Thursday, April 25, 2013

[Design Journal: Heroes of Legend RPG] Tribes: Kaldari Terith

Here is another Design Journal entry for Heroes of Legend, a fantasy RPG I’m currently developing. At this point in developing the game I’m focusing on creating the various tribes that populate the setting. Last week I explained what the terith are, and I’ve talked specifically about the hylan and sharadda terith tribes. Today I’ll be sharing some information on another terith tribe.

The Kaldari Terith

The kaldari are a tribe of mysterious wanderers who roam far and wide in the world of HoL. A people without a home, they are the keepers of ancient secrets and strange powers.

All kaldari are albinos. Both their skin and their hair is completely white. Their eye color is either a light pink or a pale blue. However, most people would describe the kaldari as a colorful people. They tend to dress bright, flamboyant colors. They use natural pigments to create hair dye in vibrant colors. Traditionally, a kaldari will die their hair in patches, preserving at least some of their natural white. Some even die patches of their hair different colors, creating a multicolored hairdo that is as flashy as their clothes.

Long ago, the kaldari encountered the first sentient species to inhabit the world of HoL, a people they call the Twilight Elders. The Twilight Elders explained to the kaldari how the gods came, transformed their world, and seeded it with new life – including the terith. Upon this revelation, the kaldari decided they had no legitimate claim to any part of a world that in fact belonged to the Twilight Elders. This is why they’ve become a nomadic people who never set down permanent roots anywhere.

Each kaldari family owns a kaldari wagon, an amphibious vehicle that can function as both a wagon and a boat. The families travel from town to town in this wagon, making a living as traveling merchants and entertainers. Sometimes, they also hire out their services as guides to other travelers. It is said that a kaldari can never lose their way, and that they know secret paths through the world that nobody else has discovered.

Kaldari families are a tight-knit group. They work together and share the responsibilities of caring for children and the providing for the family. Kaldari children learn everything they need to know on the road. The kaldari have very few written documents, and many of them are completely illiterate. However, they have a strong tradition of oral instruction and storytelling, and they tend to carve, paint, or embroider pictures that convey a story into the surfaces of every item they own – from their wagon to their own clothing.

Because of their longstanding friendship with the Twilight Elders, the kaldari are some of the few people in the world to have mastered the power of Shadow – a mysterious force that emanates from the realm the Twilight Elders inhabit. Young kaldari are often taught how to harness this power for the protection of their people.

The kaldari are unusual in that they do not practice any religion, per se. They do acknowledge the value of the virtues that the Four Shining Deities espouse, and they do pay their respects at temples or shrines to the Shining Four when they visit a town. But, in general, they only view the deities as worthy of gratitude for their existence – not worthy of outright worship. Instead of instilling a pious attitude in their children, they try to promote a respect for others, including the Twilight Elders. They hold their life on the road as a mystical journey of discovery and self-fulfillment.

Because of their unusual beliefs and practices, some people hold a prejudiced attitude towards the kaldari, based mostly on superstitious ideas. However, most people recognize their good nature and hospitality and are happy to see them whenever they visit their town.

That’s it for now. I mentioned a number of different tribes in an earlier entry. If there is one in particular you would like to read more about, leave a comment below and I’ll make it the topic of the next Design Journal.

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