TRIBES OF DELOS
There are three main native ethnic groups upon Delos, each with their own physical characteristics, as well as traditions, taboos, and other quirks that put them apart from other tribes. Every native of Delos has some generally similar traits, as well as particular ones, and all are given below. Players using delosian characters should use the below items of interest as templates only, there can be many differences as each individual is different.
All delosian natives can speak either Ashante, Kongon or Tzulan, depending on where they have lived the majority of their life. Common tongue or Delosian must be learned as a separate language. Due to strong oral traditions, all delosian natives are assumed to be illiterate and must learn to Read and Write to become a spellcaster. In general, weapon skills will start out being primitive unless the tribe has extensive contact with outlanders and has access to steel or modern type weapons.
The Ashante occupy the rainforests of western and northern Delos. They are builders and farmers, tending to form a village and stay there for decades rather than relocate every season. As a people they are not naturally warlike or argumentative, and in general avoid confrontation. However, when aroused they are fierce warriors. Anyone threatening their land or family finds out that the Ashante can defend themselves very well and will often fight to the death. They are the least xenophobic of the three main ethnic groups, and happily trade with outsiders that treat them with respect. Their alignments tend to neutral, mainly neutral good or evil.
Physically, Ashante tend to be of medium height and dark-skinned. Most have tightly curled hair and broad noses. Children typically go naked most of the time, while young adults of both sexes wear simple loincloths. Most of their clothing is hide from wild animals, and skins from such animals as leopards, jaguars, hippos or elephants is especially prized. Clothing is accessorized with belts, bags, drinking vessels and other items. Wealthier individuals decorate their clothing with cowrie shells or glass beads. Ashante wear thick leather sandals although they often go barefoot when in the rain forest itself. Both men and women wear their hair short.
The Ashante people get along well with most others of their empire. They trade with both outsiders and Kongons, and the occasional Mbantu ship-borne tribe. Their enemies are the Tzulans, orcs and any slavers. They are also highly suspicious of elves, whose activities over 500 years ago upon Delos have led to legends passed down through generations painting them as evil, magic using demons. Dwarves, gnomes and halflings are looked upon with curiosity and may be mistaken for some sort of animal or short, ugly human.
There is a central king of the Ashante, but many Ashante rule themselves by their own tribes and obey their own laws. Every two years there is a large festival and tournament among the Ashante tribes held at the king’s palace, and the Ashante send their village leaders and others as representatives. Any chieftain of a village is allowed to join a council of elders that debates the direction of the Ashante empire for the next two years. The King is largely a figurehead, his council of elders makes policy while he enforces it, although he is expected to lead any battle against a Tzulan army. The King is elected for life, and typically one of his sons will rule after him (chosen by secret vote by Ashante elders, shamans and witchdoctors), although if he has no sons or they cannot be found worthy the kingship will be passed to another worthy candidate.
The Ashante excel in body painting using colorful minerals and plants found in the rain forest. They cover their faces and arms with body paint before entering battle or performing a ritual. To help ward off heat, the Ashante wear a thick mixture made from certain plants (which also is effective warding off insects…foreigners are generally repulsed by the smell and feel of the product!).
The Ashante are excellent farmers and also raise many animals including cattle, chickens, swine and goats (imported from outside Delos in the last 100 years). Milk, cheese, eggs and meat make up the main diet. This is supplemented by their wide variety of crops, including fruits of all sorts, peanuts, beans, onions, wheat and yams. Two special crops are bananas, which are both eaten and used to make banana beer; and palm trees, which are harvested for both its nuts and sap. The nuts are squeezed for their oil which can be used for everything from cooking to cleaning weapons, and the shells can be cooked and eaten. The sap can be used to make an alcoholic beverage called palm wine which is very mild and dry. The Ashante do not eat much seafood or wild game.
The religions of Ashante include the Gods Umgawa, Merci and the elemental gods of earth and air. Beast cults are common for more isolated tribes, and many shamans of Faerel exist within Ashante territory.
The Ashante feel a need to remain close to their ancestors, so they rarely bury the bones of their relatives. These remains are housed in round wooden boxes called reliquaries. Whenever a group of form a village, they will build a small shrine to house the reliquaries, and protect the shrine with magical constructs called Kano Dolls. The Ashante practice male circumcision as part of the coming of age ceremony, and an uncircumcised individual is not seen as an adult among the tribes.
When in battle or hunting, Ashante typically use short hand weapons such as knives, clubs, hand axes and spears. Their missile weapons include boomerangs, slings, throwing blades, short bows, and javelins.
SUGGESTED STARTING WEAPONS: Knife, Club, Hand Axe, Spear, Javelin, Throwing Knife, Sling, Short Bow, Javelin, Blowgun, Short Sword (Any weapons may be iron, steel, bone or stone depending on tribe’s location).
