Culture

When the world ended over one hundred years ago, it marked the beginning of a new age. It was one defined by death and survival, and the rewriting of lines both in terms of what people understood of the world, and lines that mark territory and geography and politics that simply ceased to exist with the devolution of world powers. The United Kingdom became a place of renewed barbarianism and hardship, with clusters of people coming together in small makeshift settlements, the definition between urban and rural blurring away when those from the city were either killed or forced to evacuate when major sites of civilisation were destroyed.

This also means that some social concepts have been redefined to suit the era, and others have been passed down through generations as a leftover from the world before.

Clans

Dornie is not totally unique in that the governing of a given settlement can sometimes be run by clan-like groups who are either bonded together by familial lines (depending on how well established they are), or through ideological ties (such as religion) or some other connection (a group of people who have a common skillset to generate resources). What does make Dornie unique is the fact that they have seen three familial clans, two of which are current, and successfully govern what appears to be a thriving little society. Clans tend to make decisions for the community, with respect granted based on technical know-how, material wealth (in goods like food and machinery, or in Dornie's case, weaponry and electrical power). They in some way have the reliance of the community, and thus, the loyalty.

In Dornie, the two ruling clans are the Rowntrees and the Rosses.

The Rowntrees were the first established clan, gaining their power through the promise of protection thanks to the weapons and munitions they hoarded. A factory with munitions capabilities was and is also the heart of their privilege, and they offer protection and some measure of inter-settlement justice in return for loyalty and goods. The current patriarch and matriarch are Marcus and Helen Rowntree.

The Ross Clan is the second branch, creating the second half of a symbiotic relationship — while Rowntree provides the guns, Ross provides the power through an innovative hydropower plant. The current patriarch and matriarch are Adler and Dina Ross.

There is a power struggle between the two clans, but they are more or less at a stalemate until further notice, and they have unified before when they decided that the third clan known to Dornie, Clan Hare, had to go. Clan Hare was a family of merchants, who objected to the cruelty that Rowntree displayed in keeping the settlement strong, and the conditions of their workers in the munitions factory. The entire family was almost wiped out, save for the pregnant to-be matriarch Leslie Hare, and her son, Ashley. The other remaining loose end was Edme, who currently runs a brothel in Dornie. There has been no politicking from them since.

For more information on clans, please see: Clans of Dornie

Sexuality and Gender

This will fluctuate from settlement, but in Dornie, gender equality has tipped off-balance, if not completely. There is an expectation that everyone, male or female, be self-sufficient and productive, and there are no particularly assigned gender roles — women can be warriors and men can be artists. However, there is a culture of thought left over from a few decades ago that reproduction is an imperative, and because of this, men are expected to be sexually aggressive, and if women want to resist it, they had better be capable of physically defending themselves. While rape is not condoned, or even going totally unpunished, it is seen as much less acceptable to rape a married woman than it is to rape a spinster.

Alternative sexualities, such as transgenderism and homosexuality/bisexuality, is not seen as wrong (except by the devoutly Catholic). It is, however, seen as selfish and indulgent, as it only offers personal pleasure and gain rather than contributing to the community, but this is an old fashioned perception.

Religion

The predominant religion is a bastardised Christianity with roots in Roman Catholicism, or an early version of it, as there is no recognised authority figure, i.e., no Popes. No priests, for that matter, although there will be scholars and religious zealots who may appear to be prominent spiritual leaders and advisers, from settlement to settlement. They lack true power but hold some sway — this is the post-apocalypse, so material gain and survival is everything, but arguably, so is salvation.

For the most part, there is belief in the Holy Trinity, of God Almighty, of Bible interpretations and the divinity of Christ. There is also saint-worship, and it's acceptable, even, to worship saints as much as one might worship Jesus. It's a slightly pagan influence that brings this about, but not frowned upon.

That said, religious belief is seen as "lower class" and quaint, even primitive. People in power and of status rarely take part and are probably atheist, or agnostic.

There is, in addition, a nihilistic cultist movement to do with magic, or "cosmic wonder". They subscribe to the idea that God is a man-made construct, but so is atheism, and to believe that we're alone in the universe is stupidity. The idea of extraterrestrials in flying saucers doesn't really exist so much as the idea of monstrous deities, whether from space or other dimensions, does, and that the advent of magic was the first step towards mankind's annihilation. They aren't really a threat in that because of this belief in inevitability and the meaningless of human life, they aren't going to lift a finger to help or to hinder.

They are mostly characterised by selfish indulgence and a fascination in the magical, educating each other on supernatural things and encouraging the practicing of magic and become a part of something bigger than you are. It can come in the form of meditation, drunken stupors and drug-addled trances, through to actually learning tricks and abilities, or developing innate powers.

Mages

A note on mages in a social context. Mages are not seen as particularly inhuman, but mostly powerful and mysterious. This can inspire different reactions in people — fear to the point of aggression and violence, awe and respect, or even indifference and polite caution. Catholics tend to look down upon mages, seeing them as part of the unholy punishment that was unleashed on the world so many years ago, and it is not unheard of for children showing signs of being a mage to undergo punishment and conditioning by the devout in an effort to cleanse them before it's too late — this is always unsuccessful and leads only to suppression, rebellion, or depression.

