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Basic Information

Kapu was a set of taboos practiced by natives of Hawaii. Taboos included not touching or even coming close to chieftains, eating specific foods, eating food together with members of the opposite gender, fishing the wrong types of fish, and many others. Breaking one of the taboos was often equated with a theft of mana, or supernatural energy, and frequently punished with death.

The system of kapu was abolished by King Kamehameha II in 1819 when he deliberately broke the taboo against eating together with women.



Game and Story Use

  • It keeps the player characters on their toes when they visit a culture where the breaking of seemingly nonsensical local taboos is punished harshly, possibly even by death.
  • Player characters, as avatars of their players, often tend to be rather cynical of local cultural practices. But perhaps the locals can steal supernatural energy from powerful individuals by getting close to them? And since player characters are often among the more powerful kind of people, maybe letting some of the locals getting close to them isn't a good idea, no matter how attractive they may be…
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