Trade Culture

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The Trade Culture is the name given to the cultural framework that extends over most of the Hajasith between the Iîrik Kata'at in the North and the Edgewall in the South. Most cultures within that area exist in a relationship that could perhaps best be described as subscription to the Trade Culture. For the most part they maintain their own cultural traditions, but where those are lacking, and particularly in the case of interfacing with other cultures, particularily of other species, they defer to the traditions of the Trade Culture.

The Trade Culture, like its associated language Trade Tongue, originated among dwarven and human merchants about -450 to -250 GR (1000-1200 years before present), but has since spread to include elven, gnomish, goblin, orc, and to limited extents (in very different ways) kobold and trollish cultures.

Species is a very basic unit of identity in Trade Culture. This is plainly expressed in the grammar of Trade Tongue.

One of the assumptions of the Trade Culture is that each species has certain specialties which are then traded among them. Though this has some objective basis, it has become a self-reinforcing idea.

Another aspect of this seperationist-integrationist mix is that there are different expectations for an individual's behavior to members of its own species than toward other species. For example, almost universal to orcs is a tradition of dueling, but Trade Culture holds this cannot be extended to other species, there is no prestige or honor to be gained. And in general interspecies violence is particularily frowned upon even where it is acceptable intraspecies.

Kobolds are not fully protected by this, and trolls even less, since neither of these two species are considered full members of Trade Culture.

Kobolds are generally regarded with deep suspicion because of their secrecy and strong seperatism (though not isolationism), and because they are the most biologically different of any sentient species of any known to Trade Culture. So much so that it can be very difficult for others to even indentify individuals, and nearly impossible to judge the emotions of a kobold, which adds to the suspicion they are held in. The gnomes are the notable exception to this, due to their long association with the kobolds. This suspicion does not usually erupt into violence, but it is not unknown, and lower-level persectuion of kobolds is prevalent in a number of areas.

Trolls, as a whole, are even less a part of Trade Culture, and are generally regarded as violent savages. This is not wholly without cause as, besides the fear inspired by the great size of trolls, many troll populations (particularily the various Garaban nations) are frequent raiders on neigthboring settlements and merchant trains. In addition trolls have an earlier, tighter period in which they learn, compared to others, which often leads to arch-conservative cultures that scorn the traditions and technology of other species and so retain "savage" and "primitive" cultures, and seem "stupid" later in life.

Though there also more trolls that are more a part of the Trade Culture. Particularily, there is a large community in Tâl Katar. But such trolls are basically second class in the eyes of the "full" Trade Culture members, and scorned by more traditional trolls as well. In general these trolls are an underclass, often finding work only as menial laborers.

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