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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Human—Malbari City-States

Human—Malbari City-States

History

The Malbari people are an ancient race of humans from the Malbari Islands, in the eastern Dragon Sea, off of the shores of Elamnu and Sarranda. In ancient times, the Malbari were a nomadic, pastoral people that sages believe originally come from the deserts and mountain regions of northern Elamnu. The Malbari tribes gradually migrated to the Malbari Islands, and established prosperous mercantile city-states throughout the islands and up and down the coasts of Elamnu and Sarranda. The Malbari became immensely wealthy as merchants, sailors, explorers, and scholars. The Malbari built and maintained a huge fleet of merchant ships, and a powerful navy to protect their merchant fleets and foreign, sea-borne trade routes. The Malbar city-states in the Malbari Islands formed a powerful league of city-states, and rapidly established many colonies, city-states and small kingdoms throughout the Dragon Sea region.

Through the centuries, the Malbari have established several strong kingdoms, and more city-states and colonies, strengthening their vast mercantile empire. However, all of the Malbari kingdoms, city-states and colonies remain politically independent from each other, though they are often allied with each other in various leagues. Occasionally, some Malbari city-states may engage in war against each other, though this is uncommon. Currently, while all Malbari city-states and kingdoms are independent and loosely allied with each other, they remain united by a common culture, language and religion. The Malbari language has grown to become established as a major common language throughout the Dragon Sea region.

Physical Appearance

Malbar people are typically of average height and weight, and have skin of brown-bronze, brown-cinnamon, or brown-olive in tone. Generally, Malbar have black-brown, dull-black, or ebony-black hair, and dark-brown or brown-hazel eyes. Malbar often have larger noses, and prominent cheekbones. Malbar men generally wear neatly-trimmed, full beards, and favour dressing in loose-fitting, flowing garments and fine clothes. Malbari men typically wear their hair long, past their shoulders, though not so far to the middle of the back. Likewise, Malbari women customarily keep their hair long and flowing, usually reaching to the lower back or waist in length, and often curled and rubbed with finely-scented oils. Malbari women typically adorn their famously luxurious and beautiful hair with jeweled pins, and finely-crafted combs. Malbar men and women alike favour all kinds of jewelry, and occasionally have various tattoos. Malbar women are famous for their use of perfumes and artistic skills with all manner of exotic cosmetics. Malbar speak the native language of Malbari.


N.B. Player characters are encouraged to review the Malbari Character Tables, presented below.

Malbar Character Tables

Malbar Character Table: Skin Tones
Dice Roll/Skin Tone
01-20%: Brown-Bronze
21-48%: Brown-Cinnamon
49-82%: Brown-Olive
83-92%: White-Olive
93-00%: Black-Ebony

Malbar Character Table: Hair Color
Dice Roll/Hair Color
01-20%: Black-Brown
21-50%: Black-Dull
51-00%: Black-Ebony

Malbar Character Table: Eye Color
Dice Roll/Eye Color
01-70%: Brown-Dark
71-85%: Brown-Hazel
86-95%: Brown-Golden
96-00%: Brown-Pale

Malbari Height and Weight Tables
Male Malbari Base Height: 5’2”-6’0”; (5’0”+2d6”);
Average Height: 5’6”
Male Malbari Base Weight: 112-220-lbs; (100+12d10);
Average Weight: 160-lbs.

Female Malbari Base Height: 4’10”-5’8”; (4’8”+2d6”);
Average Height: 5’2”
Female Malbari Base Weight: 72-180-lbs; (60+12d10);
Average Weight: 120-lbs.

Politics

While each Malbari city-state or kingdom is politically independent, they all share a similar political structure, having political power primarily divided into three sources—a divinely related king with immense royal power and authority; powerful priests and priestesses from the great temples; and merchant-princes from the vastly wealthy merchant-houses.

Each Malbari city-state’s king is served by a royal council, composed of various members of priests and priestesses—ensuring that all of the various temples are dutifully and fairly represented—as well as prominent merchant-princes, also drawn from the elite councils of each of the great merchant houses in the city-state; and various other nobles and elders from the city. Typically, the king holds power over the military, and has authority in foreign policy, declarations of war, and the power to make treaties. The king also serves various important ceremonial functions as a quasi-divine representative of the gods, and also has power and authority over laws, courts, and the overall welfare and security of the entire city-state. The royal council serves as a critical advisory body, and has the power to supervise or veto various laws proposed by the king—but must have a majority to enforce such. In addition, the royal council controls the majority of the royal treasury and budget.

