This page deals with regional differences of Unathi as species, arranged from the Poles to the equatorial Diamond Peaks. The denizens of World Sea, Yeosa'Unathi, have their own separate page.
Historically, the tropical lands of the far north and south boasted rich soils, untouched woods and large bodies of clean water. This attracted many nomadic clans, who settled the area starting 40,000 BCE. Over the years, growing population led to the locals settling down to make more use of the resourses; large-scale settled husbandry and fodder production prevailed. At the same time, early city-states came to be; most often those emerged near natural landmarks or surviving Precursor installations, which were plenty.
As of 2308, the Poles are the trade capitals of the planet, with infrastructure sufficient for refueling and maintaining arriving ships. Most off-worlders are likely to land here first, even if they wish to travel into the deeper interior of the planet. The city-states in these areas are easily the largest settlements on Moghes, with Mumbak taking the trophy as the most populous. Green pastures made way for restored industrial complexes, rusted shipyards and docks, motorcades and roads filled with diesel vehicles and pack animals, sprawling favelas filled with Unathi homes and giant markets for off-world and Unathi wares. Those living in Polar city-states have quick access to outsider tech and networks, with busy markets and foreign missions serving as a showcase for alien cultures. It's no wonder that one of the first organisations with pan-Moghes aspirations, the mighty Hegemony, was born here, in Mumbak of the South Pole.
The grandeur, however, comes at a price. According to general estimates, in 2300 close to 70% of Polar city-states denizens were recent migrants from other regions of Moghes, with the majority coming from Savanna clans. In its' growth, the Poles have become increasingly reliant on guest workers. To control the mass of newcomers, the ruling clans could no longer rely on tribal militia alone; they had to invite mercenaries, which largely relegated the natives (known as the "Old Money" or "Old Bloods", depending on income level) to administrative, and other qualified jobs. Original polar settlers invariably hold leadership positions in most of local guilds and districts.
Whether a seasonal migrant or an old stock local, it is usually agreed that the Unathi of the Poles are most tolerant towards other cultures; the city-states in these regions are a strange mix of various Unathi and off-world elements. While the newcomers tend to adopt new ideas during their stay, Old Bloods prefer to stay aloof, maintaining their traditions with dignity; while polar brides are highly sought after because of economic reasons, polar caretakers are claimed to be among the most discerning on Moghes, subjecting the suitors to meticulous inspection. This is especially important since the urban way of life seemed to affect Polar unathi in negative manner, reducing their regenerative abilities and opening way to new ailments. A good marriage became instrumental in securing the position of a clan in local affairs, preventing it from falling into obscurity and mixing with the growing crowd of lowborns.
In terms of faith, most of Polar Unathi are the followers of traditional unathi religion. Higher levels of literacy allowed for the holy texts to be printed and distibuted in good numbers, with most of those concerning Ancestors and their exploits on Moghes and beyond. Apart from celebrating the Ancestors, Precursor worship is somewhat widespread, especially in the areas blessed with the hallowed ruins. Major centres for Precursor-related studies include Si'gek Nels'thar of the North Pole, and Instha in the South.
Regarding cults, Polar clans have been particulary generous towards the master craftsmen of Fruitful Lights, attracting those from different parts of Moghes. This patronage has proven to be so successful, that many guilds and temples involved have moved to the Poles, shifting away from the early sites of Pahk and Koja. In modern days, Si'gek Nels'thar is seen by many as a "capital" of the cult.
As of recent, however, the Poles emerged as a hotbed for less respectable religious movements. Early 2100s were marked by a rebirth of an ancient Markesheli cult. While the locals were far from tolerant towards the original version, recent developments forced the ruling old money clans to come to terms with the controversial movent; in the face of growing unrest and chaotic inter-clan violence brought in by growing slums, followers of Markesh proved to be an island of uneasy stability - a vent for the many frustrations of newcomers. The outskirst of Mumbak are increasingly seen as Markesheli territory, for better or worse.
