Short explanation of the below

After a quick overview of the relationship of this approach to role-playing games and concerns about critical thinking and creative writing, we turned over slips of paper that had the numbers 1 through 5 written on them (with some "trending" from one number to another) and chronologically attached those numbers to the fourteen categories below, which fall under four headings--political structure, economy, social relations, and cultural influences.

This is to say that the number four (4) came up first, three (3) came up second, and so, and thus were attached to Government Involvement and Rule of Law as the first two categories, i.e. we did not turn over numbers and then decide which category to attach them to. The goal is to make a narrative out of the randomly generated values.

The values, very broadly speaking, mean that a low number has little of that category, whereas a high number has a lot. Using the values in the Political Structure section as an example, this world's government is very involved in aspects of everyday life (4 out of 5), the rule of law is enforced to a moderate/acceptable level (3 out of 5) and social services are ubiquitous (5 out of 5). The bullet points are then brainstorming ideas about what those numbers might actually mean in this world, both on their own as well as in relation to other categories. In a classroom environment, students would be responsible for transforming their brainstorming into a relatively coherent narrative of the world.

1. Political Structure

  • Small number of people hold power
  • Highly stratified, government operations
  • Govt has hands in lots of things
  • Unfair judiciary
  • Matriarchal rule on verge of militarism
  • Politically vulnerable
  • Invaded? Lost wealth?
  • Need for trade
  • Resource outdated
  • Pre-Spartan world

1.1 Government Involvement (4)

  • FBI matriarchy, mother-sister, home life work life crossover
  • Control of reproduction, child birth
  • Midwives as rulers
  • Resource allocation
  • Enforcement of distribution of social services

1.2 Rule of Law (3)

  • System of reward and punishment based on resources, especially food
  • Neither democratic or autocratic, judging elite? kin-based, judged by family
  • Crime is not rampantta
  • Constitution, tablet of law, binding social contract, kin-based syste
  • Race and gender stratified but not codified

1.3 Social Services (education and health care) (5)

  • Apprenticeship system, not formal schooling for slaves, lower classes
  • Civic obligation, time you pay rather than money
  • Diffuse services throughout
  • Healthcare about reproduction (no one cares if you have cancer)
  • Oral history, oral transmission of knowledge, familial knowledge
  • Eugenics agenda

2. Economy

This "world/nation" suffered a defeat, post-catastrophic, trying to recovery from a military defeat. Scorched earth, salted fields, stolen wealth. Primarily meat eaters, stole workers, stole knowledge. Gods were stolen, now gods are useless.

2.1 Economic Wealth (1)

  • Salted earth/scorched earth, don't have much
  • Inaccessible resources, fishing
  • Mining and metal work, in development after agriculture, shifting from one to the other
  • Mine as the womb, extracting the future

2.2 Economic Distribution (3)

  • Fairly well distributed, midwives have a greater share
  • Some level of rationing, prenatal care
  • Black market, smuggling out from under the midwife (last bits of agricultural stuff, last grains of rice)
  • Hallucinogenic plant being smuggled out, last traces of drug involved with religious worship

2.3 Agricultural Production (2)

  • Herberies, gotten soil from somewhere else, greenhouses with riverbed soil
  • Desalination attempts with salt sucking plants
  • Aquaculture
  • Hunting and gathering, small animals
  • Parts decimated but fertile fields inland
  • Deforestation, slash and burn, need wood for boats and weapons
  • Mining for guano

3. Social Relations

  • Highly stratified along several lines

3.1 Race (4)

  • Encountering different people in the interior
  • Left over wounded from invasion
  • Different kinds of invaders from previous eras
  • Multiple races
  • Competing histories
  • 3.2 Gender (5)
  • Men are responsible for distribution of social services
  • Men prove themselves worth to reproduce
  • Many men killed or taken in military conflict
  • Midwife rule

3.3 Class (4) / Kinship

  • Class not based strictly on wealth
  • Defined by relationships with midwives
  • Powerful midwife mafia
  • Difficult to move between classes, except through marriage
  • Caste system

3.4 Sexual Orientation/Policing (1)

  • No one cares who sleeps with who
  • Don't care at all with non-reproductive sex
  • Only policing of reproductive sex
  • Infanticide/exposure of newborn children
  • Strong family planning, contraception


4. Cultural Influences

  • In flux
  • Lots of interaction with multiple

4.1 Religion (1+-) (trending up, unpredictable, subculture)

  • Stolen gods, stolen idols, ritual plant stolen
  • Faction who claim to descendants of shipwrecked survivors who know the location of the gods, reignite belief

4.2 Military (2+-) (strongly trending up)

  • Along with technology and metallurgy
  • Increased training for warfare

4.3 Technology (3)

  • Relating to mining and warfare

4.4 Arts and Culture (3+-)

  • Secular fertility rituals
  • All relates to fertility