Culture

The Malbari city-states have grown immensely wealthy from trade—primarily serving as middle-men in conducting trade throughout the Dragon Sea region, as well as bringing products and materials from the various lands around the Dragon Sea to each other, and beyond—to distant shores along the eastern edges of Aghanda, far eastern ports in the Seren Empire, as well as the Vallorean Empire, to the north-west of the Dragon Sea. The Malbari trade in a large variety of goods, from slaves, glass, wine, finely-crafted pottery, colored dyes, colored beads, various breeds of dogs and horses, to fine textiles, tapestries, linens, richly-made clothing, exquisite jewelry and metalwork of bronze, silver, and gold. The Malbari also trade raw materials in high demand, from precious cedar-wood, oak, good stone, as well as fine marble and raw metals such as tin, silver and gold.

Most famously, however, is the export of Malbari Purple, a rich and exquisite violet-purple dye that the Malbari harvest and craft from the Marantic Snail. The Marantic Snail is chiefly found in the coastal waters around the Malbari Islands, though the Malbari have discovered various other locations around the Dragon Sea where the creature can be found. The Malbari also trade heavily in ebony, ivory, coral, honey, spices, various oils, and precious stones.

The Malbar are fine craftsmen, displaying outstanding skills in several areas, from glass-blowing, metalworking, and textiles, to pottery, wood-carving, ivory-carving, and shipbuilding. The Malbar have developed their own distinctive style of ceramic pottery, known simply as Malbari Pottery, and which is in high demand throughout the Dragon Sea region, and beyond. The Malbar have developed several distinctive styles of merchant ships, as well as powerful warships. The Malbar are excellent goldsmiths and silversmiths, and have developed new metallurgical techniques in further refining various precious metals, as well as in tools and techniques in decorating and crafting styles of jewelry. The Malbar are also famous for designing a range of clothing styles and items of clothing—from loose-fitting, trousers and decorative robes, cloaks, dresses, skirts and tunics, to various varieties of hats and headwear, from tall, cylindrical hats to veiled headdresses for women.

Loremasters and sages attribute the first system of writing to the Malbari, whom legends relate that either the Malbari discovered and created the Malbari Alphabet of 22 letters, or, as some legends allude to—that the elves taught the Malbar the skill of writing in the distant past, and the Malbari proceeded to develop writing from that point. Whatever the truth of the matter, the Malbari Alphabet, and the distinct Malbari Script, were spread to the Archaedians to the north, the Elamneans and Parathians to the east, and to the Tegherans in the south. The Archaedians eventually developed and refined the Archaedian Alphabet, and spread the skill of writing to the lands and peoples of the north, including the Vallorean tribes. The kingdoms and city-states of Elamnu and the Parathians adopted the Malbari Alphabet, with the Parathians eventually developing and refining the Parathian Alphabet, and the distinctive Parathian Script. The Tegherans also refined and developed their own unique Tegheran Alphabet and the Tegheran Script, and spread the skill of writing to various tribes and kingdoms in the lands of Aghanda.

Malbari marriage customs are noted as follows:

Monogamous; Loose, Informal, Concubinage

Loose: People involved have varying expectations of absolute sexual fidelity and exclusivity; mistresses, lovers, and so on are fairly common, and generally accepted.

Informal: The culture has no strict requirements concerning divorce, and divorce is relatively easy and simple to do, with no social, religious or cultural stigmas for anyone involved. In addition, children born out of wedlock are not subject to being outcasts, and may be common and entirely accepted.

Concubinage: The culture embraces the custom of maintaining concubines for a married person, whether male or female. In the cases where concubines provide children, the children have some rights of inheritance. In addition, concubines have an official, legal and social status, and enjoy specific social, legal and inheritance rights.

Religion

Malbari religion is devoted to an ancient and enduring pantheon of deities, led by Baal-Hadan, a god of cities, war, storms, and rulership. The Malbari pantheon also reveres the “Great Mother” goddess of Ashara, and a comprehensive pantheon of gods and goddesses—deities of hunting, nature, the sea, crafting, magic, fate, the stars, fertility, law and knowledge, the sun, as well as war, death, disease, serpents, chaos and darkness.
The Malbari build enormous temples to their gods, making each temple as lavishly decorated as the community can afford. Each temple follows an accepted style, of having the form of a ziggurat of stone, featuring a great plaza-entrance with rows of fine-carved stone pillars, inlaid with gold, silver, and precious gems.

