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Living GreyhawkGazetteer Addendum: The Bitter North, Part IV
Posted on Fri, November 19, 2004 by Farcluun
CruelSummerLord writes "The Bitter North comes to an end with noble Tenh, the savage Wolf Nomads, and the wild Tiger Nomads...

Living GreyhawkGazetteer Addendum: The Bitter North, Part IV
By: CruelSummerLord
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

TENH, DUCHY OF

The Duchy of Tenh is almost an anomaly in the savage northlands, being a place of relatively civilized and peaceful people surrounded by autocratic and/or savage and murderous states. Surrounded by potential enemies, Tenh nonetheless manages to stubbornly survive in a part of the Flanaess where there are few allies, and those that one can join with are all too often suspicious and wary, or occupied with their own problems.

Like the rest of the northlands, Tenh built up its military forces in the years leading up to the Greyhawk Wars. The hardline Pale Theocrat Ogon Tillit was marshaling his own armies, while the Tenha were all too aware of the plots and schemes of Iuz concerning the evil Sevvord Redbeard. When war finally broke out in the winter of 580, Tenh was ready and waiting.

The fighting was fierce and relentless; Tenh battled on three fronts simultaneously against the Bandits to the west, the Fists to the north, and the Pale to the south. The able leadership of Duke Ehyeh III saw the nation through its worst crisis in centuries, although the economic and social costs of the war effort soon became almost too much to bear. In spite of that, the Tenha people drew together and with the few allies they had, for they knew that otherwise, they were alone in the north. Their allies in the south, Nyrond and the County of Urnst, could not hope to send aid, being occupied by their own problems.

Tenh survived the wars, and attended the signing of the Pact of Greyhawk in 585 CY. It had survived, dealing a sharp check to the Fists, slaying even one of Sevvord Redbeard’s own sons on the field that day. The Bandits were also soundly defeated, most of them sent fleeing back to their wretched holes without too much trouble. But the economy had suffered terribly; many men had lost their lives, and many more had lost their homes to the terrible damage. The Pale was now occupying and claiming the southern part of the duchy, having captured the city of Redspan. Atherstone still held out against a siege, however.

Now, in the aftermath of the wars, Tenh is trying to rebuild. Work has been slow and hard going, due to the slumping economy of the Flanaess as a whole during the wars. However, the nation’s vast platinum reserves have allowed it at least a fighting chance to rebuild. The pass between Tenh and Stonefist has been forever sealed by the mage Nystul of the Circle of Eight, although the Pale still holds onto its gains in the south. The Tenha now face every day with renewed hope, but the terrible losses they have suffered still haunt them to this day.

Society and Culture: Tenh was originally founded by a collection of many Flan tribes and nations who came together in what was to them a sacred land, considered a holy place specifically given them by Pelor and the Oerth Mother Beory. In response to the pressures exerted by the incoming groups of Oeridians and Sueloise, many Flan came to what they viewed as a sanctuary, each one bringing with him his own traditional ways of life and the things they had learned from the incoming settlers.

The modern Duchy of Tenh is a curious amalgam of a nation. It has the social order and noble ranks of Oeridian society, although it applies them in a totally different way than do traditional Oeridian realms like Nyrond or Furyondy. The country is divided into eighteen different provinces, each of which serves as the ‘home province’ of one of the eighteen groups that originally founded the realm. Each of these has great latitude in determining its own internal provincial affairs, and they each have their own forms of internal government. Some have no former rulership, using only their elders as guides, while others have strict social hierarchies with authoritarian rule. Still others elect their leaders, or clans within their own province. Each clan has its own way of living-some rely exclusively on hunting, others raise corn and wheat. All of them, however, do their best to live in harmony with the Oerth, and not plunder its riches for personal gain.

