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  • File : 1325409133.jpg-(44 KB, 600x391, shamanridingdeer.jpg)
    44 KB Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:12 No.17391388  
    In the spirit of an earlier and now-departed thread about low-tech, ice age settings that developed into a discussion of harpoons, walrus-dwarves, and iceberg fortresses, this is a Polar Setting thread. I'm going to be posting some mix of Inuit mythical creatures, pictures related to the arctic and its people (mostly Inuit, Sami, and Yakut), and random rambling about some ideas for mystic adventures in the land of the ice and snow.

    I'm not an expert on any of these topics - anything I post you could easily find online - but they've caught my interest, and maybe you'll see/read something interesting or have an idea to share. Grab some fermented mare's milk and settle on in. Worst case scenario, maybe you'll at least see some pictures worth saving.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:18 No.17391407
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    First a little background on what we're talking about. "Northern" aboriginal cultures aren't all one big thing, obviously - there are threads that connect them, though these are likely related to the kind of environment they live in more than anything else. Any setting in the tundra and taiga is going to be harsh as hell. A little more on that later.

    We're sort of limited in our knowledge of old myths because of the spread of Christianity in all these regions; in many cases, the meanings of words change to adapt to new religions. The Inuit word for a bodiless soul, for instance - which could be good or evil - is now pretty much just translated as "demon" in the modern Christian context. Additionally, the shamanic traditions of many shamanic cultures have simply died out, sometimes without anything at all being committed to writing.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:23 No.17391422
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    Two pieces of advice for you, Nanook of the north.
    1. Don't be a naughty Eskimo.
    2. Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow!
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:25 No.17391428
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    But whatever, let's start with some creatures.

    The Qallupilluk are monsters in Inuit lore that fulfill the function of a bogeyman - even today, they're invoked to keep children from getting too close to the water. They're described as having weird bumpy or greenish skin and waiting under the ice for children to draw near the edge, whereupon they snatch them into their baskets. What happens to them? Only the children know.

    The best way to avoid them is to simply stay away from the coast and holes in the ice, but some say you can sometimes hear them knocking on the ice beneath you, or that steam rises from the sea where they're lurking. They may smell like sulfur, too, which might help.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:32 No.17391443
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    Less malevolent but more mysterious were "shadow people," beings in a sort of parallel world to ours - if you heard a laugh or a shout, or a whisper in the night, it might be the words of the shadow people crossing over into our world. This only happens when the conditions are right - and if they're TOO right, you might slip over into the other world, or vice versa, and never be seen again.

    Still, they aren't necessarily monsters. Maybe there's a whole world of shadows just like our own world. Maybe it's even warmer there. Or maybe shadow people cast shadows of light - that would be pretty strange. Are shadow people actual shadows? If so, maybe they could switch places with yours, or at least hop on for a while. After all, everyone's got multiple souls, so maybe there's room for another...
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:35 No.17391450
    Maybe make the setting have some sort of Norse influence as well, with a region of the setting beig invaded by strange men from the south who ride in large wooden boats and use strange shining weapons. I'm assuming the cultures you're taking from would be the far north native Americans? I'd say a mix of Norse, Inuit and Russian cultures would make for one hell of a setting.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:38 No.17391456
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    ...and when I say multiple souls, I mean it. I've read about both Inuit and various Siberian cultures conceiving of a person as housing two or more souls of different types. It's impossible to generalize and still be accurate, but a lot of these traditions have a "life-soul" or "breath" that's differentiated from a "name-soul." When you die, your life force leaves forever, but your name-soul sticks around. If someone names a new infant after you, your name-soul might catch on and become the infant's new name-soul. It's not total reincarnation, but perhaps that new person would gain some of your personality or powers as a result.

    Some traditions had more souls than two. In fact, some shamanistic traditions held that sickness was basically caused by missing souls - evil spirits or malevolent magicians had stolen some of your souls, and you wouldn't be well again until you had them back. The healer's job, broadly speaking, was to find out where they went and why. Some believed that every part of the body, joints and organs and such, had a sort of mini-soul of its own that could be stolen.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:42 No.17391469
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    Frank Zappa bro on MY /tg/?
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:42 No.17391470
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    If you're going to go historically, the Russians are the big bad guys. They conquered Siberia in the east (pic related), Karelia in the west, and even crossed over into Alaska and fought with the Eskimo/Inuit there. The Vikings had a much less stellar record with them - the Norse colonies in Greenland failed for a variety of reasons, but the Inuit were pushing into Greenland at the same time as the Norse were fading, and the Inuit may well have been responsible for their final demise.

    Closer to the norse homelands, some suggest that the Sami/Lapps and their shamans might have been the original inspiration for elves in Norse mythology. There was some contact there, but the Vikings as such were more interested in raiding southward than venturing into the far north.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:44 No.17391471
    Is it so strange to like good music? I'm not the >>17391422 btw, just another fa/tg/uy Zappa fan.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:46 No.17391474
    >sickness was basically caused by missing souls

    So, Reverse Scientology, then?
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:47 No.17391477
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    Don't forget Wendigos.

    Any plan with Wendigos is a good plan, right?
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)04:52 No.17391489
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    But since you brought up "strange shining weapons," let's go in that general direction.

