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The Tanagoro Plainsmen Hollow World Reference

by Mischa Gelman and Harri Mäki


The Tanagoro are generally based upon the pre-British Zulu nation of our world, with a few changes. The authors tried to keep this link and added in a few aspects of neighbouring peoples. The Tanagoro themselves have jungle-kingdom neighbours to the north that may be based on historical Southern African societies or be something entirely different - this is mentioned briefly in the PWA, but not in the original Hollow World set. The individual DM is free to develop these peoples as he or she sees fit, and work them into a Tanagoro campaign.

The major difference between the Tanagoro and Zulu is the following - the dynastic Zulu, under Shaka, were a highly disciplined people, as any militaristic society tends to be. The Tanagoro, on the other hand, are less authoritarian and more willing to question, perhaps due to the influence of a deity, Korotiku, who admires creativity, whereas the Zulu had no formal religion, therefore making the military the most important thing in their culture. Also, a few other comments before we get into the HWR itself - we used a variety of sources, of mixed reliability. There were some conflicts between them, so one cannot know how good a picture we have of the dynastic Zulus, as they had no literate historians and sociologists among themselves at that point in time. Also, any culture not in the Hollow World undergoes change - the Zulu of Shaka's era were far different than those of his father's or those of Dingane, his brother. With those disclaimers in mind, we continue...


The Tanagoro tribe was one of many on the Tangor peninsula in older times. Under the rule of one Senzibo (BC 3121-3028), though, they rose to prominence, defeating neighbouring cultures and assimilating them. They incorporated some elements of these cultures, but mostly strove to form a fairly unified body able to resist outside aggression. As they became a mightier nation, they shifted focus, from being a very militant, expansionist force, towards a more tranquil, protectionist one. Under Senzibo's son, Akame, this trend continued - alas, this was the final stage of progress for the Tanagoro as the Blackmoor cataclysm ravaged the world and the society was transferred to the Hollow World. Since their arrival, the Spell of Preservation has maintained their culture as it was upon its entry to the interior of Mystara. The most important thing of note took place approximately 0 BC, when a large number of Tanagoro migrated to the Nithian lands and formed the city of Hapta.


The Tanagoro are composed of many clans, around 280 total, with each having from 300 to 8500 members. Many only occupy a sole village, but larger clans can fill a dozen or more. They rarely move locations, though will in times of trouble. Clans are generally headed by a male, but female chiefs are not unknown. The head is responsible for all final decisions, but advisers play a key role, oftentimes bigger than the chief himself. Clans are named after their ancestral founder, generally names dating back thousands of years - new clans still form in the Hollow World, but this is a rare occurrence. Some clans give more military training than others, and some are known for having greater smiths, or diviners, or to excel in other areas. Each clan has a distinct "anthem."


The people are very loyal to their leaders - they do not often question them, and when they have a good chief, no amount of bribery or torture will cause them to betray their leader. The death of a great chief will lead to national mourning, not just tribal sorrow. A bad chief, though, will often lose members to surrounding clans, or cause a separate clan to break up from his own, often under the lead of an independent and reliable son or daughter. Leadership is generally hereditary, but if one resorts to assassination, they are denied the role, a stark contrast from the Azcan people where this is expected behaviour. Finally, leaders are human - everyone is responsible for daily chores - a male chief will still tend the aurochs, a female chief will still gather and prepare food.

One is not permitted to carry weapons into the presence of the great king of all the Tanagoro. Elephant tusks and leopard and lion skins are all royal property - any hunter acquiring such must turn them over to the crown, in return for a reward or present from the throne.

Princesses are very independent, bold and stubborn women (just as in 95% of run-of-the-mill fantasy novels, interestingly) - they are as prone as any to leave the clan to start their own, or to become adventurers. Such characters can cause great problems for PCs, especially if her father is restrictive and does not accept such independence - they may well have to choose sides, placing their lives in danger.


The Tanagoro do not seek out violence, but are skilled fighters, and work hard to defend their homes from the Jennites, Milenians and Nithians. Their land is fairly peaceful, but the vast number of wild animals, coupled with the dangers of evil men to be found among all cultures, necessitate their always being ready to fight. For this reason, all Tanagoro of age 6 or above carry, at minimum, a cudgel [staff or club] with which to fend off trouble.


Other weapons include daggers, iWisas (a club with a strengthened head, often with studs or brass nails at the top as well, given the stats of a mace), pikes and a variety of spears. The more traditional spear, a long-shafted but flimsy one, is an assegai [javelin], more of a throwing weapon than a stabbing one - this is the primary weapon of the Tanagoro. When going to war, a tribesman will arm himself with multiple assegais, relying upon this distance weapon until (s)he either runs out of ammo or the opponent has neared melee range. At this point, he or she will switch to an iKlwa, a short, broad-bladed thrusting spear [spear stats] devised by Senzibo himself. Since this was not universally adopted by Senzibo's death, some Tanagoro do not employ it, relying upon their cudgel or iWisa in close quarters, or fleeing altogether. Some Tanagoro use bows or slings, but numbers are low - a tiny percentage of archers also will poison their arrows. This is looked down upon by the majority of Tanagoro tribes. Another projectile weapon used is the isiMonqo, a short-handled, heavy-headed throwing stick, used primarily for bird-hunting. Stats are the same as for Nithian throwing sticks. Like many other peoples, Tanagoro give names to their weapons.

For defence, Tanagoro solely rely upon large auroch-hide shields, around 5 feet in height, that get strapped onto the back when travelling (also thus protecting one from ambushes from behind) and expecting danger.

Two other items can be used for combat, but serve ceremonial purposes more than for general usage. These are the dancing-shield and dancing-stick (isiKwili). The former provides no AC bonus if initiative is lost, due to the smaller size and thus added time needed to position it properly for defence. The latter does d2 damage only.

Rules of war and tactics

Tanagoro, when they fought amongst themselves, began with a battle of champions - whether their opponent opts to agree with this custom varies, but such battles are still conducted in about 50% of encounters with their neighbours. This is a one-on-one affair, no assistance allowed from either side. After ten rounds of this fight, or after it has ended (whether with death, unconsciousness or even fleeing the field), whichever comes first, the battle as a whole gets underway. If the duel is conducted and the Tanagoro champion is victorious, add 10 to BR if the War Machine is used, or 2 to morale otherwise. If the Tanagoro champion is slain or knocked out, subtract 10 or 2 respectively. If (s)he flees, subtract 30 or 5 - the former champion is also not permitted to return to Tanagoro lands.