Culture-wise, unathi of the poles have the affinity for Savanna folk, owing to their common ancestry; even though years of urban life have changed the former, they still maintain close economic and other ties with the rural folk of the savannas. The relations with other ethnic groups is more strained; Polar city-states are engaged in constant rivalry with more isolationist Diamond Peak fortresses over the control of Moghes affairs. While this rarely bothers an average polar worker, the presence of Desert and Diamond peak mercenaries certainly does not make those two groups popular with the underclass. Still, when there's no police force, there is brutal clan justice.
For centuries, Unathi of the savannas remained a nomadic folk. Their great Ogashes, massive animals with eight legs and hard shells on their backs, carried housing for many in the clan - simple wood shacks or tents made of leather. Alongside them came other herd animals - Ssisaliks, Threshbeasts, even Stoks. Great caravans wandered through the grasses, carrying merchandise of all kinds and great packs of seed and plant to plant and grow, and feed their animals. Bright vibrant colors filled the caravans, and the stench of dried meat and dung as well. Water was always at hand, always.
This changed, however, when agriculture and settled husbandry spread down from the Poles, starting in 15,000 BCE. Caravan trains made way for large clan estates or farms, with farmlands, orchards and pastures providing plenty of fodder; the herds grew, and so did the population. While some clans remained nomadic (or even reverted to hunting and gathering), they still participated in the increasing trade with the Poles, providing food for the growing city-states.
Savanna Unathi live up the most to the existing unathi stereotypes. They are tall and well-fed, often boasting good health; they usually have shorter horns or fins, if any. Unlike other ethnic groups (apart from Desert Clans), Savannafolk are exeptional riders, making most use of their mounts, especially ssisaliks.
The clans of Savanna have economic and cultural strong ties with polar city-states. Instead of splitting up ancestral lands, junior branches of savanna families often find themselves migrating to the Poles in search for work. This, coupled with great demand for food and pack animals, has made principal savanna clans quite wealthy and well-connected. At the same time, agrarian overpopulation has led to increased colonisation efforts, with smaller clans and families settling the very borders of the Great Desert, attempting to transform it into arable land.
In this light, it is no surprise that Hand of the Vine cult is incredibly popular with savanna Sinta, with it's focus on restoring and recultivating lost lands. The acolytes of said cult are welcome guests in any savanna settlement, and the celebrations associated with it have spread far beyond the cult itself.
While Savannafolk have been largely self-sufficient, imported goods and services found their way into the interior, with the clans making use of alien holovision networks, and sometimes NTnet. Literacy, while lagging behind Polar levels, is decently widespread. The locals make the most of Trans-Moghes Trade routes, receiving the goods from the Swamps and Diamond Peaks. While Savannafolk hold no great bias against other ethnic groups on Moghes, one exeption to that are Desert Clans, which sometimes raid their more affluent neighbours and attack the colonists; in responce, the border areas are patrolled by mounted savanna militias, armed with imported weapons - more than a dangerous counter to the desert bandits.
The Great Desert
The great wastelands of Moghes cover most of the planet's sole continent. Known as the Great Desert, those sparcely populated lands separate more settled lands - the Poles, Savannas and the Diamond Peaks. As the result, crossing the desert used to be the only option for many travellers and nomads wishing to resettle.
The Desert is, by all accounts, an inhospitable, hazardous place. The heat, sandstorms and pockets radiation make the journey more trouble than it's worth, especially with local legends floating around about some locals warped into hulking, cannibalistic monsters. Apart from those, more mundane dangers arise. Water is scarse; quicksands and sinks dot the dunes, with very few permanent roads available. Like other parts of the planet, a considerable number of Precursor ruins pepper the area, standing as monuments to the days of old; the majority of those, however, are well-hidden beneath the sands.
The Great Deserts are said to be the birthplace of Unathi as a race. While some areas have been settled by the exiles from different regions, the ancient native population dominates the central parts of the wasteland.
