forms?
traditional paintings and theatre, music, cinema
What are some of the least favourite?
overly pretentious and simplistic artwork of any kind, pop music
How respected are artists?
They are regarded very highly, even more so if they go against norms.
Do artists require official or unofficial protection or patronage?
Nope. They should be comfortable expressing themselves with no protection.
What kinds of trouble are artists in particular likely to find themselves in?
Criticism from those who are more experienced, but otherwise not much
How might a very successful artist live?
A nice property on the seaside or in the countryside, hallways decorated with artworks and vinyl records
What forms of theatre does your society have?
noh, kabuki, kigekido (commedia dell'arte)
How naturalistic or stylized is your society's art?
There are many extremes, it's hard to pinpoint.
What shapes are most common in your society's arts, like embroidery or architecture?
Curved or geometric patterns, very bright colors
Which artforms get the most and least respect?
Everything is respected if done right, disrespected if done wrong.
What form does censorship take?
Absolutely nothing.
Who may not be an artist?
pop artists, overly pretentious directors and artists in general
What qualities equal "beauty" in this society?
simplicity, elegance, symbolism
What makes a man or woman especially beautiful?
Well-built, fit bodies are universal signs of beauty. All sexes use makeup, and is attractive if done right. Hairstyles of any kind are seen as attractive, so long as they do not involve baldness or undercuts or anything of the sort.
How do people react to tattoos? Piercings? Facial hair? Cosmetics?
Tattoos are seen as a noble way for one to keep in touch with their roots, as it was something worn by most in tribal times. Small, typically unnoticeable piercings are seen as normal. Plastic surgery and implants are seen as signs of extreme insecurity and discomfort with one's self, unless they are there for medical reasons, which is understood..


Entertainment

Do people enjoy looking at art? Does this vary among communities?
Yes, very much so.
Do people enjoy doing art? Does this vary?
Yes, very much so.
Is there any calligraphy? Who does it?
Yes, a lot. Any literate person who has a brush, some ink and some paper can do it.
Does your culture have a distinct (or not so) musical style? What is it like?
Traditional satoyaman music consists of a fusion of tribal percussion and Akarean instruments such as flutes and guzheng. In the modern music scene, electronic music (drum and bass, techno, dubstep, etc) and hard rock are the most popular music styles. Satoyama pioneered nu-metal in the 1990s, which remained popular until around 2005-2006, combining musical influences of ALL kinds. 
How do people listen to music (in a theatre, at home, on the street, mechanical)?
Everywhere, really. If you're outside a theatre, so long as you have audio equipment of all kind, you can listen to music.
Does music influence people's behaviour?
Yes. Heavy music is seen as a good way to relieve stress and motivate athletic performance. It is also seen as a way to connect with one's inner self.
Does this culture have a typical dance form? What is it like?
Yes. The practice consists of a group of people standing in organized rows, employing vigorous movements such as facial contortions (widening and crossing one's eyes and sticking one's tongue out), the slapping of one's hands against their own bodies, the shaking of palms and fists, the fingers and the head, and the stomping of one's feet, complete with chanting, roaring, sceaming and hissing. It was traditionally used by male warriors to intimidate an opposing force, but since then it was also performed by women, growing to have a more ceremonial use, performed at weddings, the welcoming of distinguished guests, funerals, sports events and other special occasions. It is seen as a celebration of unity as well as a prayer of sorts, summoning the powers of the titans.
Who goes to see such entertainment?
anyone, really


Questions of Marriage





How is marriage defined? How is a marriage contracted?

What are the terms of a marriage contract?

What gifts are considered appropriate or inappropriate for a wedding?

How are marriages celebrated?

What is considered too great a difference in age for a couple?

Do relationships allow multiple partners?

In what ways is marriage considered broken?

How can a marriage be terminated?



Questions of Health





What is the average life expectancy? How does this differ between different regions, races or ethnicities?

What access do people have to clean drinking water (at home or in public)?

What access do people have to proper sanitation (at home or in public)?

Do houses or public buildings have plumbing? Cold and warm water?