Those captured in battle are not killed, but are rather ransomed back for aurochs. If the foe does not have auroch herds (often the case with the Nithians and Milenians) the captive may be in for a long imprisonment. The bodies of slain enemies are slashed open to free the spirit of the dead.

The Tanagoro do not employ just warriors, but make use of other professions during large-scale combat. Spies monitor an opponent's advance beforehand, while sentries are in position if an attack is expected. Smoke signals inform the mass of the army as to the movement of their opponent, and also are used for general communications [Signalling skill required]. Boys not old enough to fight are often employed as equipment carriers, to provide soldiers with an adequate supply of assegais. Doctors [rarely clerics, generally those with First-Aid skill] also often tend to the wounded even as the fight goes on.


A wide variety of critters inhabit the Tanagoro plains, often requiring bold adventurers to remove them. Non-magical wild ones include crocodiles, hippos, hyenas, dogs, monkeys, cows, elephants, buffalo, gnus, deer, rhinos, boars, lions, jackals, warthogs, cheetahs, leopards, kudus, waterbucks, zebras, porcupines, cats, red ants, elands, bush-bucks, antelopes - in other words, a large range and anything the DM wants that's appropriate for the terrain. Hunting is both a private and public pastime - a public hunt being called by the chief of a tribe, and being a fairly orderly affair. Sometimes, a sly chief will call a hunt for the sole purpose of removing a troublemaker from his clan, arranging the targeted man's death.

The PWA also mentions a number of magical beings (or at least those not common to our own world) that inhabit the plains - rock baboons, giant beetles, bugbears, sabre-tooth tigers, cyclops, dinosaurs, grab grass, griffons, giant lizards, manscorpions, manticores, medusae, minotaurs, mummies, pterosaurs, giant scorpions, snakes, sphinx, giant spiders and trolls.

Master hunters are often superb trappers as well as trackers. They know a variety of snares and camouflaged pit traps, sometimes with stakes at the bottom. One favourite trick is arranging a "fence" with several holes as "gates" - by each gate, a pit trap lies to catch prey fleeing through it. Other traps are designed to crush the trapped animal, bringing down stones on the beast as it reaches for the bait. Wicker-cages with bait inside are often used for smaller pests, the door closing behind it, or the hunter ready in hiding to spear anything that enters. Poison is most frequently used among the Tanagoro by hunters (and witches) - the favourite being to catch an elephant, by smearing a tiny fingernail-sized block with venom, loosely putting it into a spear haft, so that it will disinsert itself upon impact. Such poisons will kill an elephant in 6 hours.

In the Outer World, witches would frequently magically charm leopards as their servitors. To this present day, many evil folk of vast power or resources will tame leopards, thus making that animal more widely feared than others of comparable power.

The Land of Strange Magicks is full of odd creatures, gated in from other dimensions or simply mutants of those that wander in. The Purple Dragon is one example of the kind of beast to emerge from this land.

Unicorns are also known to reside in the Tanagoro Plains, far from any clans. These were inserted in the Hollow World by Koryis in 314 AC in an effort to save a peaceful race then being threatened by Alphatian mages seeking their horns for research.


One reason they have gone undetected is a widely unknown ability of disguise. They are able to change skin colours at will (thanks to Nick O'Donohoe's "Magic and the Healing" series for this idea) and can also change the appearance of their horns to make it appear as if they were simply antelope or similar creatures, with a broken or damaged horn. The presence of the Spell of Preservation ensures their safety from wrong-doers.

A typical unicorn will live for 400 years, but some live much longer - a handful still remain from the Outer World in the Plains society. They mate only once over 200 years, but such matings always lead to a live birth exactly a year later.

It is not recommended that PCs play unicorns - they are timid creatures who only wish to associate with humans when they are pure women. They do not enjoy adventuring and have no incentive to do such. They love peace, beauty and nature above all else and will fight to protect their territory from the forces of chaos. Their XP gains more from helping others, and they do not gain XP from combat or treasure or other standard means.

Level XP HD AC D Save General Age Range
---- -25,000 1d8 6 d4 C2 0-5
---- -12,000 2d8 4 d6 F4 5-20
---- -6,000 3d8 3 d8 C6 21-50
NM 0 4d8 2 d8 F8 51-death (few unicorns advance past this point)
1 25,000 5d8 1 d8 C10
2 50,000 6d8 0 d8+1 F12
3 100,000 7d8 0 d8+1 C14
3 200,000 8d8 -1 d8+1 F16
5 400,000 9d8 -3 d8+4 C18/F18 (best of charts for each save)
6 800,000 9d8+2 -3 d8+4 C20/F20
7 1,200,000 9d8+4 -3 d8+4 C22/F22
8 1,600,000 9d8+6 -5 d8+7 C24/F24

Unicorns do not advance above 8th level, and few reach that point. Those that do are great servants for the cause of virtue, morality and peace in the world and are to be feared by wrongdoers. Teleport Level -------- ----- N/A 1 HD 90' 2 HD 180' 3 HD 360' NM - Level 6 1800' Level 7-8

To protect the unicorns and assist them with some functions, Korotiku has encouraged the move of some female clerics and others to their lands, who then reside there for life, keeping the location secret. This also allows for the maintenance of some female independence, important to an immortal who enjoys freedom and individuality.

Flora and Food

Food consists of a range of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, game, domestically slaughtered meat products and milk. Some foods are cooked in earthen pots. Among those things eaten are pumpkins, corn, maize, sweet cane, bread, melons, sorghum, sesame, curds and sweet potatoes. Meat of any kind is a rare dish, while curds are very commonly eaten. Fish are culturally taboo, despite a fair number of rivers running through Tanagoro lands. Some "experts" in neighbouring countries swear that this is because local fish are poisonous, thus swaying their own members away from eating them. Truly, these fish are fine to eat, but the rivers are primarily inhabited by fish put into the Hollow World when they were headed to extinction on the Outer World. The Spell of Preservation helps discourage their being eaten, especially when mixed with a historical ban on fish among the plainsmen. Generally Tanagoro eat two meals a day - a midday meal and one at "evening" time (as such things are judged in the Hollow World). Meals are communal at times, sometimes simply family affairs, sometimes individual ones.

