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Three Nations of Skotharby Arnden Quartzspar from Threshold Magazine issue 20
[Map: MOrient project Map]
Caption: Jen, M-Tibet and M-Myanmar placements in the original Mystara Oriental project, an updated placement which takes into consideration other fan works can be seen in the Political Maps of Skothar article.
Jen (Land of)
Location: Continent of Skothar, east of Esterhold Peninsula.
Area: Unknown (nomadic Jennites roam much of Skothar's central regions, see maps).
Population: Unknown (estimated at 100,000 Jennites, in clans of 50-1000 individuals).
Coinage: The people of Jen rely on barter for trade.
Government Type: Tribal; clans are headed by a clan chieftain, who is advised by the clan's most powerful shaman (cleric)
Industries: Herding (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses), hunting and raiding.
Important Figures: The Jennite clans are divided by great distances and differing customs; each clan has its own important figures, but none has yet become an important figure in Known World politics.
Flora and Fauna: To the Jennites, the only animals that truly matter are their cattle and their horses. Likewise the only plants that matter are the endless grasses on which their herds graze. Many other animals share the steppes with the people of Jen, however. They include gazelles, marmots (rodents related to woodchucks, whose pelts are prized by the Jennites), wild two-humped camels, wild asses and horses, and antelopes. Birds abound on the steppes, especially partridges, larks, cranes, and falcons (sometimes captured and trained by Jennite hunters). Rivers and lakes of the steppes teem with fish, including trout, perch, and pike.
[Image: Jennites meeting a Minaean traveller]
Caption: Jennites meeting a Minaean traveller
From a letter to the Dahl Lam Tenzin Gyatso of Lhasa, from his humble servant, Ngawang Lozang.
The Land of Jen encompasses most of the grassy steppes that stretch across the central region of Skothar, from the western coast and the Esterhold Peninsula to the Nentsun Plateau far to the east. This land is ringed by mountain ranges to the north, the east, and the southeast, and by the forested hills of the Minaean Coast to the south.
The people of Jen are copper-skinned nomadic herders and horsemen. They rely on New Stone Age technology (well-crafted tools and weapons made of wood, bone, and stone), as the art of forging metal was lost to their ancestors. Jennite craftsmen know how to beat and hammer gold and copper, which they can find in a natural, almost pure state. Most Jennites worship the Immortal Rathanos, although some clans follow other Immortals. Women rarely hold a high position in Jennite society. Masters of the horse and of the steppes, Jennite warriors sometimes raid Alphatian or Minaean communities in Esterhold and along Skothar's southwestern coast.
Notable Sites: There are no known permanent settlements in the Land of Jen. Along the Minaean Coast, there are rumors of a distant valley where Jennite chieftains are interred with their accumulated possessions.
[Image: Jennite jewelry depicting horses] Caption: Jennite jewelry depicting horses
History: Four millennia ago, Oltecs reached the fertile shores of Skothar and colonized the continent. They called the new land jen, meaning “green.” Most of these newcomers established farming communities near the coast. Others discovered herds of wild horses and aurochs (an ancient breed of enormous, aggressive cattle) and became herders. Ultimately, the nomads began to prey on the settled farmers, raiding the towns for food and gold.
Eventually, the nomadic Jennite clans formed two separate groups at odds with one another. While many clans continued to worship Tarastia, patron immortal of justice, some clans turned to the worship of Rathanos. Tarastia took offense at Rathanos's insistence that his followers should keep women subservient to men. She incited her own followers to war. Generations of war followed and threatened to destroy both groups. Around 1600 BC Tarastia spirited her followers to the Hollow World, to keep their culture intact.
The outer-world Jennites prospered for a time before a series of natural catastrophes weakened their culture. These disasters included a deadly plague that decimated their herds of aurochs, and this loss, in turn, decimated the nomads. It was some time before the Jennites were able to build up herds of a smaller breed of cattle. The nomads gradually regressed to stone-age technology, their former glory all but forgotten and their ties with the agriculturalists and craftsmen of the coastal lowlands severed.
