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Height4.5' to 6.5'
Weight115-280 (the organ that stores water makes them heavier than they look)
Lifespanup to 85 years
Major featuresCopper skin, solid jet eyes, black hair
AbilitiesAbility to sense motion, only need water every 10 days
Most common inEyktol
ReputationGuarded and hostile if provoked
Racial godsMakutsi, the goddess of rivers and Eywaat, god of birds and ingenuity.
Racial bonus+10 Camouflage or Wilderness_Survival
SubracesHalves, quarters, etc.

The Chaktawe (Chock-ta-way) are a nomadic desert people who worship the god of crows and the goddess of rivers. They are often visited by supernatural guardians granted in their searching. Sacred storytellers, healers and trackers are venerated. They have bronze skin, black hair and entirely jet eyes with long lashes and two sets of eyelids. Black dots smaller than freckles cover their fingertips, giving them an extra sensory perception. They have specialized feet for the desert and are able to go ten days without water. Three tribes wander the desert each headed by a chief or Wayhali (Way-hall-lee).



The Chaktawe were not always nomads and the land was not always so barren. Before the Valterrian, great rivers wove through the land, flooding in seasons and turning the dry earth black with silt. There was fish in abundance and crops could be grown: wheat, corn, onions, peas, lettuce and grapes. All manner of richness could be coaxed from this dark earth. The Chaktawe were not a great people like the Eypharians who dwelt in vast and shapely halls of pale stone. They were simplistic farmers who built dome shaped homes of river reeds and clay. While the Eypharians built their cities around the great river, the Chaktawe gathered around one of its lesser branches. When the Valterrian struck, the Chaktawe had just begun to progress as a people, building more complex homes and beginning trade with the Benshiras.

With the sundering of distant lands the great river became a trickle and its many branches dried. Once mighty races were digging for the lost rivers in their broken cities, and the farming people found themselves with dust for soil and unfamiliar winds that would spirit the dust away. The only thing that allowed them to survive was the mysterious arrival of crows. In their hunger, the people killed and ate these crows. It is held that after the last barren season, the Wayhali, Namiche, decided they must leave their land and way of life.

Image:Scroll2.png "The good earth has left us and the birds come and gone, so we too must be like the dust, and the crows, riding the back of the desert wind."
- Wayhali Namiche

From that instant on, the Chaktawe began to roam, pining for new rivers, but unable to leave their homeland. What few springs that remained under the earth and made oases were enough to sustain the hardy Chaktawe, but there was never enough water to make their soil good again.

Over time, the Chaktawe sharpened their hunting and foraging skills, living like wild birds. They have no permanent settlement but roam, broken into several tribes, named for the birds they resemble.


Physical Appearance

The Chaktawe are a humanoid desert people with reddish, bronze skin. Travelers often comment that it is a hue reminiscent of the redstone formations that jut from the sands. Chaktawe hair is a glossy jet, recalling the crow they have come to venerate. Only with old age does their hair lighten to white. Their eyes are solid black and have a second pair of translucent eyelids. If the secondary pair is closed, the Chaktawe's vision becomes slightly cloudy. Male and female alike have long dark lashes, another protection against the irritating sand.

The Chaktawe are long legged but otherwise average in height, and rarely wear shoes. Their feet are equipped for desert travel, with leathery pads on the bottom and webbing between the toes. When they step down, the webbing and pads spread to keep their feet from sinking into the sand.

Also, Chaktawe are heavier than they appear due to a dense organ they possess that stores water much like a cactus. This organ allows Chaktawe to survive without water for ten days, but when they do drink, they drink deeply. If a Chaktawe is shiftless or lazy, he is said to "not be worth his water". Savage desert dwellers are not beyond killing a Chaktawe for this organ that can be ingested to sate thirst.

Common Traits

The People of the Crows

Chaktawe are prone to paint a thick band across their eyes using either an earthy red, black or white paint. This serves as further protection against the glare of the relentless sun, and may also be used to mark divisions between families and tribes. This same paint is also liberally used on parts of the body heavily exposed to the sun (shoulders, arms, etc.) Chaktawe also frequently braid beads, fabric, feathers or polished bone in the hair at their temples to show rank and bloodlines.

For apparel the Chaktawe wear animal pelts or what appears to be intricately sewn layers of bird feathers. The latter are preferred, and are created over time by the gradual collecting of darker hued feathers. Occasionally, traditional fabrics are worn within these layers as insulation or to capture sweat. In the day, the men wear a simple undergarment and a knee length wrap around their hips that is slit almost all the way up on either side, allowing them to run with ease. The women wear similar garments on the bottom and a simplistic bodice on the top that is usually laced on the sides with leather cords. In the cold evening, both genders wrap themselves in heavy mantles of fur or feathers.

Most are experts in the edible flora of the desert as their survival hinges on this knowledge.

Special Abilities

The Chaktawe are built for long distance desert travel with their specialized feet, eyes and ability to store water.

