Moonshine Ethnographical Questionnaire

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Dr. Zahir’s Ethnographical Questionnaire was compiled by David Zahir to help in the description of concultures, and can be found in the files section of the Conculture group at Yahoo.


Questions of Place

Describe the geography of where your society calls home.

Moonshine is a relatively large empire, comparable in size to modern Russia or Canada plus Greenland. Its inhabitants think of it as being the northern half of the habitable world. However, it is not the largest empire in the world, and most of the territory consists of glaciers or treeless tundra areas from which all food must be taken from the sea. Unlike all other human empires, however, the Moonshines are at home in these cold areas, and the population density on the tundra, and even in some icecapped areas, is greater than the population density in the small corner of their empire which has a continental climate with summers warm enough to attempt simple agriculture, where the climate is similar to southern Scandinavia.

Describe the climate your society deals with. How severe are their seasons?

Average temperatures range from about —9F in central Xema to 46F in the vineyards of the extreme southwest. As a general rule, winters are not fantastically cold, it's just that summers are short and barely get above freezing in much of Moonshine's territory so there is no growing season and even pine trees have difficulty growing up.

What kinds of natural disasters has this society gotten used to?

There are very few. While some would say that living in a polar climate with heavy winds means that every day is a disaster, the Moonshines consider deep cold to be their element and are perfectly comfortable. They would reply that they are better off than people in tropical or even temperate climates bexcause they have no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no volcanoes, no earthquakes, no floods, no mudslides, and heavy snowstorms are rare.

What are the most commonly-grown foods?

Most vegetables are imported from the Poswob empire to the south. Natively there is only meat and fish. Seaweed grows in the oceans in many areas, but is not commonly eaten. Likewise, there are some fruits that can grow well even in places like Safiz where summer is only about 55F, but these are generally left for other animals to consume.

What are the most commonly-eaten meats?

Fish. A lot of dead animals are gathered up, especially penguins, but this is due to scavenging rather than hunting.

What foods are considered exotic or expensive?

Anything from far away. Surprisingly, pineapples and coconuts are able to survive the journey from the tropics, because they are the hardiest known fruits, and therefore they are more common in Moonshine than temperate things such as apples and oranges. Also, the central part of the Moonshine Empire is physically closer to the Poswob and Pabap heartlands, where many tropical foods can be found, than to areas with more temperate climates because those are much further west and east. (The intermediate strip of territory between the Pabap tropics and Moonshine is not ideal farmland.)

What forms of alcohol are common? Rare?

Alcohol is also almost entirely imported from Pusapom. Although there are some areas in the southwest that are warm enough to grow wine grapes, it is more difficult logistically to get the wine out of those areas and over the mountains into the rest of the empire than it is to simply ship it down the river from the highlands of Pusapom. So native Moonshine wine is generally consumed near its site of origin. Other forms of alcohol are not generally consumed at all, atlhough apple cider is common in apple growing regions during the harvest season.

Humans on Teppala are in general more sober than humans on Earth, but parties are not uknown. Still, even so, alcohol is seen as a bevarage of convenience (because it keeps well) more than a beverage of delight.

Is there usually enough food and water for the population?

Yes. It would be difficult to conceive of an event that could change this. Some humans do starve, but it generally is because their entire family has become disabled in one way or another and they can no longer fend for themselves. Water of course will never run out since they literally live on it. Even in the areas dominated by salt water, the salt water can simply be cupped up and then frozen to create fresh water to drink.

What is this place's most abundant resource?

WATER!!! But everyone else has that too, so really it's fish and meat. Moonshines pay the Poswobs for their fruits and vegetables by trading them preserved fish and meat.

What is its most valuable resource?

What resource is it most lacking?

Fruits and vegetables. Even before Pusapom arose to help them out, though, Moonshines were already living in arctic climates and eating whales and dolphins while consuming no vegetables whatsoever.

How do people travel from one place to another?

Mostly by boat, sometimes by riding animals.

Are the borders secure? In what way?

Most Moonshine states are either islands or defined by other water boundaries. THis includes the external boundaries. Most of the land boundaries are with Pusapom states which would have no reason to invade nor would they be able to do any damage, as Pusapom is primarily a victim rather than an aggressor. The only potential hostile border states are in the far west, in Goga, and even here, the people are more afraid of Moonshines than vice versa, as they have much more to lose in a fight of any kind (wealth, property, food) than the Moonshines who generally come with no possessions.

Moonshines are aggressively intolerant of all non-Moonshines, even in some areas outside their empire. Several hundred years ago, Moonshines claimed a large area called the Crown in central Pusapom, and have ruled out all Poswobs even from that Poswob territory. Also, the state of Wawiabi in the Poswob Empire is divided into two districts, one purely for Moonshines and one for everyone else, including a few ethnic Moonshines who do not mind living with foreigners. Even though Moonshine depends on trade with the Poswob Empire for much of its food and wealth, the Poswob Empire allows Moonshines to kill any Poswobs who venture into Moonshine-occupied territory unaccompanied by Moonshine guards. Foreigners other than Poswobs are generally treated much more harshly even than this, even if they are from territories officially allied with the Moonshine Empire. Because Poswobs are ethnically diverse, however, sometimes even Poswobs can come into suspicion since there is no way to identify them for sure just by sight. (Though there are some body types that only Poswobs have, there are many body types that Poswobs share with non-Poswobs due to fairly recent cultural assimilation.) The most hated race is the Ogili, from whom they have conquered much land. But the Ogili still control the vastly richer territories along the west coast of Goga, climatically similar to Oregon and California where Moonshine territory is climatically similar to northern Canada and Greenland.

