|Proper Name||The Border Clans|
|Ruler||Great Chieftain Sagehorn|
2% other (prisoners, slaves, etc)
|Languages||Mandalarian 99%, Other 1%|
|Year Founded||2504 CY|
|Currency||None (Trade and barter)|
|Natural Resources||Alpacas, limestone, kithdari ruins and arcana|
|Manufactured Goods||Leather goods, long bows, primitve weaponry, woodcraft, bone and bead jewelry, furs and pelts.|
|Major Exports||None. The Border Clans do not trade with neighboring nations.|
|Wealth||Woven goods, leather items|
|Government Type||Provincial (loose clan confederation)|
|Approximate Land Area||1,900,000 square kilometers|
|Terrain||Coastal grasslands, rolling hills, rocky badlands and mountains|
The Border Clans is the ancestral home of the mandalar… a primitive and aggressive, patriarchal humanoid society. The mandalar clans live among the stony ruins of a much older civilization. The Border Clans is a vast and wild region with no cities or towns. Recently, the mandalar clans have united to resist Padashani and Anquaran invaders.
This region is also known as the Torn Lands and the Borderlands.
The Border Clans comprise a rugged region of broken hills, dry scrubland, deep ravines, small forests and towering mesas that lie in a broad swath running from the Tanlur mountains to Ramalan Bay. This rugged terrain has formed a natural barrier between the Padashan Empire and the Kingdom of Anquar for many centuries. It has historically limited travel and hindered cultural interaction between those two political behemoths.
The borderlands have vast deposits of limestone. The limestone found in this region is a creamy-white, fine-textured limestone that was quarried extensively by the Kithdari (see below) for thousands of years and almost all Kithdari ruins are built from this remarkable stone. It is very light colored, almost white and ages particularly well, maintaining its bright color over centuries. Because of its fine grain, it can be cut in any direction. Furthermore when first mined, it is relatively soft and easily cut, but it hardens significantly with exposure to air. This makes it an ideal stone for building although it is very heavy and not suitable for tall buildings. This limestone is sometimes called “kithdari stone” among naturalists and scholars.
The Borderlands are home to wooly apalcas, mountain goats, several species of small arboreal primates, many colorful birds, insects and flowers. Of particular note are the feathered sloth and the viperhawk.
Ancient History of the Kithdari
The region now known as the Border Clans was once the home of an ancient, powerful and magical race called the Kithdari. Their civilization predates the Thullian empire by several centuries. They were contemporaries of the Four Kingdoms. The Kithdari civilization was an advanced empire with powerful magic and a completely subjegated slave race that served their every whim. The Kithdari shaped this slave race to their liking with magic.
After a thousand years, this civilization suddenly fell and all the Kithdari vanished. This occurred long before the rise of the Thullian Empire, almost 4000 years ago. Scholars and historians are not sure what the ultimate cause of their fall was. Several theories have been put forth: plague brought by refugees, landquakes, the whim of the gods, some terrible magical weapon or even that the Kithdari fled to another dimension. In the aftermath of this societal collapse, the slave race fled into the Tanlur Mountains and the wildlands of Qeshir.
Although the Kithdari are no more, they left behind a grand legacy. The Kithdari hills are scattered with tremendous ruins. Fashioned from a white limestone common to the region, many of these ruins have ancient Kithdari glyphs inscribed on them. Some of these ruins are "celestial tombs" where great Kithdari lords are buried. Others are fortified buildings and some are strangely crafted rings of stones encircling sunken platforms. Strange and powerful Kithdari sorcery still lingers among these ruins... and from what little is known of the Kithdari, their sorcery was much different from the magic practiced by wizards today. It is this unique magic, perhaps, that attracted the great mage Karnus to Qeshir so long ago.
Rise of the Mandalar
The slave race fled to the Tanlur Mountains although some ventured further east. Over thousands of years, this race evolved into the mandalar and developed their own culture. They divided into clans and told stories of the ancient Kithdari over campfires. Inevitably, the clans began to make war upon each other fighting for land and hunting grounds. The mandalar believed that the Kithdari still watched over them and that strength and bravery would be rewarded. These ideals were woven into the tapestry of their culture and influenced the warring between the clans.There were once hundreds of mandalar clans, but warfare wiped many of them out. Only 74 clans remain.
