If you are a Cent...

A  humorous guide to the cultural attitudes of the Centauri Commonwealth!

  • You know a handful of games, Chess and Shogi in particular is common but you probably have some experience with competitively balanced battle videogames. Pokemon Aeternus/Dies Irae is a relatively classic example.
  • You are incredibly distrustful of any outside officials who mention claim the right to censor your right to speech or press, though you find it relatively normal for the ‘regionalization process’ to screen what you see and sometimes take liberties with translations.
  • You are taught a handful of famous historic Knights in school and there are a few others that you’ll be vaguely aware of a few more contemporary names if you aren’t a shut in. Especially any from your Duchy. If one’s from your county made it big, then you’ve probably attended a homecoming celebration for them.
  • If you’re born to a Knight, or the junior child of a noble, you likely known how to operate a frame inside out from the time you could talk. Otherwise, unless you have had to work in with one, you probably only have an idea of what they look like from the outside.
  • You’d like the Federation to just leave the Commonwealth alone, though their stuff is pretty cool. They’ve pretty much given up on their Reunion doctrine anyway, outside of the occasional bit of sabre rattling.
  • You've probably been to a church quite a bit, at least during your childhood. Even you aren’t religious yourself, you probably belong to a denomination of some sort.
  • Nobles will sometimes challenge each other to a duel, usually this is a last resort if both have strong claims on a territory that the courts cannot or will not resolve, but other disputes and grave insults can be responded to with that as an alternative to court. It’s a romantic idea, but you’re glad you don’t have to deal with it.

If they’re going to buy my vote, they’d better pay well…

  • Of course, the government keeps tabs over companies and usually has some degree of control. You’d hate to image companies being allowed to run rampant, though you’ve probably heard stories about it from within the Federation. You sort of suspect that some of the red-tape is to slow down entrepreneurs who want to rise up too quickly though.
  • You expect the lines to work, and that they can contact other systems for free.
  • You think that the Emperor and Peers serve as a sober and experienced voice amongst the sometimes overeager Representatives who at times hope to buy votes with short term gains at the cost of long term sustainability. That said, you’d hardly trust them to run things on their own… unless things got really desperate.
  • Talk about Reunion makes you uncomfortable even if you know it’s mostly a relic from old Federation politics.
  • Race is a complicated issue; you’d never judge someone by the colour of their skin, but your language and history is really important to you. It seems natural then to be a little awkward around those who just do things differently, even if you wouldn’t say yours is the right way [at least, not out loud]. One thing you can agree on though; people who try to be cosmopolitan are the worst!
  • You think that a lot of problems are caused by haste and demanding conformity to make everything easier. If you sit down and take time to understand each other, then both people tend to come out better for it! Just… don’t expect too much before then.
  • You take a strong court system for granted and you’ve probably had to suffer through it at some point or another. Usually, just for the sake of renewal or, in rural areas, small self-represented disputes. You suspect that if some serious abuse happened, you’d be able to get justice, though you worry sometimes that some Nobles are a bit too close to each other for everyone else’s good.
  • If you’re educated, you probably have picked up a good splattering of languages, Latin [or Romantic at least] and English being common, alongside whatever is native. A lot of people will have another hobby language like Welsh, Ethiopian or Japanese. Usually, though you’ll only know one or two comfortably.
  • You think a tax level of 40% is bearable since you know it’s going to a good cause but anything over 70% is insane, even in war time.
  • School is free, but once you get to College you will need to earn scholarships or work in order to support yourself if you don’t want to live with your parents. The army is still voluntary, but a really good way to get on your feet.
  • You believe health care is public affair and anyone who says differently is heartless or mad.

