Region Arbannin
Reputation Nomadic herders intimately connected with their animals
Population ~500
Demographics Human 85%
Elyanati 10%
Other 5%
Language Okhel
Imports timber, wooden goods, metal, metal goods
Exports animal products, textile goods (wool), leather goods, livestock, horses


Okudan is not a place but a band of people, nomadic herdsmen who live on the open plain in extended family groups termed Hearths. Known for having a highly intimate connection with their animals and with the land that sustains them, the Okudani travel between summer territory near the foothills and winter territory in the flatlands, carting their few tangible possessions along with them. The Okudani count wealth not in things, but in an abundance of livestock and in the fertility of their people; their way of life depends on milk, meat, and wool, and upon a multitude of hands to tend to everyday tasks. But most of all, an Okudani's worth is measured in the bond with his horse, a bond of shared knowledge and of magic that links two souls together in mutual understanding.

Reputation and Relations


Other polities often consider Okudan a bit quaint; it appears a simple and unrefined settlement, vulnerable to the elements and other hazards, its people unorganized and unsophisticated. There are few things Okudan needs from outsiders, and few luxuries that its people value; similarly, while the Okudani are polite towards visitors who respect their ways, they are often perceived as aloof and reserved, holding themselves apart from (and perhaps better than) other cultures.

Attitude Towards Others

The broader culture of the Moridian nomads, and therefore the society of Okudan, recognizes three kinds of people: those who are truly Moridian (zhinkah Morid), those who are not yet Moridian (bolen Morid), and those who are nothing like Moridians (esku Morid). All other divisions, such as race or culture of origin, pale into insignificance beside these three fundamental categories.

Simply put, those who are zhinkah Morid are family. They may be distant kindred indeed, but no matter who they are or where they come from, they are considered Okudani and treated as such. Of course, the corollary is that these people are expected to behave as Moridian in turn, to share their values and customs and lifestyle — but only those who fully adopt the lifestyle of the band, including membership in a Hearth and completion of the eriun mor, are considered zhinkah in the first place.

The bolen Morid are people the Okudani can work with and value, though they do not ascribe to the lifestyle themselves. This category often includes trading partners and other businessmen with whom the band does regular business. Those visiting and traveling with Hearths are also usually considered bolen, as are native Okudani who have come of age but not yet completed the eriun mor. Such people are treated with the respect they earn, but have no status within the band; they do not have a voice in its politics, nor in the decisions of households, and are prioritized last during difficult times.

Finally, esku Morid are those who have no respect for the Morid and receive no respect in turn. They are regarded with disdain, if not outright enmity, and the Okudani regard them as having neither value nor rights. Generally, esku status is earned through one's own antagonistic behaviors, but some races are considered at best on the edge of this category and even new-met individuals are treated accordingly.

Polity Relations

  • Kothinar: Kothinar is essentially like an adopted sister polity to Okudan; they are closely connected, and have been ever since the band settled on the plains. Kothinar is the single most important trade partner for the nomads, providing most of the wood and worked metal they use. Their close economic and social ties are frequently affirmed through the fostering of youths, usually Quanaari boys to Okudan and Okudani girls to Kothinar.
  • Chudein: Okudan's northern neighbor, Chudein was the second Moridian band to be founded, separating from Okudan in distant history. As the stories have it, those who became the Chudeini remained at the sacred Third Fall grounds while the Okudani left in search of richer pastures and more resources for their people. To this day, the Chudeini consider themselves superior over all other bands, purer and more true to their spiritual heritage, even though Okudan is larger and wealthier. The two bands come nearest together in late winter, which most consider an opportunity for trade and visits with distant relatives; however, Chudeini youths are known to sneak over throughout winter and spring to rustle livestock, which is an ongoing source of tension between the bands. Chudeini Hearths never punish these raids as strongly as the Okudani would like, and indeed tacitly sanction the practice, while the Okudani do not generally give mercy to thieves they catch red-handed, which the Chudein would prefer them to do.
  • Salkav: Okudan's western neighbor, Salkav is another band of Moridian nomads, best known for having domesticated the plains aurochs; their cattle continue to be highly valued. The founders of Salkav split amicably from Okudan several generations ago when the latter grew too large for its lands to support; relations between the bands remain strong to this day. Salkav comes closest to Okudan in early fall, and the two hold a joint gathering in years where they have the resources for the requisite large feast.

Note: Chudein and Salkav are not playable polities.

Racial Relations

  • Asari:
  • Quanaari: Overall, Okudan has quite a close relationship with Kothinar; a number of Quanaari youths foster with Hearths, traders have longstanding relationships with the band, and a few of the race have even taken up permanent residence in Okudan. Collectively, Quanaari remain bolen, but they are highly regarded nonetheless, the next best thing to native Okudani and proper zhinkah Morid.
  • Suliri: The winged people are uncommon sights in Okudan, typically only visiting at the height of summer with the year's caravan from Rasumbel. They are welcomed cordially, depending on the value of what they personally bring to the band — be it a potentially profitable trade or simply the skill of their own hands.
  • Humans (foreign): Humans from other polities are not common in Okudan, but are regarded in much the same way as the predominant race of their polity.
  • Elyanati: These shapeshifters are common sights in Okudan, and several Hearths have a high proportion of Elyanati members. They are generally accepted on a personal level, although those with larger carnivore forms are regarded with skeptical caution due to the importance of herd animals to Okudani life. However, Elyanati in Okudan rarely marry, and often have lesser voices in Hearth business, even those who have achieved zhinkah status; their short lifespans and rapid development are considered mixed blessings.
  • Veleni: Most of Okudan's encounters with Veleni involve the primitive, uncultured sort, interested only in their next meal and whatever useful things they can get — be it by deal, theft, or death. Accordingly, the race is widely disdained, regarded as not much better than rats (but definitely more dangerous). Even civilized Veleni are viewed with suspicion, until they prove themselves above it — which, given that as disloyal as a Velen is a serious insult, can take some doing.
  • Mixed Bloods: As for most races, Mixed Bloods (who are also not native to Okudan), are considered of worth or not based on their own individual merits. Cultural background — whether one is from Kothinar, Vishaza, or elsewhere — plays more of a role in public opinion towards a particular Mixed individual than their racial heritage, although Veleni mixes are considered more suspect than others.

Layout and Environment

see also Okudan Locations

The movements of Okudan are advised by the band's senior shaman, based upon his understanding of the needs of both land and people. The large migrations between summer and winter territory, slow processions that take about three weeks to complete, typically occur around the equinoxes. The band will also relocate within its seasonal territory about once a month, moving across the land to ensure abundant pasture for their herds.


Summer Camp

In spring, as temperatures begin to rise and snowmelt replenishes the streams and rivers, Okudan takes up residence at the base of the Kalasai foothills. The flocks remain pastured in the plains, but the people foray into the hills to hunt, forage, and harvest wood from nearby trees, scrubby though they tend to be. Relatively speaking, this is a time of plenty, between the burgeoning land, the herds coming into milk, and the camp's proximity to its trade partners Kothinar and Vishaza. All this also makes for a time of activity, as the people of Okudan leverage these resources into goods for present and future use. As the warmer seasons progress, the camp moves southwest to fresh pastures. Many herders will also drive their animals farther into the hills, where the air stays cooler and peak growth comes later; they might stay out several nights before returning to the main camp.