    Around AD 1000, the same time the Norse reached Vinland, big things were happening in northern Canada. The native people of the time, who we call the Dorset culture, were being replaced by guys we call the Thule, or proto-Inuit. Over a few hundred years the Thule went more or less from Alaska to Greenland and the Dorset ceased to exist. Why?

    Well, the Thule were technologically advanced aliens. No, seriously. They came in from another land with bows, which the Dorset didn't know, and hunting tech like toggling harpoons and methods for whaling and ice-hole seal fishing. They had dogs, seem to have lived in larger groups, and were definitely warlike, as opposed to the fairly benign picture we have of the Dorset. The Thule exploited more resources more efficiently and totally outclassed the previous residents in weaponry and (probably) warfare.

    Also, for some reason, the Dorset wore tall, stiff collars instead of hoods, which makes no goddamn sense to me, but there you have it. The point is that the Canadian arctic experienced a massive invasion of well-armed foreigners long before the Europeans got off their asses and over the Atlantic.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)04:59 No.17391513
    That bow looks boss.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:00 No.17391515
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    >So, Reverse Scientology, then?

    Haha, that got me. I can find no flaw in this analogy!

    Anyway, back to souls. The big Inuit cosmological problem was that, as animists, they believed that everything had a soul, and that those souls were generally no lesser than human souls. If you killed a caribou (which is a synonym for Reindeer, if you didn't know), it was just like killing a person. Not "sort of like," EXACTLY like.

    The Inuits had no vegetarians, which meant that they were a society of goddamn murderers, and they feared retribution from the creatures they killed - while animals all had souls, they were also in some sense one big creature; a bear was an individual but was also part of a larger entity of "BEAR."

    To prevent yourself from getting mauled/going hungry, you had to settle your affairs with the departed. You had to treat the dead well and with respect; in some places I read you had to go some distance from the camp if you wanted to sew something, because putting a needle in the caribou's hide was bad news for human-caribou relations and you didn't want to bring that back on your people.

    In one story, an Inuit hunter is actually invited to the dwelling of an animal's mother whose son the hunter had killed. It wasn't tense at all - the mother animal thanked him for giving her son a respectful death, and they had a party and the hunter left with many wonderful gifts to give to his village. It was ok to kill if you did it the right way.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:08 No.17391549
    This is fascinating, please continue Nanook
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:08 No.17391551
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    >That bow looks boss.

    Cable-backed bows were a feat of Thule (proto-Inuit) adaptive engineering. They probably learned the use of the bow from southern native Americans, but up north you choice of material was limited. Bows were made from whatever wood was available, even driftwood, or pieces of antler or whale baleen. As you can imagine, shit sucks. The solution was to reinforce the bow with sinew or plant fiber "cables" running the length of the bow to take stress off the mediocre materials. Cable-backed bows aren't the pinnacle of archery technology, but they were a great solution to the problem of how to make a decent bow in an environment with sub-standard materials.

    Any Polar Setting campaign I ran would be heavily focused on survival and DIY weaponry, and the cable-backed bow really gives a good example of the necessary mentality - in a world of dangerous beasts, harsh climates, and various monsters and giants, the surviving adventurer is the one that can use the sparse resources he has to the best of his ability.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:11 No.17391558
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    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:16 No.17391576
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    You may notice at this point that I'm talking much more about Inuit than eurasian polar cultures, like the sami, yupik, yakut, and so on. That's just because I've read more about the Inuit than the others, and also because the 20th century was kinder to the natives of Canada than those of the Soviet Union, many of whom were forced to give up their nomadic lives and settle in collective farms, and then lost their traditions under Russianization policies. I may try to address them more later, though I'm getting pretty tired so I may hang it up for a while soon.

    Anyway, getting back to souls - all living things had them, but there were also bodiless souls that existed sort of on their own. In Inuit lore these were called tuurngait or tarngek - these are the ones I mentioned that could be good, evil, or anything in between, but in modern usage tuurngait generally means "demon."

    A shaman or anyone with magic powers could communicate with these invisible spirits. He could use them to heal people, or ask them where the nearest game was to make sure nobody went without food. Alternately, he could be a son of a bitch and compel them to make people sick or possess their bodies if his victims weren't properly warded from them.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:19 No.17391589
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    But I've got a fucking white reindeer. What now?
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:24 No.17391610
    >a bear was an individual but was also part of a larger entity of "BEAR."

    "Guys, there's bear outside."
    "So what? We've killed plenty of bear; why are you so worked up?"
    "No, I mean there is BEAR outside."

    As the party leaves the igloo, they can see nothing but the white expanse of tundra. Slowly as their eyes adjust they see the mounds of white snow are thousands of polar bears shambling slowly towards them. Cut off on all sides the frigid winds chill them to the bone, the blowing snow forming nebulous ursine shapes as it howls and roars loudly. Collapsing to the ground in the grip of fear as the snarling beasts approach, their last sight is of the stars and the cold, harsh light of Ursa Major shining down on them.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:25 No.17391612
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    Meh, let's do a few more creatures.

    A tupilaq wasn't a creature so much as a golem. If you wanted to tear someone a new asshole without getting your own hands dirty, you could make a tupilaq from wood, bone, or other materials (though some say they were also made with parts of dead human children). Once imbued with magic, you would then place the object into the sea, whereupon it would become a monster that sought out your enemy and wreaked vengeance upon him.

