Like the neighbouring Ursani, the Vultani are of Morrim stock. They are originally from the southern islands, and took to ships thousands of years ago to escape some kind of persecution (like the Kerinthia did, centuries later). Since arriving in Belestar theyve abandoned their maritime culture and have settled into tribal villages.
The Vultani are divided into several tribes, each occupying its own village. For example, the Mbundu tribe live in the village of the same name. These tribes are organized by location rather than birth, and any tribe member can change his tribe by relocating to another town (after a small test of physical hardiness). Each tribe is ruled by a chief (always a woman) who is often elected by the local Uhmbada. In the case of their being more than one suitable candidate, the prospective chiefs duel (usually not to the death) for the honour.
The tribes all join together under the Tribal Union, headed by a queen (Vulttamun). The Queen is also referred to as the honoured tribeless as she is not considered to be part of a tribe. She is often surrounded by a retinue from various tribes, and rules until her death (unless she proves herself incapable). The current Queen is Horsatia of the Chagu tribe. All queens relocate to Angletown to rule. Anybody is welcome to be queen, but all the candidates must duel in Aeskas Rock, a vast arena located in Angletown. Following the death of a queen, the arena is usually filled with hundreds of fighters, vying to prove their strength.
The Vultani are a matriarchal society, and are always ruled by women. For more on the various tribes, see here.
There are four castes within Vultani culture. The highest caste is the Mabatuba, which consists of all the warrior women; all those women who have come of age and are healthy enough to be warriors and hunters. Initiation into the Mabatuba involves various rites. As the Vultani are a warrior culture, most women fall into this caste. The second caste is the Bumatuba. All the skilled craftsmen are included in this caste (such as leather-workers, weapon-makers, copper-smiths, etc.) Although mainly men dominate this group, there are occasionally women members, who have been born with weak bones or lameness, or another ailment, preventing them from becoming warriors.
The third caste is the Nimituba, which mainly consists of the elderly or young, or those with no skilled craft. Their main tasks are to cook the food, arrange the banquets, forage for fruit and generally serve those above them. It is not considered a dishonour in any way to be a Nimituba; all tribesmen are born into this caste, and most hope to retire into it. They are seen as necessary and respectable, and are treated fairly.
The final caste is the Hulabama, the outcasts or criminals. These are the tribesmen who have been banished from the tribe for some reason, be it treachery or a petty crime. This is the gravest dishonour, though the outcasts relatives lose no honour. The outcasts are usually permitted back into the tribe if do something worthy, such as an act of bravery, but often a lot of them just spend their days alone, or even join with the Ursani (as no other Vultani tribe will accept them).
There are also three positions which belong in no caste- the Chief (the Mbanamun), The wise-woman (the Uhmbada) and the Chief-Huntress (the Gandana). The Uhmnadas and Gandanas protoges are considered to be a part of the Nimituba.
The Vultani do not marry; instead, they take a Dombo or mate. These relationships are usually temporary, though thereis nothing stopping a couple from staying together. In most cases, couples are set up by the tribe. Offspring usually live with just one parent (males with their father, females with their mother) and follow the same trade as their parental figure. All the males look after the sons, and all the female tribes look after their daughters. Despite this, both parents contribute to the childs welfare. Females are usually given to the mabatuba; those who show no skill are sent to live with their father and learn a trade, or their mother if she is not a mabatuba herself. Because of this, a man and woman may have many children all with different people, and each child has many half-brothers and sisters. There are no families as such in the tribes; the entire tribe is one big family.
All members of the tribe, male and female alike, are trained how to use weapons. When a woman comes of age (at 13) she is expected to join the Mabatuba. This usually involves a rite of initiation, where the woman is sent off into the wilds for a month, and expected to survive. Usually she is given a charge of hunting and killing a particular beast. Those who fail are free to try again on their next birthday, but are considered Nimituba until then. In times of war, usually only the Mabatuba fight, led by the chief and the Chief-huntress. Should the village be attacked, however, all members of the tribe will fight.
The Vultani have no currency, and usually barter for goods. The Mabatuba all receive a fair share of any spoils of war or meat from the hunt, and this is often distributed to their families too. The Vultani prize gems above all else.
The Vultani are quite tall by Morrim standards, with males and females both averaging 58. They are muscular and slender, and bear a resemblance to their Kerinthian cousins. They have dark skin, and dark hair, usually worn long. When in battle the Vultani tie their hair back.
The Vultani dress in skins and furs, usually obtained in their huts. Their main clothing is often from their first kill, whether it be a wildcat or a lizardman. Most do not wear armour, though they sometimes use bones, skulls or stegasaurus plates to protect themselves.
All Vultani are tattoed with both their tribal insignias and their family symbols. The family symbol is adapted each generation, so in eventually tells a story and becomes quite ornate. Those who change tribe often add a new tattoo. The outcast and banished members have their tattoo burnt or cut away by the tribe, and often have ugly scars in their place.
The Vultani live in small roundhouses, usually built of stone, although wood is common in some of the jungle tribes. Their roofs are usually thatched with straw or grass. A roundhouse consists of one large circular room, with a fire pit in the centre. Beds are usually located on small wooden shelves, accessed by a ladder. Each room consists of the eating and cooking area, and a small shrine. They are often adorned with furs and trophies of war. Smiths and other craftsmen often have a smaller roundhouse next to their property, where the work is carried out.
The centre of any Vultani community is the Greathall, where the chief lives. This is usually a large rectangular building, with a large feast hall., surrounded by verandas. The chief and her family live in a small room at the back. Feasts to celebrate a victory usually take place here, with only the Mabatuba present. Larger religious feasts are celebrated outside.
Vultani generally prefer meat; they are unfussy, and eat anything from wolf and cat, to lizards and dinosaurs. To the Vultani, the more difficult it is to kill, the sweeter the taste. The only exception are snakes; the Vultani fear and despise them, and believe them to be a bad omen, sent by the Tribeless One, Komada. No Vultani would ever eat snake flesh (though a banished tribesman is often forced to eat it before his departure). The Vultani often add many vegetables to their dishes, as well as fruits from the jungle. Most dislike both milk and fish. Their favoured drink is Mbanacuma, a type of rare wine made from a variety of jungle grape. It is usually bitter and is fermented for less time than other wines. The Vultani like any alcohol, however, and will barter religiously for it.
The Vultani are fond of great feasts, and will use any excuse to celebrate one. Their small stone granaries are often filled with salted meats waiting for the next celebration.
The Vultani worship Bihran-Bohr, the Goddess of Blood, and of war and the hunt. They prey to her before every battle and hunt, for victory and good spoils. Their other deity is less revered than feared; Komada the snake-headed god and Tribeless one. Komada is the god of drought and cowardice and trickery, and most Vultani will carry a small charms to avert his ill-omens. Most charms are just small bones or teeth blessed by the wise-woman.
TEMPLATE: VULTANI MABATUBA
Body Dev 3
Weapon 1 3
Weapon 2 3
Religion: Vultani 4
Region Lore 2
Nature Awareness 2
Language: Vultani 7
Background Pts. 60
Special- All get 35% of original DP's to spend, in addition to the above.