Tengar

From World of Charun

"The old horse in the corrall still yearns to run across the land."
- Old Tengar saying

Tengar warrior
Enlarge
Tengar warrior


Contents

Description

The Tengar are horse-warriors that inhabit the broad, barren steppes known as Tengria found in the Northern parts of the Eastern Lands. Living in roughly fifty tribal clans and led by chieftains, these warriors are known to unite if faced with a greater threat. This has made them survive through the ages, even though more advanced civilisations have developed around them.

The Tengar are hospitable and are known for regaling their guests with a large collection of amusing stories and anecdotes, as well as a wide variety of songs. Tengar for the most part tend to be honest, although they also tend to quite a bit of playful blustering and boasting. At the same time, as the only people in Charun who are subject to seriously-changeable weather, they tend to constantly have one eye on the sky, and perhaps only the Woodsmen, who must likewise constantly be on guard for storms, have a greater variety of casual terms for cloud conditions. Tengar will frequently use clouds as metaphors for feelings and emotions, and occasionally as long-standing epithets for individuals.


Life expectancy and Fertility Rate

Adulthood: 15 years
Life expectancy: 55 years
Maximum lifespan: 120 years
Total fertility rate: The average number of children born to a female over her lifetime is 5-6.


Etymology

The name "tengar" is derived from their language, where "teng" means "master, and "ar" stands for "horse". Tengar means thus "horse-master".


History and Origins

The Tengar have inhabited the great steppes for as long as any written records go back. Their own legends claim that they are the descendants of the mating between a wolf and a deer. Thus they inherited the strength, courage and outgoing power of the wolf, and the grace, alertness and intuition of the deer. Some sages are convinced of that all men of the east originate from the Tengar, but that has never been proved nor widely accepted. What is known is that the Tengar were the first to tame the horse and put them to use as steeds.


Appearence

The Tengar have burly chests and narrow waists. Their eyes are brown, with short noses, broad foreheads, prominent cheek bones and straight black hair. Their skin is naturally light, but is darkened by the sun and wind of the steppe to a deep brown. The men wear moustaches, and shave their heads. Women tend to braid their long hair into one, two or even three braids.


Language

Tengaran is an indigenous language, not related to other tongues.


Society

Governmental Form

The Tengar live within their clans, led by clan chiefs, who are advised by elders and haga. Within Tengria, clan confederations dictate politics and mitigate the occasional feud, but for the most part there is not much interaction between the clans except for a thriving commerce in horses and livestock. Outside of the clan structure, the Tengar have no state or governmental structure to speak of -- individuals always have the right to go their own way and break from one clan to join another should they decide to do so.


Social Stratification

While clan chiefs are primarily eldest males within their tribes, the Tengar possess relatively little social stratification except in times of war, when commanders are appointed based on clan-council decisions. Within a given tribe, the children of clan chiefs and haga tend to be given slightly more respect than "average" Tengar, but this is easily reversed should one engage in foolish behavior. This is particularly the case because Tengria is a harsh environment where sudden storms and lethal cold can come out of nowhere to threaten an entire clan's existence.


Economy

While it would be going too far to say that the Tengar live a subsistence lifestyle, the life of a horse-nomad is materially conservative, and they tend to own relatively few frills. Fine fabrics, furs, and livestock are all well-regarded, as are arms and armor. The Tengar have recently discovered that they are not only able to provide horses which are notably hardier than those in the west, but they also possess hides, leather, and felt in an abundance and quality which are in high demand, particularly amongst the Northmen, who, unlike most Charunians, also must deal with the cold on a regular basis. A blistering trade in leather and felt is beginning to make itself known at Port Majuro alongside the traditional horse-merchants.


Army

In spite of their near-constat warring with Kanjo, the Tengar are not generally warlike. They are, however, known for fiercely protecting their territories and way of life. Their courage and great numbers has earned them a reputation that keeps most intelligent foes far from them. They hold their hospitality high and every tent has an extra bed made in case of a visitor.


Technology

As noted above, nomads tend to be technologically conservative, as their daily needs are dictated by mobility and the need to handle weather which changes from appallingly arid and warm to heart-stoppingly cold. Most Tengar goods are known for ingeniously folding-up or being able to be packed away quickly, but they produce little other of note beyond animal products and exceptionally high-quality archery equipment, particularly composite shortbows and arrows made with a wide variety of arrowheads, each with a specific purpose.


Culture

Diet

The Tengar live off their animals. They produce a great variety of dairy products. For instance, milk dough, milk skin and cheese. Butter is made from cow's and sheep's milk. They usually eat mutton stewed in water without salt – a kind of meat eaten with the hands. By custom, they slaughter animals in late autumn and cure the meat by smoking it for the winter. In spring and summer, when the animals are putting on weight and producing lots of milk, the Tengar herdsmen put fresh horse milk in barrels made of horse hide and mix it regularly until it ferments into the cloudy, sour horse milk wine, a favorite summer beverage.


Customs

The Tengar grow up on horseback and horses thus play an important part in their life. They are taught to ride by their mothers from the age of three, beginning by being tied to the horse's back. At four or five they are given their first bow and arrows, and from then on they spend much of their life with a bow in his hand, mounted on a horse's back, either waging war or hunting. Every Tengar loves to prove his worth by showing good horsemanship and archery as well as wrestling. The Tengar gather in nomadic clans that are led by a respected warrior, most often a man. They live by animal husbandry, migrating to look for pasturage as the seasons change. In spring, summer and autumn, they live in collapsible round yurts and in winter build flat-roofed earthen huts in the pastures.