Another perception is seeing them as useful, in the way kelpie skins can be harvested and Reds used to guard properties on the ends of chains. Dornie clans have been known to hire and train mages specifically should they present with an interesting power.

Currency

In short, there is no currency — but there is a barter and trade system in place, one that is largely informal and individualised. There is a trades market that is open nearly every day in Dornie, where people who produce wares come to swap and exchange, and people who do not may be able to offer other things, such as tutoring services, prostitution, tailor services and labour. These ephemeral labour trades are done via leather that is stamped with a last name and a symbol of their trade, and they can hand these to people in exchange of goods for later redeeming. Another pseudo-currency would be scrap metal and iron ingots, which can be melted down and transported as bricks to be melted again and fashioned into tools, weaponry and other items.

While produce such as vegetables, fish and meat are generally traded with an assessment of volume and season/rarity, other items that can be crafted (such as pottery, clothing, shoes and art pieces) are traded based on how long they take to make, measured in hours and days. They are not usually traded based on the worth of their materials (unless it is exceptionally rare), because that trade has presumably already happened in the past, and it is seen as bad business to gain again.

Art and Entertainment

Dornie has another thing to offer — exactly five films on very, very carefully preserved film reel and a projector, which can be viewed in a public space upon a sheet stapled to the wall. This is the length and breadth of their known exposure to cinema, and there has been no attempt to make more — they simply lack the technology, time and know-how. It is not really seen as a very interesting spectacle, in any case, except to newcomers — everyone in Dornie has seen each film at least once. That said, it's always interesting, to see moving pictures of the way the world used to be, and anything new is very highly valued. They are Some Like It Hot, In The Mood For Love (subtitled), The Godfather II, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Mamma Mia!.

The heart of entertainment lies more in social occasions, season festivals which features dancing, music and drinking, and stage productions. Plays are quite common, and are rarely scripted — there are off-the-cuff rehearsals and verbal direction, and much improvisation. There is also music, and the most common instruments are woodwind and string, from guitars to violins. Records on record players are also used, but only by those who are willing to afford the expense, as they, like all remnants of the last century, are no longer produced and thus valuable.

Music does echo the last few decades before the world ended in lyric and rhythm sensibilities, and some exposure passed down through generations, but can take on more rustic and folksy sounds as well.

Language

The most commonly spoken language in Dornie is English. Many of the settlement's residents come from other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe, however, and it isn't at all unusual to hear people speaking other languages in public or in the privacy of their own homes, including French, German and Russian. Gaelic, at least in Scotland and Ireland, has also made a comeback during the last century and a half.

Education

Most men and women take the education of their children into their own hands and focus on teaching them the skills they will need to help with the family's business when they are of age. If reading and writing are not important to their future trade, it often isn't taught at all, but in recent years there has been a movement led by the Ross Clan to provide the settlement's children with lessons in reading, writing and basic arithmetic, and although many parents consider this to be a waste of time, there are just as many prepared to take advantage of the Ross' generosity; classes are held on Saturday and Sunday mornings from eight until noon in a building owned by the Rosses that was once a schoolhouse several hundred years prior and are open to children of any age.

Food

The local diet is primarily based around the local availability of game, dairy, fish, fruit, and vegetables with an emphasis on simplicity because spices are a luxury that most cannot afford. Foods are generally healthy but also high in fat content, especially in the winter when it is better to be well-fed than not. Pies filled with minced meat and offal, salted porridge, barley and oat-flour biscuits, fish soup made of smoked haddock and cow's milk, mutton, a combination of mashed potatoes and turnips (called "clapshot"), and blood pudding can usually be found on the kitchen table. Bread, butter and cheese are local staples as well, and so are strong pale ales.

There is some flexibility when it comes to what is readily available — what cannot be locally grown can always be imported for a fee.

Death

The dead are washed with sea water before burial, or with water from the loch, wrapped in white cloth and laid at the center of the home for several days while they are grieved for. It is important that the body be surrounded by lit candles day and night to ward off evil spirits, then buried, still wrapped in the cloth. If the deceased's family can afford it, the body may also be placed in a coffin, though most people opt to bury their loved ones in the cloth only.

In recent years, the daguerreotype has made a comeback in Dornie, allowing people to take primitive photographs — assuming that they can either acquire or produce the necessary materials. It is a luxury that few can afford except under special circumstances, including weddings but much more commonly memorial portraiture, which is the practice of photographing the recently deceased for the purpose of being able to remember what loved ones looked like.

A common practice is leaving a door open when a child is being born or when someone is dying, so that the entry or exit may take place without hindrance.

Marriage

Weddings are celebrated by feasting, drinking, dancing and fighting. The more wealthy and powerful a family, the larger and longer the celebration. Poor families may be limited to holding the festivities in their own homes over the course of an evening, but more affluent families have been known to make weddings into events attended by most of Dornie, especially if held outside during the spring or summer. On the day of the wedding, a tub of water was placed in the best room of the bride's family, in which the bride places her feet, and her female friends then gather around to help wash them. A wedding ring from a happily married woman is placed in the tub and it is believed that whoever finds the ring is the next to get married.

Vows are overseen by any one of the community's leaders, spiritual or otherwise.