Monday, April 5, 2010

The Peoples of Arn: The Kael

The Kael hold sway over the wilds in the northern reaches of Arn. These ethnically Ilsdaanan (mostly fair-skinned and -haired) tribesmen once held all of Arn, only allowing the Hazandi gypsy-folk--with whom they have an ancient blood-pact--to pass unchallenged. The coming of the forces of the Thystaran Empire changed all that, leading to years of warfare. Whole tribes of Kael were lost, and their names are no longer spoken. Gradually, the tribes were pushed further and further into the less hospitable hills and broken lands of the north.

While they still claim all of Arn as their ancestral right, the Kael only control the areas of the Ael-Uthaidd Plateau, Shielddome, the Delanoch Hills, and the Chailéadhain Highlands. The loss of the south is an ever bitter draught, and the young and disaffected tribesmen still launch raids against those they consider interlopers.

There are seven tribes of the Kael. These tribes are divided into bands, which are in turn divided into local groups composed primarily of families in of one matrilineal clan. Marriage within clan is not permitted.

Kael are predominantly pastoralists, though some live a completely nomadic lifestyle following auroch herds. Though war and raiding is generally considered the province of men, both boys and girls are trained to ride, and in the use of the bow and spear. A Battle Woman (seen as being imbued with the spirit of the war goddess) accompanies war-parties and gives counsel to the male leader on the treatment of prisoners and the division of spoils.

Inspired by the random tables originating in Aaron Kesher's "The Devil's in the Details" in Fight On!, here are a couple of tables to flesh out cultural/personality quirks of Kael characters:

MANY KAEL (1d20 3 times):
1. Dislike cities.
2. Prefer to sleep in stables near their horse.
3. Take trophies (scalps, ears) from defeated foes.
4. Treat elves with deference--and wariness.
5. Sing tribal war-chants before battle.
6. Have tattoos in geometric patterns.
7. Have tattoos of stylized animals.
8. Think battle-scars make them more attractive.
9. Name their favorite weapon.
10. Try to interpret their dreams to divine the future.
11. Have a mohawk haircut.
12. Spike their hair to look fierce.
13. Are afraid of ghosts.
14. Have an idiosyncratic taboo placed on them at birth.
15. Are illiterate.
16. Talk to the stars as if they're family elders.
17. Are mistrustful of magic-users and call them witches
18. Believe having a dwarf in a party is a auspicious omen.
19. Believe weapons have spirits.
20. Take new names to reflect noteworthy deeds.

SOME KAEL (1d10 once):
1. Are hiding from an arranged marriage.
2. Call all non-Kael or Hazandi humans "Thystari."
3. Smoke djesha-leaf immoderately
4. Have a feud with another Kael clan.
5. Have a totem animal they won't kill.
6. Attach feathers to their spears.
7. Think halflings are funny--even the anthrophagous kind!
8. Find non-Kael exotically attractive.
9. Speak the common tongue without an accent.
10. Are fascinated by civilization.

No comments: