Yeah, yeah, I know I kind of left you hanging in the middle of that last post, but I got sick, and when I felt better I decided to add Ninšon to the Djapar project, and so had a ton of map editing to do, and then got caught up in the fun creative part. I will get back to the previous post, I promise.
Anyway, here is my latest creation for your enjoyment. There is a link to a downloadable PDF at the end of the post.
YANAŠUN (GREATER LYÀGEDAT)
Unlike their timid cousins the Šukašun (or Lesser Lyàgedat) the Yanašun are strong warriors and instinctively well organized, they are natural builders of empires and mighty war machines. They serve equally well as herders, engineers and great tacticians, using their impressive strength and orderly ways to overcome almost any problem.
The Yanašun are an exceedingly proud people, considering themselves destined for great things. Thankfully this racial pride is not usually manifested by excessive boasting or putting down of other races – it is just what a Yanašun accepts as fact, and expects that others will, too, once they have been around the race long enough to learn the truth.
Terms & Etymology
The term Lyàgedat is an Ògedàqat exonym applied to both the Yanašun and the Šukašun, which are their endonyms. They all mean more or less the same thing, namely “Deer People” (or more precisely “Stag People” in the case of the Yanašun).
The Yanašun resemble stag-headed humanoids, males stand between 200 cm to 250 cm (6’6″-8′) tall and weighing between 90 and 115 kg (200-250 lbs), while females are smaller, averaging 165-200 cm (5’6″-6’6″), and 65-85 kg (165-190 lbs). Their heads are covered with a thick fur that also covers their upper back, chest, and shoulders. Their skin tends to a nut brown and their eyes are a uniform pale blue, with no discernable pupil. Each of the 16 hordes has a different colour pattern to their fur and a different type of antler (i.e. some are red deer-like, some caribou-like, etc.).
The Yanašun are omnivorous by nature, but the bulk of their diet is herbivorous supplemented with mare’s milk.
The Yanašun are found throughout most of Ninšon, occupying the great plains that encircle that sub-continent. They are divided into three distinct cultural groups: The Šalašun (Free People) who follow the traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle; the Suťušun (Settled or City People), of the west coast who have adopted a sedentary agricultural and urban society; and the Syanašun (Sand People) who have adapted the traditional lifestyle for the sandy wastes they inhabit.
For much of their history, the Yanašun were relatively backwards, and lagged behind the other peoples technologically, not entering into the Bronze Age until the 2nd millennium of the Huluk Epoch. However, the domestication of the horse by the Middle Syakťyaka culture allowed them to overrun much of the plains, spreading to the north and south of the central massif, driving back the more primitive Hàòrà and Yôretqàt peoples.
Once they acquires knowledge of metal working, they were able to overrun the Ilèhìdu lands, but the rugged heavily wooded lands of the Kìdrilašaèl and Ògedàqat proved to be unsuited to the Yanašun methods of war making, and so remained unconquered.
Each of the Yanašun Hordes or Principalities speaks one of the six Yanašunik languages, as shown below.
The basic social unit of the Yanašun is the tribe (zukya), made up of people that were related to each other by either blood or marriage, and a common ancestor. Every tribe was ruled by a Lord and a few powerful nobles. These tribes are central to all life, and are the social unit with which Yanašun primarily identify. These tribes are categorized into genealogical classes and political types.
The Lord of a tribe is not the absolute ruler of the tribe, he governs with the assistance of the various vassal and sub-tribe rulers, and no important decisions can be taken without consulting them. At higher levels, the same principle applies, though in that case the individual rulers generally do not attend personally, but have trusted representatives to take their place.
Among the Suťušun the tribe has lost most of its relevance and is now mostly reserved for the nobility, with the common people not really paying much attention to it, something along the lines of the Scottish clans today. The council of tribal leaders has also dwindled to an entity used for ceremonial purposes, having been replaced with a more permanent court made up of various skilled hirelings, etc.
Šalašun and Syanašun
The basic social unit of the Šalašun and Syanašun Yanašun is the tribe (zukya), which fall into the following five genealogical classes: Elder (Tanlau), Younger (Ǧakau), Son (Nyataku), Daughter (Nyatyana), or Child (Kusu). Each of these is explained below.
- Elder Tribe (Tanlau): A tribe that traces it’s descent directly back to one of the 30 First Lords (Sauťunu Ònu), the semi-mythical founders of the race.
- Younger Tribe (Ǧakau): A tribe that traces its descent to one of the 6 August Luminaries (Nauxu Kuťa), a group of semi-mythical sages and heroic shaman, etc.