Winter Camp

When the weather begins to cool, the people of Okudan move away from the foothills and out into the heart of the plains, where summer's warmth lingers a little longer. Fall is a time of frenetic activity, both before and after the long migration, as the Okudani harvest and store all the food they can gather — foraged produce, hunted game, culled livestock, and the last dregs of milk to be had from their dairy animals. The depths of winter are usually spent along the Senkale River, in sites where the riparian growth has been cultivated over generations in such a way as to provide convenient windbreaks and natural snow fences — at least for those of high-status Herds. Although snow falls rarely, temperatures remain below freezing for months; what snow there is remains all winter, piled into deep drifts by the wind. The cold season makes or breaks both Hearths and livestock, and everyone who lives to see the beginning of spring gives private thanks to their ancestors, the elements, and the gods for their continued survival.

Social Herds

see also Okudan Households

Regardless of season, the camp is laid out consistently, the family tents divided into five groups, called Herds, of up to eight families each. Four are arranged in the cardinal directions, with the fifth at center. They may be as little as 500 feet from one another or as much as a mile apart, depending on how readily the landscape can support all the band's livestock. Within a Herd, tents are arranged in two V-shapes, with the most senior Hearth sited at the center of the southern 'V'. Occasional foreigners or very low-status Hearths might set their tents on the outskirts of the camp, separate from any Herd. The tents themselves, regardless of location, are typically oriented with their doors to the south.

Membership in a Herd designates social status and wealth. The Center Herd is the most prosperous and prestigious, home to the band's leader and its chief shaman. The South Herd is one step lower, followed by East, West, and finally North. The other families of their Herd are a Hearth's most natural social group, being their closest neighbors and truest peers; it is generally expected that a Herd member will always invite other families in their Herd to any events of note, and that relationships within a Herd will be prioritized over those outside the Herd. A Herd and its senior family have no legal authority over other Herd members, but there is a strong social expectation that the decisions of the senior diragh will be respected. The senior family is also responsible for assigning, collecting, and storing the twice-yearly tithes.

Entering into a Herd, or moving up to a higher-status Herd, is typically contingent upon the invitation of that Herd's senior family. One can also be directed to move up by the Solchin, the band's overall leader. A Hearth's social standing is informed by their wealth, the individual reputes of their family members, and — particularly for high-status Hearths — their overall civic-mindedness. In short, a Hearth does not achieve high standing by being selfish and advancing itself to the detriment of others; that kind of success will only carry them to around the middle of the social pack. The same is true for a Hearth whose respect stems primarily from the deeds of a single prominent member, or for simply thriving and producing an abundance of resources. High-status Hearths are in many ways the social "glue" that keeps the band together: they foster positive relationships and connections, provide material assistance in times of need, and generally act for the good of the band as well as their own family.

Herd membership is, like so much else in Okudan, voluntary. Just because one has been invited to move up does not mean they must, although there are likely to be social repercussions to refusal. A Hearth may break with their Herd at any time, but doing so relegates them to solitary status on the edges of the camp, and severely impairs their chances of being elevated to another. A Hearth may also be bidden to leave their Herd by the senior family; in this case, they typically drop to the next lower Herd if there is one. Such a drop may be dictated by chronic failure to live up to obligations such as the seasonal tithe or agreements made with other Hearths; socially censured behaviors such as blatant abuse within the Hearth or crimes against other Hearths; an inability to continue maintaining the expected level of wealth and civic generosity; and other events that reflect poorly on the Hearth and its place among the band. Because the number of positions in a Herd are limited, one Hearth may also drop when another rises; this is usually "voluntary" in that a lower-status member of the Herd accedes to the rising star without being prompted, but everyone knows who was going to have to give way. Doing so with grace, however, preserves as much face and standing as possible for the leaving Hearth.

Everyday Life

see also Okudan Resource List
see also Okudan Locations
see also Okudan Households
see also Okudan Politics


A Hearth is known by its bahshir — a large, round tent made of felt panels supported by a wooden lattice, with an oiled canvas cover protecting all from the weather. The canvas is usually painted with imagery and colors important to the family, often memorializing events in the history of its members. Families who can afford it have a wooden door, itself carved and painted; others settle for hanging a felt panel across the opening of their bahshir. Inside, a firepit with three stones sits at the very center under the tent's smoke hole, woven rugs and tanned hides soften the ground, and baskets store anything the family might need immediately to hand. Notably, while the diragh has authority over the Hearth's people, his wife has authority over the bahshir, as it is her hands that make and maintain the felt of its walls and prepare the food that its inhabitants eat; even the diragh himself remains within the tent only upon her sufferance.

The other key possession of a Hearth, though far more humble, is the cart (or carts) that stores and transports the family's possessions. The most common cart in Okudan is a simple two-wheeled, two-shafted affair; these carts may either have a completely open, flat bed or be covered by canvas stretched over a wooden frame. Many items are stored in the carts even when camped, so that the people are already ready to move if need arises.

Due to their mobile lifestyle, the Okudani own very little in the way of material things; they prize items with useful function, and items with history. To Okudani eyes, there is more value in a scuffed bowl passed down from one's grandfather than in five sparklingly new bowls fresh off a trader's wagon. Art is prized, but largely only if it comes in the form of ornamentation on a functional item. Furniture of any kind is uncommon in the camp, mostly consisting of tables and stools that can be disassembled for transport, and the occasional tandoor oven for families who can afford to cart one around.


In Okudani cuisine, foods are handled simply and their natural flavors preferred, sometimes accented with local herbs or a dash of imported salt. Cooking is largely done over open fire, in a stewpot, in a ceramic tandoor oven, or on an iron griddle depending upon the preferences and prosperity of the Hearth. Dairy forms a significant part of every meal, be it in the form of milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, or even the mildly alcoholic beverage kumis. Aside from their livestock, which are milked throughout the warm seasons and culled in Spring and Fall, the Okudani depend upon the bounty of the land for sustenance, making do with whatever is available in season. Foraging and hunting are thus mainstay activities for all Hearths, bringing in greens, root vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs, and hunted game, and the preservation of this bounty against winter scarcity is a vital concern. A Hearth that plans well can eat just as varied a diet in Winter as during the rest of the year, albeit based on dried and pickled foods rather than fresh.


The basic elements of Okudani clothing are shirt, vest, and trousers, regardless of the wearer's gender. Young children may go about in tunics for ease of dressing and washing, and some women wear full-length skirts or dresses inspired by the styles of other polities. The vast majority of clothes are made from woven wool, felted wool, or leather; linen and ramie are imported from Kothinar and Vishaza respectively and command relatively high prices. Colors commonly range from browns and oranges through yellows to greens and light blues; vivid reds, purples, and blues are difficult to obtain from local dyes, with most such fading to pastel shades in short order. Embroidery and other ornamentation is widespread, and can feature symbols particular to one's Hearth, be designed to convey wealth and standing, or simply be intended to attract attention and flatter the wearer. Ornamentation usually features geometric designs and natural elements such as flowers, leaves, animal shapes, and animal tracks.

Shirts in Okudan are typically loose, designed to permit a wide range of motions and activities. Most have long and loose sleeves, often pleated and gathered at tighter cuffs. Tunics are also common, reaching anywhere from hip length to knee length; particularly for women, longer tunics may be slightly flared at the hem, reminiscent of a short dress.

Sleeveless vests are very common, either as single-piece garments or with buttons up the front, and may be worn with or without a shirt underneath. Most stop at waist or hip level; longer vests reaching to mid-thigh or even to the knees are worn by elders and people of notable standing. Vests of pale linen — expensive and difficult to keep clean — are often considered to signal status, ambition, or uncouth ego depending on the wearer.

The Okudani style of coat is notable for extending nearly to the knees and flaring outwards from the waist down. There are often no buttons or ties below the waist, and both sleeved and unsleeved coats are common. Unlike shirts and vests, coats are usually not decorated, and may even be undyed; they are sturdy, durable garments expected to take a beating from everyday use. A similar philosophy extends to trousers, which are usually unadorned and unremarkable garments.

