Cultures of the Stone Age

Copyright Peter Mork © 2017

The jungles of Qod contain a rich variety of deadly toxins, heady intoxicants, and the full range betwixt the two. The human tribes consist of the Styri, led by a network of psychics, and the Innvar nomads.

Styri

Lifestyle

Styri culture emerged in a land of strange animals, stranger plants, and even stranger beings. The Styri are unphased by novelty and oddities. As a defense, they have developed strong traditions that provide great comfort.

First among these traditions are the jar-stinel. In more modern times, we might call these individuals mine foremen. In Styri culture, the jar-stinel wield absolute authority over their demesnes. They decide who will be given access to the mines, and who will be given more dangerous duties like testing new plants to see if they are toxic.

This is a terrible responsibility. The people are not bound in any way to the land and are free to leave at any time to join with another jar-stinel. Thus, the jars must maintain a delicate balance between asserting their authority and mollifying their subjects.

This loose network of jars arose from a gathering called for the express purpose of establishing an oligarchy among those individuals who first unearthed the secrets of stonework. This secret was masked with a myth of epic psychic travel, intended to reinforce the legitimacy of the jar-stinel.

Secondary traditions include:

  • The wrapping of leaves around the elbows and knees before swimming,
  • Piercing the tongue of the third child in a family,
  • The exchanging of spoons upon meeting a stranger, and
  • Refusing to partake of food while observing a rainbow.

In addition to mining, the Styri are avid hunters and foragers. When roaming far from home, they are invariably accompanied by pet panthers.

Clothing

Styri wear simple loincloths and sandals with long laces. These laces are tied into complex patterns; the sequence of patterns repeats every eight days. When defending their mines, the Styri carry thick straw shields, picks, and a bandolier of darts.

Marriage

Men and women are assigned to be betrothed by the jar-stinel. Of course, in most communities, the jar's assignment is mutually agreed upon, although circumstances vary widely.

The marriage ritual is elaborate and includes both days of fasting and days of feasting. The two families share responsibility for these feasts, often trying to outdo one another with their largesse. On the actual day of the wedding, the bride and groom dress up as the banana tree and river eel. The binding together of this unlikely pair demonstrates the absurdity of the universe.

Religion

The Styri have not yet developed any religious practices, only cultural traditions.

Fears

Any Styri becomes disoriented and irritable when prevented from completing the usual traditions, such as when they leave one camp to join another.

Innvar

Lifestyle

The Innvar call no fixed location home. Home is where you find your herd of water buffalo. Unlike most nomads that followed predictable routes, an Innvar clan seems to drift about at random. Given the shifting jungle terrain, maintaining a standard route would be difficult anyway.

A travelling clan is led by scouts in dugout canoes. These scouts carry long poles that also serve as quarterstaves and blowguns. The bulk of the clan follows on coracles pulled by their beloved buffalo.

Most Innvar share a perpetual curiosity, willing to try new foods or to head in a new direction simply because it is new. They also collect snippets of tradition from the Styri, which they twist and mold into weird amalgams with no fixed form.

Clothing

An Innvar typically wears a loincloth and grass coat. This coat has leaves and flowers woven into it, ever changing as its owner discovers new bits that strike their fancy.

Marriage

When two people desire to become married, the Innvar will make camp for several days. The marriage ritual that unfolds is remarkably similar to the Styri prelude. However, the actual wedding involves no costumes, simply a binding together of the couple's hands and feet and an exchange of decorations for their coats.

Religion

The Innvar have not yet developed any religious practices, only cultural traditions.

Fears

An Innvar is quick to flee when facing a predator. There are always new vistas to explore. Why risk one's life?

Available Skills

The following skills are available to the Styri and Innvar.

Skill Category Skill Note
Artistic • Active Acting
Artistic • Passive Drawing
Artistic • Passive Poetry
Artistic • Passive Sculpting
Athletic • Gymnastics Contortions
Athletic • Gymnastics Tightrope-walking
Combat Maneuvers Restricted Area Combat
Crafts Earth-crafts
Crafts Food-crafts
Crafts Stone-crafts
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, Prehistoric Animals, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Outdoor • Animal Herding
Power Awareness Divination
Resistance Psychic Resistance
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
Subterfuge • Mechanics Camouflage
Technical/Trade • Professional Mining
Weapon • Chopping Axe Includes Bastard Axe, Battle Axe, Handaxe, Tomahawk, Woodman's Axe
Weapon • Chopping Hammer Include Pick, War Hammer, War Mattock

Starting Skills

Category or Skill Innvar Styri
Athletic • Brawn 1 1
Athletic • Endurance 1 1
       Swimming 1 1
Athletic • Gymnastics 2 1
       Climbing 2 1
Awareness • Perceptions 0 0
       Alertness 2 2
Awareness • Searching 1 1
       Observation 1 1
Body Development 0 0
       Concussion Hits 2 2
Communications: Ubon 2 2
       Drayim (S) 5 5
       Ubon (W) 1 1
Crafts 0 0
       Earth-crafts 2 2
       Food-crafts 2 1
       Stone-crafts 1 2
       Wood-crafts 2 1
Lore • General 3 3
       Culture Lore: Qod 3 3
       Region Lore: Osea 3 3
Martial Arts • Striking 1 1
       Boxing 1 1
Mundane Defenses 0 0
       Shield 0 1
Outdoor • Animal 3 1
       Animal Handling: Carnivorous 1
       Animal Handling: Draft 3
Outdoor • Environmental 3 3
       Fishing 2 2
       Foraging 3 1
       Hunting 2 3
       Survival: Jungle (J) 3 3
Power Point Development 0 0
       Power Points 0 1
Resistance 0 0
       Disease Resistance 1 1
       Fear Resistance 1 1
       Poison Resistance 1 1
       Psychic Resistance 1 1
Spells • Psychic Open Lists 0
       Anticipations 2
Subterfuge • Mechanics 2
       Camouflage 2
Subterfuge • Stealth 3 2
       Hiding 3 2
       Stalking 3 2
Technical/Trade • General 1 1
Technical/Trade • Professional 0
       Mining 2
Weapon • Bow 2
       Blowgun 2
Weapon • Chopping 2 2
       Axe 2
       Hammer 2
Weapon • Pole Arms 1
       Quarterstaff 1
Weapon • Thrown 2
       Direct Thrown 2
Hobbies 2 2
Cost [1] 45 21

[1] To determine a character’s background options, add up the racial cost and the culture cost. Convert that total into talent points or background options using Talent Law.