The world of Rogaria is mainly a desert world. Vast stretches of sand are interspersed with occasional Oases where life springs up at the surface.
Legends tell of a race of “masters” who supposedly created this world, and who took up residence in two vast sprawling cities, located on the north and south pole of Rogaria.
These Old Ones, as they are now called, created all life on Rogaria and bound the sentient races to them in servitude. Of their servants, the Sha’éhel were the fiercest and proudest. It is to them, that the dominion over the Sands was given when the Old Ones left for the stars.
Since then, the People have grown and prospered. They are by far the most numerous of all the races that they share the world with.
Always moving, and always striving to grow through conflict, the Sha’éhel are the only true heirs to the world they inhabit. This is their credo, and this is embedded in their every action.
Near 300 years ago, the world shook in cataclysmic pain, as it was struck by a star that fell from the heavens! Tribal Astrologers saw the heavenly object appear long before it struck, and although not all believed it was bound for impact with Rogaria, most of the Tribes heeded their scientists and they evacuated out of the predicted path of the star.
No one could have foreseen the devastating effect once it struck, and Rogaria literally shook as it was dealt a mighty blow. Some claim the star struck Suralta and wiped the surrounding countryside clean of all life… a shockwave spreading countless miles in all direction, destroying those Kraals that had not moved far enough.
Since the impact, dubbed as The Cataclysm by the Tribes, Rogaria has only slowly started recovering. Side effects of the event (which supposedly still smoulders in its crater far away down south) include a deadly and poisonous mist, called the Deathwind that is rumoured to clear entire areas of all life, where it appears. Some rare survivors speak of pale creatures in the mist but this may be attributed to shock.
Whether it is a sign of displeasure from the Old Ones, wreaking symbolic havoc and destruction on a city to make a point, or whether it is karmic retribution by The Sands itself for the heretical activities of the despised and recently emerging so called Caliphate… all of the People are reinforced in their beliefs that they should hold to their way of life and move often and regularly.
Sha’éhel: The People
Sha’éhel are a nomadic people. Together with the other sentient species on Rogaria (with exception of the Drychnath) they were once a slave-race to the supposed creators of the world known as The Old Ones. Over a thousand years ago, they fled the two Metropolises on the North- and South-Pole of the world, called “Peralta” (in the North) and “Suralta” (in the South) At that time they were allegedly 1 people. By nature they are inquisitive, rather short-lived and very much conquest-driven. A common epithet used to describe themselves is Children of the Sands
Clarification on Sexuality & Gender Roles/Norms
Although they are “humanoid” in appearance, the Sha’éhel are definitely not human or even mammalian for that matter. Procreation among the Sha’éhel is a matter of planning and ritual/science. Any Sha’éhel is able to produce an egg from their body, which carries the potential to hatch into a new Sha’éhel. The caste which produces the egg is not necessarily the caste that will hatch from it, as this is a matter of “programming” the egg according to the needs of the Kraal. The actual “activation” of the egg is an affair handled by the scientists, and is something that will only happen after the necessary protocols are followed and obligations and oaths spoken. See also The Law of Breeding. Sexual relationships for “enjoyment” are non-existent, as sex does not play a part in procreation. All of the potential negative consequences and unwanted power/relationship struggles that are too often prevalent in human society are therefore NOT APPLICABLE to Sha’éhel society. Ever. There is no pleasure to be had from each other’s bodies, and as such sexual predation or rape of any kind is non-existent. These elements are just not a thing in the world we have created. Any roleplay with a classical human take on sexuality and all that jazz is pointless and we strongly encourage you all to embrace this freedom of play where you are not bound by a societal pressure to perform one way or the other. As far as Drychnath are concerned: They could be considered pansexual or asexual as they see fit and they always comply to the race(s) they mingle with… in this case: see above! Furthermore, there is no classic “role” to be played by either males or females. All of the Sha’éhel societal roles and functions are either taken by force or awarded through merit. It is just as common to have a female Mukhtar as it is to have a male dancer.
Inner turmoil in the ranks of the People caused a schism. They divided (initially) into 2 Tribes, which later split further down the middle to form the current 4 Tribes, each named after their own progenitor.
Sha’éhel are divided in “castes”. These are actual sub-races of the larger species. They are all thought to come from the original Shai ‘Mun “mould” and due to the adaptive nature of the species and their scientific way of breeding they were able to create new subspecies.
- Shai’mun : The absolute majority (and original “model”) of the People. Sturdy and built for outdoors activity. Usually leaders and warriors. They are built for survival and combat.
- T’Riash : A caste that was bred for intelligence and insight. They are the archetypical arcane scientists and ritualists. Lawkeepers and scribes are also numbered often among them.
- Gorash : A caste built for raw strength & carrying heavy loads, but lately evolving towards having a shrewd mind. Gorash are forbidden to take up sharp weapons unless instructed to do so, due to their subdued bloodlust. They perform caravan duties as needed and often they are seen taking up the role of trader. Their defining features are their massive build and a horn on their forehead. Whenever a Gorash spills blood, regardless of their Tribe, everyone is obliged to kill them as soon as possible lest they lose control and go on a killing spree.
