Cultures of Stone Age Kur

Copyright Peter Mork © 2014

Death Tribes

In or near the expansive deserts of Noctis, the "Death Tribes" have formed into a triad of civilizations. Deep in the desert itself dwell the nomadic Kra'Shi. Along the edges of the desert, in the dry hills, dwell the Sh'Ra'M. Finally, where the hills give way to radioactive jungle dwell the B'Tri.

Religion

The Death Tribes are named such because each tribe believes in the spiritual and psychic power of sacrifice. The first sacrifices were shells, pits, and other useless flora. From there, the tribes transitioned to sacrificing organs, bones, and brains. It was then a short step to the sacrifice of living fauna and on to human sacrifice. These sacrifices did establish strong connections to the spiritual world and release latent psychic potential.

Today, some form of minor sacrifice is a daily ritual, performed at every hearth and over every campfire. Tribal leaders perform monthly animal sacrifices on behalf of the people. Finally, priests and psychics perform seasonal human sacrifices on behalf of an entire chiefdom. For a commoner to perform an animal or human sacrifice is anathema. And, only the priests and psychics have the cultural authority to conduct human sacrifices.

Fears & Biases

The Death Tribes fear the jungle and distrust the sun. Thus, the Sh'Ra'M have great respect for their brethren that interact with the jungle or desert.

Given their rigidly stratified society, they also fear forces or ideas that might disrupt or destabilize civilization. Rather than interact with other races or cultures, the Death Tribes declare holy war and genocide on their neighbors. Prisoners are taken in these conflicts, but the victims are not enslaved; they are sacrificed.

Marriage

Marriage is only possible within a social band. The family is an economic unit that mirrors the larger society. Parents (married persons without children are quickly scorned or even banished) are expected to produce productive children who will in turn marry to produce more productive children. From these marriages, wealth flows to the next higher level of society.

Clothing

Lower class tribesmen wear long simple robes bound with strips of leather. Tribal leaders wear colorful cotton robes, similarly bound. Priests and psychics are clad in leather robes, trimmed with soft cotton, with elaborate decorations. Sandals are the norm, as are wicker hats when exposure to the sun is likely.

Similarly, hair length correlates with status. The higher one's status, the shorter one's hair. Failure to conform is a crime punishable by banishment or sacrifice.

Skills

Members of a Death Tribe have access to the following skills.

Skill Category Skill
Armor • Light Soft Leather
Artistic • Active Mimery
Artistic • Active Play Instrument: Percussion
Artistic • Passive Painting
Combat Maneuvers Restricted Area Combat
Crafts Animal-crafts
Crafts Stone-crafts
Lore • Magical Symbol Lore
Lore • Obscure Undead Lore
Lore • Technical Stone Lore
Power Awareness Divination
Power Manipulation Channeling
Resistance Divine Resistance
Resistance Psychic Resistance
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
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Anticipations
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Attack Avoidance
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Brilliance
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Cloaking
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Damage Resistance
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Delving
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Detections
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Illusions
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Self Healing
Spells • Psychic Open Lists Spell Resistance
Technical/Trade • Professional Mining
Weapon • Chopping Axe
Weapon • Chopping Hammer

Specific Death Tribes

B'Tri

The B'Tri live along the edge of the Greatbridge jungle. Given their location, they have a healthy fear of the undead that lurk in the swamps and bogs. Facing this fear is what separates the girls from the women, the boys from the men: The coming of age ritual involves going on walkabout in the jungle. The length of time spent alone in the jungle determines one's social status. If you spend but a single night in the jungle, your social status drops. If you spend a week in the jungle, you maintain the social status into which you were born. Survive an entire month, and you are welcomed into the next higher stratum.

In theory, if you survive a whole year, you could vault from the lower class directly into the echelon of priests and psychics! (According to Duwa legend, a Death Tribe woman survived a whole year, emerging on the other side of the bridge. However, she never returned to her homeland, so this tale does not ring true to Death Tribesmen.)

Kra'Shi

The Kra'Shi live in the harsh deserts of Noctis. The harsh environment has tempered their ruthless fury; they are the most compassionate of the tribes. They spend most of the year following the rains along the western side of the desert. In late spring they bunker down for a lean summer at the T'Kri'K cliffs. In the autumn, they return north to trade with the Sh'Ra'M. In their journey they gather rare stones and desert herbs greatly prized by their more sedentary neighbors.

