The Tribes of Barlethan are a subculture of the Human species. They are very in-tune with Sha'uru and believe the focus on industrialization is doing great harm, and have thus cast off the use of such technology. Barlethan-controlled territory is the largest of any of the intelligent species and thus, their dress and demeanor tend to vary greatly. Similarities across the board are their use of ever-visible beaded accouterments to denote their Barlethan roots, their refusal of the use of Steam tech, and a simplistic way of dress- preferring cloth, furs, and leathers suitable for farm life.
Note: Please remember that all of the information provided herein is an overarching synopsis of the species- a stereotype, if you will. That means that in most cases, you are free to tweak your character away from the generalities listed here. If your character concept does not quite match up with a bullet point below, that's fine! If you're still concerned it might not be acceptable, please contact a staff member. Thank you!
The tribal cultures on Lerna have existed for ages prior to the formation of the Silverthorn Empire. During Imperial times many of the tribes were pressed into service or driven further into the wilderness by the more militant Imperial culture. One of the largest tribes, Barlethan, was able to avoid sending any of their members to battle in the name of the empire by instead agreeing to provide support in the way of Alchemy and produce. When the Silverthorn Empire was dissolved and the Confederacy of Allied Republics began to form, the elders of Barlethan recognized a golden opportunity to ensure the protection of their way of life and that of every other tribe in Lerna. They convinced the rest of the Republics to recognize all of the tribes under a single banner and in return they would pay taxes to the confederacy like any other member Republic. The three largest tribes, Barlethan, Storm Crow and Sha’uru’s Children, comprised the initial tribal council and divide evenly the lion’s share of the tax burden. Over time, the tribes of Ignar and Clovis also joined the primary tribal council, and the five of them select their Parliamentary representative when a new one must be elected.
There are many smaller tribes that exist within the lands of the Tribes of Barlethan, below are some of the more noteworthy and influential tribes:
Barlethan—The largest and most technologically advanced of the tribes. They are also the most politically powerful and were the architects of having the tribes recognized in parliament. They are also the most well-educated alchemists in all of the Republics. Additionally, they bear the most resentment from smaller tribes who are not numerous enough or powerful enough to have a seat at the tribal council of Elders.
Storm Crow—The Storm Crow are known for their affinity for animals and are the best Falconers in all of Sha’uru. They are also known for domesticating and training hunting dogs and horses, and are excellent fishermen. They prefer soft leather garments over cloth and are extremely good at tannery.
Sha'uru's Children—Whether they took their tribal name from the religion, or were the originators of the religion is unclear, but this tribe above all others holds very strictly to the religious tenants of the Children of Sha’uru. They are naturalist and tend to live in the most remote parts of the world. They are also well known for their horticultural knowledge, especially when it comes to herbs.
Ignar—Ignar is a mountain tribe comprised of miners and metallurgist (Primarily Blackmiths, but Tinsmiths, Goldsmiths and Coppersmiths are common as well). Of all the tribes they are most likely to have metal beads among their tribal beads.
Clovis—Clovis live in the fields and plains and are primarily shepherds and herdsmen. They are especially fond of goats and may still have one or two goats on their farms even if they primarily make a living from raising sheep, pigs or cattle.
Brotherhood of Nahyar—The Brotherhood of Nahyar is an especially combative tribe that is known for raiding neighboring tribes and espousing more militaristic values than the other Tribes of Barlethan. Many members of this tribe use their 7-year journeys to hire themselves out as mercenaries.
Sisters of the Moon's Splendor—This tribe is unique from among all of the other tribes of Barlethan in that it is comprised entirely of female-identifying members. Naturally this makes them the best farmers of the Janus plant in all of Sha’uru, as they use the Potion of Sunrise and Sunset to ensure the continuation of their tribe. The only males that live within their tribal lands are children who are encouraged to take their 7-year journey as soon as they become sixteen years of age. After their 7 year journey, males who were born to this tribe must make the choice to either marry into another tribe or to rejoin the tribe as a sister through the use of the Potion.