The Moonshine intolerance of outsiders has gotten stronger over time as their empire has gathered power, but in some areas the people interpret it to mean merely that Moonshines must live in their own villages rather than clearing out the entire nation of all foreigners. So in the state of Sàfiz, they were able to peaceably become a majority simply due to their high birthrate and the fact that Sàfiz at the time was in an empire which had many better places to live. Thus they slowly drove out the previous Ogili majority. A few politcal refugee groups have come in which arent historuically Moonshine, but are not expected to stay.

How many people live here?

Probably about 250,000. Almost half of them live in Safiz, which is the 2nd warmest state, and is much larger than the warmest state. However, with varying definitions of "Moonshine", the population can also vary. Note that there are about 4 million Poswobs, so Poswobs outnumber Moonshines 16 to 1. This does not bother the Moonshines, however, as even though they love Poswobs they love even more the fact that the Poswobs surround them on all sides which means that any war against Moonshine will have to cut through thousands of miles of Poswob territory first, and by the time the invading army gets to Moonshine the Poswobs will have joined the war in self defense.

Likewise they have no fear of being invaded by the Poswobs themselves because the Poswobs are pacifists.

Where in this place do they congregate?

What part of this place do they avoid? Why?

There are not very many Moonshines living in the coldest parts of their empire, though this is obvious. What should be noted is that Moonshines are far, far more likely than other peoples to attempt to live in cold climates at all, even in places that are not useful for some other reason. For example, Poswobs have towns in places where the average temperature is below freezing every month of the year, and thus is comparable not even to northern Canada or Greenland, but to Antarctica (or the center of the Greenland icecap). But this is only because they've braved the cold to take advantage of otherwise unmanned trade routes across the mountains. Whereas the Moonshines have cities in the coldest parts of their empire even without any other benefit coming to them from being there. They simply live there because the land is available. Even so, population density is highest along the waterfront, which means by definition that they cannot be at the center of an icecap.

What are the most common domesticated animals here? And what are they domesticated for?

As elsewhere, there are no true domesticated animals. Moonshine speakers consider themselves to be the equals of animals such as penguins, pillowwolves, and dolphins, rather than the masters of them.

The planet Teppala is subhject to global warming, which means that animals from temperate climates that used to be arctic climates are trying to flee northwards into Moonshine territory. THe problem is that there is an ocean in the way. Moonshines could simply sit back and watch them die, or rescue them and bring them into Moonshine to let them grow. In almost every case, Moonshine has indeed rescued the animals, which means that pillowwolves are now common in Moonshine territory, but have a difficult time finding food because even though the climate is warmer now the wildlife is stuck 10000 yrs behind and they can only eat seals and other waterbound animals.

What are the most common wild animals?

In the apex of Moonshine society, the climate is so cold that even animals have ah ard time survivng there. e.g. Penguins come up to the top of the icecap when they get kicked out of their soceities along the coast, and find Moonshines living there. They are thus more strongly bonded with those humans than the humans are to other humans, or the pegnuins to other openguins. This is what MS thinks of as ideal, but inb realir, most himans also live on the coast and therefore live with penguins, firebirds, dolphins, and whales. Also hedghehjods in the states of Safiz And Todrom.

Which animals are likely to be pets? Which ones won't be?

There are no true pets, just as is the case with the rest of Teppala, because animals are sentient.

Questions of Time

How far back does this society's written history go?

Moonshine is a very literate society, and has preserved written records going back to their foundation around 3700 AD (present day is 8700s). They have records even older than that, but they do not consider themselves to be a survival of any of the older cultures they split from, since those cultures also had other branches, whereas the Moonshines have undergone no internal divisions at all since their foundation in 3700.

How far back do its people believe it goes?


What is the worst disaster they believe they've faced?

What was the best thing that ever happened to them?

What in their past makes them feel ashamed?

What in their past makes them proud?

The fact that they managed to survive as a nation that rejected the traditional male power structure and developed into a nation where women are in control of all affairs and men are so phyiscally weak that they cant even protest their inmferior positioin. And that they not only survived, but propsered. Although they are confined to the coldest climates of the world, they tell them selves that this is a good thing because cold weather is where humans belong.

What are they afraid of happening again?

Although the Moonshine people are proud of their ability to tolerate extremely cold weather, to the point that it makes little difference whether it is -40F or -140F, they know that their climate today is much warmer than it was thousands of years ago, and do not want it to revert to the ice ages as this would likely kill their food sources, even the ice fishing industry.

What are they hoping will happen? Do they think it likely?

MShines of course want all other nations to submit to them, with the Poswbs in ha

What do they assume the future will hold?

