Cultural Archetypes

In a sword and sorcery campaign such as Zothique, the traditional demihumans do not exist. Most player characters and non-player characters are human. Players can use the following broad cultural archetypes to distinguish between characters who would otherwise have the same racial abilities.


Savages include warriors from the frozen north and witch-doctors from the snake-infested jungles of the south. They have a close connection with nature, but remain ignorant of many developments that more civilized people take for granted.
Savages possess these traits:


Nomads roam the empty wastes beyond the civilized cities; quick to strike and bound by no laws. Nomads live with their animals and ride into battle with them; they feel ill at ease without them.
Nomads possess these traits:


Savages and nomads historically assemble to cultivate the land, build great cities, develop trade, and study medicine, mathematics and languages. In the civilized lands dwell noble knights, wise kings, simple farmers, craftsmen, and learned sages — as well as greedy merchants and cunning thieves.
Civilized people possess these traits:


A few long-lived civilizations rise above others and gain half-mythical status. Learned beyond normal men, people of enlightened cultures are builders of cyclopean pyramids and towers that pierce the skies. Their magnificent buildings can last forever, and likewise the flesh of the enlightened ones can withstand the passage of time like no other mortals.
Enlightened people possess these traits:


Great civilizations reach their peak and eventually decline. Jaded nobles, corrupt priests and wicked slave-traders rule these fallen kingdoms. Demon-worship, human sacrifice and drug abuse is all too common in these cultures.
Decadent people possess these traits:


The last survivors of decadent civilizations feud over dwindling resources, or stronger cultures drive them away. Fleeing into the wilderness, or deep underground beneath their ruins, they inbreed and devolve into something no longer entirely human. Degenerates may resemble savages, but they carry the evil taint of fallen kingdoms.
Degenerates possess these traits: