Thu Aug 4, 2011, 11:25 AM
Powers: Heuma have a general sense for weaknesses or flaws in materials (metals or other minerals) they touch. Typically a very small area, 1-4" from point of contact.
Innovative and industrious, the Heuma of Shaif have a reputation as always being busy designing the next advancement in architecture or systems. When it comes to engineering, they know no equal. Famous for their metalworks.
They also have a reputation as being thick-headed and "too focused on their work." They are known for being very meticulous and cautious people who spend a lot of time on preparation — perhaps too much. Of course, this is merely a stereotype, and your oc does not have to be like this.
* Slow and inexorable in battle, their tactics have always been the way of the siege. When it comes to endurance, few are as staunch as the Heuma. Their motto would run something like "Dig deep and prepare for anything." *
During the Age of the Lost, Heuma arrived on the shores of the continent in several separated groups. They spread out over the land, each mostly fleeing from the Orchs and attempting to find a place where they could form a decent defense. The Orchs, being the most intelligent and cooperative of the Spiteful Ones, worked together to hound the Heuma into separate groups. However, one such group formed a stronghold in a cave system, and using clever tactics and careful planning, they managed to defeat one of the Orch’s main armies. Given time to themselves, they built up their fortress for defense. Their leader sent his most trusted generals into the land to find other Heuma in need of shelter. When they found other pockets of Heuma, they taught those people how to build their own mountain strongholds and fend for themselves. This founded the Shaifan royalty, which claims divine right to rule given by the Earth itself, and the ducal houses. The ducal houses were considered kings in their own right in that time, but kings that acknowledged the king of Soldyn when it came to matters outside their own lands.
In the Age of Conflict, the Heuma fared perhaps the best. They were used to long, grueling winters and doing what had to be done, and used to the dark of the underearth and learning to keep the Shadow’s whispers at bay. But they were locked in defensive mode until a messenger of Dagou brought news of the counter-attack to Soldyn. Then, they joined the war effort, bringing valuable war engines with them and forming crucial defense lines. Afterwards, however, there was much unrest as they and An Dufein quarreled over mining rights and Andelour over trading agreements, warring more than once in defense. During such a war, an inside faction appeared from the masses almost mysteriously (having kept themselves secret), calling themselves the Heuma Magi. In the course of a year, the Magi sent out their message calling others of their kind to them publicly — nothing to cause alarm. At least, until the Magi abruptly picked up their entire population and left the country on a major exodus. It was a major blow to the Shaifan royalty’s pride at that time, that he was unable to predict that move or to stop it, being too engrossed in the open war. Rather than try to keep them from leaving (and thus appear truly caught off guard, because there was no preparation in place to do so), in order to save face, the king at that time chose merely to let them go, as though that had been his planned intention from the start. It was during the end of this age that the ‘kings’ of the previous age were forced into the titles of ‘duke’ and their strict allegiance paid directly to the king of Soldyn.
During the Age of Progress, the country settled into a pattern of engineering advancement. Great pulley systems were installed throughout the capitol, Soldyn, and the heart of the country became known as the industrial center of the world. Their systems can be seen throughout the world now, in simpler pulley systems that operate heavy doors or the like. However, moreso than that, they expanded their export of fine metals, particularly holding sway over the gold market and silver. As such, they became known secondly as the world’s bank.
In the current Age of the Spiral, Shaif is now a quiet country. Insular and unconcerned with much beyond business matters, little of the current rulers is publicly known. However, their relationship with other countries is said to be neutrally good. They lent money to Andelour during Andelour’s famine, with the stipulation that it will be repaid within five years, of which three of those years have passed. If Andelour does not repay in time, the contract states Shaif will gain control over Henel’s markets until half the remaining money is repaid, as well as receive a portion of farmland near Bendem’s Point.
Shaif is a tundra. Mountains frame the western and northern borders, and north of those mountains is the beginning of the frozen ocean ice cap of the world, which is also typically frozen enough to travel on. Climate is mild in summer and bitter in winter. Snows are at least five feet deep over the cold months (and usually much, much more). The rest of the country is hilly, rocky soil and some tundra grasslands. Caves and ravines are common, as are streams. Streams are often not fed by springs so much as run-off of melted snow from the mountains. There are forests, but they are relatively small and sparse, and the trees do not get as tall as elsewhere (save for in the great red-pine forest in the south-west on Ytraltidres lands).