    The problem was when you sent your monster up against an enemy that had more magical power than you, because then he could seize control of the tupilaq and send it back to get YOU. At this point, you were basically fucked, though it was possible to save yourself by publicly admitting your evil deeds and monster-creating ways; that, apparently, could be enough to get the monster you created off your back. Surviving the wrath of the "public" you admitted this to, however, might be another matter.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:26 No.17391618
    Hah, that's great.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:27 No.17391627
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    The Kilukpuk was a ferocious beast that lived under the ice. It was a monsterous, shaggy thng with two immense tusks it used to bore its way through the frozen ground. The touch of sunlight killed them, hence why you can sometimes find their frozen bodies dead in the surface ice.

    Picture related. The Kilukpuk was the story used to explain frozen mammoth carcasses, and the fact that you can find their reasonably fresh bodies, but never see a live one of these massive reatures.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:30 No.17391637
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:31 No.17391640
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    Most... horrifying...

    Here is an only slightly related (and heavily paraphrased) joke about a Yakut and a Russian.

    A Yakut and a Russian are out hunting for bear. Eventually, they find one, and the Yakut shouts "Run away, run away!" The Russian raises an eyebrow, thinks that's fucking stupid, and kills the bear with one shot.

    "It was stupid for you to run away," says the Russian.

    "No," replies the Yakut, "it was stupid for you to kill it ten miles from camp. But have fun dragging it back, asshole!"
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:35 No.17391651
    Ah Russian humor, nothing quite like it.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)05:40 No.17391667
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    Awesome, I didn't know this one.

    On the lighter(?) side, you could run into the aptly-named Mahaha. "Haha" was likely to be the last thing you ever said, however, because its preferred activity was tickling people to death. Yes, that's right.

    Thin, grotesque, blue, naked, gibbering and giggling, and super-strong, the mahaha would find lone travellers and tickle them to death with its long, black fingernails. Your friends, if they ever found you at all, would discover your frozen corpse fixed with a chilling ear-to-ear grin.

    Fortunately, the Mahaha was not very bright, and you could use this to your advantage. In several stories the Mahaha is outsmarted by someone who tricks it into venturing near a river or waterhole ("Hey, terrifying demon, you look thirsty!") and then pushing it in. Though super-strong, they were apparently not very capable swimmers.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)05:48 No.17391694
    That's terrifying.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)06:01 No.17391743
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    One quote I read about Inuit traditions was "we don't believe; we fear." The Inuits didn't really worship a super Creator or believe in big powerful gods like the Greek pantheon; there were spirits everywhere, and you had to avoid, negotiate with, and sometimes fight them. Living in the polar regions is a hard life - one string of bad luck or rough weather could end in a whole village's starvation. The idea I'm getting is that you didn't worship spirits so much as negotiate, avoid, or - if you had to - fight with them, and there were a lot of spirits and entities out there much more powerful than a man. Maybe that outlook is especially conducive to terrifying monsters?

    Anyway, it's getting late. I'll leave you with two neat pictures of armor, though. Most people don't think of "armor" when they consider north American native warfare, but the Inuits did make armor out of hide, bone, and wood. Some Alaska natives apparently made helmets out of whole wood burls, hollowed out.

    You may be wondering about the "wings" on the armor here; I haven't read any explanation for them, but if I had to guess I suppose I'd guess that they were for protection against arrows. While this guy looks like he's getting ready for some hang-gliding, you'll see in the next pic that when you arms weren't held out it would sort of wrap around you in a rather ingenious manner.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)06:11 No.17391777
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    Is that metal on that armor? It sort of looks like it, but I don't really know. This is a 20th century pic IIRC, so by this time maybe metal had replaced some other materials. Interestingly, the people in this pic are Koryaks from eastern Russia, while the previous armor is Inuit, which gives an example of how some things developed in a similar manner on both sides of the Bering Strait.

    I've got a lot on my plate right now in terms of campaign writing, but I am going to keep coming back to these ideas and try to make a setting of it, with heavy emphasis on survival, mysticism, talking animals, and just generally being a very small human in a very big and dangerous world. If this thread is still around tomorrow I'll definitely drop by and we'll talk reindeer, shamanism, whaling, tripping balls on agaric, and possibly even walrus-dwarves.

    Happy new year!
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)06:13 No.17391786
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    Fucked that copy-paste up a bit and repeated myself. Oh well. Goodnight for real this time.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:37 No.17391839
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    Some inspirational pictures. First a Tlingit copper knife. These were originally made from chunks of native copper using essentially neolithic technology, cutting and grinding mostly, with perhaps a light touch of cold hammering. As trade was established with Europeans and the European colonies, smelted copper became the most common material.

    Somewhat interestingly, while the basic manufacturing methods remained, they also started importing solder, which they learned to use with great skill to attach reinforcing ribs to the blades (with some copper pins to help the solder).
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)06:37 No.17391841
    >The Vikings had a much less stellar record with them - the Norse colonies in Greenland failed for a variety of reasons

    I actually read a book on this a few years back, it's an interesting subject.

