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    Yecha Hills - Heart of the Tiger Nomads
    Posted on Tue, November 09, 2004 by Farcluun
    donimator writes "The Chakyik, the Tiger Nomads, are fierce plainsmen of pure Baklunish descent. They are primarily a nomadic people, roaming the arid, unforgiving lands north of the Yatil Mountains. A proud people, a strong people, they maintain little contact with much of the Flanaess, isolated as much by geography as by culture. As wild as the plains are, a bastion of civilization exists within the Yecha Hills. The capital city of the Tiger Nomads, Yecha is located in the northeast borders of this highland, overlooking the plains to the east.

    Yecha Hills - Heart of the Tiger Nomads
    By: donimator
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Yecha Hills – Greyhawk Gazetteer Entry



    Introduction

    The Chakyik, the Tiger Nomads, are fierce plainsmen of pure Baklunish descent. They are primarily a nomadic people, roaming the arid, unforgiving lands north of the Yatil Mountains. A proud people, a strong people, they maintain little contact with much of the Flanaess, isolated as much by geography as by culture. As wild as the plains are, a bastion of civilization exists within the Yecha Hills. The capital city of the Tiger Nomads, Yecha is located in the northeast borders of this highland, overlooking the plains to the east.

    The warm currents of the Dramidj Ocean bring temperate conditions to these hills, but also heavy rains and storms. The warm, wet conditions have allowed towns and villages to thrive in this area and a sizeable percentage of the Tiger Nomad’s population lives within the borders of the highlands. The Tiger Nomads are thought to be wanderers, forever moving their herds across the dusty, unforgiving plains. The Yecha Hills offer a glimpse of the other side of the Chakyik. A civilized, regimented life that is slowly opening itself to the rest of the Flanaess.

    Ruler

    The Unvanquishable Tiger Lord, Ilkhan Cligir of the Chakyik Hordes Cligir is one of the longest serving Ilkhans in Chakyik memory. Born and raised on the plains, he was a brutal khan for his tribe and quickly gained the title of orkhan for the eastern lands of the Tiger Nomads. Years of war and success raised his prominence and when Ilkhan Tagru succumbed to age, Cligir handily won the ascension battles to become the new Ilkhan. Cligir survived his challenge years, the decade after taking the title when others could contest his leadership, and now holds a position of reverence among his people. That is what the rest of the Flanaess is led to believe.

    Internally, there are levels of political strife and manoeuvring to rival any nation of the Flanaess. The strain of these battles has wounded the Ilkhan deeper than any arrow or spear and he tries to hide the fact his health is quickly deteriorating. He is determined to reunite his people and aims to fight the deep divisions between the eastern plains-dwellers and the western hill-dwellers.

    Government

    Even in the largest towns and villages of the hills, the people live together in their respective tribes. Sections of each town are identified by clan name and are often self-contained. Some clans use the villages as their centre of power, with their khan holding court in the village. Usually only one khan will reside in a single village, although members of several clans may also be represented there.

    The concentration of tribal leaders in the small expanse of the hills makes for a unique political situation. Disputes between tribes may not be resolved for days as members ride from the central plains to seek their leader’s advice at his residence. This has caused a division between the khans. Those of the eastern lands, furthest from the hills, choose to live with their people and eschew the trappings of civilization the westerners have come to enjoy. They believe the hill-dwellers are losing touch with the warrior spirit of the Chakyik. This conflict is highlighted at the gathering of khans each year and has caused a fracture in the unity of the Tiger Nomads.

    What the village-dwelling khans lose in face to their peers, they make up for in the influence they have gained by opening up trade to the south with the nation of Ekbir. The traditional herdsmen are able to raise better stock in the moderate climate of the hills. Some tribes have turned to agriculture, producing goods used throughout the Tiger lands and even traded south. Some have forgone the agrian life altogether and burrow into the hills for metal and gems. This only widens the division between the plains-dwellers and the hill-dwellers.

    In the past, different clans have always been competitive, rarely to the level of open warfare, but not far from it. Posturing and show of force is used to keep the best grazing lands, the best water sources. This has kept the Chakyik strong and ready for war. The enemy has always been external – the Wolf nomads to the east, Perrenlanders to the south and even forays from Ekbir. Despite their differences, the clans would always merge as an effective fighting force under the orders of the Ilkhan, with each clan striving to gain the most honour in combat.

    Recent events have changed that. The eastern khans, those still living in the plains, have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the edicts coming from the Yecha Hills. They seek to split and have begun to follow the rule of an orkhan. Orkhan Temujin is a strong khan who has united the eastern tribes. Reminiscent of the Tiger Lord Cligir in his youth, he has inspired the plains-bound tribes in his quest to return the Tiger Nomads to the ways of their past and to stop cavorting with outsiders. He has a strong force at his disposal, but will not march against Ilkhan Cligir out of respect. That respect is beginning to hang by a mere thread, though, as outside influences continue to appear in the capital city.

