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    Bediyan Desert: Factions and Tribes
    Posted on Sun, May 03, 2009 by LordCeb
    Crag writes "“The tribes of the Bediyan Desert are stoic nomads suited to the harsh environment that take comfort in the unchanging desert but change has come to the desert – Come study, the tribes of the Bediyan Desert and enjoy hospitality few outsiders experience.”

    Bediyan Desert: Factions and Tribes

    By Crag

    The Bediyan Desert situated within the Empire of Istustan harbours a proud and stoic people that are uncertain of their place within the new reality of the surrounding lands. The tribal chieftains have no formal conclave but are a law unto themselves. The harsh desert breeds harsh men that pursue bloody battles for dominance upon the sands. The stature of the individual nomad tribes’ is a measure of tradition and respect. Formal alliances among the nomadic tribes are unknown but even the bitterest of enemies will unite to defend the desert against outside threats. The incessant nomad raids both within and outside the desert has gone unchecked for much of its history.

    The Empire of Istustan has attempted to exert a stabilizing presence within the desert. Istustan has erected imperial beacon towers to ostensibly monitor the trade caravans entering the southern plains of the paynim. Istustan has also claimed the southern oasis settlements to facilitate the fair collection and distribution of the imperial caravan protection tariff. The desert nomad tribes receive half of the imperial caravan protection tariff and have become wealthy because of the western caravan trade. The austere traditional tribes have been hoarding their wealth rather then spending it at the southern oasis settlements. Some coastal istustani councilors have proposed the creation of a desert settlement near the Silk Pass to collect the caravan tariff rather then wait for the caravans to reach the easternmost southern oasis; the proposal is strongly opposed by the desert tribal representatives. The southern caravan masters have achieved some local success through the regulation of commercial trade within the southern oasis settlements. The imperial camel corps has its headquarters within easternmost southern oasis settlement but imperial camel corps units also exist within the other oasis settlements.

    Within the unbearable desert interior; the nomad tribes have developed a fierce warrior society. A society ruled through harsh discipline and strict codes of honour. The luxuries caravans and hardy livestock herds (Camels, Goats and Horses) are exploited by the nomad inhabitants to achieve their material needs. Trade is also conducted with the surrounding nations and among the tribes. The desert tribes adhere to the baklunish pantheon and religious disrespect is a serious matter upon the sand. As elsewhere within the baklunish west; slavery is a common and accepted societal practice.

    The tribes of the Bediyan Desert field a superb light cavalry, capable of ferocious ambushes and swarming missile attacks. The major tribes’ field warriors that are better equipped then the minor tributary tribes. The nomad tribes favour the composite short bow and scimitar but are capable of subterfuge such as the false retreat to use the desert itself as a tactical weapon. Several civilized armies that have pursued nomad marauders into the desert have left their bleached bones upon the sand.

    The Bediyan nomads organize themselves through the tribe which is united through kinship and religious custom. The tribe is the basic nomadic societal structure and the tribal chieftain is the leader of the tribe. The tribal chieftain serves as the central authority figure for the tribal members that fall under their influence. Tribes provide a convenient framework for cooperation to achieve common societal desires. The tribal chieftains ensure the tribal customs and religious observance are upheld within the tribe. Strong tribal leadership and loyalty is important to survival as tribes with a weak chieftain and internal dissension often collapse to become vengeful marauders.

    Although the chieftains remain the autocratic patriarchs of their respective tribes; the social customs regarding marriage and the role of women are based upon the religious interpretation of the Goddess Geshtai. The nomad tribes view water and hence Geshtai as a symbol of life. As Geshtai is the giver of water, so are women the giver of children. Open discussion of the physical attributes of women is frowned upon, so the tribes have developed a series of euphemisms. Severe restrictions on female behavior are imposed within some tribes to protect their “precious wells” from pollution. However other tribes allow their “refreshing springs” more freedom lest the drink turn bitter. The sensual “fertile oasis” within some tribes flaunt their abundance. Marauder women and slave girls are “raging rivers” and are held as communal possessions. The marriage customs of the desert demand a bride price. The bridal tribe surrenders the potential children to the grooms’ tribe for a pledge to defend the bride and an agreed upon compensation amount.