    The Norse colonies were successful in that they survived for 450 years, but they weren't widespread. They were limited more than anything else by the availability of both grazing land and by the Norse's stubborn refusal to learn to fish. I can't remember why - they fished at home, but they just... didn't in Greenland. Not to any real extent.

    Eventually they died out when the climate grew colder. The final evidence is pretty grim - one year was so cold they ran short of food, and had to eat all their animals, including the young and the breeding stock. They either all starved or went off and joined inuit tribes - something like 5% of modern Greenland DNA is Norse.

    Interestingly, the Inuit didn't migrate to Greenland until after Norse settlement had begun, so Europeans are technically more "native" to the region than eskimos.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:39 No.17391843
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    Tlingit (IIRC) daggers with reinforcing ribs. From "The Metallurgy of the Tlingit, Dene and Eskimo" by John Witthoft and Frances Eyman: http://www.mediafire.com/?piqepwsqc1x9va1
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:41 No.17391848
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    Chukchee lamellar. Looks ferrous to me.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:42 No.17391852
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:43 No.17391859
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:45 No.17391863
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)06:46 No.17391871
    really there was a huge development of culture in the north tribes has western goods became available

    believe it or not most of the traditional territory and ritual held buy the arctic tribes , is only about 200 years old.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:50 No.17391882
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)06:52 No.17391891
    >Most people don't think of "armor" when they consider north American native warfare, but the Inuits did make armor out of hide, bone, and wood. Some Alaska natives apparently made helmets out of whole wood burls, hollowed out.

    Pretty much everyone in America who's not a native people pushed into living in the Rain Forrest by colonization used armour.

    It's just that the availability of guns made it useless in North America before anyone could be arsed to actually record native culture.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:54 No.17391901
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    Caribou antler club, Alaska, pre 1850.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)06:59 No.17391919
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    Aleut hunting helmet, 19th century.

    >>17391891 It's just that the availability of guns made it useless in North America before anyone could be arsed to actually record native culture.
    Reminds me of two suits of armour sent as diplomatic gifts from Japan to Europe in the early 17th century, which ended up being displayed in Brussels as the armours of Montezuma and his son.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:03 No.17391931
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    Inughuit lance (well, the British museum calls it that at least) with a meteoric iron blade. Collected in 1818.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:04 No.17391941
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:06 No.17391946
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    Some modern day Saami knives.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:07 No.17391953
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:08 No.17391958
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:09 No.17391961
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:10 No.17391964
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)07:12 No.17391967
    also metal working, which would be doubly true for any thing the spainsh touche seeing has in there early periods crossbows where far more common the firearms , and even later on in the pike and shot era

    hide Armour and laminar armor work well against bone and stone and are even effective Against bronze and early iron. but European metallurgy was much to advanced .
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:12 No.17391971
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:20 No.17391995
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    Some pictures I've taken at the Ethnographic museum in Stockholm. A bit of a jolly mix of Aleut, Chukchee and Inuit first, as I didn't document what was what all too well, and can't be arsed to untangle it at the moment.

    Looking at the use of quilted armour in the late middle ages in Europe, and the buff coats of the 17th century, I'd say non-metallic armour can make enough of a difference against steel edges and points that it can be worth the bother. A good hit might still leave you badly wounded, but far from every hit in combat is a good one, and without protection even the cosniderably less than good can still bite quite deep.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:21 No.17391999
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:22 No.17392003
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:23 No.17392006
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:24 No.17392010
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:25 No.17392015
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:26 No.17392019
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)07:28 No.17392023
    History channel can bite me. Thanks for the history lesson OP!

    Those blades look delicious. Armor looks a bit silly. Makes them look like grey shrimp.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:34 No.17392040
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:36 No.17392046
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    Well, you could probably do considerably worse than looking at exoskeletal critters when designing armour.
    >> JC 01/01/12(Sun)07:43 No.17392061
    IIRC [and dont quote me on this]
    Eskimo heaven was underground where it was nice and warm, Hell was in the sky where all the bad stuff that could kill you came from.
    There was some kind of object based magic where the more distance an item travelled in its lifetime the more powerful it became.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:43 No.17392062
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)07:44 No.17392063
    OP confirmed for bestest guy on the internet!
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:47 No.17392070
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:51 No.17392088
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    Stuff collected from the northern shores of Siberia.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)07:51 No.17392093

    You like Saami, or? Watch this film, then: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093668/
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:54 No.17392098
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)07:56 No.17392104

    Is it the one about the bird-women?
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)07:59 No.17392116
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:00 No.17392120

    Bird-wo-... Urh, no, and I am having difficulties grasping what you are talking about. However, it is a movie made by the Saami director Nils Gaup, whom has chronologized many events in the history of the Saami. This movie is based on an old Saami folk tale about a young lad that brought a lot of hostile Chudes (a Finnish-language-speaking people, though they don't speak it in the movie) to other people of his kin, but he managed to beat them by trapping them in an avalanche that killed all of them. It is a classic, and it has a cool old guy who plays a Noaide - a Saami shaman.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:01 No.17392121
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:01 No.17392123
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:02 No.17392126
    Is that some kind of Gastraphetes?
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:02 No.17392129
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:04 No.17392137
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    No real trigger mechanism or anything like that IIRC, so whether you want to look at it as the most primitive crossbow possible, or a stocked shortbow is up to you I guess.
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:08 No.17392156
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:09 No.17392157
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:10 No.17392160
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    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)08:11 No.17392166
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:16 No.17392186
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    A Noaide with a goavddis.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:31 No.17392257
    Toggling Harpoon demonstration - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_RXjf7XXTw
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:34 No.17392276
    This is a good thread. Thanks Nanook and KM!

