Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Teshnan Communities on the Steppe



The Teshnans

What the histories tell us
1363       Sheng raids much of Teshnos, taking northern tribesfolk as troops.
-1460     Seleran Empire.  Northern tribes and mountain and jungle hsunchen are taken onto the steppes to guard lines of communication and to act as infantry and elephant crew in the invasion of the West.
1461-4   Pentans driven out of Lunar lands.
1503       Pentans returned to Oraya
1506       Nights of Horror.  The Redlands are abandoned to the Lunars. 

What we can know from these histories and our other sources
Teshnan disinterest concerning what lies beyond their borders is as proverbial as is their lassitude.
The peoples who have been imported onto the steppe are starting to lose both, and many are happily engaging with their new home.  Others just want the pain to stop.

 Their Culture
Their homes are closely clustered mud-brick, often sharing walls and roofs, and if wood is available with upper floor balconies. 
A Mahometan Beating the Nagabotte.jpgTheir songs are two sided ‘debates’. This debate is in rhythm, and involves improvised poetry.The two teams usually involve males in one group and females in the other.  The song is started with a question from the males, the females responding to the question in a musical conversation.
These songs can last for up to a week, when a religious or marriage festival is involved. 
Instruments include drum, flute and cymbals.
Clothing for males is a cloth shirt and trousers, and a jacket of either cloth or felt.  For females, a long cloth dress, with a knee length felt jacket over the top.  Jackets for both genders are beaded and embroidered.  Winter cloaks are of oiled cloth or hide.  Hats are small, tight turbans whose colour depends upon the clan.  Boots are of hide, and may vary in length and colour of dye.


Their Religion
Teshnan religion is complex as it stands, and adapting to Pentan realities has brought both confusion and variance to the heart of the matter.  Many are finding the implicit rivalry between those serving the Path of Fire, the Lesser Path of Fire, and the resentful Least Path the best reason for adopting the new Path of Storm.  Elephant shrines abound everywhere but in the West.

Path of Fire Tradition  [Fire]

Mythos and History
Somash is the One True Fire, understood in a multitude of ways.  The Path seeks to follow those ways, since they are the best for humans, right and fitting and of even greater applicability here on the steppes than back home in hill and jungle. 
Nature of the Cult
The primary male Teshnan way of being.
Depiction
None needed.  Somash either dwells within the heart, or you are without fire and true life.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Friendly, if condescending, towards other Teshnans.  Otherwise arrogantly condescending.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
The cult is based around obedience, with each cultist obeying their shaman, each of them obeying the strongest shaman of their Spirit Society, and they in turn obeying the shamans of Great Somash.
Holy Places are determined by the local relevant Spirit Society.
Holy Days
These are appointed by the clan’s shamans of Great Somash.
  
The Great Somash Spirit Society (Fire, Truth)
The Spirits of the Society are not to be lightly used, since they are of the Sky Herd closest to Kargzant himself.  Leaders usually leave them untouched if other powers may accomplish the task.

Purity Spirits (Fire) – These spirits can blaze with the brightness of the noonday sun, and can be released to drive off lesser solar powers.  They may be used to burn away spiritual impurities through the infliction of spiritual suffering. 
The taboo is Maintain Your Purity

Fidelity Spirits (Truth) – These spirits empower oaths and relationships, ensure celibacy if absent from your spouse, and may remind you of your task if you stray from it.
The taboo is Never Break A Promise

Truth Spirits (Truth) – These spirits can compel truth from a prisoner, or detect deceit in an envoy or merchant.
The taboo is Never Lie

Path of Fire Tradition
To join the Tradition, you must first have a Fire Rune.
For game purposes, any hero with a Fire Rune can join the Tradition at the same rating as their Fire Rune. Simply add Path of Fire Tradition (Fire) keyword after the Fire Rune.
When joining the Tradition, you receive a number of charms, as described in the HeroQuest core rules (page 112). Charms of the Tradition are chosen from amongst the spirits of the clan’s Spirit Societies.

