Swedish Culture

This is just a draft, mind. I drew both upon the characters and stories of Swedish friends, and a mixture of the more fascinating real and fictional Swedes. I'm still not sure about the Culture Bonuses or abilities of the appropriate classes, input there would especially be appreciated.

[size=150]SWEDES: SOLDIERS OF ENTERPRISE[/size]
Large in presence if not in actual territory, the Swedish Empire has begun a rise to greatness that suggests it may soon be a serious rival to the more established power of the Hapsburg Empire. Encompassing the entirety of Sweden and Finland, it also holds numerous smaller dominions across the surrounding seaboard, the least of which still offer a strategic advantage.
The Swedes have made their mark in Northern Crown as masters of opportunity, sharp-eyed subjects of an expanding empire that has begun to appear as a potentially serious threat to the power of the Hapsburg Empire. Counting many unconventional thinkers among their number, they continue to frustrate rivals who adhere to more tested strategies. At the same time, their reserved demeanor cools the ire of those foes, a combined devotion to the Dissenter faith and principles of moderation ensuring a character that is not so much roguish as shrewd.

Culture Group: Uropan.

Attitude: Swedish culture extols the virtues of lagom, often translated as "moderation", or "just the right amount", a principle which dictates that excess be avoided where-ever possible. This is reflected in nearly every aspect of their daily lives, from food to labor, and even in the range of emotional states; too much joy or sorrow is frowned upon as much as too much animosity. As a consequence, most Swedes cultivate a reserved character that is neither outgoing nor especially reclusive, which some outsiders perceive as standoffishness.

History: Descendants of the same Norsks to whom the Vinlanders may ultimately be traced back to, the Swedes are native to a densely forested region of northern Uropa.
Among Uropan powers, the Swedes are relatively recent arrivals in Northern Crown, and their position seems tenuous. Occupying land claimed as part of the Nieu Nederlands, New Sweden's place in history remains uncertain with the threat of attack by troops from Nieu Amsterdam.

Relations: The expansion of the Swedish Empire has won no small enmity with both its neighbors, and those who would themselves take the whole of Uropa, such as España and Poland. In Northern Crown, the brazen seizure of unprotected Nederlander territory has resulted in what is at the moment a cold war, which increasingly threatens to explode. Quick to win allies (and draw them away from the Nederlanders), New Sweden's leadership has courted the local First Ones with gifts and easier trade, a tactic that seems to be winning.

Lands: Swedish holdings in Northern Crown are limited, and with the Emperor Gustavus still focusing the remainder of his attentions on Uropa, they have yet to expand beyond the Royal Colony of New Sweden. Called Nya Sverige in the native tongue of its masters, the region was formed out of previously undefended territories that had been claimed as part of the Nieu Nederlands.

Authority: Ultimately ruled by Emperor Gustavus II Adolphus, most Swedes in Northern Crown--and specifically in the colony of New Sweden --offer their loyalty more directly to his daughter, the ambitious Princess Cristina. While Cristina rules in the colony in most respects, and is not without strategic capabilities, her father has appointed the more experienced officer Johan Printz to see to the actual defense of the colony.

Law: While Gustavus rules the Swedes in Uropa, he has more than enough to occupy himself there. Swedish characters in Northern Crown can expect varying levels of ease dependent upon their status; merchants and others who promise profit for the colony are granted some lenience, and Princess Cristina is known to favor those in her own social networks beyond propriety. When the princess is occupied, the aging Printz takes matters into his own hands; he takes seriously anything he views as a threat to the already weak position of the colony.

Magic: Officially prohibited by Dissenter churches, magic nonetheless holds a place in the Norsk heritage and folklore of Sweden, and folk magic practiced on a small and subtle scale yet persists. Magic items and artifacts from the ancient past occasionally turn up in the collections of noble families, although most have forgotten their true use.

Religion: Like their rival Nederlanders, the majority of Swedes are Dissenters; open belief in other sects is permitted only where it is not made apparent, and the law expressly forbids worship of other deities. Despite this, vestiges of the Old Ways remain, and many Swedes versed in religious lore have at least a passing familiarity with the stories of the old Norsk gods.

