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Refrigerator

Useful Writing Resources

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Found this really cool thing about social structure on Tumblr. Should be useful for any board leaders who are writing stuff about their country/city/town's culture.
 

ON CULTURE: SOCIAL CLASSES

 
Social structure is one of those basic elements of a culture, one of those big things that even those new to worldbuilding know they need to set down.  It’s also something really easy to mess up.  Being as big as it is, it’s easy to fall into the trap of painting your social structure with a wide brush, putting down a basic outline and then calling it a day.  But social structures are extremely complex, with nuances and far-reaching effects so numerous that we can’t even figure all of them out here in the real world.  You don’t have to go into excruciating detail (there are too many for that), but neither can you put down “peasants and nobles” and call it a day.
  • ENFORCEMENT - What is keeping the social structure in place?  Whether you have a very strict or a very lax structure, something needs to be enforcing it.  Social convention will get you so far, but it won’t work in extreme cases.  Is there enforced poverty to keep the serfs in their place?  A strictly enforced rules system?  Martial enforcement?  Sometimes mere nepotism can be enough (the rich keeping all the resources, education, and positions in-family, leaving no opportunities for others).  If it’s a combination of the above (which it should be), what aspects are stressed over others?  What happens to outliers?  If someone tries to break social convention, are they punished?  Banished?  Allowed to try knowing they’ve got an uphill battle anyway?  Is the system actually fairly lax?  (On a small scale and without overly-large disparities between the classes, social inertia would keep most people following the rules.)
     
  • MOBILITY - How easy is it to move between the classes?  What is involved in doing so?  Are there some “acceptable” moves, going from laborer or merchant or scholar to artist, while others are “unacceptable”?  Is movement different for genders?  Are the moves celebrated or resisted?  (i.e., “Congratulations, you passed the 12 impossible tasks of Hercules, we’ll throw you a party but we won’t consider making that process any easier.)  What is involved in moving down?  Loss of wealth?  Loss of favor?  Being too-distant on the family tree?  How is that viewed?  As a disaster, a personal failing?
     
  • THE MIDDLE CLASS - No matter what time period you’re in (or basing things off of), don’t forget about the middle class.  If not what we think of today as “middle class,” then at least the in-between classes.  The people who don’t fit into the strict rich/poor binary.  The untitled-but-wealthy landowners, the merchant class, the academics and artists, the clergy, the traveling salesmen or caravans.  There will always be those who fit into niches in society, filling needs that aren’t met by strict roles, just as there will be those who are good enough at labor jobs to gain money and respect doing it.  (Even if making wheels is a menial job in most cases, the person who makes the king’s carriage wheels is probably the best around and well paid for it.)  How are these in-betweeners viewed?  How do they view themselves?  Are they generally comfortable, or is it common to try and gain whatever position/title/ect divides them from the upper class.  What does divide them from the upper class?  Is it a purely wealth-based system, is it a matter of merely being recognized by the ‘old boys,’ or are there some privileges that are restricted to certain people based on family or title? (Fun tip: a common source of revolutions is a large middle class.  More and more people have the leisure time to pursue political agendas, but they’re shut out by class restrictions.  Middle class money + lower class labor + everyone angry = boom.)
     
  • THE SERVANT CLASS - No matter how much you might want to show your MC as being ‘for the little people,’ never, ever, ever, ever display an entire servant class as being weak, meek, and helpless.  There are ranks and positions within that class, there are varieties of personalities, and I guarantee that no matter how cranky and scary your Mean Girl is, somewhere in the world are several maids with enough grit in her gristle to clean the room and serve tea without turning into a nervous wreck.   The best-of-the-best nobles should be able to hired the best-of-the-best servants, and they should be written as such.
     
  • RESPONSIBILITIES - Every level of a social class system should have inherent responsibilities to the other classes, or else the whole thing falls apart.  Lower class provide labor and goods, higher classes provide law, governance, and protection.  (Generally.)  What are some of the more-prominent responsibilities of each class?  Upperclass persons have more freedom to ignore those responsibilities if they are not directly in a position of authority; how are they viewed?  As ‘fops’?  As normal?  What are the things that the upper class promises to the lower class to keep them in line?  Are the efficient at providing them?  If not, how does the rest of society respond?  (A class of purely decadent rulers who fulfill no responsibilities wouldn’t last, because no one would have any reason to support them.  A well-paid military might do the trick for a while, but then it’s important to show it as a tenuous situation.)
supernal and Vintage like this

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Some pretty good generators [url=http://donjon.bin.sh/]here[/url] that I use to generate dungeon maps. I don't publish them, but having them does sort of help me keep track of the layout for a specific area and I can edit rooms to insert mobs/treasure/etc.

Refrigerator likes this

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[url=http://www.thealmightyguru.com/Pointless/NatureDefinitions.html]Nature Definitions[/url] - I don't know but I really kinda like this page.

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Have an infographic about fonts. It's not necessarily related to the content of writing, but it's important to keep in mind that fonts are a way of relaying your content to other users. Making sure your content is readable should be your number one priority, especially on a role playing site.

 

[spoiler]erif-vs-sans-serif.jpg[/spoiler]

Pasion Pasiva and supernal like this

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character-development-worksheet.jpg

 

Good things to keep in mind when making your character. You don't necessarily need to check off everything, but you can use it as a guide for fleshing out their personalities.

supernal and butterz like this

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