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Atruaghin Clans Redo

by DJ Hartel

I am in the process of using the Atraughin Clans for inclusion into my campaign, but it feels weak. I own the book (bought it after the shadow elves many many years ago) and was awed by some of the cool concepts, but felt too many cultures were jammed into an area too small.

1.) The children of the Bear has their adobe style homes on the wrong side of the plateau. Most Anasazi buildings faced south in order to capitalize on the warmth of the winter sun. Not sure how to reconcile this, and moving them to the southern part of the plateau would be weird in that they have relations with Darokin.

2.) The children of the Elk seem to have too small of an area. Using the Iroquois as their inspiration (more on that later), they had control of a large swath of area based from New York State. A lot of the other Indian groups were moved or exterminated based upon the Iroquois actions in a desire for more hunting land (amongst other things).

3.) The children of the Horse seem to be crammed on the plateau between Bear and Elk. I am not sure how many bison are needed to sustain them. It just seems like a weird fit.

4.) The children of the Tiger just seem like Aztecs using steel armor and weapons. Does anyone know what culture of Indian tribes they are based off of besides looking like Aztecs? (I'm curious as I'd like to think about their customs and nature and give a better reason for why they rebelled against the rest of the children)

I grew up in Iroquois land (technically Seneca) so I am a little biased in liking them. When Atraughin appears to the various children and unites them, it sounds exactly like the story of Hiawatha. It makes me think the base culture should be Iroquois in nature. In that regard, I'd chop the cultures down from the 5 presented to 3 (dropping the Horse and Bear, which sucks cause I think the Bear are a neat culture to have). I'd have different children of the Elk, maybe break them into 3 different groups based upon their various area of the plateau (west, Northeast, south east). I'd keep the children of the Turtle as is (they seem to mesh well, plus are cool in their own right). Tiger would stay too (Mainly as antagonists, but I might make them a mesh of their writeup an Iroquois in nature).

I'd import more from the Iroquois, namely their traditions, laws and fighting techniques. I would reduce the immortals to being Atraughin, Ahmanni Turtlerider, Mahatti Running Elk and Danel Tigestripes. The prohibition against magic feels weird, knowing what I do about the Iroquois. I think there would be some magic, more innate in nature, sorcery inclined then mages and book based magic. Though, if there was mages, I think they could weave their spell books into dream catchers. Also, I think it's silly for them to not use metal weapons. I know the Iroquois would trade for guns and such to have a better fighting chance back in the colonial days. I can see some trading their leather working and other crafted items for steel weapons, but not so much armor (it would mess with their stealthiness).

I'm starting to think of how I'd redo the history. Luckily I think this would fit well with the Intua history that I've read.

Hereís where Iím at right now for the children of the plateau. I'm considering only having 4 clans right now, mainly to focus on the unique cultures. I'm loving the discussion, and appreciate all the ideas.

The top of the plateau is split between the Children of the Wolf, also known as the fire keepers and the children of the Elk. This Wolfclan is new, but very important to the core of the Atraughin. Shamani come mostly from here, and they attend to most religious events. They prefer to live along the lakes and rivers of the plateau, and as a culture are fairly peaceful. It is their duty to try and keep the children united, to keep peace among them and to enforce the laws of the Great Peace handed down by Atruaghin. I am basing this clan off of the Onondaga, and might mix in some Mohawk influence.

The children of the Elk do not engage in a king of the mountain kind of struggle for who leads the clan as was written. Instead there are 8 spots, 2 more than the other clans because they incorporated more of the Bear clan than the other clans did (See below on the fate of the Bear clan). The chieftan rules in compliance with the women of the tribe. He can make his own policies and what not, but if he denies the wisdom of the women too long, they can vote to have him replaced by another.

The children of the turtle stay fairly the same. In order to add some similarity to the children of the elf and wolf, they also live in wigwams and long houses, build palisades and a deep ditch around their villages.

The children of the Tiger Iím still evaluating. Again, cool culture, but I want to make it strongly tied into the rest of the clans, not just the odd one, evil one out like it was treated in the book.

When the Tiger clan began to rebel with dark rituals, and the capturing of clansfolk of the other clans, there was an immediate calling for a grand council. All were invited, but the tiger clan refused to go. This was a time of great sadness, for no grand council meeting was ever refused. The remaining clans debated the issue, and the lost clan, the bear clan asked to bring the tiger clan to justice for their crimes. The bear clan went to war with them to stop their corrupted worship and practices. Unfortunately for the bear clan, things went very poorly and the clan was mostly wiped out. The bear tribe now exists among the other clans, though mainly into the Elk clan. They still settle into their own villages, and use their Bear as their last name. Their lands to the northwestern side of the plateau were set aside as the first hunting ground. The settlements found there are outside the Bearís traditional forest, on the edge of the plateau.

The hunting grounds are areas where the clans have decreed that all can hunt and use the land in balance. There are no settlements within a hunting ground. The hunting grounds are also used for when young men and women become adults to prove their strength and ability by bringing back food for the tribe. There are two hunting grounds up on the great plateau, in the southwest and in the northeast, the old bear clanís former lands. Also, the forest between the Turtle and the Tiger clan is the only lowland hunting ground. The turtle clan includes the sea as a hunting ground, and their young adults usually go there to prove they are now full adults.

The clanís villages stay until the land does not grow crops, then migrate to another area. When the migration occurs they take everything in the village with them, leaving behind nothing but a cleared area. In time when nature takes over the area they will come back and resettle it again. Note, the children of the Tiger do not do this, I believe they must practice some sort of crop rotation.

