Familial, Freedom-Loving, Passionate, Resourceful
- Racial Traits: Hero, Human, Khemri.
- Adaptable:+ 10 bonus Starting Points at character creation.
- Dual Background: Humans can qualify for 2 Backgrounds with an approved History.
- Close Combatant: At character creation, Khemri characters must choose their Cultural Weapons: Spear or Close Combat. Spear wielders get the Buckler skill for free and pay -1 CP for all Spear skills. Close Combat characters get Short Blades and Thrown Weapons 1 for free.
- Race Band: White with Purple Stripe
Optional Racial Skills
Weapon of Choice (2, 2, 2 CP, 1 Stamina, Battle)
When wielding a weapon from the Cultural Weapon list, a Khemri character may make 2 melee or missile attacks for “[Tier+1] Damage,”
· 2nd Purchase: Usable 2/battle
· 3rd Purchase: [Tier+2] Damage
4 Things to Remember About the Khemri
- Family First. Khemri are rarely, if ever, yetim [YEH-teem] (‘orphan’); the Khemri consider each person of their entire race to be of one family. They do not consider a yetim to be someone whose parents have died; rather, a yetim is someone who has intentionally forsaken the Khemri family and chosen to lead a solitary life, or is one
of the very few who has been cast-out by the Khemri. Khemri value familial ties so highly that, even on first meeting, they call each other cousin, aunt, or uncle; those who are only recently acquainted may call each other something as familiar as brother or sister. Khemri share everything they have with each other, including knowledge – the Khemri have their secrets that they keep from outsiders, but there are no secrets among Khemri. None of the Brittanic peoples understand ‘family’ – or, ‘ayilae’ [aye-ee-LEH] – in the same way the Khemri do.
- Together, We Flourish. Khemri that are away from their kabile [kab-ee-LAY] (‘tribe’) for an extended period of time find the idea of allying with a House, Clan, or faction appealing; they view belonging to a House or faction much like belonging to a family, which is comforting while walking the Endless Road. A Khemri who is simply not living with a kabile at the time, or is traveling without them, i
not a yetim; although, Khemri have such a strong sense of togetherness and belonging that they may begin to feel isolated or like a yetim during extended absences. Allying with a House or faction belays these feelings, making allegiance attractive to the Khemri and useful to the faction they join.
- Freedom to the Soul; Air to the Lungs. Khemri value their freedom almost as highly as they value family. Descendants of the Iskandrian exiles, the Khemri were raised on stories of the oppression their ancestors endured as hamshari [ham-SHEH-ree] (‘slaves’) under the yoke of the tyranny of the Shah. During the fight for liberation, the slaves appropriated the derogatory term ‘hamshari’ and gave it a new meaning – ‘compatriots’. The Iskandrian compatriots (‘hamshari’) vowed that future generations would always be taught of their struggle against the Shah, and how hard-won their freedom was, so their descendants would never take their freedom for granted. A Khemri who joins a faction does s
o by choice, and will never tolerate being coerced or forced. Loyalty is not slavery so long as it is freely entered.
- Only the True Home Will End Your Wandering. Called the Asl Ev, [OZ-uhl Ehv] (‘true home’), all Khemri feel a pull within them to find the place where the Endless Road concludes. Although the Khemri have wandered Brittanis for four centuries, they feel an irresistible pull to their homeland of Iskandria – a longing to return to a home they have never seen, that grows stronger as the days continue to darken. Largely inhospitable to the Iskandrian exiles, Brittanis has not shown herself to be the Asl Ev of the wandering Khemri who continue to live as strangers and outsiders, still largely unwelcomed in Brittanis.
What Khemri are NOT
- Racist Stereotypes. While the nomadic lifestyle and the stylized dress of the Khemri are inspired by various cultures and nomadic peoples, the Khemri are not any of these peoples. As a race, the Khemri are not peddlers of ‘snake oil’, swindlers, or tricksters. They are not gypsies, Romani, ‘carnies’, Arabic/Middle Eastern, Persian, etc… and are not to be played as if they are any of these peoples, or as bad stereotypes or ‘imitations’ of any of these peoples. The Khemri are their own unique people with their own culture, their own traditions, their own vernacular, their own way of life, their own spirituality, and their own history.
- Muslim/Hindu/Pagan. Brittanis is its own world with its own gods, history, and spirituality. DO NOT bring any real life religion or spiritualit
y into the game. It is not appropriate in any way, for any reason. It is not appropriate to incorporate the symbols (star and crescent, om, lotus flower, yantra, etc…), beliefs, etc… of real life religion/spirituality into your character, and themes or ideas associated with real life religion/spirituality are not acceptable for use in Brittanis.