Government and Politics
Within their own lands and communities, Tribals are mainly a patriarchal society. Male-presenting individuals are the heads of house and make up all of the government and law-making positions. When a representative's term has ended within Parliament, each society elects a council member and the council members decide on the new Parliamentary representative. Council representatives are often the eldest male-presenting in a community of several families, or the head of house if the land is privately owned. The Tribes of Barlethan do not employ a vast and state of the art military like other territories do, they hold faith that their predominantly peaceful ways and their useful exports will keep any invading armies at bay.
The Tribes of Barlethan utilize the Kroner system. Their largest export to other territories and communities are farm goods (vegetables, domestic meats and various milk types). Some farms are so large they are actually more like small towns where several families (or one large, extended family) cooperate throughout the year to prepare and work the farm.
Tribals do not value much in the way of material goods, though they are masterful alchemists. As such, most households consist of a closet, not unlike a food pantry, strictly for alchemical ingredients and appliances. Though most outsiders think the ownership of or size of their farm determines a Tribals wealth, the wealth of a Barlethan family can actually be more accurately gleaned from the state of their alchemy tools and the expansiveness of their collection of supplies.
The Tribes of Barlethan are a stationary people. Barlethans can be a touch xenophobic, preferring to live in their own lands, but it is not completely unheard of for a Barlethan to put down roots in other Human, Dur or Goblin territories so long as they own the land they are living on.
The Tribes of Barlethan as a whole are dismissive of most outsiders organizations. It is not that they think their ways are better or other ways are evil, they simply do not care for them.
Culture & Traditions
Male-presenting individuals are the heads of house and make up all of the government and law-making positions. Women-presenting are considered masters of medicine and alchemies, their word and orders are law in these realms. Non-binary individuals are typically the religious and spiritual leaders of their communities; they are believed to have more than one soul within them, which makes them more in touch with things outside the visual world and mortal coil.
Aside from the typical roles stated above, work and child-rearing are distributed equally. The Tribes of Barlethan take to heart the adage that 'it takes a village to raise a child,' and so, adults look out for, teach, feed and treat all the children in their town or on their farm as their own. This includes Goblinite children.
July 13th is Republic Day in all Human territories. This is a celebration of the dissolution of the Silverthorn Empire and the rise of the Confederacy of Allied Republics. While most humans celebrate this day with large, raucous parties and fireworks displays, the Tribes of Barlethan take a more simplistic approach. It is one of very few days of rest they grant themselves throughout the year. Food and drink are prepared the night before, with the whole farm working together. Republic Day itself is filled with simple games, storytelling, and religious or spiritual observation (if applicable).
From the age of 16, Tribals are given the option to experience society outside of their communities for 7 years, though they may wait as long as they wish before beginning their journey. They are not obligated to hold to their tenants at that time (such as not using steam or advanced technology), but they are required to wear their beads at all times when in public or around non-Barlethans.
Barlethan value simplicity, honesty, and hard work. A lot of Barlethan tenants overlap with the beliefs of the Children of Sha'uru, so it is fairly common for Barlethans to choose this religion over others.
It is considered an affront to the family and community if a Tribal removes their beads at any time in public.
The use of steam tech when not on the 7-year journey is not allowed by any Tribal of Barlethan. It is very strongly believed that the rise of such industry is negatively impacting Sha'uru itself and those found utilizing this technology have their beads taken away immediately and they are cast out from the community and their family.
Children are told of a half-human, half-bestial creature called Zähnes who takes away naughty or lazy children. Zähnes is generally depicted as winged, covered in wiry, grey hair, having yellow goat-like eyes, and/or fangs that drip a blue ichor. No one is certain where this story originated, but it is generally believed to be only a bedtime story to frighten children into behaving and holding to the Barlethan tenants, with only more unstable individuals believing this creature to actually exist.
