The Karkos People
The Karkos represent an attempt to create a bad guy race with almost no redeeming features, a true villainous species without resorting to established tropes or handwaving.
The Karkos Badlands are a hard and rough land, almost completely unsuitable to agriculture. There are grasses, large herbivores, and an extensive web of predators, scavengers, and some impressive apex and mega-predators that live in the region. (Dragons would be a good example). The entire region is a geographic hot zone, and earthquakes are relatively common, but seldom massive and devastating. There are also regular fumaroles and gas fields, though most creatures know to avoid these places. Hot springs and geysers are also not uncommon.
What is not present in Karkos? Easily domesticated animals, arable farming land, large stands of forest to provide lumber for building, mineral wealth for making metal tools and weapons.
The People of the Karkos
The people of the Karkos came from human stock thousands of years ago and have adapted to surviving in a harsh and unforgivening biome. The most prominent difference between normal and Karkos humans is that they have adapted to and almost completely carnivorous diet, and in some members, they have become obligate carnivores. They don't eat vegetables or grain because they can't and it actually can cause them distress or sickness. Their mouths have likewise adapted and they have slightly larger jaws and reduced molar surface area, and sharper teeth.
The Karkos people are predatory in nature, they eat meat, just meat. They lack livestock, the species of the Karkos are not suitable for domestication and are at best tamed, and more commonly just hunted, butchered, and eaten. This being said, they have almost no compunction about cannibalism, and there are no funerals among their number. When a member of the tribe dies, they are food.
Thieves of Goods and Culture
The Karkos people are largely incapable of creating things. There are no artists, no craftsmen, no metal workers. They can tan leather and make fermented beverages, typically from animal blood or milk. Everything they have has been taken from someone else.
Language: The tongue of Karkos is a bastardized 'black speech' that can be traced back to Imperial common dialect six thousand years ago. The language has grown and changed as the Karkos interacted with other races and tribes who bordered the badlands. As such, the language has a Common Imperial syntax structure, making translation mostly feasible. It relies heavily on loan words from Orcish, Goblin, and other demi-human races, and Gnollish gutteral inflections. Many of their phrases are a mish mash of old Imperial, orcish, interspaced and punctuated by growls and gutterals. These gutterals can change the entire meaning of a word and phrase. This is actually quite important as their tongue has a limited vocabulary and truncated alphabet. Writing in Karkos is technically possible, but it requires either a phonetic alphabet or creative use of an existing one, as the Karkos do not have their own written version.
Arts: there are almost no arts among the Karkos. They don't have any musical inclinations, painting and sculpture are non-existent, and storytelling is skeletal. They do have something of an oral tradition, but their stories are all very short. A normal Karkos story is typically two sentences and usually involves killing, eating, mating, being killed, bowel movements, or cruelty.
Trades and crafts: leatherworking is a known skill and trade among the Karkos people. They are also good at hunting and stalking animals and people. Their natural weapons are fashioned from wood, bone, antler, and other natural materials. They do not have stone weaponry, and do not work metals. Their cooking is usually burning meat over fire, but most have no issue eating their prey raw. Some prefer it.
There does exist a Karkosi style of cooking that is mostly found along the western border of the Karkos, where the badlands turn into the exotic lands of spices and flame. Blood sausage, and haggis like creations of minced organs stuffed inside stomachs and cured meats are commonly associated with the Karkos people. They actually do not make these, and do not like them, the only spice they tolerate is salt.
Appropriation and Theft: The Karkos people are highly adaptable and have no real concept of legal ownership. They only own the things that they are touching. Anything they cant carry belongs to whomever can pick it up. They are profligate thieves and steal anything they can get their hands on, with metal tools and weapons being by far their favorite things. After conflicts, Karkos will swarm across battlefields to steal weapons, armor, tools, clothing like boots, jewelry, and bodies. Their warbands wear piecemeal armor, a scavenged mix of metal, chain, leather, and whatever else they could take. Their arms are equally hodgepodge with knives, and spears being the most popular, bludgeoning weapons like maces and morning stars being moderately sow, and swords and bows being the least sought after. These require more training than they are willing to accept.