SUGGESTED STARTING ARMOR: Hide or leather, small shield (wood or hide)
SUGGESTED STARTING PROFICIENCIES: Hunting, Hiding, Survival (jungle), Agriculture, Animal Handling, Brewing, Direction Sense, Fire-Building, Cooking.
The Tzulans occupy the savannah and scrub of the eastern part of Delos. They are warriors and raise herd animals. They are semi-nomadic and will sometimes travel to find better water holes or grass for their herds. Tzula warriors are specialized in the spear, and they are seen as very brave and valorous although they are prone to bragging, bullying and unnecessary acts of bravado (which are looked upon favorably in their society). Their tribes are arranged into clans, with a chieftain at the head of each clan. In theory all clans bow to the leadership of the largest clan, whose king is chosen by a large group of elders. Trials by combat occasionally take place when there is a difference of opinion between clans, but the king is always chosen by the elder council. Their alignments are of all sorts, ranging from all evil alignments (lawful, chaotic and neutral). Some tribes tend towards chaotic good but these are rare.
Physically, Tzulans are tall and dark-skinned, with little body hair. They dress in loincloths and wrap around blankets called “shuka”. Their clothing is brightly colored in shades of blue, red, yellow, and black. Most wear sandals but some go barefoot. Tzulan men shave themselves bald and remove all facial hair upon reaching manhood. Tzulan women braid their hair and color it with clay, usually red or orange. Members of both sexes wear jewelry in the form of beads (glass and colored wood), cowrie shells or gemstones.
The Tzulan people are constantly battling enemies, both outsiders and members of other tribes. They continually have border battles with both Ashante and Kongons, and recently have engaged in much warfare with Taranthian sponsored mercenaries and explorers, although an uneasy truce has taken hold the last decade or so. All other Delosian races view the Tzula with a mixture of fear and respect, as their tribesmen warriors are far superior to any other on the Delosian continent. They view all non-humans, including half breeds, as sub-people or as animals, and have no qualms enslaving such beings as dwarves, elves, halflings, gnomes, orcs and others. Non-Tzulan natives are also captured and enslaved, as well as their own tribesmen if a battle is fought between two tribes over land or cattle.
The Tzulans do not produce much art, but they have a great love of body decoration. Ritual scarring is common and is a sign of great deeds accomplished by the warrior. Scar patterns are made by slicing the skin with a razor and then rubbing ash into the wound so it leaves a permanent, dark scar when it finally heals. It is typical for a Tzulan warrior to receive a scar upon defeating a superior foe or participating in a great battle. As can be imagined, heavily scarred Tzulan warriors should be given a wide berth!
The Tzulans exist mainly on a diet of meat and milk. Cattle are used for both, although chicken and goat are also eaten. Certain wild beasts such as elephants, zebra or gazelle are also eaten. The Tzulans do not fish or farm, although they will eat vegetables or fish if they are taken from a raid of another tribe in non-Tzulan territory.
The religions of Tzulans include the Gods Umgawa, Axea, and Beast cults of such animals as Lions or other dangerous predators. Some tribes worship elemental gods of earth and fire.
Most Tzulan rituals involve battle and combat. The coming of age ceremony often involves hunting and slaying a ritual enemy, which can be a certain monster, animal or Ashante/Kongon tribesman. Parts of the defeated creature are then brought back to the tribal elders, then fashioned into some sort of curio or charm that is worn by the warrior. Tzulan warriors that are cowardly or retreat from battle for whatever reason are often expelled from their tribes or even ritually sacrificed.
When in battle or hunting, Tzulans use the spear above all other weapons and all warriors are specialized with it. Variations such as the long spear, heavy spear or two handed spear are also widely used. The warriors also favor knives and some are beginning to use the steel swords they have traded for with the Taranthians. The javelin and long bow are used, although the bow is usually only for hunting as generally missile weapons are seen as cowardly weapons during battle. The Tzula wear hide armor and carry large body shields made of leather or hide.
SUGGESTED STARTING WEAPONS: Must have Knife, Spear (specialized) and Javelin (iron or steel) to start.
SUGGESTED STARTING ARMOR: Leather or Hide, large shield
SUGGESTED STARTING PROFICINCIES: Survival (jungle/Savannah), Fire Building, Rope Use, Animal Handling, Animal Lore, Endurance, Running, Hunting.
The Kongons occupy the southern half of the continent of Delos, which is mostly swamp with two major rivers running through the land. They are generally hunter/gatherer types who are the least technologically advanced of the major tribes of Delos. Their lifestyle lends themselves to being excellent trackers, scouts, and hunters. Fishing is also a major source of food and most Kongons can both fish and swim, as well as operate small boats. They are friendly and talkative, but the constant struggle for survival against the elements and the orc pirates cause them to view life seriously and they do not often have celebrations or holy days, as these are seen as letting their guard down. Unlike other Delosian tribes, many Kongon tribes make their home in cavern complexes that are dry and above the water line. Their alignments tend towards neutral good or evil, with many tribes leaning towards chaotic.
