Desert People

From World of Charun

"Do not blame the gods for having created the lion, but thank them for not having given it wings."
- Old Desert People saying

Desert People warrior
Enlarge
Desert People warrior


Contents

Description

The desert of Cadumbu is one of the most inhospitable and deadly places in Charun. It is said that no one crosses it alive, unless of the Desert People. The Desert People live a life they have known for over a thousand years, that of the nomad and hunter. They live in primitive tribes that travel the savannahs and deserts hunting for food, as well as raiding Mubuluki settlements bordering to their territory.

All of their culture seems to be related directly to their harsh and unforgiving environment, linked so closely to it that it is said that Desert People women become sterile during periods of long drought when the land cannot support any more children.

Desert People make no pottery, rather using ostrich eggshells or animal parts for storing and holding liquids. For these reasons, animals and nature are central features in the Desert People religious tradition, folklore, art and rituals.

Because the Desert People live entirely off the land, they have to be nomadic. However, they do not wander aimlessly or relentlessly to pursue herds of antelope. Instead, they follow a carefully planned annual route that take them to different areas of plant food, as season by season, these foods ripen. Desert People knowledge of the wild animals around them has no equal in the world; no sage can compete with them when it comes to understanding the habits and peculiarities of the creatures that mean the difference between life and death to these unique people.


Life expectancy and Fertility Rate

Adulthood: 15 years
Life expectancy: 40 years
Maximum lifespan: 120 years
Total fertility rate: The average number of children born to a female over her lifetime is 4-6.


Etymology

The name "desert people" refers simply to the enviroment they eek out an existance in. They refer to themselves as "akilo", which means the "firstborn".


History and Origins

The desert of Cadumbu can be found in the Southern Reaches. Very few enter it and even fewer manage to cross it alive. It has not always been like this.

During the Second Age the western most parts of Cadumbu were actually a fertile region, home to a race of men living primitive lives as gatherers and hunters, and ignored by the Sauroids east of them. Then in the very beginning of the Third Age there was a change in climate and the region fell to draught, rapidly swallowed by the sands of central Cadumbu and turning the former fertile region into a desert. The legends and myths of the Cadumbians tell of the sand devouring the region very much as a hungry pack of lions devours a young antelope.

The majority of the people left the region, emigrating east (later forming the nations of Kunbawa and Mubuluk), but a small number lingered on, determined to face what ever hardships the changes in climate would bring. After living centuries in such an extreme enviroment, the Desert People have developed into a breed of men not found elsewhere in Charun.


Appearence

The Desert People are tall and slender. They have black skin and dark eyes, with wool-like black hair. Their hair styles vary, with both men and women shaving their heads at times, while others braid their hair. White paint derived from chalkstone is used to decorate the face by both genders.


Language

The languages used in the Southern Reaches have all developed from a tongue that was used by the Cadumbian tribe in the end of the Second Age. The Akilo language used by the Desert People is thought to greatly resemble that language.


Society

Governmental Form

The Desert People are organised in small mobile groups, or bands, of about ten nuclear families who live in rock shelters, in the open or in crude shelters of twigs and grass or animal skins. Each band is led by a chieftain, who is chosen for his prowess as well as wisdom. Very little hostilities take place between bands, since the desert itself presents an ever-present peril and all are dependant on help from kinsmen from time to time. The band moves on as the area is exhausted of resources, following their planned annual route.


Social Stratification

The Desert People value survival, and that means fortitude, wisdom, and the ability to act. They are completely stateless and have a rudimentary and ever-changing tribal structure which can loosely be summed up as "the people we listen to when things are bad," and "the people who seek their advice." Tribal elders naturally tend to fall into the former category, but younger heads with proven wisdom are not excluded from it.


Economy

The Desert People exist in a subsistence economy, in which all possessions exist solely for the purpose of survival.


Army

The Desert People possess nothing even remotely resembling an army. Most warriors and raiders are men, but every able woman will take up arms would need be.


Technology

As other peoples measure it, the Desert People have no technology to speak of. Rather, what they possess is a tremendous lore regarding how various items within their environment can be repurposed. This is how the Akilo maintain their survival -- while they cannot make any items of note beyond the most basic tools and decorations, they are also not dependent on such items for survival as others would be. Akilo who find themselves with no possessions can rebuild their possessions and survive where others would simply wither and die.


Culture

Diet

They are hunter-gatherers, who for centuries have supported themselves in the desert through these skills. They hunt mainly various kinds of antelope, but their daily diet has always consisted more of the fruits, nuts and roots which they seek out in the desert.


Customs

Four times a year Desert People bands join together for exchange of news and gifts, for marriage arrangements and for social occasions. These festivities last for four days, and can at times gather as much as two thousand participants.

The Desert People raid Mubuluki settlements frequently. It is a combination of providing for themselves, especially through gaining weapons, and keeping slavers off their territory.

Before the a raid or a hunt, the Desert People pray to Cnaghu, the spider god, to make their poison strong, as it is from desert spiders that they distil one of the poisons for their arrowheads. The arrows are carried in a quiver usually made from the bark of a species of euphorbia known as the "quiver tree".

