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Atruaghin Clans (Territories of)

Location: Along southern shore, west of Darokin and the Five Shires.
Area: 46,380 sq. mi. (104,355 km2), with 19,172 sq. mi. (43,137 km2) on the plateau itself.
Population: 230,000 humans. (On the plateau: Bear Clan: 45,000; Elk Clan: 30,000; Horse Clan: 70,000. In the lowlands: Tiger Clan: 60,000; Turtle Clan: 25,000. )
Languages: Atruaghin, although each clan has its own dialect.
Coinage: Coinage is uncommon, as most use barter for goods. The few coins that do exist are called Cloud (5 sp) and Land (cp).
Taxes: None.
Government Type: Numerous independent tribes, each led by a chief and/or shaman, loosely collected into larger clans.
Industries: Trapping, fur production, leather production (especially Horse and Turtle clans), pottery and woven goods (Bear Clan), woodworking (Turtle Clan). The Tiger Clan is known for its raids into Darokin.
Important Figures: Powakuan Sleeps-With-Open Eyes (Bear Clan chief, human, male, F10), Tulabal Shadowfall (Elk Clan Chief, human, female, F4/T13), Hovar Duck Watcher (Elk Clan shaman, human, male, Pr14 of Atruaghin), Eyela Moonstalker (Horse Clan chieftainess, human, female, F10), Naravipa Dagger Tooth (Tiger Clan chief, human, male, F17), Eelsha Spider's Kiss (Tiger Clan cleric, human, female, Pr10 of Atzanteotl), Talinguk Rolls-His-Canoe (Turtle Clan chief, human, male, T13).
Flora and Fauna: Horses, buffalo, birds of prey and many types of snakes can be found atop the large plateau. Down in the jungle below, great cats are often encountered, as are other typical jungle beasts. There is even rumour of a huge green dragon lairing somewhere in the region.
Further Reading: GAZ 14 - The Atruaghin Clans, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac.

Description: by Ryuk-uk Tshaa

It is with grave misgivings that I submit to you this chronicle of the way of life of the Atruaghin peoples. The study of human cultures, tribal though they may be, is not my field of scholarly interest. Even were it so, I fear that to attempt to condense the cultures of an entire people, particularly one so wonderfully diverse as those of the Atruaghin clans, into a few paragraphs, is a tragedy.

For a more comprehensive treatment of these folk, however, I refer you to the writings of my colleague, Hoo-ti Ruk, who has done extensive ethnographies of the Atruaghin people. (Attempts to contact the above mentioned Hsiao were unsuccessful. He was last seen mounting an expedition to Davania in 1013 AC. Ed.).

The Land

The predominant feature among the lands of the Atruaghin people is the great Atruaghin plateau. An immense natural wonder, rivalled in stature only by the Adri Varma plateau to the northwest of Glantri. Such is the majesty of this plateau that the Children claim Atruaghin himself raised the plateau in ancient times, using his powerful magics.

It is atop this plateau that the majority of the Atruaghin peoples live. To the northwest, where the plateau dips downwards, live the peoples of the Horse clan, on a combination of grassy plains and soil rich lake regions. To their east live the Bear clan, in large pueblo cities built in the side of the plateau. Bear clan farms line the upper ridge, catching the rains that blow northwards from the Sea of Dread. South of the Bear clan, in thick forests, live the tribes of the Elk clan.

Below the plateau, to the east, live the deadly tribes of the Tiger clan, in their thick jungles. On the lands south of the plateau, along the shores of the Sea of Dread, live the Turtle clan, plying the seas in their canoes.

The People

Outland scholars have long divided the Children of Atruaghin (as they often refer to themselves) into five major cultural traditions- the Bear, Elk, Horse, Tiger, and Turtle clans- though such distinctions are broad generalisations that do not do these people justice. In any event, the Children themselves do not use such terms to identify themselves, and regard outlanders who do with amusement.