What makes Chaktawe exceptional trackers, though, is their most subtle feature: the black, freckle like marks on their fingertips. These dots resemble large pores and are filled with a strange gel like substance beneath the skin. Through these dots, the Chaktawe can sense disturbances in the air caused by movement. The faster and more pronounced the movement, the more easily it is transmitted through the air and to the Chaktawe's senses. The range for this sense is around thirty feet. The Chaktawe can roughly discern the direction the movement came from, and the relative size of the object from the amount of energy it expels. The skill is most commonly used to find running water.

When explaining the sense to non-Chaktawe, the Chaktawe say it feels like a gust of wind or current of water when it strikes their hand. Like a current of water, though, the sensation can be manipulated or overwhelmed. If there is too much motion or the Chaktawe's hands are covered, the current is garbled and unclear. Also, a Chaktawe who is not paying attention can be surprised, similar to how one can not hear something unusual if they are not alert. In a heavily populated area, the sense may be deadened since there are always disturbances in the atmosphere to trigger it.

Age and Reproduction

Chaktawe age like a human and reproduce the same. An abundance of children is a sign of honor and pregnant women are treated with reverence. Half-breeds are uncommon but possible, usually possessing the unique eyes and a muted version of a pure Chaktawe's coloring.


They are a hardy, spiritual people. Melancholy for what they have lost, but gradually finding a new peace in the heat and quiet of the sprawling sand and stone. They are solemn and cautious towards outsiders, always gauging the intent of other races. The Chaktawe value unity and bravery: the traits that have allowed them to survive the desolation of their land.


Social Structure

Every industrious member of a tribe is viewed as integral to survival, but some positions and bloodlines are treated with especial reverence: Wayhali blood, the Abayla bloodline, and exceptional hunters, trackers, artists and healers. Those with connections to the chavena through dreams or divination are also prized.

The Chaktawe history and sacred stories are passed along orally through a specific bloodline, the Abayla, that is scattered among the several tribes. This bloodline passes tales from the elder female relative to the younger with fierce determination that the words remain unchanged. If an Abayla daughter's memory is poor, or she has no music in her voice, she is banished from the training and forbidden from ever telling sacred stories. Most Abayla only learn five tales each. This ensures that each storyteller is able to dedicate enough focus for accuracy in each tale she knows. There is always and elder Abayla present when the younger tells the story to correct any minor mistakes. This continues until the younger has her own pupil to train. In total there are 40 sacred stories and histories, and usually 50 of the Abayla bloodline alive at a time. One or two Abaylas are designated as the tribe's primary storyteller. Tribes often come together just for the privilege of hearing stories that their own branch of Abayla do not know. If one tribe has too few or too many young Abayla, they will commonly give up or adopt eligible girls between tribes.

Anyone who is not of the Abayla bloodline who tries to tell sacred stories and histories will be marooned by their tribe. The Chaktawe see the improper telling of sacred stories and histories as a destruction of their past, and the foundations of the race.

Hunters and trackers are held in highest esteem. A Chaktawe is nothing if he cannot read the desert. Also revered are healers who understand the medicinal properties of the scant desert flora.

The highest position, though, is that of Wayhali, who is both the spiritual leader and primary decision maker for the tribe. Usually, the position is passed on to the Wayhali's eldest son, or if no sons are born to the eldest daughter's husband. While only women may tell the sacred tales, only men may be the Wayhali. If a tribe feels their Wayhali is inadequate or cruel, any man may challenge him to combat for the positions. It is permissible for an elder Wayhali to make his son or son-in-law fight in his stead.

The Three Tribes

There are roughly 800 Chaktawe distributed among the three tribes. The three tribes move throughout the desert, pursuing the varying migration of animals they can hunt, but half a season of the year they spend in their traditional territory.

Suli (meaning vulture) territory is nearest the Eypharians where the great river once flowed, just beyond the ruined portion of Ahnatep. Ahnatep is one of the rare places where multiple oases exist, but the Suli must access them by trespass and cunning. The Eypharians have a stranglehold on the oases and are severe in guarding its resources. Suli commonly use white paint made from the pale clay the ruins of Ahnatep have created. Suli tend to be more aggressive and stronger than the other tribes, but also more aware of affairs beyond Eyktol as they interact with the advanced Eypharians.

Kalanue (raven) territory is among the redstone formations in the far north, where they capture goats that have migrated there for mating season. They often find themselves bartering or fighting with Benshira shepherds who frequent the redstone looking for wandering flocks or wild livestock to add to their herds. Kalanue paint their skin with black, made from the shell of a black beetle that lives in the caves. Kalanue are known for being clever and athletic, a by-product of haggling for goods and chasing wild goats over perilous terrain.

Tatsuwaat (the red crow) territory is the grove of keerdash trees, a low spreading tree with dark wood and vivid red leaves. Keerdash trees have immense pulpy roots allowing them to find and store water. Tatsuwaat are very careful in their harvest of bits of roots, to sustain the existence of the keerdash grove. The tree leaves only in late spring, so that is the season the Tatsuwaat dwell there. The Tatsuwaat use the leaves to make their red dye with which they paint themselves and stain their pelts. They tend to be the most artistic and peaceable of the tribes, as they spend less time fighting for resources and more time under the dappled shade of the red trees.