There are yearly meetings of the chieftains where they gather at the shores of Roaring Lake in a grand council to discuss events. Each clan can send a certain number of chiefs, Wolf has 6, Elk has 8, Turtle has 4 and Tiger, if they choose to go, can send 6 as well.

Scalping is used by all of the clans as a way of inflicting terror upon those they war with. They do not use it against one another (even the tiger clan doesnít scalp the other children) but against foreigners they feel no shame in doing it.

Also, another custom is the capturing of rival nations children, women and young adults. When the children of Atraughin war, they kill all adult males they encounter, unless they are willing for forsake their ways and convert to the lifestyle of the clan. After which they are indoctrinated into the lifestyle of the clan they live with, and after some time become a member of the clan. It is this way the children of the Tiger survive, as they use their raids into Darokin to replenish their numbers and survive despite the wars/skirmishes/raids they frequently embark upon.

There are caves they use to traverse up and down the plateau which all the various clans know about. Oddly enough, based upon their history and past, I think they might be better in caves than one would expect. Part of their focus is on survivability, and I think as part of every child's education they would learn of their ancestor caves, travel to safe ones and understand the basics of their history. Deeper caves could even lead to ruins from their past.

Iím still trying to figure out which immortals best define the cultures. I envision Tahkati Stormtamer as the rebellious part of the pantheon where heís kind of like Danel Tigerstripes but not as evil or corrupted. In a lot of ways he could have been the one to initially incite the Tiger clan to rebel. Unfortunately for him Atzanteotlís became aware and corrupted Danel. I donít see Danel or Hattani as immortals, but more like divine champions for their patron immortal.

Iím replacing the story of Danel Tigerstripes being corrupted and then corrupting his people with something more simple, and realisticÖ a basic storyline of jealousy. Essentially the Elk were chosen as the protectors of the plateau, and the Tiger tribe felt slighted. In the wars against the humanoids they had done just as much fighting and sacrificed as much of their warbands. Originally, the tiger wanted the guardianship of the wolf tribe to be an honor passed among the warlike tribes, but when things were decreed by Atraughin, the Elk and Bear clans were to be placed on top of the plateau, with no room for the children of the Tiger.

Once this was said, the children of the Tiger began to build cities in the stone style they recalled living in, and were "enlightened" by discovering old ceremonies about how to properly worship (IE lots of sacrifices in the Atzanteotl way). Now they consider those who live upon the plateau have grown soft and weak compared to themselves who have fought more goblins and orcs since the plateau was raised.

As for the prehistory, Tahkati Stormtamerís children of the horse were the first to unite the tribes back in the early history. However, when he aligned with Atzanteotl the children of the horse were one of the most affected by the humanoids raids and slavery. (Thanks Chimpman) Possibly because their clerics told them to not help, itís a tragic irony that had they united and fought they could have held off the humanoids. Tahkati hates Aztanteotl in the worse way, and schemes against him. Heís not a fan of Atraughin either though.

Other questions: How far did Intua influence? I have a thought of having the children of the bear, per the write up in Gaz 14 actually being located North of the plains of Fire north of the Lake of Halli.

When Intua collapsed, what happened to all of the underground structures? Iím assuming some were left to inspire the Tiger clan to build their cities the way they do. Do the caves below the plateau and the rest of the lands connect to the rest of the shadowlands? I am thinking they should.

Also, concerning the nature of the great plateau and the spell that was used to create itÖ what is filling in the space that pushed it up? Lava/magma? A big giant underground cavern? Did Atraughin open up some kind of planar influx from the plane of Earth to just prop it up?

A little info on the Names, specifically marriage, family clans, Gaz 14 clans and place names:

Another aside about the way the Iroquois were set up is they actually were in family-clans. Each Nation (which in the Gaz14 is similar to a Clan, like Bear, Tiger or Elk) has several family-clans. The clans are related across each nation and have names like Wolf, Bear, Deer and so on. One of the restrictions of the clans is you cannot marry into a similarly named clan even if it's from a different nation. So if Jack of the Wolf clan, Seneca Nation meets Jill of the Wolf Clan, Mohawk Nation, they are not allowed to marry even if they aren't related. Which given the Seneca habit of incorporating a lot of the people they captured into their own is weird rule.

Concerning marriage for the Iroquois, A man would get married to a woman, take her family-clan name and move in with them. I'm not certain what the specific marriage customs involved are with the Iroquois, only what happens after a marriage, what divorce is like and etc. Ideally, I'd like to document this for all the clans, but only after I study Iroquois tribal groups along with Northwestern tribal groups and central American groups.

Now when looking at the way they wrote up the product, you can tell they used clans names for both Gaz 14 Clan names and Tribe camp names. The Iroquois used certain place names for where they lived, and I'm not sure if a settled place was one or more family clans. I suspect multiple clans lived in one village site. I actually like the site names better, cause they sound more authentic (hence why around New York State you have words like Canandaigua, Chatauqua, Chippewa... I also know Indian place names are used elsewhere but I can't think of any out of state at the moment).

It would require too much effort to rename everything (with my current time available), but among the Atraughin Clans they don't use the tribe names that the Darokin explorers gave to the various villages/tribes. The smarter traders/travelers of the Atraughin clans will know what the Darokin merchants mean when they inquire of certain goods, but among themselves they'll never use those names.

Unfortunately, I'm at work and don't have the Gaz in front of me to read how they did names. Ideally every player from this area should have a family-clan name. I think they use a totem name in that place. I don't know if they even address the family-clan name issue, but I think it would become a problem with time. I also don't see everyone living in one village with the same last name...