Desert Sinta are sturdy, violent folk, well used to the hardships of their native land. On average, they are thinner than their savanna or polar counterparts, with more prominent primitive features - long horns and claws are prevalent. Desertfolk have sharp sences, including great eyesight and keen sence of smell. Their version of Sinta'Unathi is considerably more dry, suited better for retelling the legends of old rather than everyday conversation.
Typically, desert clans settle around precursor bunkers, oases, caverns or other sources of water hidden within the deserts. While they engage in animal husbandry like all other unathi do, game constitutes a disproportionate part of their diet. The hunting skills of Desert clans evolved into something astoundingly deadly, earning them a certain degree of respect from other unathi races. It is often said that the best unathi marksmen come from the Deserts.
It is important to remember, however, that many minor desert clans to not have direct access to the cites listed above. While some turn to caravan driving or mercenary work to support themselves, others have no qualms about raiding their neighbors and taking their livestock and valuables. Shelter and land rights are decided by vicious combat, where combatants' skills, experience and endurance are a deciding factor. Because of that, a particulary crude version of the Great Strategem cult remains widespead among desert nomads.
In recent years, the deserts became a focus of many expeditions, wishing to discover what lies beneath the dunes. Advanced sensors and imported equipment facilitated possible excavations, providing savvy desert clans with income. The artifact rushes became a new sourse of conflict, pitching locals against the foreigners or other desert tribes.
The saltwater marshlands on the very margins of the World Sea are known as the Salt Swamps of Moghes. The swamps are a very special part of Moghes - lush with flora and abundant with fauna, yet filled with dangers. Despite the irradiated waters, poisoned earth and wild beasts, a certain group of unathi have braved the swamps and created several self-sufficient colonies and hamlets.
The Swamp Folk are the pioneers of Moghes, industrious all-rounders living on the frontier - fishing, hunting and cultivating the land where possible. More than usual foodstuffs, however, the swamps are rich in spices, medicinal herbs, rare wild animals and other luxury products.
Stereotypically, Unathi of the Swamps are short and stocky, with long, spiny frills more prevalent than horns. Due to the influx of the colonists from other regions, many local clans may posess uncharacteristic features - thick brown hides of the Peakfolk, large horns frequently found with the Desert Unathi, or the towering stature of Savanna clansmen. In terms of culture or religion, the salt swamps populations are noted for their eclectic approach, combining traditional religion with elements of cult practice, be that Hand of the Vine seasonal festivals, Grand Stratagem swordplay or Fruitful Lights fairs, with smaller groups adopting Precursor-themed rituals, especially in few coastal areas dominated by Precursor ruins. The Swampfolk are said to be the most religious of the Unathi, mostly due to many hazards and challenges of their homeland. Local ritual celebrations, simply called "parties" by Human explorers, tend to involve all the tribe members, with complicated rituals, theatric performances and great feasts happening throughout the year.
One defining characteristic of the Swamp Folk is their semi-aquatic nature. The locals feel at ease whether on land or on water; Swamp clans maintain sizeable fishing fleets and use the rivers to their advantage - for transportation and agriculture. In some places, the shores are lined with dock, instrumental in keeping the boats afloat - and sometimes more than boats. Major swamp settlements of Wasgaelli and Gaza'lor are both floating cities, built on great boats, platforms and rafts.
To maintain such fleets, a steady supply of fuel is required, and plenty of workhands. The salt-swamp Unathi are more welcoming towards newcomers, provided they work as hard as the natives do. The merchant caravans are welcome too. Those are, however, a favourite target of Desert raiders, although the latter rarely venture deep into the swamps - in combat, unarmored natives are quick and agile, and they know how to turn the difficult terrain to their advantage.
The Diamond Peaks
The equatorial region of Diamond Peaks earned its name for several obscure reasons largely unknown to the outsiders. The clans belonging to the area trace their lineage to the earliest days of Unathi race, which puts them next to Desert Sinta in terms of age, if not older. While this claim is difficult to corroborate, it is true that the natives of the Peaks were among the first to consolidate and create clan unions, also known as chiefdoms, starting around 20,000 BCE.
