Cultural Traits Brainstorming

Copying this thread over from the old forums:

The Society Stage is still a ways away but we are speculating about concepts for it and one that always eludes us is a fun and realistic system for culture. Here is the latest idea I have on this.

I’ve been thinking about a system of Cultural Traits for a while. What is a Cultural Trait? It’s a small and specific aspect of culture that provides certain bonuses or penalties and describes the way your people think or act in a certain situation. A trait would be something like “Warrior’s Code: Your people believe in a common duty requiring soldiers to fight honourably.”

These traits procedurally generate and spread between cities, granting minor bonuses and penalties that add up. The player can pass laws to promote or ban them if they want to finetune their culture (especially because the traits will impact the society of the player). The sum of all the traits of a player will add up to form the cultures of civilizations.

Some traits are incompatible with each other, such as Nomadic Lifestyle (your people have an attachment to their nomadic way of life) and Sedentary Lifestyle (your people have an attachment to their sedentary way of life). Often several traits can be grouped together as different types of doing the same thing, such as different types of funerary practices. Sometimes traits cannot spawn until a certain tech has been discovered.

So, let’s start brainstorming!

Let’s go through each category of traits one at a time. The following are the different types of traits for funerary practices that I was able to think of:

Funerary Pratices
Burial – The dead are buried in graveyards.
Mummification/Entombment – The dead are buried in tombs/crypts.
Cremation – Funeral pyres
Sky burials - Placing the bodies on high points like mountains or towers
Burial at Sea - Bodies are thrown to sea
Burial in Space - Bodies are discarded to space.
Cannibalism - Bodies are eaten.
Fed to nature - Bodies are left for animals to eat.
Promession (Recycling the body’s elements) – Bodies are sent to mortuary recycling centers
Cryopreservation - The bodies are frozen to preserve and possibly later rescusitate them.

See if you can think of any other types of funerary practices, and what would be the effects of these different traits?

Some examples would be Burial would greatly improve health by disposing of the bodies cleanly, but would require the construction of graveyards which takes up space. Cremation increases the air pollution and flammability of your cities but hardly takes up space. Burial at sea would cause water pollution. Cannibalism could lead to diseases, etc.


Would there be a trait like “Hive Mind” where all individuals work toward one goal the society wants/needs instead of the individual doing what they want

I found these ‘‘traits’’ quite interesting, there are several possibilities

  • Coffins: the dead are buried/burned/whatever in coffins of some kind (not sure if that’d make a seperate trait)

  • Structures (shitty name, I know): the dead bodies are used to make structures of some kind (e.g, a tower of bones).

  • Accesoires: Dead body parts are kept as accesoires (e.g a finger on a rope as a necklace)

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Continuing the discussion from Cultural Traits Brainstorming:

there could be a trait named up minded that maked them produce more trade more and reserch more but is very hard to mantain because religion and politics

One of the ethics proposed on the old forum was “Innovation,” as opposed to “Traditionalist.” Innovationists support the flow of new ideas, which gives them a broad array of technologies and political opinions. Radical innovationists tend to be anarchistic and wish to get rid of old ideas.

You could also be meaning “Motivated” by “Up-minded,” I think that would be a consequence of making your populace riled up to help their country and ideology. A good example would be the propaganda campaigns during wartimes, the government makes the populace motivated to risk their lives for freedom or something.
The alternative would be contentedness, where the society matches the goals of a faction, and will merely enjoy the country, not make an effort to change it. Opposing politics may also be motivated, when their goals are at risk. Any sort of resistance movement is an example of that.

this thread should discus types of cultural traits, what type of stat bonus they would give, and how those stats would be displayed.
Behold the stat wheel, a way to display what ideology your culture values most while being compact. the wheel consist of 0 to 5 layers, the more layers associated with an ideology the higher the stat bonus, any ideologies only outlined in the associated color instead of being filled in does not have any layer associated with it. If you have conflicting ideologies (which ill call antagonists for simplicity) the chance of a rebellion (or other major social difficulty) would go up a percent equal to the number of layers of both conflicting ideologies (this percent chance could be countered by other ideologies or other things that decrease rebellion chance) so if you had 5 layers in red and 3 layers in green your rebellion chance would be 10%(so 5% per antagonistic layer, higher layered antagonist(so green) minus lower layer antagonist), not including other factors. For non player cultures, a form of auto-evo would exist, the more opposite your culture to NPC cultures, the worse relations you would have.
(note: happiness would be a different stat that would factor into rebellion chance as well, also the current bonuses are for representative purposes only)

Red(Aggressive/Waring)(antagonist:green)- this would/might increase how fast you can train your troops by 5% per layer and/or troops are 5% more effective on the battlefield per layer.

Green(Peaceful/Kind)(antagonist:red)- Decrease rebellion chance by 5% per layer and/or increase relations with other cultures by 5% per layer.

Blue(Scientific)(antagonist:purple)- increase research speed by 5% per layer (other ideas???)

Purple(Mystic/Religious)(antagonist:blue)-increase happiness by 5% per level (other ideas???)

Got any other ideas???

my verry rough representation of the wheel.

The more capitalist, the less happy they are, but if it’s more socialist, the government can start to abuse its power and become more authoritarian, although you can prevent it. (No productivity changes because people aren’t just totally lazy and WILL work under socialism if their job is made to be likeable).

Also being religious shouldn’t boost happiness, it should make citizens accept authoritarianism and the current laws more, but increase rebellion chances.

ok good, everything above was just an example, i do want this to stay a little bit simpler, so a max of three bonuses or de-buffs depending on the ideology. (i actually couldnt think of a more reasonable bonus for relegious, so i just slaped that on to make due in the meantime)

The cultural traits are going to be affected by the underlying biological traits

I’d say there would be three major axes that will affect culture: Intragroup violence, intergroup violence, and hierarchy

Intragroup violence refers to how much fights and physical attacks between members are used to regulate the group

Intergroup violence refers to how ready members are to attack a member of an outgroup

Hierarchy refers to the degree to which individuals are given different levels of social power

These three axes would determine the baseline from which all cultures of a species would be built on


I highly stand on being able to edit/ change your creatures culture, i think preexisting biological traits should only serve as a basis for the culture you start with. i think its necessary to have more than just three groupings of traits, plus two of them are just how likely your creature is to attack(at least from what i understand). I think Spore has good idea with your culture effecting your relations with other nations (despite how simplified it is). i think any traits that wouldn’t fit on the wheel could have some other system, im trying to focus on the wheel for now though.
(if i misunderstood anything please clarify)


I agree that cultures should be changeable, but the biological traits will still affect the culture throughout. The mind is just as biological as the body, so a militaristic culture of a nonviolent species growing more naturally violent makes little more sense than a militaristic culture of a soft-bodied species developing shells

Plus if we look at real life, we see that biological features are rather immutable: there have been many human cultures and movements that sought equality, but none made the populace less likely to desire power