One plant key to Tanagoro society is the acacia tree. This is a thorny form of vegetation, with a wide range of thorns included - from simple, tiny, sharp spikes all the way to 4-5 inch long thorns. Material from this tree is often used for fences, weapons, tools and medicines. It is unique to Tanagoro lands among the Hollow World and is integral to the culture in providing so much.

Section 2 - The Domestic Scene


While in this HWR we use standard usage of family terminology, the Tanagoro do not. They consider all members of a clan family, as well as some outsiders. All a father's brothers are considered a "father" while all of a mother's sisters are also "mothers." Bigamy is allowed, so one has many "sisters" and "brothers" even though they may be from different mothers. All clan members are also considered "sisters" and "brothers" though in a less direct sense.


For this reason, the Tanagoro are exogamous and must marry members of another clan. Being a patriachical society, the female is the one who leaves her clan, rather than the male (though her relations are still considered family by her children). The new bride cannot enter the cattle area of the tribe until she has been fully accepted, which may takes months or even years. The reverse has been known to happen though, especially if the male's family is not on the best of terms with him or is less approving of the match. There is a "bride-price" of generally 3 to 10 oxen (much more for a princess) but marriages are not arranged by the parents - the technicalities of "buying" the pride only take place once the loving couple has already decided to wed. It is a custom for younger brothers to marry the widow of an older brother who has passed on, but widows must wait a year to remarry. As in many other bigamous societies, the wives function as a "team", sharing duties and helping each other out, often uniting to stand back to their husband when one wife would not have much say. Large families are rare, though, as few men have more than one or two wives, and almost none have more than 5. Marriages are most common around the Thyatian month of Vatermont (the Tanagoro do not make use of a calendar system), after the crops have been harvested, a time of little work and lots of food.


The Tanagoro are a prudish people, by many standards. Homosexuality and prostitution do not exist. Rape is very, very rare, as is domestic violence in general. Adultery is a capital offence. On the other hand, marital relations outside of marriage are approved of. If a child is born of such a match, though, both parents undergo severe ostracisation and the child is abandoned.


During pregnancy, a female is required to abstain from certain foods and avoid the tracks of certain animals, for the sake of the unborn life inside them. The father-to-be, on the other hand, was required to partake of certain foods and had to avoid crossing waters to ensure the baby's well-being. Most of these requirements are due to superstition and custom, but some do truly benefit the child. Infant mortality is still high in areas without a reliable cleric, witch doctor or herbalist (see later). Twins are deemed highly unlikely, and one is killed at birth always.

During infancy, a child undergoes strengthening ceremonies - it is smoked in fires or buried up to its neck and abandoned for short times, for instance. Such ceremonies rarely take lives and are responsible for the tougher nature of the Tanagoro (in the form of HP bonuses mentioned in the HW book).

Kids will be kids and will play all sorts of games of their own imagination, which any adult could not hope to comprehend. As they age, of course, they lose some creativity and start following established pastimes. Boys for instance enjoy crafting clay aurochs (4" long) and then have them "fight" by charging them into one another. If one child manages to break off the horns of his opponent's toy, he is considered to have won the match. (NOTE: Some such toys are magical! They may well be overlooked due to their childish nature and not be taken seriously but a spell will show the presence of power, usually minor. The powers of such magic toys are up to the DM. Often the creation of such magic aurochs speaks of magic talent in the youth.) Girls enjoy crafting clay dolls and caring for them as if they were children. Both boys and girls play a version of "tag." It is similar to the game we are all familiar with, except after each tag the tagger sits down and cannot be tagged again till they get up and run once more.

At age six, youths start caring for younger siblings (if there are any) and also begin chores appropriate to their gender. Boys start working with the herds, for instance.

Parents are expected to be distant and respected and are not to be addressed unless they initiate conversation. The eldest son inherits any property - this does not include land, which is communally owned.

Elderly people are revered and cared for as well by their family. They are most certainly not considered a burden or a nuisance.


The dead of the Tanagoro get buried one day after their deaths, with a headstone being promptly placed over the grave. On the third day after death, family members begin the "official" mourning ceremonies. Heads are shaved bald, except for widows, who simply cut their hair shorter than usual. Numerous foods are avoided till the hair grows back to older levels. One year after the death, a public ceremony is held in which the spirit of the dead is bought back to dwell in the cattle-pen with the other ancestral spirits.



The Tanagoro reside in huts of woven saplings supported by poles, with a thatch dome overhead. A single low door permits entrance only on the hands and knees. The floor is of a hard-beaten clay, but to sit on this bare ground is considered improper. Therefore, reed sitting-mats are used while sleeping is done on grass-mats and wooden pillows, stored off to the side when not in use, as with most items. The left side of the hut is for female children and pets, such as goats, sheep and calves, which are kept in an enclosure there. The right side is for male children, with the mother sleeping in the middle. Each married woman has her own hut, with residences for older males separate. There are several bad points to this dwelling - it is highly flammable, for one. As mentioned, it is difficult to enter. Little light gets in, so reading is nigh impossible inside. It also needs repairs frequently, and to do so is the work of the males of the village, just as building them initially is. The design also offers many bright spots - the temperature inside is moderate and well-balanced due to the thickness of the walls. They are fairly rainproof, and take but a few hours to put together. Perhaps most amazingly, they are portable - when moving, men lift from both inside and outside, then haul the hut to its new location, doing needed repairs upon arrival at their destination. As with most people, pride is taken in the cleanliness of the home. Making sure things are neat and tidy is the responsibility of the females of the house.


