The tuskarr (known as Kalu'ak in their own language) are a peaceful humanoid walrus-like people indigenous to the cold shores of the northern parts of The Realm.
Despite the absence of any records documenting the tuskarr's past it is known that the tuskarr are a kind-natured nomadic race that roams the coastline, guided by the carved cyclopean statues that mark their seasonal fishing routes.
The tuskarr are peerless fishermen and whalers. Their self-contained economy is based on the ocean's bounty. These stout-hearted creatures have a budding society along the frozen coasts. Although the tuskarr do not yet have an organized society, their villages lay scattered across icy beaches, bustling with activity and commerce. Communities are established to help with fishing, animal husbandry, and defense rather than political interest. The family is the primary social structure, and tuskarr have no community figureheads aside from familial leadership roles. Kinship usually involves three generations from both the mother and father's sides. Functionally, these extended families are treated as one, so the action of a member is the responsibility of the entire group. Marriage occurs as soon as a man can support a wife, and for females as soon as they reach puberty.
The tuskarr are a simple people who place extreme emphasis on family values. Their hierarchy includes the family first, the larger community second and the individual third. Because of the vulnerability of the tuskarr, however, the families tend to keep close proximity with the others. When the families must coordinate, a family is picked at random to take charge for that particular situation. Each family has its own implicit leader, but the entire family bears responsibility for each of its members.
Tuskarr shamans have the power to influence events such as weather, food, and illnesses. Shaman magic is often quite a production, even something like curing the sick: the shaman may speak with ghosts of the patient's relatives and even battle other spirits into submission before forcing them to help heal the patient.
Tuskarr are a shamanistic people but have simple rituals relating to social rather than religious circumstances — birth, marriage, sickness, and death most prominently. Other rituals relate to celebrating a good catch and venerating those who are lost at sea or who fall in battle.
In addition, the tuskarr have carved massive, stone heads that allow them to communicate with their ancestors. Each head houses the specific spirit of an elder which acts as both home and body, thereafter refered to as stone elders. A tuskarr shaman uses a set of ritual items to perform a ceremony, in which they recite a chant in a strange language to guide an ancestor's spirit to their rightful status.
Tuskarr houses are solidly built structures of wood and stone, with thick, thatched roofs. They are only one story, and sprawl rather than rise, because of the incessant wind. Heavy shutters cover the windows and short entry halls lead from the outer door to an inner one, which keeps heat from escaping and cold from entering. Their homes are radial, with a single large chamber at the middle and the sleeping quarters arrayed around it. They have large pits in the center, lined with stone, and keep a fire blazing constantly — it heats the entire house and has spits and trays for cooking food.
Tuskarr are fishers and whalers, and they use every part of the animals they hunt. Whale bones form support beams in their homes, and heavy sealskins and other furs cover the floors and the doorways. They create dyes from various squid inks and fish scales, and have colorful weavings on their walls.
Law and Order Edit
Tuskarr laws are simple. No tuskarr may avoid helping tend to the needs of the settlement — gathering food, making clothing and housing, patrolling in defense, etc. The sea is communal property for fishing and whaling. Catches are divided among the community as much as is feasible, with those who miss out on one catch getting first choice the next time. Tuskarr individuals have personal property, but possession is conditioned by actual use.
Tuskarr laws are not meant to punish criminals as much as they are meant to maintain community peace and prosperity. Punishment is mild, usually aimed at injuring one's social position (through gossip, ridicule, or ostracism). Still, some matters are taken seriously. Blood vengeance is always required in return for the taking of a life, which may result in an ongoing feud.