Argenian Ethnic Minorities

What follows is by no means a complete list! Remember, the Argenians moved from world to world several times over the millennia. While I'm sure not every race of people on every world was eager to add themselves to the Argenian melting pot, you can imagine the diversity if even a few were absorbed into the fold here and there. Unfortunately, most of those cultures died out when Ophiuchus was destroyed, but if you wish to play a surviving member of one of the tribes that has been created, or make up your own, that's fine.

The Beast Tribe

The Beast Tribe existed back on the original Argenia as a wild people whose very existence was probably just a freak of nature. As such, they weren't regarded as "true" Argenians, and when the time came to evacuate the world, many didn't want them to be allowed to go along. The queen felt all the people of their world deserved the same chance at life, and allowed them to go anyway. Because of that, a deep sense of respect for and indebtedness to the royal family was bred into the very fabric of the tribe ever after. They were always loyal to the Argenian royals and ready to help them in times of need. In appearance, Beast Tribesmen tended to be long and lean, with bronzed skin, catlike eyes, and fangs both top and bottom. Traditional tribal tattoos of animals were frequently worn, covering much of the body. Traditional clothing was often made of silk woven by the tribesmen themselves, or animal furs, and had a style which would remind humans of Amazons or Tarzan, crossed with traditional Indian attire. Fringe and feathers were frequently worn; shoes were not.

Their people lived in harmony with nature, much like the Native American tribes of Earth. Though they hunted and ate the flesh of animals, they treated even their prey with great respect and always said a ritual prayer for their kill. They used every part of the animals and wouldn't let anything go to waste. Everyone in the tribe had a place in society and a job to do, from the very young to the very old, no matter the person's abilities. Rather than living in separate families, the entire tribe functioned as a family unit, and taking care of children was the responsibility of all.

The Beast tribe didn't worship the Zodiacs, but the animals on which their people depended. Their major "holiday" of the year was their mating ritual, which took place in winter. Participants were separated by age groups, cloaked in animal furs and masks, and played out sexual games of "hunter" and "prey", with the goal, of course, being to create children. Their actions and attitudes during the ritual could get as animalistic as the beasts they were dressed like. Their love of animals also extended to the afterlife; they were a people who believed in reincarnation, and felt coming back as a beast in one's next life was something to aspire to.

The Northern Tribesmen

There were a number of similar tribes in the far north, all with similar customs and ways of life. The only major difference was that each had its own set of religious beliefs based around a totem animal that was sacred to that tribe. They were nomadic at first, until each found its own ideal place to settle, and established settlements that lasted for many generations. The tribesmen generally had fair, rosy skin and blond(e) or red hair. Because of the harsh climate and difficult work, their men tended to be quite large, and had appetites to match.

Because the people of the Northern Tribes were warriors, first and foremost, males were trained in hunting and combat from an early age. Before one could be called a man, one had to endure a trial such as surviving a night alone in the wilderness or participating in a raid on a nearby village.

Each of the tribes was led by a chieftain and council of elders, though during times of war, the chief temporarily ceded his power to a special war chief who was better trained to lead in combat. The next most important member of the tribe was the shaman, who acted as spiritual leader, medicine man, and the main entity charged with enforcing the laws of the tribe.

Though each tribe worshipped a different totem animal, their beliefs were similar in that all were monotheistic. Each believed the path to enlightenment was in following the path of their tribe's own sacred animal. The law was said to be divinely imparted to the tribal shaman, thus the reason he was in charge of such matters. Those who died in battle were believed to go on to sit around the Great Council Fire (their version of paradise), while those who died as cowards or were victims of malicious crimes were doomed to roam the land as Night Wraiths.

Leonian Villagers

Though the village functioned as a single extended family unit, they were, genetically speaking, actually members of a number of different families, to create a more viable gene pool. Arranged marriages helped decrease the incidence of inbreeding, though marrying into one's own family wasn't unheard of. The area where they lived was said to be where the Mighty Hero of Generations slew the First Lion before throwing it into the sky to become the constellation of Leo. The people of the village believed the goddess Leo placed them there to protect her temple and welcome religious pilgrims. Villagers tended to be dark-complected, and their bodies heavily decorated. The men were adorned with stretched earlobes, and scars carved and branded into their backs in the form of their sacred lion. Women were tattooed along their backs and limbs.

The villagers trained from a young age with the skills needed to enter a specific trade. Schools were co-ed until the age of ten, when boys and girls were sent to separate schools for further education. Though both genders were taught theology and warrior ways, the boys were put through more physical trials, while the girls were taught the skills and ways of womanhood. Both genders were put through rigorous tests to determine suitability to enter the world of adults, and those who didn't pass on their first try were not only shamed, but had to wait a whole year before being given another chance to try again. Once one entered into adulthood, three years of further education at the church followed. Only after that were they allowed apprenticeships to enter into the workforce. Though marriage was acceptable at any time after becoming an adult, many waited until after their studies at the church were completed.

The village economy operated mostly on a barter system, in which goods or services were traded freely amongst the villagers to provide for each family's needs. The only money which was used in the village came from pilgrims who had come to visit the temple. That money was taken up and used for the betterment of the village as a whole.

Southern Islanders

The native people of the southern islands of Ophiuchus, contrary to popular belief amongst the mainlanders, were peaceful and family-oriented. Though they lived in separate familial households, it was customary for the entire community to have a hand in raising all the children. Indeed, many of the villagers were blood-related. Owing to the tropical climate in which they lived, the islanders had bronzed skin and preferred to wear loose, lightweight clothing. Typical features included almond-shaped eyes, broad noses, and full lips. The males in particular were often tattooed with traditional tribal designs made up of lines, whirls, circles, triangles, dots, whorls, and squiggles which might look like random, meaningless patterns to outsiders, but held deep cultural meaning to the villagers themselves.

Though there were no formal schools in the village, that didn't mean education wasn't important. Stories, traditions, and lessons were passed down orally from generation to generation, and the core tenets of kindness and respect were stressed in all facets of daily life. Upon turning thirteen, boys participated in a coming-of-age ritual in which they had to dive after a stone idol which was dropped into waters of around thirty feet deep. Soon after they had thus proven themselves men in the eyes of the tribe, it was customary to take on a wife and start a family.

The islanders' lives were based around the sea; most of the men were fishermen, and their homes were built on wooden stilts over shallow waters. Living off only what their islands and the waters surrounding them could provide was enough for them, most of the time. It was only on the rare (though increasingly frequent as the world began to die out) occasions that their fishing wasn't fruitful enough that they made the long voyage by boat to the mainland, to trade their native arts and crafts for supplies.

Information compiled by Jo with help from the races' original creators