- Son Tribe (Nyataku): A tribe that traces it’s descent to a younger son of one of the ruling family of Elder or Younger tribes (effectively a cadet branch of that tribe). They owe a form of allegiance to the tribe from which they are descended.
- Daughter (Nyatyana): A tribe whose founder gained nobility as a reward for some great deed by the Lord of another tribe. They owe a form of allegiance to the tribe that ennobled them.
- Child (Kusu): A tribe that traces its descent to some notable member of one of the above types of tribe. These are effectively sub-tribes, and are included only for role playing purposes, for all game purposes considered part of the tribe they are connected to.
In addition to this genealogical hierarchy, the tribes are also part of a separate socio-political hierarchy that divides them into three types: Greater Tribes (Òkuzukya), Middle Tribes (Qyauzukya), and Lesser Tribes (Kuzukya). Each of these is explained below.
- Greater Tribes (Òkuzukya): These are tribes that owe political allegiance directly to the various Banners (see below) into which the Yanašun are divided and hold between 2 and 5 shires, except for the Nunanusu and Tauǧa tribes which each have only 1 shire.
- Middle Tribes (Qyauzukya): These are tribes that owe political allegiance to the various Greater Tribe and hold between 1 and 3 shires.
- Lesser Tribes (Kuzukya): These are generally Son and Daughter tribes that owe political allegiance to a Greater or Middle tribe and hold only 1 shire, except for the Gutaga tribe, which holds 2shires.
Each of these tribes controls a territory consisting of one or more Shires (Ťya) under the nominal control of an appointed Sherriff (Ťayurya) who is not so much a governor, but rather serves as a combination judge, enforcer and local representative of the tribal Lord’s. The actual power and authority that each of these officials will exert varies from one realm to another.
Higher level socio-political organization
These tribes are grouped into Banners (Ťa) and Hordes (Kuť), which are explained below.
- Banner (Ťa): These primarily military groupings of tribes and the troops of a Banner will almost always work as a unit. While Banners are not fixed or permanent entities, they are more or less traditional, and it is uncommon for a tribe to change Banners. There are currently 75 Banners.
- Horde (Kuť): These are the Yanašun equivalent of a nation, and they are made up of a number of Banners. Like the Banners, Hordes are not permanent or fixed entities, but unlike Banners, they are not traditional groupings and they come and go and change composition far more frequently. There are currently 13 Hordes.
The Šalašun and Syanašun Yanašun have few titles, and those they do have are explained below.
- Lord of Lords (Šyakyanuònu): Ruler of a Horde
- Overlord (Tauťu): Ruler of a Banner
- Great Lord (Òkuònu): Ruler of a Greater Tribe
- Middle Lord (Qyauònu): Ruler of a Middle Tribe
- Lesser Lord (Kuònu): Ruler of a Lesser Clan
- Great Man (Gauhusu): Head of a Child Tribe
- Great Shaman (Gausuyxu/Gaunutuxu): This is a term used for particularly powerful or devout shaman, it is not something to which one has a right, rather it is bestowed by general acclaim. Gaunutuxu is the feminine form of the title.
- Hero (Yuxya): This is a title given to a male who has passed the coming of age challenge; it is roughly equivalent to the way the term “a brave” is used in old Westerns.
- Valiant (Tyaxu): This title is given to the bravest and most honourable warriors, and as such it is somewhat akin to knighthood. It has no specific rank or power, it is purely honorary, but it is the most sought after of all titles, as it is only bestowed by the general consensus of one’s fellow warriors.
Among the Suťušun, the relevance and influence of the traditional council has been much eroded in favour of a more formalized court.
The Suťušun use the same genealogical classes to categorize their clans as the Šalašun and Syanašun.
The Suťušun do not employ the same political types as their nomadic cousins, instead having adopted the more rigid aristocratic hierarchy more suited to the settles lifestyle in their realms. Their political structure is heavily modeled on that of the Ilèhìdu they conquered. The various ranks are explained below (Note that the translations are not exact, but rather are approximations of the Suťušun terms and titles).
- Principality (Kukukya): This is the highest level of political organization and is the Suťušun equivalent of the Horde. There are currently 3 such Kukukya (Kunau-xu, Tukagu-xu, and Tutanga-xu).
- Duchy (Hakyakukya): This the second rank of the hierarchy and is roughly equivalent to the Banner and Greater Tribe designations of traditional Yanašun system. There are currently 12 Hakyakukya among the 3 Kukukya.
- County (Ťukukya): This is the equivalent of the Middle tribes. There are currently 19 Ťukukya.
- Barony (Dankukya): This is the equivalent of the traditional Lesser tribes. There are currently 8 such Dankukya.