The Chaktawe never developed a written language, but express things through pictures if audible words cannot be used. Their language is called Tawna (Tah-nah) and does not vary between the three tribes. Their history and sacred stories are passed along orally, their accuracy maintained by the vigilance of the Abayla.

Chaktawe Tales

Main article: Category:Chaktawe_Tales

Here are some of the stories of the Chaktawe both sacred and entertaining, including the examples below.




A Chaktawe child is not named until its fifth year or until a younger sibling is born. Names are valued as depictions of what a child is and hopes to be, so they will refrain from naming a child until they understand some aspect of its personality.

Before that time the child is referred to by a diminutive of the name of the parent's guardian. The mother's if it is a girl and the father's if it is a boy. If the guardian's name is Ahau, a boy will be called Ahuapar, and a girl Ahaupa. If the guardian's name ends in a consonant, such as Lanook, a boy will be called Lanookapar, and a girl Lanookapa.

Chaktawe names are multi-syllabic, often end in vowels and frequently use the letters "K", "P", "Sh", "Ch" and the "H" sound written as "J". It is often said that a Chaktawe name sounds like a moving wind or water over stones.

Chaktawe do not have surnames. The tribes are small enough for one to know who your family and ancestors are without the group sharing a common name. Some Chaktawe will adopt surnames as adults if they live outside the Burning Lands. This surname is usually the first name of a parent.

In place of a surname, well-known Chaktawe will have an attribute or title attached to them, such as "Japikoa the Unbending" or "Wayhali Namiche the wise".

Family Life

Chaktawe families are large and tightly knit. Daughters live with their parents until they are wed. Once married, the daughter and her new husband will travel with his tribe. The choice of the husband is up to the daughter, but parental blessing is preferred. The daughter will review the men that pursue her and inform her parents of her decision. Both the woman's and man's family contribute to the bride's "pouch". This may be in the form of costly portable goods or actual gems. This "pouch" belongs solely to the bride and is her livelihood in the event something happens to her husband.

Sons establish their own "home" as soon as they are skilled enough to provide for themselves. When adults become old or infirmed, they are looked after by whichever child can support them best. Once every season on the eleventh day, all three tribes come together, so all the scattered families may see each other.

Everyday Life

As nomads and hunters, the Chaktawe spend most of their days trekking across the desert in pursuit of game and water. They camp under low tents made with animal skins and woven goat hair. If remaining in an area for more than five days, the Chaktawe will assemble more elaborate tents and fire-pits. These tents are frequently decorated with whatever portable finery or meaningful bric-a-brac the owner has accumulated. Visitors describe the dwellings as similar to a bird's fanciful nest, adorned with glittering items, bones and feathers. Since the small spaces are associated with sleep and its miraculous properties, there is a strong dream-like quality to the tent interiors. Unexpected colors are paired with effusions of art and symbols meaningful to the dreamer. The effect is a surreal but unstudied beauty.

Art and Industry

Mica pottery that shines like gold

The art of the Chaktawe is in their beautiful clothing made of feathers or the grace of the objects they use for everyday life. As a nomadic people in a severe land, their art must be portable and practical. Chaktawe earthenware and utensils are often prized for their durability and soothing shapes, while their jewelry is prized for its symbolism and use of stones. Pottery and jewelry tend to be made from bone, quartz or red clay mixed with iridescent mineral such as mica, giving a beautiful sheen to their earthenware.

Non-sacred stories and histories can be told liberally, and often are with shadow plays and costumes. The Chaktawe also play music that sounds like the murmurs of the desert. They use drums and rattles made from animals skins and bones, and have pipes that mimic the wind over the dunes or the lonely songs of birds. They do not often sing like the Benshiras, but will occasionally "speak" their music or make wordless melodies.


A spirit to guide.

The most unusual practice of the Chaktawe is "the searching". When Chaktawe children turn fifteen, they are temporarily banished from the tribe and one another. In this imposed solitude, the youth must provide for his own needs while praying to their gods. The females pray to the river goddess and the males the crow god, but sometimes one deity answers when the other is petitioned. In this perilous time, Chaktawe receive a word of wisdom from the divine and the guardian the gods have sent to watch over them.

Often, families share a guardian and a collective history is established regarding its person. On rare occasions the guardian manifests itself in a desert animal's form and speaks directly to the Chaktawe it is to watch over.

Makutsi, the goddess of all water but the sea, is worshipped as a mother figure who sustains them. Because she is scarce in the blistering lands, she is all the more precious.

Eywaat, the god of crows, is more of the patron god of the people as he took special care to preserve them through the famine. He is seen as embodying many of the traits of the Chaktawe people: resourcefulness, curiosity, bravery and loyalty. Since he is a resourceful god, the Chaktawe view practical yet artistic inventions as inspired by him.