Monday, May 20, 2013

[Design Journal: Heroes of Legend RPG] Tribes: Juseido 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. In a previous post I explained what the terith are, and I’ve talked specifically about the hylan, sharadda and kaldari terith tribes. Today I’ll be sharing some information on another terith tribe.

The Juseido Terith

The juseido are a tribe of reclusive scholars and monks who live in high mountains and hidden valleys. On an eternal quest for enlightenment, they are a nation of perpetual students.

The juseido are recognizable for their dark skin, ranging in shades from a light tan to ebony. Their hair can range in color from black to blue, red, or green. Those with lighter skin tones tend to have darker hair colors, while those with darker skin tones have brighter hair colors. Regardless of hair color, many juseido men and women choose to shave their heads bare. Others wear their hair in very simple, functional styles. Juseido fashion also emphasizes simplicity and functionality, avoiding fabrics or styles that are too ornate.

Juseido communities are simple affairs that focus on study, education and discovery. Even more so than among the hylans, every juseido is literate and well educated, though not always in very academic subjects. Children are encouraged to pursue whatever subjects pique their interest, and to spend many hours every day studying those subjects. Every juseido is simultaneously both student and teacher at all times. Every member of a community possesses some valuable knowledge or skill that they can teach to others. Likewise, everyone has something they can learn from another person.

Juseido communities can be physically very different depending on their location. In hidden valleys, the juseido tend to build villages of simple huts. Here they live off of the land, raising and harvesting only what they need to get by. High in the mountains, they build large monastery-like buildings carved from the solid rock of the mountain. An entire community of a few dozen families will live together in one such building. Here they often cannot raise their own food, so they mine useful metals from the mountain and trade it for food from nearby villages.

The juseido are known far and wide as a very wise and learned people. They record much of their knowledge in books and scrolls, to be preserved and passed on to future generations. While juseido writings are much sought after, these people are very loath to sell their works to others, as they feel knowledge should be given freely. However, they do not part with their writings eagerly, either. They prefer for others to learn while among them and for their writings to remain under their control. To be gifted with a juseido book or scroll is a great honor.

The juseido lack a strong, centralized government. In their local communities, they try to allow for open discussion of ideas when it comes to handling problems or concerns. Then, after everyone has had a chance to have their say, the community will vote on a course of action. In times of great peril, the community will sometimes simply differ to the leadership of whoever among them is regarded as most wise, or as having the most knowledge and skills most pertinent to the situation. When a situation arises involving two or more communities, each community will choose by public vote a number of representatives from their community to meet with representatives from the other communities and decide upon a course of action.

While the juseido are known first and foremost as scholars and sages, they are not without their warriors. Juseido warriors take up the arts of combat for the very practical reason that they know there are people and creatures who would threaten their communities. They also view their martial exploits as a form of enlightenment, honing their body along with their mind and bringing the two into greater harmony. In harmony with the juseido tendency towards an ascetic lifestyle, juseido warriors prefer to fight with very simple weapons or with none at all.

The juseido honor the Four Shining Dieties, though they have very few temples to their honor. Instead of formal worship, they prefer to honor the Shining Four by studying their teachings and seeking to uphold the virtues they espouse. The juseido also practice a form of ancestor worship, giving almost reverential honor to the writings and teachings of their forebears. Among the many practices unique to the juseido, is the use of memory crystals to preserve the knowledge and personality of a revered ancestor long after their death, and to continue to learn from them.

Perhaps the most important tradition of the juseido is the Student’s Journey. The Student’s Journey is when a juseido man or woman leaves their home, with very few possessions, and travels far and wide with no specific destination in mind, learning everything they can as they go. It is expected that every juseido makes a Student’s Journey at least once between the ages of 15 and 25, but it is not uncommon for a juseido to make this pilgrimage on multiple occasions throughout their life. The journey is often undertaken again after an important life change, such as upon the death of a mentor or a spouse.

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 a future Design Journal.

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