Secrets of Portum
A Day In The Life
Hilo‘Xen Vas Ronnoch was woken by his roommate as he went climbed into the bunk below his to sleep now that his shift was done. Hilo dropped to the floor and grabbed his tool belt and left the room closing the door behind him and sealing it so no sand could find its way in then descended the short ladder to the catwalk that ran the length of the singles housing bay. Hilo opened a maintenance bulkhead door sealing it behind him before making his way down the narrow dim passage. He stepped into an alcove as two other machinist walked by carrying a large pipe and cabling. One of the most important jobs was the maintenance of the walkers. He continued down the passage stopping at a few sensors and gauges long enough to make sure that nothing was disastrously wrong. He would check them in depth later. Continuing down the passage he stops at an intersection and a ladder leading into large bright space. He climbs the later into a cafeteria. Hilo grabs a bowl of grey paste and a fills his water skin before going to have them purified so he doesn’t get an infection. Hilo quickly spoons his food under his facemask as he stairs aimlessly out the large window watching the desert go by before making his way back into the substructure of the walker. He rechecks all the gauges from before occasionally turning a few nearby valves to put them in the optimal reading before marking them off and moving on. At early afternoon he finds him outside observing the walker legs for signs of disrepair or failure. One is making a squeaking sound on the upstroke. It’s hard to hear in-between the heavy thud of the other legs coming down but he is very good at his job. He climbs the maintenance ladder of the moving leg down to the noise joint, attaching his safety harness so he doesn’t fall. He inspects the joint making the noise, the lubricating valve is clogged, an easy fix. After he fixes the clog and the joint is quiet once more he climbs back up to the access walkway and back into the belly of the walker. Hilo files his report for the day then makes his way to the bazaar. Bright colors and bustling people, this is the heart of each walker. Without this life the walkers are giant machines not homes. He looks through the shops not in need of anything in particular before stopping at a food vender. There was never a 100% guaranty that this food wouldn’t give him an infection but it beat the paste that was safe. He ate as he walked back to his shared room. The sun had gone down by the time he got back. He checked his suit for any damage before lying in his bunk and falling asleep to the gentle muffled thuds of the walker’s feet.
Magic and machinery are the pillars that keep Bedouin life from falling apart. From their birth until their death they rely on both to keep them alive, whether it is the simple environmental suit or their infinitely complex walking cities. Even the simplest minded Bedouin is above the average of other races in their ability to understand complex machinery and magic.
Life Giving Bonds
To the Bedouin the entire race is a family, Bedouin who have never met great each other as if they are close relatives. A betrayal of one Bedouin by another goes beyond wronging someone it’s as if you betrayed a brother or sister. A Bedouin who has wronged the convoy so badly that no other punishment will be sufficient they are exiled. This is to keep up a diverse genetic population. The children of an exiled Bedouins are welcomed back to the convoy not being stigmatized by the wrongs of their parent.
Form And Function
The limited space on the walkers has led the Bedouin to use every available space and surface. Single Bedouin share quarters in special blocks. Beds and desks are able to fold away when not in use to maximize the space in private quarters. Almost all time is spent in common areas such as dining halls or the bazaar. The Bedouin value tools that can be useful as a tool in more than one situation allowing them to just as productive without carrying more.
Bedouin are nomads, though instead of braking camp and moving they bring their entire settlements with them. Even without large stationary settlements the Bedouin are still one of the most technologically and magically advanced people on Portum.
The Bedouin have a utilitarian culture; they very rarely make art for art’s sake. Their artwork is usually as simple as adding color and designs to functional objects, usually through carvings, etchings, painting or gilding. Bedouin weave cloth with bright intricate patterns to catch to eye. Music and dance are independent of this after-market customization. Dancers are highly regarded and through them the musicians that play for them. Bedouin dancers often go without their suits or wear custom ones so they do not obscure their movements from the audience, vales and exaggerated fluid movements are also in dancer’s tool belt.
Technology And Magic
The Bedouin people have never had to fight a war to protect their boarders but they are still expert fighters. They have come to the aid of every other nation at one point or another whether for covert missions or full scale joint military ventures. The Admiralty Board may lend out token forces in exchange for resources or new technology. On a few occasions they have declared war as a nation themselves making their opponents regretting wakening the Bedouin war machine, which is literally a machine. Their military might isn’t in infantry strength, due to the risk of infection, but in large mechanized units. The Bedouin use their mastery of constructs to keep their casualties to a minimum using construct infantry or large mechanized artillery, air support and mobile fortresses.