What holds the country together are the pacts made to govern it. The bravest and strongest of all the nations that founded the country was made royalty, with its leader taking the status of Duke and the eldest child, male or female, succeeding him when he dies or abdicates. A Convocation of Knights and Marshals are appointed by each nation to advise the Duke, and give approval of his actions or not. They act as check and balance to the Duke’s power, which consists of being able to levy judgements on his nobles, decide the country’s foreign policy, and commanding the military. The Convocation also resolves disputes between clans. While there are occasional conflicts between various levels of government, the Tenha are renowned for their ability to cooperate without conflict, as opposed to the barons and kings of Oeridian or dwarven realms.

The country’s attidues towards women, foreigners and demihumans varies according to each provincial nation. Some have women as the dominant group, with matriarchal lines of authority; others are dominated by men or have egalitarian ways of acting. The halflings of Tenh participate in their home province’s ceremonies and traditions, as they have similar attitudes towards nature and the Oerth. Elves of all kinds, except the grugach, are treated in similar fashion. The Tenha respect the great elven magic and ancient history, and also their loose forms of governance, and the elves respond in kind. A small minority of pixies, sprites, brownies, and other fairy-folk dwell within Tenh, and they get along quite well with the humans.

The realm’s dwarves and gnomes have a much more ambiguous relationship with their human neighbors. Most Tenha disapprove of the greed for wealth that the bearded races have, and so have little tolerance for them within their territories. Only those provinces that are most open to outsiders, mercantile pursuits, and the ways of the rest of the world usually get on well with the dwur and noniz. Otherwise, relationships are often strained, punctuated by occasional conflicts and violence.

There exists a wide variety of attidues towards human foreigners. Many Tenha will welcome other Flan with open arms, and will also treat well with other human races, provided these latter act in a civilized manner, and keep an open mind to the exotic (to them) Tenha customs and attitudes. Those who act like boors, or too vigorously question the beliefs of the Tenha, are certain to be forced to leave at once, if they are not killed on the spot.

Other Tenha want little to do with dwarves, gnomes, and other human races. They feel the greed and wealth of these other races has corrupted them, and they do not want to fall into the same trap as these groups. Sadly, because of the attitudes of many of their neighbors, these Tenha, and most of the Tenha in general, are defensive and suspicious of outsiders to one degree or another, at least until these outsiders prove their good intentions. Foreigners can expect to deal with harsher laws, social sanctions, and punishments than do the residents.

Sargent Silver has written about the laziness and arrogance of the Tenhas, and the corruption in their society, but I have found these attitudes to be vastly overstated, and do not reflect the true character of the people at all. Most of these perceptions likely come about because of the difference in attitudes between Tenhas and non-Flan peoples.

Military Structure: As one can expect, the military forces of the duchy are strong and well-trained. Their greatest asset is their medium cavalry, who are perhaps the greatest in all the north, save for the horsemen of the Rovers of the Barrens. This cavalry is well-trained in the use of lance, bow, and spear to run down Fist or Bandit foot soldiers. Tenh is also blessed with footmen who are skilled at both wielding polearms in mass combat and the use of short sword and bow in guerilla missions and stealth tactics. The Tenha are highly skilled at using the land to their advantage, but sometimes these tactics are less than useful against the rampaging Fists or well-trained soldiers of the Pale, who are occasionally either too battle-raged or too well-trained to fall into panic or disorganization from sniping and ambush.
The Flan are famous for their battle-frenzies in combat, and nowhere is this more true than in Tenh. There is an old saying that only a fool would attack a Tenha warrior with but three men, and this is indeed true. The Fists engage in these kinds of battle-rages as well, but they fight like savage wolverines or auromvorae, simply for the pleasure of killing and murder. The battle-lust of the Tenha comes from their attunement with nature, tapping into the wild, beautiful instinct of the predator within them.

Ruler: Duke Ehyeh III has a look in his eyes that strongly resembles that of a strong, mighty wolf, and the wolf is indeed his spiritual animal, as assigned by the rites of his own provincial nation. Ehyeh is no large man in size or muscle, but he has the swiftness and killer instinct of the wolf that allows him to wield his longsword, spear and bow with deadly finesse. His bronze-red skin, long jet-black hair, and hard, weather-beaten face testify to a man who has been raised both in his traditional ways of life and has learned from the societies of other races, even those of the dwarves and Oeridians.