    The nomad tribes wander unhindered throughout the entire Bediyan Desert. Although the tribes make no formal claims to specific territories, established usage through the generations has created informal tribal boundaries. These informal boundaries are often crossed for forage, trade, bride price meets and social visits amongst the nomads. While tenuous the informal boundaries have influenced nomad customs; the progressive tribes are within the more amiable south, near the southern oasis and are often more supportive of outland luxuries. However the traditional tribes of the inhospitable north tend to be more austere and hostile to outland luxuries. The tribal chieftains through their representatives within the Council of Istustan seek to remain united to provide the desert with a strong voice within the imperial court.

    The Nomad Tribes of the Bediyan Desert

    Major nomad tribes offer protection to smaller tributary tribes which in turn support the aspirations of the major tribe. The societal standing of the nomadic tribes’ can be altered as the struggle for resources is intense. The cultural and gender customs within the tribe often determines the demeanor of camp life for the tribal members.

    Traditional Tribes: Eljo, Tailori, Tanio.

    Conservative Tribes: Alleri, Erkki, Heino, Vilma, Votenuuli.

    Progressive Tribes: Auva, Salatta.

    Tribeless: Bandit Bands, Sensulla, Imperial Camel Corps.

    Traditional Faction: The concerns of this faction include the renunciation of luxuries and the preservation of the nomad lifestyle. The tribes with these beliefs view imperial interference and the luxuries trade as a serious threat to the nomads’ of the desert. Traditional tribes seek to oppose the luxuries trade and imperial influence within the internal affairs of the desert. Traditional tribes seek to gather support to expel the imperial camel corps and the istustani caravan masters from the southern oasis.

    Cultural Status: Traditional
    Major Tribe: Eljo
    Leader: Chieftain Ofar Dabir
    Gender Custom: Precious Well
    Territory: Northeastern Hinterlands

    The eljo are the most austere tribe within the Bediyan Desert; the Eljo unlike most of the tribes has never raided beyond the desert. The eljo content themselves hunting down the bandit vermin that cross their path. Chieftain Ofar Dabir is past his prime though he still sits a spirited steed; fortunately his son has been groomed for the position of chieftain. His son has already been blooded and has personally beheaded four marauder chieftains. The marauders of the desert have long realized it is far healthier to roam elsewhere then the northeastern desert. Chieftain Ofar Dabir is upset that Chieftain Azunir Jumibir has not sent an invitation to the bride price meet; the man has five unmarried daughters. His son is rather relieved the tailori have not offered an invitation because he desires the daughter of an eljo tributary tribe but the perceived slight worries him.

    Cultural Status: Traditional
    Major Tribe: Tailori
    Leader: Chieftain Azunir Jumibir
    Gender Custom: Refreshing Springs
    Territory: Northern Interior

    Chieftain Azunir Jumibir; late in life has roused himself from his insular slumber and has taken an interest in the politics of the desert. The other tribal chieftains are amused believing his recent interest is because of his five unmarried daughters but the real reason is the encroachment of the Empire of Istustan. He believes the desert tribes will lose their influence unless the nomad tribes oppose further imperial demands. He is concerned about Commander Muda Feheed; he is not merely a soldier but a shrewd manipulator. Chieftain Azunir Jumibir plans to use his unmarried daughters to serve several purposes; a suitable heir for the tailori, bind several conservative tribes to the traditional position and wed his daughter (Roshanara) to Chieftain Yusain Shilam. Chieftain Azunir Jumibir has held out the tempting possibility of a tribal son selected as the tailori heir. However that is a ruse; he plans to select a suitable man from a tailori tributary tribe to wed his eldest daughter and personally groom him. He has allowed stories of his beautiful daughters to be spread within the desert raising a great deal of interest in the upcoming bride price meet. His final goal is quite audacious; he believes Commander Muda Feheed is manipulating the bold but reckless Chieftain Yusain Shilam and seeks to lure him into a forced marriage. He subtly divulged the location of the bride price meet and has crafted the tantalizing rumours regarding (Roshanara). The wily chieftain is using his own daughter as bait and hopes the reckless southern chieftain seizes his daughter. He will then behave as the outraged father and demand a marriage as well as a substantial bride price. He has heard the Auva tribal elders wish their chieftain to settle down and none would suspect a traditional chieftain of a plot to despoil his own daughter.