The Malbari gods are noted as follows:

Male Gods

Bal-Hadan—Supreme god of the Malbari pantheon. Bal-Hadan is a god of mountains, strength, fire, war, and storms.

Bin-Haddad—God of crafts, smithing, fire, knowledge and law

Ashmagon—God of darkness, fire, death, law and prophecy

Melberek—God of storms, the sea, destruction, animals, and fate

Eshberek—God of deserts, nature, storms and animals

Nargesh—God of the underworld, war, destruction, and death

Gadd-Hammon—God of darkness, trickery, greed, murder and travel

Hadderum—God of Healing, the stars, knowledge, prophecy, and magic

Bal-Harum—God of trade, crafts, law, and knowledge

Melkoon—God of magic, knowledge, darkness, and secrets

Female Goddesses

Asherah—Supreme “Great Mother” goddess of the earth, fertility, nature, lust, sexuality, magic and knowledge

Asht-Hammon—Goddess of marriage, nobility, the home, and loyalty

Sadaemah—Goddess of healing, love, wisdom, and honor

Haddasha—Goddess of the sun, fire, knowledge, chaos, deserts, war, and savagery

Melkasha—Goddess of the moon, darkness, magic, knowledge and prophecy

Shaduna—Goddess of fortune, trickery, fate, gambling, wine and chaos

Tarmeshah—Goddess of chaos, serpents, magic, knowledge, lust and fertility

Urtannit—Goddess of spring, rain, rivers, nature and agriculture

Eshannah—Goddess of the underworld, magic, darkness, beauty and fertility

Yahazebel—Goddess of fertility, sexuality, music, singing, dancing, and nobility

Sadiha—Goddess of forests, hunting, animals, and wisdom

Ashbahli—Goddess of death, darkness, disease and pestilence

Malbari temples feature temple prostitutes, mystics, prophets and the priests and priestesses sponsor various exotic festivals throughout the year, as each god and goddess is celebrated with various feasts, ritual ceremonies, orgies, and sacrifices. The various cults that sponsor temple prostitutes are an essential element of Malbari religion, as engaging with a temple prostitute is a key expression of sacrifice and devotion to the gods, through giving mystical energy to the gods through sex, as well as receiving divine ecstasy and bliss in return, as an expression of the god’s blessing upon the worshipper.

Warfare

The Malbar recruit soldiers from various districts within the city-state, as well as surrounding towns and villages. The Malbar also supplement their military forces by mercenary contracts, gaining the service of all manner of exotic troop-types and special forces. The Malbari typically field forces of medium infantry, as well as skirmishers, foot-archers, and fast-moving cavalry-lancers and cavalry-archers. The Malbari also use well-armed marines, and specially-trained raiders. The Malbari navy is famous for the skill and tenacity of their rowers and sailors, as well as the speed and maneuverability of the Malbari warships.

Cultural Weapons and Armour

Malbari Cultural Armor
Leather Armor
Hide Armor
Studded Leather
Scale Mail
Breastplate
Shield

Malbari Cultural Weapons
Dagger, Dart, Club, Quarterstaff, Hand-axe, Shortsword, Footman’s Mace, Sling, Javelin, Spear, Lance, Shortbow, Composite Shortbow, Scimitar, Falchion
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1 comment:

  1. Hi Shark

    I am impressed with your history on the Malabari or the Malabar people and it is a very good article. I am a bit confused on the term Malabari and maybe u can help me on the matter. From what I know is that the term Malabari is meant for those who are muslims and not in general, most of the non muslims still us the term Malayalee . The term Malabari only come into the picture during King Cheraman Perumal the ruler of Kerala which embrace Islam maybe around 628AD. So the term Malabari was widely used to differentiate the muslims and non muslims after his companions returned back to Kerala from Mecca.

    Pls advise me if I am wrong since that u are more qualified in terms of the research you have done on the matter. For your information I am very interested to write on the Malabari journeys to Malaysia and I am trying to compile all the facts before it can be published.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete