(nAIR-em) is a cluster of nations that sits on a continent bordered in the north by a wasteland of snow and in the south by a narrow sea. The landmass of Tnarem is roughly the size of North America, and it encompasses many of the same ecosystems. This continent is not the most advanced in the world of Sergonia, but it is largely untouched (for the time being) by foreign powers and outside forces. Our focus is on the internal politics of the nations, so the world beyond the borders of Tnarem is off limits to players.
The nations of Tnarem consist of five regions: the Divine Imperium, the Lornesian Reiux, the Ostian Federation of Sovereign Marks, the Kingdom of Dubhion, and the Nisi Jumh. These nations are in a constant state of flux; peace is elusive at best, and war is an expected state of existence. When war is not a reality, cut throat court politics take its place, a battle of a different kind.
IMPORTANT: The below are essential for players to keep in mind when choosing which culture they'd like their characters to be involved in. Any character who is counter-culture will face adversity and their differences will need to be well explained during the application process.
Conformity & Social Pressure
The characters of this world are products of their cultures; most have never been exposed to foreign cultures and therefore are not educated on any culture besides the one they were raised in. This means that they will conform to and believe in the religion, folklore, and norms of their homeland. Being true to one's culture is not only probable, it's expected. To be counter-culture, especially in ways the region feels strongly about, is political and social suicide.
Importance of Religion
Religion, in Tnarem, is an essential part of everyday life no matter where in the socio-economic ladder one finds themselves. It is non-negotiable that someone appear religious in order to remain an upstanding member of their society. Things we attribute to good/bad luck in today's world, Tnaremi people attribute to worship of their choice deities. If bad luck should befall someone, it is assumed that they have angered their god(s) and are being punished as a result.
The Family Unit
A person's name is everything; it determines their place in the world, it determines their reputation, and it determines what they have. The noble and gentry families of Tnarem are identified by their surnames, and they hold that name in high regard. This also lends to the belief that blood is thicker than water. Familial ties are strong, even among distantly related members (with the exception of Ostia to some degree), and if someone was born to your surname, they are considered your kin and above all else. This does not mean that all family members get along, they often don't, but it does mean that should an attack be made against a member of your family, it is also an attack on you, and worthy of defending against. Of course, while this is the prevalent attitude, not all individuals feel this way.
Because family holds such meaning to the elite, it is important to the families that the members share similar goals, values, and beliefs. Religion is a important point of unity for all families, and straying from the norm for the region and/or family may cause major strife between family members.
Child Rearing & Growing Up
While there are certainly variations from nation to nation in how a child is raised, some constants remain, namely parental involvement in a child's life and certain age milestones. These constants differ depending on the social status and wealth of a child's parents, but will otherwise transcend cultural differences.
Birth to Age 6
A noble baby is never breastfed by its mother, but by a (or more than one) wet nurse employed by the family. They do not spend much time with their mother, and are constantly surrounded by nurses, maids, laundresses, and grooms. It is these people who raise the child until they are of age to begin schooling. A commoner child will be breast fed and raised by their own mother and cared for by their older siblings more often than not. As a result, they will have a much more intimate relationship with their parents early on.
An infant's life does not consist of much beyond being cared for and playing. There are no expected responsibilities for either noble or commoner infants. During this period, a child will spend far more free time with other children, sometimes of the same social rank, sometimes not, than they will beyond this age.
Ages 6 to 13
Around the age of 6 or 7 is when a child is considered able to work or study. They are no longer an infant and will join the adult world more or less as an equal in potential but not in ability. At this age a child is turned over to tutors, sent away to a boarding school (if such things exist in their nation), submitted to the Augury, sent to the Gran Schecolei, or begin their apprenticeship. Depending on which position in the family a child inhabits, they will be slated to take on different roles--this is especially true for noble families.
As is standard throughout all nations, a family devotes one child to the following pursuits, so that their family may maintain influence and presence in all areas of the nation: diplomacy, military, religious, and magical (outside of Lornesse, if there is a magic-capable child, they will be given to the Augury. If there is no magic-capable child, one will be offered to the Carnifex). This rule does not apply to commoner families, however, if they are able to spare children without wanting for labor, they will often choose one of these roads to send a child down.
By the time a child is in their teenage years, they can be considered learned in whichever field they have endeavored toward. They are no master, but they have been educated for nearly six years by the time they reach this age. They will continue their education or apprenticeship for a number of additional years, depending on the field, and if their studies permit, they will begin searching for a suitable marriage during that time (There are certainly paths that do not allow for this, such as magic and religious educations.). By the time a child is of the age of 18, they are usually expected to be able to perform their profession adeptly and also have found a spouse to build a family with.
Wards are by no means a common occurrence in Tnarem, however, they are not unheard of either. Usually the product of invasion or capitulation, being a ward is often not a positive experience, however, friendly, political exchange of wards does happen, albeit rarely.
A ward is a child given to a foreign household at a young age (6-10), who is essentially an adopted member of the receiving family. Wards will never return to their homelands, they will have limited contact with their biological family, and will be subject to the will of their new family. The new family will be responsible for the child's rearing, future, marriage, and success/failure as an adult. This has the potential to be a blessing or a curse for the ward, depending on the circumstances of their wardship and how the family views them. Should a ward be taken as a means to control a conquered land, the ward will likely suffer foul treatment, will not be given a good marriage match (if any marriage at all), and will likely be treated much like a bastard child might in the region. There exist the rare situations where a ward is treated well, usually as a result of a favorable political exchange between nations.
A ward will never be included in any kind of inheritance or positions of great power within their hosting nation. They are not considered citizens of that nation, but rather, a permanent foreign visitor.