Cultures of Iron Age Kur

Copyright Ellen Badgely & Peter Mork © 2016

"Most aspects of everyday life have rituals governing them, from stepping out of your house in the morning to visiting another village (ceremonially consuming a lot of fermented beverage is sometimes involved)."

Cultures of Iron Age Kur

Ambitus

The natives of Ambitus are the Ezolatl. Given the generally poor soil in the hills near Saltmarsh, the Ezolatl practiced a version of slash-and-burn agriculture. Every year they would pack their belongings onto llamas, move to a new valley, burn away the existing plant growth, and plant a new crop (of potatoes and plantains).

Meanwhile the desert Death tribes expanded the scope of their raids. This pushed the Te’klu from Noctis to Ambitus (across the Lance Steppes). The superior technology of the invaders (including bronze, Impulse magic, roads, and worship) allowed them to subjugate the natives.

These days, Ambitus is a widely-varied area held together under an overall ruler and his/her regional commanders through a combination of peaceful assimilation, conquest, tribute and trade. The dominant culture is the Te’klu

Because Ambitus is so broken up into microregions and microclimates, each village is pretty well-delineated in terms of what they do agriculturally: one place grows potatoes, the next grows rye, the next grows a different kind of potatoes, and so on and so forth. They accordingly define their borders pretty strictly -- lots and lots and lots of really ornate boundary stones.

Because of the specialization in activities/crops and the fact that no one place is truly self-sustaining, there is the need for a lot of trade and interaction between the different areas, which was mediated by elders for most of the Stone+Bronze Ages. In recent years they've had a more official hierarchy - how they got there (conquest vs. "join us, we're awesome!") is up to you.

Culturally, there are some pretty wide variations of how people do things from place to place, but they still generally have the same categories of rituals and activities (everybody has a series of coming-of-age ceremonies for different life transitions, for example). This helps to hold everyone together: even though your neighbors over the mountain might be supremely weird (they wear white ponchos with blue stripes instead of blue ponchos with black stripes!) you can find something in common with them. Most aspects of everyday life have rituals governing them, from stepping out of your house in the morning to visiting another village (ceremonially consuming a lot of fermented beverage is sometimes involved). Travelers from elsewhere will be given a pass at first, but seriously side-eyed if they refuse to acknowledge the importance of ritual at all. There are certain culturally-sanctioned exceptions such as a "Feast of Fools" day and so on, where things get overturned on a temporary basis. I also like the idea that there are people who have "official" sanction (from the king or similar) to go around and stir things up: like the "King's Wit" in the Stormlight Archive books by Brandon Sanderson.

The Te’klu are fond of sports and war games. Their warriors fight for glory. The Te’klu also control the tin mines (it’s illegal for a non-Te’klu to possess tin).

In small towns and border areas, the Te’klu have no need for the backwards Ezolatl. However, in large cities and expansive plantations, the Ezolatl have been enslaved to serve as soldiers (who fight for territory) and farmers. They practice a bastarized version of their original culture in which bonfires take the place of slash-and-burn.

The Ezolatl have lighter skin (in general) than the Te’klu. However, because skin color is unreliable, a slave’s ears are pierced at birth to recognize them as such immediately.

How, one might ask, are the Te’klu able to farm so widely on meager soil. The answer is guano. The Te’klu import huge quantities of quano from the Ivazazhit, the boat people of Saltmarsh. These strangers are generally welcomed throughout Ambitus.

The Ivazazhit bring quano and other goods that require boats to move quickly. Moreover, they engage in a fair amount of smuggling. In Te’klu feudal society, a superior can search anyone of lower station with impunity. However, the Ivazazhit have very strong property rights, that must be respected even by the kings. Thus, the travelers are loved, and feared.

Skills

The people of Ambitus have access to the following skills.