The Travelers – or, in their own tongue the Khemri Garucheh [KEM-ree gaw-ruh-CHEH]
– are a wandering, nomadic people whose flamboyant nature and keen mercantile sense have earned them both grudging respect and enmity, as they are often viewed as thieves and swindlers.
Many fantastic tales of the Khemri’s origins exist, most perpetrated by the Khemri themselves to enhance the aura of mystery surrounding them and to sow confusion as to their heritage. The true history of the Khemri is unknown, save perhaps to a select few elders of the Khemri themselves.
What is known as fact is tantalizingly small: roughly 400 years ago, a flotilla of hundreds of ships landed on Brittanic shores from the far-flung land known as Iskandria. The folk on those ships disembarked and immediately tore their ships apart – fashioning the first of the brightly colored wagons that are so closely associated with the Khemri today.
The Khemri landing in southern Brittanis
happened right about the same time the Tiberian Empire was finishing their conquest of the continent. The arrival of an entirely new ethnic group, in such large numbers, threw the conquest's final phase into disarray and caused enmity between the Tiberians and Khemri that echoes forth to this very day. In the closing century of Tiberian occupation, local governors in some regions even organized "Khemri hunts" to rid their lands of the despised Travelers.
The Iskandrians were exiles, cast out from their homeland, and, some say, cursed to wander the Endless Road forever. And so they have wandered for four centuries, moving from settlement-to-settlement, unable to find what they long for above all else – their Asl Ev [OZ-uhl Ehv]
Recent years have been especially hard on the Khemri, as the roads have become far more dangerous, and entire caravans of the Garucheh have disappeared without a trace. As the days continue to darken, more and more Khemri encampments become overgrown as the number of caravans and merchant wagons dwindles.
Four centuries ago, ships carrying seven kabileler [kab-ee-LEHL-uh]
(‘tribes’) of Iskandrian exiles landed on the southern shores of Brittanis in Cambria
, on the beaches south of Tor Amech. The resourceful people quickly disassembled their ships, crafting carts to carry themselves and what little goods they had packed through this strange, new land. Although they had made the journey from Iskandria together, the seven kabileler decided it would be wisest to each take their own path. As they set out to explore the island of Brittanis
, they made a pact: after a year and a day they would all return to the beaches south of Tor Amech and share with each other all that they had learned. They hoped to find a place where the seven kabileler could settle and create a home where the exiles could build a new life together.
When they gathered on the beaches of Siluria the following year, each kabile had a similar story to tell. Whether they traveled north or south, over the mountains or through the forests, the Iskandrian exiles were greeted with suspicion, confusion, and, sometimes, even hatred. The kabileler agreed that they would each continue to search for Asl Ev in Brittanis, and would all return to that same beach every four years to share what they had learned in their wandering, and to reunite the people of all of the kabileler to remind the Khemri that no matter how long the road is that separates them, they are all one family. And so they have wandered the Endless Road for four centuries, all the while longing for a home they have been unable to find.
The descendants of the seven kabileler whose ships landed on the shores of Siluria are the Khemri that are known throughout Brittanis
today. While Khemri are born into a particular kabile, they are not restricted by or bound to it; during a Khemri’s coming of age, the Athrak Ruh Seyahat [ATH-rock rew say-yuh-HAHT]
(‘soul journey’), they are free to, and encouraged to, leave their kabile to discover their own, personal, unique talents and desires, and to pursue a life that will enable them to walk the road the gods have laid at their feet. Sometimes they will return to the kabile they were born into, sometimes they make their home with a different kabile, and some continually move from kabile to kabile for the rest of their lives.
It is known that the Khemri have secret names for their clans, not shared with those who do not walk the Endless Road. It is considered a mark of high esteem for an outsider to know the true name of a kabile, and blasphemy to share it with those not as close as family to the Khemri. (Note: when beginning play as a Khemri, you will receive a brief on the secret names.)
The Seven Kabileler
- Avari [uh-VARR-ee]
The Avari are performers and merchants that compose the Khemri caravans with which the people of Brittanis are so familiar. Those in Avari caravans will do anything to make a deal; they consider profit in everything and rarely, if ever, do something that will not benefit them. As the most visible and well-known kabile, the people of Brittanis often make the mistake of assuming the characteristics of the Avari are shared by all Khemri.
