Daruna - The Darunites


The Darunites are the primary human race found in the Kingdom of Light, Gya State, the Loshmati Realm, and the Shalish Alliance. They are generally a slender, energetic people with bronze or olive skin tones, dark eyes and dark hair. Despite the religious differences that divide the peoples of the Loshmati Realm from the other Darunite kingdoms, they are all one race.

The Darunites are native to the region, originally inhabiting the hills and forests north of the Tana River, then settling along the rich river basin as their culture developed agriculture. Darunite legend and myth claims the many ancient ruins, quarries and tombs that are scattered across the region were works of their ancestors, who suffered some great civilization-destroying catastrophe. The cities of Daruna, Loshma, and several other Darunite settlements are built on the ruins of much older cities.

The Social Order

Darunite societies share a common stratified social order, divided into three main castes.

The Moshan

The Moshan are the highest ranking members of society. They are high ranking priests, wealthier merchants, major land owners, high ranking military officers, and, of course, royalty.

Moshan have the right of arms anywhere within their kingdom. They are expected to provide at least two capable men, armed, armored, and horsed, when the king raises a military force. They must provide service to the city militia if they live within sight of its walls, though they may hire another to fill this role. They also have the right of appeal before the king in any legal action.

The Leshan

The Leshan are the most populous members of society. They are lower ranked priests, lesser merchants and minor land owners, as well as most laborers, craftsmen and lesser members of the military.

Leshan also have the right of arms outside the walls of any city. They are expected to have personal weapons and armor and serve or provide another in their place when the king raises a military force. They must provide service to the city militia if they reside within sight of its walls. They have the right of appeal before the king in some legal cases.

The Teghan

The Teghan are the lowest ranking members of Darunite society. They are hired farmers and laborers without their own lands, slaves, indentured servants, criminals serving forced labor sentences, and most non-Darunite members of society.

Teghan have no right of arms other than simple hunting weapons outside the walls of any city. They are required to provide military service if called, though they are not required to provide their own weapons and armor. They have no recourse to the royal court in legal cases.

Relations Between the Castes

Though the social order is stratified, one's rank within is not fixed. Slaves can buy their freedom, becoming Leshan, priests can be stripped of rank and be reduced to Teghan slaves, and great wealth can buy passage into the ranks of the Moshan.

The ranks above are codified into Darunite law, with penalties scaled based on the relative societal rank of the people involved. A crime committed against a higher ranking member of society bears a proportionally heavier penalty.


Slavery is a common feature of all Darunite societies. Slaves are the lowest ranked members of the Teghan class. All slaves are required to 'wear the collar', a symbol or sign of their owner, usually worn around the neck. Collars can be a simple leather band stamped with the master's seal or, in the case of valuable slaves, more ornate emblems. Many slaves bear a permanent tattoo or brand as an additional mark of their status.

Slaves arise from several sources:

Slaves are treated as property of their masters, and are protected under law. Harming another's slave is illegal, and bears heavy legal penalties, but a slave's owner can treat their property as they please. Punishment for crimes carried out by a slave fall upon their own head, but their master bears responsibility for any financial compensation allocated by the judge. Slaves may own property, even other slaves, enter into contracts, and buy their freedom, but the price of freedom is set by their master, and a slave's property is subject to their owner's whim.

Slaves have a number of roles in Darunite society:

Justice and Law

Darunite justice is harsh and swift. Penalties often include stiff fines, disfigurement, forced labor, slavery, or death. Aside from brief incarceration prior to trial, there is no concept of prison as punishment. Financial penalties are assessed based on damages done, and paid to the injured party, with a fixed fee being collected by the judge in the case and a tax paid to the royal coffer.

Cases are heard either by a judge agreed upon by the parties involved, or by locally appointed officials, typically members of the local Moshan. Official trials offer right of appeal to the local governing body, who may hear the case or reject it based on the previous ruling.

Religion - The Daru Pantheon

The Daru Pantheon is the fundamental religious construct of the various Darunite nations. The pantheon's primary deity is Daru, the sun god. He is the original creator of the universe and ultimately, the most powerful deity in the pantheon. Among Daru's many creations are the primordials, elemental beings who maintain and control the natural world, and the lesser gods of the pantheon, who rule over the primordials and the lives of men, providing Daru with entertainment in the process.