While Ehyeh has the battle-lust of the wolf and its lack of mercy in combat, he also has the gentle grace and kindness it shows towards its children. Ehyeh reflects these traits in his attitudes towards his own family and his kin as a whole. Indeed, he demonstrates it to all those he considers close friends, even the dwarves, gnomes and non-Flan humans he has befriended over the years. He has none of the same affections towards orcs, goblins, evil giants, or any other humanoid trash, attacking them without holding anything back.

As the ruler of his country, Ehyeh has seen more of the world than most of his people, having traveled to the County of Urnst, Nyrond, Greyhawk and other foreign realms for matters of state. While he deplores the greed, byzantine politics, and quarelling nature of many of the people he has met, he also respects their close ties of kinship, their passion for progress and development, and the ways many of them act for good in their own ways. A keen judge of character, Ehyeh has become friends with other heads of state such as Countess Belissica of Urnst and Belvor IV of Furyondy, while earning the dislike of others such as Nerof Gasgal of Greyhawk and Archbold III, formerly of Nyrond. The new king of Nyrond, Lynwerd, gets on much better with his Tenha equivalent.

Foreign Relations: All of Tenh’s immediate human neighbors are viewed as hostile enemies against whom the country should be on guard at all times. It conducts trade with and through the Pale, although the wars of words over religion and sovereignty between the two realms have exploded into armed conflict on more than one occasion. The Pale now claims the southernmost part of Tenh as its own territory, something the people living there now oppose through guerilla combat and sabotage, based out of the city of Atherstone. They enter and leave the city through secret ways that the Pale cannot find, though they always hold the city under siege.

Stonehold, the Bandits, and the humanoids of the surrounding mountains, forests and marshes are all eternal enemies of the duchy. Whenever these two groups meet, violence is certain to occur. The Troll Fens have been a thorn in the Duchy’s side for centuries, although the trolls attack the Pale more often than they do Tenh.

Tenh otherwise has normal relations with all foreign countries, although it remains withdrawn and suspicious towards most of them in its political maneuverings, and they all respond in kind. Tenh prefers to closely guard its sovereignty, and not become too allied with anyone else, and most others were happy to return the favor. The only exception to this is likely the County of Urnst, with whom Tenh gets along very well. Tenh also has important trading relations with Nyrond, and Greyhawk to a lesser extent. It has close relationships with the men of the Gamboge Forest and the Phostwood, and even more so the elves and fairy-folk of both realms. They are trusted by the Tenha much more than the peoples of most other human realms. While relations between the two groups are often strained, Tenh also has important trading relations with a number of dwarven settlements in the Griffs concerning its platinum mines. The Tenha loathe the evil nature of many of the dwarves who live here, and the dwarves would love nothing more than to invade the mines and control them themselves. However, both parties realize they need the other, and so an uneasy peace exists between the two.

THE TIGER NOMADS

The Tiger Nomads, or Chakyik Horde, have always been known as a wild and dangerous people, unpredictable in their ways and afflicted with strange moods and whims, quite unlike any of the other barbarian peoples of the North, save perhaps the Fists. Many people, including their Wolf Nomad kinsmen, consider them too dangerous to be dealt with on a regular basis, and so they were left to their own devices.

Ilkhan Cligir carried out the policies of isolation and violence against all other peoples, regardless of their alignment. His beliefs were shown most clearly in his dealings with the ambassadors of Iuz, who had proposed alliance between the Tiger and the Old One. Cligir knew full well what an alliance with the treacherous Iuz would bring, and so he summarily killed any, whether among his own people or those of Iuz, who proposed the joining of the two peoples. Cligir could foresee better than most what was coming, and so he knew that his nation, the Chakyik Horde, would be better for avoiding Iuz.