Describe any public or private bathing or latrine facilities.

How is healthcare delivered in this society; what are its foundations?

Are there hospitals or sanitaria where many forms of health care are concentrated; or are practitioners more diffuse within the community?

Do people have access to any form of medical aid for emergencies or for less urgent problems?

What kinds of ailments or injuries are treatable in the locality using available supplies and expertise?

What does typical healthcare cost?

How do this society's doctors try to treat wounds and sickness?

Which medical assumptions of this society are wrong?

Do people seek care on an as-needed or emergency basis; or is health care seen as a preventative endeavour.

How often do people see their doctor, dentist or other healthcare providers?

Is a distinction made between physical and nonphysical ailments?

What happens to those suffering from extreme mental illness? Spiritual illness? Other?

How do people react to physical deformity (both congenital and acquired)?



Questions of Sexuality





How does your society define incest? Rape? How do people react to these?
Incest is defined by having sexual relations or feelings of any kind with someone in your family, close or not. Rape is defined by sexual practices involving one non-consenting individual. They are reacted towards with extreme disgust and contempt.
What secret vice is believed to be widely practiced?

What secret vice actually is practiced?

What sexual habits are widely believed common among foreigners?

How do people react to homosexuality? Is it frowned on? Encouraged?
Homosexuality was and is seen as completely normal.
Are premarital sexual relations allowed? Extramarital?
Premarital yes. Extramarital no.
How is adultery defined? What (if any) is the punishment? Who decides?
Adultery is defined by when someone, while in a relationship, has sexual relations with another person. Those who are guilty are humiliated and bullied.
Is prostitution legal? How are prostitutes viewed? Is this accurate?
Prostitution is legal and are seen as those who help others get sexual pleasure. It is accurate since it is their job.
What is the greatest sexual taboo?

What does this society mean by the word "virgin" and how important is it?
Someone who hasn't had sex. Not important.
Is sex confined to marriage? Or, is it supposed to be?
Nope.
What constitutes aberrant sexual behaviour?
Flagellation, extreme restraining, excessive use of equipment, use of fecal matter and/or animals
Are there any cultural or religious strictures, norms or taboos that specifically address sexual conduct?
kakaido outlines cuckolding to be a sin of a very high order
Are there secular laws that control or restrict sexual behaviour?
none
At what age is it considered normal to engage in sex? Are there taboos against sex with children?
17 or older
Should sex be a one-to-one experience? Or are groups allowed?
one-to-one


Questions of Education





Describe the education of the society’s people: formal schooling, apprenticeship, etc.

If education is mainly by apprenticeship, how is this accomplished?

Is education compulsory / offered to everyone? What is the cost of education?

Between which ages does education happen?

How are year groups and academic years arranged?

How are curricula arranged? What courses are typically offered?

What degrees or diplomas are offered by schools?

What do schools/colleges/universities look like?

What are the classrooms like? What is a typical class size

Who is in charge of education in the country, and in each individual school?

Does this society have its own language? Its own writing system?

How common is literacy? How is literacy viewed?

What form and value are books?

Who teaches others? How do they teach?

Who decides who learns to read or write?

Who teaches professions, like carpenter or scribe?

Are foreigners ever brought in to teach new skills? Who does that?



Questions of Technology

Are philosophy and science unified, or do they exist as separate and independent disciplines?

What devices and technologies are available for people?

Are such devices taken for granted? If not, how many are appreciated?

How do people envision a difficult or impossible task that could be made easier by using some kind of device or futuristic technology?

How is knowledge distributed? Is it kept unknown to the common people, or is available for all?



Architecture

What major architectural styles are present? What do they look like?

How does this vary over time and between places in the region?

What major elements are present? How are they pieced together?

What are houses like inside and out?

What are palaces and castles like?

How tall is the tallest building? How big is the biggest building?

What materials are used in typical construction? Do any materials have to be imported?

How are buildings constructed? Are there machines or is work done by hand?

What are some famous landmarks in the region? Why are they famous? Are they famous internationally?







Questions of Transportation and Communication



How do people get from place to place? Does this vary at all in different places?