Dur—It is very plain to see that the vast majority of the Ouranos Dur and Tribes of Barlethan do not get along. As Ouranos are at the cutting edge of Steam technology, the Tribals hold them accountable for the decline of Sha'uru. The Ouranos do their best, as they do with most species, to get along but it does not typically work when it comes to the Tribes of Barlethan. The Vuono Dur and the Tribes of Barlethan have a tenuous relationship, as the Tribals see the Vuono as being complicit in the destruction of Sha'uru, but to a lesser degree as the Vuono do still seem to appreciate the stone and earth from which they come. The Vrachos Dur are similar in personality with the Tribals though they very seldom come into contact. When they do, the Vrachos find their adherence to old technology strange but their appreciation for hard work binds the two species.
Nisse—Overall, the Tribes of Barlethan have a great respect for the Nisse and their dedication to their chosen arts; it indicates to Tribals that the Nisse are hardworking and focused, like themselves. The Tribals and the Slagte Nisse have a very fluid trade between them and a nearly friendly discourse. It is frequent that Slagte and Tribals have trade agreements or for a Slagte hunting party to have a license on nearby Tribal lands. The Vand Nisse know that they are the only real choice for Tribals as far as long distance travel, and this is handled variably amongst the Vand—the more upstanding individuals bear it with pride and treat Barlethan passengers with the utmost care and respect. More unsavory or avaricious types may bloat their prices substantially when negotiating passage with a Tribal. The relationship between Tribals and Afsla Nisse is generally neutral.
Other Humans—The Tribes of Barlethan and Imperial Humans are almost completely at odds with each other; the Tribals finding Imperials to be garish, indolent and egotistical. Imperials find Tribals to be severe, homespun and overall backward. The Wayfaring Seekers and Tribals are much less critical of each other, probably because they are both outcasts in society. Though they find each other's lifestyles to be a bit strange, this would not prevent camaraderie should a situation call for it.
Goblinites—The Tribes of Barlethan do not purchase Homunculi because that would take away from the work they themselves do. While they may judge the owners of Homunculi for laziness and extravagance, they do not treat a Homunculi slave poorly unless they first are slighted by the Homunculus. This is true for other Goblinites as well; the Tribes of Barlethan are extremely unlikely to birth a Halfling for one reason or another, but when they do, the Halfling is welcomed into the family, of sorts. The Halfling is never considered 'beaded' and cannot wear beads the color or pattern of the family, but they are not cast out, unfed, beaten, or mistreated just for existing. Gnomes and Kobolds are pitied, and Barlethan think it wrong how they are treated in their homelands. Barlethans are very likely to take in a runaway of either kind for a few days, but not for very long, and are equally as likely to make sure the runaway has food to take with them, mended clothing, etc before they are asked to move along. This is not always the case of course, there are some Barlethans who are very strict and fundamentalist and see the Goblinites as products of sin, turning them away at the door.
Goblins—Due to their shared interest and affinity for Alchemy, the Goblins and Tribes have a shaky alliance. The Tribals feel Goblins dabbling into the creation of life to be dangerous and aiding in the laziness of the intelligent species, but otherwise approve of advances Goblins have made in the field. Goblins find the Tribes of Barlethan way of life to be overbearing and their aversion to Homunculus an insult to their intelligence.
Familial lineage can be followed through the colors of a Barlethan's beads. Every family has a set of colors (two or more colors, most commonly four) and when an individual joins a family (such as through adoption), they will take on the colors of the adopting family. When more than one family joins together, such as in marriage, the individuals involved will decide amongst them which colors they will take on. In the past five years, a very small subset of Barlethans have broken with marital tradition and will either mix the colors of their families to create a 'new' beaded color scheme, or they will each keep their original family beads, despite the marriage and tradition.
Approximately 86% of all Barlethans choose to return to their homes, farms and families after their 7-year journey. Those who do not are stripped of their beads and tend to live in other Human lands. Incoming player characters are assumed to be on their 7 year journey; should a player character decide not to return back to their communities at the end of their 7-year journey, they will incur a one time -1xp penalty and be considered a Common human from that point forward.
Although the Tribals are excellent Alchemists, they rarely trade alchemy outside of their own republic. They would rather trade their other natural resources and keep alchemy for themselves.