    Ilkhan Cligir recognizes the threat posed by Temujin, but firmly believes this is the direction his people should take. He maintains it is ‘better to know one’s enemy as a friend’. Trade with Ekbir has provided security and opportunity for his people. Weakened by constant raids and fighting, years of peace and prosperity will help greatly to return the Chakyik to power. The ilkhan’s belief in this is so strong he is willing to risk a civil war to see it happen.

    Capital

    Yecha – regional and national capital. Yecha is a spread out village that has grown to the size of a town as it winds throughout the hill valleys. Most of the Tiger Nomad clans maintain a presence here and city sections are identified by the clan that inhabits it. Buildings are non-descript – almost identical in appearance, but streets are only loosely defined by the separation between buildings. The town centers around the ilkhan’s holdings and a market area nearby is the hub of activity in the town.

    Despite the large presence of soldiers loyal to the ilkhan and the various khans of the city, the size and mix of interests and goals make order tough to enforce. Few actions get questioned for fear of interfering with another tribe’s business. Deceit and subterfuge are common and areas of town are as perilous as any in the land of the Chakyik.

    Population

    Yecha (town) – 4,500 (peak, transitional population)

    Hills – additional 12,000 (40%villages, 60% rural)

    Language

    Strictly Baklunish – very few speak languages other than their native tongue and various dialects have arisen within this language that separates people by region. The Common speech and various dialects from Ekbir have risen in prominence in the Yecha Hills which further highlights the divisions within the country.

    Religion

    Baklunish gods associated with the natural world – Geshtai, Xan Yae are revered, but ancestor worship is the primary source of spiritual power. Each tribe maintains close ties with the deeds and spirits of those who came before them and village shaman can use this power to perform clerical functions. Burial sites are among the holiest for each tribe and are protected without question.

    Alignments

    As a whole, the society is lawful neutral in its internal dealings. Every Chakyik places personal honour and tribal honour foremost in their thoughts for all of their deeds. Misdeeds bring shame not only to the individual, but to the family and tribe as well. This way of thinking brings great order to the society where members are well aware of their place and rank.

    Despite its primitive trappings, the society is orderly and efficient. While ceremony and ritual is an important part of daily life, there are few actions that are performed without meaning or function. All of the society is expected to walk a path of lawfulness, but those who tread from that path are dealt with quickly.

    There are different rules for visitors to the lands. While treated fairly according to the rules of the land, any departure from the rules of the Tiger Nomads are dealt with harshly and brutally. Forgiveness or quarter cannot be expected from the Chakyik for any outsiders that find themselves in violation of Chakyik law.

    Notable Settlements

    Todoge – Located in the southwestern Yecha Hills, this is the closest settlement to the country of Ekbir and acts as a gateway between the two regions. This is the only settlement where outsiders live in great numbers among the Chakyik. Merchants from Ekbir and even Zeif maintain permanent warehouses and dwellings within this walled town.

    Todoge is inhabited by only about three hundred Chakyik and half that number of merchants from outside of the Tiger Nomad lands. However, virtually all of the foreign trade transacted between the Chakyik and outside countries is sanctioned and exchanged within the town proper. Operations in Todoge are watched over by an advisor appointed by the ilkhan and agreed upon by the other khans of the hills. Wisely chosen for diplomatic skills as well as organizational skills, this advisor is the only link between the Tiger Nomads and the outside world for most people. Security is tight, order is rigid, but most merchants adhere to these requirements to tap into the products available from the Chakyik.

    Ukhana – Located in the southeastern hills, near the border with the Yatil Mountains, this relatively new settlement is almost entirely devoted to mining. Rich veins of ores and deposits of semi-precious metals have transformed the Chakyik in this region from nomads to labourers. The minerals lie close to the surface and are easily obtained for the industrious and hard-working residents.

    This activity has drawn the notice of some far-ranging dwarves of the Yatil Mountains who have provided their expertise to the unskilled tribesman. While much of what is mined is transported in its raw form, some capability for refining and processing exists that makes the entire operation self-sufficient and even profitable.

    Jurisdiction of this area falls under the rule of the ilkhan and the value of the goods produced is not underestimated. Naturally protected by the mountains and rugged terrain, the inhabitants of this town lead a safe and quiet life.

    Society/Culture

    For most Chakyik, life begins and ends with their family and clan and few have concerns that range far beyond these boundaries. Daily life is one of survival in the harsh and rugged terrain that has been tamed by perseverance and determination. The tiger nomads are a warrior race and almost all have skills to aid them in this endeavour.

    The males are dominant in the culture and are masters of the horse, which are used for hunting and war. The women remain in the encampments and tend the flocks and raise the young. They are well prepared, though, to raise a sword to fight in defence during the long periods when the men of a tribe are away at war.

    Increasingly, the Tiger Nomads have split into distinct cultures. Those of the eastern lands live the traditional life of the nomadic herdsman. They travel light and constantly move to find pasture and water for their flocks. They are the fiercest and hardiest warriors and hone their skills in near constant conflict with the Wolf Nomads to the east and Perrenland to the south. Proud and fearless, many are discouraged at the path set by the current ilkhan and secretly wish for one of their own to rise to this position.

