From the Ashes of War
The kingdom of Linowa streches along the massive Silver River. The borders of Linowa is ill-defined pretty, as the kingdom claims sovereignty over every Linowan boat clan rather than over a specific tract of land. This means that within Linowan territory there exist multiple minor settlements, cities and even nations. Most of these pay tribute to one or more boat clans to avoid being the target of raids and harassment.
As you travel further away from the Silver River the number of boat clans deminish effectly ending the dominion of Linowa. This is true for every border except the northern border to Halta. Here Linowa have their only true border, as the Fair Folk and Haltans prevent boat clans from settling further. To protect the border the Linowan have erected a defensive line cutting across all the rivers leading into Lake Sanazala. Along this line are several forts that serve as staging points for raids and offensive into Halta.
The Linowan are formed by an agreeable environment, by the constant war with Halta and by the stories of their ancestors. They are very much a warrior culture: a typical Linowan finds equal attraction in a day spend quietly fishing on the river or going out on a bloodthirsty raid, and would feel surprised that an outsider could find this peculiar.
Every Linowan belongs to a boat clan. A man who doesn't belong to a boat clan, due to expulsion or the death of the rest of his boat clan, can no longer truely call himself a Linowan. In the latter case, another boat clan may adopt him, but he cannot recreate the boat clan to which he used to belong. Lesser boat clans swear alligiance to more powerful ones, in return for support during winter, famine or clan feuds.
Boat clans are matriachal. Each clan matriach chooses her successor from among the elder women of the clan. Linowan join a clan by birth or adoption: children born to a woman of the clan automatically belong to that clan but are also formally sworn into the clan when they become adults.
The other main unit in Linowan society is the war band. This forms within a boat clan or across allied boat clans and centers on a specific war leader. A band may vary from half a dozen Linowan to thousands of warriors. As with boat clans, lesser warbands can swear fealty to greater bands. Custom says war leaders should obey the matriach of their boat clan.
Linowan nobles achieve their ranks through feats of valor or exceptional prowess. The Queen typically awards noble status to warriors who return from the Haltan forests with redwood logs or living captives, but Linowan also win noble rank for being exceptional shamans, healers, storytellers, artisans or just being widely admired. All nobles receive gold or silver pendants, lip plugs or ear spools from the Queen to indicate their status.
- The Royal Clan
- The Greystone Clan
- The Mountain Shade Clan
- The Mouth of Many Waters Clan
- The Red Thrush Clan
- The Whitewater Clan
Linowa is primarily a hunter-gatherer society. Not because they don't know about farming and mining, but the idea of toiling the earth is viewed with disdain. A Linowan is supposed be a warrior and hunter not a farmer or taskmaster. Even their slaves are rarely tasked with farming or mining, since that would require some sort of management, which is considered at odds with the Linowan ideals. Also most boat clans are nomadic in nature, and treasures the freedom that comes with nomadic life. They have no desire for a place of permanent residence. This doesn't mean that farming or mining doesn't take place within the territory claimed by Linowa, but those activities are left to tributaries that pay a part of their crops and metals to the locale boat clan.
In addition to what they can hunt, gather and extract as tribute most boat clans have war bands attempting to raid nearby settlements to provide weapons and other produced goods. Some even send pirating expeditions as far as the White Sea in the north or the Yanaze in the south. Like farming organized trade is frowned upon. Sure boat clans sell surplus goods such as furs, but no self-respecting Linowan would make a living being a merchant. Most trade in Linowa is bartering of goods.
In Linowa personal property doesn't really exist. Linowan culture dictates that you are expected to share your surplus of everything with your boat clan. The only exception for this is the ownership of slaves and precious jewelry, which is limited to the Linowan nobles. Slaves have no rights, and can make no claim to any of a boat clans resources, but their owner is expected to provide for them. Since the only way to become a slave is by capture in war the children of slaves are not considered slaves, and are usually either adopted into the boat clan or expelled upon reaching adulthood.
Despite the alliance with the Scarlet Empire the Immaculate Order have had little luck in spreading their philosophy in Linowa. The worship of the Immaculate Dragons is virtually non-existant instead the Linowan turn the a combination of celestrial and locale terrestrial gods. The most significant of these being Golden-Eyed Jorst. The lack of Immaculate influence also means that the Linowan have no taboo about mortals interacting directly with spirits. When it comes to asking major favors of the gods they usually leave it to the professional shamans however.
The Linowan have a pragmatic approach to most religious practice. They casually honor the gods in their daily practice, but sacrifice before major undertakings such as a raid or a grand hunt. The exception to this rule are their hatred of Haltans and their redwood forests which partially originates from the Linowan dedication to Golden-Eyed Jorst. Every Linowan knows that they have a religious mandate demanding the spread of Jorsts forests and revenge for Haltan attempts to plant more redwoods in Jorsts domain.
- Golden-eyed Jorst
- Grala of the Endless Hunt
- Sudale of the Flowing Grasp
- The Five Maidens
- The Unconquered Sun
- Vata the Hungerer
Linowan towns are a collection of wooden buildings that range from simple log cabins to elaborate "stave" structures build from narrow boards layered like the quills of a porcupine. While ordinary dwellings are usually low longhouses, public buildings such as shrines or palaver houses rise in exuberant stacks of gables. The population generally cycles in and out through the year, with people leaving to go raiding, trading, fishing or spend time on the Haltan frontier.
The larger towns need to bring in food, as they can't gather sufficient victuals in the vicinity. East boat clan arranges its own shipment of food, sending their gatherers, hunters and fishers out separately. In times of famine and hardship, the matriachs of the local boat clans meet in the palaver house to negotiate hunting territories and to share supplies.
Scattered throughout Linowa lies countless of settlements ranging from small villages to city-states and small countries paying tribute to one or more boat clans. The terms of this tribute is negotiated on a case by case basis. Hard targets such as fortified cities might get away with a lower tribute, while easy targets such as a undefended village will probably have to pay more. On the other hand few boat clans wants to demand a tribute so high that it will ruin the tributary or encourage them to take up armed resistance against the Linowan. In some cases the boat clan pledges to defend the tributary from other boat clans or other enemies in return for the tribute. Most boat clans see their tributaries as an asset, like a farmer would view his lands as an asset, and deal with threats to it accordingly. Boat clans rarely forces tributaries to pledge alligiance or provide soldiers, since doing so is seen as a sign of weakness by the Linowan. However tributaries are expected to respect the boat clans hunting grounds and refrain for collaboration with the boat clans enemies. Tributaries committing treason against a boat clan will usually find themselves the target of Linowan raids or have their tribute increased accordingly.