For footwear, the Okudani typically wear either boots, when riding or traveling, or slippers, within the bahshir and around the camp. Boots may be made of leather or felt, often have upturned tips, and are frequently decorated with geometric patterns. Slippers are virtually always made from felt and often brightly colored and patterned.


Horses are Father Sky's gift to the Moridian peoples, the living blessing upon which their way of life depends. Horses are at once sacred and beautiful and eminently mundane, employed on an everyday basis to move goods and herd livestock and carry the Okudani wherever they need to go. Most of all, no Okudani is truly an Okudani without having found and been bound to his equine other half; it is this relationship that distinguishes zhinkah from bolen. A bonded horse is partner and helpmeet and best friend and even as a sibling to their rider, albeit four-footed and overlarge; it is unthinkable for an Okudani to disregard his bonded horse, to treat them badly, or even to willingly leave them behind for an extended period. Okudani even shun the usual term for a bonded animal (familiar) in the context of their equine partners, using the Okhel term morisu for the relationship instead.

Non-bonded horses are not held in quite the same level of regard, but they are still a long step above the common run of livestock. Although the Okudani depend heavily upon their livestock for food and clothing, a Hearth can survive without sheep and goats; it cannot survive without its horses and the vast swathes of land they make easily accessible. Thus every Okudani learns to ride as readily as walk, and the horses are valued as much as or only slightly less than the people of the Hearth.

Riding Tack

Okudani riders use one of two kinds of saddle, depending on their purpose. The eniur or "hunting saddle" is the one children are trained on, and is used for most activities; every rider has one. The jilur or "working saddle" is used primarily for working large herds and for long-distance riding (e.g. messengers); being more specialized in application, only those Hearths who have particular need for working saddles have them. No Okudani ever uses a bitted bridle, regardless of saddle choice; when reins are needed, they are used with a bitless hackamore.

The eniur has a simple tree made from thin strips of wood, with very low pommel and cantle; it has the look of a contoured leather and felt pad, perfectly fitted to horse and rider. Stirrups are typically worn short, although some use them long. Riders using hunting saddles may or may not use a hackamore, and generally control their horse more through inherent cues (e.g. seat and posture) than through external aids (e.g. reins).

The jilur has a wooden frame with very tall, rounded pommel and cantle and short stirrups. Notably, its frame impairs communication to the horse through seat cues, and the rider is at the mercy of the horse's choice of gait; using an jilur to good effect requires a strong partnership between rider and horse. However, the frame is excellent for stabilizing the rider, including while standing or shooting, and effectively prevents forward or backward falls. The jilur is often as highly-decorated as its owner can afford, with colorful cloth, embroidery, metal edging, fringe, bells, etc., and serves as an indicator of status and wealth. Working saddles are always used in tandem with a hackamore, and the horse trained to respond to neck rein aids.


Okudani households that have strong relationships with Kothinar will often foster youths from their allies' families. These adolescents, usually male Qualloni between the ages of 24 and 32, live as children of the fostering Hearth and are treated just the same as any native youth. They are taught to tend the herds, to ride like an Okudani, to understand and live in harmony with the landscape, and otherwise hardened up in a way purely city-raised youths are not. Fostering terms typically last for four years, and in any case always finish before the youth becomes adult by Kothinar standards.

Less commonly, Okudani girls may be fostered by Kothinan families, usually between the ages of 12 and 18. These are typically younger daughters from large Hearths, girls with little in the way of marriage prospects. Ostensibly they are sent to learn skills and knowledge that will improve their chances of catching a husband's eye, but in many cases the unspoken expectation is that the girl will make a place for herself in Kothinar and remain there.

In either case, due to the pronounced differences between Okudani and Kothinan gender role expectations, as well as those inherent to nomadic and urban lifestyles, one who fosters out and then returns often finds themselves a bit of a fish out of water in their native culture.

Social Structure

The central unit of Okudani society is the Hearth: a male patriarch (diragh) and his extended family. Each Hearth is an independent entity, answerable to no one but itself — although any patriarch worth his salt listens closely to the will of the band's chief and its shaman. Hearths often span three to four generations in their membership, from great-grandparents down to toddlers, and may include anywhere from four to forty people; ten to fifteen family members is most typical. Children of the Hearth are raised and looked after by the entire Hearth; similarly, the resources and prospects of the household are the concern of all. Very little is considered private or personal, as the open environment does not lend itself to privacy or secrets, and the Hearth's members rise or fall in fortune together.

Within a Hearth, families generally have quite definite social structures. The diragh has authority over all, followed by his wives. Elders of either gender are few but very highly respected for their wisdom, experience, and good fortune in surviving. Those who have completed the eriun mor and are considered zhinkah Morid have standing according to their skill and age, with skills carrying the greater weight; people are most important for how much they contribute to the Hearth's ongoing survival. Children are highly valued for the future they represent, and are essentially considered provisional zhinkah until fate demonstrates otherwise.

Adults who have come of age but not passed the aruin mor — adults who are still bolen Morid — occupy a liminal state, neither quite of the family nor quite outside it. This category also includes outsiders who are adopted into a Hearth, including purchased "slaves". Such people are still considered to have worth and treated accordingly — they have the value of their skills and effort, and their contributions to the Hearth's well-being — but their status is distinctly lower than that of any zhinkah in the Hearth, even the youngest. All the more so if the bolen makes no apparent effort to become zhinkah in turn.

However, that does not mean that bolen are necessarily mistreated, as they may simply leave. Anyone from the diragh's heir down to the least bolen may sever ties with their Hearth at any time. This is a serious decision, however, because severing ties means they cut themselves adrift from all support; it is considered a declaration of independence and self-reliance. One who severs ties may take the clothes they wear, their bonded horse if they have one, and only whatever else their former diragh chooses to provide — which is never more than what they alone can carry. No other Hearth will knowingly take them in, nor provide meaningful support or resources. A person who severs ties effectively founds their own new Hearth of one, a blank slate with no intrinsic value and no reputation (or even a negative reputation, depending on the reason for severing), and is responsible for pulling together on their own merits the physical and social capital needed to keep it alive.

Similarly, just as an individual person may break from their Hearth at any time, so can any Hearth leave Okudan to join one of the other Moridian bands upon the plains. Hearths from other bands also occasionally join Okudan. Generally such transfers happen in either fall or early spring, at routine convocations with Okudan's neighbors.

Note: New PCs may choose to hail from one of the other established Moridian bands (Chudein or Salkav), and players who go on hiatus for a while may similarly say their PCs spent that IC time away. However, bands other than Okudan are not playable polities and no RP can occur while a PC is resident there. Players may not invent new bands, nor invent cultural practices markedly different from those observed in Okudan; although the bands are separate polities, they all share the same cultural heritage.

Beyond the family level, there is very little in the way of social structure in Okudan. The membership of a Hearth in a Herd signals wealth, capability, and prestige, but confers no authority on one family over another. Each family is independent at all times, and can be commanded by none save its own diragh.

Gender Roles

Men in Okudan are considered to have two primary roles: managing the herds and protecting the Hearth. Boys and young men are usually tasked with driving the herds to new pastures during the day and bringing them back to camp at night, while the adult men do more active guarding, hunting, and heavy lifting around the camp. As these duties expose men to more hazards than women on average, their mortality rates are high; there are two to three women in Okudan for every man.

Accordingly, the day to day upkeep of the camp and its people falls to the wives and daughters of the Hearth, as well as many crafting or production activities that bring money to the household coffers. Women also do such husbandry tasks as require less strength, such as milking and gathering shed wool.