    Cultural Status: Traditional
    Major Tribe: Tainio
    Leader: Chieftain Soofan Madir
    Gender Custom: Precious Well
    Territory: Northwestern Hinterland

    The tainio for generations have raided the mines of Afyal disguised as marauders. The tainio are not miners and avoid the southern mines themselves but the southern raw ore caravans en route to Afyal are too much of a temptation. Of course there are actual bandit bands that also prey upon the raw ore caravans but fully 50% of the raids are disguised tainio. The tainio can be quite ruthless whenever marauders attempt to seize an isolated mine. Chieftain Soofan Madir does not want production halted or the miners’ harassed so the tainio patrols receive a warm welcome at the isolated southern mines. The civic administrator of Afyal suspects some of the marauders are tainio but he is also aware that if the nomads withdraw their southern patrols, marauders could seize the mines. As long as the raids do not become excessive, he is prepared to continue the charade and feign ignorance.

    Conservative Faction: The concerns of this faction include the preservation of the traditional nomad lifestyle but these tribes do support some trade provided the tribes maintain their territorial autonomy. The conservative tribes view imperial interference as a potential threat to the nomad tribes. Conservative tribes seek to avoid needless conflict and consider the growing affluence of the tribes as a means to increase the influence of the desert. However the conservative tribes are closer to the traditional position then the progressive position.

    Cultural Status: Conservative
    Major Tribe: Alleri
    Leader: Chieftain Humshan Makur
    Gender Custom: Precious Well
    Territory: Western Hinterlands

    The alleri often escort celestial caravans through the desert interior. The souq traders of the Celestial Imperium are respectful and eloquently speak of the fine luxuries that are available for trade. The taciturn nomads of the alleri care little for such prattle preferring their saddle blankets rather then the silk tents the souq traders’ offer for the night. The traditional tribes are grateful such an austere tribe performs escort duties for the celestial caravans. The progressive tribes use the escort duties of the Alleri to highlight that contact with outlanders need not contaminate the lifestyle of the tribes. The tense relationship between the Alleri and the Votenuuli within the western hinterlands has become even more volatile over caravan escort duties.

    Cultural Status: Conservative
    Major Tribe: Erkki
    Leader: Chieftain Bafeez Idrat
    Gender Custom: Refreshing Springs
    Territory: Western Interior

    Chieftain Bafeez Idrat and his tribe roam the western interior to avoid the complications of the celestial caravan route. The imperial caravan tariff provides enough wealth and the erkki want to avoid becoming embroiled in the greater issues of the desert. The erkki are considered fine horsemen even among the nomad tribes and several tribes seek their support. The most persistent potential allies are the alleri and Votenuuli who constantly seek to gain erkki support to force their rivals to abandon caravan escort duties. However the erkki remain uncommitted refusing to shed nomad blood over outland caravans. Chieftain Bafeez Idrat simply wants to live as his father did before him and his sons will after him.

    Cultural Status: Conservative
    Major Tribe: Heino
    Leader: Chieftain Shafee Hijteef
    Gender Custom: Fertile Oasis
    Territory: Eastern Hinterlands

    The heino used to be accomplished raiders; these nomads often raided the eastern outlying villages. The heino have successfully raided Isfahan, however since the creation of the Empire of Istustan, the imperial capital has been further fortified. Although past differences are supposed to be forgiven, the heino representative still receives a rather cold reception within the imperial court. The latent imperial hostility has provided an opportunity for the traditional tribes; traditional tribal visitors receive a warm welcome within the Heino camps. However some wonder if such visits are to admire the “fertile oasis” rather then discuss politics.

    Cultural Status: Conservative
    Major Tribe: Vilma
    Leader: Chieftain Faden Imumir
    Gender Custom: Precious Well
    Territory: Eastern Interior

    Chieftain Faden Imumir maintains the most oppressive camps within the desert; there is a noticeable pall of fear within the vilma tribe. The nomads of this tribe are cruel brutes. Within the vilma camps there is not an animal, slave or woman that has not felt the riding crop. No one is safe from the violence least of all the children of the camps. Chieftain Faden Imumir has thee children (two sons and a daughter); he plans to claim at least one tailori daughter during the bride price meet. He has also decided to bring his daughter (Ridwana) to allow her to regale the tailori brides with the fine attributes of her brothers and to entertain offers for her. Chieftain Faden Imumir does not think much of his daughter, as evidenced by the maze of scars on her back. Long has Ridwana dreaded her volatile father but she dreams of a kind husband from another tribe. A younger son (Shebdar Shiqat) of the votenuuli chieftain visited and she was so nervous she spilled the tea. He took responsibility but her father banished her from his sight. She suffered several strokes of the riding crop that night for embarrassing the tribe. She has pleaded with Istus to intervene on her behalf; she fears the upcoming bride price meet will be her last chance to wed outside of the vilma tribe.