Despite being pacifists, many Moonshines want to control the whole world. They are making long range plans for things to happen several thousand years from now which no presently living person will ever experience. Some want to overcome the world peaceably, others plan to allow at least some violence. Note that Moonshines are aggressively intolerant of any foreigners of any kind in their territories, which is unusual on this planet even in the most warlike nations, and so the primary objection to those Moonshines seeking more land is the assumption that it would lead to the killings of tens of thousands of previous inhabitants. In the past, territorial expansion has been mostly peaceful, with violence occurring only when the other nation first attacked the Moonshines. And this in turn has been mostly on land in which the Moonshines had had a prior claim to settlement, even if they were not politically united at that time.

And again, many Moonshine people believe that the human race is long overdue for a cataclysmic war of all "tall-female" tribes versus all the "tall-male" ones, and that Moosnhine will have tro abandon their own allies sucha s the Poswobs to fgight this war. They say some Poswobs will survive, and will prosper because they will be able to take over the tropics, but they themselvbes do not want Pswobs in their army.

As below, the Moonshines would ❤LOVE❤ to have a world where Poswobs are the primary enemy, because that would mean that all other enemies have been completely obliterated. And they see the Poswobs as chubby, malleable, obedient little slaves who could be killed with just a toothpick if they should ever try to object aghainst the Moonshines. All other humans are seen as much more threatening.

How has this society changed? Do its current members realize this?

In the very early days of Moonshine, the people were a traditional human society, a sect of the Crystals, in which men were taller than women and had most positions of power. Today, women are much taller than men and have all of the powerful positions in society, with men holding no power whatsoever.

They speak lovingly of "the Great Conspiracy" (where "conspiracy" represents a word difficult to translate), which was the event that caused the early proto-Moonshines to switch from being run by men and women cooperatively to being run entirely by women in less than 100 years. "We did this to put /us/ in control", they said. The Crystals had actually been feminists themselves, but the Moonshines said that Crystal feminism did not go nearly far enough and that male power had to be completely eliminated to the point that men would not even have the right to own money unless their wife or other woman in charge gave them some.

What are the most popular stories about the past?

Moonshine's two proudest cultural achievements were to achieve complete female domination and to establish an independent nation that was militarily powerful enough to be immune from outside attacks. The founders of the Moonshine empire achieved both of these goals simultaneously, and therefore their proudest days were their earliest days, nearly 5000 years ago.

Who in the past is the greatest hero? The worst villain?

Moonshines have from their earliest days resisted concentration of leadership in the hands of a single person. However, one common trait throughout Moonshine's history is that their greatest heroes and their greatest villains are all females.

Do people think the present better or worse than the past?

Mostly better because the situation has been gradually improving over the past 5000 years. However, on shorter time scales, they are losing out because neighboring countries are becoming rich and Moonshine isn't. THey believe they should stick to their own frigid homeland and consider people who leave the nation to settle in tropical or even temperate climates to be traitors.

Do people believe the future will be better or worse than the present or past?

Questions of Sex and Family

How many spouses may a man or woman have?

Moonshine is a female dominated society with women in control in all spheres of public and private life. But while polygamy is allowed (in both directions), most marriages are monogamous. When polygamy does happen, it is usually 2 wives and 1 husband, and both wives must be familiar with each other from before the marriage. In such a marriage, the two women must agree beforehand on how to divide up property, since a woman takes ownership of all of her husband's property during a monogamous heterosexual marriage. Generally the first wife has priority, but she can legally transfer property to the incoming wife, including even the house. This is most common when the incoming wife is much younger than the first wife.

In a marriage ceremony the wife usually "moves first". In a homopsexual marriage trhere ceremony id ssgern.

Who decides on a marriage?

Although Moonshines tend to marry very young, there are no arranged marriages involved. The woman and the man (or the girl and the boy) come to love each other on their own and make the decision to live together. While other people certainly put pressure on them, the ceremony itself is private. If a boy and a girl love each other but do not want to get married they are allowed to still live together and be apart from their parents.

Can a marriage end in divorce? How?

Men cannot own property while married to a woman; his property is instead owned by the "nearest woman", which in a heterosexual marriage would be his wife.

If a man is married to two women and divorces the wife that owns the home, then the man and his other wife will be homeless but generally will still have significant wealth.

If a man is married to two women and divorces the wife that does not own the home, then he will remain with his other wife in their house and the other woman will become homeless but generally will have a significant amount of wealth since men cannot own property while married and therefore in most cases the woman leaving the marriage will be taking nearly half of what the threesome had had.

If two women get divorced and neither of them is married to a man then they will by necessity have had to own everything separately, and the woman who does not own the house will become homeless but, as above, will generally have accumulated significant wealth.

If a man and a woman in a monogamous marriage get divorced, the woman will take everything, and the man will become homeless and have little or no wealth with which to buy a home unless he had already been wealthy in his own right before he got married. Men cannot own property while married, but any wealth or land that they had had before they were married reverts to them in the event that he divorces all of his wives. The distinction is important because Moonshine's legal system assumes that even a woman preparing to divorce her husband will still be loyal to him enough to not simply sell off his property to someone else and keep the money for herself, which would be entirely legal before the divorce but not after it.

If a man divorces his husband and has no wife, in most cases neither of them would be the legal owners of any of their property to begin with, so the property ownership would stay the same it was before.