- Shire (Ťya): This is very much the same as the shire of the nomadic culture groups.
Note that there is no equivalent of the Child tribes among the Suťušun.
The following titles are in use by the Suťušun.
- Prince (Kuťakya): Ruler of a Principality
- Duke (Hakiaťakya): Ruler of a Duchy
- Count (Ťuťakya): Ruler of a County
- Baron (Danťakya): Ruler of a Barony
- Great Shaman (Gausuyxu/Gaunutuxu): This is a term used for particularly powerful or devout shaman, it is not something to which one has a right, rather it is bestowed by general acclaim. Gaunutuxu is the feminine form of the title.
- Hero (Yuxya): Among the Suťušun this “title” is granted automatically upon reaching the age of majority. The nomads who undergo the adulthood trial tend to look down on Suťušun who use the title in front of them, and are alternately angered or amused by such usage.
- Valiant (Tyaxu): In Suťušun lands this is an honorific bestowed by the Prince, ostensibly for the same reason as it is by the tribe among the nomads, however it is often used as a bribe or reward by less scrupulous Princes. The nomadic Valiants look down on these appointed Valiants and call them Kanunu Tyaxu, which means “paper Valiant”.
As stated earlier, the Yanašare divided into three cultural groups and while each of these has its distinct features, they all share certain common features, primary amongst which is a deep reverence for customs and traditions. Among these is the sacrosanct nature of ambassadors, the obligation to defend guests (but not to accept any guest, one can always refuse to grant guest status, but once granted it is irrevocable as long as the guest remains with the one who granted it), and the inviolability of one’s word.
Honour is also very important to them, not just personal honour, but the honour of the tribe and the Banner as well.
The Yanašun religion is an all-encompassing system of belief that includes medicine, religion, a cult of nature, and a cult of ancestor worship that is intricately tied to all other aspects of social life and to the tribal organization of their society. It is characterized by shamanism, animism, totemism, poly- and monotheism and ancestor worship. Central to the system were the activities of male and female intercessors between the human world and the spirit world, shamans (su) and shamanesses (nutu). They are not the only ones to communicate with the spirit world: nobles and tribe leaders also perform spiritual functions, as did commoners, though the hierarchy of Yanašun tribe-based society was reflected in the manner of worship as well.
They recognize two supreme deities, the sky (Suya), and the earth (Quxya) and they view their existence as sustained by them. Heaven, earth, spirits of nature and ancestors provide for every need and protect all humans.
In addition, they recognize innumerable spirits, greater and lesser, as well as a number of deities, though the line between spirit and deities is indistinct at best. The have complex and confusing spiritual hierarchy. The highest group in the pantheon beneath Suya and Quxya consists of 99 Ťuntau or “”divinities”” (55 of them benevolent or “”white”” and 44 terrifying or “”black””), 77 Hahauxa or “”mothers””, besides others. The Ťuntau were called upon only by leaders and great shamans and were common to all the tribes. After these, three groups of ancestral spirits dominated. The Šyaťun or “”Lord-Spirits”” were the souls of tribe leaders to whom any member of a tribe could appeal for physical or spiritual help. The Huguťa Ku or “”Protector-Spirits”” included the souls of great shamans and shamanesses. The Yusugu or “”Guardian-Spirits”” were made up of the souls of smaller shamans and shamanesses and were associated with a specific locality (including mountains, rivers, etc.) in the tribe’s territory.
To complicate matters, there is a further division among the 99 Ťuntau: 44 are from the “eastern side”, 55 from the “western side”, and there are three more, from the “northern side”, making a total of 102. And among the eastern and western group, there is a division in how the Ťuntau are supplicated: in both group, the greatest multiple of 10 (40 in the east, 50 in the west) are invoked through prayer, the rest (4 in the east, 5 in the west) through sacrifice.
There are also a large number of further divisions—the Ťuntau are made up of groups including the gods of the four corners, five wind gods, five gods of the entrance and five of the door, five of the horizontal, et cetera. Scholars have found a complete enumeration and description of the 99 to be impossible, and that a full list of names mentioned adds up to more than 99, and that local differences occur due to different local gods being accepted.
The difference between great, white and small, black (in shamans, Ťuntau, etc.) is also formative in a class division of three further groups of spirits, made up of “spirits who were not introduced by shamanist rites into the communion of ancestral spirits” but who could nonetheless be called upon for help—they are called “‘the three accepting the supplications’ (San Yakuya)”. The whites were of the nobles of the tribe, the blacks of the commoners, and a third category consisted of “the evil spirits of the slaves and non-Yanašun”. White shamans can only venerate white spirits (and if they call upon black spirits they “lose their right in venerating and calling the white spirits”), black shamans only black spirits (and are too terrified to call upon white spirits since the black spirits would punish them). Black or white was assigned to spirits according to social status, and to shamans according to the capacity and assignment of their ancestral spirit or spirit of the shaman’s descent line.