Sh'Ra'M

The Sh'Ra'M constitute the bulk of the Death Tribes. By and large, they hunt the huge wild sheep and goats native to the area. They supplement their diet with birds, shellfish, and wild cereals. Within the Sh'Ra'M there are three main subdivisions. The basic Sh'Ra'M are militant, fielding the armies that threaten nearby cultures; their sacrifices are intended to increase their military prowsess. The Sh'Ra'K favor sacrifices that fuel Divine (spirit) magic. Finally, the Sh'Ra'L focus on sacrifices that release psychic power.

Everyman Skills

  • Sh'Ra'K
    • Barrier Law or Concussion's Ways
    • Channeling
  • Sh'Ra'L
    • Attack Avoidance or Brilliance
    • Divination
  • Sh'Ra'M
    • Axe
    • Restricted Area Combat
    • Divine Resistance or Psychic Resistance

Starting Skills

Category or Skill B'Tri Kra'Shi Sh'Ra'K Sh'Ra'L Sh'Ra'M
Athletic • Brawn 1 1 1 1 1
Athletic • Endurance 1 1 1 1 1
    Distance Running 1
    Swimming 1 1
Athletic • Gymnastics 1 2 1 1 1
    Climbing 1 2 1 1 1
    Diving 1
Awareness • Perceptions 0 0 0 0 0
    Alertness 2 2 2 2 2
    Sense Danger 1
Awareness • Searching 1 1 1 1 1
    Observation 1 1 1 1 1
Body Development 0 0 0 0 0
    Concussion Hits 2 2 2 2 2
Communications: Kish 1 1 1 1 1
    B'Tri'Ak (S) 5
    Kra'Sh'Ak (S) 5
    Sh'Ra'Ak (S) 3 3 5 5 5
Crafts 0 0 0 0 0
    Animal-crafts 1 1 2 2 2
    Stone-crafts 1 2 1 1 1
    Wood-crafts 2 1 1 1 1
Lore • General 3 3 3 3 3
    Culture Lore: B'Tri 3
    Culture Lore: Kra'Shi 3
    Culture Lore: Sh'Ra'M 3 3 3
    Fauna Lore 2 2 2 2 2
    Flora Lore 2 2 2 2 2
    Region Lore: Own 3 3 3 3 3
Lore • Magical 2 1 1
    Symbol Lore 2 1 1
Lore • Obscure 2
    Undead Lore 2
Lore • Technical 2
    Stone Lore 2
Outdoor • Environmental 3 3 3 3 3
    Foraging 3 2 2 2 2
    Hunting 2 2 3 3 3
    Survival: Desert (Z) 3
    Survival: Jungle (J) 3
    Survival: Rough/Hills (R) 3 3 3
    Weather Watching 2
Resistance 0 0 0 0 0
    Disease Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
    Divine Resistance 1 1 2 1 1
    Fear Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
    Poison Resistance 1 1 1 1 1
    Psychic Resistance 1 1 1 2 1
Spells • Divine Open Lists 0
    Nature's Law 1
Spells • Psychic Open Lists 0
    Anticipations 1
Subterfuge • Stealth 2 2 2 2 3
    Hiding 2 2 2 2 3
    Stalking 2 2 2 2 3
Technical/Trade • General 1 1 1 1 1
Weapon • Chopping 2 2 1 1 2
    Axe 2 1 1 2
    Hammer 2
Weapon • Crushing 1 1 1
    Sticks 1 1 1
Weapon • Pole Arms 1
    Spear 1
Weapon • Thrown 1 1 2 2 2
    Direct Thrown 1
    Sling 1 2 2 2
Hobbies 2 2 2 2 2
Cost [1] 15 19 14 10 17

[1] To determine a character’s background options, add up the racial cost (46 for Human, Kish) and the culture cost (10 to 19 for the Death Tribes). Convert that total into talent points or background options using Talent Law. All of the Kish/Death combinations fall in the 26-75 point range, resulting in 55 talent points or 6 background options.