"Anyway, to me it feels like I've always been friends with you ever since we were kids. And we will go on being friends forever, right?"
- --Timothy of Lacan
The history, the politics, and the mysteries of Filgaia and Lunar are important. Drifters in search of the truth about the past, powerful ARMs, and dangerous sorceries live exciting lives. However, they also live among and touch the lives of everyday people. They also, often times, came from more normal lives. This file covers everyday life on Filgaia and Lunar, along with notes on everyday life in the more irregular parts of those places.
Living on Filgaia
Filgaia, in general, has a level of technological development comparable to the 1880s in the United States (think the Wild West). While Filgaian nations have their great cities, most people live in the countryside and work in agriculture. Cities are large and impressive, but urbanization has not yet taken hold. However, this has been slowly changing. The advancement of the railroads across Ignas and Aquvy (and Elru, before its recent problems) has made getting between cities -- and, importantly, getting to the frontier -- take far less time and be far easier. Most large cities are linked by railroad, and most towns are only a day or two from a railroad station at most.
In the cities, the people enjoy early industrial conveniences. Electric lighting is extremely rare, afforded only by the most wealthy, but even the lower middle class still can expect running water and some semblance of sanitation. However, the presence of factories chokes most cities with smog, especially Nortune and Guild Galad. Cable cars are a common way to get from place to place, while the rich ride in horse-drawn coaches and the poor make do with walking. The wealthy tend to live in spacious apartments and condominiums; the poor tend to live in cramped tenements.
Cities are also more under the thumb of their respective governments, even the kindest of which are repressive and conservative by modern standards. Public welfare projects aren't common on Filgaia. While cultural attitudes are considerably more liberal than Earth in that era, the city and national governments are pragmatic and sometimes corrupt: harsh taxation, the need for bribes, physical abuse at the hands of officers, and -- in Kislev and Aveh -- risk of being drafted into the military are a real threat for the urban poor.
Life is harder for those living in the countryside. The level of technology is lower, sometimes even medieval. Pumps and wells are more common than running water, and electric power is unheard of in small towns. Farming, ranching, and mining are the way most earn their living. Horses and oxen are incredibly valuable as both transportation and helping with labor. Life is hard, and everyone will typically work sun-up to sundown.
Frontier settlements enjoy considerable freedoms, though. They aren't subject to increasing regulations; most pay taxes once a year to the government that claims the region. Individuals who want to escape the law can turn to towns on the frontier for a new chance... or for new prey. Outlaws are common here, and more than a few towns have been destroyed by monsters, human or beast. They also turn to Drifters more often, seeking protection from them. Only the lucky towns have a full-time lawman protecting them.
Towns on the frontier face a truly difficult existence. The expansion of Ignas's deserts robs more towns of their livelihood every year. Crops fail and herds find less room to graze, as the temperature becomes hotter throughout the year. Wells dry up. Most Drifters have seen dried up ghost towns, where broken walls are the only sign of the lives left behind. The people on the frontier know firsthand what city dwellers do not wish to believe: Filgaia is dying.
Living in Aquvy
The technology level in Aquvy is slightly higher than other parts of the world, owing to the presence of Guild Galad's eager industrialism, the proximity to Ethos HQ and the ruins of Zeboim, and not having had a 250-year war suppressing technology. Even small towns in Aquvy tend to be cleaner, and all but the most remote hamlets have paved streets and can expect to see a soldier from the nearest major nation at least slightly more often than tax collectors. This is enabled by the benzene-burning motorized trucks furnished by Guild Galad. Guild Galad's technology also enables reliable electricity within that city-state's domain, but it remains a rare luxury beyond its borders.
Between Diggers and Guild Galad's scavenging, ARM-based technology is somewhat less frowned-upon in the Aquvy region. ARM-derived armor marks one unmistakably as a Digger but not necessarily as a public nuisance as it would on Ignas. Refractor-powered vehicles such as automobiles, labor-use Gears and even aircraft are not common, but especially in the Great Sea area where Digger activity is at its peak, one can expect to find at least a few in any settlement of significance.
The islands of the Great Sea tend to be feast or famine. Islands near or especially those actually hosting active Digs are bustling with activity, as Diggers arrive to cash in and merchants arrive to support them. Conversely, those that have no such activity are barely inhabited, and are often at the level of an Ignas frontier settlement; sometimes, they are even lower, possessing no weapon more dangerous than heirloom swords and shields.
Living in Seed Cities
The Badlands of Aveh are also home to the Seed Cities, founded in the wake of the Day of Falling Stars one hundred and fifty years ago. Life in the Seed Cities is closer to life on the frontier -- after all, they live in the Badlands -- but they enjoy amenities that the small towns there do not. The presence of the Plants gives Seed Cities an enormous advantage, and their buildings enjoy electrical power and running water. The technology remains close to the 1880's, however, just closer to what was operating in the major cities of the Eastern seaboard.