Do people make long journeys? If so, what are they like?

Is there a public transport system? Who uses it? How much does it cost?

What are the roads like? How do they vary from place to place?

Do individuals or families own and use their own vehicles?

How safe and clean is the typical transport system?

What major fuels are used?

Apart from face-to-face, how do people communicate with each other?

Is there a postal service? How fast is it? How much does it cost to use? What restrictions are there on packet delivery? Does the post operate internationally? How likely is it that an article sent in the post will reach its intended destination?

What technical or mechanical means of communications exist?





Questions of Economics



What is the local economy based on?

How does one engage in commerce?

If levied, how are taxes collected? What are such revenues used for? How does taxation affect the people?

What do people expect from their government in return for the taxes paid?



Money

What is the local currency like? How is it subdivided? What is it based on (metal, labour, fiat)?

Is currency issued by a central authority or by some decentralized means?

How does it compare to other neighbouring currencies?

How has the value of the currency changed or fluctuated recently?

How are coins and notes produced? How common are forgeries?

How is wealth distributed?

Is there a public banking system?

Who uses it? What benefits does it bring? At what cost?

Is there a large gap between the wealth of the rich and the poor? What expectations do each group have from the other?

What constitutes "poverty" in this society?



Questions of Death and Burial



What is their understanding of death and dying?

What does this society do with their corpses?

Do they cremate their dead? Or, how are dead bodies disposed of?

Is the family responsible for the body?

What part do the priests play?

Are there cemeteries at all?

Or, does everyone have a crypt in the back with all the relatives in it?

Do people visit the dead? If so, how often and why?



Suicide

What do people in this culture think about suicide?

Is it the greatest sin one can commit? Or is it a sin at all?

Is it the great and last comfort of a tormented soul?

Is it worse than murder?





Questions of Government



What is the form of government? How is it structured?

What are some of the most fundamental policies of the government?

What is the political status of minority communities?

How is government chosen?

What is the country’s general foreign policy?

Who decides whether someone has broken a law? How?

What kinds of punishments are meted out? By whom? Why?

How are new laws created or old ones changed?

Is there some form of clemency or pardon? What is involved?

Who has the right to give orders, and why?

What titles do various officials have?

How are the rules different for officials as opposed to the common person?

How do government officials dress?

Is the law written down? Who interprets it?

Once accused, what recourse does someone have?

Is torture allowed? What kinds? Is capital punishment allowed?

How are criminals executed?

Who cannot rise to positions of leadership?

Is bribery allowed? Under what circumstances?

What makes someone a bad ruler in this society? What can be done about it?

What are the most common or dangerous forms of criminal?



City Watch & Sheriffs

Is there a civilian police force, or is law enforcement the province of the military?

Is the police force a nationalized one, or are there multiple regional forces?

How militant or vigilante are they? Are they usually or ever armed?

What is the extent of their authority? Can they shoot you? Can they use magic? Can they torture or otherwise force a confession? Can they use telepathy?

Are there individuals or groups who are above the law?

Is there a secret police?

What is the role of police informants, if any?


Questions of Warfare


Does the country have an armed force? What type? What size?
How do the armed forces compare with others in the region or world?
Who declares war?
Who has the power to declare conditions of peace?
How are treaties negotiated?
What happens to prisoners taken in battle?
What weapons are favoured by the various armed forces?
What form of warfare does this society use?
How do battles in the airs or waters or underworlds differ from surface warfare?
Who are the Elite warriors? What distinguishes them?
How does someone get command of troops?
Where do the loyalties of military units lie?
Are there professional soldiers? Do they make up the bulk of the military?
What is campaign or camp life like?
What ethical or moral codes do warriors adhere to?
How are battle injuries treated?
How long do wars typically last?
Has this society ever attacked another? What was the nature of that war? What would make this society go to war?
Has there ever been a civil war or a revolution?
What do soldiers do when there's no war?
Are there any current tensions/wars/conflicts etc with any other nations?
Who are the country’s enemies? Who is winning the war?
What defences are available to cities?
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