For centuries fearful superstitions prevented them from returning to their ancestral homelands. The mandalar greatly feared the ruins of the Kithdari. The region was considered both holy and tainted. These beliefs that the hills were a place to fear seeped into other cultures as well. The Kithdari hills that lie between Anquar and Padashan were a desolate and uninhabited land for centuries. Both the Anquar and the Padashan had little reason to venture there and ancient tales kept superstitions alive. Only the brave or the foolhardy set foot there.
The Great Migration
When the demi-god Kings of Anquar began to battle each other for control, the mandalar feared that this war would spill over into the Kithdari hills. The War of the Gods spurned the mandalar clans into action. Finally, after nearly 4000 years, the mandalar clans flooded back into Kithdari territory and reclaim their ancestral lands. This great migration did not go unnoticed and it was during this time that the region became known by its modern name... the Border Clans.
During the migration, the clans discovered a mandalar living in one of the larger Kithdari ruins, a placed called Atha Mound. This mandalar, named Yaduma, was able to wield Kithdari magic. He was the only mandalar to ever learn magic or cast spells. The clans and chieftains considered him touched by the Kithdari. He became something of a holy man and mystic to the mandalar. Dwelling in the houses of the ancients, he was seen as an avatar of the Kithdari. This further strengthened the mandalar beliefs that the Kithdari watched over them and that these lands were theirs by divine right. In addition to his strange spells, he was also seemingly ageless.
Both Anquar and Padashan had long considered the region a primitive wasteland and not really worth their attention. However, the great migration of the mandalar clans changed this. While the mandalar resettled the region, both Anquar and Padashan slowly began to show renewed interest in these hills between them. The mandalar, however, have resisted intruders. Mandalar clans from elsewhere in Qeshir have also returned to here. Although they had managed to reclaim their homeland, much tension still existed between the clans and many of them continued to fight one another.
Over the last several decades, the Kingdom of Anquar and the great Padashan Empire have been in conflict and military tensions continue to escalate. It is only a matter of time before these two great nations go to war. As the Border Clans region offers the possibility of a shorter inland route between them, control of the region would be a strategic advantage. Both great nations have begun to express an interest in the Border Clans and have begun to send scouts and explorers in. The discovery of several powerful magical artifacts in a Kithdari celestial tomb only fueled this interest. Several scout explorers were killed amidst mandalar clan skirmishes. In general, it was a dangerous region.
All of that changed five years ago...
The Unification of the Clans
During a skirmish between Anquar and Padashani forces, soldiers entered the ruins of Atha Mound where Yaduma lived. The old mystic used his magic and tried to intervene. However, in the midst of battle, Yaduma was killed. It is not known which side was responsible for his death. Yaduma's body was mutilated and left for the vultures and crows. The ruins and his home were ransacked for valuables.
When his body was found by the mandalar, shock and rage swept through all the clans. The chieftains of many of the strongest clans met in a great council to bury Yaduma. All mandalar present were in agreement… the Kithdari were watching. The clans have gathered under the strongest chieftain - a great mandalar warrior named Sagehorn. He has adopted the title of Great Chieftain.
Yaduma’s death has had unexpected consequences for the region. The slaying of this one old hermit has, in effect, united all the clans against a common enemy and forged an entirely new nation. Both Padashan and Anquar have both been surprised by the ferocity of mandalar attacks. Armed groups sent into the region in an attempt to acquire more Kithdari artifacts have been butchered. It seems clear that the now united border clans will slaughter anyone entering their territory.
A primitive feudal system has developed. Each clan holds a specific region of the Border Clans region, but swears loyalty to the Great Chieftain, Sagehorn. Each clan territory pays tribute to Sagehorn in the form of a yearly offering of food, weapons, slaves and other goods. This primitive tax solidifies Sagehorn's position as realm leader.
There is no law here except by tribal custom. Within any clan, the chieftain rules supreme.
Mandalar are ferocious warriors and each clan is able to muster a horde of bloodthirsty warriors very quickly. Each clan is led by the strongest male and this warrior leads his followers into war.
The mandalar have no magic, wizards or priests. They are unable to learn magic or cast spells. They fight with spear and club, fang and claw. In addition, the mandalar have no metalcraft skills. Their own weapons are stone and wood. They do use a type of great bow which is quite effective. Their armor is hide and leather. Any metal weapons or armor that a mandalar might possess was likely taken from a slain prisoner or a captured slave.
