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    Naval Cultures of the Flanaess: Freshwater Wanderers
    Posted on Mon, July 28, 2008 by Dongul
    Crag writes "Freshwater Wanderers: “Only a fool limits his horizons and settles in one place.” – Rhennee Lord Kutal

    Naval Cultures of the Flanaess
    Freshwater Wanderers
    By Crag

    Freshwater Wanderers: “Only a fool limits his horizons and settles in one place.” – Rhennee Lord Kutal

    The Flanaess has evolved into a cultural melting pot of several diverse peoples; this diversity has stimulated various cultural approaches regarding the value of the sea and vessels required to exploit it. Cultural beliefs of the sea within a society have a profound effect regarding its fleet composition and the military doctrine that is developed to achieve the desired goals within the society.

    Naval Doctrine:
    While the other races trace their origins to the Oerth, Rhennee legends claim their race came to Oerth accidentally from the home world of Rhop. They appeared in the Flanaess around 150 CY, moving west to avoid harassment by Aerdy soldiers and citizens. The Rhennee increasingly left the land to become migrants on the central rivers, until few wagon tribes exist. The majority of Rhennee now live exclusively on the waterways, making their homes on large barges capable of navigating the Nyr Dyv. Rhennee earn their living primarily through transportation of goods and passengers, with some supplemental hunting, fishing, trading and craftwork. Most officials leave the Rhennee to resolve their own problems in their own way. However when necessity demands it of them, the Rhennee are quite skilled combatants. The Rhennee naval doctrine seeks to gain surprise through concealment or their prospective victims are charmed prior to an assault. If the initial surprise attack encounters determined resistance the Rhennee choose to withdraw rather then risk loss of life.

    Rhennee (Charm & Concealment)
    Barge (Residence)

    - Sailing upon the Nyr Dyv, a lord considers life -

    Live is good; when you have the wind…
    Fools on land bind themselves to a patch of dirt and scratch like an animal to survive another miserable day. We are the only people that are truly free to travel, where we want and when we want. Only we travel throughout the waterways of the Flanaess asking leave from no one. Land nobles and peasants; many that mock me, haven’t been beyond the next hill. These same land wretches suffer war and poverty, making a virtue of steadfastness instead of being honest with themselves. If a Rhennee encounters hardship, he is free to sail the arteries of this continent until he finds plenty once again. Let them jest; even the noble lords and their cold stone fortress mausoleums. I laugh each night, for am I not lord of the barge and where the land nobility have but a single cold woman to warm him, do not three fill my cabin. The land lords are isolated and live in fearful paranoid of one another. The Rhennee instead gather with much merriment and good fellowship.

    All Rhennee cherish the barge; these vessels are our residences, livelihood and protection. Sturdy barges are capable of navigating the Nyr Dyv choppy waters and violent storms. Barges are oar propelled but they also have masts and sails for use when the winds are favorable. The Rhennee earn their living primarily through transportation of goods and passengers, with some hunting, fishing, trading, tinkering and craftwork. Sometimes the Rhennee gather upon a lake or river and lash their barges together to form a large flotilla. These settlements can last a single night or months; clever officials tend to ignore such flotillas, leaving the Rhennee to resolve their own problems in their own way.

    Our wise women know their primary role is to advise the lord of the barge so he can lead a prosperous family. However they also earn coin through divination readings to land dwellers, predict the weather, settle disputes and use their herbalism skills for minor healing. They also produce the fogs and gusts of wind needed to surprise our enemies or charm hostile officials to avoid conflict. Perhaps the greatest decision the wise women ever make concerns all the families; it is for the wise women alone to decide if it is auspicious for the people to gather and return home to Rhop. Only a fool who wishes to no longer savour the sweetness of life dares to anger a wise woman.

    May I see Rhop before I close my eyes for the final time."
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