All Under One Umbrella…

  • Mustard comes in a glass bottle, shaving cream comes in tubes, and milk comes in bottles or bags. Cartons make it taste like plastic.
  • The day comes first; DD/MM/YYYY. It boggles your mind that the Federation don’t put it in order.
  • The decimal point should be a comma, but the standard is a dot. You’ll usually use a comma, but if you’ve worked on anything off your native planet, you’ve had to use the dot [and may even be used to it].
  • You know the name of the Emperor, a few major Dukes [or Grand-Dukes] around you,  and maybe even the local Count. Similarly, you know the major figures in politics on the Ducal level, otherwise though, you likely aren’t too sure unless you really care. You have a general idea parties though on pretty much all levels.
  • If you’re ambitious, you miss the social mobility the long-war brought but otherwise you’re cautiously optimistic about peace. You might be sympathetic with religious conscientious objectors, but you take a dark satisfaction in the nobles who are demoted or exiled for their refusal to serve.
  • Marriages for love are the privilege of the commoners, even then the upwardly mobile have been known to marry for good business partners rather than love. Even if you are not religious yourself or want a quiet ceremony, Marriages are not secular affairs; you will be married by a Priest or Rabbi [even sometimes Shinto lovers will be wedded in this way when not in a large Japanese community]. You could just do it over papers but that’s pretty unthinkable. Even if you and your lover could agree to let it slide, your families would never let you live it down.
  • Homosexuality is fairly accepted within Centauri as homophobia has be stigmatized and is spoken of with the church in the same breath that mentions “witch-burnings”. That said, marriage between a couple of the same sex tends to be discouraged for the sake of “continuing the family”. Arrangements often have to be made around it, but if there isn’t a sibling to carry on the line, then things can be difficult.
  • Every hotel room has a private bath.
  • Use of a bribe is pretty unthinkable, if only because more zealous types would report you on the spot or even try to challenge you to a duel. You’re willing to sit down and wait through the bureaucratic nightmare. If you happen to see an old friend on the other side of the table however… well, certain exceptions can be made. It’s only decent.
  • If a politician has been cheating on their spouse, they should be impeached.
  • Paper currency has a nice feel to it and you don’t trust bank fees, so you tend to use paper money as often as possible. Though Credit and Debit are quite handy.
  • It’s inconceivable that a company could try to fire a long time employee without very good reason. If they tried to do that to any of your co-workers, you’d strike in a minute and you know they’d do the same
  • You’ve met a handful of vegetarians, most of them are Buddhists or other spiritual types. It’s a nice idea but a bit too hard core for you; you enjoy sushi too much.

Sons of Centauri, Daughters of Eden.

  • You’re expected to have a pretty decent idea of music and literary history from about the 16th Century. Maybe older, depending on your language. You hated them when you were little but usually at least one or two of the classics grew on you. Some professors might try to introduce you with videogames, which is cool but awkward.
  • You enjoy string instrumentals, a good piece will be calm but intricate, a great piece will be one which can be sped up and played with. Lyrics are something which can be added later to suit individual performance; it’s better to hear several different interpretations and lyrics to a good song than it is to have the simple drech that the Feds pump out every year. That said, some elements of Fed music might appeal to you or at least some of your younger friends; Rap music has been revived on Eden to a degree thanks to this, though with a distinct beatnik vibe. If you’re a fan of it, you probably think Alan Ginsberg was an early visionary.
  • You usually follow Terran History up to the Exodus. Then you know there was some nuclear war, but you’re not really sure about much else. The Edenic unit usually follows to about the point where your colony was established, after which they are shown as either interfering pests or allies against the Federation [albeit it, ones you bailed out a hundred times]. If you’re from Eden, you know this and you really wonder about why they ever bothered support these ungrateful colonies.
  • The Military’s role in politics is a complicated one, but reflects the Knight-Noble relationship. This is something you don’t really follow but you understand that the one tends to be the first step into the other. Martial law is pretty unthinkable outside of an emergency and you’re more worried about Nobles trying to claim total power than the Military itself…
  • You're used to a fairly structured and planned economy; you know where sells what and have a pretty good idea of what the prices will be.
  • The old standardization agreement requires the use of Metric in space, but you likely have some local measuring system to compete with it. Unless you’re Aubian, though then you have to deal with that awful Metric calendar.
  • You probably have an uncle or second cousin somewhere in the family who farms. You’ve probably been on a farm once or twice in your life, if you’re not a noble.
  • You get your news, and entertainment almost entirely on from a mix of several courses, radio, print, the net and television are common. You probably have a decent collection of books collecting dust which have been passed down the family or that you picked up yourself. You’ve probably read most of them once, though you probably have at least one that you fear might crumble into dust if you tried to.
  • Traffic ethics vary pretty widely depending on region, you sort of inwardly dread whenever you have to drive somewhere else. Especially on another planet or system. Left-sided driving is standard on Eden and most others but at least a third must do the right side of the road. Islands seem to take sadistic pleasure in doing the opposite. Outside a handful of areas, pedestrians know to be cautious even when they have the right of way.
  • Standard Guard are never armed with worse than Tasers and even those are relatively rare. The Armed Guard however have been known to be armed with everything up to Frames, though they are normally only pulled in after protests or strikes turn into riots..
  • You have an idea of traditional beauty in your head, it’s relatively flexible and so long as it abides by that, you don’t think much more on the subject. On the other hand, you’ve drawn pretty clear standards and will have a lot of trouble readjusting them.
  • There are four meals, breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. God forbid anyone try to take one from you.
  • You like to feel that the big City is safe and generally it is, but you still know better than to walk home alone at night or wandering into certain areas without knowing what you are doing.