Worship takes place at kťyaka which are sacrificial altars of the shape of a mound of stones with sticks in it. Every kťyaka (which simply means “heap”) is thought of as the representation of a god, though not always a specific one. There are kťyaka dedicated to heavenly gods, mountain gods, other gods of nature, and also to gods of human lineages and agglomerations.
The kťyaka for worship of ancestral gods can be private shrines of an extended family or kin, otherwise they are common to villages (dedicated to the god of a village), banners, or hordes. Sacrifices to the kťyaka are made offering slaughtered animals, joss sticks, and libations.
In the lands of the Suťušun, the kťyaka are not simple piles of stone, but are actual temples with elaborate structures erected around the kťyaka itself, which is often carved and adorned with precious materials.
In addition to the simple offerings, kťyaka are the site for special worship ceremonies. Worshipers place a tree branch or stick in the kťyaka and tie a ceremonial blue silk scarf symbolic of the open sky to the branch. They then light a fire and make food offerings, followed by a ceremonial dance and prayers (worshipers sitting at the northwest side of the kťyaka), and a feast with the food left over from the offering.
When traveling, it is custom to stop and circle a kťyaka three times in clockwise direction, in order to have a safer journey. Usually, rocks are picked up from the ground and added to the pile. Also, one may leave offerings in the form of sweets, money, milk, or alcohol. If one is in a hurry while traveling and does not have time to stop at an kťyaka, bellowing while passing by the kťyaka will suffice.
In addition to all this, there is also a cult surrounding the “Deer Stones”, which are ancient megaliths carved with symbols erected by their Bronze Age ancestors in the 2nd millennium. The name comes from their carved depictions of flying deer. Nobody now knows why they were erected or what the significance of the carvings are, but they are commonly believed to be magical focuses of great power and so are often sought out by shaman seeking to increase the potency of their rituals.
Kinship and family life
The traditional Yanašun family is patriarchal, patrilineal and patrilocal. Wives are brought for each of the sons, while daughters are married off to other tribes. Wife-taking tribes stand in a relation of inferiority to wife-giving tribes. Thus wife-giving tribes are considered “elder” or “bigger” in relation to wife-taking tribes, who are considered “younger” or “smaller”. This distinction, symbolizes in terms of “elder” and “younger” or “bigger” and “smaller”, is carried into the tribe and family as well, and all members of a lineage are terminologically distinguished by generation and age, with senior superior to junior.
In the traditional Yanašun family, each son receives a part of the family herd as he marries, with the elder son receiving more than the younger son. The youngest son will remain in the parental tent to care for his parents, and after their death he inherits the parental tent in addition to his own part of the herd. Likewise, each son inherits a part of the family’s camping lands and pastures, with the elder son receiving more than the younger son. The eldest son inherits the farthest camping lands and pastures, and each son in turn inherits camping lands and pastures closer to the family tent until the youngest son inherits the camping lands and pastures immediately surrounding the family tent. Family units often remain near each other and in close cooperation, though extended families inevitably break up after a few generations.
After the family, the next largest social units are the sub tribe and tribe. These units are derived from groups claiming patrilineal descent from a common ancestor, ranked in order of seniority (the “conical tribe”). This ranking is symbolically expressed at formal feasts, in which tribal chieftains are seated and received particular portions of the slaughtered animal according to their status. The lineage structure has three different modes. It is organized on the basis of genealogical distance, or the proximity of individuals to one another on a graph of kinship; generational distance, or the rank of generation in relation to a common ancestor, and birth order, the rank of brothers in relation to each another. The paternal descent lines are collaterally ranked according to the birth of their founders, and are thus considered senior and junior to each other. Of the various collateral patrilines, the senior in order of descent from the founding ancestor, the line of eldest sons, is the most noble. In the open plains, no one has his exact equal; everyone finds his place in a system of collaterally ranked lines of descent from a common ancestor. It is according to this idiom of superiority and inferiority of lineages derived from birth order that legal claims to superior rank are determined.
The Yanašun kinship is one of a particular patrilineal type in which relatives are grouped together under separate terms that crosscut generations, age, and even sexual difference. Thus, a man’s father’s sister’s children, his sister’s children, and his daughter’s children are all called by another term. A further attribute is strict terminological differentiation of siblings according to seniority.