Roleplaying Applications: A Bedouin should not think completely negatively of war seeing it as a way to help the Bedouin people prosper and possible a chance to make a name for their skills with constructs. If they are in battle and are forced into infantry style combat they should be very cautious trying to regain the buffer of their constructs as soon as possible.
Bedouin Society And Culture
Bedouin are born in clean rooms and rely on their mother’s immune system until they can be put into their own environmental bubble. That is the longest most go outside of a suit for the rest of their lives.
Bedouins wear their environmental suits at all times, partly in case of sand storms and partly in response to the lack of personal space aboard the Convoy. Because their suits make it hard to identify individuals on sight, Bedouins have developed the habit of exchanging names whenever they meet.
Over time, the environmental suits themselves have gained symbolic and cultural significance, and being fitted with their first suit is considered a rite of passage. After returning to the Convoy after their pilgrimage, they may alter their suit to reflect their new status as adults. Removing an environmental suit to acclimate to someone is seen as the ultimate gesture of trust and affection.
Roleplaying Applications: Being so confined has made Bedouin very animated both verbally and physically. Excitement or anger would cause your character to make large gestures and raise their voice or change pitch. Your character might also let Bedouin words slip into their speech even when not talking to another Bedouin
Everything the Bedouins do must help to ensure the continued survival of the Convoy. The Pilgrimage forms a large part of this, as well as being a cultural rite of passage and a safeguard against inbreeding. When Bedouin reach young adulthood they must leave the walker they were born on and find a new crew to accept them .To prove themselves worthy, they must leave the Walker Convoy and search for something of value. This is offered to their prospective captain as a gift, proving that they will not be a mere burden.
However, there is a degree of social stigma in presenting a sub-standard Pilgrimage gift, as it will not make a good impression on the new crew. A young Bedouin’s social status is also taken into account. Individuals from prominent families are expected to return with something special. A single rule covers the Pilgrimage gift: it must not be gained by harming another, Bedouin or not. Pilgrimage gifts vary. A young Bedouin may return from their Pilgrimage with resources like food or fuel, vital technology, or even knowledge that will improve life for everyone on the Convoy. Some gifts are seen to be more worthy than others but even if the gift is not particularly valuable, the captain will usually accept it out of a sense of tradition
The Pilgrimage gives Bedouins the chance to experience life outside the Walker Convoy, to help them appreciate their people and culture. Bedouins are not sent unprepared they receive lessons on how to survive outside the Walker Convoy, and gifts to help them on their way, including weapons and armor for protection. Despite this, some Bedouins leave on their Pilgrimage and never return, either from running afoul of dangers, or because they have chosen a different life after experiencing the greater galaxy beyond the Convoy. But most Bedouins return safely with their gift, to rejoin the Walker Convoy as an adult and a valued member of society.
Once a Bedouin’s Pilgrimage is complete and they choose a new ship, their name also changes. Young Bedouin names include the title ‘nar’, meaning ‘child of’, followed by the name of their birth ship. After their Pilgrimage, they take the title ‘vas’, meaning ‘crew of’; followed by the name of the ship they have proven their right to join.
The Walker Convoy is rarely welcoming to outsiders, because visitors carry an unacceptable risk of contagion; at any time there are usually less than 25 non Bedouin in the entire convoy, as any risk to the convoy is a risk to the Bedouin race. Bedouin rarely leave except to go on Pilgrimage; these factors mean Bedouin tend to be quite insular, caring little about the world outside the Convoy. Walkers sometimes leave on an individual basis to pursue their own goals, on missions that can last days or years, but usually return eventually.
Space is at a premium because of the sheer numbers of Bedouin living aboard each walker. It is not uncommon for all family members to share the same small living space, which in turn is in close proximity to many other families’ quarters. Living space is therefore a priority; Families decorate their individual dwellings with colorful quilts, which serve to muffle sound, both from the walker itself and from the other families, and also to make the environment cozier. Captains are also keen to increase the size of their crew, as this increases their status in Bedouin society
Bedouins place low value on personal possessions, instead evaluating objects by their usefulness and bartering them for other items once they are no longer needed. Every city has a Bazaar where those looking to barter can gather to do business. The Bazaar is always busy because Bedouin value the little space they have above all else, so no unused items are kept to maximize space.
The Migrant Fleet is broken up into various clans, sometimes spread over several Walkers. Each individual ship has long been built to house as large a crew as possible. Over time the Bedouin thin out the vessels they can’t use or are too damaged to repair, these are brought to So-fau to be decommissioned and used to build new walkers. Due to the high value of each walker and the work needed to build and maintain, stealing even the smallest one is a capital crime among the entire Bedouin race.