The Lesser Gods

The lesser gods are Phakaht, Sarvata, and Nityada, three deities with many aspects.

The Primordials

Lesser beings created by Daru to control the forces of nature, the primordials are many and varied. Some are no more than whispers of power, scarcely able to manifest in the mundane world. Others rival the lesser gods themselves. The primordials are capricious and free-willed, bending and twisting the rules that govern their nature. They have minds, of a sort, and some can speak or use other forms of communication. Each primordial falls under the control of one of the lesser gods, though the deities pay scant attention to the actions of the weaker members of this vast order.

The Darunite Schism

The ancient break between the two main branches of the Daru Pantheon is centered on the relative importance of the lesser gods in religious practice. The Darunites maintain Daru as the sole deity of the religion, viewing Phakaht, Sarvata and Nityada as aspects of his one true nature and the primordials as little more than glorified janitors and caretakers. The Loshmati sects view Daru as a shadow of the original creator, believing most of his original divine power flowed into the lesser gods when he created them. The Loshmati do share the Darunite view of the primordials however.

The Living Avatar of the Sun God

Behold! One shall come from the plains.
And his lips shall speak the word of heaven.
And his eyes shall burn with Daru's light.
        -- Malach, prophet of Ash-tep

The second split in the Daru Pantheon occurred several hundred years ago with the rise of Ash-tep, who claims to be a living avatar of Daru himself. Ash-tep's rise to power gave birth to the Kingdom of Light and divided the Darunite sects into those that believe he is Daru's avatar and those that don't. The conflict surrounding this split has weakened the once unified Darunite nations, granting the Loshmati a reprieve from their once oppressive influence.

Religious Practice

Despite the differences in their beliefs, Darunite religious practices follow very similar patterns.

Local Temple Structure

All population centers feature several temples dedicated to individual gods within the pantheon. There is always a primary temple dedicated to the most important local deity:

In addition there will be one or more secondary temples dedicated to other gods. These temples may be dedicated to a deity important to the local ruler, a primordial with legendary or historical importance in the area, or multiple Lesser Gods.

Temple Architecture

Temples are constructed in elevated courtyards surrounded by thick walls. The temple itself is often a stepped pyramid structure, with platforms and stairs providing access to the roof-top shrine, which is a relatively small affair. Worship is carried out outside the shrine, with the devotees gathered in the courtyard and priests carrying out rites on platforms in plain sight of the crowd below.

The shrine itself is maintained as a home for the divine being it is dedicated to. It is usually a simple affair, though richly appointed and well cared for.

The lower levels of the temple structure and the walls surrounding the courtyard are a maze of offices, living quarters, storerooms, kitchens, workshops and libraries. These facilities are used to keep the temple running, provide for the priests in residence, manage the temple's many fields and farms, and support the temple's activities within the community.

Common Practices

Darunites revere all gods and spirits of the pantheon (to a greater or lesser extent). The typical believer will visit multiple temples during the course of the year, selecting the one that best fits their current need. Only members of the clergy dedicate themselves to a single divine being.

One of the most important rites each believer carries out is the Rite of Naming. When children reach their 11th year, their parents take them to at least one of the temples within their governing city and present them to the priest. The child then makes a small offering, their first formal action within the temple structure, and their name is recorded on the scrolls of membership within the temple. Once the rite is complete they are allowed to visit the temple on their own behalf, and make their own offerings. In the case of wealthy and high status families this rite becomes a grand event, with family members following the child from temple to temple and offering gifts of their own on the child's behalf. In the Kingdom of Light, this rite has been altered into the Rite of the Living Avatar, and includes a blood sacrifice and a declaration of faith and obedience to Ash-tep.

The typical follower might visit a temple two or three times a month to purchase a sacrifice, carried out by a priest on the supplicant's behalf, or consult with a priest on an important matter. In both cases a small offering, either coin or barter, is offered. The more important the concern, the greater the offering given. Followers also attend important holy day services and participate in the accompanying festivals. Most temples offer shaded platforms within the courtyard, allowing important citizens to observer the rites in comfort while commoners are forced to stand in the open. The lowest ranks of society are often forced to watch from outside the temple's walls.

In addition to offerings collected for priestly service, believers are required to tithe a certain amount of work in support of the temple. This work can come in the form of labor, repairing temple walls or working the temple-owned fields, or as a tithe, which is assessed by the Shaqua and approved by the local ruler.

