The Ha’ah’oO culture is a general overview of the contemporary culture of the Northwest Rainforest Sasquatches, specifically pertaining to those likely to be involved in the crossroads setting.
Background Skills: Acrobatics, Climb, Intimidate, Knowledge (Nature), Perception, Stealth, Survival
Background Feats: Elusive, Endurance, Lucid Dreamer, Musk, Rugged Northerner,
Native Language: Ha’ah’oO
Bonus Languages: Zhongwen
Mandates: Replanting a portion of a harvested plant, Retrieving a corpse for proper burial.
Taboos: Killing an animal for food or materials, Cutting or knocking down a living tree.
Special: A Ha’ah’oO sasquatch’s native terrain is always Forest.
Ha’ah’oO look like normal sasquatches, but the appearance of white-furred sasquatches is slightly more common in this region.
Ha’ah’oO wear very little in the way of clothing, their fur serving just fine for the task at most time. Their cultural ban against killing animals for food or materials leaves them with little to make clothing of on their own. They may wear jewelry or cords of woven or knotted vines and fibers tied around the neck, upper arm, waist, or ankle, sometimes with wooden or stone pendants or amulets, sometimes dyed bright colors. Ha’ah’oO who regularly deal with the Fusangren may don loincloths or Fusangese clothes they’re traded for previously, out of respect for the sensibilities of the humans, but almost all of them find clothes uncomfortable over fur.
Ha’ah’oO are fastidious about remaining clean. Each day after they return from gathering, Ha’ah’oO pair off, usually within the clan, but sometimes with a close friend or a lover, and groom each other. These pairs often eat and chat casually while they groom one another. In addition to this regular grooming, four times in each lunar cycle, a clan will gather together and travel to a nearby river, stream, or pond, and bathe thoroughly. Trade from Fusang gives them more access to grooming products, such as combs, perfumes, and oils, which are all very popular gifts between lovers.
Ha’ah’oO are exceptionally laid back by sasquatch standards. They dwell in a fertile forest, where the land offers more than enough for them all to survive, and since the Fusangese diseases swept through and devastated the human populations, they have very little to fear in the woodlands. Some clans still keep to the traditions of secrecy out of fear that the human numbers will rebound, but many more have all but forgotten them, walking openly and freely through the forests and enjoying its bounty.
Ha’ah’oO have strong cultural beliefs about good and evil, established by the dreamwalker council hundreds of years ago. A central tenant of this code is that all lives are sacred, and that the potential life of any one creature is as valuable as any other. This code says that to kill an animal for meat, hide, or any material from its body, is an expression of greed and pride. When the plants all around can easily support them, eating animals is unnecessary, and shows that one believes their momentary pleasure or convenience to be more valuable than the entire future life of the animal. The code does allow one to kill in self-defense, or to put a dying animal or plant out of its misery, and nothing forbids the eating or use of that animal, or any dead animal one encounters, it only forbids the Ha’ah’oO from hunting and killing the animals. Their beliefs also forbid them from killing a living tree, and while killing some plants is unavoidable in order to survive, the code requires them to replant the seeds or a portion of the tuber from any plant they eat, to ensure the plants they eat continue to thrive. Their respect for life does not apply to clams, such as geoduck, which they view as, essentially, tubers, a point of view they justify by saying the clams have no real potential future they ruin.
The daily life of the vast majority of Ha’ah’oO consists of gathering. As the sun sets, they awaken in their cave homes, and make their way out into the forest, where they spend between half and two-thirds of the night gathering and eating the fruits, berries, and vegetables the forest offers them, making sure to get enough extra to support the clan elders and specialists. When they return, they groom each other and socialize, often romantically, until sunrise, when they begin to settle in to sleep. Some clans that deal with Fusangren more closely may take on a diurnal schedule to accommodate the bald ones.
