Post:Rakash language and cultural items - 09/15/2015 - 21:24

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Rakash language and cultural items · on 09/15/2015 09:24 PM CDT 1367
The following is the first in a series of updates and expansions for many things Rakash -- including lore, items, language, shops, and a few other choice bits!

Those of you who have been heavily involved with Rakash cultural information over the years are likely to notice several things that might be somewhat different (and in some cases rather significantly so) from what you're familiar with. This is intentional, as some aspects of certain things did not meet current design standards, some other things had ended up with contradictory releases or minimally fleshed out documentation, and yet others were simply areas where I felt I could bring more to the table for you all through these updates.

I hope that you will all find that the additions and expansions make it all worthwhile, and please know that I tried to incorporate as much of what was existing as was possible while still having things remain coherent and fitting with the overall vision.



The Rakash language is considered frustrating by many outsiders who attempt to translate it to the Common tongue. So much so, that the chief scholarly debate remains whether the issue at hand is that the language is too vague or too specific to translate cleanly!

The truth of the matter is that, as a fiercely collectivist people, the Rakash often do not make distinctions that seem common sense to other races, and their language is deeply reflective of this. The examples are manifold, with the most commonly known being that their nouns do not change to indicate plural or singular forms, for all are the pack, and the pack is all. What many non-Rakash often fail to understand is that the language is also one where many words hold dual meanings, frequently one general and one very specific. Perhaps unsurprising given their own natures, Rakash often fail to see this as a complication or why it is a point of confusion for others. However, as the Rakash have become increasingly at home in eastern Kermoria, certain language conventions have shifted to accommodate more eastern ways of thinking.

When not translated into Common by a Rakash who is otherwise using the trade language, the following words refer to very specific things for which the Rakash cannot find a precise equivalent in the Common tongue, or the explanation of the term in Common would be so involved as to be burdensome to daily communication.

Part 1: Clothing

Odaj "Robe": The odaj is a traditional Rakash sleeveless robe with a flowing, wrapped design that allows free movement in both forms native to the race. It is pleated at the shoulder(s) and generally loosely belted or fastened with a clasp below the breastbone. Both one and two-armed versions of the odaj exist, with the asymmetrical version that drapes beneath the wearer’s other arm being more favored for formal affairs, and the symmetrical version more apt for daily wear or martial applications. Decorations are traditionally placed near or on the shoulders, and/or at the belt/closure area.

It is not unusual for a Rakash to wear an odaj either by itself or layered atop other clothing for warmth, though it would be considered odd to wear more than one odaj at a time, even if one is a battle odaj.

Note: The term battle odaj always refers to armor, and never just clothing. It is a more recent development, having first begun as makeshift armor during the fights against the undead prior to the Great Migration. Rakash of that era would sometimes add scraps of metal or leather to their odaj, affixing them in whatever way they could to give themselves a measure of additional protection.

Though superficially differing from the more common armored robes mainly in the odaj-esque styling, a modern battle odaj is a much less haphazard creation and is actually quite difficult to make due to the balancing of the armored properties with the movement and flow expected in an odaj. Usually crafted either wholly from leather or from a combination of chain atop cloth, a battle odaj will always cover both shoulders and be ankle length. Oftentimes, a battle odaj will have some sort of decorative pauldrons as well. When these are present, they are most likely to be designed to reflect the religious leanings of the wearer.

Safos "Dress": The safos is a style of dress worn mainly by girls and young unmarried women in traditional Rakash society. A safos has a simple, loose A-line cut with a high waist and slightly more fitted bodice that is distinguished by always having a series of buttons (usually carved from bone and frequently in the shape of butterflies) and a high, rolled collar.

As other sorts of dresses were not present in Rakash culture pre-migration, the word has come to be applied to all dresses when Rakash speak of them in their own language. However, when left untranslated by a Rakash when speaking the Common tongue, the term continues to apply only to this particular style of dress. Due to this semi-conflation of terms and the lingering cultural connotations of wearing a safos, it is not unusual for particularly old or traditionally-raised Rakash to feel it is somewhat childish or embarrassing for an adult Rakash woman, especially one who is married, to wear a dress of any type.

