The Tribes

The beating heart of the W’adrhŭn race are the tribes that make it, a fact that their living goddess well understood. While the goal of each tribe is to provide food and shelter to its members, the tremendous dietary requirements of the W’adrhŭn distort this picture significantly. By far the largest focus of each tribe is securing sustenance and almost every social structure and norm within a tribe is dedicated to the harvesting of food and the protection of its stores.

The archaic social systems used by humans to determine who will be a warrior and who a farmer are simply too corrupt and inefficient for the W’adrhŭn to survive in an environment as hostile as the one they live in. Only the best of the best are allowed to become warriors, not because that level of martial might and skill is needed, but rather because so many are needed to provide food for the race to survive. Both of these are solved with the application of a single, ruthless solution: The Trials and resulting Bound. The reality of the situation, however, is that the tribes need far more food gatherers than warriors to ensure their survival; only the best are elevated to Braves after the Trials, while the rest are Bound to the tribe, providing the hands and labor for its development and the cultivation of its food. While limited in choice and freedom to pursue their own future, the Bound are deeply respected within a tribe; their status protected not only by the vital role they serve but also by the unbending will of the living goddess and thus are given significant voice in the Tribal Council, the governing body of each tribe.

The Tribal Council has a single structure replicated across all tribes. Five members sit and decide matters of weight and importance for the tribe’s survival with a single member representing each of the powerful influences within a tribe’s structure. A Chieftain represents the tribe’s warriors, the Mistress represents the Bound, a Predator stands for the Speakers, the eldest priest of the cult of Conquest is named a Scion and represents all the Cults, while a shaman represents the elders. This way the interests of the Tribe are voiced equally, with the Elders, those W’adrhŭn who have managed to live over four decades, often given a ceremonial tie breaking role in strongly contested decisions.

For lesser, day to day decisions, the tribe is guided by either the Chieftain or the Mistress, but it is very important to understand that while the Council might govern the tribe, they are not considered the leaders; this role is reserved exclusively for the Ukunfazane, their living goddess. To facilitate her efforts, the Ukunfazane has appointed three Matriarch Queens who rule over each oasis in the goddesses name while she is absent. Once there were also King Consorts who fulfilled these roles as well, but rebellion and betrayal have taught the goddess to avoid the complications inherent in sharing rule with a male.

Today the tribes rule over almost the entirety of the W’adrhŭn population in the Wastelands, the vast majority of which is focused in the three oases that sprang from the broken Spires. A few small nomadic tribes wander the wasteland, skirting the eastern edges of the old dominion, surviving through trade with the oases for the treasures plundered from the ruins of the old dominion and what food their hunters and herders can supply.

Population pressure, magnified by the dietary requirements of W’adrhŭn themselves and compounded by the growing pressure the rekindling of the Pyre to the east has brought, is slowly but steadily pushing the tribes into new territories. As the restless dead of the old dominion march, most Wasteland Tribes, reinforced with a few of the more powerful tribes from the oasis began moving west, across the mountains where they might survive the onslaught. A few remain to harry the foe as he crosses the wastelands and provide their goddess with much needed intelligence. Those tribes that remain will turn the oases into formidable bastions, where the reduced population and the expected attrition will allow them to hold these crucial strongholds despite the coming conflagration.

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