After the war, most of humanity laid dead and the world was torn asunder. As the few remnants of mankind retreated behind the walls of Union to rebuild, they did as they always do - adapt and change to the new situation.
Society within Union is in many cases quite rigid. So far as they know, they are the only humans left on the planet. As such, they have developed a set of stringent rules for behavior. Only in doing so, they feel, can the human race be preserved.
EDUCATION AND WORK
All children in Union are educated to the same standards and within the same program. From early on, they are observed and evaluated by their instructors to determine their skills and aptitude. As they progress through their schooling, depending on their observations and test scores, they will be guided into roles appropriate to their skillset. While students have the opportunity to seek training and work that interest them, they must meet the basic requirements and exceed in their education, especially in high-demand industries. Ultimately, the Union elders and scholars place students where they will excel, and where they are needed.
While it is possible to move into different industries, once you have been placed on an education track and entered the work force, it is very difficult to deviate. Additionally, compensation for all positions is set based on the value of the service they provide to the city. Students placed in science and research, for example, are highly paid whereas those who end up in service-based industries are not as highly paid.
Individual entrepreneurship is allowed, but not highly encouraged. Most artists end up going into business for themselves, and while art and music are valued culturally the professions are paradoxically not considered vital to the city and thus those who wish to pursue work in those fields must seek it themselves.
Enlightened and those with high aptitude to bond with Pokémon are able to break free of these restrictions. Especially with the call for explorers, Trainers are highly valued. They are able to avoid or forestall their education to go into the world, explore, and make their own way. Trainers exist somewhat outside regular society, as they are able to go places and do things considered to be beyond the reach of others. As such, they have unprecedented freedom, but also risk their lives to bring greater prosperity to Union.
The legend of the Great Hero has been enshrined within Union consciousness. Her pact with the gods is well remembered, and a form of worship has been built up around it. The Hero herself is known as the Savior, and she is venerated as a holy person. The gods themselves are worshiped and entreated for mercy and kindness, but the Savior is central to the practice. While not considered a deity herself, she is held up as the paragon of Humanity who's intercession is greatly sought to guide the people of Union to heights not before experienced.
Religious expression is a bit of an odd thing in Union. There are formalized rules and rituals, but no regular services. There are a few temples and churches within the towers of Union that people go to as their spiritual needs demand, usually for festivals and holidays. That said, there is a core group of priests and priestesses who uphold the tenets of the religion. There is an Archbishop within Union who oversees the workings of the religion and the allocation of their funding. In general the church tends to remain somewhat in the background.
SOCIAL CLASS, MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
All citizens are generally said to be given the same opportunity as they all receive equal education, and it is true that social mobility is quite high due to this fact. However, richer families tend to have more resources to hire private tutors, and more connections to ensure their children end up in more advantageous positions.
Marriage is generally considered to be an expectation, there is a lot of social pressure to marry and many higher-class families tend to arrange marriages, although the input of the recipient is always considered. Because of the massive population losses, Union places great importance on the need to have children, and offers financial benefits to those who have at least 3 children. The average marriage age is about 18 or 19 for most inhabitants of Union. This again is where Trainers and Enlightened tend to differ. Due to their unique abilities and role in society, many have been known to put off marriage indefinitely or never marry at all. This is compounded by the fact that many Enlightened who travel a great deal gain very inhuman appearances and attributes, which can hurt their prospects of settling down and starting a family. Families in Union tend to be quite large, and the average number children per household stands at 4.4.
It is understood that same-gender relationships and families and others who are not able or willing to have children may contribute equally to society in other ways. Many will care for orphaned or abandoned children, but if anyone is also unable to do as such for any reason, no citizen will be stigmatized if they actively contribute to the future of Union - for the majority of our players, this means their work as trainers and as Enlightened. The question is addressed in full here.
All citizens of Union live in the same single district, but that does not mean there is a parity in housing. Richer homes take up more space in a single tower and are in more desirable locations, whereas poorer homes are much smaller and tend to be closer to undesirable locations such as the Industrial district.
Union does boast several noble families. While everyone is considered equal there is a definite social structure, and these families typically stand at the top. Supposedly tracing their lineage directly to the Savior, these families tend to have members seated in the council and have a great deal of influence within Union.
