The Jia Than
Stalwart Defenders of the Frozen South
The Jia-Than (or the Cathay, to outsiders) are a proud, resilient, unassuming people that until about a century ago were looked at as brainless barbarians by other civilizations. Living in the cold South has made the warmth of hospitality a societal need; visitors are treated with honor and generosity, barring any bad manners on the part of the one visiting. The Jia-Than as a culture have a certain liking of heroes, and many of their poems and songs are about great men who lived long ago. Jia-Than communal spirit is apparent in their love of festivals, where entire villages gather to wrestle, race horses, and, of course, hold competitions of marksmanship. Marriage is a simple and loving ideal in Jia-Than society; women are equal in power to men in the household, though generally it is assumed that they will stand behind their husband in his decisions. There are various documented cases of young Jia-Than widows taking their husbands’ place in his former unit, so long as the widow lacks children to care for and is fit to fight.
The Jia-Than are distinctly medium in skin tone, with darker features such as their hair, which varies from light brown to black and eyes that vary from yellow to black. Hardily built, they stand at fairly average heights of 5’6” to 5’10” for males and 5’2” to 5’6” for females. Their facial features seem serious and grim for the most part, with piercing eyes. Facial hair is considered attractive on males, and broad jaw lines are appreciated, with narrow eyes and round faces considered ideal for females.
About two centuries ago, the Jia-Than began expanding their territory immensely under a charismatic, shrewd warrior king. However, a century later, when the empire was at its largest , civil war tore the newly united empire apart. The Jia-Than have since reunited, but their lands have returned to something like their original dimensions due to an inability to keep a military presence in newly conquered territories. They have for the last few decades had constant skirmished with The Isians due to territory disputes over their northern lands. Their relations with the Makramosa are nearly nonexistent due to distance, and they keep a cool peace with The Ana-Tori and The Maarduni, whose lands they once encroached upon during the imperial days.
The Jia-Than value authority and law in their society, with loyalty being an admirable trait; thusly, the Jia-Than tend toward Lawful alignments. However, there are exceptions – Chaotic Jia-Than tend to venture outside of Jia-Than territory in order to find cultures in which they are more accepted.
The Jia-Than occupy the southern and southeastern parts of Maratus, where they hunt in the region’s endless forests for game. Harsh currents make the eastern seas virtually impassible, while the southern seas are unfathomably cold and thought to be home to all manner of terrible creatures. They are bordered by mountains to the north, with only small passes to defend from Isian encroachment. To the west are the Marduuni, who for the most part leave the Jia-Than to their own affairs in an unspoken nonaggression pact.
The majority of the Jia-Than practice a shamanistic religion, and community leaders are often Spirit Shamans; they also practice ancestor worship to a great extent. The Jia-Than are a somewhat superstitious people, and they are especially fond of reading the stars and clouds for good and bad omens. They avoid talking about other people in a negative manner, for fear of any spirits watching over those they talk about becoming angry with them. Worship of the common pantheon is extremely rare except in territories bordering other civilizations; in such cases, Rictaris is worshiped as a bringer of law, and Cedos is worshiped as the one who watches over their ancestors in the afterlife.
The Jia-Than language, Than-Duar, is somewhat coarse sounding, using throaty sounds and hard consonants habitually in its phonology. It is fairly easy to learn because its grammatical patterns are simple, logical, and methodical. It is theorized that Than-Duar (or at least its grammar) is in fact artificial, enforced upon the Jia-Than early on in their history by a harsh ruler. Near the borders of the Jia-Than Collective, different dialects tend to have grammatical quirks unlike the characteristic simplicity of the central dialect. Than-Duar is written vertically using angular, sharp looking runes.
Jia-Than generally only have two names: a “surname,” which for men is their father’s first name and for women is their mother’s first name, and a given name, which is chosen from two words by the parents or by a shaman. Jia-Than names are often qualities the parents would like to see in their child, or names deemed auspicious by an authority. Generally, because of the uniqueness of Jia-Than names, the given name is enough for general use, and the “surname” is left unused or abbreviated to the first syllable.
Bataar, Chardim, Darakh, Faarash, Gherat, Holhesh, Ichtet, Jeshu, Khatam, Mrathat, Nadath, Olkhan, Patrakh, Ratar, Shirlaht, Thaolt, Ukhret, Valkhesh, Yakhelt
Amil, Balha, Dala, Echka, Fhata, Ghela, Hosha, Iach, Jitha, Kelma, Maana, Nathi, Oa, Rhana, Sheia, Thalkha, Ulrha, Vahe
Jia-Than adventurers are often the children of Jia-Than families displaced by the implosion of the strong empire they once had. Because Jia-Than at points face alienation – and even hostility, at points – in the territories they once conquered, these descendants are often displaced and decide to make a life elsewhere. Common classes for the Jia-Than are the Druid, Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Sorcerer, Spirit Shaman, Shugenja, and Wu Jen classes.
Jia-Than Racial Traits
- Medium: As Medium creatures, Jia-Than have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Jia-Than base land speed is 30 feet.
- 1 extra feat at 1st level.
- 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
- Automatic Language: Jia-Than, Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.
- Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass Jia-Than takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.
- Eagle Eyes: Spot becomes a class skill, regardless of skill.