Arts and Crafts Edit
As they do not hunt, and do not cut down healthy trees, Ha’ah’oO crafts are limited by the availability of materials. They may use strips of birch bark for canvases, painting them with dyes made from berries and certain mixtures of minerals. They also work in stone and clay, sculpting beautiful figures, pottery, and statues. Ha'ah'oO are somewhat more open to larger works of sculpture and beauty, being more permanently settled than most of their neighbors.
Ha'ah'oO have never been particularly strong in terms of technology. Their large hands and great strength make it difficult to manipulate some more intricate and delicate sorts of technology. However, their ties to the Fusangren allow them access to a greater amount of technology than most.
Ha'ah'oO have strong priestly and druidic traditions, most clans having at least one priest, druid, or chosen among their numbers. Ha'ah'oO are particularly innovative in the field of dream magic, their priests developing spells that allow them to communicate through dreams or even mastering techniques to project their souls to the spirit world whenever they sleep.
Ha'ah'oO wage war with the same tactics as most sasquatches, however, they are much more reluctant to move out of a settlement, and more reluctant to resort to lethal measures, usually putting more emphasis on nonlethal deterrence and sabotage. Ha'ah'oO warriors seek forgiveness from a priest after a battle where they kill an enemy and explain why it was unavoidable. If the priest forgives, they perform a ritual wherein their hands are ritually washed of the blood of their enemies and their souls are cleansed.
Ha'ah'oO regard death the same way as moth sasquatches, but they typically do not bury their dead. Rather, the dead one is placed upon a small raft, and their clan prepares for the mourning. Those that are able will follow the raft as it flows downstream, all the way to the sea if possible, trading stories about the fallen and keeping the raft from becoming stuck. When the body reaches the sea, there is a final send-off on the shore while the body drifts away onto the water.
Ha'ah'oO have leadership traditions similar to most sasquatches, but the 'Hunt Chief is called the 'Gathering Chief', and has a less important role, as they place less emphasis on stealth. Some more liberal clans will not have a gathering chief at all, their tasks being instead passed to the wise chief.
Ha'ah'oO have a peculiar tradition they take part in during late summer. The young ones of the clan gather on a shallow section of a stream. An elder designated a number of them as 'bears' and marks their hands with red powdery dye. The bears position themselves in the water, and the rest of the participants are signaled to run, and charge through the shallow water, trying to avoid being tagged by the 'bears', their touches leaving red hand-prints on the tagged. If any make it through the gauntlet untagged, they are celebrated as champions for the night, but if there are none, the 'bears' are celebrated in their place. It's believed that if the runners win, it's a good omen for the salmon run, and if the 'bears' win, it's a bad omen. Ha'ah'oO celebrate the Sleeper's Feast like other sasquatch cultures, and the centerpiece dish of the feast is usually the post-spawning salmon, sometimes smoked to make it last.
Other Races Edit
Ha'ah'oO are much closer with their human neighbors than most sasquatch groups. The dreamwalker council officially allied them with the human nation of Fusang, which has led to a gradual but undeniable blending of the races. Most Ha'ah'oO rarely see human visitors in their forested homes, but some particularly rugged individuals, such as some martial artists, may move into the forests to live the simple life. Similarly, Ha'ah'oO, particularly the younger ones, may travel to the human lands to experience the thrilling, exciting lives of humans. However, most Ha'ah'oO bristle under the idea of needing to work constantly to support themselves, and may feel lost without the presence of their extended clans. While the individuals aren't particularly common in each other's lands, some cultural transmission and trade allows ideas to flow back and forth, gradually shaping both sides.
Ha'ah'oO are strongly spiritual, with a well-defined religious structure, led by a pantheon of the three greatest spirits, the Ocean, the Sky, and their child, the Forest. Paying proper respect to these three and the multitude of smaller spirits ensures that their homeland remains fertile and abundant with life. In recent years, some of those with closer contact with humans have either adopted Buddhism entirely, or adopted a few select traits from the religion, combining them into their existing religious structure, such as reincarnation.