Outside of divorce, a wife who is having problems with her husband can meet with a council of local women, usually confined to women who know the wife of the troublesome husband. These women will decide on a suitable punishment for the man, or declare him innocent. If the woman chooses to simply kill her husband, the women on the council are obliged to try to talk her out of it, but cannot expose the crime later on if she follows through.

Who usually takes custody of children if a marriage ends for some reason?

This follows the same patterns as above. Although children are not considered property, the same laws apply, meaning that arbitration only arises in the case of a gay or lesbian couple. If the husband dies early, the wife retains the children and all of the property. If the wife dies early, the "nearest woman" law is invoked, and although the husband will still be expected to spend most of his time with the children, he is no longer their legal father. However, on the other hand, all property owned by his wife does in fact become owned by the husband, not by the nearest woman.

How is adultery defined? What (if any) is the punishment? Who decides?

Polygamy is allowed and is fairly common. Extramarital relations are also allowed, but can be punished in various ways. If a wife finds her husband with another woman, and there is no second wife in the marriage, and the wife does not accept the other woman as a potential second wife, she is entitled to punish her husband in any possible way short of causing physical harm without any legal oversight. Since by law the wife owns all of the property in the marriage, she can simply throw him out of the house and end the marriage, keeping all property for herself. Thus, men do not cheat on their wives very often.

if a man finds his wife with another man, he does not have any legal means to pursue action against her because adultery is not actually a crime. A woman caught in the act could even "punish" her husband by throwing him out of the house, and keeping all of the property for herself. Thus men who suspect their wives of cheating do not generally even go so far as to try to get their wives to admit it. However, while one might expect the extreme power imbalance in this system to lead to women abusing their husbands and having sex with many many men while still officially married, this does not happen because women do not commonly visit men in other households without that man's wife also being present.

How are families named?(g) What happens to orphans?

How are boy and girl children treated differently?

Girls are prepared for leadership roles and boys are prepared for subservient roles and/or physical labor. The education system is weak, but this too tends to favor girls as they are required to have broader knowledge than boys by the time they are teens. Boys, however, generally learn just one subject and learn it deeply.

Unlike other strong feminist societies such as Pusapom, in Moonshine it would be difficult to argue that men still have the better life despite it all. Although many women have jobs on their own in the public work force, their husbands are required to pay for them if they choose not to. (This is in contrast to Pusapom where women are not paid at all because they are considered part of a team with their husband, and therefore can only work in the same job their husband has.) In fact, a man's property becomes owned by his wife when he gets married, so materially speaking, marriage is a huge loss for any man and a huge win for any woman. Because unmarried women do not receive money from their boyfriend, most women marry as soon as possible, usually in their teens, and have many children.

Additionally, during pregnancy and early child-raising years, women are not expected to work; they again derive all of their income from their husband. This means that families generally get poorer when they are pregnant.

Types of men

It could be said that there are two types of men: strong and weak. Strong men have a personality similar to men in the Ogili Empire, meaning they see physical strength as good and achieve thus by embracing the personality traits of wild animals. Yet they consider themselves at all times inferior in social status to women, and loyal to the woman to whom they are married. They are proud of their bodies and many women prefer "strong" men despite the social power strucutre being extremely skewed in favor of women. "Strong" men (perhaps called hařč) are typically superior in physical strength to the average woman.

The "weak" type is small, delicate, and easily dominated by other people. This is considered sexually attractive in Moonshine culture. They are stereotypically prone to believing that they are so weak that even going outside is dangerous, and therefore are not actually seen in city centers very often. In recent years, the submissive male stereotype has had added to it the stereotype of being a good student, because of the much greater time spent inside and their lack of interest in physical exercise. This was not true in the past because for most of Moonshine history, the only education was religious, and that was delivered almost exclusively to females. "Weak" men (perhaps called pàp) are typically inferior in strength to the average adult woman.

Note that the terms hařč and pàp both mean "penis", but are ultimately euphemisms, as even the famously impudent Moonshines would not go around calling the entire male populatuon of their nation "penis". The Moonshine language has a range of insults aimed at the pàp males, but not at the hařč males. There are other synonyms for these words, but hařč and pàp are considered the only true words.

Although women in Moonshine have a large range of personalities just like women anywhere else, it is considered inappropriate for them to be needy and helpless unless there is a medical problem making them such. They are supposed to be self-reliant. This sometimes causes embarrassment because women have just as much diversity of adult height and body type as men do, yet they lack the "safe space" provided to pàp males of being allowed to be physically and emotionally weak.

Are premarital relations allowed?

Yes, and to the point that a marriage between two virgins is very rare. When an unmarried woman is pregnant, she will go on leave from her job, and her boyfriend will pay for her needs and is expected to marry her. If he is already married to another woman this is not an unforgivable taboo, because polygamy is common, but even so it can cause severe problems with both relationships if the two women are not willing to live together.

How does your society define incest? Rape? How do people react to these?

Male-on-female rape is rare because of difficulties of anatomy, and when it does happen it is punished less severely than anywhere else. Male-on-male rape is the most common form. When prosecuted, it is often referred to euphemistically, as if the man being raped had only been beaten up or wounded, as the penalty for this is quite severe on its own. It is generally taller, stronger men raping shorter weaker men. However, Moonshine society has a higher rate of child rape than most other societies; in fact the highest in the world. This is due to the physical difficulty encountered by Moonshine men (even taller ones) in attempting forcible rape against an adult woman.

