The plains are home to myriad communities all competing for land and resources. The most significant tribes comprising the people commonly referred to as the Plainsfolk are listed below.
Tribal TerritoriesEditThe plains are dominated by the Hulun, Moray and Tolda tribes, with the Raven making incursions into Hulun land. The majority of Threem territory is in the forested valley of the River Kush, though this is under constant threat from the ambitions of the Empire.
Boundaries between tribal territories only assume genuine significance during periods of resource depletion, when it is common from cross-border raids to become common.
Main article: Hulun
All the tribes of the plains have domesticated horses and ride them into battle; none are quite as adept at this as the Hulun. They were the first tribe to develop the saddle, and most recently have begun to pioneer a device similar to the stirrup, enabling their archers to fire upon their enemies whilst mounted. Though fierce warriors, they are benevolent in battle and have forsaken the practice of raiding, preferring to trade with the settled peoples and provide them protection from less ethical tribes.
The Hulun have been led by K'harg- a fierce but jovial warrior- since he deposed the previous warchief nearly twenty summers ago. He is supported by the tribal elder and sorceress Fanwé, who has guarded the path of the Hulun for an even longer period. Through their joint leadership the Hulun have assumed the position of power broker in the region, maintaining relations between the tribes and the settled peoples. However, this situation is not respected by the Raven tribe, who are hungry to dominate the region and eventually overrun the empire.
Like most plainspeople, the Hulun practice ritual tattooing. Amongst all the tribes theirs are the most elaborate, using a brilliant turquoise pigment. Unlike the other tribes, there exists an old tradition of facial tattooing, especially amongst women: K'harg is not wholly in favour of this and the practice is slowly becoming less widespread.
This brilliant blue/ turquoise of their tattoos is also their tribal colour, and warriors often decorate themselves with blue pigment before entering battle. The patron deities of the Hulon are Miromar, Arag, Xa and Raad.
Per capita, the Hulun have a greater number of scouts than other tribes.
Main article: Moray
Whilst most tribes practice gender equality to varying degrees, the Moray are female dominated. Whilst men don't quite occupy the status of second-class citizens they never occupy positions of leadership. Their present war chief is Mali, a seriously fierce warrior who has taken the title of Queen from her predecessor, whom she slew following a lengthy feud.
The Moray occupy the more hilly terrain of the north and raise goats alongside their tough war horses, which though slower than their counterparts to the south are exceptionally hardy. Unlike most tribes (apart from the Raven), the Moray nearly always carry shields into battle bearing the emblem of the mother-at-battle, the bear.
Male sorcerers are not tolerated amongst the Moray: in one of the more barbaric rites of the tribe, young males exhibiting magical prowess are have the choice of either leaving the tribe or having their tongue cut out.
Predictably, the patron deity of the Moray is Temera, the mother-at-battle, though all revere Empala. There is a
small cult loyal to Saleena, Queen of the Night.
No class is exceptionally preponderate amongst the Moray: their warriors, however, are feared more than any other.
Main article: The Raven
Legend has it that the Raven tribe were formed through an alliance between the very worst elements of the other tribes- the liars, the murderers and the thieves. This legend they love to perpetuate as it reinforces their fierce reputation as a cold-blooded, mercenary people.
The Raven tribe occupy a region close to the great forest- an area considered taboo by the other tribes. They are belligerent and uncultured, subsiding their relative ineptitude at animal husbandry by raiding other tribes and the settled community. In common with many tribes, The Raven make slaves of their prisoners, selling them back to their tribe of origin in return for livestock. More recently, however, they have begun trading slaves with the Empire to the south in return for bronze weaponry.
They are led by Garak who has recently been joined by a powerful sorceress, Kara after she deposed the previous elder. Swiftly Kara's powers have become something of a bogeyman tale for childrene, and many tribespeople tell their children to get to sleep "Or Kara will take you away and eat you." This myth may or may not have some truth to it...
The patron deities of the Raven is Ursh, their tribal colour is purple.
The Raven produce a disproportionate number of wilderness rogues, who occupy a special place as Garak's elite "night-scouts".
Main article: ThreemThe Threem are the most mysterious of all the tribes of the plains. Like the Raven, they dwell at the fringes, spending as much time in the temperate forests as they do on the steppe. Unlike other tribes, they do not herd livestock, instead hunting and foraging during the spring and summer then tracking the wild herds through the colder months.
The culture of the Threem is ancient and inpenetrable: other tribes view them as primitive, but their strong connection to nature and the land grant them a nobility quite distinct from their colleagues. It is this connection with the earth that has led to many Threem dominating the druidic council (see below).
The Threem distrust outsiders and rarely enter negotiations with the other tribes. Though they speak the common tongue of the plains with outsiders (plainspeak) they possess their own secret language consisting of animal calls and whistles, known only to themselves. However, their proximity to the Empire and the Raven make them the most vulnerable: it may come to pass that this leads to them forming stronger alliances with the Hulon and others.
The patron deity of the Threem is Empala. They have a much closer connection to the spirits of the land than other tribes. Their colour is forest green.
Main article: Tolda
The Tolda are not so much a tribe as a huge confederation of various clans occupying the eastern reaches of the steppe. Though vast in number, the Tolda are not a belligerent people- accept amongst themselves. They are a romantic people fond of dance, song and drink, constantly feuding over doomed relationships between star crossed lovers. The clans are far too numerous to list here, but each is centred around a noble family and its retinue.
Like the Hulon they are proud horseman- but they are far cannier traders. Across their vast territory they have made contact with many distant peoples, trading in crafts and artefacts as well as livestock. But most of all they love to trade in tales and legends: they are the most knowledgeable of all the tribes.
They trade in slaves like most tribes but have a tradition: if after one year their rivals have not provided the ransom, the prisoner is given the opportunity to stay with the Tolda as a free tribesman or return to their tribe of origin. Few choose to leave, as the life of a Tolda is rich with adventure and excitement.
The Tolda wear the colour orange for good luck. Their patron deity is Karesh, though many young warriors model themselves on Arag, the raging god of strength.
Unsurprisingly the Tolda produce a higher than average number of bards.