While Cligir correctly predicted the treason and betrayal of Iuz, he could not have anticipated the horrific slaughter that would occur when the Horned Empire clashed with Iuz, nor what would happen when the deadly games of the Cells of Iuz began. The Tiger Nomads spent the Greyhawk Wars battling against the Cell of Iuz that would have established itself in the Yecha Hills, Cligir himself slaying the Archmage Jumper who led the evil force. However, his own advanced age would lead him to be claimed by death soon after, in the Bear month of 586 CY, which we know as Readying.

Cligir’s son Gajtak was decreed Ilkhan in that year, taking his father’s place. In a perfect demonstration of the strange whims that the Tiger Nomads live under, Gajtak immediately began opening relations with the defeated forces of Iuz who had sought to destroy his realm. Jumper’s successor in the Boneheart has met with Gajtak in conference and discussion in the ilkhan’s court at Yecha, the Chakyik Horde’s tent city. All manner of evil plots and schemes take place there now, designed to subvert the Tiger Nomads towards alliance with Iuz. The Nomads themselves remain sharply divided over these developments, with growing dissent against the evil of Iuz. However, Gajtak still retains full power within his realm, and harshly clamps down on any khan that opposes him.

Society and Culture: The Tiger Nomads have a loose, chaotic society that is constantly changing and in flux, despite having a certain paradoxical stability to it. The political system itself has always remained intact. Each major family, descended from different branches of the Relentless Horde, has become a clan unto itself, with its own designated hunting territories and relations with other clans. Each one is ruled by a hereditary khan, with rulership passing along patrilineal lines. Unlike the partriarchal Wolf Nomads, women are just as apt to be in positions of power as their menfolk. The most powerful branch of each clan-family rules over all the others with an iron fist, although duels, intrigues and even full-scale battles are common between branches of the same clan for control of the whole, and the coveted seat of Khan. As such, leaders tend to last only as long as they can hold power and support, something that continually changes due to the chaotic attiudes of the Tiger Nomads and their capacity to change allegiance and desire as often as the wind changes direction on the prairies.

Each clan varies in its relations with the others, which again change constantly. Two clans who might make professions of brotherhood one year could just as easily fall to blows the next, for reasons that outsiders can rarely comprehend. Just as various branches of each clan jostle with each other for power and status within themselves, so too do clans as a whole fight for these same things within the society as a whole. Certain unwritten rules forbid things such as poisoning and mass murder between clans, although this does not forbid such things as ritual combat, the enslavement of one clan by another, or the sacrifice of enemies to tribal deities.

The Tiger Nomads worship few deities, except Istus, the vile Incabulos, and Geshtai. These deities personify the superstions the nomads all share; they believe strongly in fate and do not wish to thwart her designs. Nor do the nomads wish to see water sources, what they see as the essence of life, polluted. To do either of these things would lead diseases, nightmares, and curses to be visited on the offenders. As a result, most Tiger Nomads instead venerate the spirits of their ancestors, who they plead with to intercede on their behalf to calm down the deities any time these might be angered. Aside from these superstitions, however, the Tiger Nomads observe few social taboos, compared to the Wolf Nomads to the east.

One of the clans is designated as the royal one, to rule over all the others. The head of this clan, the Ilkhan, is the ruler of the people as a whole. As one might expect, the amount of control he has over the other clans is constantly varying. For this reason, the use of illusion magic and trickery is valued by the royal clan to assure the loyalty of the lesser clans. Indeed, trickery and illusions are common among the Tiger Nomads, being used at all levels of a society that is constantly changing and using various means of intrigue and politics to gather and keep power.

The few demihumans who live among the Nomads have no part in any of the intrigues of their society. The halflings tend to act as serfs to their human masters, providing grain and fruit to all, although they will favor those who treat them better. Indeed, the friendship of halflings has proven a valuable asset to more than one politicking nomad. The elves here view the Nomads as savage, ignorant and crude, and prefer to avoid dealing with them. Most dwarves and gnomes share this view, although some of them trade ale, metal weapons and gold to the nomads in exchange for furs and meat.