While this division of labor is considered the norm, and those who habitually do not conform to the expected gender roles are considered eccentric in a negative sense, all hands ultimately lend themselves to whatever needs doing so that their Hearth survives. The only truly hard-and-fast rule is that of male inheritance: when a diragh dies or steps down, he is succeeded by his eldest surviving son. A daughter inherits only if there is no son living, and such a situation is considered ill fortune indeed. Notably, a female diragh cannot marry — she would join her husband's Hearth by doing so, and her own would cease to exist.


Marriage among the Okudani is strongly tied to considerations of resources and and survival. Marriage is the means by which a Hearth is continued; without children, a Hearth will eventually wither away. Given that, a marriage childless too long, or a relationship that cannot produce children, is a blight upon the Hearth in question. Such situations are not condemned per se, but they are regarded askance and considered to reduce the value of associating with that family, leading to social repercussions. Marriages also represent the interdependence of Hearths with one another, formalizing complementary associations and sociopolitical alliances.

Marriages are arranged by the diraghim of two Hearths, usually with consideration of the opinions of the parties involved, but always with an eye to the best advantage of their households. A new wife always moves into her husband's Hearth, reducing the number of hands available to her birth family and increasing the burden on her married family — not only in her own person, but in the potential support needed for her future children. She will generally bring a dowry with her, embodied in a variety of goods, agreements for future transactions, and in her own talents, whose collective value speaks to how highly her birth family regards her and how much they value their association with the husband's Hearth. The husband's family, meanwhile, is responsible for holding the feast that celebrates the marriage, and in so doing demonstrates their ability to provide for both families and guests besides.

The only marriages that Okudani consider to matter are those which occur between two zhinkah Morid with the approval of their diraghim. Any other relationship is not socially valid; and while unofficial engagements between any two unmarried people are tolerated most of the time, if a diragh sees need for one of his Hearth members to formally marry, he can decree an end to any informal relationship they may have. Socially, the informal partners are required to comply; the alternative is for both to sever ties and leave their Hearths under a cloud of heavy disapproval. Having children outside a marriage (i.e. from an informal partnership) is considered a blemish upon the parents, as they obviously pursued a relationship that did not have the approval of their diraghim; the child itself is treated and loved as any other, children being the embodiment of the Hearth's future. In the event a parent moves out from their Hearth for any reason, their children remain; ties to the family as a collective entity supersede any individual relations.

A man can marry as many wives as his Hearth will support, though polygynous marriages are uncommon given that most Hearths include several men of marriageable age. It is widely considered stronger for the family to have marriage ties distributed among its members, as those marriages symbolize social, political, and economic connections with other Hearths; concentrating those alliances on a single person could be unwise. The diragh and his heir are often exceptions, as they already represent the family entire; generally if any man has multiple wives, he also occupies one of these two roles. Polyandrous marriages are rare, but accepted so long as the husbands are members of the same Hearth (even if one must be adopted to make that true). All partners in a marriage are expected to not have sexual relations outside the marriage; infidelity disrespects both Hearths and the bond between them, and can have repercussions ranging from ostracism of one Hearth by the other to dissolution of the marriage to a severing of ties with the person who transgressed.

Notably, upon divorce, the husband's Hearth is responsible for paying the wife's dowry back to her birth Hearth, minus portions for any children she bore. Typically one quarter is kept for each of the first two children; if the union produced more, the Hearths will negotiate over the remaining half, but often the full dowry value remains with the husband's Hearth in that case.


The Okudani do not practice slavery; they do not take captives nor practice the servitude and sale of their own people. They do, however, occasionally buy people. This generally happens in one of three situations:

  • A well-off Hearth has more business than hands to fill it
  • A Hearth has fallen victim to catastrophe and lost essential members
  • A Hearth lacks heirs to continue its name, particularly in the case of a female diragh

In all of these scenarios, the Hearth has more resources available than its existing members need; thus, it can afford to support another. When slaves are incorporated into a Hearth, they are treated no differently than any other bolen Morid — a second-class citizen to be sure, but worth neither less nor more than anyone else of that status. Thus, a slave may be bought, but never sold. Neither is a purchased bolen coerced to remain with the Hearth; they may sever ties as readily as anyone else, though the hazards inherent to surviving Okudan's nomadic lifestyle do a great deal to keep even the reluctant close to home.

Coercion, however, is not generally necessary — first, because Hearths want their newest members to remain, and so try to incentivize staying; and second because it is widely known that those bought by Okudani cease to be slaves. Indeed, it is often the case that sellers present to Okudani buyers only those slaves who they have little hope of selling elsewhere — the unruly, the damaged, the elderly or sickly — and usually at egregious cost, for the Okudani are not repeat customers whose goodwill the seller would want to cultivate.

Once a (former) slave has acquired enough familiarity with Okudan culture, they are as free to attempt the eriun mor as any native, thus elevating themselves to zhinkah status.


The Okudani government, such as it is, has only three official positions: Solchin, first among diraghim; Ilbesir, first among shamans; and Tevik, first among the band's Protectors. As with its structure, the responsibilities of Okudan's leaders are simple: guide the band to good pastures and fruitful lands, mediate disagreements and tensions among the member Hearths, and defend the whole against the dangers of the world around them.

The Solchin makes decisions on when the band moves and where, in consultation with shamans. He is also a mediator for interpersonal conflicts and disagreements, and the dispenser of penalties and punishments. The position is conferred by vote of the band's diraghim, with eligible candidates being those diraghim who volunteer for consideration. A Solchin typically holds his post for as long as he leads his Hearth, though if enough of the band considers him to be doing a poor job, the diraghim can at any time choose to follow someone else instead. In practice, this position has remained in the same family for several generations, and moved between just a handful of Hearths in times past.

The Ilbesir of Okudan has always been the diragh of the Starchaser Hearth, ever since the band first settled on the plains. His responsibilities are communing with the land and understanding its state, monitoring the overall well-being of the band as a whole, providing guidance on when and where the band should move, and mediating disagreements relating to the herds.

Finally, the Tevik is the leader of the Protectors, a small number of dedicated warriors who stand watch around the city, deal with monsters and persistent predators, and otherwise provide the final line of defense for the band as a collective. He is charged with overseeing the training of the warriors, assigning appropriate tasks, and recruiting new members at need. The Tevik usually works closely with the Solchin, but has no official part in making decisions for the band.

Law and Values

Officially, Okudani law is as simple as its government. To the members of a Hearth, the word of their diragh is law. Conflicts between people and between Hearths, including matters such as theft, injury, and even murder, are settled by their diraghim, often with the payment of a weregild of some kind in restitution for any damage made. Should the diraghim be unable to reach a compromise, or one refuse to address the issue at all, they may go before the Solchin, who then mandates appropriate penalties.

In practice, Okudani law and punishment is a complex dance of tradition, official values, and social relations. Many minor offenses are handled socially, with censure by other Hearths being a strong deterrent. If others will not buy a Hearth's goods, sell to them at a reasonable price, make deals to exchange goods or labor, or — worse still — will not fairly share good pastures, that Hearth can quickly find itself floundering and failing. The crimes that tend to require more official responses are damage to herds or damage to people. Harm to children is considered the most heinous offense, followed closely by acts that harm another Hearth's herds or livelihood.

Although all Hearths are technically equal and independent, those of lower standing have less ability to go against higher-status families. To an even greater degree, bolen Morid are valued less than zhinkah Morid, and a crime or insult against a bolen carries much lower weregild. Outsiders are valued mostly for their trade relationships; although technically bolen, an outsider with few connections and no promise of trade is effectively a nonentity in political and legal terms, and while rare, crimes against such people are essentially ignored.