Rantija "Cloak": The rantija is a cloak cut specially for the Rakash form. It is made from two distinct panels of fabric which overlap fully at the top and are cut and specially angled to flare somewhat outward as they fall to the hemline. This results in a decreasing amount of overlap of the panels in the back, and allows for a tailed individual to have their tail either inside or outside of the fabric as desired, and for a non-tailed individual to remain fully protected from the elements.

Outside of wedding ceremonies, formal rantija are often made from panels of two different colors, symbolizing the dual forms of the Rakash race.

Krekls "Shirt": Loosely cut and with long, wide sleeves, and a laced or buttoned front, the krekls is a shirt-like garment of Rakash design that is intended for colder, or significantly windy, environs. The sleeves of a krekls have attached binding strips of contrasting fabric or leather that can be tied and adjusted to allow for changes in body shape due to Moonskin, or for differing needs based on weather or activity. Krekls are never made from very light materials, and while all krekls are made from many smaller pieces of fabric (or leather) sewn together, the most iconic version of a krekls is that made of multicolor patchwork.

Vluze "Blouse": Though frequently having gendered connotations in Common, the Rakash clothing item ‘vluze’, which roughly translates to ‘blouse’, is not particularly favored by or associated with either masculine or feminine roles within Rakash society. Instead, the vluze differs from the krekls in that, while both are loosely cut shirt-like garments with a laced or buttoned front, vluze are meant for warm to hot environs and as such are made only with lightweight fabrics and have either very short or no sleeves. Like the krekls, all vluze are made from many smaller pieces of fabric sewn together, and the most iconic version of a vluze is that made of multicolor patchwork.

Josta "Belt": A lesser known translation for the word josta is roughly equitable to ‘knotwork’ in Common. To be considered a josta, the belt must be created via braiding or knotting several strands or strips of material together, and any decorations that are not a part of the fabric/material itself are worked into its length via elaborate knotwork -- similar to the way that decorations might be braided into one's hair.

Though religious symbols are frequently used in decoration for all Rakash clothing, items of personal significance are often also knotted into a Rakash’s josta. Traditionally, a josta would not have a buckle and would instead be affixed by tying the loose ends together, however, some Rakash have taken to adding eastern-style buckles to their josta in more recent years.

Vikses "Trousers": Vikses are the traditional Rakash version of trousers or pants. Cut to rest very low, yet very snugly, on the hips, these wide-legged pants allow for easy wear by Rakash no matter their current form. They are especially noted for the distinctive angular dip in the back of their waistband that is always crafted from a pliant material to allow for both tailed and non-tailed individuals to wear the garment with both comfort and modesty preserved.

Traditionally, boys and young unmarried Rakash men only wear vikses with a particular vented cuff style that denotes their relative youth. Girls and young unmarried Rakash women might also wear this youthful style of vikses beneath their safos.

Rugursora "Backpack": The Rakash word ‘rugursora’ is very roughly translated to ‘backpack’ in Common, and, as with many words in the Rakash language, has over time and exposure to the eastern cultures come to be applied to most any back-worn container when the Rakash speak amongst themselves in their native tongue. When left untranslated when Rakash are otherwise speaking in Common, however, the word refers to the traditional Rakash style of pack that rests high on the back and extends a bit beyond the arms in width. Older-styled rugursora have a single strapped design where the wide, reinforced strap is positioned to lay from over one shoulder to cross the chest, then connect again to the bag beneath the wearer’s other arm, mimicking the cut of the asymmetrical version of an odaj.

Nauda "Boot": This traditional Rakash style of footwear is most closely translated to ‘boot’ in Common. Crafted from soft leather (most common) or sometimes fabric, the bulk of a nauda is simply wrapped around the wearer’s foot and leg and held in place with attached straps which crisscross similar to those seen on many eastern sandals. While footwraps such as those which are commonly recognizable across many cultures are also ubiquitous amongst traditional Rakash, nauda differ significantly from footwraps in that the entire foot and a portion of the leg is covered, and often a padded, sole-like area is built-in to better protect the bottom of the foot. Nauda can range from ankle-tall to knee-high, and very occasionally have heels, though the latter is a much more modern development spurred by eastern fashion trends.

This message was originally posted in The Races of DragonRealms \ Rakash - Rakash Pack, by DR-PERSIDA on the forums.