Fire Hearts –Path of Fire Shamans
After decades of experience, a worshipper with Tradition rating of 11W or higher can become a Fire Heart, a shaman of the Path of Fire
The Seeker’s Test is to encounter and bind one of each type of Great Somash’s spirits.   If the Fire Heart-to-be succeeds, then he discovers his Great Heart Fire.

The Fetch
The Great Heart Fire manifests as a white-hot conflagration around the position of the shaman’s heart.  The Great Heart Fire performs all the functions of a fetch (cf. HeroQuest pg. 114)

Fire Hearts have access to the other spirit societies of the Tradition.

Spirits of Reprisal
Pertempuran Hydaspes.jpg
War elephants during the
invasion of Dara Happa
The apostate will appear fringed with sickly yellow-black flames to any form of spirit vision.  Reprisal belongs to the clan.


Tradition Spirits
                                                                Teshnan Names
Imperial Sun                                          Great Somash
Leader                                                    Somash Ji
Elder                                                      Somash Vindinaran
Teacher                                                  Somash Neran Bas
Warrior                                                 Alan Somash Sa
Speaker to Walkers                               Somash Mimi
Throat Singer                                        Somash Veren
Foresight & Death Talker                     Somash Hero Madoro & Somash Endi Varo

Although Somash Veren is accounted a Throat Singer, the cult actually deals with the Debate Songs, rather than the steppe’s Throat Songs.
               

Lesser Path of Fire Tradition  [Fire]

Mythos and History
Somash is the One True Fire, but not always easily accessible, nor always easily livable-with.
The Lesser Path is more comfortable for many, stoking internal fires in a gentler manner.
Nature of the Cult
An alternative, but socially accepted, male Teshnan way of being.
Depiction
A Teshnan male in clothing appropriate to their rank.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Friendly towards other Teshnans.  Otherwise remote.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
The cult is based around obedience, with each cultist obeying their shaman, each of them obeying the strongest shaman of their Spirit Society.  The Spirit Societies’ senior shamans meet together to decide issues between them.
Holy Places are determined by the local relevant Spirit Society.
Holy Days
These are appointed by the clan’s shamans in conclave.

Lesser Path of Fire Tradition
To join the Tradition, you must first have a Fire Rune.
For game purposes, any hero with a Fire Rune can join the Tradition at the same rating as their Fire Rune. Simply add Lesser Path of Fire Tradition (Fire) keyword after the Fire Rune.
When joining the Tradition, you receive a number of charms, as described in the HeroQuest core rules (page 112). Charms of the Tradition are chosen from amongst the spirits of the clan’s Spirit Societies.

Discoverers –Lesser Path of Fire Shamans
After decades of experience, a worshipper with Tradition rating of 11W or higher can become a Discoverer, a shaman of the Lesser Path of Fire.
The Seeker’s Test is to walk the bounds of the clan’s territories naked and unarmed.   If the Discoverer-to-be succeeds, then he discovers his Seeming Soul.

  
The Fetch
The Seeming Soul manifests as a translucent copy of the shaman.  The Seeming Soul performs all the functions of a fetch (cf. HeroQuest pg. 114)
Discoverers have access to the other spirit societies of the Tradition.

Spirits of Reprisal
The apostate will lose their sense of self, becoming distant and unresponsive as time goes on.
Blind monks examining an elephant.jpg
Zolathi attacking an elephant.
Scurrilous Teshnan art.

