42 minutes ago
Friday, March 1, 2013
Swords & Celebrity
The red-skinned humanoids of Zyanthion are known throughout the galaxy for their pursuit of pleasure and their peculiar, anarchic society. Popular media depicts them as passionate to a fault; as likely to be heedlessly pursuing a new romantic conquest as to be fighting a duel with archaic (but deadly) graphene-edged rapiers--and they do either in a very public way.
To visitors from other cultures, Zyann seem obsessed with status and celebrity. Virtually all their activities are public recorded in their noosphere [planet-wide internet and grid]. They live or die socially by the praise or disapproval they receive for their actions. Zyanthion operates on a reputation economy. There is no money; goods and services are given to others in hopes of enhancing one’s own prestige. This “currency” (awarded and tracked in the noosphere) is known as éclat. Zyann who have accumulated high éclat (whether from artistry, craftsmanship, bravery, or skill as a lover) can become a powerful in their society, able to occupy manors and estates, and assume self-chosen titles of nobility--as long as their éclat remains sufficiently high.
Current fashion is important to Zyann in all facets of their society. Religions and belief systems appear, flourish, and fall from favor almost as quickly as clothing fads. Only a few Zyann have cultivated the “right” sort of name to avoid having to chase styles to maintain their position.
Because of the supremacy of reputation, Zyann honor is easily offended. Off-world visitors can easily find themselves challenged to a duel. Consultation of a lawyer of at least moderate éclat is advised in such situations, as there are face-saving ways of avoiding the deadly art of Zyann swordsmanship in many cases. Of course, visitors have to be mindful of their own graciously gifted éclat in such situations.