Adulthood & coming of age
Generally, a Yanašun is physically an adult by age 16; however simply being old enough is not enough for full adult status. For males, there is an arduous coming of age challenge that involves spending a month alone in the wild armed only with a dagger. During this time, they are expected to also kill and skin a wolf, though if they do not encounter a wolf, any other similarly dangerous predator will do.
Among the Suťušun, this ordeal is purely ceremonial, and occurs immediately upon reaching 16. It involves a month spent under the tutelage of the local shaman and culminates when a wolf hide is draped over the youth’s shoulders.
For females, the Yanašun consider marriage as the passage into adulthood. Before a marriage can proceed, the bride’s family is required to offer “a dowry of clothing or household ornaments” to the groom’s mother. To avoid paying the dowry, families can exchange daughters or the groom could work for his future father-in-law. Once the dowry is settled, the bride’s family present her with an inheritance of livestock or servants. As a married woman, she displayed her “maturity and independence from her father” to society.
Habitats and Dwellings
Yanašun have been living in virtually the same dwellings since time immemorial. These dwellings are called takya, which simply means “home”, and they consist of a round, collapsible wooden frame covered in felt. The roof is formed from about 80 wooden rods attached at one end to the wall frame and at the other to an iron ring in the center, providing a sturdy base for the felt roof. Without the roof in place, this frame resembles a large wooden wheel with the wooden spokes converging at the iron ring. The top of the roof is usually about five feet higher than the walls so precipitation would run to the ground. The ring at the peak of the takya can be left open as a vent for smoke and a window for sunlight, or it can be closed with a piece of felt. Doors are made from a felt flap or, for richer families, out of wood.
They are always set up with the door facing the south and tend to have an altar across from the door. The floors are dirt, but richer families are able to cover the floors with felt rugs. Sometimes beds are used, but most sleep on the floor between hides, around the fire pit that is in the center of the dwelling.
The takya’s size and the felt walls make them relatively cool in the summers and warm in the winters allowing the Yanašun to live in the same dwelling year-round. Disassembling the takyas only takes about an hour, as does putting them back up in a new location. Takyas can be heated with dried dung, found in abundance with the traveling herds, so no timber was needed. The felt for the covering was made from wool that was taken from sheep also present in most herds. The wooden frame was handed down from one generation to the next and seldom had to be replaced.
For the most part none of the above applies to the Suťušun, who have adopted the practice of maintaining permanent residences, though in rural areas the homes are still often circular.
Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom
Age: Yanašun mature faster than humans, reaching maturity in their mid-teens, but thereafter their aging slows in comparison to humans, some living as long as 135 years. The following table gives a few guidelines.
|Adoles.||Mature||Mid Age||Old||Vener.||Max Age|
Alignment: Most Yanašun tend towards Lawful Neutral, upholding the honour of their people and their nations to the best of their abilities, and doing their part to keep their people strong. Any Lawful alignment is socially acceptable, so long as one is dutiful towards the community as a whole, and so the Lawful Evil and Lawful Good rub shoulders and battle on the frontlines against common foes on a regular basis. Despite this overall tendency to Lawfulness, individual Yanašun are generally rash and quite volatile, quick to take action, and always sure of their course, guided by their immutable customs.
Size: Yanašun are Medium sized creatures
Speed: Base walking speed is 40 ft
Natural Attack: Ram
Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit; reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
If the Yanašun moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a ram attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 1d4 damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Because of the their nomadic lifestyle, Yanašun will always always know which direction is north when they are outdors in a rural or wilderness setting.
Because they are a horse-based culture, all Yanašun of the Šalašun get the Animal Handling skill with regard to horses free. Those of the Syanašun culture get it with regard to either horses or camels.
A male Yanašun has the ability to emit a series of extremely loud trumpeting bellows, which can be heard for several kilometers. This causes no damage, but it allows them to signal each other from great distances and so to communicate with prearranged codes.
Languages: Yanašun characters start knowing the Yanašunik language and dialect appropriate for their tribe and can choose any one other language, either Kyòròsu (the effective common tongue of Ninšon) or that of a people nearby to their home range.
Game specific details adapted from the Grand Turos Beastfolk from the D&D Wiki.
The cultural stuff was adapted from a number of Wikipedia posts relating to the Mongols and Mongolian Empire.
The pictures were found online at the following places.
Yanašun shaman: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/native-american-mythology/
Typical kťyaka: By Popolon – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44640426
Typical Deer Stone: By marissa smith (marissas23) – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2857567
A PDF of this can be downloaded here: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AlMgB0GpibuwgUBGi41cL2xOK38G