    >multiple souls and reverse Scientology
    I think many cultures believed in multiple souls. The Chinese did (two souls, one reincarnated and one in the tomb iirc) and I think the Egyptians had five.

    Pic is an Inuit (I think) harpoon from the British Museum.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:35 No.17392283
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    This is why I come to /tg/. Myth, history, creatures, fluff. I've bought 100s of dollars of books relating to role playing games for those reasons. I don't even play the games.

    Please tell me: am I the only one?

    (Relevant topical pic)
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:37 No.17392290
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    Whoops, I'm stupid.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:38 No.17392297

    Here's a closeup of the toggling tip. These are big pictures, by the way.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:39 No.17392303
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    What is it with me today?
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:42 No.17392310
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    Here's the shaft of a harpnn showing the float attached.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)08:48 No.17392345
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    The Sami and Norse have gotten considerably exposed to each other; in fact, there are Norse sagas describing the Sami as "Finnish Wizards". In mythology, they both have a rather similar creatures, like the Stallo and the Troll.

    (pic related: it is a Stallo).
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 01/01/12(Sun)08:49 No.17392348
    You're not the only one.

    By the way, I do love reading about tribal cultures. My mom's an anthropologist, so I may inherit some of her attraction towards culture. Keep on telling us the myths, man! I wanna hear more! Maybe not just the Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Yakut, but also include Ainu!
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)09:00 No.17392380
    sami propaganda
    in norse mythology an elf was a dead human that had been turned into something greater by the gods. the norse taxed the sami and traded with them, if they were the inspiration of any mythic creature it gotta be some kinda small gnometroll
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)09:14 No.17392437

    While it is true the Norse traded with the Saami and taxed them, I have never heard anything about elves being dead humans, sorry. Oh, writing "sami propaganda" as a retort makes you look incredibly bigoted.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)09:24 No.17392477
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    easy for you to say, you dotn have to live the buggers.
    they are such a damn drain of resources. always demanding compensation for all the animal killed by hordes of wolves bears and eagles (all lies, offcourse), demanding payment for the crimes commited on their ancestors and they want to make a sami country in the north with our cities.
    they are not even the native to Norway, there are settlements from people who lived here thousands of years before those nomads popped their head in trhough our door.
    And if you DARE to tell them that they are overstepping their bounds then YOU are the bad guy
    >> KM !hgcMxFhLmk 01/01/12(Sun)09:59 No.17392650
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    >>17392380 in norse mythology an elf was a dead human that had been turned into something greater by the gods

    Huh? Between Alfredsson's Asken Yggdrasil (admittedly a loooong time ago), the old Edda, and the various bits and pieces you tend to get exposed to simply growing up in Sweden I've never heard a word about any such.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)10:07 No.17392689
    Did you cry a lot when your mother told you you couldn't have a big portrait of Breivik on your bedroom wall?
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)10:10 No.17392704
    >writing "sami propaganda" as a retort makes you look incredibly bigoted.
    He's right though.
    Elves have been a part of Germanic religions before they even met the sami.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)11:37 No.17393187
    this is the shit I'm talking about. Let the nomads walk all over you and your culture or else you're a nazi
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)11:38 No.17393193

    I think we've got a documentation problem there.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)12:02 No.17393302
    So learn to voice your complaints in a way which doesn't make it sound like you're looking for a final solution. Not making it a race issue when you have a problem with specific policies pushes by some organisations would be a good start.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)12:35 No.17393484
    that organisation is the sami
    they have a sami council here, you know
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)15:36 No.17394628
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    Goodness, this thread almost turned into /pol/ overnight.

    Regarding Sami and the Elves - the important thing to remember is that "elves" in Norse (or any other) mythology is not one unitary and fixed idea. The idea of what an "elf" was changed enormously from place to place and over a period of hundreds of years. Sami shamans may have been pulled into the "elf" mythology in one place but not another; determining the inspiration or influence on myths is not as easy as opening book jackets and seeing which one was written first.

    In any case, as I have said before I'm no expert; I've been writing things that I read, not claiming that I know best.

    >KM's pics

    Those are some great finds! My GIS-fu is weak compared to this. I'm definitely saving those for when I get to equipment for the setting.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)16:01 No.17394831
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    One of my favorites Inuit stories is of Sedna.

    There are many different variations on this story, but in all of them there is a woman (who may or may not be called Sedna) who ends up marrying one or more animals. Initially, she is married to a dog, in some stories because she refused all possible human suitors and her father was set on marrying her off somehow. She has children with the dog; some are human-like, and some are dog-like. In some versions of the story she has "hybrid" children too, who look like humans with dog-legs or some other mix. This creature is called an Adlet, and in some cultures it is equated with the native Americans of the southern lands. In eastern Inuit lore, the woman's human-children are the ancestors of the Inuit, while the dog-children are the ancestors of the Europeans; this was probably a post-contact adaptation of an original pre-contact myth.