Much of the day-to-day defense of herds and Hearths is enacted by a Hearth's own members. For that reason, most men and many women of Okudan have at least some facility with sling, bow, or spear. The collective burden of the band's defense, however, falls upon the Protectors, a mostly male group of dedicated warriors under the authority of the Tevik. These are the people who stand watch around Okudan in shifts throughout day and night, escort herders taking animals to distant pastures, respond to reports of monsters and persistent predators, and also step in to maintain the peace between Hearths — or between Hearths and outsiders — at need.

Most Protectors are younger sons of a Hearth that already has a healthy and accomplished heir, or men who were the younger sons of their generation; the diraghim and their heirs are considered both too valuable and too occupied by the business of the Hearth. Typically there are about 15 to 20 Protectors at any one time, working in permanent partnerships. Becoming a Protector is a simple matter of petitioning the Tevik; the petitioner then faces off against three current Protectors of the Tevik's choosing. If his skill is deemed sufficient, the petitioner is accepted, so long as his diragh also approves of his service.

Protectors do not receive a monetary wage for their job, because there is no governmental institution to pay them; rather, they are maintained from the seasonal tithes of goods made by all Hearths.

Note: To be a Protector, a PC must have at least Professional level in both Riding and an appropriate weapon skill. Expertise in Tracking or Hunting is also strongly advised.


There are no monetary taxes for anything in Okudan; however, Hearths are expected to tithe goods twice a year. These goods may be preserved foods, crafted goods, materials — essentially anything that is useful and nonperishable. Tithed goods belong to the Solchin, but for storage purposes are distributed across all of the senior families; most tithed goods are hoarded against lean times, with some also being given out to the Protectors in payment for their work.

Tithing typically happens once in late Spring and again near the end of Fall, when resources are abundant; the exact timing varies, as the Solchin must call for each tithe to be made. Tithes are decided and organized by the senior family of each Herd, who dictates what is owed by their associate Hearths — usually with input from the tithing families, although everyone in the community has a pretty good idea of what everyone else has. It is very bad form for a senior Hearth to demand in tithe more than a junior can reasonably give; it is also a stain upon any Hearth to give less than they are asked for, and thus the tithe can be a very political matter. A Hearth that tithes more than expected is held to be either foolish or highly effective — that social verdict often depends on whether they survive the following Winter. If extra is given, it is usually at the Spring tithe.


The education of children is solely the province of their Hearth. Children learn whatever their elders have to teach, including familial professions and any traditions or special knowledge passed down through the generations. Children usually begin helping with household tasks as soon as they are able, thus much of their education is practical and occurs in a working context. There are no dedicated schools, and most Hearths cannot afford to have even a child's hands idle for extended periods. Literacy is uncommon outside of shamanic and leadership Hearths due to the lack of books and writing material.

Wealthier Hearths may hire tutors for their older children or adolescents, those at least ten years old and more often at least 12. It is usually sons that are so invested in, because their training will remain with the Hearth, but it is not unheard-of for a daughter to be tutored in skills that make her a more valuable wife, the better for her marriage to secure a particularly strong alliance for the family. Hearths with good trade relationships and an abundance of girl-children are known to send teenage girls to foster with their allies, particularly in Kothinar, often with the unspoken hope that she will establish herself in the city as well as reaffirm their social ties.

Arts and Entertainment

see also Okudan Folklore


Generally speaking, Okudani value functionality first and beauty second. However, an item that is both functional and beautiful is of even more worth, and Hearths who have the time or resources to spend will invest them in fine things as an indicator of success and prestige. An ornamented jilur is a traditional sign of wealth for those who use them, as is a richly painted canvas cover for the Hearth's bahshir. Other artistic expressions range from baskets made with dyed grass woven in patterns, jewelry made of organic materials, and embroidered clothing to richly glazed pottery, carved woodwork, and elaborately patterned wool rugs.

Okudani art tends to favor geometric motifs — particularly arcs, circles, and star shapes — and the stylized forms of animals and plants. Most art designs are symbolic and representational rather than realistic. Many many works of art are used as mnemonic aids for storytelling, be it a tale from folklore or their owner's own personal or family tales.

Storytelling and Music

Storytelling is not only a pastime in Okudan, but an art form, the means through which history and important cultural lessons are conveyed. Many traditional Okudani tales are told as poems, and poetic styles range from simple (for histories and legends) to ornate (for odes to accomplishments and humorous or snarky tales). Every Hearth has its elders, usually female, who are living repositories of their family's and people's history and traditions. Then there are the orators renowned by the band entire, those who not only have a head full of lore but the skill and voice to enthrall an audience; such a tale-teller may be invited to nearly every feast, and can be found spinning yarns at every festival or public observance. Even a foreign storyteller can expect to find a warm welcome at the majority of Hearths, and some have been known to take advantage of this when staying in Okudan during Winter.

Music does not have an established prominence in Okudan. Many shorter poems can be sung, and are, at feasts and other social events; most favor singing humorous or irreverent poems. Singing is spontaneous and convivial rather than a formal performance art. The same is true for instrumental music, with typical instruments including percussion (drums, rattles), pipes (tabor, ney), and a two-stringed lute. Uncommonly, musicians use instruments of the Kothinan style, such as castanets or panpipes.


The most celebrated of Okudani sports is horse racing, usually over short distances. Races are major features of Departure festivities, as well as being held spontaneously or by Solchin decree on other occasions. Wagering on races is commonplace, and can include not only which horse will win, but how a particular horse performs, such as betting whether a particular one will shy or come in last. Horse races are even sometimes used to settle disputes, be they serious or frivolous. A horse that performs well in races is admired and respected, even more so than its rider. There is very little distinction made between competitors on age or sex, whether horse or rider; usually there is one broad group of "young" racers and another of "adult" racers. Formal races typically divide horses by sex, but informal ones may or may not.

The other major Okudani sport is archery, in which both men and women compete. Typical contest formats are: roving marks, in which competitors shoot at a succession of landscape features ("marks"), moving to each prior target before shooting at the next; wand shooting, where the archers shoot a limited number of arrows (usually four) at a wooden strip about two feet long and eight inches wide; and wall shooting, which uses a dozen woven cylinders called ril stacked into a wall as the target, with the goal being to knock one out.


Alcohol is common in Okudan, particularly in the form of kumis; nearly every Hearth produces at least a bit of its own kumis during seasons where milk is abundant. Generally, beverages in Okudan contain very little alcohol, and they may be consumed with any and every meal by anyone from children to elders. Okudani typically do not consume enough to get truly drunk; in fact, public drunkenness is considered gauche, a sign of poor self-control, and even routinely drinking to intoxication in private reflects ill on the drinker.

Worship and Beliefs

Sacred Elements

The Okudani revere three sacred elements: Father Sky, Mother Rain, and Mother Earth. These are not 'gods' in the sense of worship, propitiation, and prayer, in the sense of a Way; rather, they are essential forces of the world personified and made relatable. One may make offerings to the elements out of respect or gratitude, but as spiritual beings beyond the ken of people, it is not to be expected that the elements will hear or act upon any given request. More than anything, the sacred elements are favorite subjects of myths and fireside tales; they are fundamental to Okudani folklore. Old tales, including the story of Okudan's founding, have been passed down through the generations; these are widely held to have actually happened, or to be at least mostly true.