Military Structure: The Chakyik Horde is known as a savage military force, although not a very efficient one. The Tiger Nomads are well-known as light cavalry and mounted archers, and they are better than any other human nation at blending archery and horse in impressive military forces. Some small amount of cavalry can be considered medium, better armed-and-armored. Infantry is confined to small bands, and are generally poorly-trained and equipped.

The Tiger Nomads are at their best when they battle in hit-and-run guerilla tactics, something they can do on the wide prairies they call home. In traditional military situations the like of which the more civilized Oeridian nations to the south or the barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsual engage in, they fare poorly. Their cavalry is woefully unskilled at fighting in strict formation, and can easily be dispersed by concentrated and disciplined forces. Each band has its own tactics in field combat, and it is difficult for any general to coordinate these. In their battles with the Chakji of the Burneal Forest, the Wolf Nomads, the nomadic Flan nations, dwarves and gnomes of the Yatils, the Ekbiri, and the Perrenders, the Tiger Nomads fare poorly in face-to-face combat.

As such, the Tiger Nomads rarely conduct straightforward military operations against their enemies. They prefer guerilla raids and hit-and-run tactics that would put any Bandit to shame, and this is their greatest strength. Unlike the Wolf Nomads, they excel at raiding in hills, mountains and forest as well as grasslands, and consequently are much richer than their militarily stronger but materially poorer Wolf cousins to the east.

Ruler: Ilkhan Cligir personifief the tiger for which his nation is named. Fierce, quick-tempered and having little mercy for the defeated, Cligir was a dangerous and intelligent man, who could perceive the fears and weaknesses of his opponents, and knew how to exploit them for maximum effect. Despite this fierceness towards his enemies, Cligir was gentle, loyal and even self-sacrificing to his own family and those he trusts and considers friends. His wrath was terrible if his political enemies ever attempted to attack any of these. Any who did so would know the wrath of his terrible spear and javelins.

Strangely, despite his lack of compassion for those he defeats in combat, Cligir was a rarity among the Tiger Nomads in that he tries to minimize the damage his intrigues would cause to the wives, children and dependants of any of his enemies. He punished those among his own followers and even those in other clans who acted too harshly towards these innocents. This caused no small amount of resentment among his people, but none of them dared cross him or even speak bad things about him, for Cligir seemed to know everything they ever said about him.

Cligir was a master of disguise and conning, using his illusion magic to alter his appearance and endear himself to his subjects without them even knowing it. In this way, he was able to pump them for information he would never have gotten had he come as he truly was. A natural conversationalist, Cligir could use the information thus gained to defuse the most explosive clan rivalries before they ever occurred.

Ilkhan Gajtak is much like his father in demeanor and appearance, having his father’s sharp chin, dangerous white grin, and baleful, gleaming eyes. Sadly, however, he lacks Cligir’s restraint and compassion. Gajtak’s scheming and debaucheries were a constant thorn in his father’s side, and the old ilkhan attemped more than once to have his son killed. Gajtak knew the game of intrigue just as well as his father, however, and was able to avoid every trap the old man tried to set for him. Unlike the subtleties and trickery his father used, Gajtak would bully and intimidate all those around him to force them to obey him.

While Cligir preferred to avoid what he saw as the corrupting influences of civilization, Gajtak openly embraced them. Foreign concubines, drugs, wine, and orgies are a common thing in his court. These are willingly supplied by the agents of Iuz, who are trapping the young ilkhan in a dangerous web that he may have a terrible time escaping. Under their influence, Gajtak has allowed the clan rivalries which Cligir suppressed to flourish, causing more conflict and violence among the Chakyik Horde than ever before. He now puts to death any khan who opposes him, or whom he suspects of such, and dangerous resentment is growing among his people.

Gajtak loves the intrigues and chaos of his people, but he has long been tempted by civilization. Although Iuz has evil influence on him, Gajtak has taken an interest in philosophy of all types, from the divine right theories of Aerdy to the Skepticism of Urnst to the calm wisdom and restraint espoused by Veluna and Rao. He tricked the priests of Iuz into teaching him how to read and write, and he now has many books and tomes from civilized nations smuggled to him. He does not necessarily agree with any of them, but he has proven an eager and attentive reader. What he would do with this learning is anyone’s guess.