The general outline of a kraal, or village, goes something like this, if drawn very badly using ASCII (apologies here - neither of the writers is a skilled ASCII artist by any means):

  (A__ C)
 ( / _\  )_ _
(D(E _F   _F_
 ( \__/  )
  (A   C)
   ( B )

That should be two circles, one inside the other, with an exit gate for each (F) The chief resides at the D, the cattle in the interior circle (E). The chief's wives (or husband) and children live at A while others live at B. C are guest residences. The cattle area is also referred to as a kraal. The ancestral spirits are clustered around and within the cattle pen and reveal themselves through good or sometimes bad events (rarely attributed to what we call luck) and also through dreams. Sample kraal names from the real world are Emgungundlovu, KwaBulawayo, Ondini, Nodwengu.

Section 3 - Magic

Magical or clerical powers are not gained by a decision of the individual to seek after them, but rather are present from birth. There are numerous types of spellcasters among the Tanagoro - clerics, mages, druids, witch doctors, diviners, herbalists, weather-herders and witches. Clerics, magi and druids operate in the same fashion as in other nations. Idols are unknown among the Tanagoro.

The other spell-caster types all derive their powers from the spheres of power.

Weather-herders get their power from Energy, attributing it to a deity of the sky, who does not exist, but is simply an embodiment of the sphere itself.

Diviners get their power from the ancestral spirits, thus tapping into the realms of Time.

Herbalists gain their power from the earth, and their medicines gained from it, thus drawing on Matter.

Witches specialise in destructive and negative energies, the specialty of their Entropy source.

Witch doctors draw on a wide range of skills and powers, using Thought to properly combine them. Korotiku, being of the realm of Thought, is directly responsible for their abilities but is not worshipped as by his clerics.

All will be explained below:


A man or woman of mixed skills, able to cast both magic-user and clerical spells. The exact split of talents is up to the individual player or DM (for NPCs) but one cannot exceed a total of 7 spell levels. For instance, Ndzaba is a 7th-level witch doctor with 2 levels of magic-user spells and one level of clerical spells who has just attained 8th level. Checking the charts, his player sees he has access to a 4th level of spells - he sees Ndzaba as more of a mage, so opts to gain access to 3rd-level mage spells. Witch-doctors can turn undead as a cleric half their level (rounded up) and gain d4+2 HP per level (as a typical Tanagoro mage), with +1/level after level 9. No general skills are required for witch-doctors but mysticism is recommended. They can use items designed for both mages and clerics, as long as they fit into the Tanagoro cultural limitations. To a large extent, they have replaced the typical spellcasters in Tanagoro lands - the originality and creativity aspect of their powers appeals to Korotiku greatly. They may not use a shield and may use a mace, club, dagger, staff or assegai. They do not require spellbooks.

Witch-doctor saving throws table
1-5 6-10 15-20 25-30 31-35 36
DR/Pois 13 11 9 7 5 3
Wands 16 15 14 12 10 8
Par/Petr 15 13 11 8 6 4
Dr Breath 16 13 11 8 6 3
Rod/St/Sp 13 11 9 6 4 2

Daily Spells - this is the number of total "spell levels" the caster can use daily - a 1st level spell subtracts one, a second level spell two, third three, etc. Therefore, Ndzaba, on turning 8th level, can now daily cast 9 1st level spells (mage or cleric) and 5 2nd level MU ones, or one 3rd level MU spell and 8 2nd level MU ones, or 2 4th-level MU spells, 2 3rd MU, 2 2nd level MU and one 1st level C or MU spell (compared to 2/2/3/3 for a typical mage). So, in other words, they have access to fewer spells if they stick to strict limits, but can have access to more spells of a given level, if abandoning ones of another. They cannot exceed 9 spells of any given level on a given day - if Ndzaba chooses 4 1st level clerical spells, he can't choose another 6 1st level mage spells for that day.

Level XP Spell Levels Daily Spells
1 0 1 1
2 2,500 1 2
3 5,000 2 4
4 10,000 2 6
5 20,000 2 9
6 40,000 3 12
7 80,000 3 15
8 150,000 4 19
9 300,000 4 23
10 450,000 4 28
11 600,000 4 33
12 750,000 5 38
13 900,000 5 44
14 1,050,000 5 50
15 1,200,000 5 56
16 1,350,000 5 62
17 1,500,000 6 68
18 1,650,000 6 74
19 1,800,000 6 80
20 1,950,000 6 86
21 2,100,000 6 93
22 2,250,000 6 100
23 2,400,000 6 107
24 2,550,000 7 114
25 2,700,000 7 121
26 2,850,000 7 128
27 3,000,000 7 135
28 3,100,000 7 142
29 3,250,000 7 150
30 3,400,000 7 158
31 3,550,000 7 166
32 3,700,000 7 174
33 3,850,000 7 182
34 4,000,000 7 191
35 4,150,000 7 200
36 4,300,000 7 210

Since the Tanagoro realise that diseases generally derive from magical sources, not natural causes, they often call on witch doctors as doctors. At 10th level, witch doctors gain the ability to smell out evil. This is equivalent to the paladin ability of detect evil but certain conditions (a large amount of smoke in the area, or other nasal disturbances) can render it useless.

At 16th level, witch doctors can similarly smell out undead as well as witches, but this is a constant skill, without the need to concentrate. The individual DM is free to create new witch doctor spells, specifically for their access.


These are usually women, but men are capable of divining as well. While they are capable, though, diviners are prevented by the Spell of Preservation from accessing their powers! Their presence similarly is maintained by this spell, so the Tanagoro now have a large number of diviners whose powers are zilch (though they may use them on the Outer World; DM's discretion as to what powers they have - the DM may also deny them their powers though, unless in areas [such as the Tangor Peninsula] where the ancestral spirits may be) - they still try to guess out what happens, getting frustrated when they err. Popular opinion believes the skills have simply declined since the good old days. The spirits contact the diviners through dreams and visions, often causing physical pain (one point of damage upon start of divination, -3 to attacks, +3 to AC, when divining). This requires training by an established diviner, but like other fields of magic, is not a career choice - it is a biological impulse. Children never inherit the skill from parents, but grandchildren often get it, as it skips a generation. One basic rule is dreams' meaning is often reversed - dreams of death and illness signify good things, while dreams of marriage may signify bad things. If a PC is a diviner, treat them as a cleric or mage (their choice) with the additional divination pains when you feel the mood comes on them, and also an additional bonus to Danger Sense and like skills to compensate for such pains.