Female-on-male rape is rare, and generally not acknowledged, instead defined as a generic domestic abuse situation, since it mostly happens with married couples. The same is true of female-on-female rape or woman vs child. This is one trait that Moonshine has in common with the tall-male societies to its south: women cannot legally be considered rapists, either of men, or of women, or of children, but they can be punished for "abuse".

What, if anything, is considered a good marriage gift?

Perhaps a new house, but this would be built cooperatively by the couple rather than acquired by one and donated to the other. On the other hand, since the wife owns the house, it could be said that the husband's gift is his work in helping build it.

The construction of so many new houses is not a problem because of the nomadic lifestyle of the Moonshines and the harsh climate that causes nature to destroy many houses each year.

What secret vice is believed to be widely practiced?

The Moonshines are angry that other tribes such as the Ogili are allowed to exist. They have sexualized the anger in the sense that a woman who has sex with an Ogili man is considered a criminal, because it could lead to the Ogili genetics getting into the Moonshine gene pool. This is enforced eve noutside of Moonshine territory. Not surprisingly, women who do this are kicked out of Moonshine society but generally welcomed in Ogili society, which has had the effect of making the edges of Ogili terriroy more like Moonshine,m which softens the gradation between teh two in favor of Moonshine. Moonshine would be expected to lose territory by bleeding it out into otehr nations, but this doesnt happen ebcause of the jigh Moonshine birthraster.,

Some people belive that if a Moonshine spends too much time in the sun, they will turn into a foreigner. i.e. that Ogilis etc are just Moonshuinbes that have had too much sun exposure. This means that those peple, if moved to the cold north, would turn into Moonshines. However this never happens because the Moonshine majority would not tolerate even just somneone living in Moonshine if they are a foreigner.

Since many Moonshine women do prefer tall men, those who live outsider the Empire and are exposed to foreigners often marry foreign men. Moonshine men are small both comapred to their own wmen and to foreign women, so there isnt much difference in playu there. As said above, though, since almost all mixed amrriages take place outside the Moonshine territory, Moonshins itself is not hurt by the outamrriages.

What secret vice actually is practiced?

Moonshine people pride themselves on the fact that due to their anatomy, women experience little pain during childbirth[1] and do not have to worry about rape and sexual assault from men that live among them. However the result of this is that Moonshine men are disproportionately likely to rape other men or children instead. Male homosexuality is legal and widely practiced, but men still rape men at the highest rate in the world.

What sexual habits are widely believed common among foreigners?

Stories have circulated in the tropics about an icebound land where women are strong and violent and men are their helpless slaves, and any foreigners visiting Moonshine are likely to be familiar with this legend. (Foreigners also believe that Moonshine men are castrated for the slightest of offenses whereas women are let free after commiting gruesome crimes so long as that crime was against a male.)

To the Moonshines, any society where men are not confined to subservient roles is foreign. However, due to their geogrtaphical isolatiuon and the lack of unique natural resources, very fdew foreigners ever visit Moonshine. Those that do are mostly northern Poswobs, who are anatomically similar to the Moonshines and thus have no unique sexual habits.

If anything, Moonshines would likely believe that foreigners' sexual practices are too bland rather than too diverse, and that Moonshines are the ones who get the most enjoyment from sexual activbity. THis is due to the Moonshines' awareness that dpesite the extreme homogenity of their empire, they are rare in the world for having their women much taller than their men, and thus seem "exotic" to everyone else.

How do people react to homosexuality?

Male homosexuality is more widely practiced here than in most other places, and is not generally associated with increased prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases because there are very few such diseases in the first place. Gay marriage is legal and is rarely even questioned. The only disadvantage for a gay man is that by not marrying a woman he and his husband will have inferior legal status — not because they are gay, but because they don't have a female in their household. Very few homosexual men will marry a woman simply for this legal advantage, however. The percentage of men who marry other men is roughly 13%, though many of these have either married a woman or had an extramarital relationship with one. M-M-F marriages are unusual and almost always consist of one man married to both of those others (MMF), not the woman married to the two men (MFM), although both are legal. "Triangle" marriages are illegal.

Male-male relationships are commonly made up of one harč and one pàp, respectively "top" and "bottom" in English. The harč is usually much taller than the pàp. This is so common that exceptions to the rule are stigmatized even among other homosexuals. Note that both types of men are often attracted to women, though as above, it is abnormal for them to both be married to the same woman while also being married to each other. The harč and pàp roles are used in heterosexual relationships, too (see above); which leads to the perception among some outsiders that 70% of Moonshine males are gay.

Female homosexuality is common as well, including marriages with no male in the household. If they want children they are legally allowed to have sex with a man from another family and not marry that man. However that man will not be responsible for financial assistance raising the child, since child support payments are always tied to marriage.

The percentage of women who marry other women is about 7%, though this does not include "threesomes" where a man marries two women, and those two women consider themselves in love with each other. If those two women were legally married, however, it would be a triangle marriage, which is the only form of marriage which is illegal. However, it is legal for a woman to marry both a man and another woman (MFF), as long as that man and woman are not already married to each other.

