Category:Nomads of the Arid Steppe

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from A Brief History of the Guild of Moon Magic by Kssarh T'kinnirii, Apprentice to Guildmaster Tiv

Nomads of the Arid Steppe, the Skindancers were potent shamans who employed spirit invocation, myth and trances born of both ecstasy and pain to enter the netherworld and touch the future. They were well-known for developing the use of enchanted bones -- often stripped from the body of a fallen enemy -- to aid in divination.

An ancient shaman leans forward and speaks to you about this sect. "There is an inherent beauty in nature. Beauty is found within the swirling skies above our heads, the earthen land beneath our feet, the running deer and foxes in the woods, the sweeping waves of a wind-swept lake, and the eternity of the stars. It is this truth that we, as Nomads of the Arid Steppe, pass down to our children in our storytelling cessions, so that each generation knows of all the previous ones. In this way, We preserve our cultural identity.

"Our kinship with nature beneath the stars and moons guides us, as we follow the hunting across the steppes and tundra. Our ancestors were the first to rely on fate to tell us how to survive in unity with nature, but there came a warring time, when all the different tribes fought. The spirits send us a leader, and he united us To this day, We follow the creed he established, taking what we need from the land, and not salling up arms unless the reasons are just."

Symbol

  • A simple ivory carving inscribed with flowing copper runes that you are wearing.
Small blue animals contrast the copper on the carving, etched as if following the trails of runes.

Titles

  • Nomad at Circle 39, as well as post-title Of the Tribes.
  • Animist at Circle 70.
  • Also: Spiritualist, Ossomancer, Sciomancer, and two other unknown.

Title Requirements: They are hunters by nature, and earn their titles based on Warding and Outdoorsmanship

Cantrips

  • Alm Shalka Albir (boggle): Creates boggle that will show your location to someone.
You chant a small phrase, the power of your cantrip flowing from your lips!
Your <item> suddenly transforms, shifting like rippling water until it falls to the ground and forms a <item> boggle!
  • Items are limited to things such as branches, grasses, and rocks.
  • Usage: ask boggle for <name>
  • Narmor Feas (choose): Uses item in right hand for Telekinetic Throw.
  • Oshu Sarhhtha (dance): Generates RP dance messaging that ends with you on your knees.
You chant a small phrase, the power of your cantrip flowing from your lips!
You begin to dance in rhythm with your chanting.
You slowly spin about, arms outstretched, head turned skyward.
Spiraling about faster, you spin first on one foot, then the other, chanting the whole while.
You move to one side, chanting and shaking your hips in a tribal rhythm.
You stomp your feet in a quick staccato beat, dancing and chanting while raising your arms skyward!
With snakelike motions, you dance and raise your arms, shaking your hands to the sky before collapsing to your knees, the dance finished!
  • Veiled Identify (face): There are several different tattoos one can have.
    • He has glowing azure eyes surrounded by tribal tattoos, long beaded hair braided in multiple strands, and blue skin.
    • He has flickering navy eyes with one surrounded by a fish tattoo, long beaded hair braided in multiple strands, and blue skin.
You see Nomad <name> who has blue flesh and strange eyes.

Spell Preparation

  • A drifting Nomad whispers softly as her words are carried away by an errant breeze.

Spell Affinity

See Sect Spell Affinity for more detail.

Divination Tools

Sect Shop

Armifer Lore

The People of the Steppe:

Since Kir brought peace and unification to the tribes of the steppe, the nomads refer to themselves sometimes as the People. There is a lot to say about them, one can be forgiven for having rather stereotyped views given the limited exposure that easterners have to steppe life.

The most important thing to realize is that the People are not a sub-division of the Moon Mage Guild, but an entire (albeit small) nation onto themselves. The shaman commonly known as the Nomads of the Arid Steppe are a particular profession among the People, one that is highly venerated and powerful, but nonetheless a great mass of humanity lays behind them.

Behind the shamans lies examples of nearly every profession known to the East. The commoner-nomad is a herder and bowman, a life that a eastern Ranger might find comfortable. Medicine men work the empathic and alchemical arts. Hedge elementalists are considered a great luxury among the tribes, for they bring water and earthworks. Missionaries from the Temple live among the People, generally frustrated with how hard local beliefs are to dislodge.