With the exception of the disastrous encounter with Alphatians on the Esterhold Peninsula, the Jennites' nomadic way of life-- herding, hunting, and occasionally raiding settlements-- has remained unchallenged for centuries. (See Esterhold and Minaean Coast)
Lhasa (Land of)
Location: Continent of Skothar, southeast of Jen.
Area: 1,228,400 km2 (474,300 sq mi) (nomadic Lhasans roam much of Skothar's central regions).
Population: Unknown (estimated at 318,000 Lhasans, in clans of 50-1000 individuals).
Languages: Lhasan, Sian
Coinage: The people of Lhasa rely on barter for trade.
[Image: High monastery in Lhasa] Caption: High monastery in Lhasa
Government Type: Tribal; some nomadic clans, some settled clans, each headed by a clan chieftain, who is advised by the clan's most powerful shaman (cleric). Monasteries are headed by high level monks, the highest levels go by the title Lam with the supreme religious and political leader known as the Dahl Lam. Monasteries are mostly among the settled clans, some in the city centers, and others in more remote areas.
Industries: Herding (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses), hunting and farming (main crops grown are barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, potatoes, and assorted fruits and vegetables.)
Important Figures: Each clan and Monastery has its own important figures, but none has yet become an important figure in Known World politics.
Flora and Fauna: To the Lhasans, all animals matter. They pay particular attention to their cattle and horses. Likewise, all plants matter. Anywhere from the grasses on which their herds graze, their farmed crops and the rare woods that survive are prized due to their altitude. Many animals share the steppes and mountains with the people of Lhasa. The Lhasan Plateau hosts species of gray wolf, snow leopard, domestic and wild yak, wild donkey, horses, cranes, vultures, hawks, geese, snakes, and water buffalo.
From the personal letters from Tien, student of divinity and monastic studies. Late of Sian, currently studying in Lhasa.
The Land of Lhasa encompasses most of the grassy steppes that stretch across the southern side of the Jennite Sword in central Skothar. This land is ringed by mountain ranges to the north, the east, and the southeast, and by the forested hills of Sian to the south.
The people of Lhasa are copper-skinned nomadic herders, subsistence farmers, horsemen and monasteries. They rely on New Stone Age technology (well-crafted tools and weapons made of wood, bone, and stone), as the art of forging metal was lost to their ancestors. Lhasan craftsmen know how to beat and hammer gold and copper, which they can find in a natural, almost pure state. Most Lhasans worship the Immortal Rathanos, although some clans follow other Immortals. Women rarely hold a high position in Lhasan society. Masters of the horse and of the steppes, Lhasan warriors sometimes raid Alphatian or Minaean communities in Esterhold and along Skothar's southwestern coast.
Notable Sites: There are several known permanent settlements in the Land of Lhasa, as well as nomadic groups. The Land of Lhasa isn't known beyond the neighbouring regions.
History: Four millennia ago, Oltec men reached the fertile shores of Skothar and colonized the continent.
“Although their history is similar to ours in many ways, as we have both had to deal with countries to our North, East, and South; and our countries are currently at peace with these same people, the Lhasans have had a varied outcome then we Sianesse have.
“As I am learning the long song of the Lhasan People from the Great Dahl himself, I am reminded that since history takes its own slow path to Enlightenment, so too will it take me to learn their history and accomplishments.
I pledge that I will continue with this history in my next missive. Until next time, as always, your humble student.” From the personal letters of Tien, student of divinity and monastic studies. Late of Sian, currently studying in Lhasa.
Sian (Land of) (Land of a thousand Pagodas)
[Image: Golden pagoda in Sian]
Caption: Golden pagoda in Sian
Location: Continent of Skothar, Tangor Bay, east of Empire of Tangor, Southeast of Jennite Sword, Southwest of Lhasa.
Area: 513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi)
Population: Unknown (estimated at 6,478,590 Sianesse, in clans of 50-1000 individuals).
Coinage: The people of Sian rely on barter for trade.