LAWS AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Union does not have a death penalty. All human life is sacred, and killing is utterly forbidden. The worst punishment the city can and will pursue is exile. As it's expected an exiled person will probably die in the wilderness, it is a bit of a hedge, but in the end Union considers removing people it considers to be dangerous or otherwise unfit for society preferable to outright killing them. Injury, damage or theft of property, and other such minor offenses can be punished by incarceration and/or reparations and community service. Union prisons are bleak, but not overly harsh, as prisoners are still considered to be members of society and are still expected to return to society after they have paid their debt.
The council is comprised of the elders of Union, many of them coming from the upper echelons of society. An ancient and austere order, they have a reputation for being slow to change and even slower to action. Since the council controls the top-level decisions in Union, their decisions can have immense impact on the day-to-day workings of Union. Known for deliberating and debating for years, the council has, especially recently, had some growing opposition among the working class as they are seen as out of touch and unresponsive to their needs.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Union society, by and large, especially at the top, is very much focused on work and duty. However, it is human nature to seek the arts, music, and entertainment. Lacking the technological clout of industrialization, Union is limited in the ways they can transmit information. Since they rely so heavily on the Warp Transmission from the Signal Tower, Union makes heavy use of radio for their primary media consumption. Although the arts are not technically highly valued as a skill, they are popular among the general populace. Music especially, but also theater and books tend to be very popular.
Union also has a thriving sports culture. With limited space, they have had to get a bit creative with the sports they are able to play, but they have developed many that require smaller spaces. Whenever teams play, they always manage to draw large crowds. Matches are regularly broadcast over the radio, and tend to garner high ratings.
POKÉMON IN UNION
During the fall, there were some Pokémon that stood with humanity, protecting their masters and friends to the last. When the gods withdrew their forces, these Pokémon stayed with the humans, and have become pervasive fixtures of Union. These Pokémon, the available starters as listed here are all over Union. They live in harmony and even if they haven't specifically bonded with anybody all of these Pokémon within Union are completely domesticated. Typically, early trainers will bond with one of these Pokémon, often earlier in their life before they come of age.
The people of Union subside primarily on food prepared in the Agriculture Tower. Meat is a bit of a luxury and rarity - there's no real space to maintain livestock so most meat is obtained by hunters bringing down wild Pokémon in the wilderness. Due to the inherent danger and scarcity, it tends to be rather expensive.
Money in Union is typically represented by paper bills and coins. Known respectively as dollars and cents. The value of a dollar is roughly equitable to modern day America.
- Guard: The Guard operates on the wall and by the entrances to the Old City. They are tasked with protecting Union from rampaging Pokémon.
- Delver: Delvers descend into the depths of the Old City to find resources and materials for use in Union. Delvers are often trainers, and need to be prepared for just about anything.
- Ranger: Rangers patrol the wilderness around Union tracking Pokémon migration and herd patterns, mapping the surrounding area, and sending advance signals to Union if they detect trouble. Rangers also try to help out any trainers in the area who run into trouble. Almost all Rangers are trainers, Enlightened, or both.
- Pokémon Researcher: Pokémon researchers perform a great deal of field work in the absence of magical machines capable of automatically producing data. They observe and analyze wild Pokémon behavior and habitats, known moves and abilities, interactions with other species, etc., and compile this information for the rest of Union to use. The dedication of Pokémon researchers ensures that the people of Union are armed with the knowledge they need to deal with the myriad threats that wild Pokémon may pose. Pokémon researchers often work in tandem with Rangers on their projects.
- Historian: Historians often work hand in hand with Delvers, analyzing artifacts found in the Old City and trying to make sense of what came before the war. They study the times of old, and their function is of great interest to the council as it tries to make sense of and recover the history of humanity.
- Swords of the Savior: The Swords of the Savior are a group of Inquisitors that uphold the tenets of Union law and faith. Although officially a church group, they tend to act more as a police force, and their office is with the magistrate in the Council Hall. Swords of the Savior are powerful combatants, but like all in Union they are bound by the law not to take a life, although they can be authorized to do so in the most dire of circumstances. Their primary charge is protecting the peace.
- Professor: Professors teach within the university, educating young students and helping guide them to a worthy profession. Professors are highly prized and require some of the highest test scores to be considered. Many are expected to work in at least one specialized industry for several years before they can move into the position, but with it comes great security and respect. Professors also often partake in research to help expand their field.