The People are principally Humans, though that is not absolute. Especially after the signing of the Lunar Accord, outsiders have come to dwell among them for their own reasons, and bloodlines of essentially everything that can breed with Humans are represented (albeit rare). An Elf or a Halfling among the People raises eyebrows among strangers, but are not unheard of.

The Shaman:

Of course, we're all Moon Mages in this category and it'd be silly to displace the Shaman as the principle actor of our drama. Since Kir, the shaman take a dual role of spiritual adviser and leader. Cherulisa, in particular, is the "shaman of shaman" or nominal leader of the People since dislodging the False Kir from his place.

The specific role of the shaman varies among the tribes. The Nera are known to formally place shaman (inevitably a woman) in leadership roles, while the Benesu typically have what easterners would recognize as a Trader as formal leader. Some shaman eschew leadership and take on a life as wandering wise men. Inevitably, the shaman that make it from the steppe to eastern lands follow this path.

For much of the Moon Mage Guild's history, the transmission of shaman was largely one way. Shaman would come to participate in the greater Moon Mage Guild, but Moon Mages rarely, if ever, became shaman. This is primarily because until the Mirror Wraith Prophecy, the Guild was quite adapt at perpetuating a guild hegemony. It was important to the guild for most of its history to emphasize its unity and the sects suffered.

In the past decades, though, eastern Moon Mages have begun studying the lore of the steppe and identify among the Nomads. The place of these "outsider shaman" is debated among the tribes. The shaman by and large welcome fresh blood, but the outsiders are not granted the same respect or leadership opportunities among the People. To date the vast majority of outsider shaman have been content to stay in the east and ply their trade among Moon Mages, so this has not become the explosive issue that it someday might.

Spiritualism:

While the People recognize the Immortals and are quick to integrate them into worship, they have their own customs that, to the Temple's dismay, refuse to die. These are broadly a belief in animism and ancestor worship.

Animism is the belief that all things, including inanimate objects, have active spirit. The wind blows because the wind chooses to blow. If a Warrior Mage demonstrates otherwise, then the elementalist is clearly strong-arming the wind. Ancestor worship is much as it sounds like. Unlike orthodox Temple beliefs, the People believe that individuals (or, at least, the People) retain their identities upon death and can communicate to shaman if they follow the proper rites. The Temple is quick to point out the proper rites include the use of powerful hallucinogens, but nobody's really listening.

It frustrates the Clerics and Paladins among the People endlessly that shamanism is the providence of Lunar magicians. However, in a sense it is Lunar magic that provides shamanism its validity. The shaman historically have interacted with animistic spirits and great spirits that take on paternalistic roles.

Historically.

In the past few centuries, relations between the shaman and the spirits have soured, completely in correspondence with the increase in hostility between Moon Mages and the Plane of Probability. Gone are the days when shadowmagi whispered profound secrets to Kir, the spirits are angry and often scream only one word: Defiler.

The shaman retain their Moon Mage powers, of course, but they have been severed from a relationship with the Plane of Probability that made them uniquely powerful. The severing is recently enough that many shaman still try to understand why it is so, and perhaps one day appease the spirits. Of course, when their Moon Mage cousins are spending equal amounts of effort trying to wipe the concepts off the math every time they appear, this has been frustrated.

Tribes

The nomad clears his throat and says, "There are many tribes here on the Arid Steppe. Most were united under Kir, long years ago." He pauses to scratch under his furs. "Together, we are known as the Nomads of the Arid Steppe, but it is important to remember each tribe's individuality. The most prominent tribes are the Skindancers, the Windwalkers, the D'Reathor, the Nera, the Khamur, the Chagur, the Trabe, and the Benesu. A few speak of the Bonedancers, but they are renegades."

The fur-clad nomad snorts in contempt before saying, "We honor the Lunar Accord and respect that the Celestians speak the truth: we would likely have been extinguished under the weight of Imperialism without the Guild. We embrace the arcanum of the Moon Mage Guild and teach young shamans in the Guild's ways, but Throne City is very far away. We sit at the base of the Trabe's spire, the divination of the Skindancers plays out the future in every yurt, and even the strange enchantments of the Nera supplement the art of the sigils and stars. Our heritage remains strong, and I will speak more about it if you wish."