Herbalists (Izinyanga Zemithi or Izinyanga Zokwelapha if you prefer a more complex, culture-specific term)

These are typically men and the sons of other herbalists, though female herbalists are also known. All Tanagoro have some knowledge (accurate or not) of the various plants of the plains and their powers, but this is a special magical skill. Herbalists still do need the Nature Lore [Plains] and Healing [Doctor] skills, taking up two skill slots. They have a unique skill to evade the limits of the Spell of Preservation - on the Outer World, they were famed for mixing in the knowledge of other nations - and the spell preserved this trait. Therefore, they are able to study and copy Nithian, Milenian and Jennite medical techniques! They are always on the lookout for new medications and for new uses of old ones. These are most typically the doctors of a Tanagoro tribe, again given the Tanagoro understanding of the magical origins of disease. Treat Herbalists as clerics except for the following -

A)No followers gained, but d6 students may join them to learn from a master at 9th level
B)No spell causing negative effects on an opponent may be used (ex. Cause Light Wounds, Cause Blindness, etc.)
C)No deity is worshipped for the powers, but a collection of medicines (often various herbs and plants, as the name suggests) must always be carried around - these need constant replacing, as their powers get drained with each spell. DM's decision on when they "give out" if not replaced.
D)Different general skills required
E)They have the limited ability to dodge the Spell of Preservation
F)Healing spells are amplified, especially if potent medicines are owned. Again, DM's discretion here.
G)They cannot turn undead
H)They start with 1 1st level spell, and don't gain another spell till level 3

If they aspire for immortality, they must choose the path of Matter and are considered as a preferred class for such

Weather-herders (Izinyanga Zetangor)

This sphere of magic is limited solely to males. They get chosen by a close encounter with the lightning so common on the open Tanagoro plains. Recognisable by a lightning bolt design made on their face by an established Izinyanga Zetangor (2nd level or higher), they are the sole Tanagoro who are considered to have no ties to the ancestral spirits. Their job is simple - to guide the weather - or perhaps, not so simple, given all the difficulties entailed in that. Those weather-herders killed by lightning are considered to have ascended to heaven or immortality.

Weather-herders have the following powers:

A)HP, level advancement, saving throws of clerics
B)Weapon selection of fighters (but with weapon proficiency slots and advancement of clerics, and without fighter combat options)
C)Predict Weather as 1st level druid spell at level 1, once daily per every 3 levels of caster (round up).
D)Create Water as 4th level cleric spell at level 2, three time a month, but the water descends from above. This also requires overcast conditions
E)Take half damage from lightning of any sort at level 3, save for quarter damage.
F)Call Lightning as 3rd level druid spell at level 5, once daily for every 5 levels of the caster (round down).
G)Take no damage from lightning of any sort at level 8.
H)Control Winds as the 5th level druid spell at level 11, once daily for every 5 levels of the caster (round down)
I)Summon Weather as the 6th level druid spell at level 14, once daily, with an additional daily casting gained at levels 20, 27 and 36.

Feasting on a thunderhead (Creature Catalogue, pg. 105) improves their powers vastly - for 24 hours, they have an additional 10 HP and +2 to-hit and to-damage. This also entails a 24-hour access to *all* weather-herder powers, regardless of level. It also gives a permanent bonus of 10,000 XP and grants any future powers one level sooner. Should a character encounter feast on more than one thunderhead in a lifetime (or, under some amazing circumstance, in a day), bonuses are cumulative.

Witches (Abathakati)

This is a secret role, not one openly mentioned, unless the witch is of significant power (in which case she is tremendously feared). It is solely a female role, and solely a Chaotic one. It is not recommended for player characters. Witches have the following powers:

A)HP, Level Advancement, Weapons and Armour, Saves as Magic-User
B)Can cast either magic-user or clerical spells, but not both - this choice is made at level one - witch clerics can control undead as an avenger at 9th level
C)Flight is granted as a level one spell, but only at night. This was the case in the Outer World, but of course is not applicable in the Hollow world.
D)Thanks to the evil works of Thanatos and his Burrowers, the Spell of Preservation has been undermined some - therefore Tanagoro witches can cast the spell invisibility, and automatically add it to their repertoire at level three, whether they are mages or not
E)Witches can use touch spells at a distance, using a special spell "Inflict" - this is a 4th level spell
F)Witches have access to some damaging spells that are unknown in the rest of the Hollow World, as well as some destructive or negative-influence spells peculiar (sp?) to them [DM's decision again here]
G)They are able to cast less spells due to the additional powers granted

Witches often use snakes as servitors. They are granted their powers by Nyx rather than Korotiku - he realises the need for his Tanagoro not to grow too complacent (a notion furthered by his Chaotic alignment), and so has allowed another elder immortal to grant truly harmful powers to some Tanagoro. He realised as well that all cultures will develop a bad side - better it be an immortal whose influence is limited in the Hollow World (due to her ties to the night that does not come here) than someone like Thanatos. Nyx grants her clerics some powers of necromancy, allowing them to rely on the undead a fair amount.

Witch MU:
Level Spells/Level
1 1
2 1
3 1/1
4 2/1
5 2/2
6 2/2/1
7 3/2/1
8 3/2/2
9 3/2/2/1
10 3/3/2/2
11 4/3/2/2/1
12 4/3/3/2/2
13 4/3/3/2/2/1
14 4/3/3/2/2/2
15 4/4/3/2/2/2
16 4/4/4/3/2/2/1
17 5/4/4/3/3/2/1
18 5/4/4/3/3/2/2
19 5/4/4/4/3/2/2
20 5/4/4/4/3/3/2
21 5/4/4/4/3/3/2/1
22 5/5/4/4/3/3/2/1
23 5/5/4/4/3/3/2/2
24 6/6/5/4/3/3/2/2/1
25 6/6/5/5/4/3/2/2/1
26 6/6/6/5/5/3/2/2/2
27 6/6/6/6/5/4/2/2/2
28 6/6/6/6/5/4/3/2/2
29 7/6/6/6/6/4/3/3/2
30 7/7/6/6/6/5/3/3/3
31 8/7/7/6/6/6/4/3/3
32 8/8/7/7/6/6/5/4/3
33 8/8/8/7/7/6/5/5/4
34 9/8/8/8/7/7/6/5/5
35 9/9/8/8/8/8/7/6/5
36 9/9/9/8/8/8/7/6/6