Foreign Relations: The Tiger Nomads do not have close relations with any of their neighbors. The nomadic Flan, the Chakji, the elves of the Burneal, the dwarves and gnomes of the Yatils, Perrenland, and Ekbir all view them as raiders, savages, and barbarians. They will use gifts of wine or gold to bribe the nomads into leaving them in peace, or will simply attack any raiding party who comes their way, although the skill of the Tiger Nomads in raiding makes this a dangerous proposition. In spite of this, however, the nomads conduct limited trade with less-discriminating elements of all these societies.
The humanoids that raid the nomads are their worst enemy, and the one they engage in battle with most often. The Nomads are every bit as skilled at raiding and banditry as their orc and goblin foes, and their hit-and-run tactics act to confound and confuse even the most determined giant invaders.

The Wolf Nomads view their western cousins with some ambivalence. They respect the spirit and cunning of the Tigers, but they feel that the Tiger Nomads give too much status to women, and remain chronically unstable, and thus unable to truly grow. They thus tend to consider themselves superior in combat and society to the Tiger Nomads, and tend to conduct themselves towards the latter that way. The Tiger Nomads, for their part, mock what they view as the uptight grimness of the Wolves, and enjoy making them explode in anger or rage when the Tigers violate one of the Wolf Nomad’s many social taboos. Still, a kinship exists between both groups that leads to some friendship and cooperation between them, or at least does not lead to violence every time they meet.

THE WOLF NOMADS

The Wolf Nomads are the other great nation of nomads in the northern Flanaess, one half of the original Paynim nation displaced from their native Plains by the Relentless Horde so long ago. Unlike the chaotic, disorganized and wild Tiger Nomads, the Wolf Nomads remained calm, collected and relatively calm and civilized, though they were no less fierce in the defense of their lands than were their Tiger kin.
Few nations ever set up permanent relations with the Tiger Nomads, although some of the peoples of the Burneal Forest, the Rovers of the Barrens and even Perrenland had contact with them at one point or another. Of course, the Wolves still raided and clashed with them as they did with their humanoid and demihuman enemies.

The Wolf Nomads, or the Wegwiur as they call themselves, have been the sworn enemies of Iuz ever since the Old One cast his shadow over the Flanaess. The destruction of his realm would have been celebrated by the Wegwiur, who would have the whole of the civilized south ready for the plundering, but the rise of the Horned Empire has confused the issue. They have little more regard for the Horned Society than they do Iuz, remembering well the grim legends of the “Horned Ones” told to them by their allies among the Rovers and other nomadic Flan peoples. While they did not fight in the Greyhawk Wars, the Wolf Nomads were forced to contend with bands of humanoids and evil men fleeing the chaos in Iuz, and were alarmed at the reports of a Cell of Iuz in the Yecha Hills.

And so, in the time after the Wars, the Wolf Nomads are content to watch and wait. They continue their attacking and trading as they always have, though there are numerous issues they have to contend with. The tarkhan of the Wegwiur, Bargru, is now very old, and it is thought that he will soon die, leaving his eldest son to take his place. While Iuz’s country is gone, his agents have spread throughout the Flanaess, and are thought to be present among the Wolf Nomads. These issues, however, pale in comparision to the alarm the Wolf Nomads feel about the evil infecting the Tiger Nomads…


Society and Culture: The Tiger Nomads are chaotic, egalitarian, and always engaged in games to better their own social standing with each other. The Wolf Nomads are none of these. While chaotic in the sense that they do not have an organized, central system of government strong individual competition between citizens, the Wolf Nomads have an important structure of clan organization and roles that define each person’s role in society. The men are the rulers, judges, law enforcement, and only they decide on where the people will go, how they resolve disputes, or who they will raid and how the plunder is divided. Women are relegated to a very distinct secondary role; they only have authority as concerns the raising of children, and even then the father can override the mother.