- Kasuna [kuh-SOON-uh]
One kabile did not disassemble their ships to build wagons when they landed on the shores of Cambria – the Kasuna have made their living as sailors, voyagers, and explorers. These seafarers have cornered the Brittanic fishing and shipping markets. It is believed that the methods used by the Kasuna during their rise to economic success over the last few centuries were less than reputable, perpetuating the Brittanic perception that the Khemri are a pirates, thieves, and brigands.
- Bo'jar [BO-jahr]
The Bo'jar are the merchants, tradesmen, and craftsmen of the Khemri. They are hardworking and hearty people who rely on building and creating with their own hands, whether by blacksmithing, carpentry, or other crafting skills. The Bo'jar are self-sufficient – producing most of the Khemri goods – and can tend to let their arrogance show, believing the goods they produce are the finest quality available anywhere in Brittanis. Humility is not a value many Khemri hold dear.
- Narai [nuh-RYE]
The Iskandrians had a long and rich history, none of which was written on the page. It was believed that to try to remember one’s history through writing was akin to entombing the memory, allowing the memory to die – one’s history had to be learned and spoken out loud in order to keep the memory alive. The Narai carry-on this strong tradition of oral history by acting as the mind and memory of the Khemri people. They seek to delve deeper into the magics carried by their people, and to preserve what little knowledge has survived of the Khemri’s past as exiles from Iskandria. The Narai are storytellers who learn and teach the history of their people – a rich history that, with each re-telling, the people of Brittanis believe more-and-more to be nothing more than ‘folk tales’.
- Yat [YAHT]
The Kyahin are the holy people, or, priests, of the Khemri. As the highest caste that remains of the seven kabileler, the Yat have taken on the mantle of acting as the diplomats of the Khemri. The Yat are the face that most other races are used to seeing when it comes to developing trade agreements or resolving disputes. The Yat have made it their lives’ purpose to win Brittanic acceptance and trust of the Khemri – the election of a Yat, to the Grey Council has served as one of the greatest advances toward this goal.
- When the Iskandrian exiles first landed on the beaches of Brittanis they elected one member of each kabile to act on behalf of the kabile’s people as their representative, forming the Hamshari Konseyi [ham-SHEH-ree KON-see-yeh] (‘Council of Compatriots’). The seven seats on the Konseyi became hereditary, passed down by blood instead of election. The Konseyi was responsible for the well-being of all of the Khemri and for discussing trade deals and land arrangements with the cities of Brittanis – and so they met every four years on the beaches south of Tor Amech to discuss the state of their people.The Iskandrian exiles landed on Brittanis just as the rule of the Tiberian Empire had finally begun to stabilize. The Tiberians were not pleased by the arrival of Iskandrians in Brittanis – the ancient Empire of Iskandar was entirely unknown by some, but others believed that the breadth and strength of Iskandar far exceeded that of the Tiberian Empire (of course, this could just be a tall tale spun by the Khemri themselves...). The Tiberians were all too happy to undermine the strangers from a distant, mysterious empire and make Brittanis as inhospitable to them as possible.
By the time of the Tiberian Retreat, the Hamshari Konseyi had entirely disintegrated, and two of the clans were extinct or all but extinct. Without the unified guidance of the Konseyi, and the remaining five kabileler essentially left to fend for themselves, the gatherings on the beaches south of Tor Amech every four years became less-and-less about the state of the Khemri people and more akin to a family reunion with drinking, games and festivities, friendly competitions between the five kabileler, and marriage ceremonies performed.
The Khemri harbor no ill-will towards any of the Brittanic peoples, but four centuries of being treated as outcasts and outsiders has led them to approach anyone who is not ayilae (‘family’) cautiously.
As a people, the Khemri are brash and passionate. They sing out loud, love big, and fight fierce – for each man and woman among them knows the stories passed down at fireside, telling of what it was like to live as hamshari under the yoke of the Shah’s tyranny. They squeeze every last drop they can out of life, living each day to the fullest and letting next to nothing get in their way. Many see this as living in excess, but to the Garucheh it is an appreciation that there are no guarantees in life. They are strong and stubborn, and have formed their own traditions in this new land that have sunk in as powerful as the ancient rituals of Iskandria.
Khemri Look and Feel
Check out the Brittanis Pinterest page for the Khemri HERE
Khemri come in nearly as many skin tones and appearances as the Tiberians, and for many of the same reasons. Even though they are now reduced to traveling caravans, the once mighty Empire of Iskandar held many nations in its thrall and assimilated each one.
Ethnic Khemri tend to have olive skin, jet-black hair and brown eyes so dark as to be nearly that same color; although, that is by no means universally true. That so many Khemri have retained the typical Iskandrian complexion and traits is seen by many as a sign that the gods of Iskandar still favor the Travelers, even after four centuries of separation from their homeland.