Father Sky, diragh of the elements, is the essence of vision, meaning not only sight but inspiration as well. The sudden realizations that strike at dawn, in the first moments of waking, are said to be sent by Father Sky. It is also Father Sky's nature to become absorbed in the far-off things he sees and forget his duties immediately to hand, much to the ire of Mother Rain. He is accompanied by the sun his horse and the moon his dog, both of whom can be counted upon to guide and guard the stars that are Father Sky's herds, regardless of his lapses. His sacred color is blue, widely held to be the most beautiful color and thus very prevalent in cloth throughout Okudan, dyed using woad from the hills.

Mother Rain is the senior wife of Father Sky, the temperamental bringer of both life and destruction. Water calm and fierce is her domain; the cool rivers that cut across the plains, the gentle rain that sprouts seeds, the raging storms that flatten all before them. It is said that when the sky is hidden by clouds, Father Sky is away from his Hearth, and Mother Rain grows melancholy in his absence; but when a storm rages, she has become angry at his unreliability and cast him out. Her sacred color is the cool gray of rainclouds, often avoided in Okudan usage so as not to draw Mother Rain's temperamental attention. In the rare cases Mother Rain's gray is used, the color is made from blue lupine flowers.

Mother Earth, junior wife and youngest of the elements, is calm and dependable, the peacemaker who keeps the elemental Hearth together. Water is needed to start life, but Mother Earth is the one who sustains it, the provider of nourishment and support. She is best-known in tales for swooping in at the end and setting things to rights, providing common sense, compassion, and food to bring her co-spouses back together. Her sacred color is green, also very widely used throughout Okudan, colored with a combination of dyer's broom and woad, or with lupine foliage.


Okudan's territory is littered with a number of abis, simple shrines consisting of no more than a pile of stones. These are considered peaceful, solemn, sacred places, and are generally visited in silence; people come to remember the deceased, to meditate, to seek good fortune, to pray to their gods, and so on. Offerings of food, drink, or small goods are often brought to shrines. People who are seeking blessings might weave prayer banners, thin strips of cloth with colors and patterns symbolizing the petitioner's hopes and desires, and drape them across the stone pile. It is also very common for visitors to bring a pebble from elsewhere and add it to the abi, sometimes carrying the stone for as much as a year in order to imprint it with something of their self, their dreams and sorrows and aspirations, making the abi spiritually stronger. It is generally believed that the good fortune one might receive from meditating or praying at an abi comes in part from those who contributed to its building; anyone who might need a blessing in the future (which is everyone) is expected to also give when they can.

The typical abi began as a small cairn over a heap of clean, weather-worn bones, memorializing a notable person who has passed on. Such abis have relevance mostly to the descendants of the person in question; few add to them, and they tend to be no more than a couple feet in size. Some abis commemorate significant people or events in Okudan's history; these are visited by many over generations, and may become as much as five or six feet tall and nearly as large across. The larger an abi, the stronger it is, and the greater a blessing one might successfully request.


The Hearthstone, or galu, is a tradition endemic to all Hearths in Okudan. When a Hearth is founded, or when a new diragh ascends to the position, the diragh chooses a stone that will anchor its firepit. Other stones are also used to build the pit, but this one is a permanent fixture carried from camp to camp. The diragh will choose a stone that he considers symbolic of the Hearth and his aspirations for it, taking into account features such as the stone's material, color, size, and shape. As the galu is used day to day and season to season, it is stressed and changed by the fire. A stone that colors evenly and retains its strength symbolizes a strong, healthy Hearth. A stone that discolors in splotches is believed to hint at tensions, conflicts, secrets. Chipping, cracking, or outright breaking of the stone forebodes ill fortune in direct proportion to the degree of damage. A diragh keeps his galu for as long as he lives, and it usually forms part of his abi after death.

The Three Treasures

Okudan is notable among the Moridian bands for possessing the Nahranden, the three Treasures crafted from fallen stars that blessed the nomads' journey to the plains. These items are sacred and beloved, believed to bring good fortune to their bearers, as well as singling them out as people worthy of regard. However, it is also considered important to keep the Treasures circulating, so that no one person holds them for too long and everyone in the band who could benefit from their blessings may so do.

The Spear: Formally named Nahran Zhad, this spear tipped with meteoric iron is a symbol of strength and protection, emblematic of the men who valiantly defend Hearth and home. It is awarded to the winner of a martial competition held during the Spring Departure festival, and its possessor is considered the greatest and most valorous of warriors among the band that year. The Spear may be held by the same man for several years running, provided he wins the contest repeatedly.

The Mortar: Formally named Nahran Chool, this iron mortar and pestle is small, its bowl not much larger than two cupped hands, and represents the intimate relationship between Okudan and the land that is their ultimate source of food, health, and well-being. As such, it is bestowed upon a person "in need", someone the former holder empathizes with and wishes to see succeed. Often this is someone who has severed ties and is struggling to build up a new Hearth, but may also be an apprentice crafter, young shaman, or anyone else working to establish themselves and their reputation. When the holder has succeeded and no longer depends upon luck, they pass the Mortar on to someone else who needs it more. Alternately, if their venture fails (usually in the holder's death), the Mortar is reclaimed by its former holder, who and gifts it anew to someone else. It is considered absolutely gauche for the passing of the Mortar to be announced, but gossip tends to move itself, and due to the Mortar's social value, public awareness makes an almost self-fulfilling prophecy of its recipient's success. It may still take years for that success to be realized; as such, the Mortar is the slowest to circulate out of all the Treasures.

The Stirrups: Formally named Nahran Dovu, these iron stirrups represent the horses upon whom Okudani livelihoods depend and are awarded by the former holder to the owner of any horse they feel has unusual distinction. This can be a horse who comes from behind to upset a difficult race, one who demonstrates particular valor or loyalty or intelligence, or even just a horse with bloodlines and training that the holder particularly approves of. Horses that have worn the Stirrups are widely considered prime breeding material, and their trainers people to learn from. The Stirrups are passed around very irregularly, depending upon the whim of their holder and the quality of Okudan's up-and-coming horses, but it is considered bad form to keep them for more than perhaps two or three years.

Ways of Worship

There are three Ways that predominate in Okudan: Shared Being, Resolute Steel, and Untamed Harmony. Individuals can and do follow other Ways, but those Ways are not of any note at the societal level.

Although there is no Okudani temple to the Way of Shared Being, it is a path very widely practiced indeed. The overall tenets of this Way — community, cooperation, and mediation — are themselves central to the band's continued existence; as such, Okudani who petition or benefit from the Way turn their daily lives into offering and prayer, paying gratitude forward rather than making any formalized observance at a special holy place. Many higher-status Hearths have at least one Follower of Shared Being among their members, and those who commit to the Way are respected.

The Way of Resolute Steel is the most visibly prominent religion in Okudan, as the Hearth of the Tavik also acts as its temple, and nearly all of the Protectors who ensure the band's continued security follow this Way. As all Hearths also take part in their own personal defense, there are a number of others throughout Okudan who have reason to respect and Follow the Way of Resolute Steel themselves. As a result, this Way strongly influences how Okudani perceive and react to potential hazards and conflicts; namely, the vast majority would rather nip a potential threat in the bud than wait to find out if its risk is real.

Finally, the Way of Untamed Harmony is dear to Okudan's existence, although something of a niche religion within the band. While residents respect the wilderness around Okudan, value its largesse, and take care to husband its resources against future need, they still generally value their own familial and societal survival first and foremost. Even among the nomads, those who can balance the paradigm of Untamed Harmony against the needs and whims of society are few, and generally help protect the band against monsters and advise its leadership concerning migrations. The Okudani temple to Untamed Harmony is sited at its outskirts and maintained by a single woman in the aloof independence typical of the Way's Followers.