Soldyn — Capitol city, means "Heart of the Homeland." Gold and silver mines spread below and to the sides of the city, and it is the center of commerce; while shipping tends to travel through Daellim, if you're going to personally sell on an open market, Soldyn is where you go. As such, many high-grade artisans have gathered here and offer their services or products, be it jewelry, weapons, sculptures, or clothing.
(Heuma only have one power.)
1) They can sense flaws in metals or stones they touch. Most people's range is small — ~1-4 inch radius area around their hand. Weak people only get a sense that a flaw might exist, and they are wrong now and then and cannot tell the difference between different materials (can only sense cracks or weak areas). Strong people can sense different materials' purity levels and how well things have mixed etc. It takes practice to understand the feelings they get from these materials (so basically, newbs practice a lot and then become masters).
The royal family does not actually advertise the extent of their powers, but it is believed they have a stronger ability.
The country of stone and innovation, the Heuma's abilities when it comes to materials analysis lends them an extreme edge when it comes to shaping and engineering with heavy elements such as stone and metal. Because of this, they are renown for their giant engineering projects (usually powered by domesticated animals or physics and pulley systems) and for their stone carvings and statues. They are also famous for their metal knives, weapon pieces, and armor, which is their major export in return for food, though they also are the number one source for gold and silver, which is their most expensive and sought-after export.
They are a loosely patriarchal society when it comes to succession and ownership. However, women can be found in any type of job, and are not barred from buying things in a free market. It is a matter of familial preference if someone wishes to pass on the role of leadership to a female heir instead of a male. This is mostly an issue in the courts, where all heirs must be approved by the Shaifan king.
Houses :: Shaifans have learned to deal with the cold by utilizing the constant temperatures of the deeper earth (which is typically around 50 Fahrenheit). Above-ground buildings are usually the public faces — shops, inns, or commons rooms — and all buildings extend deep into the earth. Larger homes that have been lived in for many years often get slowly expanded downwards, and to have a mere four-story basement is rare. More commonly, you will find ten levels or more to a basement. The insides are lit with mirrors (most rooftops have mirror arrays on them) or glowing moss, as well as torches for the lesser-used areas. All major cities are fortresses and have some kind of fortification around it.
Food :: Since the ground is rocky and not rich, those who live in the countryside typically herd sheep or cows or breed horses. They do grow vegetables, but it is all hardy types, such as cabbages, potatoes, or carrots. Few manage to grow wheat, which means potatoes are their main starch source (when it comes to culinary details) (aka, not so much brandy as vodka).
Clothes :: Woolen and cotton textiles and furs. Typically long-sleeved, high-necked, and down to the ankle. Even during summer, it is cool in the mountains or in the basements of their houses. Layers are common.
Superstition :: They have a belief that everyone has a 'lucky stone.' It's not a specific piece, but rather a type of rock or metal or gem that is their lucky material. A person finds out what their lucky stone is simply due to how often it shows up in their daily lives (they don't choose, per se). This is a throwback to when the Heuma Magi still lived primarily in Shaif, but people in Shaif don't know this connection, nor do the stones actually increase luck. It's just a superstition. The 'luckiest stone' (if it's your 'lucky stone') is considered ruby. In the past ruby and sapphire were both thought of as equally lucky to have as your personal stone, but over time they forgot the sapphire and only remember the ruby, thanks to the giant Royal Ruby installed in the Shaifan throne room. (This is because sapphires and rubies are the stones that a foreseer magi uses).
Storytelling :: There is a strong story-telling tradition, and it becomes very active during the winter months, when there is not much one can do but stay indoors. It is considered the "job" of the elderly to teach the old stories to the young, and there is typically someone in every family who takes on this role. It is usual for several generations to live in the same house.
Dance :: They also have a strong drum and dance tradition. People will stomp, clap, or beat out rhythms on anything around them if they do not have a drum handy, and this becomes the beat to which everyone dances to. Otherwise, if there is a drum or two, then they leave it up to the drummer to make the beat. Drummers can improvise, or learn pre-made beats, but often the drum is an accent to the claps and stomps the dancers make themselves when they dance. Especially recently, group learned dances are becoming more popular, where they learn specific steps and claps and all dance the same thing.