Karkosian vs Karkosean vs Karkosi
There are three given perspectives on the people of the Karkos.
Karkosians are generally considered neutral evil, a violent and barbaric people, no better or worse than the other demi-human races maligned by general humanity (orcs, goblins, etc). This actually represents the people of Karkos who are self disciplined enough to leave Karkos and find work among the humans, typically as hunters, mercenaries, executioners, butchers, and such.
Karkoseans are seen as chaotic evil, and of a much more perverse nature. These are the Karkos people who are known for cannibalism, rape, infanticide, blood letting rituals, and the rest of the horrible things that the entire group is known for. These are commonly portrayals or influences from Karkos people warbands, or death parties who hunt for sport. If the Karkosian impression is their 'best' then the Karkosean impression is them at their most grotesque.
Karkosi is a general term for anyone or anything that has spent extensive amounts of time in the Karkos region, or is overly fond of that people. It is alternately used as an adjective or pejorative for someone who is lacking empathy, has obvious blood thirsty interests, or is overly fond of meat. It can also be related to something that is bloody, such as an overly rare steak.
The issue is that these are just different perspectives on the same group of people. The Karkosi are pragmatic and survival oriented. They do not farm, they don't save, they don't plan for tomorrow. They do not value organization, and the larger a group becomes the more problematic it becomes to feed that group. Warbands form as an effort to feed an oversized group of Karkosi. If they win, there is fresh meat for the knives and the fire. If they lose, there are fewer mouths to feed. The outsider looking at the Karkosi doesn't see how close they routinely are to simple starvation.
This is why the Karkos people are seen as irredeemable. They eat their own dead. They eat the bodies of animals they hunt, and the bodies of those they slay in combat. Death is not sacred to them. Women and children are afforded no special protections in their society. Their infant mortality rate is sickening. The sick, the injured, the lame, they are a liability, and are treated accordingly. They are also eaten.
Trust and the Karkosi
There is no word for trust in the Karkos dialect. They are in effect evil by nature, because in the harshness of the Karkos badlands, good died out, it wasn't able to organize. The common person is typically going to be horrified by how the Karkosi do things, and likewise, the Karkosi are deeply offended by the way settled folk live and do things. Burying or burning the dead is seen as an affront to the deceased, farming is alien, and the workings of things like a forge, or magic, these are threatening. To show a Karkos person pity, trust, or affection is an act of softness and weakness. It is a good way to end up being killed by that person, and being eaten by them.
Half-Karkosi: mating among the Karkos is a dangerous and hostile thing, and the thought of recreational mating is alien to them. Sex is something only done to produce offspring, and Karkosi women are as dangerous as black widow spiders. More than one man has taken a surprisingly willing Karkosi woman and having his belly spilled open after he spilled his seed inside her. Likewise warbands are prone to rape, because among their people, thats a fairly common and considered socially safe way to breed.
Along the borders of the Karkos region, warbands and raider parties will deliberately abduct men or women, depending on whatever gender their particular group is short of to continue replenishing their numbers. There are also a large number of children around the Karkos who are of mixed blood, born from survivors of such raiding parties, or the occasional tamed Karkosi who has taken in with a different group of humans.
The Evil Overlord and the Karkosi Legacy
The Karkosi are favored by evil warlords, evil necromancers, and otherwise evil charismatic strong men. The Karkosi will flock to the banner of a strong charismatic leader (regardless of gender) who promises blood, death, and violence. There is a long history of Karkos people leaving the badlands with the idea of finding the black kingdoms and their evil overlords to join their hosts. And this is a true thing, the black kingdoms, with their oppressive masters and would be demi-gods absolutely love recruiting Karkosi. They are unbothered by blood or evil acts, and there are few jailers, executioners, torturers, or mercenaries better than Karkosi. They are also very cheaply bought. Where men of the westlands demand gold, and the orcs speak of honor, and glory, the Karkosi want black iron, fresh meat, and victims.