Politically, Seed Cities tend to be more rough and tumble. They have no central government, and each community operates more or less as an independent city-state. They are havens for Drifters and outlaws; most only have a small constabulary, and in times of war and other need, they rely on hiring Drifters, Geohounds, and other undesirables. Similarly, law and order is questionable. Gangs of Drifters often break out into gunfights, and violent crime is far from unheard of.
Living in Solaris
Life in Solaris is nothing like the rest of Filgaia. Very few surface dwellers have ever visited the floating city. What they see resembles the inside of ancient ruins more than their homes. The Solarians enjoy a level of technological development and comfort equivalent to, if not exceeding, a post-industrial nation on 21st century Earth. Homes have electricity and running water, with highly advanced televisions and entertainment systems. Cities have lit signs, holographic displays for advertising, and public computer terminals. They use magnetically-propelled trains to quickly move between parts of their capital, Etrenank.
Under this thin veneer of prosperity, however, Solarian life is based on totalitarianism. Etrenank’s citizens are free to shop and move about during the day, but police presence is incredibly high, and the private electronic communications of citizens are openly monitored. The government sponsors most of the news and entertainment, which acts as propaganda for the Solarian way of life. In addition, surface dwellers are brought to the city to act as an underclass, working in truly terrible conditions. Referred to as -Lambs-, surface dwellers are seen as impure and disposable by most of the citizens. This view is encouraged by Solaris's government.
Given Etrenank is a floating city with no room for expansion, the involvement of the government is, to an extent, necessary. Food, water, and supplies are distributed by the administrative unit collectively referred to as the Soylent System. The government is also responsible for ensuring Solaris remains airborne and doing the necessary maintenance. For Solarian citizens, Etrenank is a very safe place, and crime is rare. For surface dwellers, their lives are hard and they may suffer terrible abuses, but they are less likely to meet a violent and abrupt end than their cousins on Filgaia below.
Your character does not know what the Soylent System makes food out of, unless they are named Citan Uzuki (who isn't telling people).
Living on Lunar
Lunar is a pastoral, pre-industrial world with a level of technology largely equivalent to the High Middle Ages. While advanced ARMs can periodically be found in Lunar, they are largely in the control of the Church of Althena, one of its kingdoms, or hidden away in a ruin. The average person is used to ox-drawn plows, irrigation in fields, and running water powered by aqueducts. Technology is practically the same as magic, as far as they are concerned. Most of Lunar's inhabitants are farmers and herders; city and town dwellers are rare, and cities are important as hubs of agricultural trade.
Cities are ancient and impressive on Lunar, but small by Filgaian standards. They rely on chopped wood for heat, and while charcoal and water mills can provide them with some industry, they do not have factories. Workshops and cottage industries are how they produce their goods. Most cities are built on trade routes, to help spread goods. City dwellers still enjoy a great deal of security and peace compared to the countryside, though, and their walls keep out invaders of all kinds. However, violent crime does happen, especially on Glenwood.
Althena's blessing has rendered the land inside of the Boundary incredibly, immensely fertile and abundant. Agriculture on Lunar can feel like a race to harvest food that comes with relatively little cultivation, because the soil and land are so blessed. Because of this, most on Lunar live in small villages where they tend their fields and flocks. On Meribus, these villages can often be idyllic, and monsters and bandits are rare. On Glenwood, these villages have a harder life; they have been victimized by increasingly powerful monsters, bandits, and sometimes caught in the fires of war. Nonetheless, Filgaian farmers would weep to see the bounty that their counterparts on Lunar can harvest every year.
Lunar's culture, traditionally, has been artistic, expressive, and open. It is typically socially liberal and egalitarian, valuing all life equally. The Church of Althena is partially to thank, as it has preached this message for thousands of years. In recent years, however, this has changed; the Church has outlawed many forms of expression and began to expect enormous tithes from the faithful. Additionally, Glenwood has seen its societies becoming more rigid, as a constant war footing has affected both Hyland's and Rolance's economies.
Life in Spira
Spira is a land rocked by frequent devastation. Sin's coming to a region brings destruction and loss; even without directly attacking a city, the creature's appearance can result in unpredictable weather, destructive waves, and attacks by Sinspawn. When Sin approaches a city directly, it is often left shattered and in bad need of repair. As a result, much of Spira consists of small towns and villages built upon ruins of what came before.
Life is agricultural, but not idyllic. Because so much of Spira consists of islands, fishing and turning to the sea for food is common. Smaller settlements are the rule, save for those towns and cities large enough to have a Temple -- or Luca, which has ancient seawalls and protections that make it slightly more resilient against Sin.
People's lives are deeply religious. Yevon is venerated, but people fear Sin and seek to constantly atone. Prayer, meditation, and acts of ritual atonement are common and expected.
People on the outside of the Church of Yevon lead difficult lives. The Al Bhed are the most prominent; they reside in the desert city of Home, and on the ships they have managed to salvage and live on. The Al Bhed enjoy a higher level of technology, as they ignore the ban on Machina, but they also have a marginalized existence that puts them at greater risk of persecution by Yevon.