Physically, Kongons are short and somewhat fair skinned light brown. They have short frizzy hair and small, tight features. They often go barely clothed or totally unclothed in villages, wearing only light loincloths while hunting. The men wear ear, nose, eyebrow and lip jewelry using natural decorations such as bone and wood. Women are not allowed to be decorated thus, instead wearing many necklaces, bracelets and anklets for jewelry.
The Kongo tribes fight a never-ending battle against the orcish pirates on the southern islands. This is their main humanoid enemy besides the bestial lizardman tribes within the swamps. Orc pirates prey on the Kongons for both slaves and food, and there are also primitive orcish tribes in the hills that must be dealt with. Ashante and Tzulan tribes number among trading partners, and the Kongons occasionally deal with Mbantu ships that sail up one of the two great rivers dividing their territory. Surprisingly, the Kongons count several intelligent lizardman tribes as some of their staunchest allies, trading with them and coming to each other’s aid in mutual defense pacts when one or the other is attacked. Many Kongon tribes form symbiotic relationships thus, whether it be with lizardman tribes, black dragons who will protect the Kongon’s village in return for human sacrifices, or even primitive orc tribes when necessary for survival.
The Kongon’s excel in certain artwork, particularly carving wood. They have also been known to paint on cave walls creating beautiful murals, and many of these double as magical guardian devices. Their very detailed wood, ivory and stone carvings are often traded to nearby Ashante tribes, which in turn trade them for much wealth to the outlanders to the north or northern Ashante tribes.
The Kongons eat gathered foods such as berries, nuts, roots and tubers. Many are eaten raw, but the tougher varieties are boiled until edible. Several of the tubers consumed by the Kongo are poisonous, but the Kongons have developed immunities to these varieties. A type of spinach called “Wabe” is found in abundance in the swamp, and is both nourishing and full of vitamins, although not very tasty unless heavily spiced…it is often traded in bunches to Kongon tribes not near the swamp. They hunt swine, which is their main source of meat, and eat many types of fish and crustaceans that live in the swamps, rivers or ocean’s shore. The Kongons seem to have a pronounced weakness to all alcoholic beverages, and it is quite easy to get one drunk with only a couple of mugs of wine or beer.
The religions of Kongons include the Gods Umgawa, Ert and various Beast cults. There are a few water elementalist shamans, and many of the Kongons worship Faerel.
Kongo tribes do not often interact with each other, but when they do it is considered an occasion for a rare celebration of life and love. Upon contact, the village elders will make plans for a gathering and mentally match up unmarried men and women of both tribes, which can lead to much haggling. Marriage partners are chosen by the elders, and a large mass dance and ceremony is given to wed the couples. The two tribes will often merge into one after a celebration such as this, or at worst become “brother tribes” that will live near each other and come to each other’s defense. New tribes are started when these celebratory weddings bear fruit in terms of new children, the new families will go out on their own within a year or so to form their own young tribe. Elder tribesmen often contribute to the hunting and fishing until the day they die, while the elder women of the tribe serve as de facto leaders of villages when every able bodied man goes out to hunt or gather food. A Kongon that no longer contributes to society will often quietly leave the tribe one day to die alone, hopefully by reaching the ocean to the east and swimming to the sunset. Sometimes they are accompanied by younger sons or grandsons, and this is seen as a coming of age ceremony for the youngster. This is considered a somber occasion for the tribe, although elder members who complete this ritual are greatly honored.
Kongons are not skilled at metalworking, and have strong taboos against steel (which often rusts quickly in the humid, wet environment of southern Delos). Most weapons are of wood, with tips of bone or stone, although if they acquire a iron weapon they can use it. Preferred weapons are clubs, spears, knives, bows, staffs, slings and javelins. Kongons do not rush into combat like other natives; they are masters at the art of the retreat and ambush. They use the terrain and elements to their advantage, as well as any missile weapons, and will usually only attack a foe if they have him or it outnumbered.
SUGGESTED STARTING WEAPONS: Club, Dart (stone or bone tipped), Knife (stone or bone), Spear (stone or bone tipped), Long or Short bow (arrows stone or bone tipped), Quarterstaff, Slings (stones only), Javelins (stone or bone tipped), Blowgun (bone tipped needles)
SUGGESTED STARTING ARMOR: Cord (plant fiber) or hide, no shield
SUGGESTED STARTING PROFICIENCIES: Fishing, Hunting, Boat Piloting, Hiding, Artistic Ability (carving or painting), Foraging, Set Snares, Survival (Jungle/Swamp), Tracking.
3 years ago