People of the Plains

Out in the Tavalinen Sea, a rolling plain of purple leafed grass, you'll find two nomadic groups of people: The Vapara and the Pijaki. While they travel the same "sea", they rarely come into contact, or desire to, as their routes often take them in separate directions. There have been known encounters between the two, however it rarely goes well for the Vapara.


Also known as the Wagonfolk, the Vapara are a culture of largely human traders and merchants. Traveling in covered wagons, often brightly painted with strange murals reflecting the many stories they collect,  they skirt the edges of the Tavalinen Sea, connecting the "Port" towns and cities along it in a system of trade. While they're certainly not the only traders out there, they are the most well known.

Often seen as thieves and dirty, and accused of stealing children, they actually hold to strict hierarchical traditions, strict hygiene habits, and hold no prejudges in race when taking in orphans.

Gender Roles
Much of Vapara life is separated based on gender. Males hold public authority, while females are the head of a household. Men are typically the producers, seeing the construction and toolage, while the women are the upkeepers, giving to cleaning and preparing. In business, males tend to trade for other items, while females will sell outright for coin. It is thought women are more inclined to mystical arts (fortune telling, speaking with spirits, etc) while men tend to the material arts (song, brewing, etc).

Traditionally, a band (or Vappania) of Vapara consists of ten to fifty extended families, and is lead by a Voivode, or "chieftain" for the cruder tongue. The Voivode is selected for life, and is assisted by a Phuri Dai - typically the Eldest woman of the Vappania. Whenever two or more bands find themselves in the same city, the Voivodes will hold council, usually to trade news and rumors (as well as to over drink in peace). All Voivodes, upon taking the station, swear fealty to the ancient, one true King of the Vapara - Johnny Faa.

Clothing and Style
The Vappania, both men and women, wear bright colors, often yellows and reds, and loose, flowing clothing. Women always wear dresses or full skirts, as bifurcation would be inappropriate. Men wear baggy pants, loose fitting shirts and large belts. Both wear jewelry, women fashioning gold, men silver. Though, men wear substantially less jewelry than women. In some of the more prudish cultures the Wagonfolk encounter, Vapara women are seen as lustful or seductive. This do to the held belief that the upper body is clean, and is fine to expose, while the lower body is dirty, for obvious biological reasons. The Woodwose don't see the issue.

While the Vapara do not worship a god, as they have "no king before Johnny Faa", they do hold themselves to a list of taboos, and acknowledge the importance of Faa's first consort Laxshi, Mistress of Wealth. As well, they pay homage and respect to the gods of the culture they are currently surrounded by. To do other wise would be the sign of a poor guest.

While they don't hold to any gods, they do have a handful of superstitions.

  • Pure should not be contaminated by unpure. 
    • This includes cursing. Vapara men are forbidden from cursing. Women, having a natural cycle of unpurity, are allowed leeway and, if really worked up, can generate some of the most sailor blushing curses heard.
    • This also includes not drinking from the same water source as an animal that cleans itself (dog, cat). Drinking from the same water source as a horse or oxen is fine, as they do not lick their genitals. Strangely, it has come up.  
    • A note should be drawn between "unpure" and "honest dirt." "Honest dirt" is gained through work and duty, though should still be cleansed, while "unpurity" happens through blood shed or sickness. 
  •  A lucky charm is good to have
    • A member of the Wagonfolk always has on them a lucky charm. Be it a four leaf clover, a rock with a hole, an iron nail, or nearly any other small carry-able object. (Doesn't take an inventory slot, if this is in question)
  • The hooting of an owl and the screaming of a falling tree are ill omens.
    • Care should be taken, and ears covered, least your soul be taken or the death screams drive you mad
  • Bird droppings falling upon you is good luck
    • this may be a joke created to screw with outsiders
  • The lost and dying should be taken in, and given comfort. 
  • Any Wagonfolk failing a Save of any sort, may instead lose their Good Luck Charm to ignore the result. Without the Charm however, the character takes -2 to all rolls until a new one is gained. Gaining a new charm should be a task and trial, not just simply "herp, derp, a neat stick, done."
  • Any wearing over 10,000 gold in jewelry gain +2 to Personality(c) when interacting with other Vapara. 
  • Any with Personality(w) of 13+ playing with a tarot has 1 in 20 chance of telling actual future. 1 in 12 if a witch. 
  • Any Vapara that drinks from the same water source as a self cleaning animal, doesn't cover their ears and cross themselves at the hooting of an owl or felling of a tree, or if a male curses,  automatically fail their actions until they make themselves clean - or a bird defecates upon them. 