While all the families of one clan among the Tiger Nomads intermingle freely with each other, the clans of the Wolf Nomads are very clearly organized and defined. Intermarriage between clans is done only with the permission of the ruling khans of both clans; if one or the other refuses, the marriage will not take place, and that is the end of discussion. There is also a strong sense of conformity among the Wolf Nomads, with strict taboos and modes of behavior, with strong social sanctions if these are violated. This applies just as much to outsiders as to the nomads themselves-nomads have attacked those Rovers, elves, or Perrenders that have slighted them in some way, even as the foreigner is left confused as to what he did wrong.

This conformity extends to some, but not all of the roots of Wolf Nomad society. All nomads worship Istus, Geshtai and their own clan ancestors, but some also worship Telchur, a vestige of long-ago Oeridian contact. But how each deity is worshipped varies greatly; each clan is in a sense free to conduct their own worship services as they see fit. This extends to other aspects of society-one clan might take the hand of a thieving nomad, while another might exile the miscreant to Ungra Balan (see below).

In a sense, therefore, there are multiple tayers of social conformity within the Wegwiur, which mingle with a sort of freedom to act. Social competition is strong, and clans attempt to better their own status in the eyes of their peers. In this way, a chaotic individualistic tendency is maintained. But the nomads do it through very specific rules and traditions that have been passed down through the centuries. Instead of schemes and intrigues, two feuding Wolf Nomad clans might engage in contests of wrestling, ridde- or tale-telling, hunting, or looting and plundering strangers. The rules for these contests are very clear, and any individual, clan, or part thereof who refuses to abide by these judgements and rules is subject to exile and banishment from the whole society. This further extends to all points of society-other clans will not hesitate to step in and put an end to dangerous feuds or arguments, by force if necessary.

Ungra Balan is a large trading town where the nomads meet other peoples to trade and converse. The nomads might travel here several times a year as part of their annual routine, and no one thinks twice about this. Some permanent residents are those foreigners who remain year-round to ensure the links between their own peoples and that of the Wegwiur. Those nomads who live here permanently are cast out of their people for some transgression or other. These people tend to be sullen and angry, as they cannot stalk the plains with their kin under penalty of death. Nomads who are sentenced to permanent residence in Ungra Balan are considered pariahs by their people. Some nomad bands winter here, although these are usually those who seek to curry favor with foreigners for some reason or another, which the other clans generally do not approve of.

Concerning the government of the nation as a whole, there is one accepted royal clan whose male head is the tarkhan. His title and position pass on to the eldest son. If no son is present, then his eldest nephew will take over. In any case, the tarkhan has very real powers to lord over his people and punish them if they violate his decrees, but these are limited by the quirks of nomad culture-if the tarkhan is in disfavor with the lesser khans, they will simply ignore him. If he goes too far and oversteps the limits of his authority as defined by the nomads, he may himself be punished. As a result, the art of beguilement is favored as much among the royal clan of the Wegwiur as it is among the Chakyik Horde.

The original Kha-Khan of the Relentless Horde decreed that his successors must learn how to trick, mislead and deceive their enemies, and even their people, so they may retain their authority and power. This is observed equally in both Wolf and Tiger Nomad societies, but the Wolf Nomads take it much more seriously, the Tigers taking such actions for granted. Any tarkhan among the Wolf Nomads who can be caught in a lie, or is outmaneuvered by one or more of his khans, even if all these manipulations are done within the accepted limits of society, is often disgraced and must abdicate. Any outright violations of the rule, either by tarkhan or simple khan, are of course harshly punished.

