Banakur Gens


The songs of the L’npei tell of a mythic age when all of Atelon was their domain.  They were a primitive people who hunted for their food and lived a nomadic existence in unstable hunting packs.  After an eon, the Wanderers came into their midst.  Initially, the Wanderers were few and occupied mountainous areas that were of no interest to the L’npei.  Eventually, the Wanderers spread to the hunting lands in the lowlands.  They were well organized and using their powerful weapons, drove the L’npei from the best hunting grounds.

For a long time after that, the L’npei existed in the margins of Atelon, in the forests and the jungles.

A charismatic leader called Shirzal emerged, and in concert with the priests of E'lani, unified the L’npei bands. With the Taikahir of the priests of E’lani to neutralize the weapons of the Wanderers, Shirzal’s bands overwhelmed the Wanderers, and drove them into the mountains. At the direction of the priests of E’lani, Shirzal gave each band an allotment of land and a special mix of sacred plants to grow and eat. The Song of Shirzal tells the story of the founding of the Gens.

The 36 Gens which settled east of the mountains and south of the Dunafolda River became the Kingdom of D’Mak.  Each Gens has its own unique pattern and color of head and neck feathers.  Typically, a Gens will have two colors, one of which is the common color of its kingdom.  The common color of the D’Mak Gens is green.

M’Maoulek's Wars resulted in the destruction of the Kingdom of D’Mak and the virtual extermination of its Gens.  Just three Gens live on in the Banakur Forest on the western frontier of the United Councilate States.  They are the Gens of Tamrati, Magira and Ritsar.

The Banakur Gens settled along the Vari River and allowed the forest to grow back in the hill country to the west.  Later, they abandoned their pastures on the eastern bank of the river and the forest returned there as well.  Eventually the Tamroti also abandoned their pastures on their northern border to increase their isolation from the wars taking place around them.  At the present, the Banakur Forest entirely surrounds the Genslands and is inhabited by Wild L’npei.

The Banakur Forest

The Banakur Forest is a wild and rugged area.  The forest itself engulfs the Genslands in its center.  In some places, the forest is only a few dozen km wide, in others, more than 160 km.  In all cases, the vegetation is dense, gloomy and foreboding.  In the east, the forest climbs up the hills to the Keshdumah frontier, in the west to the Gornarod lands of Jerhez and Gradec.

The Banakur Genslands are dominated by the Vari River, which flows through the middle of the lowlands they occupy.  Many tributaries flow out of the Schodni Mountains and the western hills to feed the Vari.  Many other tributaries flow from the east, out of the well-watered plains of the Great Road and Banakur South Councilates.

The Vari River valley is narrow and rimmed with bluffs as far north as the Dunsta River.  In western Ritsar, the land falls sharply from the Droughkos Ridge into a valley carved by the Danita River before leveling out into the Chirpali Plain.  The land drops steeply again into the Vari River Valley and then climbs up the east bank of the Vari into sharply broken lands that gradually transition to rolling hills near the forest’s eastern edge.

This continues through Magira as far north as the Dunsta River, where the hill country recedes, the elevation changes more gradually and the relief is more subdued.  Within Magira, the Vari River valley narrows and the bluffs become steeper.  The land opens up at the confluence of the Bratwas and Dobavar rivers and then resumes its steep, narrow character.  To the west, the land continues to be hilly and broken, but the relief is less extreme.  The Dunsta valley in particular is open and gentle as it climbs toward the Schodni Mountains.

North of the Dunsta River, in the Tamroti lands, the character of the landscape changes dramatically.  The Vari River valley opens up and the bluffs bordering it drop down to a few dozen meters above the valley floor.  To the east and the west, the hill country recedes and is gently and easily traversed throughout.

Life in the Banakur Forest

The Gens is the basic political and social unit of the L’npei.  It bears some resemblance to the human clan or tribe, but with much stronger social and economic connection to its lands.  At the core of a Gens’ lands is a sacred garden of the Gens’ food plants.  Food from the garden is used in ceremonies and the garden supplies the seeds for cultivation of the Gen’s fields.  The sacred foods of a Gens (called Gensmeal) are the unique combination of plant foods which give the Gens the distinctive colors of its feathered crest.

The Gens are primarily pastoral with no cities or urban areas to speak of.  The main economic activity of the Gens is the tending of herds of livestock.  The small amount of cultivation is devoted entirely to the production of Gensmeal.

Each Gens has a settlement (called a Kem) that serves as an administrative center.  Its primary functions are to process, store and distribute Gensmeal and to organize the brooding and raising of young L’npei. It also has small compound dedicated to E’lani.  A small amount of barter commerce also takes place at the Kem.  Most of the resident L’npei live in temporary, movable shelters made of wood, canvas and leather.  Storage buildings and official residences are built of a combination of wood, fired brick and river stone.

