Prophecies of Doom
Prax is the relatively flat region between the River of Cradles in the east and the hills and mountains that separate it from Dragon Pass and the Holy Country in the west, and between the mountains of Shadows Dance in the north and the coastal zone and the sea in the south. This semi-arid grassland is holy to all Praxian nomads because it is the home of their ancestors. Little besides grass and chaparral grows there, even though great amounts of rain may fall during winter and spring. Little rain falls the rest of the year.
The Praxians are a nomadic culture who ride and herd Praxian beasts. Their most important gods are Waha, Eiritha, and the Storm Bull, although spirit worship is most prevalent. Of the five Great Tribes of Prax, four are named for their beast: Bison, High Llama, Impala, and Sable. The fifth tribe consists of the four-legged Morokanth who herd bestial herdmen. Praxians are a proud people and distrustful of outsiders. All the tribes are dependent upon their animals for their livelihood.
The Praxians speak Praxian, a language unrelated to other tongues. They have no written script.
Sample Female Praxian Names: Delenda, Durinda, Egajia, Ernyne, Lalira, Lomeena, Norayeep, Saberak, Varaema, Varaneena.
Sample Male Praxian Names: Harjoon, Nameed, Maharo, Orgdaka, Roneer, Surrak, Talkil, Toras, Vishi, Wahagrim.
Bison Riders are brown-skinned and darkhaired; most men wear beards, even in the hot Praxian summer. Like their beasts, the Bison Riders are big and thick, slow to move but terrible on impact.
Their clans are large, up to a thousand members or more, and travel in huge herds. Khans have multiple wives, and other men may as well, based on their deeds.
Bison Riders prefer to charge into almost any enemy, relying on the force of their beasts to break any line standing against them. They scorn the bow as unmanly, and dress in the thick cured hides of their brethren beasts. Heavy lances and trusty blades make up their armament.
High Llama Tribe
High Llama people are tall, with olive-colored skin and black hair and eyes. Men and women often shave their heads except for a ponytail at the back, with the women’s longer and more decorated than those of the men. They dress lightly, sometimes wearing only leather straps and loincloth. They travel in small groups of 20 to 40 people, gathering in larger groups only for reasons of religion and war.
The High Llama people are the smallest Great Tribe, but can be counted as the most individually powerful. Their beasts tower over other Praxian steeds and are able to run down even the swiftest skirmishers. The men are armed with long spears and long-handled axes to reach the earth, clothe themselves in leather, and are said to fear no one on the plains.
Impala people are pygmies. Adult men are typically less than 4 feet 11 inches tall and women no more than 4 feet 8 inches. They are dark-skinned and sinewy; men, women, and children normally shave their heads completely. They wear the least clothes of any Praxian tribe, and often go into battle wearing only a belt or a loincloth, or nothing at all.
Impala people make up their lack of stature with numbers. They are the most populous tribe in the Wastelands. They scorn protective armor, preferring to trust in the speed of their beasts to protect them. They are a clever and wily people, never closing with a foe if possible, but standing back and filling the sky and their enemies with their arrows. Although experts with the bow, they are quite weak in close combat.
Sable people have black hair and dark eyes. They wear trousers and often a short cloak over the front and back. Wealthy Sable people frequently wear fancy headdresses decorated with Sable horns or feathers. Their Herd Queens are more important than their Khans. Whenever a decision which affects the clan is made, the Queen has as equal a say as the Khan, even in matters of war. Some Sable people are polygamous, although the women choose the shared husband, rather than the man picking his wives. The Sable Tribe are currently dominant in Prax due to their alliance with the Lunar Empire.
Sable people ride giant antelope with curving horns. Because of the crescent shape of these horns, they are sometimes called Lunar Deer. Each clan has men of a different troop type mixed together. Some are lightly armed skirmishers, while others are prepared for close combat.
This enormous chunk of magic rock is a remnant of the Spike. It fell to earth during the Gods War, and crushed the Devil beneath it. The rock, now called the Block, still sits in Prax, a half-mile on each side and a mile tall, flanked by hills of dirt. Beneath are the Devil’s remains, eroding under the ministrations of the Good River. A community of Storm Bull berserks fanatically guards the Block.
This stone cairn is the grave of the Praxian Hero Jaldon Goldentooth and his magical steed. It is a place of power for the Praxian Animal Nomads.
The Deep Womb of the Goddess. This is the most sacred place of Eiritha and her son, Waha, as it was here that Eiritha hid herself from Death by going underneath the earth. The Paps are an enormous underground Earth temple, a vestige of the Golden Age. A thousand priestesses dwell here, many of whom tend gods and spirits found in no other place. All these priestesses maintain a luxurious existence, quite removed from the toils of nomadic life. Eiritha reigns supreme here and, except for certain permanent priests, men may not enter the sacred precincts of the Paps unless invited by the priestesses. The countryside around the Paps for many miles is excellent grassland.
This is the only true city anywhere in Prax. It is divided into two sections: New Pavis, and the Big Rubble. The Rubble is a vast expanse of ruins haunted by trolls. New Pavis is a human city founded by a member of the House of Sartar and settled by colonists from Dragon Pass. From 1610 to 1624, Pavis and civilized Prax were ruled by the Lunar Empire.
River of Cradles
Also called the Zola Fel, this is the only major river of the Wastelands and marks the boundary between Prax and the Wastes proper. In the First and Second Ages, giant cradles holding equally giant babies were seen floating down it, but no longer. From 1610 to 1624, the River of Cradles was ruled by the Lunar Empire.
The Paps and the Sacred Ground are sacred territory to all Praxians. It is the birthplace of their protector, Waha the Butcher, as well as performing the important function of providing neutral territory for hostile peoples to meet. The priestess of the Paps forbid combat within 20 miles of the Paps, forming the Sacred Ground around the temple.
This natural stone amphitheatre is the center of the Humakt cult in Prax, and has served as the site of sacred combat since at least the time of Tada.