    In other myths, she doesn't marry a dog at all, but is tricked into marrying a raven who disguses itself as a prosperous man. When her father finds out, he rescues her in his boat, but the raven stirs up a great storm. Fearful for his life, the father throws Sedna overboard, but she clings onto the boat with her fingers. (cont.)
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)16:06 No.17394862
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    The father, whose fear for his life apparently outweighs all other considerations, cuts off his daughter's fingers with his knife. Sedna sinks into the water, and her severed fingers become the seals.

    Sedna then becomes the goddess of the seals and other aquatic creatures, but without fingers it's terribly difficult for her to brush her long hair. One of the duties of the shaman, then, is to fly down to the depths where Sedna lives and comb her tangled locks, in the hope that the grateful goddess won't stir up any storms to ruin the village's hunting expedition.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)17:28 No.17395573
    speaking of sami, I know a tale of a evil Æter Noaide (oe something like that. years since I heard it) anyways, it means he was an evil shaman. and when he dun' died the sami rejoiced. But he got up at night to wreak havoc among them and there was no more rejoicing in camp... then one day comes a trader to them and they beg him to take the body to some blessed soil and bury him there. the trader agrees and puts the body on a sleigh behind his own.
    BUT...long before he gets even close to the holy ground, night falls and he looks in horror as the body if the evil shaman raises to stare at him with empty eye sockets
    "dad people are NOT ALLOWED....to sit UP!" he shouts at it and it lies back down. this happens again later and again...but the third time the dead shaman does not back off. Knowing that this is it, the trader leaps out of sleigh and starts climbing the nearest tree. Unable to climb, the body starts chewing on the tree, until it is about to fall down!
    But again does the trader show his will to live by jumping to the next tree! this goes on all night 'til there is but one tree left in the woods and just as the abomination starts chewing...the sun rises! with an soundless scream the creature rushes back to its hide coffin, to shield itself from the rays of light. the trader congratulates himself on a night well spent and reaches the holy ground the same day, there he pulls out the creatures toenails and buries it and verily did he gain a level.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)19:01 No.17396419
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    Speaking of shamans, that's probably a good topic to hit as my multi-day ramble continues.

    "Shaman" and "shamanism" are pretty widespread terms nowadays, referring to everything from American indian medicine men to WoW characters. When European ethnographers first started talking about "shamanism," however, it was in reference to the practices of Siberian peoples; the term has spread to other places by analogy since then, in the same way that we now use "feudalism" to refer to cultures quite distant from the classical locus of feudalism in Europe. Just like feudalism, "shamanism" is a hotly debated term, in large part because it's a generalization of many different religious and cultural practices that have substantial differences from one another.

    As I have repeated multiple times, I'm not an expert. Still, it seems wisest to start a discussion of shamanism with the place where the term first began to be applied, among the peoples of Siberia and the Russian Far East.

    A definite GOOD END. The harmful effects of light draw a sort of vampirism parallel that I hadn't heard of before.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)19:16 No.17396528
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    If I had to define the basic concept of shamanistic traditions, it would be this: There are spirits, and entire supernatural realms of said spirits, and the spirits in these realms are capable of affecting people and animals both positively and negatively. The job of the shaman is to serve as a messenger or intermediary between men and spirits, someone who can communicate with them and travel to their realms to solve problems, gain knowledge, and seek answers.

    In a shamanistic culture, the problems of the people are essentially spiritual problems. If game is scarce, it means that the spirits of the game are upset with men and are refusing to allow themselves to be caught, or that the animal spirits are hiding and need to be "found" and coaxed out so game will become plentiful again. If someone is sick, it's because one of (or part of) their soul(s) is missing, or because they have been possessed by a spirit that doesn't belong there, and the shaman needs to sort out the situation. If a woman is having trouble conceiving, it's because the baby's soul hasn't come yet or is lost somewhere, and the shaman needs to find its soul. In all cases it's about restoring balance and putting spirits back where they belong.

    D&D players like me may automatically think "DRUID" when they hear about "the balance," but a shaman wasn't a protector of nature for nature's sake - he sought balance because imbalance created sickness and problems.

    Of course, a shaman - or one with similar powers - could also put things where they aren't supposed to belong, and from this comes the idea of the evil shaman or the user of "black magic." It's not really that the art or process is any different, it's that the wicked magician upsets the balance instead of trying to maintain it.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)19:55 No.17396830
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    So how did you become a shaman? Well, in the Inuit tradition, it was generally something you chose. You might receive visions or other signs "encouraging" you to become a shaman, or at least indicating that you would be a potentially powerful one if you chose that path.

    In many Siberian shamanistic cultures, however, it wasn't really an option. You'd get "shaman sickness" - you would get progressively more and more ill, with other symptoms like being haunted by strange dreams, weeping uncontrollably, chanting in your sleep, losing strength or even the ability to stand, or hallucinating while awake. Some sources use "torture" do describe the condition instead of "sickness." The only way to cure yourself was to begin the life of a shaman; only the duties and activities of a shaman would make the sickness go away, which some believed was caused by the souls of other (dead) shamans.

    This was a life-long condition; some shamans have been interviewed and stated that if they went for a long period of time without practicing as a shaman, the sickness came back to them.