Tradition Spirits
                                                                Teshnan Names
Warrior                                                 Kab Tolat Solf
Hunter                                                  Vai Madar Sa
Founder                                               Calyz Mandar



 Least Path Tradition  [Human]

Mythos and History
The Paths of Fire and Earth can be very demanding, even the Lesser Path.  The Least Path offers a simpler approach, with the acceptance of the common life on the steppe.
Nature of the Cult
A simple and accepting cult for those outside societal norms.
Depiction
Besdi Solf Du is an androgynous figure with shadowed face and black clothing and skin.
Balandak Sim is depicted as a combination of the local beasts of the wild.
Velit Maniz is understood simply through the clan’s hunting weapons of choice.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Friendly towards other members of the cult.  Otherwise reticent.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
The cult is very free and easy, accepting only the authority of the strongest local shaman.
Holy Days
These are appointed by the shamans of each Spirit Society.

Least Path Tradition
To join the Tradition, you must first have a Human Rune.
For game purposes, any hero with a Fire Rune can join the Tradition at the same rating as their Human Rune. Simply add Least Path Tradition (Human) keyword after the Human Rune.
When joining the Tradition, you receive a number of charms, as described in the HeroQuest core rules (page 112). Charms of the Tradition are chosen from amongst the spirits of the clan’s Spirit Societies.

Wild Hearts –Least Path Shamans
After decades of experience, a worshipper with Tradition rating of 11W or higher can become a Wild Heart, a shaman of the Least Path.
The Seeker’s Test is to face a spirit from each of the Spirit Societies and to survive its attacks.   If the Wild Heart-to-be succeeds, then she discovers her Pathfinder.

 The Fetch
The Pathfinder manifests as a shadowy jaguar-shaped being.  The Pathfinder performs all the functions of a fetch (cf. HeroQuest pg. 114)

Wild Hearts have access to the other spirit societies of the Tradition.

Spirits of Reprisal
The apostate attracts hostility from all creatures of the wild, plant and animal.
File:Running Wolf LACMA 64.12.17.jpg
Tin figure of a wolf worn by a
Balandak Sim Cultist

Tradition Spirits
                                                                     Teshnan Names
Night                                                        Besdi Solf Du
Lord of Wild Beasts & Lady of Wild               Balandak Sim
Hunter                                                          Velit Maniz


Path of Earth Tradition  [Earth, Horse]

Mythos and History
Mairnali Har is the compassionate mother, and as such is recognised as the Earth Mother of Pent when the Teshnans came to the steppe.  She and her servants love and rule the horses which the people are coming to terms with.
Nature of the Cult
The primary female way of being amongst the Teshnans
Depiction
A majestic black wooden mare, studded with shards of brightly shone metal..
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Favours the other spirits followed by Teshnans, and distrusts all others.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
The cult is rigidly hierarchical, with senior shamans having absolute power over those beneath them.  They meet in annual conclave to decide on clan policies.
The Holy Places are appointed by the senior local shaman of the Mairnali Har Spirit Society.
Holy Days
Appointed by the senior local shaman of the Mairnali Har Spirit Society.

The Mairnali Har Spirit Society (Horse, Earth)
These spirits are those that have adopted the Teshnans and their herds as their own.

Horse Spirits (Horse) – These spirits can be used to strengthen a horse, or bless a mating with a strong foal.  They can bring swift and sweet death to a suffering horse.
The taboo is Never Eat Horse

Steppe Spirits (Earth)- These spirits can be used to find good grazing, healing herbs, and safe camping grounds.  They can see clearly across the open steppe.

 Path of Earth Tradition
To join the Tradition, you must first have an Earth Rune.
For game purposes, any hero with a Earth Rune can join the Tradition at the same rating as their Earth Rune. Simply add Path of Earth Tradition (Earth) keyword after the Earth Rune.
When joining the Tradition, you receive a number of charms, as described in the HeroQuest core rules (page 112). Charms of the Path of Earth Tradition are chosen from amongst the spirits of the Clan’s Spirit Societies.

Earth Wives –Path of Earth Shamans
After decades of experience, a worshipper with a Tradition rating of 11W or higher can become an Earth-Wife, a shaman of the Path of Earth.
The Seeker’s Test is a nocturnal Vision Quest, wrapped inside the skin of a freshly flayed mare.   If the Earth-Wife-to-be succeeds, then she discovers her Dark Mare.