    Cultural Status:
    Major Tribe: Votenuuli
    Leader: Chieftain Chumah Shiqat
    Gender Custom: Refreshing Springs
    Territory: Western Hinterland

    The votenuuli often escort the celestial caravans through the desert interior. The souq traders of the Celestial Imperium are respectful and eloquently speak of the fine luxuries that are available for trade. The Votenuuli nomads are eager to learn about the potential profits and accept the silk tents the souq traders’ offer for the night. The traditional tribes are uncomfortable about the eagerness of the votenuuli for escort duties. The progressive tribes use the escort duties of the votenuuli to highlight that contact with outlanders need not be harmful for the tribes. The tense relationship between the votenuuli and the Alleri over caravan escort duties has become even more volatile. Chieftain Chumah Shiqat worries the Empire of Istustan could collapse and the lucrative luxuries trade will cease. He also worries about his son (Shebdar Shiqat); he was born with a physical disability but his father refused to leave him in the desert as custom dictates. Chieftain Chumah Shiqat loved his women and promised her, he would accept the child. The tribal elders and his siblings ignore him but Shebdar Shiqat was formally accepted as a member of the tribe before his mother died. Although Shebdar Shiqat can ride, he does not have the dexterity to effectively fight. He sent his son to visit the Vilma tribe but upon his return he claims to have frightened the daughter of the Vilma Chieftain. Chieftain Chumah Shiqat sent a representative to apologize to Chieftain Faden Imumir but the representative returned with a strange tale. Before he could speak; Chieftain Faden Imumir apologized to the votenuuli representative and brusquely informed him, the clumsy girl had been punished. Chieftain Chumah Shiqat attempted to discuss the mishap with his son but his son remains within his tent. Shebdar Shiqat is ashamed and embarrassed; he tries so hard but no one sees beyond his affliction. His father has asked him to come to the upcoming bride price meet but he dreads further humiliation.

    Progressive Faction:
    The concerns of this faction include closer economic imperial ties and support of the luxuries trade. The tribes with these beliefs view imperial influence and the luxuries trade as an opportunity for the nomads’ of the desert. Progressive tribes seek to support the luxuries trade and use imperial influence to enrich the desert. Progressive tribes seek to gather support to increase trade with the istustani caravan masters of the southern oasis.

    Cultural Status: Progressive
    Major Tribe: Auva
    Leader: Chieftain Yusain Shilam
    Gender Custom: Fertile Oasis
    Territory: Southeastern Hinterlands

    The brash chieftain of the auva tribe; the other tribal chieftains have failed to treat this “unblooded” young chieftain with respect. Therefore Yusain Shilam has embarked on a series of dangerous escapades to prove his courage rather then govern his tribe. His escapades to date have been audacious but harmless raids. Although the tribal elders seek to shame Yusain Shilam for his irresponsible behavior; some elders are rather proud of him. Unfortunately; he has heard of a bride price meet which will be held within the Shaded Respite between Chieftain Azunir Jumibir and the conservative tribal chieftains. He has also learned that offers will be entertained for the hand of (Roshanara). Roshanara is considered the desert flower of the tribal brides at the meet.

    Cultural Status:
    Major Tribe: Salatta
    Leader: Chieftain Kaswud Kelah
    Gender Custom: Refreshing Springs (Fertile Oasis)
    Territory: Southwestern Hinterlands

    Chieftain Kaswud Kelah is uncertain as to which direction to take his tribe. A responsible chieftain he believes the desert tribes can no longer ignore the wider concerns within the region. The salatta tribe had become frequent visitors to the southern oasis bazaars but that has changed. Commander Muda Feheed often sent members of the imperial camel corps to salatta camps requesting their presence as honoured guests. However a “Fertile Oasis” was violated by an istustani merchant. Commander Muda Feheed sent the head of the offender and generous compensation to the tribe. Even so, relations have cooled between the salatta and the imperial oasis settlements. The salatta have also adopted a more protective demeanor toward their women. Chieftain Kaswud Kelah considers sending a tribesman to visit the traditional tribes to discuss the merits of “precious wells”.