Witch cleric:
Level Spells/Level
1 0
2 1
3 1
4 1/1
5 2/1
6 2/2
7 2/2/1
8 3/2/2
9 3/3/2
10 3/3/2/1
11 3/3/3/2
12 4/4/3/2/1
13 4/4/3/2/2
14 4/4/3/2/2/1
15 4/4/4/3/2/1
16 5/4/4/3/2/2
17 5/5/4/3/3/2
18 5/5/5/4/3/2
19 6/5/5/4/3/2/1
20 6/6/5/4/3/3/1
21 6/6/5/4/4/3/2
22 6/6/6/5/4/3/3
23 7/6/6/5/4/4/3
24 7/7/6/5/4/4/3
25 7/7/6/6/4/4/3
26 7/7/7/6/4/4/4
27 8/7/7/6/5/4/4
28 8/7/7/6/5/5/4
29 8/8/7/6/5/5/5
30 8/8/8/6/6/5/5
31 8/8/8/7/6/6/5
32 9/8/8/7/7/6/5
33 9/9/8/8/7/6/6
34 9/9/9/8/7/7/6
35 9/9/9/8/8/7/7
36 9/9/9/9/8/8/7

Section 4 - Random Notes

The Auroch Herds

The Tanagoro are not as animal-driven as the Ethengar or Jennite peoples, but the auroch still plays a prominent role in society. Many aurochs are specifically trained, sometimes for racing, some for riding, some even for warfare. They also serve as food, as clothing, as perhaps the most common unit of trade (or wealth for that matter), as entertainment (they are even trained to dance by many clans) even - in other words, they serve many purposes for their Tanagoro keepers. The head of a clan, and once yearly the king, have the cattle of their underlings driven by for inspection, again demanding master training by the keepers, and great discipline on the part of the aurochs. Many aurochs are so well-trained they do not even respond to the lightning so common in Tanagoro lands! The importance of the cattle is evidenced by the need for a miniature kraal just for them inside each Tanagoro village - the outside wall consists of a low barrier of branches and grass with a single gate, barred by either a large pole or a wizard lock spell at night. This is the area where the ancestral spirits are also believed to live. A special location is similarly set aside for birthing of the calves. This is eased by a commonly known 1st-level spell, which also helps ensure healthy auroch infants. Magic is also used in marking the ears of aurochs, helping identify them individually.


The Tanagoro system could be considered quite harsh, as capital punishment is fairly common. They consider jailing to be a sadistic, unacceptable elimination of freedom, preferring the death penalty as a result. The system is also quite lax in ways - if there is no definitive proof, the suspected criminal is merely warned and released. If one merely offends another, a peace offering is given to soothe over hurt feelings. Treachery, disobedience, adultery and cowardice are among the most major sins known to the Tanagoro. The legal procedure is simple - one swears on the ancestral spirits, states their case and provides witnesses (also sworn in), if any exist, then the other side presents their case with the outcome decided by the head of the clan - perjury, needless to say, is punishable by death.


The Tanagoro are very big on etiquette. They will excuse some errors by foreigners and other ignorant folks, but expect the highest from their own, and don't accept flagrant mistakes by outsiders. First of all, except on special occasions (rallies, dances, etc.) no two people may speak at the same time. One must salute the king (with the same type of hand-salute we are all familiar with) but you must not bow to him. Handshaking is entirely unknown as a form of greeting. When one receives a gift, they must hold both hands out, with the palms out. A spoon must be held in the proper manner, as must a pot of beer - the hands must be the right way during a meal. Needless to say, it is vital that Tanagoro know their etiquette - social deviants who cannot maintain the proper level of civility are shunned. This could make for a rude shock for ethnocentric folks of other cultures who look down upon the plainsmen and women.

Tanagoro tribesmen strongly oppose slavery, as many of their own are forced to serve the Milenians and Nithians as such, depriving them of their freedom. Like the Jennites, they have a negative view of that amoral tendency. Also, circumcision, known in the days of the distant past, well before the Hollow World arrival, is no longer practiced and any who follow this custom are looked down upon as barbaric.


While the Tanagoro get-up is rather simple, it does vary. For dances and other festive occasions, one often adds ornamental fur ropes for the upper body, feather headdresses of various sorts and the dancing-stick and dancing-shield. Also, when going to a dance, many males like to tack on an anklet of dried caterpillar cocoons with small stones inside, allowing for an appealing rattling sound during the dance. For regal ceremonies, one adds even more high-class items: brass arm-rings, necklaces, circlets and whatever other jewellery one prefers.

Both men and women wear earrings of iron, horn or baked clay. Plumes and skins are considered very fashionable, especially otter pelts. Amulets of all sorts are worn - composed of bones, hides, hooves, horns, woods, claws and anything else handy. For those derived from a creature, the stronger the creature, the more magic the item is supposed to contain. Most such amulets obviously contain no power, but it is suggested the DM give many various powers, especially if related to the creature they were "constructed" from. A fair number of these magical amulets function as amulets of protection from evil (as per the spell).

Men routinely shave their head, except for a ring of hair around the outside. Children of both genders have their heads totally shaved. The upper classes prefer to grow their fingernails extremely long. Upper middle-class women (of course, this is all by Tanagoro standards) grow the fingers on their left hands only to such lengths. Albinos do exist among the Tanagoro but are heavily looked down upon. They do not cope well with the constant sun of the Hollow World and are often exiled from their clan of origin. Cleanliness is important to the Tanagoro, so many enjoy hanging out at the rivers and streams that help fertilise the plains. Streams and rivers also serve as communal meeting places, playgrounds and dating places.

Magic items

In addition to others mentioned throughout the HWR, there are two worth pointing out. The imBangayiya of Sikuni is a famed item, of near-artifact status. It is a blue-crane head-plume whose exact powers are the stuff of legend. The problem is that no two Tanagoro agree exactly on what these powers are, and the item has been lost for a couple centuries. Hunting down this item could well be the goal of many a Tanagoro adventurer.

