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Theory on Makai pre-history

by David Knott

Since I have just returned from Japan after a day and a half layover in Hawaii, I have managed to gain an interesting perspective on the Makai people who supposedly are the main ancestors of the people of Ierendi.

I say "supposedly" because somebody else has already shown that the Thyatians probably overemphasised the Makai contribution to Ierendi culture for their own purposes. Still, it is quite clear that the available information about the Makai is incomplete and/or inaccurate.

From their very name it is quite clear that the Makai were meant to be based on Hawaiians, as the word "makai" in that language means "towards the ocean" (in contrast to "mauka", which means "inland" or "towards the mountains").

In addition, the information that they are just another Neathar tribe contradicts other information that makes them great seafarers (thereby linking them with the Tanagoro, who in prehistory undertook voyages equivalent to those of the RW Polynesians) and which states that they have dark or "dusky" skin, a characteristic that is certainly not true of the Neathar.

I have therefore taken the liberty of combining the available information about the HW Tanagoro and the Neathar/Makai to form the following composite history:

The Makai are descendants of Tanagoro seafarers who combined with Maukai (Neathar) natives on an island that they reached during their extensive sea voyages. After being driven out by the Maukai, they sailed west to the Thanegioth Archipelago and later to the Ierendi isles. At some point a threatened Makai community was relocated to the Hollow World.

Character Races/Classes

New character races: None.

Modified character races: Humans are the only race in this culture. They are restricted by their cultural bias but receive the following special compensations:

1) They have a bonus of +1 to AC.

2) They receive a bonus of +1 to hit and damage with preferred weapon as determined by class.

3) They have a movement rate of 150' (50') as opposed to the standard rate of 120' (40').

4) They receive +1 hp per level to level 10. This bonus is not received for any levels earned while defying their cultural bias; all other compensations are immediately and totally lost while they defy their cultural bias.

Female warriors must run away from their villages and survive on their own in the wilderness until they reach 3d level, at which point they may return home and be accepted as warriors.

Makai humans have medium brown skin, which makes them dark compared to any humans other than the Tanagoro. They have dark brown to black hair and dark brown eyes. Because of their Tanagoro ancestry they tend to be tall and lean of build.

As described in the Hollow World boxed set, Makai are very peaceful, merry, and amorous, with no conception of private property. Half of them are thieves. They wear only breechclouts and flower necklaces and live on a chain of islands south of the Merry Pirates in the Atlass Ocean.

Restricted character races: Dwarves, elves, and halflings are not found among the Makai.

New primary character classes: Forester and Rake.

Modified primary character classes:


Cultural melee weapons are dagger, mace, club, staff, spear, javelin, trident, and net.

Cultural missile weapons are bow/long, bow/short, and sling.

Cultural armour is normal shield only. Barding is not mentioned.

Preferred weapon for fighters is trident.

Mage: Mages may wield daggers, staffs, and nets but may not wear any armour or carry shields. Preferred weapon is staff. Makai may be Foresters (fighter/mages).

Cleric/Druid: Clerics may wield clubs, staffs, spears, and nets and may use normal shields. Preferred weapon is spear. Favoured Immortals are Korotiku and Diulanna.

Thief: Both Thieves and Rakes are found among the Makai. They may wield daggers, staffs, spears, javelins, and nets but may not wear any armour or carry shields. Preferred weapon is spear.

Restricted primary character classes: None.

Secondary character classes: None.


Languages: Makai speak Makai and Neathar. The Makai language has no written form. Makai may learn to speak but not read and write other languages.

General Skills: Required skills are any two of the following: Profession/Sailor/Canoeing, Profession/Pearl-Diver, and Profession/Fisherman