Umair

From World of Charun

"Gold is sharper than a sword."
- Old Umair saying

Umair Merchant
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Umair Merchant

Contents

Description

Northern Necharam is an arid, infertile land home to aggressive nomads. The few sites of civilisation are found along the coast, where three fortified settlements have managed to survive and grow. The people inhabiting them are known as the Umair. They are an industrious, clever people who manufacture goods used to trade with through caravans criss-crossing over the inland deserts. They also trade with one another.

The most northern town is called Kadar and they manufacture textiles, such as carpets and cloth. Kadar also has several mills that turn imported grain into flour. The town located in the middle, Sharam, excel in pottery, while the most southern town of Jawhar is famous across the realms for their bronze items, such as armour, tools and weapons. Most Umair who do not live within the three towns are shepherds and trade in animals rather than material objects. Despite this, some merchants do manage to gain significant wealth.


Life expectancy and Fertility Rate

Adulthood: 15 years
Life expectancy: 60 years
Maximum lifespan: 120 years
Total fertility rate: The average number of children born to a female over her lifetime is 3-6.


Etymology

Umair was the name of the largest of the three nomad tribes allied with one another in order to ensure their survival. They were the founders of the city of Jawhar. Over time the name "Umair" became synonymous with all the Necharamians inhabiting the coastal towns.


History and Origins

When the ancient realm of Necharam and its grand capital Kel-Barak fell in the Second Age to the treachery of a powerful necromancer, refugees fled northwards and away from the risen dead that had claimed the land. They practiced trade for centuries, where they gained food and equipment from foreign merchants that came from far away to purchase their hand woven carpets. When the Third Age fell and with it most civilisations, this trade more or less vanished and the nomads were left without a way of survival. It was then that three wealthy tribes, who were allied with one and other, decided to seek the coastline in order to found protected settlements to ensure their survival. As time passed, the settlements grew to prospering cities and they became known as the “Umair”. This name that is actually derived from the name of the largest of the three founding nomad tribes.


Appearence

The Umair are generally of medium height, with hooked noses, dark eyes, and blue-black hair. Most adult men wear a large moustache, sometime accompanied by a trimmed beard. Amongst the poor workers it is not unusual to see shaven heads with hygiene in mind.


Language

The Umair speak Necharami - a not too different form of Old Necharami.


Society

Governmental Form

Each of the three Umair towns is ruled by the family descending from the founder of the settlement. The families and their relatives are considered the nobility amongst the Umair. The head of the family and the one wielding the greatest power is called "Caliph". All surrounding mines and resources belong to them. These nobles are the law in each settlement, or rather the head of the noble family who always is an elder man. Sentences for breaking the law are maiming or death, with all property confiscated by the noble family.


Social Stratification

The gaps between social classes are huge. The nobles live a life of excess in huge, luxurious palaces filled with everything one could wish for and more. They are known for importing large quantities of slaves from the Three Isles to work as their servants, or mere items they can toy with. Conditions for slaves with the Umair are horrid. They have no rights what so ever, nor any legal standing. They can never gain freedom and all children born in slavery are considered the owner's property. Mutilation and murder of slaves is allowed, along with outrageous cruelty.

The middle class consists of skilled artisans and merchants, along with priests and scholars – all more or less wealthy compared to the common folk. Many are greedy, jealously guarding what they have managed to earn – often at the cost of those poorer than they.

The vast majority of the Umair belong to the lower class, living a life of shortage. They live by herding sheep and cattle, which thrive on the thistly scrub of the region, or by mining for tin and copper. Despite the number of mines, no gold, iron, or silver has been found in Northern Necharam.

More about: Slavery


Economy

The Umair economy is classically mercantilist, with the cities all dependent upon exports for the continuation of their economy. Without a steady supply of exports, the Umair people would suffer widespread starvation and rapidly fall into a subsistence economy -- at best. The Umair noble and merchant families are well aware of this weakness, which is one reason mercenaries are preferred -- they are entirely unlikely to engage in any power plays which might result in the interruption of their pay.


Army

The Umair defence consists of hired mercenaries from around the world. They guard caravans, as well as the towns, mainly against the Chugir threat from the deserts. The mercenaries obey under often incompetent Umair officers who are commonly related to the ruling families.


Technology

The Umair cities are not technological heavyweights per se, but it's inarguable that within their specialties, they produce goods of exceptionally fine quality. Recent developments suggest that the Umair are beginning to gain a reputation for skilled alchemists within their middle class, but these do not seem to engage much in export: rather, the Umair are supposedly attempting to find some way to use Greater Alchemy against the risen dead in the south.


Culture

Diet

The Umair, while raising cattle and sheep, eat a surprisingly dairy-heavy diet when possible, preferring not to slaughter their animals until they are past the age when they can provide cheese, wool, etcetera. While chickens and even a few pigs are kept within the cities, fish forms a surprisingly small amount of their diet given their seaside location. Fish, octopus, and other such foodstuffs tend to be the preserve of the nobility and wealthier middle class, as they require special handling to avoid spoilage in the harsh, hot climate.


Customs

The Umair choose to do very little of their fighting themselves, mostly relying on mercenaries. Much of the mercenary work available in their towns is due to fear of the Chugir nomads that inhabit the inland deserts.