Government Type: Tribal; clans are headed by a clan chieftain, who is advised by the clan's most powerful shaman (cleric)
Industries: Herding (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses), hunting and farming (rice and millet.)
Important Figures: Each clan has its own important figures, but none has yet become an important figure in Known World politics.
Flora and Fauna: To the Sianesse, forests, including dense tropical growth and valuable teak in lower Sian, cover over 49% of the country, including areas of acacia, bamboo, ironwood and magnolia champaca. Coconut and betel palm and rubber have been introduced. In the highlands of the north, oak, pine and various rhododendrons cover much of the land.
Typical jungle animals, particularly tigers, occur in Sian. In upper Sian, there are rhinoceros, wild water buffalo, clouded leopard, wild boars, deer, antelope, and elephants, which are also tamed or bred in captivity for use as work animals, particularly in the lumber industry. Smaller mammals are also numerous, ranging from gibbons and monkeys to flying foxes. The abundance of birds is notable with over 800 species, including parrots, myna, peafowl, red jungle fowl, weaver birds, crows, herons, and barn owl. Among reptile species there are crocodiles, geckos, cobras, Sianesse pythons, and turtles. Hundreds of species of freshwater fish are wide-ranging, plentiful and are very important food sources.
Excerpt from The Land of a thousand Pagodas by Patrick Sullivan
The Land of a Thousand Pagodas
by Patrick Sullivan
An excerpt from the diary of Taferias of Mafertat, Captain of the Glorious ; Faithful Explorer to Her Imperial Majesty, Eriadna the Wise; Wizard Extraordinaire; etc.; etc.; etc.
...We believed all was lost once the ship ran aground, for everyone knows that this area of the world holds nothing remotely resembling civilisation. We couldn't determine our exact location due to the storm, which was still as fierce as ever, but we knew that we were somewhere on the jungle coast of the Sea of Steam or perhaps the Gulf of Tangor. At any rate, our chances looked grim: even if we did somehow manage to repair the ship, we still could not get away from this place without facing THEM again. At this point, I think I'd rather take my chances with the jungle.
Daylight finally brought a clearing of the storm. The damage to the ship was not as serious as I feared that it might have been, but it would still require about a month of hard labour to repair, and we needed provisions. Even if it were repaired, could we get away from here by sea? I certainly had my doubts, but with the sun came new hopes for survival. I decided to lead an expedition up the coast a few miles in each direction in order to see what could be discovered. After a couple of miles we spotted something shining in the distance ahead of us. You can imagine my surprise when I saw, as we drew closer, a full-fledged town. Here! In what everyone knows is the absolute middle of nowhere! At first glance, I would have to guess that this town is about as big as home, back in Mafertat, Frisland, Alphatia. The homes were primarily made out of wood with straw and mud to seal them, and many small fishing canoes were moored along a full half-mile stretch of the shore and along the slow mouth of a wide river. The people going about their business in the town were undoubtedly human, but their complexion was unlike any other that I have seen. If I had to guess, I'd say that they were closest to the Jennites. They wore fairly typical clothes for this climate-- scant and brightly coloured, but not indecent. Aside from its size, it seemed to be a fairly typical native village, except for the great temple or palace structure of some sort at the centre! It's gracefully soaring, curving architecture towered over the rest of the town, dwarfing it in comparison. But the most astonishing thing was that this structure was covered with what appeared to be gold! When we came closer and the peasants noticed us, they seemed somewhat frightened, but more an uneasiness of strangers than the panic of terror. They backed away, until three men in red robes with completely bald heads came toward us. Despite what appeared to be a great treasure here, we didn't appear to be in a very good position to take it by force, so I made the obvious choice to try to befriend them. They three bald men bowed before us, and we returned the gesture. I cast a spell so that we could communicate, hoping that they wouldn't interpret it as a threatening gesture. They never batted an eye, and I began to speak to them. I explained our situation (they were most impressed that we had actually made it here across the sea), and asked them for whatever help that they could give us. The monks, as they turned out to be, and the peasants gladly and freely welcomed us into their homes, despite the fact that almost none of my men could communicate with the natives. I sat on the floor at a low table with my monk/host and shared a meal of rice and chicken with a strange, foul-smelling, though pleasant-tasting, spice. We also shared several cups of a delicious tea, and then he allowed me to rest the night in his home. It never occurred to me until I was already lying on my bedroll that they never once asked us to surrender our weapons.