All Sha’éhel carry birthmarks under their eyes, in the form of a thin line that tapers downward at the outward edges of their eyes. These lines are called the A’bar and all Sha’éhel have them without fault.
Male Sha’éhel have a long tradition of grooming facial hair according to their “caste”. Either by emphasizing (coloring) the following patterns in their beards, or growing them exclusively along these lines:
- Shai’mun grow their moustaches thick and downward along their mouths. (classical handlebar stache)
- T’Riash leave their upper lip bare, and will grow only a beard. By preference oiled to a point.
- Gorash have a smooth face and usually do not sport facial hair (and if they do, it is without pattern or emphasis)
Female Sha’éhel have their own traditions on make up and facial decoration, which strongly varies depending on tribe and family. These are the most common:
- Female Shai’mun will often cover the lower half of their face and/or carry facial jewellery to complement their A’bar.
- Female T’Riash believe in symmetry and more often than not will draw a straight line down the middle of their chin.
- Female Gorash usually forego all trinkets or make up.
The newly formed Caliphate has a new caste of Sha’éhel that is very few in numbers, but which has been given a prominent spot at the top of their hierarchy: The Ra-Shai’mun.
- Ra-Shai’mun sport both moustache and pointed beard and additionally, they have small dotted birthmarks below their A’bar that further set them apart.
The People adhere to a broad set of rules and traditions which have grown around their travels of the massive desert that spans Rogaria. Everything they do is with the deepest respect for what they call “The Sands”. This term encompasses everything from the actual sands of the desert to the wind to the wildlife… It is not a religion as such, and they do not “worship” in the strictest sense of the word. They do, however, have a very small group of individuals who have devoted their lives to interpreting the signs and portents from the deep desert. Being a very superstitious and traditional people, the Sha’éhel have given these individuals a form of status that sets them apart from the rest of society. They are the Darwesh. Darwesh should be mostly ignored and respected to a degree where you would leave some food and water for them but never are they to be involved in the mundane activities that play in the Kraals. But every Sha’éhel will turn to a Darwesh (or one of their shrines) for advice or interpretation of their problem.
Only a few generations ago, the world of Rogaria started reacting to the terrible impact of The Cataclysm that wounded it some 300 years ago. This came to the attention of The People, as they started reporting increasingly more frequent and even larger spots of wooded area. These Green Hearts as they were dubbed could encompass many square kilometres and could suddenly have grown where a year before there was only desert.
When the Sha’éhel started carefully exploring these woods, they were met by strange unknown beings. Upright and bipedal as they were themselves, and endowed with not one horn as the Gorash, but two prominent (and sometimes large) horns adorned their heads. These creatures often spoke the same language as the Kraal they encountered, and even when not the case it took them little time to learn the local speech. They are often dressed in furs and leathers (although some of them have taken to wearing armour in the style of The People), and seem to prefer simple weapons of brutish design.
The Drychnath freely told their origins to all who would hear. They were all children of their progenitor Geryonal who supposedly roamed Rogaria, creating the Green Hearts and the Drychnath that populated them. It was quickly decided that these simple folk tales were an embellishment of a legend of these woodland creatures. Furthermore, the Drychnath claimed they wished to become allies and friends of The People and they had no issue with submitting to local Kraal leaders. Their only request was that they be given freedom to roam where they wanted. In return they would hunt and gather for the Kraal, and employ their craft to create art or tools to be used or sold. They wanted no gold or silver in return, merely the right to dwell among the People.
The Drychnath show an incredible affinity with the lush areas of Rogaria, and furthermore they have demonstrated a wonderful mastery over The Elements themselves! Drychnath Elementalists have proven time and again their usefulness in their control over Air, Water, Light and Earth. The more “physically” inclined Drychnath are even capable of carrying arms and wearing armour… but this is the grand jest: They refuse to raise arms against another individual. They are more than capable of defending against the savage monsters that roam the Sands, but against another sentient being they will not participate in violence. They would rather let themselves be slaughtered than to fight an opponent.
Another great mystery, is their habit of occasionally wandering off, usually fully geared up. They do this alone or in group, and almost always towards an unknown destination southward. Most of the times they come back days later, covered in wounds and occasionally missing one among their number. The Lawkeepers and Scientists of the Sha’éhel have not yet discovered what it is they do in their solitary retreats, but it is generally accepted this is most likely a private trial by combat to determine dominance or even mating rights.
The Banu Sayyid
The Banu Hashim
The Banu Jabbar
The Banu Bysmail
See Moodboards for more details
The Others – NPC Races
Although these are Sha’éhel in the racial sense of the word, these outcasts are NOT accepted among the People. They are designated “public enemy #1” In comparison to the Sons and Daughters of the Sand, they are few in total numbers. But their cities have started outgrowing the hovels that they were 200 years ago.
In their strongholds, they sometimes shelter by the tens of thousands! At the centre of their expanding influence lies their capitol: the temple-city of Zarag-Hur. This city was the birthplace of their self-proclaimed Prophet (or “God” as they call him) Barnon-Haver. It is from here they attempt to send their “missionary work”, which is another term for heretical units of warriors bent on converting The People to their perverse way of life.