**Note that dancers do not dance professionally. Dancing is not a spectator sport - everyone does it for fun, so it's something they all participate in once it gets started up! Think like line dancing**
Pet :: Heuma are not disliked by any particular type of animal. However, they also do not have any special animal type that likes them. In other words, any regular animal can be a pet (and that includes any animal that is 'regular' to the world of Na Shatien!) Ask if you have any ideas or questions.
(Pets can be used in battle - read the pets section for more information!)
Jobs and Demographics
Shaif is 80% Heuma, with a few Dagou (about 15% population, mostly to the south in the hills) and, more rarely, Aefan (5%). Dyndwe are practically nonexistent, because the country is so cold and — for the most part — dry.
Popular Jobs :: Tailor, farmer, herdsman, carpenter, trader, woodsman (though forests are a bit rare outside of Ytraltidres), baker (mainly using potato-based flours), miller, innkeeper (most inns double up as the local restaurant/pub), accountant, doctor/healer (keep in mind the technology — read the military healer section for details), hunter, soldier, shopkeeper, serf, noble, scribe. (Commonfolk in general cannot read much beyond the most basic of signs; one must choose to study to read and write. Thus, scribes are common, people who will read aloud, write responses to letters, or even copy books for nobles.)
Specialty Jobs :: Engineer, sculptor, fur trader, gem-cutter, blacksmith, jeweler, appraiser, miner, herald,
Nobility :: There are twelve noble houses, three of them duchies and nine of them counties. Families ending in -idres are the Ducal houses, and are given rule over three of the other nine lands to assist in running them. -Idres means "protector of."
These families form the Council of Lords, consisting of the heads of each of the noble families, present at Soldyn at least every other month throughout the year. Some choose to live at Soldyn, and leave the governing of the family lands up to another member of the family, and via correspondence update themselves on the situation in their homelands. Others choose to travel back and forth. The council is at the king's command, who usually will appoint them to specific tasks or committees.
Basic medieval bastardization rules apply. However, no matter who it is, the decision of any noble to name an heir must always be approved by the crown. When a noble grants the title of succession, they have to present the successor to the court and to the king, and the king approves, denies, or puts them on probation until a later date.
The Family List (regions)
Balidres — Eastern duchy; herders only, and famous fighters.
» Therun — mainly filled with cotton farms and herders.
» Nefeil — mostly herders and some mining to the north along the mountain edge.
» Hengun — most famous for their port.
Garvidres — Middle duchy; a mining area with herders along the countryside, and famous center for alcohol production.
» Draetak — famous for their iron and steel production, which they ship out for refining into actual tools.
» Vyrn — mostly herders, famous for their horse breeders.
» Daellim — trading center, because they central, a gateway to the other lands. Also manage to farm and herd. Their family head traditionally becomes the king's main advisor and confidante.
Ytraltidres — Western duchy; home to the giant red pine forest and thus the creator of most wooden products in Shaif.
» Lachvann— the main farming center of Shaif, and exports their produce throughout the empire.
» Perdk — the smithing center of Shaif, where the best products are created. Some mining as well, usually coal and some gems.
» Tarolk — a mining town mostly famous for its production of marble or other sculpture stone. Also produces many raw gems.
Royalty :: The Shaifidres family rules. Succession and power is (in general via tradition) paternal save when there is no direct male heir, in which case the daughter is the ruler. If/when she marries, she still holds more power than her husband.
That said, the monarch can name whomever they wish as heir. They do not need approval by the council of lords in that process. They rule supreme.
The military is split into four main branches: Army, Cavalry, Medic, and Fortifications.
» Army soldiers form the meat of the military, staunch and slow and inexorable. Most famous for their shieldsmen.
» Cavalry are the fast strikers and the scouts, used sparingly. They are the tide-turners who clear the path for the army.
» Medicine is at medieval level, using poultices, splints, cauterization, leeches, and other such things. However, the plants in this world are a little more potent, so your luck is a little better off.
» Fortifiers are the engineers that are constantly inventing new war engines, redesigning city defenses, and checking on public works (water, air flows, proper defense stops, the like) and are held in extremely high regard for their skill and intelligence.
TL;DR? Basically, metalworks, freezing cold, lots of furs and snow, underground is your friend, and medieval rules.