Thus Moonshine is the most tolerant major society in the world regarding homosexuality of both sexes, to the point that homosexuals are arguably better off than heterosexuals. Yet they still believe, all in all, that heterosexual couples are the ideal, and blame some of the societies around them for having even greater incidences of homosexuality. The paradox is explained by the fact that Moonshines do not blame homosexuality on the people practicing it, but on society as a whole. Put another way, Moonshine people believe that a society that prefers homosexuality is deeply flawed, but not immoral.

How do the genders dress?

Men and women tend to dress similarly. As in Pusapom, women almost always have long hair. Men have short hair, but often in hairstyles that would elsewhere be considered feminine. Dyeing of hair is appropriate for both sexes but the necessary requipment is difficult to afford.

Like the Poswobs to their south, Moonshines are very cold-tolerant and not very heat-tolerant. Even 55F can be considered "hot". Moonshine people tend to wear lighter clothes than might be expected for their climate, and to seemingly ignore severe weather altogether to the point of doing business outside during a major snow or rain storm, wearing no boots and carrying no umbrellas. But bright sunshine is tolerated; people make no effort to protect themselves from sunburn. Note that, despite their ancestry, the Moonshines tend to have darker skin than their neighbors in all directions, and do not normally feel sunburn.

During above-freezing weather both sexes wear "pants" that essentially resemble underwear, similar to e.g. the Depend diaper ads showing adult women wearing normal shirts but only a diaper underneath. And os it could be said that Moonshines dress for cold rain the way everyone else dresses for 100F with hot sunshine.

Women are more likely to talk openly about embarrassing bodies, e.g. "hold on I need to go to the bathroom" than men are. In Poswob culture, both genders are like this. Despite women appearing to be in most ways the stronger sex, they do not feel shame in admitting thatthey are controlled by hormones.

Is prostitution legal? How are prostitutes viewed? Is this accurate?

Prostitution is entirely legal and prostitutes both male and female practice their trades openly, but few prostitutes rely on it as their sole source of income. Prostitutes are self-employed and keep all of the money they earn. A labor union exists to prevent the prostitutes from infringing on each other's territory and clients, but this union takes only a small amount of money from its members.

It is nearly impossible for a man to visit a prostitute without his wife's permission, due to the difficulties the male population has obtaining money. Therefore most clients of female prostitutes are lesbians or young, unmarried men. Some of these men are themselves prostitutes who cater only to other men but enjoy sex with women on the side.

What professions or activities are considered masculine?

Physical labor and anything dangerous such as hunting fish far out to sea. Although most of the Moonshine territory is icebound year-round, due to the nature of water currents, as is the case on Earth, open water exists even in -55F weather in the coldest parts of the empire. (See wikipedia:polynya.) Thus fishing is still fishing, it does not require penetrating huge blocks of ice or anything like that. Men prefer to hunt cooperatively, each helping take down one single big fish, rather than splitting up and individually taking home a bunch of little fish.

What professions or activities are viewed as feminine?

Leadership roles and education, and anything involving care of children. Many men have the ability to produce breast milk, but child care in general is still left mostly to women.

What inanimate or sexless things are considered male or female?

Moonshine evolved from a language with a gender system, but has lost that system apart from a few relic words which are not seen as gendered any longer. Due to the extreme compactness of the grammar, speakers often omit even non-grammaticalized gender information, using words like h "human" and žṿ "dolphin" for everyone.

The parent language, Khulls, already had lots of short words that were homophones. The other daughter languages abandoned these or confined them to compounds, but Moonshine perversely made all the other words short and polysemic as well. Although it is, of course, possible to disambiguate meanings by using synonyms or compounds, Moonshine remains the only language in the world where a sequence like can mean both "Why did you leave?" and "Because of the kids!"


What is the biggest sexual taboo?

Does this society connect the ideas of marriage with love?

What does this society mean by the word "virgin" and how important is it?

Not many adults are virgins. Indeed, not many adults are single, other than those whose spouses have recently died. Marriage comes early in life and is nearly universal, since it is difficult for both men and for women to make a living without a partner. Moonshine is in many ways a sexual utopia where even unattractive people can easily find love, though not many find a spouse who remains their perfect partner for the duration of their marriage.

Despite the early age of marriage, marriages between virgins are rare, and a marriage often follows the confirmation of pregnancy by the female partner.

Questions of Manners

What kinds of gifts are considered in extremely bad taste?

The only gifts that would be received with disgust are those which are unusable or intended as insults, such as a rolling walker for an elderly person who refuses to admit they need help getting around, or baby toys for an infertile couple.

How do younger adults address their elders?

There are no different forms of speech in Moonshine; like Poswa, it is hard to even tell from the written word alone whether a toddler or a lifelong scholar is speaking. This is an exception to the general trend in society that females have an extremely advantaged position over males; the vocabulary used by men and women is exactly the same, and men are not required to address women with titles of respect simply for being female.

What colors are associated with power? With virtue? With death?