The dead are burned to keep the various beasts of the desert from feasting on the remains. It is also believed that it is with the rising smoke that the soul travels to the after-life.


Marriage

Marriages are hastily arranged during the four-day long festivities that take place four times a year, when bands join together for exchange of news and gifts. It is during the first day that parents make arrangements, which usually involves haggling over the bride price. If an agreement is reached, the youngsters get to meet on the second day, spending time closely watched by relatives. The marriage itself is held on the third day, with the ritual consisting of future husband and wife being carried by their own relatives to a hut, where they are to spend the rest of the day, as well as the fourth and last day of the festivities.


Clothing

The Desert People wear no clothing, except for a loin-cloth. Most also have a hide, or a blanket acquired through raids, that they use to sleep on, or wrap themselves in if caught in sandstorms. They decorate themselves with animal parts, be it feathers, fangs, claws or bones shaped into pearls and amulets. Metal acquired through raids is worked into rings and plates used for jewellery. Headgear made out of leather or hide are worn at festivities.


Arts

Desert People arts are very basic, involving a bare minimum of dye-work, elaborate braids, and the creation of minor decorative items.


Games

The Desert People youth play a number of games designed to teach the ways of the desert and its animals, all of which are simply mimicking the lives of various animals. "Playing the antelope" or "playing the lion" is carried out under the amused but watchful eyes of family members, who also correct misunderstandings and instruct regarding various behaviors.

A small number of Akilo who regularly raid against the Mubuluki engage in "Play the Slaver," imitating everything from their voices to the way they walk. Those who are skilled at this, if wearing Mubuluki-made sandals, can mimic their enemies' steps so well that the Akilo tracks cannot be distinguished from the Mubuluki ones, even though the latter are almost certainly bearing much more weight.


Weapons and Armour

The Desert People wear no armour at all - the merciless desert sun makes that impossible. Instead they protect themselves with large hide shields, which they use in combination with war clubs. Their warriors also use spears. For hunting and in ranged warfare the Desert People use bows and arrows, preferably with poisoned arrowheads.


Religion

The Desert People believe in a great number of various spiritual beings and totems. The most important Desert People spiritual being is Tamacami, the trickster-deity. He created many things, and appears in numerous myths where he can be foolish or wise, tiresome or helpful. He can turn into an eland, a hare, a snake or a vulture; he can assume many forms. When he is not in one of his animal forms, Tamacami lives his life as the wind blowing across the Cadumbu.

Cnaghu, the spider god, is revered as the God of warriors, who pray for the effectiveness of the many hunting spiders found in Cadumbu. The Desert People raiders often build their tactics on that of the hunting spiders, where they attack by suprise and with great speed, attempting to poison their victims with arrows before closing in.

The Desert People believe in spirits of the dead, but not as part of ancestor worship. The spirits are only vaguely identified and are thought to bring sickness and death. Witch-doctors protect everyone from these spirits and sickness. Desert People witch-doctors practice herbal medicine, protect their people from spirits and sickness, foretell the future, control the weather, ensure good hunting and warfare, and generally try to look after the well-being of their group.

Shape changing, assuming the form and nature of a beast, is commonly accepted witchcraft practice among the Desert People, and there are many tales of witch-doctors who change themselves into lions or baboons and venture out as scouts into enemy territory.


Statistics

Location in Charun: Cadumbu

Population: 30.000

Settlements: None

Army: All able men and women count as warriors.

Government form: Tribalism


Player Characters

Desert People names for your character: Desert People Names


Faction

The Desert People are part of the Civilized Faction, along with other human cultures and the Mórail.


Genetic Modifiers

Cadumbians are physically powerful, shaped by an existence wehre they relied on their natural fortitude to hunt and make war. However, they rarely make effective leaders.

The Cadumbian heritage has the following ingame effects:

Ability Modifiers:
+1 CON, -1 CHA


Cultural Modifiers

Desert's Breed:
Desert People have throughout their history lived close to the wild beasts of the deserts and savannahs. In order to survive they receive combat training against wild animals from a young age. They are also known for using poison in battle, against which the exposure has given them a resistance. As a result the Desert People gain a +1 Attack Bonus vs Animals and a +1 Save Bonys vs Poison.


Classes

The Desert People have the following cultural classes, which they can choose from during character creation. Following levels may be taken in the general classes (rogue, mystic, warrior) or in the cultural class chosen during character creation.


Languages

Native Tongue: Akilo
You can always speak your native tongue as long as your INT is above 0, but you will not have any "language slots" at INT 7 or lower.
If your INT is 7 or lower you will not be able to understand languages other than your native tongue, regardless of whether you know them or not.

Faction Common Tongue: Islean
At INT 8 you will be given your first language slot, which if starting with INT 8 or higher will always be used for your faction's common tongue. If the native tongue is the same as the faction tongue, the slot can be used for a secondary language.

Secondary Languages: Mubuluki, Kamale
At INT 10 and each 2 INT after that you will be given another language slot, which can be used upon entering the game for the first time to pick a language from the secondary languages list. Language slots may also be used later to learn new languages.


Back to: Races | Human | Human Ethnic Groups | Cadumbian

Views