The Raltumans are semi-barbarian fishers and farmers. Though they have no great shipbuilding industry, they are great sailors, and their high-masted barques are a common sight all up and down the western coast of Alastari. The women, children and old men fish along the streams and banks, while the men sail their ships out to sea. The barque resembles an enclosed longship and can be rowed or put under sail. It is extremely seaworthy.
The Raltumans are comparatively primitive, living in small villages. They are a fun-loving, friendly people, willing to offer generous hospitality to travelers. They value privacy highly, and one thing that can get you thrown out of a Raltuman home or hostel is asking too many questions. A Raltuman will not offer help unless requested, though they will gladly give assistance to anyone they consider truly needy. (The punchline to a lot of jokes about the Raltumans is "But you didn't ask!") Though warlike in the past, modern Raltumans are peace-loving folk. Along the southern border they have intermarried with the Convincians, and there is no hard-and-fast border between the two nations. Quiet and reclusive, almost standoffish, around strangers, when in the company of friends, Raltumans enjoy tales, stories and jokes. Their sense of humor runs to the physical, and they are often considered "country bumpkins" by the more civilized Andorian nations. Raltumans are very much impressed by the Frafrejan Empire and still send one fish in every hundred to Fratsfa in tribute. In their desire to appear fashionable Raltuman nobles sometimes come off as bizarre parodies of their Frafrejan neighbors,
In modern Raltumas, women are forbidden to own or sail a barque, and merely to have one set foot in the smallest rowboat is tremendous bad luck. At one time, before the last chaos war, the Raltumans were fearsome pirates and sea raiders. In those days female-crewed ships were common. The Raltuman pirates took slaves from every port and their homeland was a marvel of architecture and magic. One of these raiding ships, according to legend crewed by female sailors, struck at the city of Cundi, across the western sea. Cundi was the home of a powerful cabal of wizards, who had happened to be far from their home on the day of the raid--when they returned and found their town in ruins, they struck the Raltuman homeland with destruction magic until every city of size was completely destroyed. The Raltumans were reduced to barbarism overnight. Incidentally, the hellfire strikes panicked several other Alastarian nations, and set off the most recent Chaos War which proceeded to reduce most of the neighboring nations to barbarism as well.
Only those Raltumans who happened to be at sea during the war survived sane. Eventually the scattered raiders coalesced into a fleet, and returned home, only to find their land in ruins. The crew of the ship which had raided Cundi was blamed for the destruction; in consequence, all Raltuman women were forbidden to bear arms or sail.
After some years at sea, the Raltuman fleet was riddled with disease, malnutrition and famine. At last, out of desperation, they put to shore on the great peninsula north of Convincia. The Frafrejan Empire allowed the refugees to settle there and begin to rebuild.
Raltuman nobility are those who can afford to support more than one boat and more than one wife. The more wives a Raltuman noble can afford, the higher his status in the community. Indeed, if a noble cannot afford to support more than one wife, the king is likely to declare his title void. A noble, or someone aspiring to that status, will generally add the number of wives his father had to his surname--i.e. Stev Artor Two Family, or Stev Artor Four Family. A village is generally inhabited by two or more extended families, known as "fleets." A fleet will usually lay claim to at least two campsite/villages, and will move from one to the other over the course of several years, allowing the streams and fields of the unused sites to lie fallow and replenish themselves. Poaching on another fleet's site is a serious crime. A fleet is governed by the eldest men of the families involved. Ideally a fleet will own one site for each family in it, and leadership of the fleet rotates according to which site it is currently living in.
The Raltuman "king"--their representative to the Imperial Concordance of the Andorian League--is chosen yearly at the winter solstice festival, and his qualifications usually have more to do with his capacity for rice wine and tall tales than statesmanship.
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