A "common" magical item is the UnNembe shell - when worn on a string as a wristlet, one's ability to throw an assegai improves vastly. A +2 is added to to-hit and to-damage rolls, with double damage inflicted upon a natural 20 when worn.

The Land of Strange Magicks

This area has never quite functioned "right" in terms of obeying the laws of the Hollow World, or of any other, due to the influence of Nyx at the time of the formation of the Hollow World. As a result all forms of chaos thrive here. Storms rage when there are no clouds in the sky. Mutated animals roam free, terrorising any who wander in. Madmen and women seek refuge here, amassing vast powers unto themselves should they survive - some even tame dinosaurs as pets! Gates open to other realms. Spells unknown of in the rest of the Hollow World get wielded by beings of considerable power. Witches often live within this realm, gaining more power from the chaotic environment to spread the cause of entropy. Ghosts roam free. Suffice to say, it is not a place a sane person wants to go, but is popular with adventurers. After all, who knows what can be gained should one make it out alive?


As one may have surmised, dancing is quite popular among the Tanagoro. For them, this is a public, and not a private, mode of entertainment. Much information related to it has been scattered throughout the HWR - the only thing left to note is that dances are often used as a way to meet that special someone. Many clans organized love-dances (amaJadu) between one another, allowing those of one clan to meet another, important in an exogamous society. These are often conducted in the summertime, but are obviously popular all year round. Good dancers are prized as much as skilled warriors, druids or any other talent in Tanagoro culture, and these meets allow prospective loved ones to show off their skills in this area.

It is also done for non-pleasurable reasons - often Tanagoro dance on thorns to strengthen their feet, the true reasons they don't need sandals or footwear, regardless of the territory.

The only holiday of the Tanagoro year is the Festival of the First Fruits. This usually occurs in the beginning of January. The king of all the land must eat the first ripe corn of the season in this gathering of all the clans. Dances are obviously performed, with several days of entertainments of various sorts. Special songs exist solely for this holiday, one of the most joyous times for the people of the plains.


The Tanagoro perform fairly typical jobs for an agricultural civilisation. Skills and trades include shield-making, leatherworking, wood-carving, divining and the other magical arts, metal-working, courier duties, et other words, basically what one would expect from such a culture. All people start age specifically at age 6. There are some gender differences in work, discussed in brief earlier - in addition to other differences mentioned, men are the artisans of the Tanagoro. Women are responsible for all related to the earth and thus are more likely to become druids - this goes as far as even carrying wood, deemed a feminine task. All families have a specific plot of the land for themselves to care for, garden and maintain. Older women no longer work the land but rather retain the folklore, oral traditions and history of the Tanagoro.

One profession unique to the Tanagoro not described earlier is that of praise-giver. There is just one at a time, serving the king. His duties consist of keeping history of the king's deeds and those of his ancestors and to relate these in song daily. He is not supposed to tide over the bad things, but be an unbiased source of information. A praise-giver will dress in all sorts of skins, horns and feathers to make themselves stand out.

Miscellaneous Notes

There is no commerce as such among the Tanagoro. They do not trade with one another nor with neighbouring nations, though they have some concept of wealth. They do not make use of coinage, and therefore wealth accumulated in neighbouring lands serves little purpose for an adventurer returning home.

The Tanagoro are an accepting people. If any Jennite, Nithian or Milenian person defies the Spell of Preservation and adheres to Tanagoro culture, they are no longer deemed as outsiders.

Section 5 - Sample NPCs and Bibliography


History: Ncazongwe was born to a clan in the north-eastern areas of the Tanagoro lands 44 circles ago. Like all young Tanagoro, he started tending the herds at age 6 and maintained a fairly normal life for 11 circles. Then a Milenian raid hit his clan, destroying it, and enslaving the survivors. Ncazongwe, bereft of family, was forced to labour for a Milenian merchant for the next 18 circles of his life. At age 35, he rebelled against his situation. Carefully plotting out his moves, he slew his "owner" one night and escaped back to his homeland. He had picked up some negative manners from that evil merchant though and became a predatory trader himself, a cattle thief to be precise. He has since become somewhat of a feared man in Tanagoro lands, as the head of a small band of bandits steadily growing in infamy.
Personality: After suffering for so long, Ncazongwe became rather sadistic himself, and enjoys hurting others and taking advantage of others. As mentioned, some of this attitude was derived from the Milenian whom he served, who felt a sucker was born every minute. The greed of the merchant class also plays a key role in Ncazongwe. Overall, the man has no true redeeming features.
DM Notes: Relatives of the slain merchant may hire Milenians or other non-Tanagoro to hunt down Ncazongwe. The Tanagoro themselves would also reward any of their own who can rid the plains of this menace. Ncazongwe is not above letting his band handle any real threat as he makes his escape to form another set of raiders.
Appearance: Standing 5'7" and weighing 145#, he is of typical build. Numerous scars mark his body, though, both from his slavery days and from his current occupation. He also has an amulet of Milenian fashion, which helps mark him out from other Tanagoro.
Combat Notes: He is a 5th-level fighter. AC 8 (Shield); hp 38; at 1; d 1-6 (spear) or d6+2 (assegai, skilled), save F5; ML 10; Al C; S 9, I 7, W 10, D 12, Co 11, Ch 9.
Languages: Neathar, Tanagoro, Milenian. General Skills: Intimidation (S+2),Survival (Plains) (I).


History: Nemiti was born 20 circles ago, the daughter of an influential clan chief. She tired quickly of her father's domineering attitude and fought often for independence, making her a great disgrace. Now, though, her disgrace to the clan has grown as she has fallen for a herdsman from a nearby clan looked down upon by her own as inferior. She has yet to leave her own clan, causing major problems for both her former clan and the one she intends to join, but that action becomes more likely with each day.
Personality: Nemiti is a very emotional and stubborn young woman. Like her father, she has to have her own way, which often leads to the confrontations between the two. Being so emotional, she can be extremely flighty - after causing trouble for her new clan by making them hated by the larger clan of her father, she may well realise her current beau is not for her, seeking after another, perhaps a PC. The most rewarding characteristic she possesses is her concern for fairness - she considers herself above others, but works hard to treat others alike, regardless of status. She knows all too well what it is like to be shunned.
Appearance: Just 4'11", Nemiti is a beautiful young woman, well-proportioned and careful to make herself look "just so" at all times. She wears the latest fashions, and high-quality jewellery, though not enough to be gaudy. One prized piece of jewellery is a necklace made of sabre-tooth tiger claws. Unbeknownst to Nemiti, this is a powerful magic item that allows for protection from all manner of felines (AC to -3) (Adventure suggestion - if she leaves home and escapes into the wild, it may be enough to keep her alive long enough for the PCs [hired to bring her back safely] to arrive and find her being attacked by lions - who then may strike at the new meat.)
Combat Notes: She is a 1st-level fighter. AC 9; hp 8; at 1; d 1-6 (staff), save F1; ML 12; Al N; S 10, I 11, W 8, D 10, Co 14; Ch 15.
Languages: Neathar, Tanagoro. General Skills: Bravery (W+1), Singing (Ch), one unspent.