    Tribeless Faction: The tribeless faction includes several diverse groups that do not fit into the established nomadic society. As tribeless nomads, these nomads have no protection or status under the honour code. The tribeless nomads of the desert survive as marauders or hire themselves to the imperial camel corps units which maintain order within the southern oasis settlements. The established nomad tribes are often hostile to tribeless nomads; although most tribes will at least acknowledge the imperial camel corps.

    Cultural Status: Tribeless
    Group: Marauders
    Leader: Several Chieftains
    Gender Custom: Raging Rivers
    Territory: None

    Several marauder tribes roam the desert; ranging from a mere handful of outcasts to entire organized camps. These tribeless marauders have no worth or protection under desert custom. Some of the marauders seek to adhere to a semblance of desert decorum as members attempt to prove themselves to an established tribe. However most marauders are vengeful opportunists that prey upon those that cross their path. The short brutal existence of most marauders does have a certain appeal for those that seek an unrestricted lifestyle.

    Cultural Status:
    Group: Sensulla Marauders
    Leader: Chieftain Charol Sernka
    Gender Custom: Fertile Oasis
    Territory: None

    The sensulla marauders are the largest marauder tribe within the desert and encompass several camps. The sensulla marauders have adopted a more conventional desert demeanor to achieve a measure of acceptance and crave recognition as an established tribe. Chieftain Charol Sernka has tried to achieve recognition through consultation and has gained the support of some tributary tribes willing to broach the issue with the major tribes. Commander Muda Feheed has offered him conditional status within the imperial camel corps and permanent residence at a southern oasis settlement. However Chieftain Charol Sernka has held authority too long to serve within the camel corps. He has embarked on a scheme to gain tribal recognition and claim the most lucrative territory within the desert. The sensulla marauders are raiding the celestial caravan route. Chieftain Charol Sernka intends to instigate a conflict with the imperial camel corps and then offer his support to defend the desert. The southern caravan masters are already demanding punitive raids against nomad marauders. When the imperial camel corps has been driven from the desert; Chieftain Charol Sernka will move to occupy the vital southern oasis settlements. Once he has occupied the oasis settlements, he intends to remain and demand tribal recognition.

    Cultural Status: Tribeless
    Group: Imperial Camel Corps
    Leader: Commander Muda Feheed
    Gender Custom: Raging Rivers
    Territory: Southern Oasis Settlements (Headquarters: Easternmost Oasis Settlement)

    The imperial camel corps was created to provide communication between the imperial istustani court and the desert nomad tribes. The mandate was expanded to include the eradication of marauders along the celestial caravan route. The Caliph of Istustan ordered the imperial camel corps to seize the southern oasis settlements. The imperial camel corps soon hired local outcasts, whose loyalty was to instustani coin to bolster the ranks of the imperial camel corps. The officer core remains imperial istustani appointees but the rank and file is almost entirely hired desert outcasts. However corruption is rampant within the oasis settlements as the istustani commanders have traditionally used their authority to solicit commercial bribes. Most of the imperial istustani appointees assigned to the Bediyan Desert are ineffectual buffoons. Commander Muda Feheed is a rare exception; he is a capable warrior and shrewd leader, which pleases neither the suspicious desert tribes nor the avarice istustani caravan masters. He has tried to instill some discipline within the imperial camel corps and has encouraged the headstrong Chieftain Yusain Shilam to pursue audacious raids to isolate the auva tribe to bind the southern tribe closer to the imperial istustani court. An unfortunate incident has harmed his relationship with the salatta tribe and his overtures to the sensulla marauders have yet to bear fruit. Commander Muda Feheed hopes to sow dissent within the desert so his forces can focus on the eradication of the desert marauders that prey upon the celestial caravan route. Commander Muda Feheed believes eventually the desert tribes must be brought to heel if the Empire of Istustan is to take its rightful place within the region. "
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    Re: Bediyan Desert: Factions and Tribes (Score: 1)
    by Wolfsire on Sun, May 03, 2009
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    I can't wait to read this, but the formatting is somewhat intimidatings.

    Re: Bediyan Desert: Factions and Tribes (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Sat, May 09, 2009
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Crag, this is an astounding development for Baklunish culture. Gotta love the Imperial Camel Corp as well. Kudos!

    Re: Bediyan Desert: Factions and Tribes (Score: 1)
    by Galiana on Tue, September 15, 2009
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I like what you've done with this! :)


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