Pink, purple, and pastels prominent among Moonshine flags and decorations. It could also be said, however, that Moonshines' favorite colors are blues and whites, since even their pinks are fairly purplish, seeming to belong to purple more than they belong to red. This is considered a "cold" pink.

Warm colors are popular only in specific contexts. Yellow, the color of the sun, is avoided in national heraldry because the Moonshines believe that their empire is powered by cold weather, and that the Sun is their enemy. Orange is similarly avoided because of its association with tropical fruits and its contrast with the blue water that surrounds all Moonshine settlements. Red is the color of blood and can be seen in a positive or negative way depending on context, but the shade that Moonshines call red is a true blood-red, which means it is slightly purplish, as above.

White is very popular, but is not considered a color in heraldry. The Moonshines have many positive associations with white objects, such as milk, snow, and soap, all of which are symbols of their society. They also make an unusual distinction between white and various high-pastels that are just barely distinguishable from white, even to the trained eye. Here again, only pastels with a blue component are considered attractive, because they are considered cold colors.

If two women get into a fight, how should that be resolved?

Note that in this society, from one end to the other, women are much taller than men. Men have more muscle despite being smaller, so the two sexes are about equal in terms of physical strength and endurance. But it is commonly assumed that women will win a fight with a man even so. Thus a man attacking a woman is seen as no more unfair or criminal than the opposite.

What kinds of jewelry do people wear? And when?

Like the Poswobs, Moonshines see jewelry and body piercings as wasteful. In fact most cultures throughout the entire planet are entirely without jewelry and mostly without cosmetics, the only exceptions being the Bé people living in the Sakhi empire and some of their neighbors.

What parts of the body are routinely covered?

As above, skimpy clothes are the rule. Breasts and buttocks are the only body parts routinely covered. The Neamaki people, a subgroup of the Moonshines, are always naked when the weather allows for it and sometimes even when it doesnt. However, this is a political refuge group, not a tribe belonging to mainline Moonshine culture. The Neamaki consider themselbes to be feral and non-human and reject clothes as being an adornment the way mainline Moonshines reject jewelry and cosmetics. Since they live in cold climates just like the other Moonshines, of course, they must sometimes wear clothes as well, but they keep it to a minimum.

How private are bodily functions like bathing or defecating?

They think that in the future there will be a race og humans that does not have "potty problems" at all and that people should live as if they were that, without going to stuch an extreme as to physically harm themselbes. Menstruation is im portant, e.g. they invented tampons, and have been searching for something better.

When and how does someone go from child to adult?

Most Moonshines marry in their early teen years, and this is considered the legal definition of adulthood.

Questions of Faith

What happens to those who disagree with the majority on questions of religion?

As among the Poswobs, religion and politics coincide, and both are organized, so changing one's political party means changing one's religion. The Moonshines and the Poswobs are in the same religious group, but the Moonshines consider this to be unified with the ancient Crystal religion in ways the Poswobs do not. Note that the ancient Crystal religion is no longer practiced by its original adherents; the Moonshines are the sole survival (unless even their branch of the religion is considered foreign).

Questions of Government

Who cannot rise to positions of leadership?

Men.: ) Essentially, anyone can become a leader as long as they are:

  1. Female;
  2. More than 13 years old;
  3. A member of the Moonshine political party, which has for 5000 years running been the only legal political party in the Moonshine Empire. Membership is hereditary, so all children born to Moonshine parents are enrolled in the party and remain members unless they are banned by the party leadership.

Parliament appoints new members to replace outgoing ones from among the general population. Potential leaders need to have completed a study course in politics, and the number of people completing this course is only slightly larger than the number of open spots available in the government, so most women who want to hold political office will do so, and they cannot be impeached.

At the top is a council of 8 rulers, one for each dept of the gov't.

Who decides whether someone has broken a law? How?

Laws vary greatly from one settlement to another. There are very few crimes that are outlawed at the imperial level of government; even homicide is legal, since the imperial Parliament believes that courts have the right to reduce criminals to such a low status that their life is no longer legally protected, while withholding the death penalty. Thus in some states, criminals can be killed by vigilantes and no charge of murder can be filed.

What kinds of punishments are meted out? By whom? Why?

Moonshine courts are fairly strict in general. Men are punished much more harshly than women for similar crimes, with the general rule being that a man's punishment should be ten times a woman's. This means that women are almost never given the death penalty, exile, or any other punishment for which a more extreme version could not be conceived.

How are new laws created or old ones changed?

Laws can only be changed by Parliament, but many laws are local customs that are enforced only casually.

How are the rules different for officials as opposed to the common person?

How do government officials dress?

Fashionable clothes are generally not found even among the wealthiest citizens, and there is nowhere a specific uniform worn by members of the government.

Is the law written down? Who interprets it?

All laws are written, and there is a court system in each settlement to interpret and enforce the laws, but the courts cannot change a law without the consent of Parliament. If the members of a court unanimously disagree with a law, they still must convict (or acquit) the person accused, but are free to set the punishment for the crime.

Once accused, what recourse does someone have?

There are no lawyers, so most trials proceed quickly to the sentence and the accused has no recourse at all if convicted. Juries are composed of women whose beliefs are considered unquestionable, so there is no right to appeal.

Is torture allowed? What kinds?