Miilitary Structure: The masses of the Tiger Nomads can become very confused at times, making it difficult for that nation’s leaders to organize a coherent defense should they come under a mass attack. The Wolf Nomads suffer no such problem, for their armies are organized along very clear chains of command, with full power going to the tarkhan. Many of the civil conventions observed in peacetime are ignored in war, and the tarkhan may use methods either blatant or subtle to command his forces.
The Wolf Nomads tend to wear little or no armor, and use as much light cavalry and mounted archers as do the Tiger Nomads. While similar in body to the Tiger Nomads’ war bands, the Wolf Nomads’ armies are in a sense opposite in spirit. While able to perform banditry, they are not nearly as skilled at it as are their western kin, or the Rovers of the Barrens for that matter. They do much better in straightforward combat, and can fight in mass formation very well, although hit-and-run tactics are commonplace and acceptable. In a sense, they are overall better as an actual military force than are the Tiger Nomads, who could be considered more large groups of skilled raiders and brigands who can only be rallied together with difficulty.

Ruler: Narrow and piercing almond-shaped eyes, a surprisingly thick and black moustache and matching long hair, weatherbeaten dark brown skin, and a frame that has grown rather thin with age are all part of Bargru, the Tarkhan of the Wegwiur. An amazing fighter with sword and spear in his youth, Bargru is now generally too infim to physically fight. However, while time has made him suffer in body, it has blessed the old man greatly in mind and spirit. Hot-tempered and arrogant in his youth, Bargru now excels at keeping his emotions in check and examining situations with cold, hard reason. His heart has in a very real sense hardened, and it does not get in the way of his excellent judgement or his keen memory.
While he always speaks clearly and plainly, Bargru is still a master at using words to trap his opponents, and saying one thing while still meaning another. In some ways, while he is very difficult to pin down, his intentions and opinions can be clear as water in some other ways. Bargru also uses his facial expressions to help him in this regard-he may sit and think in silence over what someone has said, for example. Whether he is seriously considering a new alternative, or is simply manipulating the speaker’s emotions with his silence is anyone’s guess.

Foreign Relations: The Wolf Nomads generally get along better with their neighbors than do the Tiger Nomads. Rivalries with the Tiger Nomads do exist, but a basic sense of kinship exists between the two peoples, despite their very real differences. The Rovers of the Barrens are friendly rivals in hunting, raiding and war. While the two peoples did not have regular contact even before the rise of Iuz and the Horned Society, they think well of each other. However, many Wolves are questioning whether this association should continue, giving the Tigers’ growing friendship with the wicked minions of Iuz.

The few demihumans that live in the Wolf Nomads’ territory are through of no differently than are foreign humans. To a Wolf Nomad, a stranger is a stranger regardless of race. They dislike the dwarves of the Yatils for their greed, and have little contact with the elves of the Burneal. Of all the demihuan races, the halflings that live either in Ungra Balan, and those very few who live among the Nomads themselves, are perhaps the best respected out of all the non-human peoples among the Wegwur.

The Wolf Nomads view Perrenland, he less evil residents of Blackmoor and the civilized parts of the Burneal Forest with a very neutral attitude. They will serve as caravan guards and remain quite honest and loyal, but they cling to their customs and beliefs, and expect even outsiders to obey them. Nomads who are offended in the middle of a trip must receive many gifts before they are appeased. Those nomads who are more stringent about these things may have a worse opinion of these strangers than their kin who have not suffered such insults.

As for Iuz, the Horned Society, the Bandits, and all humanoids, predatory monsters and giants, the Wegwiur considers them nothing less than their worst enemies, and will more often than not attack on the spot if they encounter these peoples. The empries of Iuz and the Horned Society would both gladly crush the nomads and seize all their lands if they could, and so nothing less than war exists between these empires and the Wolf Nomads.

"
 
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Re: Living GreyhawkGazetteer Addendum: The Bitter North, Part IV (Score: 1)
by donimator on Fri, November 19, 2004
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Great series, as always CSL, and great article. Although the flow of the campaign I run differs from yours, the breadth of your articles fill in gaps or supply a steady stream of rumours I can feed my players.

I commented on this one because I just submitted an article on the Tiger Nomads, specifically in the Yecha Hills. We had surprising similarities between the two. Mine was more of an inside-looking out article and yours is an outside-looking-in. The difference in perspective wroks well.

Anyway, great work. Your articles have become a staple in my binder for campaign ideas.




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