It turns out that the palace is actually something called a "Pagoda". Apparently it's a holy sight for their religion, which seems to involve extreme pacifism and kindness to all beings. They do not "worship" their patron immortal, as so many other primitive societies do, but look up to him as a role model and mentor in their own quest for enlightenment. They call their patron "Rohindartha," but I have never heard of such an immortal. Everyone in the town seems to be a fervent philosopher; Allanmyo, my host, explains that every boy of the town, as well as many of the girls, join the monastery for at least a few months of their lives. If it is their calling, they will spend their lives at the monastery. The monks and nuns (I met a few nuns today) seem to actually be people from all walks of life: many are typical clerics, but there are people reminiscent of Sindhi mystics, and there are even a few magic-users! They follow their philosophy of pacifism and respect for all life very rigidly, though it is believed to be each individual's responsibility to determine right or wrong for himself. Most of my men, along with some of the natives, went back to the ship today to try to repair it, but I decided to stay to learn what I could of this land.
The dome of the Great Pagoda is real gold! What's more, the natives tell me that this is only one town in the great Land A Thousand Pagodas. Allanmyo told me that there is a great king of this land who rules from his capital at Pantang, the Glorious City of the Hundred Pagodas. The city I'm in, by the way is called Rangyon. Anyway, Allanmyo says that there are hundreds of pagodas throughout the Kingdom. Not all of them are made out of gold; there's not that much gold in the whole world! But this is obviously an incredible kingdom nonetheless! From how the monks describe the Kingdom, it sounds more like a very loose federation of tribes united in their faith and their symbolic allegiance to their King at Pantang.
Today I awoke to the sounds of shouting in the village. I quickly drew on some clothes and then rushed outside to see what the commotion was. A pair of tigers were in the centre of the town, and townspeople were running helter-skelter to try to avoid their fangs and claws. I rushed forward and fired a lightning bolt from my wand. Unfortunately my aim was off in my haste, and it only grazed the side of one of the tigers. I prepared to shoot again, this time more accurately, when I heard a spell cast from behind me and felt myself unable to move. Me! An Officer of the Imperial Alphatian Navy! A powerful wizard! ME! HELD?!? Allanmyo ran from behind me and began calling orders to the peasants, who, instead of panicking, listened and followed his orders. They all ran in the same directions, leaving an open path for the tigers to escape, which they quickly did, running back into the jungle. They poured some sort of tea which, in retrospect, must have been drugged into my mouth. It released me from my paralysis, but also seemed to relax my tension and calm my nerves and my fury. Allanmyo explained to me that the tigers were simply passing through town this morning when the townspeople began to awake, scaring the tigers, and accidentally herding them towards the centre of town. The tigers had eaten well that night, and, being one with nature, had no desire to kill. As this was the case, all that Allanmyo had to do was allow them to escape to go back to their cave and rest, all they ever wanted in the first place. This excitement (and probably the tea) helped convince me to go back to bed for a long nap. After my peaceful rest, I had much of the night to converse with the monks. They explained many things of this part of the world, claiming that great empires exist where Alphatian textbooks have always taught exist nothing but barbarians! They also explained some more about their philosophy, which sounds fairly good (and similar to the Great Immortal Alphatia's) except that it is terribly impractical. Late this evening, one of the monks spotted something moving quietly through town. When we went to investigate and discovered three ghouls prowling the night, I restrained my impulse to attack, remembering last time. You can imagine my surprise when the monks all raced forward and fought the ghouls with such incredible fury that nothing I've ever fought could stand up to their combined might...