- Engineer: Engineers are trained to take the salvage recovered from the Old City and find a way to make use of it. Many have become adept at repairing or re-purposing ancient artifacts, and many more have developed revolutionary new technologies such as the Warp Band by utilizing and altering old technology. Engineers are constantly striving to find more efficient ways to achieve what they want, especially as the salvage is beginning to dry up in the Old City.
- Researcher: Where Professors focus on teaching and occasionally research, Researchers focus on research and occasionally give lectures or assist in teaching. The role of Researchers is to create new technology and unravel ways to duplicate old technology. They work side-by-side with Engineers to advance Union's standard of living.
- Farmer: Stationed in the Agricultural Tower, farmers are tasked with the tending, nurturing and harvesting of the crops that feed the entire city. While generally considered a low-education trade, farmers are still a vital part of Union's operation.
- Smith: Smiths work the forge, smelting and forging recovered scrap metal into the many vital items that aid in Union's day-to-day function. Hot, heavy, and dangerous work Smiths are absolutely necessary in maintaining Union's standard of living.
- Medic: Medics in Union work night and day to take care of the city's needs, with individuals specializing in both preventative care and emergency services. Using technology and medicine developed from natural resources and observed Pokémon behavior, the Medical Center is equipped to take on the majority of cases that require its attention. Those trained in the art of healing may also choose to become field medics, traveling with Rangers on their missions to safeguard trainers and Pokémon alike from the dangers to be found in the wild.
- Caretaker: Those with a more nurturing soul may choose to become Pokémon breeders and caretakers, looking after the Pokémon in the Habitat and caring for those brought to the Breeding Center. Those with a lifetime of experience will come to understand each species of Pokémon intimately, knowing their individual capabilities, preferences, and physiologies. It is wise to listen to the advice of these citizens, as they may be able to encourage Pokémon to learn moves they wouldn't be able to normally learn, or simply inform trainers how to better relate to their Pokémon.
Throughout the year, Union celebrates a number of holidays. Many of these holidays have some tie to either the gods of old, the Savior, or to some other, much older festivities held over from previous civilizations. However, with more settlements being discovered, and with people migrating to Union from all corners of the known world, the city has begun adopting other cultures' holidays into their own parameters.
- Soulfasting (Early November): The Soulfasting is a week-long festival celebrating the union between the living world and the spiritual world. It was said that once, these two were not able to communicate with one another, and because of this, the spirits of those that passed were angry and restless. People did not respect their ancestors, and because of that they rebelled. Spirits and Ghost-type Pokemon alike lashed out at the people, sorrowful and angry that they could not be together.
The first masks were worn by channellers. Carved from a sacred tree, they allowed the channellers to be able to communicate with the dead and to try to quell their anger. A compromise was made: every year, the spirits of the dead and their ghost-type servants would be paid respect.
Early ceremonies for the Soulfasting involved a person dressed in a mask (usually, although not always male), a person in a veil (usually although not always female), and a third person—often a priest/ess or other holy figure. The person in the mask and the person in the veil would be tied together with a cord or rope, to symbolize the tie between both worlds, in living and in death. This is followed by a week of celebration, dance, and spending time with one’s family. Many families would even display an ornamental knotted cord in their homes to show that, even in death, they are still one with their family and friends.
Foods eaten during that time are often full of flavor, and there are offerings left out for those that have passed. These usually consist of sweeter berries and foods, as it is said that the spirits tend to prefer these. Families would often exchange sweet foods with one another to show appreciation for one another, as well as other families’ ancestors.
As time has passed, many of the traditions have fallen to the wayside, but a few things have remained. The masks have become extremely popular of late, and have even given way to costumes. While those that first practiced the tradition only used masks of ghosts, stories have circled around that mischievous spirits like to trick the living during the holiday; because of this, ghost-type and dark-type Pokemon masks, and even entire costumes, have become popular. Celebrating with family and having parties with friends is not entirely uncommon. The spirits’ love of sweets has also translated over, and there has been a small following that has started to give away treats to those that visit them on the final night of the Soulfasting. Usually children are the ones that partake in this (often in masks or some form of costume), although it is not entirely unheard of for some older people to try to snag some sweet treats from others.
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