Cultures of Stone Age Kur

Copyright Peter Mork © 2014

Duwa

To understand the Duwa, you must first understand met. Met is a place, met is a time, met is a celebration, and met is way of thinking. To the Duwa, met is the single most important attribute of civilization. It is what makes the Duwa, the Duwa.

Before met, the Duwa were a scattering of bands based on extended family groups. These bands were strictly hunter/gatherers. As is customary for such informal bands, there were no leaders, little religion, and fluid membership.

Contemporary scholars point to Ran-Kale as the catalyst for change. By this time, the Duwa bands had formed into relatively stable tribes: (from north to south) the forest-dwelling Duwa-Free, the jungle-dwelling Duwa-Rave, the coastal Duwa-Kale, and the coastal Duwa-Wona. Further inland were the Duwa-Pon.

Ran-Kale (of the Duwa-Kale) was a highly charismatic explorer. He traveled throughout the lands of the Duwa and observed many similarities. More importantly, he saw profound technological differences. The Pon had domesticated the horses native to the steppes. The Wona had combined wood and hemp to create an incredible hunting tool: the bow. The Free had mastered simple tricks to maneuver through the forests (what we now call Ranger base lists). And, the Rave had learned to communicate with (and harness) the lingering spirits of the dead: basic divine magic.

Impressed by these individual advances, Ran-Kale leveraged the central location of the Duwa-Kale to create Kale-Met. As noted previously, Kale-Met was a specific location where (at least at first) the Duwa tribes would gather once a year for a huge celebration. At the met, the tribes would exchange stories, discuss current events, make trades, and celebrate new marriages.

The most important ceremonial function of Kale-Met was as the beginning of Galria, the year-long coming-of-age ritual. For one year, a Duwa youth live with as many tribes as possible. During that time, the child would learn the customs of other tribes. At the end of the year, the child would return to Kale-Met as a man or woman, either married into a new tribe or returning home as an unwed adult.

As the Duwa flourished (in large part due to their technological superiority and communal advantages), it became impossible for all of the bands of all of the tribes to gather each year. Thus, smaller mets began to spring up in other areas. At roughly this time, Kale-Met transitioned from a temporary camp to a permanent city, populated year-round.

Lifestyle

Most Duwa still practice a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Venat is rich with available options: shellfish, birds, small game, nuts, fruits, roots, and more. Tools are primarily crafted from the bamboo that grows throughout the region.

In keeping with met, the Duwa are fond of stories. Each tribe maintains a rich oral history that they spend time transferring every night. In addition, there are stories for notable landmarks, weather phenomena, and common wildlife. Indeed, a significant aspect of Galria is the ability to learn the stories from the other tribes.

Clothing

The basic material for the Duwa is a sheet of woven grass called a teel. The different tribes differ (as noted below) in how they tend to wear a teel. Because nearly all Duwa are Wrin (with pale, easily-burned, skin), those tribes most exposed to the sun cover themselves almost completely.

Marriage

Duwa marriages are generally arranged while a child is on Galria. Roughly half of the children are claimed by their host family and matched with an unwed adult. The remaining children return to their families, waiting for a match to be found in a future year.

Marriages are celebrated at a met. These unions last for life. Children, however, are the joint responsibility of the band.

Religion

The Duwa believe that their ancestors’ spirits live among them in perpetuity (which is partially correct). These ancestors have lost any earthly desires—they simply exist. However, these spirits can be harnassed by shamans for simple healing, light, and nature magic. Because the spirits are not thought to have personality, shamans treat the spirits as tools, content to accept their own similar fate.

Fears

More than anything, the Duwa fear “Calm Storms.” This phenomenon was created by Olive Branch to limit aggression. Unfortunately, Calm only affects sentient beings. Animal predators have learned to find a storm wherein they can hunt humans with impunity.

In turn, the Duwa have invested in ran-jhers. These specialists excel at surviving on their own and locating the calm storms. They mark the boundaries for safety (and rescue those trapped within).

The Duwa are also apprehensive of the Vulfen that inhabit the steppes. The Vulfen and Duwa-Pon were, at one time, trading partners until the trading rules were severely violated by a band of ran-jhers. Now, the two try to avoid each other, but violence still breaks out fairly often.

Skills

Duwa have access to the following skills.

Skill Category Skill Note
Artistic • Active Mimicry
Athletic • Brawn Power-striking
Athletic • Brawn Power-throwing
Athletic • Brawn Weight-lifting
Awareness • Searching Reading Tracks
Awareness • Searching Tracking
Combat Maneuvers Mounted Combat
Combat Maneuvers Quickdraw
Combat Maneuvers Reverse Stroke: Melee [1]
Combat Maneuvers Reverse Stroke: Missile [1]
Crafts Fletching
Influence Leadership
Influence Recruitment
Lore • Magical Symbol Lore
Lore • Obscure Undead Lore
Martial Arts Combat Maneuvers Reverse Stroke: Martial Arts [1]
Outdoor • Animal Riding Specific skills include Aerial, Aquatic, Arthropods, Artificial Being, Carnivorous, Construct, Dangerous Herbivores, Draft, Elemental, Flying Monster, Great Drake, Hybrid Elemental, Land Monster, Lesser Drake, Minor Drake, Passive Herbivores, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Power Manipulation Channeling
Resistance Divine Resistance
Self Control Stunned Maneuvering
Spells • Divine Base Lists Inner Walls
Spells • Divine Base Lists Moving Ways
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature’s Guises
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature’s Summons
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature’s Way
Spells • Divine Base Lists Path Mastery
Spells • Divine Open Lists Barrier Law
Spells • Divine Open Lists Concussion’s Ways
Spells • Divine Open Lists Detection Mastery
Spells • Divine Open Lists Light’s Way
Spells • Divine Open Lists Lofty Movements
Spells • Divine Open Lists Nature’s Law
Spells • Divine Open Lists Purifications
Spells • Divine Open Lists Sound’s Way
Spells • Divine Open Lists Spell Defense
Spells • Divine Open Lists Weather Ways
Weapon • Bow Bow

[1] Offsets the penalty of -45 for attacking to the flank or -105 for attacking to the rear.