These are a strange people: peaceful, yet powerful; knowledgeable, yet unknown; full of seeming contradictions. This diary does not do them justice, with all the complexities of their society, but it at least sheds some light on what until now has been a completely unknown kingdom, right under the nose of Great Alphatia! I for one am certainly glad to consider these people my friends, and I will never spread word of this land to those money-grubbing gold-seekers who would try to rob them blind. Besides, I might be able to turn a healthy profit off of trade with The Land Of A Thousand Pagodas!
From the diary of Huli Jamin Fi 'ayi Makan, formally crewman of the Glorious; Faithful Explorer to Her Imperial Majesty, Eriadna the Wise; Wizard Extraordinaire; etc.; etc.; etc.
It has been my decision to leave Her Imperial Majesty's service in order to explore this strange land. Here are some of my findings.
The Land of Sian encompasses most of the jungle areas that stretch across the central region of the Skothar continent, from the western coast to the Nentsun Plateau far to the east. This land is ringed by mountain ranges to the north and the east, and by the forested hills of the Minaean Coast to the west.
The people of Sian are typically copper-skinned but range from a light yellow through copper and light tannish brown, depending on general area. They are herders, farmers, and horsemen. They rely on New Stone Age and Copper Age technologies (well-crafted tools and weapons made of wood, bone, copper and stone), as the higher arts of forging other metals were lost to their ancestors. Sianesse craftsmen know how to beat and hammer gold and copper, which they can find in a natural, almost pure state.
In a traditional village, the monastery is the centre of cultural life. Monks are venerated and supported by the lay people. A novitiation ceremony called shinbyu is the most important coming of age events for a boy, during which he enters the monastery for a short time. All children in Rohindist families are encouraged to be a novice (beginner for Rohindism) before the age of twenty and to be a monk after the age of twenty. Girls have ear-piercing ceremonies at the same time.
Most Sianesse worship the Immortal Rohindartha, although some clans follow other Immortals. Women rarely hold a high position in Sianesse society, but it is not unheard of. Masters of the river and marshes, they are accomplished small boat sailors.
Notable Sites: There is an unknown number of permanent settlements in the Land of Sian. Along the Tangor Coast, there are rumors of a distant valley where Sianesse chieftains have been buried with their wealth.
History: It is believed that the ancestors of the Sian were remnants of the Southians, who broke off from the Tangor people, who migrated to the northwest and settled in the Tangor Gulf. They may have intermingled with Afridhi and Peshwans....
“As I am currently learning the Sianesse Language, the documentation of their Great History and culture, have been an understandably slow process. I will contact you later with updates to this investigation. Regrettably, this may take some time to accomplish. I have included the notes that I have so far. Your Faithful Explorer,Huli Jamin Fi 'ayi Makan, formally crewman of the Glorious ; Faithful Explorer to Her Imperial Majesty, Eriadna the Wise; Wizard Extraordinaire; etc.; etc.; etc.
Excerpt from Ethnographic History of Mystara
by Giulio Caroletti, Geoff Gander and Giampaolo Agosta. http://pandius.com/ethno.html
Birth of the Human Race
Before 75'000 BC
Black skinned human race in Tangor Bay area.
75'000 - 70'000 BC
First migrations leave eastwards and cross the Tangor mountains. Those that remain are the ancestors of the Tanagoro and of the other black-skinned humans. The evolution of the black skinned races will be treated separately in a later article.
67'000 - 56'000 BC
Southians remain on the south-eastern coast. They may have become extinct, or have crossed over the sea to Zyxl. The rest of the migrating humans, known as Northians, continue upwards near the eastern Skotharian coast.
[Map: MOrient project Map]
Map of the MOrient project.
[Image: Jennites meeting a Minaean traveller]
Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863): Ovid among the Scythians, painting. Date 1862, oil on paper mounted on wood. Current location Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City.
[Image: Jennites jewelry depicting horses]
Scythian jewelry, Budapest, VAM Design Center. Author Derzsi Elekes Andor.
[Image: High monastery in Hasa]
The Potala palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Date August 2009. Author Antoine Taveneaux.
[Image: Golden pagoda in Sian]
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar. Date 15 May 2005 (original upload date). Author Dwstein.