Cherulisa says, "The Nomads of the Arid Steppe are one people and one tribe, forged by the peace of Kir Dor'na'torna. Our oral tradition claims that the original tribes formed during the time of Grazhir's fall, though there is little proof of such a claim. As our title suggests, we are the people of the steppe: It is here that we tend our herds, hunt our game, and migrate with the seasons under the light of the moons."

Cherulisa says, "There are some who exalt the individuality of the tribes, but I do not. Just as the Moon Mage Guild threatens to slide back to the days of isolated and threatened sects, I will not let the one people of the Nomads return to the fractured and warlike tribes. That is the way of the false Kir and his Bonedancers."

More information can be found in:

  • Note: It is possible to further affiliate yourself to a specific tribe (except the Bonedancers) by asking the nomad residing in a yurt on the east side of the Trabe Plateau. However, there does not appear to be any form of game support for this feature. (No titles, no affiliation, no items, and no known acknowledgements.) Some people have claimed to have recieved a tribe-specific title, while not being able to access the generic "Nomad" title. This may be a bug issue.

Benesu

Cherulisa says, "In the old days, the Benesu were the wealthiest of the tribes, and were constantly besieged because of it. They created powerful Perception and telekinetic magic to fend off poachers. The Benesu spear, though it is nothing more than brightly painted wood and iron, is one of our greatest symbols of tribal violence."

The fur-clad nomad softly says, "Benesu is a name connected with the animals of the Arid Steppe. The greatest herds were tended by the Benesu, which led them to unending conflict with the other tribes. In battle they favored their spears, which they painted bright colors. It is said that with the magic of the moons, the Benesu could hurl their spears at poachers on the horizon and strike unerringly at their hearts."

Bonedancers

Cherulisa says, "Not a tribe, not a people. The Bonedancers are madmen who make a mockery of our culture and the peace of Kir. Stay well away from them if you value your sanity and your life."

The fur-clad nomad shivers and says, "Bah. The Bonedancers are terrifying. All tribes can find beauty in nature, but this lot finds it within piles of bleached bones, the marrow sucked dry. Most are S'Kra Mur or Human, and almost all are completely insane. When Katamba and Yavash are full in the sky, they will often hold perverse revelries where they toss powdered bones into a blazing fire, looking for portents from the rising ash. A dangerous group. Stay away."

Chagur

Cherulisa says, "Too much drama and too much blood." She shakes her head and continues, "The Chagur say a great warrior of the Khamur murdered a daughter of the wisest seer among the tribe at the time, driving him to suicide and robbing the Chagur of his wisdom. Whether it is true or not, the crime echoed through the generations in their stories, up to the near annihilation of both tribes at the Plains of Grief. For most Nomads, the old hatred is now a historic curiosity; a warning for what will happen if we abandon the teachings of Kir."

The fur-clad nomad frowns and says, "All the tribes were violent before we became a single people, but the Khamur and Chagur were especially so. In the furthest past they were like brothers, trading freely and fighting side by side. It is said a great betrayal ripped the two tribes apart, though to this day neither tribe will admit they were the betrayer. Their wars were bitter and lasted many long years, staining the eastern reaches of the Arid Steppe red. Their greatest battle cost both tribes two-thirds of their men, mere months before Kir brought his message of peace to the tribes. The Plains of Grief are said to still bear the scars of that battle, its land twisted by the memory of primal and violent magic."

D'Reathor

Cherulisa says, "The peace maker came from them, but they still embrace a harsh stoicism that the Sophisters might enjoy. The image of a warrior Nomad, spear in hand and dire magic on their lips, comes from the D'Reathor. Be it war, in in their vision tents, or in supporting Kir's vision of peace, they are said to have done nothing by half measure."

The fur-clad nomad ponders for a moment before saying, "The D'Reathor were, at one time, the most barbaric of the Nomads on the Steppe. Those days are long gone, but they are still a harsh people. Elaborate facial tattoos are used to mark their status in the tribe, with some so decorated that their skin color is no longer apparent. Another aspect of the D'Reathor involves their vision tents, where they spend many days in a trance to divine the future. This is a dangerous thing, and not everyone who emerges is unscathed from the experience."

