Saturday, July 12, 2008

World Building: Taiga


Taiga by anthropology student Sabrina Klein  (also see Tundra)

Economy: the economy of the taiga would exist only within the group or groups of an area unless the traders encountered another nomadic group from a climate that was not their own. This climate is very harsh often with an average growing season of 3 months. These areas are often cool with rainfall that doesn’t evaporate. This creates a type of wetland. Trees here grow slowly and are often conifer rather than deciduous. Exports might include furs, but not likely as those would be used by the indigenous peoples. Bone beads might be an export as peoples of this ecology types throw nothing from the hunted kill away. They usually will not kill a young tree. With such a short growing season they are likely to be hunter-gatherers but not nomadic except by season; perhaps not even then, depending upon the availability and the materials used for housing.

Language: The languages would be fairly isolated. Parent language groups might exist but the dialects would evolve on their own; unless groups frequently can into contact with one another.

Social Structure: Leadership of the groups would likely not be in the hands of one individual, but most likely many. Harsh climates tend to produce wither singular leadership with a defined chain of succession or a groups leadership usually consisting of elders or the strongest individuals or both.

Kinship & descent: Kinship in a place like this would be extremely important particularly if the leadership was a hereditary based council of elders. Patriarchal or matriarchal descent patterns would be likely as well as either possibility for naming patters. The nuclear family would be essential to survival and would be held in the highest regard. There may be some care giving system for those nuclear families that have lost the main provider of food. An adoption system that would help the group as a whole survives.

Religion: Animistic cultures would thrive here. Supernatural forces are often used to explain the things with in nature that humankind (or other sentient being) doesn’t understand. It would most likely be safe to say that predators and natural forces would manifest as gods or demons. Some of the most powerful predators would be considered sources of power and deeply respected or feared.

World building: To create in this ecology is a two edged sword. The culture would be steeped in lore and very detailed, but at the same time to an outsider may seem sparse. People here would let nothing go to waste as resources are very limited. There for amenities would not be found as valuable even if they were in a stable living environment such as a permanent structure. Most things of extreme value that may be frivolous would be small even tiny.

Gods and people would be close. Life here is a precarious thing with potential fatality for any moment of stupidity for the one having the stupid moment or those surrounding them. There would be some animals that would become as members of the family; domesticated animals would be cared for with the utmost respect because of their rarity. Parts of nature would hold fearful supernatural entities, yet others would be good helpful. Supernatural forces, each, a reflection of the environment’s inhabitants.

Cold climate would create a reverence for furs, but summer would be fleeting and a thing to be enjoyed. Women of this culture may be just as capable at defending themselves again the natural elements of danger because men may be away for several days at a time on hunting trips to feed the group. They would also be important as the givers of life to the linage of the village. Depending on if the village is matriarchal or patriarchal males or females may take precedence for survival depending on the social structure of the group; which could vary from one small group to the next. Not a universal thing throughout the ecological area. There may even be some ritual surrounding the forced  cultural exogamy need to keep bloodlines from becoming to inter-married.

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