Moonshine law defines torture as the practice of causing pain for no gain to the torturer. This is not specifically illegal, but it is discouraged. Hard labor and slavery are both widely practiced within the prison system, because these practices do benefit the outside party.

How are people executed?

The most advanced weapons are swords and spears, but most criminals are executed by drowning.

What makes someone a bad ruler in this society? What can be done about it?

Moonshine has always strongly opposed the consolidation of power in the hands of a single person, seeing this as an evil on par with giving political power to a man. Thus it has always been too difficult for anyone to accumulate enough power to become a dictator. However, Moonshine gives local leaders strong power to overrule the imperial government, and therefore within a single city a petty tyranny can develop. Some people will respond by leaving the city; the imperial government does not allow itself to impeach any local rulers, so this is the only means of response that the people have.

What are the most common or dangerous forms of criminal?

Property theft is more common than assault. Food supplies, which generally are stored outside the home, are most at risk. The coldest areas of the Empire are in some ways the richest, because every human family, and sometimes every person, has their own underground warehouse in which to keep food supplies. The temperatures here are very cold, so the food will not spoil even if left for a long time. Even in warmer areas of the empire, underground refrigeration is possible, since caves still have temperatures not much above freezing.

Questions of War

Who declares war?

Moonshine is a pacifist empire, so war is declared by whomever invades them and starts killing the Moonshines. There is no standing army, so civilians are on the front lines of every battle. However, for most of its history, including the present day, Moonshine has been surrounded by another pacifist empire which also never starts wars, and so there have been no wars at all inside Moonshine's territory.

Has this society ever attacked another? Do they want to? What would make them do so?

Early in its history, the Matrixes invaded Moonshine and began kidnapping and raping the citizens. Moonshine fought back by sending humanitarian workers to greet the Matrix soldiers in an attempt to calm them down and convince them to free the captured Moonshine slaves. The Matrixes added these people to the slave pool and pushed their army deeper into Moonshine territory.

After a few years, outside powers convinced the Moonshine military leaders that their pacifistic approach to warfare wasn't working, and with the help of the outside powers, Moonshine pushed the Matrix army back into their home country, only to see the war turn around two years later with the conquest of Wōm, the capital of the Moonshine Empire. However, all of this affected only the part of the Moonshine Empire that was in contact with the outside world, and the Matrixes realized that an occupation of Moonshine's entire territory was impossible even in the far future. Thus Moonshine survived without its capital for the time being, and the Matrixes were eventually pushed back by an unrelated conflict, restoring the city to Moonshine control. However, they were never able to rescue the slaves, who became a permanent underclass in their new homelands.

Questions of Education

Does this society have its own language? Its own writing?

Yes, Moonshines have been literate for more than 5000 years. It is a rare example of a language spread as the dominant language across a society so large that most people will never travel from one end of the empire to the other. Unlike Poswa, which is spread over an even larger territory, there are no suppressed aboriginal languages whose speakers only learn Poswa to communicate with the outside world. Moonshines themselves are the aboriginals, and they maintained a single language even as they grew to enormous size.

Partly this is due to water being the predominant means of transportation, both of people and of goods, and the fact that almost all Moonshine settlements touch the sea (and those that don't are always on rivers.)

How common is literacy? How is literacy viewed?

Moonshine's alphabet is simpler than most on this planet because it is a true alphabet rather than a syllabary. This is necessary because of the very large phonology and relatively free syllabel strucutre. e.g. 5 consonants in a row is not terribly uncommon. It is the sort of language where many words have alternate forms for no apparent reason, such that the word for "purse" can appear as pìlg, ṗʔśh, or ṗàśh with no change in meaning.

What form and value are books?

Some paper is used, but mostly things are written on more durable materials such as wood and stone tablets. Symbols that were carved into mountains thousands of years ago are still visible, and these have become the names of those mountains (the name of the picture, not the picture itself, as Moonshine does not have logograms.)

Who teaches others? How do they teach?

Who decides who learns to read or write?(f) Who teaches professions, like carpenter or scribe?

Are foreigners ever brought in to teach new skills? Who does that?

Moonshine is the purest empire, with almost no foreigners anywhere. Non-Moonshine people are not allowed to move to the Empire, and most are not even allowed to visit. Those few that do exist are essentially all Poswob who are sometimes considered Moonshines even though assimilation is also illegal.

Ironically Poswobs, who claim to be the world's softest people, inhabit Safiz in great numbers, where they serve in the state military. Here they are considered Moonshines by Ogili, which means they have legal privileges the other Ogili people do not. However, nearly the entire state of Safiz is Moonshine now, so they are simply elevated to the status of their neighbors, not above them.

How do this society's doctors try to treat wounds and sickness?

Moosnhine is definitely the medical champion of the planet, to such anb extent that cold weather is associated with being healthy. Poswobs surround Moonshine territory in most directions, and thus have borrowed their medical terminology mostly from Moonshine. To peoples even futhger south,. it is the Poswobs that seem like an entire nation of PhD doctors and pharmacists, but really, essentially all of their power is from Moonshine.

Which medical assumptions of this society are wrong?


  1. Moonshine women, aside from being tall, have wide hips and ample room for childbirth which means that they do not associate chuldirt with pain at all, unki all others