The Walker Convoy is broken in to four separate groups the Scout Walkers, Heavy Walkers, Research Walkers and the Civilian Walkers.
Scout Walkers: These are small walkers built for speed and maneuverability, they have light armor and cannons relying more on their speed for protection. Scout walkers look for resources off the main path of the Convoy carrying them back to in their cargo hold. They also have room for one or more sand skiffs for advanced recon and going where a Scout Walker can’t.
Heavy Walkers: Heavy walkers are fortresses on giant mechanical legs. They are heavily armed and armored capable of destroying or deterring any raiders or monsters looking for prey without taking damage themselves. Their size is second only to the Agriculture walkers they protect. These walkers are the backbone of the Bedouin military. The Largest of the walkers have airship dock capable of docking all but the largest airship destroyers.
Research Walkers: The Research Walkers are the smallest group that makes up the total Convoy but by not the least important. The crews of these ships run the miner walkers and the foundries that refine the ore that is excavated. These walkers also conduct research and development of walker upgrades as well as weapons, construct and magic research.
Civilian Walkers: The Civilian Walkers make up the majority of the Convoy. The crews of these walkers are in charge of manufacture of all the good that are used within the Convoy as well as any items that are going to be exported to the Convoy. Civilian Walkers are smaller than Heavy walkers and hold fewer people per square foot. The most important part of the Civilian Walkers are the Agriculture Walkers, the vast multileveled moving oasis that feed the Bedouin people.
Bedouins serve volunteer rotations aboard the three Agrarian Walkers, which form the heart of the Convoy. These enormous vessels are incredible feats of agricultural engineering; the agrarian walkers provide much of the food for the Bedouin walker convoys. If even one of these vital ships was destroyed or damaged beyond repair, millions would starve. For this reason they are positioned in the center of the Migrant Fleet and heavily defended by Heavy Walkers. Little more is known about the agriculture walkers, since only Bedouins are allowed to enter.
Food and medicine are handled strictly with in the Convoy. The food coming from both the Agriculture Walkers and from Scout Walkers is put into a central stock and distributed carefully to individuals. Outgoing food is tracked carefully, so as not to put the Convoy at risk of food shortage, or worse, mass starvation. Medicine is also distributed carefully. However, since the Bedouin wear their environmental suits everywhere, even when aboard the Walkers, they are at a very low risk of sickness. Controlling the flow of medicine also creates an emergency stockpile in case of a widespread outbreak, which is necessary since the Bedouin immune system is so weak.
Bedouins practice a form of ancestor worship. This involves taking a personality imprint from the individual and developing it into crystal. The Bedouins have began experimenting with making these imprints more and more sophisticated, hopefully leading to the wisdom of their ancestors being preserved in an imprint that could be truly intelligent.
Bedouin sometimes exclaims “Keelah!” when shocked “Keelah se’lai” as an apparent benediction or religious oath. This means “By the home I hope to see.” Referring to the only stationary home the Bedouin have the city of So-fau.
Roleplaying Applications: Bedouin might thank their ancestors for a run of good luck or pray to them for help or wisdom through a time or difficult decision. Because Bedouin don’t worship the gods a divine spell caster would pray to their ancestors to obtain their spells and abilities.
History And Folklore
Bedouin history begins with an exodus from the dead sands after a great calamity that created the sand sea. Many Bedouin scholars are perplexed how accurate that is there since nothing can live in the dead sands. After leaving the lifeless dead sands it is said that the Bedouin built the great a great tower that cleaned the toxic water that flowed from the dead sands. Next to this tower they built their city of So-fau. Their numbers rose after many generations but could not sustain themselves in such a decollate environment. This is the first time they built a Walker to scavenge and colonize if they could. After this the Bedouin made their first contact with the other races of Portum and started their modern area.
The Bedouin population has one common language. Some words as are known slip out into intra-Bedouin conversation. The Bedouin language uses a flowing script often times compared to elven. Though it is not widely spoken outside of Walker Convoy it is not secret and many non-Bedouin speak it fluently.
■nedas — nowhere
■tasi — no-one
■vas [ship-name] — crew of
■nar [ship-name] — child of
■keelah — “By the homeland”
■keelah se’lai — “By the homeland I hope to see.”
■bosh’tet — curse/insult, likely being relative to “son-of-a-bitch” or “bastard”.