Skill Category Skill Note
Armor • Heavy Banded
Armor • Heavy Plate
Armor • Light Soft Leather
Armor • Light Textile
Armor • Medium Scale
Artistic • Active Acting
Artistic • Active Mimery
Artistic • Active Mimicry
Artistic • Active Play Instrument: Brass
Artistic • Active Play Instrument: Percussion
Artistic • Active Ventriloquism
Artistic • Passive Drawing
Artistic • Passive Music
Artistic • Passive Painting
Artistic • Passive Poetry
Artistic • Passive Sculpting
Athletic • Brawn Athletic Games (Brawn)
Athletic • Endurance Athletic Games (Endurance)
Athletic • Endurance Rowing
Athletic • Gymnastics Athletic Games (Gymnastic)
Athletic • Gymnastics Contortions
Athletic • Gymnastics Pole-vaulting
Athletic • Gymnastics Rappelling
Athletic • Gymnastics Tightrope-walking
Awareness • Searching Poison Perception
Awareness • Searching Reading Tracks
Awareness • Searching Tracking
Combat Maneuvers Mounted Combat
Combat Maneuvers Restricted Area Combat
Combat Maneuvers Seaborne Combat
Combat Maneuvers Subdual
Crafts Animal-crafts
Crafts Earth-crafts
Crafts Food-crafts
Crafts Metal-crafts
Crafts Paper-crafts
Crafts Rope-crafts
Crafts Stone-crafts
Crafts Textile-crafts
Influence Teaching
Lore • General Religion
Lore • Magical Divination Lore
Lore • Magical Symbol Lore
Lore • Obscure Elemental Lore
Lore • Obscure Faerie Lore
Lore • Obscure Undead Lore
Lore • Technical Herb Lore
Lore • Technical Metal Lore
Lore • Technical Poison Lore
Lore • Technical Stone Lore
Outdoor • Animal Animal Handling Specific skills include Aerial, Aquatic, Arthropods, Carnivorous, Dangerous Herbivores, Draft, Flying Monster, Hybrid Elemental, Land Monster, Passive Herbivores, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Outdoor • Animal Animal Healing Specific skills include Aerial, Aquatic, Arthropods, Carnivorous, Dangerous Herbivores, Draft, Flying Monster, Hybrid Elemental, Land Monster, Passive Herbivores, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Outdoor • Animal Herding
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 Awareness Read Runes
Power Manipulation Channeling
Power Manipulation Spell Mastery Specific skills for each spell list.
Power Manipulation Targeting
Resistance Divine Resistance
Resistance Impulse Resistance
Science/Analytic • Basic Basic Math
Science/Analytic • Basic Research
Self Control Healing Trance
Self Control Sleep Trance
Special Attacks Shield Bash
Special Attacks Weapon Brawling
Special Attacks Whip Grapple
Spells • Divine Base Lists Animal Mastering
Spells • Divine Base Lists Channels
Spells • Divine Base Lists Communal Ways
Spells • Divine Base Lists Herb Mastery
Spells • Divine Base Lists Life Mastery
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature's Lore
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature's Movement/Senses
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature's Protection
Spells • Divine Base Lists Plant Mastery
Spells • Divine Base Lists Protections
Spells • Divine Base Lists Repulsions
Spells • Divine Base Lists Summons
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 • Divine TP Lists Metal Crafting
Spells • Divine TP Lists Stone Crafting
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Earth Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Fire Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Ice Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Light Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Water Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Wind Law
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Delving Ways
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Detecting Ways
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Elemental Shields
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Essence Hand
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Essence’s Perceptions
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Lesser Illusions
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Physical Enhancement
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Rune Mastery
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Spell Wall
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Unbarring Ways
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Metal Crafting
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Stone Crafting
Spells • Psychic TP Lists Metal Crafting
Spells • Psychic TP Lists Stone Crafting
Subterfuge • Mechanics Camouflage
Subterfuge • Mechanics Using/Removing Poison
Technical/Trade • General Mapping
Technical/Trade • General Rope Mastery
Technical/Trade • General Tactical Games
Technical/Trade • General Using Prepared Herbs
Technical/Trade • Professional Architecture
Technical/Trade • Professional Dowsing
Technical/Trade • Professional Law
Technical/Trade • Professional Mining
Technical/Trade • Vocational Boat Pilot
Technical/Trade • Vocational Hypnosis
Technical/Trade • Vocational Prepare Herbs
Technical/Trade • Vocational Prepare Poisons
Technical/Trade • Vocational Siege Engineering
Technical/Trade • Vocational Signaling
Weapon • Artillery, Direct Ballista
Weapon • Artillery, Indirect Catapult
Weapon • Chains Whip
Weapon • Chopping Axe
Weapon • Chopping Hammer
Weapon • Chopping Machete
Weapon • Crushing Mace
Weapon • Slashing Long Straight Sword
Weapon • Slashing Short Blade
Weapon • Slashing Edged Fencing Blade

Starting Skills

Category or Skill Ezolatl Ivazazhit Te’klu
Armor • Light 1 2
    Soft Leather 2
    Textile 1
Armor • Medium 2
    Scale 2
Athletic • Brawn 1 1 1
Athletic • Endurance 1 3 1
    Rowing 1
    Swimming 1 3 1
Athletic • Gymnastics 1 3 1
    Climbing 1 3 1
Awareness • Perceptions 0 0 0
    Alertness 2 2 2
Awareness • Searching 1 1 1
    Observation 1 1 1
Body Development 0 0 0
    Concussion Hits 3 1 2
    Exhaustion Points 2
Communications: Kish 3 1 3
    Ezolatl (S) 5 1
    Kish (W) 1 1
    Te'klu (S) 3 3 5
Communications: Ubon 3
    Ivazazhit (S) 5
    Ubon (W) 1
Crafts 0 0
    Animal-crafts 2
    Earth-crafts 1 1
    Food-crafts 2
    Stone-crafts 1
Lore • General 3 3 3
    Culture Lore: Own 3 3 3
    Fauna Lore 2 1
    Flora Lore 2 2
    Region Lore: Own 3 3 3
    Religion 2
Martial Arts • Striking 2
    Boxing 2
Martial Arts • Sweeps 2
    Wrestling 2
Outdoor • Environmental 2 3
    Fishing 1 1
    Foraging 2 3
    Hunting 1
    Survival: Marsh/Swamp (M) 3
    Survival: Saltwater shore (S) 2
Resistance 0 0 0
    Disease Resistance 1 1 1
    Divine Resistance 1 1 1
    Fear Resistance 1 1 1
    Impulse Resistance 1 1 1
    Poison Resistance 1 1 1
Spells • Impulse Base Lists 0
    Fire Law 1
Subterfuge • Stealth 2 1
    Hiding 2 1
    Stalking 2 1
Technical/Trade • General 1 1 1
    Operating Equipment 1
    Rope Mastery 1
Technical/Trade • Vocational 0
    Boat Pilot 2
Weapon • Chopping 1 2
    Axe 1
    Machete 2
Weapon • Crushing 1
    Mace 1
Weapon • Pole Arms 1 2
    Spear 1 2
Weapon • Slashing 1
    Short Blade 1
Weapon • Thrown 1 2
    Direct Thrown 1
    Sling 2
Hobbies 4 4 4
Everyman Skills Fire Law,
Spell Mastery: Fire Law
Trading
Cost [1] 34 33 0

[1] To determine a character’s background options, add up the racial cost (46 for Human, Kish) and the culture cost (0–34). Convert that total into talent points or background options using Talent Law. Many of the Kish/Ambitus combinations fall in the 76-100 point range, resulting in 50 talent points or 5 background options.