While class distinctions amongst the Umair can be brutal, they exist primarily because the nobles have managed to increase the economy -- were their land more fertile, Necharam's social distinctions might simply parallel those of other lands with powerful aristocracies. Umair nobles do not despise or freely murder their lessers the way one sees, for instance, in Kanjo. Rather, such people are simply invisible and of no consequence unless they prove themselves to be somehow worthy of attention. It is well-known that the nobles compete amongst themselves to "collect" especially apt merchants, etcetera, into their spheres of influence. As the influence of Amrun has slowly increased, particularly in Kadar, the local nobles there have gone to the extremely unusual steps of underwriting small projects for public hygiene and health. While additional wells and a small bath house in poor sections of town do little to ameliorate the squalor that the poor find themselves in, such gestures would have been unheard-of a century ago.

While people from many cultures take hospitality seriously, the Umair do so in a way which surprises most visitors. An Umair does not automatically owe hospitality to a visitor -- but should he accept that responsibility, he has the obligation to clothe, feed, and otherwise care for his guest until such time as he chooses to move on. This can be carried to what other cultures regard as ridiculous extremes without the Umair batting an eye: a poor Umair thinks nothing of going hungry so that his guest can eat, and for all that a noble Umair disdains those of lower station, a visitor from a lower class will be treated as an honorable guest even if he shows work-scars and a bald-shaved head, seeing that he is plied with food, drink, the services of attractive slaves, etcetera.

Women in Umair societies wear veils and are not allowed outside during the hours of darkness. They may only converse with men when approved by the head male of their family. Unlike in Kurash to the northeast, women's virtue and decorum is taken very seriously regardless of social class, and any suspicion of loose or inappropriate behavior is punished heavily and regarded as a public shame by men and women alike.

The Umair cremate their dead, storing the ashes in special jars that are placed in family tombs. The cremation effectively prevents the dead from rising as undead.


Marriage

All Umair women are married under arrangements made by their fathers. No other person may make such decisions. If a man is killed before his daughter reaches the proper age, the decision rests with the eldest son. The Umair practice polygamy, which is traditional throughout Northern Necharam. All men of wealth maintain large harems populated with as many foreign women of beauty as they can obtain.


Clothing

The male dress is a long tunic accompanied by a sleeveless cloak and a turban. The tunic is loose fitting, allowing air to circulate, preventing sweat from evaporating too quickly and slowing dehydration in hot, dry air. The ends of the turban can be wrapped around the face and neck. It acts as protection from the cold, a shield from the sun's heat, and a screen to keep the wind and sand out.

Women wear brightly coloured, decorated garments that are loose fitting. Their head and faces are protected by a veil that is adorned with gems and golden jewellery. Even some popular slave women are veiled, which can seem odd since the rest of their clothing is quite revealing.


Arts

The Umair are of course known for their ceramics and finely-woven rugs. In addition to arms and armor, high-quality decorative bronzework is very common, being formed into heavily-engraved ewers and tableware.


Games

The Umair poor generally do not have time for games. However, the middle class and nobility are known for playing various chess-like games. One such variety, known as Dawn Race, seems to be a mixture of chess and Nine Man's Morris, where one player plays a small and outnumbered force, while the other, portraying the Necharamian undead, attempt to exterminate the player's pieces. While the fusion doubtlessly resulted from exposure to some Northman and their traditional games, the subject and strategy are very Umair -- the "poor pieces" are routinely sacrificed in order for the human player to preserve his "noble."


Weapons and Armour

Even though the Jawharan smiths are famous across the realms for their craft, the Umair are seldom seen equipped for war. The sun makes such preparations painful, and they prefer to leave that to hired mercenaries. The times they are forced to fight, the wealthy can muster a gilded mail shirt, or perhaps a breastplate from the family heirlooms.

The scimitar is the far most used weapon amongst the Umair. The wealthy usually sport a bejewelled version with a blade that often has not seen the sun since the day the weaponsmith sheathed it. Merchants and artisans carry a bronze version, while the poor often have to settle with a mere club or dagger.


Religion

Most lower and middle-class Umair worship Chaktumat, Herald of the Sun, whom they deem responsible for their lands, their herds, and their families. With the sun being the greatest danger and threat in their land, they also see it necessary to keep the Sun's Herald, pleased through regular religious ceremonies. Chaktumat is also a sworn enemy of the risen dead – a plague that still threatens the region from the south.

Worship of other gods does occur as well, especially amongst the rich and noble.


Statistics

Location in Charun: The three cities of Kadar, Sharam, Jawhar

Population: 115.000 - Kadar (28.000), Sharam (35.000), Jawhar (52.000)

Settlements: Kadar, Sharam, Jawhar

Army: 20.000 mercenaries.

Government form: Aristocracy


Player Characters

Umair names for your character: Umair Names


Faction

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


Genetic Modifiers

Necharamians are usually good at solving problems, as well as comprehending ideas and learning languages. They are, however, known for lacking insight at times, leading to a lack of prudence.

The Necharamian heritage has the following ingame effects:

Ability Modifiers:
+1 INT, -1 WIS


Cultural Modifiers

Merchant's Eye:
The Umair merchant caravaners have made a name for themselves, accumulating vast riches through careful trade and knowledge of the various industries and practices available to them. Practiced at their craft, they can determine the value of any property that passes their hands; ore, armor, or slaves. Umair gain a Skill Bonus: Appraise +2, Lore +2


Classes

The Umair 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: Necharami
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: Kurashami
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.


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