Arts: The rich forests of Sweden produce a variety of woodcarvings, and a revival in architecture as an art has been under way for some time. However, painting and other fine arts remain limited, the few domestic examples being somber and ecclesiastical.

Food: Compared to the fare of other cultures, Swedish food focuses more on hearty, filling mills. Seafood plays a large part in the diet, especially herring and crayfish, as do sweetened breads and pastries, with the occasional reindeer taking the place of cattle or pork in other lands. Hardy roots and tubers, sauerkraut, and berry jams round out the Swedish meal; which is increasingly washed down with coffee, although milk and beer remain constants, and richly mulled wines are popular during the depths of winter.

Language: The automatic language of Swedes is Svenska, more commonly known simply as Swedish; it is ultimately derived from Norsk. The prominence of France in Uropan politics and culture has led to the adoption of many Français terms, and Swedish characters typically have Français as a bonus language.

Names: Swedish names show a broad range of origins and influences, many reflecting the ethnic and religious heritage of the Swedes themselves.
Male: Daniel, Erik, Johan, Lennart, Magnus, Markus, Oskar, Simon, Sven, Viktor
Female: Anna, Astrid, Cecilia, Emma, Hedvig, Ingrid, Maria

Appearance: Swedish dress varies little from the mix of Nederlander and Espaniard fashion popular in Uropa, dominated by black with lacy white ruffs at the collar and cuffs; however, those Swedes who spend more time in the company of other cultures tend to adopt the local fashion. In New Sweden, the former style is predominate, showing the same Français influence growing among younger Uropans, particularly among the upper classes.
Related to the Norsk ancestors of the Vinlanders, Swedes tend to be fair-featured, exceptionally tall folk, with a few darker haired persons appearing on occasion.

[size=125]APPROPRIATE CLASSES[/size]
The following classes are common among the Swedes.

AGENT
Social Rank 3d6+3
Masters of disappearing into crowds, even amongst enemies, Swedish agents are often sent ahead of armies to glean information from the common folk and sow falsehoods among lower ranking enemies as rumours and gossip. Surprisingly, these characters are often drawn from noble families or the upper ranks of the military.
Unassuming Guise: Swedish agents receive a +1 cultural bonus when using their Slip Away, Blend In, and Hide in Plain Sight abilties.

CLERIC
Social Rank 2d6+3
Swede clerics are with few exceptions Dissenters, although some touch of the Old Ways remains in their lore and manner. Those in Northern Crown are especially charged with the task of conversion, seeking to improve the fate of the local First Ones by bringing the Church to them. Though they have met with a few successes, this ambition remains an arduous one, and these evangelists find little love among those they hope to convert.
Preacher: Swede clerics gain Intimidate and Perform (oratory) as class skills.
Norsk Lore: Swede clerics gain a +1 bonus to Int and Cha-based checks made against followers of the Old Ways of northeastern Uropa.

RAKE
Social Rank 2d6+2
Unconventional in the extreme, Swede rakes embody the ability to find solutions that defy common wisdom, finding success even amidst mockery. They take an even more relaxed approach to life than most, and often seem at odds with the rakish standards of fashionable attire, dressing in whatever manner is most comfortable.
Casual Style: Swedish rakes need not adhere to the first tenet of the rake Code of Honor.

SOLDIER
Social Rank 1d20+3
The Swedish soldier is a foe that those warriors who rely solely upon brute force have reason to dread; they excel in unconventional tactics and strategies, as exemplified in the practices of the Lion of the North. Relying heavily on pikemen, the majority of Swedish soldiers are Halberdiers.
Deceptively Tough: A Swedish soldier who succeeds at a Bluff check against an opponent receives a +1 bonus to AC on that opponent's next attack.

I loved reading this. I never got a handle on the Swedes, but you seem to have nailed it. I now have a very clear sense of how I might play a Swedish adventurer in an NC game. Great job!

Thank you, very much! I was stuck on some aspects for a while, but then I remembered that Pippi Longstocking is Swedish, and it was like knocking down an idea dam.