Khæn culture is based heavily on the traits possessed by all members of the race, especially their law-abiding nature and their code of honour.
Communication[edit | edit source]
Numbers are decimal (base-10). Writing is left-to-right. The Khæn language is uniform throughout the isles - even accents differ very little.
Government[edit | edit source]
Khæn government is only semi-formal. Leadership is chosen semi-consensually from the bottom up. Separate votes matter little, but recognition for particular deeds or traits does. Each island has a recognized leader. For decisions that affect the whole confederacy, there is a council consisting of an odd number (no less than 5, and historically no more than 13) of the most respected island leaders.
It should be noted that islands may participate in trade agreements, alliances or even wars 'alone', and the Confederation will allow them to do so alone (depending on pre-agreed-upon conditions), but a backstab against a single island will call in the wrath of the whole Confederation. This is what the Great Betrayal was about.
Law & Order[edit | edit source]
The legal system is very rudimentary, and can be vaguely compared to a traditionalistic, perhaps even theocratic, Common Law, with an absolutely minimum accumulation of precedents. Courts (which happen once in a blue moon) can be held by a jury made of an odd number (again, 5 to 13) of citizens. Verdicts are informal, stating what the society demands the accused to do; punishment for disobeying the verdict is theoretically death, but actual disobedience is even more unheard of than courts among Khæn. Typical demands are formal apology, material compensation, formal suicide, or exile. When the accused is a foreigner, the demand of suicide usually doesn't come up.
Copyrights and licenses aren't exactly enforced, but upheld out of respect. Trademarks, on the other hand, are treated very seriously, as a matter of honour. Weapon ownership is almost mandatory. Assault is a serious crime, but any two people have the right to a consensual combat (including to the death) as long as it is performed according to pre-agreed-upon rules. The right to self-defence and the Castle Doctrine are taken for granted, but rarely actually needed (a lethal reputation is enough to scare off foreign burglars, and Khæn just don't break the law). Censorship is unheard of. Libel law is fair, but punishments can be harsh. Age of consent is not formally defined - 'they are ready when they are ready'. Alcohol and sugar are legal, smoking is legal in most places, but frowned upon. Chewing gum is legal. Prostitution is unheard of, but not prohibited.
Economics[edit | edit source]
Average income gap between the richest and the poorest. Small business is doing quite well. Banking loans of all sorts exist. There is no minimum wage limit. Education is commonly informal, apprenticeship-based, and yet Khæn children manage to end up no worse than other cultures' children once they reach adulthood. Medicine are almost never free, but a Khæn in need may request to 'borrow' the services of a doctor and repay later. Retirement pay is a matter of voluntarily setting up a retirement fund; many don't bother and just commit formal suicide when too old to work. Khæn pilots work internationally, and the Confederation is responsible for a large percentage of the world's transportation both in air and space.
Mores[edit | edit source]
Families are unheard of - relationships rarely last more than a year; starting relationships at special 'romantic clubs' (this actually covers various cafés, dance floors, poetry clubs, theatres and other establishments) is common. Neighbours are usually friends, or at least very friendly. Strong language is often seen as a dishonourable insult. Flaunting material wealth is acceptable, but doesn't impress anybody much. Public display of affection is considered acceptable, but to a point. Matters of romance and sexuality are mentioned explicitly if needed, but allusions and euphemisms are used too, commonly for poetic effect. Laughing at somebody is only acceptable if you either (1) laugh at something positive or (2) laugh at a flaw for which you immediately give an advice how to correct it (this advice must be genuine!). Hunting is a popular pastime; the ecology of Khæn Islands is very aggressive, and hobby hunts are extremely unlikely to drive any populations extinct. Anyone appearing in public is expected to visibly carry a weapon one is proficient with.
Traditions[edit | edit source]
The Khaen's national outfits commonly include a lot of leather (underscoring the hunting aspect). The most distinctive national clothing item is a skirt/kilt made of stripes of thin leather. All leather products are very high quality, and wearing low-quality leather clothing in the Confederation is a good way to get a bad reputation (it's considered Serious Business™).
Khæn funerals are simple - usually the corpse is just given as food to birds or fish (giving to ground animals is rare).
Khæn dancing bears a semblance to Capoeira, and also includes several forms of dancing with weapons. In general, any Combat/Weapon Art or Stage Combat skill plus either the Cultural Familiarity or any points in the Dancing skill will suffice to be able to perform a passable dance in the Khæn society.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- Lethal duels are only for foreigners. (I.e. actual duels to the death are not really common in the culture, despite being legally sanctioned and being mis-reputed to be the definitive Khæn resolution of a dispute.)
- Not watching one's step can result in a capital punishment. (I.e. falling to death.)