    The Unwilling Shaman could certainly make for an interesting character. Most PCs WANT to do what they do, but a shaman in some cultures might have very little choice in the matter.
    >> Nanook 01/01/12(Sun)20:23 No.17397017
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    The fact that there was a position of "shaman" in the society, however, didn't mean that they alone could communicate with the spiritual realms. "Normal" people might still have encounters with spirits, monsters, animal-people, or other supernatural entities; among the Inuit, a person might "study" to be a shaman but ultimately not become one, yet still be more attuned to the spiritual world than the average person. The shaman was trained to be an intermediary, but he was not the only thing that straddled those worlds.

    I keep saying "he" but shamanism was not necessarily a Men Only club. Some cultures had female shamans, and in some traditions women were even considered to be potentially more powerful shamans than men. Just as they straddled the boundary between worlds, they occasionally straddled the border between the sexes; some Chukchi shamans dressed or acted like the opposite of their biological sex. This starts getting into tricky and technical territory, so I won't go too far out of my depth here, but there's plenty to read about cross-gender shamans and "two-soul" people in many native traditions if you're interested.
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 01/01/12(Sun)21:41 No.17397692
    Any more legends/myths and stuff?
    Got any Kalevala?
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)21:43 No.17397716
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    you can find it all in english online
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 01/01/12(Sun)21:47 No.17397758
    wait what
    they got a comic out of that?
    How about the Bogatyr? Do they count?
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)21:48 No.17397767
    I have always felt I would be right at home being a shaman...
    what with me having these periods of no sleep, tons of coffee and strange spirit journeys (aka: crazy ramblings at 5 in the morning about pink fuzzy mountain spiders in my ceiling)
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)21:50 No.17397781
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    that there is from donald duck, my friend. and that shit is awesome.
    you can find it online too.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)21:51 No.17397803
    Unless I'm mistaken, which I'm not, that panel is from the Don Rosa Scrooge McDuck comic about the Kalevala. As usual, it is awesome.
    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)21:52 No.17397808
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    >> Anonymous 01/01/12(Sun)23:28 No.17397885
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    >Any more legends/myths and stuff? Got any Kalevala?
    Unfortunately, the European northern cultures (Sami, Finns) are the ones I'm least familiar with; I've done the most reading on the Inuit and the second most on the Yakut and other Siberan/RFE (Russian Far East) groups. I'm not familiar with the Kalevala, but any fa/tg/uys who are are welcome to jump in.

    As far as myths, I'll look around and see what else I've got.

    I should look into this.

    Well, shamanism sometimes was accompanied by certain substances. Though people sometimes associate Amanita muscaria, aka fly agaric (pic related) with Norse berserkers, that's really just speculation; the only real strong documentation of fly agaric use is by shamans in Siberian cultures (though not all Siberian groups used it). Where it was used, it was usually as a "trance shortcut," a way to communicate and move on a spiritual level apart from the usual drum, dance, and/or chanting rituals. Some RFE groups used it in a non-shamanic capacity as well, in ceremonies or celebrations. The Koryak people are often cited as commonly using agaric, so they might be worth a search if you're interested in learning more.

    I've heard of some groups in which the shaman would eat the mushroom and pass it on to others via urine (that is, they would drink his urine, with the psychoactive chemicals in it), but I haven't read data on how common or widespread this particular practice was.
    >> Nanook 01/02/12(Mon)00:27 No.17398125
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    The Ke'let are "demons" in Chukchi mythology that hunt men, much like a man hunts game. I've never read an exact description of their appearance, but one gathers that they are a bit like ogres - big, generally man-like, and not altogether bright. They, like some other evil creatures, were believed to be the result of evil people who hungered for companionship after death and so tried to steal the souls of those they had known in life.

    There are a lot of Chukchi stories involving the Ke'let. In one of them, a young man encounters a Ke'let just after he has caught a small seal. They match wits briefly, and the encounter ends when the demon invites the man to "eat some liver" with him, which sounds like pretty bad news for the protagonist. The young man agrees, but says he needs to fetch his knife from his boat. This the demon allows, but when the man reaches his boat he also grabs the seal he caught and stuffs it in his clothing. The man then takes the knife and pretends to cut himself open and pull out his own liver, but he's really just cutting open the seal beneath his shirt. Not to be outdone, the Ke'let grabs its own knife and proceeds to disembowel itself. As it turns out, extracting your own liver is fatal even for a demon.

    This isn't the only story to portray demons as somewhat mentally deficient; in another tale, a woman is advised by the spirit of her dead neighbor that the Ke'let are coming for her. At his instructions, she kills her dog, makes a circle around the house with its blood, and the demons are convinced that the blood is really a deep river and turn back.