East of Eden…

  • Edenites are uptight and sort of a pain to deal with. You’re pretty sure that if they didn’t need you, they’d forget you existed entirely. The Centauri part of the Commonwealth doesn’t bother you necessarily, but you’ll get annoyed if one of them get uppity about it.
  • You expect unemployment to be pretty low, anyone who isn’t on the dole due to injury doesn’t have an excuse to not be working. You think everyone should have a job, even if they have to ship off to find one; after all, it’s what your forefathers did when they came here.
  • You know the value that a good family history has. It isn’t the final say, but influence with the right people can move things forward a lot more quickly.
  • When a couple dies, major titles and estate will be passed to the oldest child, more wealth will be given to the younger heirs to account for this. It ultimately falls to the decision of the title holder to appoint an heir however, and it’s not unheard of for it to go to a younger child. This is considered a fairly grave insult however and historically, it has been successfully contested.
  • Operas and Concerts are perhaps the one thing that’s pretty universally enjoyed by Centauri citizens, wherever in the commonwealth that they may reside. For most, appreciation comes with age, though some do find it rather slow regardless. Even if Operas aren’t your scene, you probably enjoy the occasional play with friends.
  • Christmas is still celebrated whether you are Christian or not. It tends to be a bit more of a quiet and spiritual occasion, but still a time for generosity and gift giving. Giving to children though happens on the Epiphany, in order to prevent it from getting too materialistic.
  • You’re probably pretty okay with some government control over the Church, though you know some Catholics and others are pretty leery of it.
  • If asked to name Federation planets, you’d be able to say “Earth” and maybe “Midgard”. The rest, you’re sort of shaky on.
  • You think answering machines are pretty impersonal and may not own one at all. If you do, you know it’s as a last resort for urgent messages. Otherwise, you will just call later. At an office, you except a receptionist to be able to take your message, otherwise, they are probably either closed or not worth your business.
  • You've probably never met a lawyer; you can usually file your own papers and even represent yourself in smaller disputes.

Spacing Out

  • If you have an appointment, you'll give an apology if you’re ten minutes late, if you’re thirty minutes late, you know you will need a good excuse. If you are an hour late, you will try to never show your face there again.
  • You can respect personal space, but you’ve only met a handful who get too touchy about it outside of a business setting.
  • You think it’s only polite to hug a friend of a friend who you have been introduced to, or kiss the cheeks of an old friend. With a noble who you have been formally introduced to, it is polite to kiss their hand. Bumping into people or brushing them without some sort of social reason to, will either not be thought about at all or end in profound apologies from both parties, depending on the region you are in.
  • It’s vulgar to bargain for Houses or Cars, but pretty well everything else is fair game. Some people feel awkward about it, but in some places, haggling is just a social courtesy.
  • You’ve probably popped by an old friend’s unannounced once or twice, but only for big occasions where you think a surprise would be welcome. If you’re an adult though, you’re expected to bring along something that can be served if you plan to stay for dinner.
  • You tip your hat, bow, kiss-cheeks or shake hands to greet people, depending on who you and they are. Saluting is reserved for casual military situations or ones where bowing is not feasible.
  • When negotiating, you have to take everything into account and be subtle and careful; overstating or understating a price could be seen as a pretty grave insult. You never lie, but you have to know what to say if you want to get the best deal and not insult anyone.
  • If you have a business appointment or interview with someone, you expect to have that person to yourself unless something more important comes up for either of you. However, on an important deal, you can usually set a day aside to negotiate until the deal is settled.

Additional Info

  • Pregnant woman and the Flow not mixing is a weird myth. You have no idea where it comes from, but you are fairly comfortable ignoring it.
  • You’ve either spent a bit of time living in orbit or know someone who has. It’s a bit more of a regimented life due to the need to regulate supplies and sort of claustrophobic to some, but it’s not a bad life over all. Nice view, at least.
  • You use the term 'Terrans' and “Feddies” pretty interchangeably. You’ve probably called it the “Earth Federation” once or twice in the past. If you’ve seen Feddies get angry over this, you were probably at least a little amused.
  • Edenites are usually uptight and traditional. You are pretty sure they’d rather have just stayed on Terra and sent the rest of Humanity into space. Conservative and proper, even when they’ve loosened up, you still feel they’re a little stoic and unemotional.
  • Aubians are snotty and pretensious. There are times you’d wish that their revolution has succeeded, so that they could just quiet up and fade into obscurity.
  • Dowaners are rough and tough workers, often at least a little drunk, they would have you believe that if they didn’t invent it, then they were the ones who built it.
  • Virginians are isolationist as a whole and pretty religious. You don’t know what to make of them, but they don’t trust you, though they’ll pretend for the sake of your money. You’re told they lighten up if you managed to get them talking over a game and a pint though.
  • Leonites are every bit as religious as the Virginians, but are much more relaxed about it. And, well, everything else. If they aren’t napping, then they are probably praying.
  • Arkhangelskians have had it pretty rough and in the rare moments that they have not, they have made it so for eachother. Quiet, tough, loyal but prone to long bitter infighting.
  • Kuroinese make the Virginians look friendly; more serious and polite as well as hard working. You’re not sure if they ever unwind.
  • Ababans are boisterous and never willing to take things at face value; especially not prices. Proud of their history and perpetually bitter about their treatment up this point, they will let you know about it.