The shamanic disciplines are integral to Okudan, not only in the form of the eriun mor but also in the reliance upon shamans to judge when and where the band migrates. Although dedicated practice of shamanism is largely limited to specific Hearths, its core principles inform all facets of Okudani life, from coexistence and harmony with the land to the strength of their community being born from respect for and cooperation with one another. That is not to say that disagreements, rivalries, and outright enmity do not exist within the band — people are people everywhere — but the overall Okudani worldview and approach to life is holistic rather than individualistic.

Because of this, Okudani culture exists in diametric opposition to the core philosophies of witchcraft. Witches are not hated or feared categorically, but they are considered fundamentally not like us. Witches are stereotyped as avid seekers of control, forcing animals, people, and the environment to do their will, and thus the antagonists of many tales; actual living witches are regarded as somewhat suspect, but treated reasonably so long as their own conduct is honorable. There are very few witches within Okudan and even fewer who practice openly; in particular, Okudani believe that witchcraft interacts poorly with the morisai bond, and thus it is rare for a zhinkah to learn witchcraft, or for a bolen who already uses it to attempt the eriun mor.

Rites and Observances

see also Okudan Holidays and Festivals

The migratory lifestyle of the Okudani, dependent upon the rhythms of the land rather than a consistent calendar, lends itself to few routine holidays; such festivals as they do have are oriented around the patterns of their migrations. Perhaps the most prominent Okudani festival is the Day of Departure, celebrated before the band sets off on their migration between territories. There are also several life events which are routinely observed within Hearths, typically involving feasts; the more wealthy the Hearth, the grander the feast and the more people invited, possibly including their whole Herd or even the entirety of Okudan.

Feasts follow a very simple protocol. The hosting Hearth lays out an assortment of food, from which attendees serve themselves. Zhinkah take what they want first, followed by bolen; and within those groups children under the age of eight are fed before elders, then married adults, and finally unmarried youths. After the first serving, there are no restrictions; anyone may take additional helpings until the food (and drink) runs out. There may be stories told, music and singing, dancing, or all three depending on the occasion, the whims of the celebrants, and the duration of the festivities.

  • Hospitality: The rite of hospitality is not a celebration, but a routine observance, part of the social glue that keeps ties strong among the various Hearths of Okudan. Anyone who visits a Hearth is formally welcomed and seated to the right of the door, while the host sits on the north side, directly opposite the door. Guest and host each have a shallow bowl of water or milk, along with a token amount of salt and either bread or meat to consume it with, depending on the Hearth's resources. After the drink is consumed, guest and host inquire after one another's families, along with any news; they may also discuss recent gossip. The end of this purely social exchange is marked by a second drink, after which conversation turns to the actual purpose of the guest's visit. Once business is concluded, guest and host share a third drink; upon finishing it, the guest offers a blessing upon the host's Hearth and promptly departs, as it is considered beyond rude to linger afterwards. Throughout, the host has control over the length of the ritual, and therefore the allowed topics of conversation; they can stretch out either social or business phase by delaying the subsequent drink, or skip over either phase by providing two drinks in rapid succession, thus quickly ridding themselves of unwanted guests. Conversely, good friends and visitors may have the third bowl of a visit postponed, and are considered freely welcome within the Hearth (although not part of it) and exempt from further hospitality rites until such time as the third bowl is given.
  • Name Day: Infants among the Okudani are not named until the seventh day after their birth — not least because that gives the Hearth time to prepare for the associated feast. A child's Name Day is cause for celebration second only to marriages; every Hearth with which the child's family is allied, along with anyone they want to foster an association with, is invited. A Hearth that wants to make a particularly good impression will provide gifts for its guests as well as food and drink. The guests bestow good wishes and blessings upon the child, its parents, and its Hearth; particularly in the case of shamans, the well-wishes may be more than merely figurative. Guests may also bring gifts which reflect skills and traits they hope the child will grow into, particularly if their Hearths have strong ties with the hosting family. After the giving of blessings, Name Day festivities routinely devolve in short order to raucous but generally good-willed jamborees; it is considered the height of bad manners, and an ill omen for the child, to bring insults, anger, or any other negative influence into a Name Day celebration.
  • Eriun mor: The eriun mor is a rite of passage for Okudani youths and for any foreigner seeking full acceptance into the band. It may be attempted by anyone who has reached their race's age of maturity. At sunrise, a shaman escorts the supplicant to a secluded place near the camp and gives them a ritual drink of milk and mildly hallucinogenic herbs. The supplicant then spends the day and night in fasting and meditation, reflecting on their identity and goals — who they are and who they want to be — and on openness, baring their soul to the world around them. Sometimes they get a glimpse of their own soulscape in the process. When the sun next rises, the supplicant returns to the camp and walks slowly past its horses, making no attempt to approach any but seeking a horse who will come to them after looking into their soul and self. Human members of the camp will avert their eyes and ignore the supplicant's passage, both out of respect for a moment of highly personal vulnerability and for fear that any attention might adversely influence the outcome. If a horse accepts the supplicant, the shaman forges a Unity of Purpose bond between them, and the supplicant becomes zhinkah Morid. The Hearth of the new zhinkah holds a feast as grand as their wealth allows, which any in the band may attend; if the horse comes from another Hearth's herd, they also give gifts of gratitude to that family. If the supplicant fails to find an equine partner, it is never overtly acknowledged; the attempt, and the shame of rejection, is treated as if it had never happened even though everyone knows it did. They must wait at least a year before trying again, but may try as many times as they desire. Zhinkah who have lost their original bonded horse may similarly attempt to forge a second partnership, if they so choose. A truly desperate (or foolish) supplicant, usually one who repeatedly fails to find a partner among the band's horses, may choose to walk out into the plains rather than into the camp, seeking their match in a wild horse; frequently, these people are never heard from again and presumed lost to mishap, though from time to time one returns, successful or otherwise. Lore also has it that the ritual drink can be foregone if one fasts and meditates for at least three days, rather than one, although a shaman is ultimately needed to forge the Unity bond that finalizes the partnership.

Note: Because the ultimate requirement of the eriun mor is acceptance by a horse, characters a horse would consider dangerous will not under any circumstance succeed at the rite. This includes Elyanati whose animal forms are large carnivores (anything that could prey on adult or foal horses) and Followers with abilities not compatible with horses.

  • Marriage: There is no rite of marriage among the Okudani; all that is necessary is the agreement of two zhinkah and the diraghim of their Hearths. Marriage is enacted through the cohabitation of a couple, nothing more and nothing less. What recognition there is, inevitably, takes the form of a feast. Specifically, the husband's Hearth provides a feast for both Hearths, along with as many guests as their resources can stretch to support. A marriage feast symbolizes the ability of a Hearth to provide for its current members, its close allies, and all of its future generations. Thus, marriage feasts are very important signals of wealth and capability; on top of whatever is gained from the marriage itself, holding a particularly grand feast is a means by which a low-status Hearth might elevate themselves in the eyes of the band. The feast celebrating a highly valued marriage is both lavish and attended by the entirety of Okudan, while that of a disparaged marriage (or between two low-status households) is quiet and unassuming.
  • Funeral: Deceased Okudani are carried out into the plains, away from camp and anywhere that herds might be expected to graze, and left exposed for their body to return to the land. For a particularly beloved family member, the Hearth may return to the site of exposure in the following year, collect any bones into a pile, and build a stone abi over them. In any case, after the body is laid out, the Hearth holds a memorial feast to which are invited all friends, associates, and even rivals of the deceased — essentially anyone who had a strong relationship with them, whether positive or negative. Unlike many Okudani feasts, the memorial is relatively subdued; the food and drink are accompanied by stories about the deceased, their life, and their relationships.


see also Okudan Timeline
see also Okudan Folklore

Starting a Character in Okudan

Character Name

All native Okudani characters should have two names, a given name and a Hearth name, as described below. Given names usually come from their parents, but anyone who is old enough to attempt the eriun mor is also considered old enough to change their own name.