    As with some of the previous stories I've posted from Inuit lore, the broad conclusion is that humans survive among these monsters with their wits, not their brawn. Fearsome and strong creatures seem to be outwitted or tricked far more often than they are just outright slain by a mighty hero in a stand-up fight.
    >> Nanook 01/02/12(Mon)00:36 No.17398167
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    On a side note, the wikipedia entry for the ke'let says they occasionally have fire-breathing reindeer with them. I haven't seen that in any other source so I don't really know where that came from, but I've included one artist's interpretation.
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 01/02/12(Mon)01:19 No.17398442
    Haha, sounds like a Predator got tricked.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)01:24 No.17398464
    The only thing I know much of regarding the Inuit is their exceptionally Orky diet that is very heavy in raw meat and fat, with occasionally foraged berries and herbs. (Naturally, agriculture isn't much of an option in the permafrost.)
    >> Nanook 01/02/12(Mon)01:56 No.17398636
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    Yep, that's about right. You can see virtually the same thing in other northern cultures - the Sami relied on fish and reindeer meat, and siberian peoples were equally dependent on reindeer. From one source on the Chukchi:

    "Raw meat made up the bulk of their diet, supplemented with berries and deer-maggots in summer, and with blood-pudding mixed with roots and fish-heads in winter."

    Fortunately, a high-meat (and thus high-fat) diet is useful in cold environments where you have to burn a lot of energy just to keep your temperature up. Furthermore, if you've ever hiked around in snow for long periods of time, you'll know that it gets very tiring very quickly.
    >> Nanook 01/02/12(Mon)02:11 No.17398709
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    4chan keeps fucking with me and I've sort of run out of steam anyway, so I will say farewell. I hope you've found some idea or inspiration from this thread.

    If not, well, I did give you a fire-breathing reindeer.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:01 No.17399033
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    Old finnish pagans believed in magical power of origins and true names. If you said bear's or wolf's true name instead of an euphemism it might come for you.

    Likewise in Kalevala the eternal sage Väinämöinen becomes wounded by iron arrow and must look for a healer. When he finds one the healer can't heal him until he tells origin story of iron. Knowing the mythical origins of things gave people power over them. Battles between sages in Kalevala were essentially singing battles of knowledge.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:07 No.17399071
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    >singing battles of knowledge

    That... would be pretty cool, as long as you could make the actual mechanic more interesting than "let's roll knowledge checks until someone bites it."

    How would a singing knowledge battle go, then? Any examples of these battles, and what kind of knowledge they were dueling with?
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:12 No.17399092

    Old sage vs young upstart. Geezer sings the brat to a swamp and gets brat's sister for not drowning him.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:22 No.17399161
    To be precise Joukahainen loses because his songs are just old wives' tales and gossip about the world and utter lies about world's creation. Väinämöinen being the bard supreme breaks out ancient songs of bearded heroes that only the few eldest know and utterly fucks up his opposition.

    So the battles would start as battles of singing poems about the nature of the world and possibly escalate to full blown battles of singing songs of great magic if the loser doesn't acknowledge the other his better in knowledge.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:39 No.17399276
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    Well since the battles are about workings of the world you'd have to flesh out pretty damn well about how the world was created (in great detail that is), what sort of mythical causes for natural things (finns thought bears came from the sky and could reincarnate if you helped them back to the sky) and finally create and utterly horrendous listing of tiers about what knowledge trumps others.

    Since it's singing battles we're talking about one's knowledge about certain area of the world (like animals or creation) should be broad so as to allow them to actually sing magnificent songs. One or two things don't make a great songs without all the bloody details (like singing the origins of iron).
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:43 No.17399296
    Bumping because this thread has been a great read.
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 01/02/12(Mon)03:47 No.17399329
    >finns thought bears came from the sky and could reincarnate if you helped them back to the sky
    Welp, anyone up for piling these dead bears onto a catapult and throw them high to the sky so our enemies get a live bear rain?
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)03:50 No.17399348
    Actually they just ate the flesh, burned the bones and someone crazy enough went to put the bear's skull on top of a tree so the bear's soul could reach the heavens.
    >> Indonesian Gentleman 01/02/12(Mon)03:53 No.17399364
    But think if this superstition/belief carries over to the space age. People would try to sneak bear skulls into cargo holds, or maybe embed the bear skull in the ship's hull so the ship receives protection from the bear-spirit or something.
    Fuck, let's take any 'tribal' setting, and fast-forward them into the space age, we can get an interesting kind of space opera here!
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)04:16 No.17399451
    Or shamans with degree in engineering and computer sceince could build tupilaq-drone from scrap metal an dspare parts and have it ram someone.
    >> Nanook 01/02/12(Mon)04:21 No.17399477
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    There's got to be some way to make this an awesome ability for in-game shaman duels. I am definitely keeping this in mind.

    That reminds me of a Russian account that Chukchi wives would climb up tall rocks in the dark, make towers upon them out of antlers, climb up the antler-towers, and stand on top with a lantern to guide their husbands home from hunting.

    The Chukchi were pretty badass in general. Their stories are full of people killing each other in various horrific fashions; the demon-self-disembowelment is pretty tame as Chukchi stories go. Historically, they were IIRC the only northern native people that actually got a formal truce out of the Russian Empire after completely annihilating a Russian expedition Little Bighorn-style and stubbornly resisting any attempt to subjugate them. They weren't truly crushed until the 20th century.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)05:59 No.17399914
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    >Finnish mythology
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)10:04 No.17401286
    See this shit right here? This is awesome. This is Tinglit armor circa 1750, made from Ming-dynasty coins sewed to a leather vest. The square holes in the middle were very convenient that way.
    >> Anonymous 01/02/12(Mon)10:05 No.17401287
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    Oh gawd, forgot my pic

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