History: Bukude was born a long, long time ago, when dragons freely walked the land. Or so he likes to tell it. To be exact, he is a fairly old 73 circles. He has worked all kinds of jobs in those times, collecting much lore and even more fiction. He now serves as the personal barber to king Doraka, and also as one of the greatest storytellers of the Tanagoro.
Personality: A jovial man, Bukude enjoys those like himself - people who enjoy a good story and good entertainment and don't spend so much time being overly serious. As long as you contribute to society and do your work, you're a good person in Bukude's book. He often helps fuel the king's sense of humour, whether with told jokes or with practical jokes. He is more accepting of foreigners than most Tanagoro, applying the same basic standard of judgement to them - outsiders visiting the king's court will often find a friend in Bukude (though one loyal above all else to the crown). Perhaps his greatest flaw is that he dwells a lot on the topic of his grandchildren, the subject of many of his stories. Anyone who spends quite some time with him will know more about them than their own parents do.
Appearance: Bukude stands 6'0" and is a rather thin man. Any muscle he had in his youth has mostly worn away with age, just as his once dark hair has turned a cloud white. Those who knew him in his youth tell that he was once a mighty warrior, something a couple of his stories also report, but the figure he must have struck in his glory days is not as evident now. He still carries his old spear, iGhanlasiku ("That which pierces hides"), at all times (and will use it should the king's life be endangered).
Combat Notes: He is a 16th-level fighter (knight). AC 7 (shield+1); hp 26 (decreased by the effects of age from his prime); at 1; d 2d4+6 (spear+3, master, strength penalty, special power: breathing), save F16; ML 11; Al L; S 8, I 16, W 9, D 11, Co 7; Ch 16.
Languages: Neathar, Tanagoro, Jennite, Milenian, Nithian. General Skills: Profession (Barber) (I), Knowledge of Tanagoro Folklore (I), Danger Sense (W), Storytelling (Ch+2)


History: Kondlola was born 42 circles ago to a common Tanagoro family. She has also lived a fairly common life, uneventful for the most part. She married at age 19, moving a short distance to her new clan, and was accepted there in short order. She now is the mother of 3, still lovingly married. Since her arrival with that clan, she has served as the kraal's herbalist.
Personality: A generally kind person, Kondlola will anger if pushed too far. She is friendly with all of her village, and with others as well, unless they have shown themselves unworthy of such kindness. An empathetic individual, she combines the skills of a doctor, nurse and social worker in tending for her family and her clan in general. She is currently also playing matchmaker for her eldest son, much to his dismay.
Appearance: Kondlola stands 5'2" and currently is in possession of a rather matronly figure. Never a great beauty, she is on the chubby side. She is still in good health though, and also does make sure she wears fairly nice clothes, since she is aware her appearance does play as much a role in how her people view her as do her skills. Like all herbalists, she is always carrying around a wide supply of medicinal goods.
Combat Notes: She is a 4th-level herbalist. AC 9 (none); hp 23; at 1; D 1d6-1 (staff, strength penalty), save C4; ML 10; Al L; S 8, I 14, W 16, D 9, Co 12, Ch 11. Spells: 2 1st, 1 2nd.
Languages: Neathar, Tanagoro. General Skills: Healing [Doctor] (I+1), Nature Lore [Plains] (I), Detect Deception (W), Fire-Building (I).

Bibliography/Further Readings on the Zulu culture

Olden Times In Zululand by AT Bryant. Longmans, Green and Co., 1929. London, New York and Toronto. An early history of the Zulu, going into vast detail but not as intent on major events as some of the other histories.
Religions of Africa by E. Thomas Lawson. Waveland Press, 1998. Prospect Heights, Ill. A very brief study of the religious beliefs of the Zulu and Yoruba, mixing together a study of modern thought and traditional ideas.
Religious System of the Amazulu by Henry Callaway. Struik, 1970 (originally published in the 19th century). Cape Town. Callaway collected in the original Zulu (with English translations) opinions on religious belief. This may be hard to track down, and gets a tad repetitious, so you may want to find Hexham's book instead, which includes a long summary of Callaway's findings.
Shaka's Children: A History of the Zulu People by Stephen Taylor. HarperCollins, 1994. London. One of the best of the histories I read, stretching on down to the present day almost, and presumably one of the easiest to find. If you were to read one book on the Zulu, this is perhaps the one I'd recommend the most.
Texts on Zulu Religion by Irving Hexham. Edward Mellen Press, 1987. Lewiston, NY and Queenston, Ont. A collection of various older materials on Zulu religious thought.
The Zulu People: As They Were Before The White Man Came by AT Bryant. Negro University Press, 1970. New York, NY. Originally published in 1948 by Shuter and Shooter. This focuses more on the social systems of the Zulu than Bryant's earlier, more historical work, and is also briefer.
Washing of the Spears: Rise and fall of the Zulu Nation by Donald Morris. De Capo Press, 1998. New York, NY. A fair history, not the best of the ones I read in terms of interest level. Quite a bit of military history and focus on the latter days of the Zulus.
Zulu Kings by Brian Roberts. Scribner, 1975. New York, NY. - one of the more in-depth histories I found. Seemingly well-researched and actually interesting to read. Focuses primarily (as the title suggests) on the heads of the Zulu nation.

One book that sounded interesting that I failed to track down was Social System of the Zulus by Eileen Krige