Medieval Middle Eastern and North African, Azeri, Dornish, Persian, Turkish
Movies/TV: Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Game of Thrones (peoples of Dorne and Essos) (2011-present), Prince of Persia (2010), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Troy (2004)
Under the rule of the Shah, ancient Iskandrian custom dressed slaves in plain, unadorned shirts or dresses of white linen. Because of this, the Khemri consider white to be a taboo color that is only to be used in ceremonial garb.
In reaction to their history as hamshari, the Khemri choose to celebrate life and their clothing is often as ornate and colorful as their purses allow. Favored colors often vary by kabile, as colors represent who you are and ‘where’ you are from; Khemri whose Ruh Seyahat (‘Athrak’, or ‘soul journey’) led them to live with various kabileler often dress in many colors, representative of the road they have walked and their life’s journey.
The only universally favored color is gold; Khemri of every kabile revel in intricate embroidery, ornamentation, and banded decorations of gold
- Avari, (performers & merchant caravans) favor reds
- Kasuna, (sailors, voyagers, explorers) favor blues
- Bo’jar, (merchants, tradesmen, craftsmen) favor yellows
- Narai, (storytellers) favor greens
- Yat, (priests, holy men, diplomats) favor purples
Cotton, linen, canvas, and leather for travel-wear or leisure; cotton, silk, and velvet for more formal or ceremonial occasions.
Khemri make their living as merchants, entertainers, dancers and players, but also spend great lengths of time in transit from place-to-place through the vast expanse of untamed and monster-haunted wilderness that are common across Brittanis. Thus, they have developed two distinct styles of dress.
When in transit, the Khemri have developed a utilitarian style of dress that goes a very long way to hiding them from the dangers that the wild may spew forth to harm them and their caravans. Earth tones of canvas and leather predominate, as do large pockets, reinforced knees, and thick, warm garments as climate and season dictate.
When the outriders determine a town is near, however, the face that most peoples see comes out: bright colors, expensive fabrics, ruffles, and fancy embroidery abound. The Khemri know how to accentuate their figures and have a long history of magnificent clothiers to draw from.
Men tend to wear loose, baggy pants gathered at the knee and boots of the same height, with billowy shirts, and short, heavily decorated vests.
The nomadic lifestyle of the Khemri requires practical, ‘all-terrain’ choices in their armor, just as it does in their traveling clothing. Khemri must be able to maneuver just as well in the damp, cold, rugged western highlands as in the wind-blown, warmer, arid south. Large, heavy, bulky armor (such as a plate mail) is impractical, and is viewed by the Khemri as a hindrance and an impediment; they do not see any benefit in wearing large, single pieces of armor like a full breastplate.
The Khemri value mobility and maneuverability, and this is reflected in the armor they wear. Khemri armor is lightweight and dexterous, typically made of small leather or metal plates mounted on flexible backing. Khemri also tend to wear scale mail, or a collection of smaller leather armor pieces worn together (such as pauldrons, vambraces, and greaves – for instance).
Weapons & Shields
Like their clothing and armor, maneuverability, dexterity, and speed are the keywords of Khemri weaponry. The Khemri favor smaller, quick blades above all other weapons – it would be uncommon to encounter a Khemri that was not carrying a hidden dagger... or two...
Daggers and swords with short to medium blades efficient at close-quarter slashing and thrusting are by far the most common Khemri weapons. The Khemri often close the distance between them and their opponent(s) by opening their attack with the use of their hidden daggers – they are adept with the use of thrown weapons.
Because of their focus on close-quarters combat, the Khemri are the only race of Brittanis to favor knuckle-covers, bell guards and swept-hilt style of handles. They are quite effective for blocking and parrying in tight conditions. Likewise, Khemri blades tend to be curved to facilitate a fast-moving, often dance-like fighting style that moves from target to target quickly. A curved blade facilitates a much more vicious cut than a straight blade with a smaller application of force and movement.
Through their many years of athletic and acrobatic performing in the caravans, the Avari (and other Khemri who have traveled with the Avari) have become skilled in the use of spears and, for some, their exceptional skill in wielding a spear has made it their preferred weapon of choice.
Shields are not typical of Khemri, nowadays, but were ubiquitous among the Khemri once upon a time. Khemri shields are compact, quick, and maneuverable – anything larger than a buckler would be considered too burdensome for a race known far-and-wide for its speed and mobility. Khemri shields are usually round and gripped in the fist (with the fist positioned directly behind the boss).Though poor protection against missile weapons, they are useful in deflecting the blow of an opponent’s blade, mace, axe, etc… Used as a companion weapon, Khemri shields are typically paired with a short sword, falchion, rapier, or scimitar; the Khemri use their shields to aggressively defend themselves.