Despite a lack of metal craft and magic, the mandalar are terrifying opponents. They fight with a ferocity that makes the soldiers of more civilized nations quake in their boots. The mandalar are savage on the battle field and will tear their opponents apart. Mandalar have been known to begin eating fallen opponents, in the midst of battle, even before they die. Stories of mandalar violence have given the Border Clans are fearsome reputation. Furthermore, the horns of the mandalar make them highly resistant to magic and able to sense magic at a distance.
The only thing worse than fighting the mandalar is fighting them on holy ground. Battles that take place in or near Kithdari ruins drive the mandalar into a frenzied berzerker rage that borders on madness. Mandalar fighting in this frenzied state become mindless animals. They cannot be subdued or captured. They feel no pain and push themselves beyond endurance. Several mandalar fighting in such a battle rage have slain all enemies only to drop dead themselves the next moment.
There is no currency here. The mandalar are primitive and have not mastered the minted coin. Clans and individual family groups trade and barter for what they need. Any coins found in this region were likely captured with prisoners. Mandalar do recognize that other cultures value coins and so they are sometimes traded. Because of recent political warfare, the mandalar of the Border Clans do not trade with anyone.
Internally, individual clans specialize in different crafts and trade their work with other clans.
The mandalar worship the Kithdari. Although they have a complicated history with them, and for centuries have considered the ruins as holy places to be left undisturbed, they do worship the Kithdari as gods. Several of the Kithdari artifacts have contributed to this – i.e. talking mirrors, glowing spheres, weapons that hum, crystals that sing. The mandalar believe that the Kithdari are watching them, especially on the battle field. For this reason, the mandalar will always display bravery and strength. This also contributes to the mandalar belief of superiority over weaker races.
The Border Clans have a very complicated language. It is a blend of several ancient Qeshir humanoid dialects mixed with Kithdari. It is totally linquistically unique and is very different from any other Khoras language. After the Kithdari vanished, the mandalar slave race fled into the wilderness where their language continued to develop for thousands of years. Mandalar is the final language.
The mandalar are inherently non-magical. They have no magic ability at all and can never learn to cast spells. Despite this, they can use magic items. In particular, now that the clans have reclaimed their ancestral home and united, they no longer have a fear of Kithdari magic that they once did (although they still consider all foreign magic to be taboo). Mandalar clans have uncovered a few Kithdari weapons and bits of armor from the ruins and these are usually quite powerful.
In addition, the mandalar have a unique religious relationship with the Kithdari magic. They consider these magical artifacts gifts from the ancients. If someone takes a piece of Kithdari magic (either by raiding a celestial tomb or taking a Kithdari weapon from a slain mandalar warrior) the mandalar consider this an offense against their gods. They will stop at nothing to get the item back.
The Kithdari Ruins
The ruins themselves are incredibly old and seem to resonate with some hidden power. Yet they are in suprisingly good condition considering they are more than 4000 years old. Roads, pillars, and even some buildings are partially intact.The Mandalar consider the actual sites of ruins as their most holy places. They will not willingly set foot on such holy ground except under extraordinary circumstances. Likewise, they will not allow intruders near the ruins. Many explorers hoping to plunder the ruins have met a grisly end at the hands of outraged mandlar warriors.
The pinnacle of Kithdari magical technology was the feyor acorte which roughly translates "jump gate". According to mandalar mythology, these devices functioned as doorways to other dimensions.
The Great Chieftain and supreme ruler of all the Border Clans. Sagehorn was once the greatest warrior in all the clans. He has now built up a primitive feudal system with him at the summit.
There are no cities or towns in the Border Clans that one might find in more civilized kingdoms. The typical mandalar community is a primitive village of huts around a single great community hall and large open air fire pits.
The Border Clans refers to an enormous region that encompasses a variety of terrain types. It's mostly dry scrublands and grassland, but also has rolling hills, some forests, deep ravines and towering mesas. Although there are no roads here, the dry ground is hard packed and mostly open. The sheer vastness and emptiness of this region is daunting however. There are no roads, towns, villages or other scraps of civilization here. The only thing one will find here are mandalar clans and the occasional Kithdari ruin.
The journey between the town of Bastion (in Anquar) to the town of Ikemar (in the Padashan Empire) is roughly 2,100 kilometers. The journey is not often taken and then is usually done by merchant caravans who rely on huge, heavily armed wagons pulled by powerful steeds and hired mercenaries to fend of mandalar attacks. These merchant caravans typically take 50 to 75 days to complete the journey, depending on weather and other factors.
For more information, see the Travel and Distance page.
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.