The horse is the most prized possession of a Tengar. For the first two years of a pony's life, they are ridden hard and broken in. After three years of pasturing they are then trained for battle. Steppe horses are renowned for their courage and endurance. They only need to be watered once a day, and they can dig for grass under the snow, which eliminates the riders need to carry feed. Mares are preferred because both the milk and the blood could be drunk for sustenance. Weak horses are killed for food, but horses which have been used in battle are not. When a battle horse goes lame, it is put out to pasture. If it is a favourite of its owner, it is killed at the owner's death so the two spirits can be together in the afterlife.

Each Tengar tribe maintains a burial ground, called a kakaba, or City of Mounds. The kakaba is a secret field of barrows, often concealed in the most inhospitable regions of the steppe. As a sign of reverence to the dead, horse-riding is not permitted in the kakaba. Similarly, it is forbidden to fire arrows into the kakaba, for fear of striking the spirit of one of the tribal ancestors. This makes it difficult to drive invaders from the kakaba. Although these sites constitute a weakness in the Tengar defense, they are not exploited: the Tengar ensure that no enemy who enters the kakaba is permitted to leave alive.


Marriage

When a man wants to marry his love interest, he has to hand the girl’s family all but one of his horses. This has created a situation where many young men deliberately postpone gaining wealth in the form of horses until married.


Clothing

These horse-riding herdsmen are clad in loose, long-sleeved furs and garments made of animal skins, which can be worn open in warm weather, but pulled tight in the case of sudden cold. The garments vary among different localities and tribes. In "winter" the men usually wear sheepskin shawls, and some wear overcoats padded with wolf fur, with a belt decorated with metal patterns at the waist and a tulwar hanging at the right side. The trousers are mostly made of sheepskin. Women wear red dresses and in "winter" they don felt-padded coats, buttoned down the front. As Tengria gradually opens to trade, cotton garments are becoming popular among Tengar women, though they must be lined with fur or felt, as cotton provides no protection against the cold when wet. Girls like to sport embroidered cloth leggings bedecked with silver coins and other silver ornaments, which jangle as they walk. Saddles are decorated with silver.


Arts

Tengar are generally self-sufficient and very good at "village crafts," since they make all of their day-to-day equipment. Their visual art tends to be almost-exclusively abstract, with the notable exception of horses, which are generally portrayed with great care. Tengar artists know their horses well enough that individual horses can be distinguished in their artwork -- a true rarity in Charun.


Games

The Tengar are known primarily for physical games, such as wrestling, archery, and swordplay. Of these three, archery by far holds the place of honor in Tengrian society, and gambling upon the results of long-range archery shoots is very common. The average Tengar is simply obsessed with archery in a way that is not really matched in Charun. While the Tengar do not often shoe their horses, it is occasionally done when an injured horse must handle rocky terrain, and horse-shoe pitching is common at clan gatherings as well.


Weapons and Armour

The Tengar are expert riders, which mirrors their choice of armour and weapons – all suiting battle from horseback well, sometimes even with greater advantage than from the ground. A Tengar horseman can string a bow from his saddle, as well as eat and sleep on horseback.

Their warriors are divided into two groups – the Tangidar and the Tadariger. The Tangidar are a light cavalry including scouts and archers. They are most often youngsters and women, or especially skilled archers. The Tangidar wear a quilted tunic, or a leather cuirass, and a leather helmet. Each of these warriors carries with him a small shield covered with thick leather (usually ox hide), two composite shortbows, a whip, a tulwar sword and a dagger which is strapped to the inside of the left forearm. The Tadariger on the other hand are the heavy cavalry that rides into close combat. They wear a mail hauberk with a scale corselet covered in leather. Their iron helmet is covered with lacquered leather (to avoid rust) with a horsetail crest. They carry a tulwar and a 12 foot lance with a horsehair pennant and a hook below the blade. Some carry shields as well. Horses ridden by the Tadariger are armoured with ox hide. Each Tengar warrior has between 3-20 horses, which allow them to ride non-stop.

The Tengar Bow however, is the most important weapon in their culture. Their composite shortbow is made from layers of horn and sinew on a birch and bamboo frame which is then lacquered. They take over a year to make and season. The Tengar get the bows from artisans who have had the craft passed on to them throughout the generations. Since these bows must be restrung in the case of rapidly-changing weather to avoid cracking or losing resiliency, Tengar warriors generally carry two bows. The Tengar archers wear a stone ring on their right thumb, which they use to release the bowstring (rather than their fingers), resulting in a quicker and smoother release of the arrow, which in turn results in a notably-higher arrow velocity.


Religion

The Tengar are ancestor worshippers who respect the accomplishments of men. They have no gods, as men know the term, and religious influences brought from other cultures are quickly rejected. Ancestor spirits act guides and protectors, while demons and evil spirits attempt to do the opposite. Each newborn child is therefore given a powerful and sacred name to keep these evil spirits away. The Haga (shaman) is the interpreter in between the mortal world and the spirit world. It is under his guidance that children are named and burial ceremonies are conducted.


Statistics

Location in Charun: Tengria

Population: 100 000, divided into about 50 tribes.

Settlements: None

Army: All able men and women count as warriors.

Government form: Tribalism


Player Characters

Tengar names for your character: Tengar Names


Faction

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


Genetic Modifiers

Easterners are wiry and lithe, but lack the sheer muscle-power of some of the larger races.

The Easterner heritage has the following ingame effects:

Ability Modifiers:
+1 DEX, -1 STR


Cultural Modifiers

Archer's Secrets:
Renowned for their superb and devastating archery, the secrets of the Tengar lie in the training of their sight and the artistry of their bowyers. Combined, these two aspects have made Tengar archers some of the best in the world. Tengar characters receive a Bonus Feat: Weapon Specialisation Shortbow and a Skill Bonus +2 to Spot.


Classes

The Tengar 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: Tengaran
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: Kanjan
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 | Easterner

Views