    Those who live in the western lands, primarily the Yecha Hills, have developed a more civilized culture. They live in permanent settlements, engage in non-traditional occupations and associate with outsiders. They believe themselves to be the new Chakyik, eschewing their traditional ways, in some aspects, in order to further their influence and resolve differences without conflict that has been a drain on the survival of the people. This is the path that Ilkhan Cligir has set and it is a path that is dividing the once-strong Chakyik with internal strife.

    Military Structure

    The Tiger Nomads strike with speed and precision and overwhelming numbers. They rarely will risk their destruction against insurmountable odds and will use every advantage they can find to gain success. The backbone of the Chakyik is their mounted troops, which are unequalled as light cavalry across the Flanaess.

    Renowned for their skill of unleashing volleys of arrows with deadly accuracy even at full gallop, the horse archers of the Tiger Nomads are wisely feared by the neighbouring armies. Nearly uncatchable on their small, fast horses, these troops make lightning strikes and disappear, usually with few losses. Traditionally unarmoured, they wield shortbows made from a composite of bone and wood that give great range and high arrow speed. They are ineffective when fighting hand-to-hand and usually only carry a small sword or dagger if such drastic action is needed.

    The true light cavalry of the Chakyik are the skirmishers. The best and strongest warriors fill these ranks and ride the same light horses, although some may be adorned with a hide barding. They too use bows as they close, but continue their charge with light lances, before switching to swords for close combat. They use speed to attack the flanks of an army and strive to keep moving, inflicting damage and stirring disorganization to prevent an enemy from regrouping in a concentrated attack.

    In defensive positions, the Chakyik still favour lightning counter-attacks with their mounted troops, but do field bands of foot soldiers armed with long spears. They are more heavily armoured and armed and capable of standing up against a prolonged attack.

    Tiger Nomads are brave, fearless and ruthless in battle. They are well disciplined and well trained and highly effective at their style of combat. On the open plain, few can match their ferocious attacks. The only effective defence is to get them into a position where their speed and mobility is hindered.

    Economy

    Barter is the only form of currency the Chakyik use. They have no formal monetary system nor do they see the value in that of other countries. Internally goods are exchanged amongst families, clans and tribes for other goods that are needed. Markets are rare and exist only in the largest towns of the hills. They have recently become accepting of the finely crafted good of other countries and place value on items beyond its utilitarian use.

    The chief export from the Chakyik lands is their horses. These finely bread and conditioned animals are sought by more than just the neighbouring countries which offer food, tools and weapons in return. Tiger Nomad livestock is desired for its hardiness and pure breeding. Many herds of goats and cattle across the north-western Flanaess can trace their lineage back to Chakyik stock.

    While far from a rich people, many are content with just surviving from day to day. The people of the Yecha Hills, though, as they increasingly accept contact with the rich country of Ekbir, grow desirous of trinkets and chattel. Many view this as a souring of the Tiger Nomad spirit, those of the Hills view it as progress.

    Friends/Allies

    Wolf Nomads – Traditionally a foe to the east, many of the Chakyik look to the Wegwiur as brethren. Although they come from Flan stock, both groups realize their fate is tied to common goals. Together they can protect the plains from incursions by outside forces. To an extent, marriage is common between the two countries in an effort to maintain a tenuous peace. Friendly competition would best categorize the feelings between the Tiger and Wolf Nomads.

    Ekbir – To the dismay of many in the Chakyik lands, a fruitful relationship with Ekbir was been struck. It is to the advantage of both regions that this relationship exists. Ekbir can access the raw materials of the plains and also makes a friend out of the long-lasting thorn the Chakyik had become. The Tiger Nomads, likewise, can live a more comfortable, diverse life and acquire items they could not produce themselves. This is the feeling of the dwellers of the Yecha Hills – a feeling that more and more is not shared across the Chakyik nation.

    Future

    The dwellers of the Yecha Hills struggle to define their place in the Chakyik nation. They view their path, which has turned them from the traditional life of the Tiger Nomads as a positive step in developing a stronger country. Increasingly, they cannot understand the discord raised by their brethren from the plains. The Hills provide opportunity not available in the plains, which they find foolish to ignore.

    They have the support of their Ilkhan and believe their chosen path is best. If only that path does not end in civil war."
     
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    Re: Yecha Hills - Heart of the Tiger Nomads (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Tue, November 09, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Good article don. I am always happy to see more of the fringes get some written treatments.

    Any speculation on why the rulers of the Chakyik are multiclassed as illusionists?



    Re: Yecha Hills - Heart of the Tiger Nomads (Score: 1)
    by Crag on Thu, November 11, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Excellent article

    Especially the logical way you presented the social conflicts within the society without turning the problem into a doomsday scenario.

    One small point, The wolf nomads are not Flan stock but primarily Baklunish although a minority have Flan blood through intermarriage and raiding the Flan Rovers of the Barrens until the rise of Iuz separated the two nomadic nations.




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