The Drung are the fierce, savage folk of the Plain of Akaides. A warlike people, the Drung have long battled the natural scarcity of the rocky plains, and long ago their culture has learned to make do with little (thus their nickname, the Tribe of Starvation). As the merchant caravans of the civilized Cities began to traverse the Plain, the Drung learned that they could derive sustenance, wealth, and glory by preying upon the weak, fat civilized folk. The City-folk have since learned to fear the howling Drung raiders and their scythe-like axes.
The first recorded description of the Drung dates back to the days of the early pre-Imperial conquest, when Naijjan the Sage recounted the tales of 'howling painted brigands' who 'fell upon travelers with sharp axes'. He also recounted the name which the semi-civilized Ainagal herdfolk had for these people- 'kethakrang'- men who are like beasts.
Drung again came to prominence in the days of the Imperial occupation as unrelenting savage enemies of the Imperial forces. The most stunning example of the Tribe of Starvation's ferocity was the so-called Rruqtaiti Massacre, when an Imperial cohort was ambushed on the plains by Drung warriors and herded into a canyon, where they were slaughtered like dogs over a course of several hours by the cruel, casual savages.
There are many tribes of Drung, all devoted to one of the Sacred Spirits of the animistic Drung spirituality. The tribes frequently war amongst each other; they have never been united. Most have identical customs, but are set apart by their totemic animals and spirits, and by unique additions to the Drung spirit-rituals.
Something that all Drung tribes share is a deep contempt and an incredible xenophobic hatred for all non-Drung.
The average Drung is whipcord thin, with a look of weathered muscularity which brings to mind a lithe panther or weasel. They commonly have gaunt, foxish faces and pointed, sharp noses; their eyes are strongly slanted and narrow. Drung have long, spidery fingers and big palms, and broad, flat feet; in accordance with ancient tradition, Drung men bind the four smaller toes of their feet together with cord.
The average dress for a man of the Drung tribes is a simple breechlout and loincloth, and cord sandals. When the Drung men go to war, they add to this their sacred ghost-vest, and bind their biceps and calves with sections of baked cord. All Drung men shave their heads but for mohawks; in battle-time, the warriors spike these mohawks up with ash and animal fat. Most Drung men pierce their ears and noses with rings of bone and bronze. Drung men often sport large tattooes, typically of the animal which is totemic to their tribe.
Drung women always go veiled and robed in heavy aluwat robes, and shave their heads. On festival days and when their men go to war, Drung women paint their bodies with orange dye in offering to the spirits.
Drung look upon those who bear extra weight, and especially upon the obese, with disgust. They consider it a sign of disease and divine disfavor to possess such sorts of extra padding, an opinion which does little to decrease their contempt of settled folk.
Jjrir Jjishii, the famous Jjekki mercenary (and leader of one of the only successful Imperial attacks against the Drung), once remarked that 'short of a Jjekki brave, there is no finer warrior in the world than a Drung warrior'. Drung warriors are fanatical, and totally without fear. Their courageousness goes beyond normal human bounds. Their terrifying war-shrieks ring out from souls of berzerker frenzy. Drung warriors are cold, cruel, and incredibly efficient, despite an overwhelming bloodlust. With their scythe-bladed axes, they strike fast and hard, supported by volleys of arrows from above, and prefer to leap down upon their enemies from cliffs and canyonsides. The key word of a Drung warrior is 'speed'; though not heavily armored like a civilized warrior, or bolstered by amazing strength like a Jjekki brave, a Drung warrior can cause amazing damage with his whirlwind ferocity.
The Drung have an unfocused animistic respect for spirits. Generally, a Drung tribe will recognize only their totemic Sacred Spirit as a deity, though warriors usually offer respect to the universal spirits of blood and good luck on the eve of a fight.
Drung are famous for their long grudges and vendettas. It is not uncommon to see Drung families slaughtered for a slight offered by an ancestor a century ago. Thus, the painted-leather tents of the Drung camps tend to be places of exaggerated courtesy and polite tension; volatile Drung tempers are liable to flare at any moment.
THe language of the Drung is called Mauhugli; it is a harsh, hissing tongue which is generally unpleasant to the ear. One art that it suits, however, is tribal festival-lays, in which the Drung recount the epic tales of the mystical past, when heroes, spirits, and sorcerors fought earth-shaking wars over supremacy for the earth.
Drung are a nomadic raider culture. They have little to offer to outsiders. The exception is the prized Drung axe, a long, scythe-like hatchet of hammered iron, a fast and razor-sharp killing tool.
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? Responses (8)
Does this make any sense at all?
I dunno', probably not my best work.
I try to present all the concepts I've come up with for a group and I typically kind of skip over the surface in trying to do that...
This a weird one for me. On one hand it has your usual hallmarks. Funky names, kewl details, some nice touches. But on the other hand the Drung feel kinda cliche. A bad-ass tribe of 'fearsome warriors'. Not crazy about the name Tribe of Starvation. It just doesnt have a ring to it. You explained why they are called that, but since apparently they dont come anywhere near starvation,and still manage to thrive and kick butt to boot, the name kinda doesnt make sense. And on the other hand (thats my third hand) some of the details are top-notch! The women shaving their heads, wearing aluwat robes and painting themselves orange, and the men in their 'ghost-vests' being prime examples.
I also like the Arabesque tents being places of exaggerated courtesy and polite tension.
What he said.
They are an extremely well-done group of bad-ass warriors. Yes, there are cool details, but they miss something... maybe I have too many times seen the 'xenophobic against everyone else' sentence. That doesn't do it to me. Xenophobia is a natural human feature, but if it goes into extremes it only gets ridiculous - sooner or later their iron runs out (I take it that they have own sources of iron), or a new technology/battle strategy/whatever comes along, and they either adapt, or start to trade, or will be eradicated.
As for contempt to everyone, it sounds a bit silly. What is their view of the Jjekki warriors, who actually defeated them? Also, once they get out of their preferred terrain, and their preferred ambush tactics, they may quickly loose ground. Dangerous in the open, how do they fare against fortified cities?
Sorry to take it all out on you ;) but I have seen groups like this too many times. The details are still a superb touch.
Yeah, see, like I said... I had so many ideas for this one that when I tried to do the write-up I forgot most of them.
Turag-like.Good but not wonderful.
Do you mean 'Touareg', maybe? I'm not sure what the Turag are.
do you both mean Tuareg? :P
I would have to echo Muro's comment on the shaven headed women painting themselves orange, kinda like going to Neyland stadium on any given Saturday. While I would have to agree with Manfred about the paranoid zenophobes having been done before, it has not been quite to the extent of the orphaned half drow demon mage assassin. The presentation is good.