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Ayers Jaws


Pantheon

Australian Aborigine

Population 180,000

Government / Culture Aborigines are a hunter gatherer people, who band together in nomadic tribes that vary from as few as six nuclear family members to as many as 400 or so tribe members. Tribes usually stay within unmarked regional boundaries, and straying from these boundaries for food or necessities is considered a hostile act by neighboring clans, with disputes settled in combat or in ritual games of Marn Grook, a style of Aboriginal Football. Travel from a tribe’s boundary in small numbers to experience the land elsewhere, however, is a rite of passage for all Aborigines, and not only permitted, but encouraged with great hospitality.

Most Aborigines prefer to speak their native Culture Tongue, many not even knowing the Common tongue of man, but PCs may start knowing either. Tribal leaders are called Elders, and make all important decisions for the tribe, including when to relocate within their territory, and evaluating when boys are old enough to go through the Bora, a manhood ceremony. Corroboree are ceremonial meetings of tribes, to politic, socialize, or trade.

Some of the larger tribes of Aborigines, and the names of their Elders:

  • Ngunnawal Tribe - Tuggeranong
  • Eora Tribe - Bennelong
  • Arrernte Tribe - Wollongong
  • Guugu Yimithirr Tribe - Gangaroo
  • Ngarrindjeri Tribe - Mungo
  • Yorta Yorta Tribe - Bangerang
  • Noongar Tribe – Joondalup

Religion

Tribal Elders are usually clerics of Aborigine Gods. Aborigines refer to the time of creation of Ayers Jaws, as well as the current regional Outer Plane itself, as the “Dreamtime,” a place where their gods still reign. Aborigine Gods do not interfere with routine life except to maintain the balance of their hunter-gatherer lifestyle and fend off foreign influences. The Gods speak directly to their people in their dreams, and relay instructions and warnings as necessary using symbols, which are then relayed from the Elder to the rest of the tribe.  Access to the "Dreamtime" is granted to followers of the Ayers Jaws pantheon either within their dreams, or directly via Gate provided by their gods.

Geography and Climate

Ayers Jaws is a complex and ever changing chain of small islands, shifting shoals, and knotted reefs, flush with oceanic wildlife. If the Jaws are the islands, then Ayers Teeth are the reefs themselves, which are some of the most dangerous obstacles in the entire Ocean of Panakos. Entry to the islands in a deep draft boat is nigh impossible without detailed charts and rutters showing the way, and is dangerous even then. These reefs support thriving communities of Aquatic Elves, Merfolk, Triton, and occasionally Sauhagin.

Aborigines are surprisingly good short distance mariners and fishermen, easily traveling about the Ayers Jaws island range, as well as far out to sea to fish on the many shoals and barrier reefs and to scour the wrecks of unfortunate merchants run afoul of the Teeth. Aborigine fishing vessels are large catamarans and tri-hulls, some capable of carrying a crew of 20 sailors, supplies, and even cooking fires.

The climate of the island range is largely dry and always hot, supporting sparse vegetation and a host of insects, reptiles, and marsupials, as well as “giant” versions of all three. Colonies of kobolds are very common in the region, and are known to steal aborigine children to feast on. Clusters of Ankhegs aren’t uncommon in the flats, nor are Giant Termites or even Formian outposts. Yuan-Ti and Fire Salamanders, though rare, are not unheard of in the deeper recesses of the larger hill ranges.

Exports

Bulk trade with the inhabitants of Ayers Jaws is exceedingly difficult due to the Teeth, which has left many of the island chain’s mineral resources such as copper, brimstone, and sapphire, relatively untapped. Tribes trade frequently in pelts, sharkskin, leather, and squid ink. Rarer items such as incense herbs, coral, and pearl are also often traded by the locals. Occasionally local tribesmen will sail their shallow draft catamarans out to meet trade vessels in deeper water, if arrangements have been made for such beforehand.

Cities

No major fixed settlements exist in the island chain other than some reef villages. Presented here are a typical Triton settlement, and a typical Ayers nomadic encampment, to use as templates for Ayers encounters.

Typical Aquatic Elf Reef Village

Population: d100

Locations

Shallow reef or slight atoll

Leader: Tribal Matriarch

Factions

1d10 families, each with 1d2 parents, 1d8 juveniles

Locations

Aquatic Elf villages are largely underwater, with abodes crafted from giant sea turtle shells and coquina mined from nearby reefs. The hollows of these coquina quarries then make up the undervillage, deeper pools and pits for cultivating kelp and establishing safe havens from Sauhagin assault.

The Perimeter: Aquatic Elf villages are usually set in calmer waters between reefs or sandbars, offering a surf break and also acting as a defensive perimeter from Sauhagin raiders. The Perimeter is stationed with adult guards or juvenile watchkeepers with shell didgeridoos to alert the village of uninvited guests.

The Shellgrounds: A giant pile of shellfish husks, surrounded by a wide circle of obsidian or granite pedestals brought in by the Aquatic Elves to use to shuck oysters, clams, conch, shrimp, and lobsters, for the village’s use. Shells are pitched into the center of the ring, usually set in shallow water on a sandbar or reef, so that the ebb and flow of the tides carries the shells away. Often inhabited by Giant Crabs or other scavengers.

The Tubes: A traditional Aquatic Elf past time, villages often have an area called ‘the tubes,’ which are waterslides fed by tidal and wave action. Outsiders can often gain favor with the Aquatic Elf Matriarch by winning a waterslide race, although non-aquatic races don’t often win.

Kelp Rings: The central areas of an Aquatic Elf reef village are high coquina mounds from rock quarried in a circle around them. In the quarry holes the villagers grow kelp, and on the mounds, dry it. Some is ground to a kind of flour and bread is made, but some kelp is used as the very fuel itself. Fires are also burned for great ceremonial shellfish roasts, where great caldrons of sea broth are stewed for days.

Typical Nomadic Encampment

Population: 3d6 families of 3d4 members each

Locations

Usually shifts once per week or sooner, within tribal regional boundaries

Leader: Tribal Elder

Factions

Families

Locations

3d6 tents

1d4-2 fire pits