Friday, August 4, 2017

Monvesian Culture: Rakasta Qrisjarr

Qrisjarr (KREE-sharr) are artisan blades crafted in the rakasta tradition.  Each blade has an asymmetrical wave shape, and a distinctive blade-patterning common to the tjakeer steel used to make them.  Each weapon is unique, built on a common pattern with several opportunities for personal choice and artistic expression.  These weapons are treasures, but are more valuable than their mere monetary cost.

Qrisjarr are given as gifts by njanarr* to warriors who have proven to be brave, skilled, and who embody rakasta honor--which includes a "healthy" dose of arrogance.  They are as much a symbol of status as they are combat tools.  Anyone gifted qrisjarr is considered a djiqic, a rakasta knight.  To wield a qrisj without having been given this honor is an insult.  Any non-rakasta with one is treated with suspicion until a rakasta of standing (djiqic, elder, shaman, or njan) can confirm the bearer's status.

Each of the qrisjarr have a unique name, generally identifying its overall size. In each case, the equivalent weapon is already present in the game (see below)--so new rules are not needed. These weapons are divided into two general classes--Swift and Strong--indicative of the fighting styles for which they are commonly used.  The choice of blades included among the qrisjarr represent the great prides, and are considered to demonstrate each's pride's relationship to the others. Though sharing the same names as the prides, each weapon is not unique to that tribe.

Cjeviq-Qrisj (Swift/Feline Blades)
  • zyrrndi-qrisj ("wildcat blade"), dagger
  • vasjaq-qrisj ("lynx blade"), scimitar
  • cjica-qrisj ("cheetah blade"), spear
Sa'ram-Qrisj (Strong/Panther Blades)
  • asran-qrisj ("lion blade"), longsword
  • qapran-qrisj ("tiger blade"), greatsword
  • parrs-qrisj ("leopard blade"), glaive

This variety of qrisjarr supports two-weapon, two-handed, and weapon-and-shield fighting styles.  When gifting qrisjarr to a new djiqic, a njan* will choose weapons that match the warrior's personal style.  For weapon-and-shield fighters, a shield will also be included; while not made entirely from tjakeer steel, it will include accents of the exotic metal.
* irnjan, njan, nja'an, or even qyrnjan

Tjakeer Steel

In the rakasta language, cjaqir means "rubble," which well describes the mountains in the southern Pridelands.  The mineral composition of this region is widely varied  and inconsistent.  Iron containing trace amounts of silver and adamant is mined from a few areas of these Tjakeer Mountians, and it is processed into steel by the rakasta.

Tjakeer steel is stronger than steels typically used on the continent, so qrisjarr are slightly smaller and lighter than their counterparts--without being any less effective.  To be a qrisj, a weapon must be made from tjakeer steel.  When using ordinary steel, rakasta smith's will create more traditional, straight bladed weapons.
Any weapons made from tjakeer steel are treated as silvered; they are also mildly adamantine--capable of inflicting minimal damage (treat any dice as a roll of 1) against creatures vulnerable to non-magical adamant.  Qrisjarr (and other weapons made from tjakeer steel) cost 150 gp more than listed in the Player's Handbook.
Shields constructed with tjakeer steel accents have no special properties, but are valued at 50 gp more than listed in the Player's Handbook.

RetCon: Rakasta Language

In the process of drafting this post from years-old notes, I took the time to explore the rakasta language.  I pulled in two location names of supposed rakasta origin--Zyrndy and Tamyya--and incorporated them into a standardized "transliteration."  From there, I was able to identify what sounds would be used in a rakasta alphabet (instead of using elfish runes as previously suggested).

While a final rakasta alphabet has not yet been decided, the sounds of that alphabet have.  Outlined below are the letters I have used to write rakasta words with [the basic sounds they represent] and (the Turkish letters they replace).  While the sounds do not exactly correspond to the sounds of Turkish, these correspondences are useful when transforming a Turkish root to a rakasta word.
  • Vowels:  A [ah] (a); E [ay] (e); I [ee] (ı, i); O [oh] (o, ö); U [oo] (u); Y [i~u] [ü].
  • Plosives:   C [t~k] (k, t); D [d~g] (d, g); P [p~f] (f, p); Q [gutteral k~g] (k, g); V [b~v] (b, v); ' [glottal stop] (ğ).
  • Nasals:   M [m] (m); Mj [mi, my] (n/a); N [n] (n); Nj [ni, ny] (n/a). (mj and nj are unique rakasta sounds that can be used in place if Turkish y)
  • Fricatives:   Cj [ch] (ç); Dj [j, soft g] (c); S [s] (s); Sj [sh] (ş); X [x, ch] (h); Z [z] (z); Zj [zh] (j).
  • Rhotics: R [flap or trill r] (l); Rr [gutteral r] (r).
Following these rules, the spelling of some words already in use has changed (such as nyaqan and rr'nyan becoming nja'an and irnjan); these changes have been made in their original entries.

To better match the race's intended Turkic flavor, names for the great tribes have also been changed . Some of these names are "translated" to human languages (such as Lyncasta), while others are metely transliterated (such as Aslanasta)
  • Vasjaqasca ("Vashakasta"), Lyncasta
  • Asranasca, Aslanasta (formerly Simbasta)
  • Qapranasca, Kaplanasta (formerly Sherkasta)
  • Parrsasca ("Parsasta"), Pardasta
  • Cjicasca, Tjitasta (formerly spelled Xitasta)
  • Zyrrndasca, Zyrndasta (formerly Sylvasta) [this is also a way of explaining the non-Germanic name of the Zyrndy River, which flows through the former homeland of this great tribe.

Along a similar note, the names of the monastic traditions tied to rakasta origin have also been given new names.  These primarily draw from their original names--with the exception of the Way of the Four Elements, which is not appropriate to Monvesia as a whole.
  • acjiq er njoru, Way of the Open Path
  • qorqe njoru, Way of the Shadow
  • simnja njoru, Way of the Four Elements (literally Alchemy Path)
  • uzun orym njoru, Way of the Long Death
  • qynesj rruxu njoru, Way of the Sun Soul

Finally, the native name of the rakasta homeland has been decided.  The root word rraq means "pride/tribe." With the suffix -asca, meaning folk, we get Rraqasca (Pridefolk).  With the secondary root vacan, meaning native land, we get Rraqvacan, the Pridelands.  We can even apply the secondary root risan, language, to get Rraqrisan.

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