Bedouin And Other Races
Creating Bedouin Characters
Bedouin Cities And Settlements
In addition to their convoy of walker cities the Bedouins have one permanent settlement deep in the Sand Sea on the very edge of the dead sands, though no outsider has ever seen it. The resources required to get there are so vast that only a walker could make the journey. This settlement is called So-fau, and it was built under the branches of a tree so massive that the entire convoy could fit inside its trunk and still have room for many more. The settlement has houses, schools, a temple with crypt, hospitals and massive dry-docks for repair, construction and retrofitting of the walker cities. Once a year the convoy returns and makes berth to do major construction and to relax from the constant travel and work that they normally do.
Physical Description: Bedouin are generally shorter and of a slighter build then Humans. They stand between 4’5” and 5’ 5” rarely any taller and weighing between 80 and 90 pounds. Bedouin have similar Physiology to humans though they have six fingers on both hands, as well as Six on each foot. Their Skin and hair colors range as wide as humans though their eyes are distinctly almond shaped. Their ears do not protrude like humans they are more attached and streamlined. Bedouin must wear an environmental suit with a facemask often times with a hood covering the rest of the head. These suits are highly decorated and colorful to show individuality.
Relations: Bedouin treat other Bedouin as family even if there is no actual blood relation. They also respect authority such as guards and military officers since these professions are held in high regard in the convoy. Bedouin refer to the commanding officer of any vessel as captain even if they are technically not a captain as a sign of respect.
Bedouin base their relations of the other races on past experiences they usually give the benefit of the doubt judging individuals separately of their race.
Alignment: Bedouin society’s relies on the survival and sustainability of their walker Convoy Bedouins are usually lawful. They value honor and honesty and think very hard before breaking a law.
Bedouin Lands: Bedouin have claimed the unwanted inhospitable land of the sand sea as their home. They move across the massive dessert on a Convoy of giant walking cities digging up lost magical items and resources as they go. Bedouin society revolves heavily on family ties and also loyalty to the walker that is their home and refuge.
Religion: Ancestor warship is the religion of the Bedouin, they pray to their ancestors for guidance and thanks.
Language: they speak Bedouin and learn common to prepare them for their pilgrimage
Names: Bedouin names are made of four parts a given name and clan name separated by an apostrophe, a honorific to show their status (as an adult or child) and a name for their walker. Due to the suits they wear Bedouin usually introduce themselves before starting a conversation usually using just their given name in.
Male names: Golo, Feda, Han, Hilo, Kal, Kar, lemm, Prazza, Ysin, Zaal
Female names: Daro, Elan, Feda, Seeto, Shala, Verga,
Clan name: Danna, Gazu, Gerrel, Hodda, jaa, Koris, Mal, Mekk, Nara, Raan, Reegar, Shal, Shiya, Xen
Nar (Child of) used for those who haven’t gone on pilgrimage
Vas (Crew of) used for those that are considered full adults
Walker name: Cyniad, Idenna, Moreh, Nedes, Rannoch, Rayya, Tesleya, Tonbay, Usela
In certain formal situations, Bedouin appear to use both their adult Walker and childhood Walker name, Such as weddings, Funerals and law proceedings.
Adventures: Bedouin adventurers for personal gain are rare but not unheard of often times they are young on pilgrimage or adults on resource gathering missions or research on new technology and magic.
Bedouin Racial Traits
+2 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity, – 2 Charisma, -2 Strength: Bedouin are a wealth of knowledge with a natural ability as engineers and the grace to work with even the smallest parts with ease. However they are slighter then other races making them slightly weaker and their masks make them difficult to identify with.
Bedouin base land speed is 30 feet
+2 Racial Bonus on attack rolls against constructs: Their vast knowledge of engineering gives Bedouins knowledge of the weak spots in a constructs creation
Weak immune system: Bedouin take a -5 penalty on Fortitude save against disease due to a week immune system. If a Bedouin overcomes a disease without the aid of a magical cure they gain immunity to that disease
Bedouin Fever: If a Bedouin drops below half health a DC 12 Fortitude save is required to fight off an infection in one day that causes a high fever and disorientation (-5 on attack rolls). The infection persists until 1d3 days have passes or two successful Fortitude saves. No immunity is gained and is not contagious to any other race.
Environment suit (Enviro-Suit): Bedouin must wear an enviro-suit of suffer from Bedouin Fever even without taking damage. They can acclimate themselves to an area or person purposely to no longer have to wear the suit all the time.
Automatic Languages: Bedouin and Common. Bonus Languages: Draconic and Sylvan. Bedouin study Sylvan and Draconic to understand ancient tomes and the ruins in their desert.
Favored Class: Machinist. A Multiclass Bedouin’s Machinist class does not count when determining whether they take an experience point penalty (see XP for Multiclass Characters, page XXX)