The Fetch
The Dark Mare manifests as a Spirit Mare of breath-taking beauty.   She performs all the functions of a fetch (cf. HeroQuest pg. 114)

Earth Wives have access to the spirits of all the Path’s Spirit Societies.

Spirits of Reprisal
The apostate will be thrown by any horse they try to mount

Tradition Spirits
                                                                Teshnan Names                              
Earth Mother                                          Mairnali Har
Spring Horse                                          Sera Veren
Crone                                                      Kab Vanarana Sa



The Path of the Storm Tradition  [Storm]
Mythos and History
While the spirits gathered into this Path had long been followed by the some of the Steppe peoples, most of their natures had been misunderstood, and they had been viewed as hostile or distorted spirits that were independent of any Tradition.  It was only after the Nights Of Horror, as the People sought for spirits with whom to take refuge, that they were perceived as being worthy of a Path of their own.  They were eagerly embraced as another means of survival.
Nature of the Cult
A refuge for those who have not found the Path of Fire an adequate answer to the Lunar challenge.
Depiction
Four elephants, each accompanied by the Teshnan rune appropriate to their cardinal direction.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Hates anything Lunar.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
There is a distinct lack of organisation within the cult, with local and wandering Wind Mahouts leading rites when called upon, or at their whim.  Followers may choose to attach themselves to a Wind, or to stay within their community. 
Holy places at the whim of the most powerful local Wind Mahout.
Holy Days
At the whim of the most powerful local Wind Mahout.

The Path of the Storm Tradition
To join the Tradition, you must first have a Storm Rune.
For game purposes, any hero with a Storm Rune can join the Tradition at the same rating as their Storm Rune. Simply add Path of the Storm Tradition (Storm) keyword after the Storm Rune.
When joining the Tradition, you receive a number of charms, as described in the HeroQuest core rules (page 112). Charms of the Tradition are chosen from amongst the spirits of the Spirit Societies present in the clan.

Wind Mahout – Path of the Storm Shamans
After decades of experience, a worshipper with a Tradition rating of 11W or higher can become a Wind Mahout , a shaman of the Storm.
The Seeker’s Test requires exposure to the storm that was their primary Spirit Society.  If the Wind-Mahout-to-be succeeds, then they discover their Elephant Typhoon.

The Fetch
The Elephant Typhoon manifests as a seething cloud above the Wind Mahout’s head.   The Elephant Typhoon performs all the functions of a fetch (cf. HeroQuest pg. 114)

Spirits of Reprisal
The apostate will attract the interest of every Storm spirit near them.  Life will be a miserable struggle, as they strive to stomp you flat.

Tradition Spirits
                                                                Teshnan Names
Leader                                                  West King Wind Elephant
Warrior                                                 North War Wind Elephant
Whispering Wind                                 South Rage Wind Elephant
Body Marker                                        East Sting Wind Elephant

Bangkok wat suthat 016.JPG
The Wind Elephants are discovered
after the Nights of Terror








Teshnan Names

The names of those on the steppe are by no means typical of Teshnos, due to their being a tribal minority group.  Male and female names are generally similar in structure, with a roughly even split between two or three syllables.  However, the final elements do differ.
Place and Clan names consist of two words.

Initial Syllable
Na-, Bi-, Di-, Sho-, Sham-, Sit-, Gir-, Yudd-, Drav-,  Prat-, Preksh-, Pre-, Trib-, Mat-, Koi-, Ko-, 
Jyo-, Aish- 

Middle Syllable
-ra-, -ri-, -la-, -tsha-, -hu-, -rend-, -war-, -ash-

Male and Place Name Final Syllable
-ya, -yan, -vi, -van, -ra, -ka, -la, -ha, -sher, -ap

Female and Clan Name Final Syllable
-ya, -na, -va, -sha, -ma, -mal


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