The Karkosi people are by every definition, monstrous. They are intended to be used as sword fodder for heroes, a foe that is terrifying and remorseless. They see every civilized and settled idea as a form of weakness. Everything the typical person holds dear they despise. They steal, they kill, and the most grievous offense; everything is food. Karkoseans will eat your father, your child, your dog, your horse, your neighbor. They will keep victims alive for days, taking them apart one piece at a time, because meat on the foot lasts long than meat cut and wrapped. There are survivors are Karkosi raids who escaped, but lost arms, legs, and other parts of their bodies to feed their captors. Men who were crippled and made into breeding studs, women who were used as breeding mounts, forced to bear half-Karkosi children until they died giving birth to one or escaped.
When you are under siege, you have nothing but time. But the abundance of time is just as much of a weight as the enemy outside the gates. It is time for the Citadel to develop a creative Stimulus Package to support the Strolenati during this unique time. After no deliberation and no votes, the following will be the procedures followed through the the Citadel Stimulus Quest. (Subject to change, amendment, and adjustment as needed.)
- Every Monday a minimum influx of $40 will be added to the Stimulus Package to keep the Creative Citadel Economy out of a Recession.
- The Stimulus Package will accumulate $40 weekly until there are 5 unique author submissions.
- Authors can write as many submissions as they like and each will be considered on their own merits.
- On the Sunday after the 5 author requirement is met, the 5+ submissions by 5+ authors will be weighed and measured by the Strolenati.
- Whomever is determined as the winner(s) will receive funds (as determined by the Strolenati) that have collected in the Stimulus Package.
- On Monday, if winners were awarded, the Stimulus Package will be re-established at $40 and the quest will restart.
- The quest will continue in this cycle until such a time that the Strolenati Council has deemed the siege over.
Current Stimulus Package: $40 Next Update: Jul 13 Contributors: Strolen, Murometz
Round 1 completed May 10: 7 Weeks - $280 in Stimulus reserves. Since it was the first round, and the amount was enough to pass around, we decided everyone who took the time deserved something. So sayeth the Strolenati.
Round 2 completed July 6: 8 Weeks - $340 in Stimulus reserves. Incresed funding and a stabilized creative force has allowed some increases in most awards. So sayeth the Strolenati.
|Round 1||Round 2|
|1. Scrasamax - $115|
2. Ted - $75
3. manfred - $50
4. Siren no Orakio - $20
5. valadaar - $10
6. Aramax - $10
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? Responses (5)-5
Trying to have a comment more than "Cool!" but nothing comes to me after reading it. I imagine the borderlands are a dangerous place to be with food raids and such.
I want to organize a Great Chief that bands together the Karkos every couple decades for a huge raid on the soft ones!
Imagine how fearsome and charismatic such a leader would have to be, and he would have to provide a massive amount of carnage and flesh to keep his host from turning on itself. It would be a war leader who would make Khal Drogo seem like an erudite educated gentleman by comparison
Perhaps it isn't so much as creating a unified band but more a correlation to humanity encroaching on their domain. Population presses the borderlands, food is easier to come by with these outposts and land grabbers. It is a more natural progression vs. an enigmatic leader. Will get to the point where they will be stopped by armies or get too difficult to capture and they return to their desert home. Whatever natural borders keep them from moving from their harsh lands would reestablish the separation...till humanity once again tries to move into where they are not wanted. Or something like that. :)
Love them! Lots of great sentences that really drill down their essence. Love how they are always a step away from starvation. Love how they’re broken up into castes or what have you.
These would make the perfect adversaries in a Mad Max campaign world!!
They seem a bit pre French Conquest Tuareg-a raider people-but with the negative traits turned right up.