Most L’npei tend the herds and live a nomadic life.  Each herd follows a pre-established route which begins and ends at the Kem.  The duration of the circuit depends upon the particular livestock in the herd and is timed so that one herd arrives at the Kem each week for butchering and to provide fiber and hides for manufacture into cloth and leather goods.  Historically, the herds and the War Bands that accompanied them were small.  However, in the Banakur Gens the demands of constant war have modified tradition.  In the Banakur each herd is large enough to support a war band in addition to the traditional group of herders who guide and care for the animals.  The L’npei of the Bankur believe that this practice strengthens the cohesion of the war band and hardens it to the rigors of war.  The herd provides the war band with its primary source of food and the war band spends its time in war training.

A few small villages are scattered along the herding routes, providing bare necessities and simple entertainments for the nomadic bands.  As with the other civilized L’npei, about 15% of the population live in the brooding camps.  Among the Banakur Gens, however, these camps also move from year to year.  Another 3% live in the permanent settlements.

The L’npei have limited resource gathering and craft skills. The primary craft activity within the Gens involves the production of simple household items for cooking, eating and sleeping, basic building materials, garments and weapons of war. They produce animal fiber which is spun into yarn and woven into cloth, as well as hides which are tanned and fashioned into a variety of objects.  They also harvest timber.  The Banakur Gens are known for the high quality of their leather goods and beautiful wooden objects.

The Gens do not smelt metal and their metal working skills are very basic.  Merchants from Gradec provide basic metal trade goods.

L’npei War Bands

The L’npei fight in war bands. When the young warriors complete their adolescence, they are formed into bands and assigned to a herd.  The war band is the life and family of a L’npei. It consists of 90 fighters, led by a respected warrior.  The band follows its herds for a number of circuits.  During this time, the band is hardened by the rigors of nomadic life, and frequently experiences some conflict with Wild L'npei.  Over time, the band coalesces around its leader as a unit and is ready for war.  Bands stay together for life.

Most of the conflict on the frontier consists of raids and ambushes and involves a single war band.  However, the Gens occasionally mount larger expeditions to destroy a Keshdumah industrial site or fortified position.  In these situations a Hero from Gens Uk'Damakini will lead two to seven war bands and a few Taikahir Bringers.

The L’npei are aggressive but undisciplined fighters.  A warrior carries a weapon in each of his fighting arms and a small buckler for protection in one of his eating hands.  Since L’npei lack advanced metalworking skills, most are armed with trade swords, war clubs and melee weapons improvised from metal trade implements or edged weapons looted from a battlefield. Some L’npei carry short throwing spears that resemble an elongated dart.

The basic L’npei garment is a knee length tunic of coarse, heavy cloth.  Warriors cover the tunic with a cloth or leather war vest, a sleeveless garment with a high collar held closed by side straps.  Older, experienced War Bands affix irregular bits of metal to their war vests to form a sort of scale mail.

Gens Tamroti

Tamroti is the northernmost of the three Banakur Gens in the upper part of the wide valley of the Vari River. Tamroti is geographically part of the open lowlands occupied by the Rapani but separated by the barrier of the Banakur.

Kemtarot, Tamroti’s administrative center is located on the Vari, on the north bank of the Dunsta River.  Although it has almost 6,000 inhabitants, but is little more than a permanent campground, surrounding a few poor structures of wood and mudbrick.

The Gradec Working maintains a trading fort, named Fort Tamroti, on the Dunsta, at the edge of the Banakur Forest.  There is a permanent L’npei camp near the Fort, with a population of fewer than 1,000 occupants.  Merchants from Gradec travel down the Dunsta to Tamroti to trade Gornarod metal objects for leather and wooden goods.  There are no roads in the Banakur Genslands, so from Tamroti, independent traders and peddlers make their way to the Keshdumah frontier settlements on the eastern edge of the forest and up the Vari and its tributaries

Gens Magira

South of Tamroti, the Vari enters a narrow valley that is the Simy Kas, which is the boundary between Tamroti and Magira.  Magira consists of two narrow necks and a small lowland at the confluence of the Bratwas, Dobavar and Vari rivers.  As mentioned, the Simy Kas is the upper neck, connecting Magira to Tamroti and the lower neck is the Duhany Kas, connecting Magira to Ritsar.

Magira’s Kem is also along the Vari, in the small plain between the Simy and Duhany Kasai.  It is called Kemagir and is a dirty hamlet with just a few permanent structures.

Gens Ritsar

Ritsar is the largest of the three Banakur Gens.  It occupies the Chirpali Plain, formed by a large loop of the Vari, just after it exits the Schodni Mountains.  Its Kem is known as Kemritsar and is located in the center of the Chirpali Plain, away from the Vari.





Long-time gamer, amateur cartographer, living in a world of my own making.

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