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Centaurs of Ethengar

by Lost Woodrake

Years ago, there were many tribes of centaurs roaming the Ethengar steppes. However, as more and more humanoids and humans settled in the land - many of the centaurs decided to migrate south, to the deep woodlands of Alfheim and Karameikos, where food is more abundant and existence is much easier.

Yet, some centaur tribes remained to live the harsh life of the steppes. The three major tribes in Ethengar are:

The Kungai
(180 centaurs)

The Kungai live very close to the Land of Black Sand and are devoted to rescue the poor horses who get stranded in that cursed land by their owners. They will also save humans - but that is not top priority. One should note that since the Kungai live so close to the LoBS, not all of them are completely sane. Once in a while, the Kungai also fight the nearby Sliktor Orcs.

The leader of the tribe is Wokatai-Khan, a powerful centaur-shaman - who holds specific interest in the LoBS, since he uses the path to the Spirit World on the World Mountain quite frequently to contact the horse spirits there. He has a magical tattoo on the back of his neck of a fountain of running water. The water actually moves on Wokatai's skin - and he can feel their flow. When he can't feel the water - it is considered a bad omen, and usually means that there is a horse in danger.

Wokatai's worst foe is Konami the Cursed - an hideous nuckalavee, living deep in the LoBS, who (according to rumours) has some family connections with Wokatai.

The Ziang-Ru
(65 centaurs, 40 chevalls).

The whole Ziang-Ru tribe is belongs to the Keshak and serves the Great Khan most loyally. When Moglai-Khan came to power, Toya - a wise chevall from the tribe - convinced her kin that it would be the best way to survive in the steppes. Since then, the Ziang-Ru live with the Golden Court. The chevalls are most valuable to the Great Khan, since they use their shapechanging abilities to enter other Ethengar tribes as horses and spy there.

The Khan of the Ziang-Ru is their military commander, appointed by the Great Khan. Naturally, it is Toya - who leads her tribe to be a strong and capable army.

The Siyyaks
(85 centaurs, 25 chevalls).

The Siyyaks are a wild tribe, perhaps the one living the most harsh life in the steppes. They are located at the north of Ethengar, near the Heldannic border.

The Siyyaks hate the humans and the humanoids for making the centaurs leave their homeland. They think of the Ziang-Ru as traitors - and despise the Canolbarth centaurs for being soft and preferring the comforts of the woodland.

The tribe raids human and humanoid communities from time to time. Lately, they have made contact with Heldannic centaurs from across the border in order to bring damage upon the Golden Khan. As with the Ziang-Ru, Siyyak chevalls are also used as spies - but in this case, in order to spy upon the Khan's court.

The Siyyaks don't use the title of "Khan" for their leader - since it is human(oid) ways. Instead, they prefer the ancient and more traditional title of "Avik" (which means both "Our Father" and "Of the Mists"). The current Avik is the harsh Urkabi.

Historical Note: According to PC1, the centaurs left Ethengar in the last thousand years. This means that they have tried to co-exist with the humans and humanoids of Ethengar for many years - and only started to migrate around 0 AC. IIRC, this is during the second war of succession in Ethengar - which might have maid things worse for the centaurs. It might also had something to do with the Makistani leaving the steppes, around 150 AC. Maybe the centaurs were allies of the Makistani? Or maybe the two groups left because of similar reasons? Another reason for the centaurs to leave the steppes only now might be the rather recent creation of the Canolbarth - giving the centaurs a better option for a habitat.

Campaign Note: I've been thinking that after WotI, when the Alfheim Elves migrate towards Wendar - some centaurs might have accompanied them to the north. As they pass Ethengar, and as the Ethengars attack the Elves - maybe some of the Canolbarth centaurs rediscover their lost kin and decide to stay at the steppes.