Deep beneath the Sands and under the mountainous reaches of Rogaria, there are rumored to exist vast caverns and endless corridors of subterranean passages connecting them. It is here that the Rog-Ma-Thur have made their home, yielding the surface to the Sha’éhel. These cavern dwellers are reclusive in their ways, and only seldom do they travel to the surface. When they do, it is to trade information or precious stones with The People. Once, both races shared the same masters, and since then a careful truce has been built up between them. Most Kraal leaders will welcome a Rog-Ma-Thur envoy at their fires, as they always have something of value to trade.
No records exist of conflict between the two races, although there have been incidents where hapless Drychnath ran afoul of a Rog-Ma-Thur delegation and for some reason got tangled up in a conflict with deadly consequences. The Rog-Ma-Thur are often the messengers that bring warning of roving Zenathi… and in these cases, they sometimes join forces with the People against their common enemy. In stead of fighting, they will make sure a Kraal can safely be guided around the vile Zenathi forces without the loss of life.
Residing among the distant peaks of Rogaria’s eastern mountains, the Zenathi have declared all lands to the east of those mountains as Forbidden Lands. Without exception, all forays into these peaks or attempts to scout the lands beyond, have ended in wholesale slaughter of every individual making the attempt. Stories tell of a time when great war parties would attempt to breach this mountainous border… but all succumbed to the alien magicks that the Zenathi wield. The Rog-Ma-Thur allies tell of how these arrogant butchers stole the secrets of The Old Ones in the time when the three races fled the cities where they shared a life of servitude. And now the Zenathi are single-mindedly devoted to stealing or appropriating anything and everything even remotely tied to the Old Ones.
It is said by those few witnesses that exist, that to face a Zenathi in combat is to fight against time itself… the air seems to thicken to syrup as everything moves at an extremely slow pace. Everything except the Zenathi, who navigate this effect with great ease, and who are unaffected by it as they scythe down their opponents with as much regard as a farmer would have for the wheat he harvests.
There are 4 Spheres of Elements as far as scientists have been able to discover. There’s actually a supposed 5th but nothing is known of it, and all research into exploring is strongly discouraged.
- The element of Light : This element is associated with heat, illusion and revelation
- The element of Earth : This element is associated with protection & inflicting damage
- The element of Water : This element is associated with healing
- The element of Air : This element is associated with movement & cold
- The element of Shadow : This element is the supposed “binding” element that sits in the empty spaces between the others. It is associated with darkness, horror and (un)binding
From each of these Spheres occasional inhabitants, called Elementals, can cross over to
Rogaria. These elementals are known to roughly take the racial form of whomever they are dealing with and they seem polymorphic in nature. Not much is known of their native environment or how and why they sometimes visit Rogaria. There are indications that there is a hierarchy among them but scientists have yet to figure that out.
Monsters & Animals
The Sands are home to countless species of animals. Some could be described as being monstrous, the People are just as often prey as they are the hunter. The creatures that roam the wild places vary from savage beings capable of ripping a Gorash in half to mystical ghostly apparitions to plump sandrabbits that feed the Kraals. Each region has its own specific wildlife and there is a reason the Kraals are well protected.
Sha’éhel Structure & Hierarchy
The Sha’éhel tribes travel Rogaria’s deserts in groups that are counted in units of “tents”. Depending on the amount of tents under a leader figure, they have more status and can claim a certain title.
Titles are not hereditary, but dependent on the number of followers in your “Kraal”. A Kraal is the total of followers and their tents that follow the leader of the family.
Every member of your Kraal is considered family, albeit not necessarily by blood. Every family member has sworn loyalty and servitude to the leader of the Kraal.
It is possible to change Kraal, but this requires both your current as well as your new leader to be present in an Oath Ceremony. Such a ceremony is only possible in times of peace, and not during Blood feuds or Water Feuds.
These are the titles and the actual followers required to claim them:
- Hetman : You have at least 5 family members or 1 tent. These are the smallest Kraals.
- Subadhar : You have at least 15 family members or 3 tents
- Khan : You have at least 50 family members or 10 tents
- Samrati : You have at least 200 family members or 40 tents
- Mukhtar : You have at least 1000 family members or 200 tents
- Padishah : Each of the four Tribes has 1 elected Padishah, which is chosen by the Council of Mukhtars. The title can be carried for 10 years, and is acquired by rituals and processes that vary per Tribe.
Law & Traditions
There are few actual “laws” as such, that govern a nomadic people such as The Sha’éhel. Those laws that DO exist are followed by ALL. Without exemption, for the People know that to disregard these laws would be to lose their identity. In addition to the Laws of the Sand, several traditions are followed to a greater degree, although how they are interpreted may very greatly from Tribe to Tribe… Discussions on the Laws do not exist. Discussions on the Traditions are many and have actually given rise to a whole new profession of Lawkeeper. Every Kraal will have at least one Lawkeeper, who is a trusted advisor to the leader of the Kraal, as well as a go-to source for minor discussions between Kraal members.