Characters originating from other polities should have names consistent with that origin, unless they have been adopted into a Hearth or otherwise changed their name.

Given Name

Okudani given names come in two types: virtue names and warding (apotropaic) names. Names are generally brief, comprising one or two syllables.

Virtue names are based on traits parents hope their child will possess, or aspirations for their child's future. These can simply be the traits themselves — Chance, Grace, Joy, Mercy, Valor. They may also take the form of derived names which do not have literal meanings in any language, but carry symbolism and weight solely born from tradition and culture. Such names might symbolize concepts like "shining one", "courageous defender", "keeper of knowledge". These names often hearken back to fables, legends, and historical events; they are believed to confer some part of the glory and good fortune from those tales upon the people bearing them. Adults who take on a new virtue name usually choose one that reflects their personal goals and ambitions.

Warding names follow the same patterns as virtue names, being either literal or carrying cultural symbolism, but have negative meanings. These include literal names like Bitter, Scorn, or Sorrow; and derived names with meanings along the lines of "vicious dog", "not a person", "taken by illness". Warding names are most often given by parents who wish to deflect ill fortune from their child, but sometimes reflect regret or disdain on the part of a parent. Adults who change their name into a warding name usually do so in the wake of a personal catastrophe, something they feel changed their life forever and for the worse.

Note: For derived names, players are free to assign meanings as they see fit, including using appropriate RL names with RL meanings, but they may not claim it means something in an IC language. Players are also welcome to develop the IC fable from which their name was derived for inclusion in the body of Okudani folklore.

Hearth Name

Hearth names are usually descriptive two-word compounds based upon something in the Hearth's history.

Names that are compounds of two nouns or an adjective and noun — e.g. Darkstone, Dusksong, Rainshadow — are considered "small names". These often commemorate something about when or where its first diragh declared his Hearth, or something of strong personal relevance to him. Hearths bearing such names are considered quaint; they are stereotyped as people of little note, with unremarkable histories and meager ambitions, but who are also steadfast and constant. Despite this somewhat negative stereotyping, the vast majority of Hearths at least begin existence under a small name.

Hearths may also take their names from significant accomplishments, catastrophes survived, or future aspirations. These are comprised of a verb and a noun — e.g. Risingfire, Strikingsteel, Goldtaker — and are considered "strong names". Hearths with names of this type are stereotyped as people of ambition and derring-do, possessors of either unusual good fortune or dreadful ill-luck; they are considered people to watch in more ways than one.

Lifestyle and Housing


PCs starting in Okudan will either live with their (possibly adopted) family's Hearth, or live in a tent of their own, depending upon their wealth level. Players are encouraged to check the Locations page and join an existing Hearth if possible, or at least take the opportunity to find connections for their character.

Players wanting to establish a Hearth new-to-the-game should talk to a Moderator about their Hearth's role in Okudan, its social status, and where it would fall in the Herd hierarchy. Note that Hearth concepts may be denied if there are an overabundance of PC families already filling a given professional niche, such as hunting. Also, it is very unlikely for a new Hearth to be placed in any Herd higher than West.

Note: New PCs may choose to hail from Chudein or Salkav, and thus be immigrants to Okudan; they may come with their entire Hearth, marry or be adopted into an Okudani Hearth, or have severed ties with their birth family in the other band. However, Chudein and Salkav are not playable polities and players may not flashback any history in them. Neither can characters claim to have held any notable status in those bands. Players may not invent new bands, nor invent cultural practices markedly different from those observed in Okudan; although the bands are separate polities, they all share the same cultural heritage.


Due to the dependence of the nomads upon horses and livestock, Okudani Lifestyles are unique in that they may include one or more animals as part of the character's wealth. These animals are tracked in the PC's Inventory, but do not have to be purchased or maintained with Resource Points so long as the PC continues to hold an appropriate standard of living. Any additional animals will need to be purchased and maintained through Resources. Note that Okudani Lifestyles do not include any stationary buildings nor land ownership.

Destitute: A Destitute character is one with neither Hearth nor herd. They have no shelter, no transport save their own feet, and very few options for obtaining food. A Destitute character is not likely to survive a full season in Okudan, and PCs are not recommended to start with this lifestyle.

Impoverished: A PC beginning as Impoverished in Okudan likely falls into one of three categories: someone who has severed ties, whose Hearth is on the verge of dying out, or who is a visitor with few connections in the band. They do not have a family shelter, but only a personal tent. This lifestyle includes a single companion animal, most typically a horse (bonded if appropriate).

Ordinary: The Ordinary lifestyle in Okudan encompasses most living situations a character might fit into. This level includes those who live with a Hearth, whether native or adopted, and any visitor who has associates within the band. Residents will live with their Hearth, while visitors either stay with a Hearth or sleep in a personal tent or small wagon. This lifestyle includes two animals; one should be a horse (bonded if appropriate). The other is typically either a dairy animal, perhaps part of their Hearth's herds, or a companion animal, such as a dog, usually related to the PC's profession.


As for all PCs, no matter where they live, the first Expertise taken should be in the character's primary professional skill. Generally, most members of a Hearth will be collectively involved in a professional endeavor, so (if native) bear in mind that whatever the PC's profession is, the rest of their Hearth will likely pursue related skills as well. For example, one Hearth might be made up of hunters, leatherworkers, and bone carvers; another might focus on breeding quality goats, making cashmere yarn, and turning it into cloth or blankets.

There is little call in Okudan for knowledge-based professions; the band lives a simple lifestyle. Similarly, there are few service professions (e.g. cooks, brewers, teachers) as most Hearths see to their own needs in those regards. Professions relating to magic and medicine are generally limited to Hearths with long traditions in shamanism; these families have generations of local knowledge and familiarity with the land to draw upon when providing guidance to the band.

There is some demand for jobs focusing on food production (hunting, foraging, managing larger herds and producing dairy products), for while most Hearths are self-sufficient, the more food they can buy or trade for, the less time they have to spend producing it themselves. Craft professions (spinning, weaving, pottery, carving, etc.) are highly regarded, but potentially limited in materials and infrastructure; for example, timber of meaningful size is uncommon, and metalsmithing impractical due to the lack of local ore and fuel. Breeding and training useful animals (horses, livestock, dogs) can be lucrative for those who succeed in setting their stock apart from the normal run of Okudani beasts. There is also a need for guardians (weapon skills, riding) due to the pervasive hazards of the nomads' exposed lifestyle.

For PCs who are old enough to take multiple skills, Riding is recommended as the second Expertise, due to the importance of horses in Okudani life. Alternately, PCs may find it useful to take a weapon skill or another skill complementary to their main professional expertise, such as Painting for a potter.


PCs born and raised in Okudan, or in any other Moridian band, must take Okhel as their Native language. PCs may also take 'Basic Vocabulary' Expertise in any other language, with Shol, Quallon, and Tradesign being the most common.

Characters raised elsewhere but now residing in Okudan should take as Native the language of wherever they grew up, along with 'Basic Vocabulary' in Okheli.


PCs may spend their starting Resource Points on anything in the Okudan Resource List they might afford. However, players should consider the nomadic lifestyle when making such purchases. Characters not affiliated with a Hearth will be limited to what they themselves can transport; if all they have is one horse and a tent, there may be little room for packing much else. PCs who are part of a larger Hearth may assume the family has at least one cart and that they have a little room to store personal possessions on it.


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