Named after their word for the bison they follow, cruder tongues refer to them as "Half-Orc." This name is incorrect at best, a horrible insult at worst. The Pijaki breed true, but as an off branch of Orc species, they tend to be more civilized than their cousins. "Half-human" the slur goes. And, of course, "civilized" in this context meaning they don't immediately kill you for trespassing. They'll probably even ask you questions first. Truth be told, they're inclined to ask questions and come to an arrangement, rather than kill out right. This is possibly the sole reason there are any Vapara left.

"Do not kill the entire herd when you are hungry," is an old adage of theirs. Being a people that follow herds, they harvest only what they need from the herd. In this way, the herd survives and grows stronger. From this the Pijaki grow stronger. And you're entirely correct to think they do the same to the Vapara. If you kill a man, and take his stuff, his line and trade end there. BUT, if you take only a few of his nicer things, that man can still make a living, and grow rich to have many fat children. Those children will then form more caravans, which your children will then raid.

Obviously the Pijaki do not share this plan with the Vapara.

But, yes, as stated the Pijaki are herdsmen, following herds of the huge Dire Bison (from which they take their name) across the plains, riding atop great domesticated bears. They take almost everything they need from these herds: meat, shelter, weapons, clothing. In return they see that the herd grows stronger. They cull the weak, stifle sickness, ensure the strong breed. They're like gardeners. Meat gardeners.

Little is known of the Pijaki other than that, and such is the way they prefer it. That being said, here is an assortment of information.

The Pijaki speak a language their own, derived from Orc, but instead of being grammatically gendered between male and female, their words are divided between animate and inanimate. Interestingly, their words for other cultures are inanimate, with the words used to describe themselves and orcs are animate.

While the Pijaki have a rich oral tradition, handed down by a shaman or elder witch, they lack written historical records and even, usually, literacy, as reading and writing is clearly a form of magic. I have, after all, implanted knowledge in your head about a made up fantasy race, without even uttering a word to you. They don't truck with that.

The world of the Pijaki is a mixture of the physical and the spiritual, the latter bridged by shamans and heavy intoxicants. These shamans, usually alone or with a member of the tribe going through rite of passage, commune with the spirits in holy sites spread through out the Tavalinen Sea - hot springs, neat looking boulders, the mysterious monoliths dotting the landscape. In times of need the Shamans consort the spirits - called the Kwiocos - for guidance and wisdom.

Chief among the Kwiocos is Werocosuk, the most Pijakish looking of all the spirits. All members of the Pijaki who have undergone the Rite of Passage have encountered Werocosuk, always appearing as a young warrior alone in the towering grass of the Sea. Standing a broad eight feet tall, wearing simple pijaki-hide (the animal, not the people) armor, and encloaked in a fur of an animal not native to the grass lands (actually, extinct, but they have no way of knowing this) Werocosuk will speak to the Tribe Member in a voice echoing of breaking wood. He then challenges the Member either mentally or physically. Those who fail the test, die. Those who pass are warned not to seek him out again, and are made a part of tribe upon returning from their vision quest.

Werocosuk's primary domains are Wisdom and Strength, his words often warning that one must be had only in the place of the other. Wisdom without strength is inaction. Strength without wisdom is destruction.

All members of the tribes go through the Rites of Passage, both male and female, for all members are expected to be strong. Should a member of the tribe grow enfeeble, they are given a melee weapon and a week's rations, and are expected to wander out into the Sea to find their end.

Currently, they are not intended for player consumption, but this may be revisited.


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