Khemri players with Level 1 costuming must wear a white race band with a single PURPLE stripe down the middle. This must be worn on the left forearm and may not be less than 3 inches in width. In addition, they should follow a general “Middle Eastern/Persian/Egyptian” theme in their costuming, using the guidelines listed above.
Costuming Note: All racial identifier bands (or, simply, ‘race bands’) should be a pure representative of their color. Therefore, the yellow race band worn by Sun Elves should not be mustard, orange-red, fluorescent yellow, pastel, or any other variation. All effort should be made to keep it as purely YELLOW as possible. This armband should contrast the character’s costume and should be obviously a marker of the race and not a costume item. This ensures that it is easily identifiable on the battlefield and keeps “What race are you?!” to a minimum. Help your fellow players out.
The Khemri have names that tend to sound Middle-Eastern in style or are similar to those of Ancient Egyptian or North African tribes, but the Khemri themselves are far enough removed from their home culture that they have started breaking the names apart and putting them into new combinations.
Typically, a Khemri has three names:
The use of all three names is more formal than the Khemri prefer – it would be considered uncommon for a Khemri to use all three of their names in day-to-day life.
Example: if Yasmina is a member of the kabile of traveling performers and merchants [the Avari] and her family name is Kerimbala, her full name would be Yasmina Kerimbala Avari. To another Khemri, in private, she would have another surname entirely.
For some Khemri, their family/last name and the name of their kabile are the same; they consider it odd, however, to repeat the same name twice in a row, so would only use their first/given name and their family/last/kabile name.
Example: if Sagar’s family/last name is Tajir and he is of the kabile of merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen [the Bo’jar], his full name would simply be Sagar Bo’jar, not Sagar Bo’jar Bo’jar or any combination thereof.
Sample names and resources can be found in Appendix A.
- first/given name
- family/last name
- the kabile to which they belong
The birthplace of the exiled Khemri is the ancient Empire of Iskandar, far across the Aquilonian Ocean. Under the rule of the Shah, the breadth of the Empire of Iskandar was believed to have dwarfed that of the Tiberian Empire. The Iskandrians were said to have been the Guardians of Knowledge who were tasked with safeguarding secret knowledges from the rest of the world – supposedly guarding a secret so great that it could unmake the entire world of Aerys.
Little to nothing is actually known of Iskandria and her people. The sea voyage of the exiles took many months and was blown far off-course by a colossal hurricane, making it uncertain precisely where the Khemri might even have actually disembarked from. Magical divinations attempting to locate Iskandria have met universally with nothing but interference and difficulty – it seems that the whole of the Empire of Iskandar has vanished, and it is almost certain that the knowledge once guarded there has been entirely lost to time. The shroud of mystery and uncertainty surrounding Iskandria and her exiles has alienated the Khemri in their new home, facing as much suspicion and mistrust today as they did when they landed on the beaches south of Tor Amech four centuries ago.
The Khemri have not lost heart and have made the lands of Brittanis as much a home as they are allowed, wandering here and there, from faire-to-faire and market day-to-market day, brightly painted wagons the only place they can call home.
In the four centuries the Khemri Garucheh have wandered Brittanis, almost none have worshipped the White Court. This is no great surprise when one considers that the rigid hierarchy of the Court mirrors the theocracy of the empire under which the hamshari were enslaved. No matter how well-intentioned, the Khemri simply cannot forget the stories of their heritage. Perhaps as new generations of Khemri are born free of the gods of Old Iskandar the situation will change, but, for now, the Three Sisters have wholeheartedly adopted them as their own, even to the point of electing a Khemri into the Grey Council to represent the Khemri Garucheh.
A unique aspect of Khemri spirituality is the ability to see the similarity between the gods of different peoples and cultures, and to worship them under different names. The Iskandari god Sethra [sehth-RUH] is a destructive and malevolent god who consumed his brother Ashaleth [ah-SHAWL-eth] and gained dominion over law and warfare. The Khemri priests have declared that these entities are known in Brittanis as the Demon Princes Korseth and Rahvyn, and shun their brethren who pay homage to such evil beings.
Recognizing these similarities has allowed the Khemri to adapt to Brittanic spirituality under which they worship the Three Sisters in the guises of Mother Isheth [EESH-eth] (Eldrea) and her two daughters Nephthia [nef-THEE-yuh] (Rhaine) and Kenanneth [keh-NAHN-neth] (Sarai).
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