Specific Duwa Cultures

Duwa-Free

The Free are the tribes closest to the Greatbridge, that span of land populated by irradiated undead. Ran-jhers are more common among the Free than any other tribe, given the additional dangers that are present.

They tend to wear their teels as skirts. A second teel can be worn as a shawl to protect against the rain or sun, as needed.

Everyman Skills: Tracking

Duwa-Kale

The Kale are the quintessential Duwa tribe. They reside along the coast near Kale-met. Given their central location, the Kale are able to visit most (if not all) of the other tribes during Galria.

They wear their teels as long cloaks to protect themselves from the sun while they collect shellfish and salt (shells and salt for the basis for early trade on Venat).

Everyman Skills: None

Duwa-Pon

The Pon are horesmen of the steppes. Whereas all Duwa learn to ride and value their horses, the Pon rely on their horses. From horseback, they can launch savage attacks on Vulfen scouting parties. Unfortunately, horses are of little value against the Vulfen’s walls.

They wear their teels loosely wrapped around their bodies so that only their eyes can be seen. This shroud lends an air of secrecy (and fear) when they deal with other Duwa.

Everyman Skills: Mounted Combat

Duwa-Rave

The Rave inhabit the jungles that provide the Duwa with glow-sticks (a glow-stick is the seed of a tree that glows for up to 6 hours when it is struck against a hard surface; these seeds slowly lose potency over the course of a year, when a new harvest is available). Harvesting a glow-stick is dangerous, though, because the trees rely on electric wasps for pollenization.

They wear their teels wrapped around their upper arms and legs. Given their need to cover up when leaving their shadowy jungles, they are the least likely to attend met regularly. However, all Duwa shamans receive the bulk of their training from the Rave.

Everyman Skills: Magic Ritual: Natural

Duwa-Wona

The Wona share the coast with the Kale. However, the Wona build siple rafts from which they harvest fish and seaweed. The Wona produce the Duwa’s finest bows and best archers.

They wear their teels like a toga, generally covering most of their bodies. However, they abandon these coverings when engaging in athletic competition.

Everyman Skills: Bow

Starting Skills

Category or Skill Duwa-Free Duwa-Kale Duwa-Pon Duwa-Rave Duwa-Wona
Athletic • Brawn 1 1 1 1 1
Athletic • Endurance 1 1 1 1 1
    Swimming 1 2 1 1 3
Athletic • Gymnastics 1 1 1 1 1
    Climbing 2 2 1 2 1
Awareness • Perceptions
    Alertness 2 2 2 2 2
Awareness • Searching 1 1 1 1 1
    Observation 1 1 1 1 1
Body Development
    Concussion Hits 2 2 2 2 2
Communications: Wrin 1 1 1 1 1
    Free (S) 5
    Kale (S) 3 5 3 3 3
    Pon (S) 5
    Rave (S) 5
    Wona (S) 5
Crafts
    Fletching 1 1 1 1 2
    Wood-crafts 1 1 1 1 2
Influence 1
    Leadership 1
    Recruitment 1
Lore • General 3 3 3 3 3
    Culture Lore: Duwa-Free 3 1
    Culture Lore: Duwa-Kale 3
    Culture Lore: Duwa-Pon 1 3
    Culture Lore: Duwa-Rave 1 3
    Culture Lore: Duwa-Wona 1 3
    Fauna Lore 3 2 2 2 2
    Flora Lore 2 2 2 2 3
    Region Lore: Own 3 3 3 3 3
Lore • Magical 1
    Symbol Lore 1
Lore • Obscure 1
    Undead Lore 1
Outdoor • Animal 1 2 3 1 1
    Riding: Draft 1 2 3 1 1
Outdoor • Environmental 3 3 3 3 3
    Fishing 1 3
    Foraging 2 2 2 2 2
    Hunting 3 2 2 2 2
    Star-gazing 2 1
    Survival: Deciduous Forest (D) 3
    Survival: Jungle (J) 3
    Survival: Plains (P) 3
    Survival: Saltwater shore (S) 3 3
Resistance
    Disease Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
    Divine Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
    Fear Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
    Poison Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
Spells • Divine Open Lists
    Detection Mastery 1
    Purifications 2
Subterfuge • Stealth 3 2 1 1 1
    Hiding 3 2 1 1 1
    Stalking 3 2 1 1 1
Technical/Trade • General 1 1 1 1 1
Weapon • Bow 2 2 2 2 2
    Bow 2 2 2 2 2
Weapon • Pole Arms 1 1 2 1 2
    Spear 1 1 2 1 2
Hobbies 2 2 2 2 2
Cost [2] 14 18 10 8 14

[2] To determine a character’s background options, add up the racial cost (40 for Human, Wrin) and the culture cost (8-14 for the Duwa). Convert that total into talent points or background options using Talent Law. All of the Wrin/Duwa combinations fall in the 26-75 point range, resulting in 55 talent points or 6 background options.