World Building 101 for Game Devs and Writers – Lesson 7 – Archetypes, Laws and Professions

Today’s blog is on ancient history – and how archetypes and professions still have an impact on today’s society.

Deep down inside every person, we know what a hero looks like, who villains are. We know the gender roles for men and women, what kind a person a mother and father are. We reinforce these ideas through stories that we pass along from one generation to the next.

These archetypes have sculpted our culture and history in a very deep and personal way. They are organic ideas that are both entranced in our minds, but also in our genetics. They are a code that starts with these myths and legends of the past and our religions. After they become part of the cultural knowledge they become archetypes. As Jesus said, he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life – he is a worthy archetype for everyone.

These ideas will continue to be past from one from one generation to another until the end of time. While some people may say these cultural ideas are ‘gender roles’ or ‘privilege’, I disagree. They are the epitome of cultural DNA. If we unravel these ideals then we will face massive consequences. Stories and heroes create the culture we all live in.

In Horizon Zero Dawn, women assume leadership roles to honour their ‘god’, the All-Mother. They consider machines to be the great evil in the world. They see the corruption of the machines as a great threat. Their myths and legends say the All-Mother saved the people from a machine devil in the past. That informs them of their entire religious and moral outlook.

Women who were the third generation, all with grand children, become the leaders in the Sacred Land. They are revered for their wisdom, they have seen much and helped many.

In the Human-Faery World, the human society that came to the faery world considers that King to be a Prophet. His foresight saved 1000s on that day, which helped that segment of humanity to save itself. They value foresight as a great good. The third King also cemented peace between the humans and the faeries. He offered his daughter to the Prince of the Faeries. The people honour the Third King and his Daughter as great peace makers. They celebrate the King and his Daughter’s birthdays and the day they signed the peace treaty.

In your world, what kinds of archetypes exist in your sapients? What kinds of behaviours does your culture encourage with their heroes? What ideas do they favour over others? What are the roles men and women tend to fulfill in your culture? What does the people consider good and evil?

Our sense of what good and evil hasn’t changed much for 1000s of years – and they are all based upon the stories from the past.

The City of Ur, mentioned in the Bible, had he first contractional system. People would write up agreements, where two people agree to a good or service they would exchange. It was both a bill of sales and a contract at the same time.

It was this simplistic idea that would lead to Moses on Mount Sinai handing down laws for humanity. Laws help people agree to fair and reasonable interactions with each other. That is why we have a law. The idea that laws come from something greater than us ensures we know all people are under the law. They become fair because we all must obey or face the consequences. When men start thinking they are the creator and arbiter of the law is when the worst atrocities occur.

I’d rather laws and rights come from God, because nothing can take them away.

Once people accept the laws, and the consequences of breaking the laws then culture grows. With a universal code that tells people what is right and wrong, we have something to judge our behaviour. That creates social stability.

In your world, what ancient culture started the idea of contracts? How does this start to produce laws that help protect people and property? How has laws changed since this ancient time? Has the consequences of breaking the laws changed?

If you don’t know ancient professions define many of our last names, now you do.

Smiths, Makers, Chandlers, Fisher and many others. Ancient professions still have their influence on us today – even if we don’t equate Smith as a metal worker. How many Fishers are still fishermen? How many metal workers are Smiths? How many Bakers still bake things?

Your world should have similar ideas. Many last names are born form ancient traditions. Michael Knight had an ancestor who took up the sword for King and Country.

From one man of honour and bravery to another man of honour and bravery!

In your novels, what professions became the popular last names/first names? When did this start happening? How has different professions changed over time?

In Dragon Age, the Qunari’s role is their name. Sten, the Arishook, Ben Hassaraf is their role, their profession and their name.

Ancient History should also have an impact on your world. Archetypes are a cultural genetic idea, passed along from one generation to the next. Those cultural ideas of good and evil help create order, and will influence contracts. Contracts should lead to codified laws – cultures thrive with laws that apply to everyone. Contracts also give people the opportunity to focus on a profession, mastering it. Those professions turn into last names – especially for those who are important.

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Have a great day guys!

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