The Children are largely tribal in nature, though the extent of their social organisation varies between cultural groups. Individual tribes of the Turtle and Elk clans, for instance, primarily consist of small bands of extended families, that seasonally come together as a tribe. Leadership among them is very informal, and it is only in instances of great necessity (such as war) that the clan acknowledges one overall chieftain. Such a system suits these peoples well, as their hunter/gatherer lifestyle does not accommodate itself to more than a semi-sedentary means of living. (They move around a lot. Ed.)

The Tiger and Bear clans, on the other hand, have very complex social structures. These people live sedentary lifestyles, building large cities and relying heavily on farming as their means of subsistence. They are very much like modern nations, with very formal leadership - the Tiger clan in particular denotes itself as a kingdom (a fact which seems to have slipped by outlander scholars, so keen on presenting them as 'primitive barbarians'). Both nations also have organised religions as well, as opposed to the largely shamanic ways of the Elk and Turtle clans. It is interesting to note that, whereas the Bear clan priests complement the role of the chieftain, the Tiger clan priests seem to wield as much (if not more) power among those people than the monarchy.

The peoples of the Horse clan deserve special mention, as they have perhaps been most wronged by outland scholars. My observations show that there are really two separate, but closely connected, groups that make up these people. There are the plains tribes, which roam the steppes on their horses year round, and the village tribes, which live a largely agricultural lifestyle around the lakes on the northern edge of the plateau. Both groups interact closely, which undoubtedly has led less observant scholars to assume they were one and the same. As to their religious activities, the village people have more formal priestly organisations, while the plains folk rely predominantly on shamans.

Additionally, I must note here that the Horse clans do in fact have spoken languages. Many tribal dialects, in fact. They do not use their spoken language with outsiders, however, only amongst their own tribes. In dealings with others, they use the sign language they have become renowned for. The nonsense about the plains folk not using bows in hunting is untrue as well. They use the bow and arrow most often in hunts; it is only when performing acts of bravery to improve their status, or impress outsiders, that they attempt to take down buffalo with close quarter weapons.

Recent History

The Atruaghin region was largely unaffected by the Great War years ago, primarily due to the sheer logistic improbability of an invading force being able to take and hold the plateau.

A group of Alphatian mages, fleeing the sinking of their continent, arrived on the plateau and subjugated the various tribes of the Bear clan, in 1010 AC. They were driven off by the Children of Atruaghin by the following year, though the World Elevator that connected them to Darokin was destroyed.

Recently, maps of trails through the interior of the plateau have allowed Darokinian merchants to resume trade with the Children. I should note here that, while visiting the Bear clan, my keen vision espied activity at the base of the plateau where the World Elevator once conducted commerce. I can only presume that Darokinian merchants are perhaps seeking to repair the enormous contraption. What effects this might have amongst the merchant houses of the Republic are certainly beyond my ability to comment on.

Last year, Eelsha Spider's Kiss was confirmed as the Tiger Clan high priestess, following the death of the former high priest. In the subsequent months, she has apparently utilised her influence in her position to spur the Tiger clan to vicious raids on Turtle clan tribes and nearby Darokinian towns in the Tenobar region.

Don't Miss

I noted during my brief stay among Bear clan cities a surprising degree of outland clothing (notably Sindhi and Darokinian) and trade goods. It would appear that Old World merchants are beginning to make great inroads into this previously isolated region of the world. I am unsure if that is a good thing or not.

Additionally, while asking about the Bear clan manner of building cities on the side of the plateau, I was mildly surprised to learn that there were legends of a time when the Bear clan lived on the ground below the plateau. Bear clan priests tell of large cities, thriving centres of commerce between Bear clan peoples and those of other peoples in the surrounding areas (I suspect these people must be early settlers of the Darokin region and perhaps Tiger clan people, in the days before the split between clans). There was a disaster of some kind that destroyed the cities and drove the survivors to return to their home on the plateau, though what sort of disaster is unclear. The tales speak of wars and invasions, from Tiger clan peoples or some other, outside force. It would be interesting to see whether any record of these cities may exist in ancient Darokinian scrolls, or even if remnants of these cities still remain below.