History and Folklore Edit
In ancient times, the Ha'ah'oO were one of the most violent sasquatch cultures, a fractured collection of warring bands that fought each other and the humans when they arrived. Their folklore tells of how the first dreamwalker council was formed, by three wise chiefs who projected their souls to the spirit world to seek wisdom. Each went to one of the three great spirits, and asked how they could solve the troubles plaguing their people. Each spirit refused to answer at the time, promising it would be revealed in the future, and instead shared their wisdom on many things with the dreamwalkers. When the long sleep neared its end, the great spirits told them to journey to a specific clearing when they awoke, and told them they would find the answer they sought. When the dreamwalkers arrived, they found the other dreamwalkers. At first, they argued about who would receive the answer promised by the great spirits, but as they waited, and waited, and waited, they began to talk, sharing knowledge and stories, and eventually, they realized the spirits weren't going to reveal the answer, they'd given it to them in each other. The three joined together and set about converting the rest of the Ha'ah'oO to their new philosophy.
Ha'ah'oO speak Ha'ah'oO, which is highly similar to other sasquatch languages, though it incorporates some additional loanwords from Zhongwen.
Written Language Edit
Some Ha'ah'oO have attempted to adapt their words into a collection of characters similar to those from Zhongwen, but with added notation to indicate tone and pitch. Thus far they have been unsuccessful.
Ha'ah'oO names are typically poetic in nature, comparing a child to something in nature. When they come of age, they begin the process of choosing an adult name for themselves, carefully considering the multitude of implications associated with each before eventually settling upon something they believe embodies their nature, which is announced at their final coming of age ceremony.
Cities and Settlements Edit
Ha'ah'oO settlements are largely typical of sasquatch cultures, though in recent years, some of those in areas with extremely low human populations have begun to expand settlements outside cave systems, with sleeping bowls spread all around the entrance of the caves. These outside sleeping bowls are designed so they can be covered by basket-like woven lids, which are either held over the bowl like an umbrella, or laid atop to completely cover the bowl.
Ha'ah'oO rarely trade, as they have relatively little to offer the humans in terms of material possessions. Those that do trade usually do so with a small number of very well-made and valuable items, such as magical items, or finely-crafted tools.
Example city Edit
Hoo'Ah'aa the name of a cave system in the lowlands, home to a relatively progressive community of sasquatches. The caves are positioned less than a day's journey from a Fusang liaison office, where an official from the human lands is posted to respond to the concerns of the Ha'ah'oO. This close access allows those of the Hoo'Ah'aa community more access to Fusang goods. Most of them speak Zhongwen to some limited degree, and some can be found wearing silk handkerchiefs as arm- or head-bands, or wearing some metal trinket on a necklace. There are perhaps a dozen sleeping bowls outside the entrance to their caves, which otherwise closely resemble a traditional sasquatch settlement, apart from one or two Buddhist idols beside some sleeping bowls.
Creating Ha'ah'oO Characters Edit
When making a Ha'ah'oO character, keep in mind how quickly their way of life has been changing. Many Ha'ah'oO characters may regard these changes as abandoning the sacred traditions. Others may view them as a welcome change, a breath of fresh air after many years in hiding. Different Ha'ah'oO may believe the humans to be many different things. A corrupting influence, exciting new allies, shifty strangers, ugly hairless creatures, wise scholars... Consider how your character reacts to these developments and others, and why they felt the call to adventure.
Special Options Edit
Ha'ah'oO have many unique options available. Many learn the art of lucid dreaming, to allow them to control their dreams. Some become Winter Guardians, the brave individuals who stand against the winter's cold, keeping the slumbering individuals safe and tending their needs.
Ha'ah'oO as Characters Edit
Ha'ah'oO have few warriors and almost no hunters. Most of those who become adventurers have some supernatural aspect to them, such as priests, druids, or chosen. There are a number or warlocks, as well. Warriors, hunters, and rogues are more common among those who become outcasts or live among the humans.