Such cooperation emerged for a reason. The Diamond Peak highlands, situated near the very equator of Moghes, are generally arid and devoid of good pastures. The cliffs and cave systems provided early unathi with refuge, clean water and malleable metals; some legends claim that a great basin of water lies deep in the mountains keeping the mountain clans strong. However, the hunting grounds were their to conquer.
Since the times immemorial, united Diamond Peak clans raided their lowland neighbours, taking away prisoners and cattle. With superior training, organisaition and weapons, the peak highlanders managed to conquer and subdue other locals, putting in place a complex vassalage system. Estabilished in 12,000 - 8,500 BCE, the system has greatly changed and eroded, but it survives up to this day nevertheless.
After the conquest of the Peaks, an attempt was made by the Diamond Peak clans to expand their realm further. 7,500 BCE marked the beginning of several conquest and colonization efforts in the Marches. Among the most notable was a campaign by Ssr-Kaahnepo (high warchief) of Durzakragh, Gadrak Ssorhize the Blind. While those usually failed, some produced interesting results - for example, the insular part of the floating city of Gaza'lor was founded in 7,400 BCE as a peakie outpost.
The Unathi of the Diamond Peaks are very proud of their leaders and their achievements. They are usually of average height, although very muscular at the same time - all male clansmen are bound to be engaged in military training or hard physical work. Thick grey or brown skin, long curved horns and claws are a widespread attribute. The local often have all sort of marks on their body to emphasize their status as a priveleged ethnic group - painted faces, brands or tatoos showing where they come from. The city-states of Diamond Peaks are called Fortresses - the massive citadels of stone akin to the castles of ancient Earth. The Fortresses dominate the surroundings, including the settlements of lowland vassals, who provide their masters with food in return for protection. While other unathi societies hold landowners in high regard, peak Sinta prefer to engage in industry, crafts and military drills instead, creating powerful and organised armies to maintain order in their domains and conquer further.
While this ancient order persevered for centuries, the growing population and the resulting food shortage led the proud peakfolk to participate more in emerging Trans-Moghes trade routes. Experience in crafting weapons, power armor and vehicles of war, as well as large mineral deposits were of great interest to the polar merchants and industrialists; more so, the highland chiefs began to lease their militias to the polar city-states, providing affordable security to the ruling clans. The regulations of the vassal system, already in decline, were eased somewhat. As of 2300s, the vassals (which outnumber the Peakfolk proper two to one) have considerable legal and economic freedoms, being able to move, trade and worship as they see fit, without much interference from the highland elites. Colonists from other parts of Moghes are routinely invited to settle on the lands belonging to local lords, to make up for the vassals that left or to make better use of the existing plots. Despite those changes though, the political power in the area remains firmly in the hands of highland clan Kaahnepos.
In terms of faith, the majority of Peakfolk are the adherents of the Grand Stratagem philosophy. It is sometimes claimed that Diamond Peak clans received the doctrine directly from the Ancestors - a fact they like to emphasise. The Peak version of the Strategem is considered more refined, as it is focused on spiritual strength and self-discipline, as well as preserving the hierarchy. The vassals, alongide the traditional religion, are involved in a vide variety of cults - Hand of the Vine and Fruitful Lights are the most prominent. The Peakfolk are surprisingly tolerant of those, finding it fitting that the farmers have their own ways - although Markesheli used to be exiled or attacked because of them preaching against the existing order of things.
While Diamond Peak clansmen accept other unathi, they are more vary of other races, some of which they consider dangerous for the well-being of Moghes and the Unathi race. The increased off-world trade and the appearance of alien (mostly human) workers in some of the mining settlements in the Peaks certain disturbances among the native population - and disagreements with the Polar clans, which the Peakfolk considered too careless and degenerate to handle the situation well. One of the direct results of this was the creation of Ssen-Uuma Convent by the Diamond Peaks Kaahnepos, who sought to access the danger and keep things under control.