The priesthood is responsible for maintaining the temple shrine and providing the ritual meals offered to the divine presence. Depending on the temple and locale this may include priests or priestesses spending the night alone in the shrine as a companion for the god or goddess. A variety of offerings; ranging from bowls of water and sheaves of grain to elaborate food and drink preparations, to animal and human blood sacrifices; are carried out through the course of the year. Many shrines are torn down and rebuilt on a regular basis to insure the perfection of the deity's home on earth.

The Secular Temple

The temple is a central pillar of the Darunite community. Temple scribes record business transactions, legal judgments, and royal decrees. Temple Sha operate the vast temple land holdings and provide valuable management services. They are also teachers, providing education to those willing to pay the price.

Though private land ownership is recognized in Darunite society, temples own vast swaths of the surrounding lands. This property is managed by the Sha and worked by the community in service of the temple's god. Some of the goods produced provide support for the temple and its staff, but a large portion flows into the royal granaries and coffers to support the army and city construction.

Temple Sha are skilled and literate managers, making them invaluable assets for large scale construction projects. Temple staff often design and manage the construction of city walls, canals or major structures. They also survey and record land deeds in cases of private ownership.

Many temples accept private students into their classes, teaching reading, writing, mathematics and science. Temple education is both time consuming and costly, but the long term benefits can be substantial.


Priests and priestess dedicate their life to temple service at a relatively young age. They may volunteer for temple service or be sold into service by their family in exchange for temple favor or as payment for temple service. All who enter the priesthood must be sound of mind and body and must dedicate themselves before their twelfth year.

New priest candidates receive an education in temple practices and are taught to read and write, though not all master this skill. After three years of training, novices follow one of three paths:

Most orders require celibacy from their novices and priests, though this varies depending on the order. The Sha are not restricted in this regard. All members of the clergy live within the temple grounds, though some order allow Sha with families to live outside the temple's confines.

Adventurer Priests

Priests are often assigned to duties in the field as part of military operations, construction projects, political missions, or economic expeditions. These priests have greater leeway in their activities and actions but are still bound by the vows of their order. Roaming priests carry identifying seals that grant them some rights and privileges in temples beyond their own base of operations, but the exact benefits vary considerably depending on location.

Roaming priests report directly to the highest ranks of the temple and are often exempted from regular religious duties while physically present at their base of operations.

Magical Arts

The minor magical arts are an accepted part of Darunite society. In particular the practice of divination is seen as a crucial facet of the decision making process. Temple seers compete with mystics and sages for the coins and offerings of those that prescient advice. Magic is also used in battle to strengthen defenses or enhance attack capabilities. Despite widespread acceptance of minor magic, magicians wield great power. The law holds them accountable for the application of this power, and any damage done by magical means is subject to twice or thrice the normal penalty.

Magical talent is often a ticket to fame and fortune. The wealthy and powerful are willing to spend lavishly for the services of a true magician. Those that show true promise are often inducted into royal service as part of a king's court.


Common Combatants

Darunite military forces face a significant challenge when it comes to fielding armies, the lack of metal in the Central Plains. To make up for this lack the military focuses on relatively light forces with good mobility. This allows them to use mobility to harass a more heavily armed foe and avoid a static battlefield where their lack of armor and heavier weapons puts them at a disadvantage. There are three main categories of Darunite soldier:


The Darunite mastery of engineering principles and access to Liquid Fire have given rise to strong engineering corps within military organizations. Siege equipment is available in limited quantities but used to great effect. Incendiary bombs hurled by light catapults and scorpions fitted with flaming missiles are both common attack forms for military engineers.

Elite Guard

Kings rule by conquest, and the most obvious sign of a King's power is their elite guard, hand-picked troops equipped with the best weapons and armor available. Guard units are typically equipped with scale or banded armor, heavy metal shields, and khopesh or falchions. They are skilled close order combatants.


Darunite military forces also make use of mercenaries. In particular members of the Kogani Tribes often hire out as heavy infantry and Enkaru tribesmen serve as light cavalry. Darunite military units sometimes use Rahk as scouts though they are considered unreliable by most ranking Darunite officers.

Common Darunite Weapons

Common Darunite Armor