The Bear Tribes

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The Bear Tribes

Post  Berserker on Mon May 13, 2013 1:49 am

South of Adrila, between the Grey Marshes and the Gothic Kingdom, dwells a wild and simple people. Living off what they hunt and what edible plants they can find, they lead a primitive style of life and would happily do so if it weren't for the many people who infringe upon their territories. These people belong to the Bear Tribes, the followers of the Bear God Ursar.

Culture
Most studies of the Bear Tribes are superficial and biased at best, with scholars writing them off as simple brutes, little better than the monkeys of the northern jungles.  Their reasons may be sensible; the Bear Tribes are usually led by the greatest warrior among them, and they are often seen wearing little more than furs to keep them warm in their harsh homeland. However, they are more cultured than they seem at first glance. Their belief in their god makes them gather every new moon to listen to their shaman speak, and afterwards have a great feast where they consume simple alcoholics and great amounts of meat. It is also common for representatives of the tribes to hold an annual gathering dangerously near the Rockden province, in order to determine what stance the tribes should have towards their neighbours this year. Finally, they hold a deep reverence for the dead, and more than one Adrilan explorer have found deep, extremely elaborate caves dug out specifically to house the tribes' dead.  Naturally, these near-mausoleums are coveted by necromancers from Khaerum, and the Bear Tribes have begun transporting their dead towards the Grey Marshes solely to avoid the cowardly tomb robbers desecrating the fallen.

Warfare
During times of war, the Bear Tribes have been known - in fact grown famous - for their habit of charging the enemy lines atop grizzled bears. These bears are usually living in the wilderness, out of contact with humans at all, but when the shaman call for them, they come, eager for war. None have yet understood how the shaman manage this feat, but theories imply the bears and the tribesmen act as guardians of the wild, and when a threat rises, both understand they must work together to keep their lands safe. And the results of that are extremely effective; where lines and lines of spearmen may easily intimidate a force of knights from charging, the Bear Tribes' slower, lumbering charges shatters enemy morale like little else. The bears' thick hides and hulking forms can take much more punishment than a horse, and unlike the horse can kill a man with a single swipe. The riders are dangerous as well, wielding long spears they use to protect their mounts from enemies aiming for weak spots. The Bear Tribes aren't numerous, and if their charge fails, they often have no choice than to retreat, a difficult action against enemies fielding faster cavalry.
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