Khamur

Cherulisa says, "Too much drama and too much blood." She shakes her head and continues, "The Khamur claim that a bitter and ill-mannered Chagur slew the daughter and only child of their chieftain for rejecting his advances. Whether it is true or not, the crime echoed through the generations in their stories, ending with the near annihilation of both tribes at the Plains of Grief. For most Nomads, the old hatred is now a historic curiosity; a warning for what will happen if we abandon the teachings of Kir."

The fur-clad nomad frowns and says, "All the tribes were violent before we became a single people, but the Khamur and Chagur were especially so. In the furthest past they were like brothers, trading freely and fighting side by side. It is said a great betrayal ripped the two tribes apart, though to this day neither tribe will admit they were the betrayer. Their wars were bitter and lasted many long years, staining the eastern reaches of the Arid Steppe red. Their greatest battle cost both tribes two-thirds of their men, mere months before Kir brought his message of peace to the tribes. The Plains of Grief are said to still bear the scars of that battle, its land twisted by the memory of primal and violent magic."

Nera

Cherulisa says, "Many years after the tribes had formed, the ragged Nera came to the steppe and adapted to life here. Wherever they came from, they brought the knowledge of Lunar enchanting with them. It was crude by modern standards, but unlike anything the tribes of that day had seen. The Nera traded knowledge and labor for their survival in those harsh days before Kir's peace."

The fur-clad nomad looks down at one of his copper sigils before saying, "The Nera are a strange people. They came from the mountains of the west, though the Windwalkers will not claim them. They name themselves after an ancient leader of their tribe, who they venerate the same way many others speak the name Kir Dor'na'torna. Nera is said to have been a great enchantress, so beloved that the very spirits of the earth grew mad with grief at her passing. They fled their isolated land and commingled with the tribes, bringing the art of the sigils with them."

Skindancers

Cherulisa says, "We are what many of the eastern Moon Mages think of when they say "Nomads." Our lives are often played out beneath the moons, without even a yurt to protect us from the harsh weather of the steppe. We commune with the spirits through our wandering."

Touching the copper sigils on his ivory carving, the fur-clad nomad says, "Skindancers, yes. I am of that tribe. Our travels take us through all the lichen tundras, rocky plains and icy wastes that the Steppe has to offer. Nature is a beautiful thing beneath the moons, but conspires against us oft times. For this reason, we rely heavily on skins, laying them down before throwing bones of foretelling, sleeping upon the warm hides of yaks, dancing upon them during weddings and funerals." The nomad pauses. "The quality of the skins we carry can show at a glance where we stand in the tribe."

Trabe

Cherulisa says, "Had the D'Reathor of the past been a little less violent, there are many things we may have known. I would've liked to have known a Trabe and asked them about the shaping of this crystal spire. But there are no more Trabe, merely children of the D'Reathor who have stolen their name."

The fur-clad nomad peers down at the ground before saying, "The ancient tales say the Trabe, the men of the plateau, "tamed the crystal" and shaped the blue spire which Cherulisa took as her guildhall. Little is known about the tribe, since they rarely left the sight of their blue monstrosity, rarely trading with the others. They suffered great hardships for their isolation and finally fell in a great battle against the D'Reathor. The men of the Trabe were slain and their women were taken." The nomad snorts. "Some of the children of the D'Reathor still claim the heritage of the crystal shapers, but no true Trabe lives."

Windwalkers

Cherulisa says, "They were once an insular tribe, which gave rise to odd rumors about them, such as some silly business with a catapult. Still, when we shared out knowledge after the peace of Kir, they taught us much about what is now called "enlightened geometry" and the use of teleportational energy."

The fur-clad nomad smiles and says, "The Windwalkers are an interesting bunch. Most of the Arid Steppe is flat, but as one heads far to the west, massive mountains rise up. This is the domain of the Windwalkers, moving north and south with the seasons, but never leaving the higher elevations. There they build homes on sheer cliffs, where one false step would lead to certain doom." The nomad gazes toward the west. "Some say they're insane, and that they use great catapults to hurl their tethered warriors into the sky to hunt birds. Rumors abound that they have the ability to teleport into the sky and back down again in an eye blink."

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See also

Subcategories

This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.

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Pages in category "Nomads of the Arid Steppe"

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