The Doimo (pronounced:
Doh-Ihm-oh) are a tribe of nomadic humans
found in the Naezshan Zhunith in south-western
Nybelmar. They are called Lords of the
Desert, Bronzies, desert savages and similar, as they live in a land where few
others can, a land with absolutely no surface-water. Divided into clans, they
have less loyalty towards their people than outsiders think. They don’t
recognize the name Doimo, which originates from the people of Zhun. So they
prefer to think of each other by their clan’s name, like "he’s a Edohi-man".
Still the clans will work together if there is grave need.
Other important facts are that the Doimo are a very peaceful tribe, and will rather flee than fight. Yet they have a limited tolerance of raiders, so if there were little choice, and even worse options, the Doimo hunters would fight back.
The Doimo are quite short, around 1.6 peds tall, slender shoulders and with
long limbs compared to their bodies. The body is covered with thin, but though
and strong muscles, apparently there from the long hours of running and working
out in their Thirstlands. Few humans can
outrun a Doimo man at a distance, and certainly not in the blazing heat of
The skin of the Doimo is coloured like copper in the winter, like dark copper in the summer. In the sun it appears to glow when it’s wet from sweat or rain. Doimo men’s hair is rarely found long or thick, as their black hair is usually shaved off or cut short, and they are virtually hairless at other body parts. But on the medicine men most of the hair on the head is shaved off, except for a few areas on the back of their heads where it is made into a few thin braids. The women are also known to braid it, but only when they are married. The women’s teeth are usually worn, and their jaw-muscles bulging from years of chewing animal hides.
Doimo faces are easy to remember - with high cheekbones, thick black eyebrows, and large, deep-set black eyes, so black that you only see a thin stripe of white in them. The thin lips, long, narrow noses, narrow faces and weather-beaten, sometimes scarred and sunburned skin make them seem meagre and poor, as if they were dressed in rags. They could easily be taken for beggars in any southern city. It happens rarely, however, that any Doimo travels outside the Thirstlands, but it happens when a medicine man wishes to extend his knowledge (usually medicine men have talents rare to his kind, and thus have a problem getting Doimo mentors). Famous examples are Anhalli of the Nattrav, and Otharak of the Emehod clans, who learned their fire-magics outside the Naezshan Zulith), or that Doimo hunters are hired as scouts and trackers by warring city-states.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Doimo have no apparent need for a coat of arms, but the sign for a clan is several small clusters of circles close to each other. Those represent bands and camps. The clans gathered would then be seven of those grouping and clusters spread in a large circle, linked to each other by a series of men and women walking between the groupings of clusters. Each of the clans got their own sign, which symbolises their name. In the largest, more detailed paintings, the clans sign are placed in the middle of a grouping of clusters, and this is usually the starting point for the walking persons.
Territory. The Doimo clans live in the Naezshan Zhunith thirstlands. Their lands border to the Zhunith River and the mountains in the south, where their lands border to the Zhun city-states. Their northern boundary is consituted by the salty Water-Steppes. Their lands have no natural boundary in the east and west, but they usually don’t wander close to what other tribes claim as theirs, and in those rare occasions, they keep a distance from other people.
The Doimo are as mentioned, nomads. They wander about in the entire Thirstland they call theirs throughout the whole year. Some clans to the Zhunith River in the south during the summer, but most wander around inland. It is common belief among outsiders that the Doimo have no destination, and wander aimlessly, but this is just an observation outsiders might make. The Doimo clans consider the ripeness of the berries, if some fruits in the area are ready for foraging, or the Naezshan Antelopes movements to follow the most abundant food sources in their region. When one source is about to be exhausted they'll leave to give it time to recover till next year.
Travelling destinations, routes etc. usually differ, but there are a few common traits in how the Doimo travel: they walk only, they don’t walk very long each day, and when they arrive at their destination, they stay there for a maximum half of a moon cycle, unless their current location is close to the river, and then their stay can last up to an entire moon cycle.
People. The Doimo people are unique in the aspect of where they live, and that they manage to survive in such extreme environment. They can find water where others cannot, drink the juices of fruits and berries, store rainwater in buried eggs. Water is the most important resource to the Doimo, and besides the Zhunith River, there is no surface-water. The rainwater either vanishes under the sun, or passes through the sand or into the plants, so there’s no other way to store it than by filling large eggs and bury them.
The Doimo men can run down their prey, wearing it down by hours of tireless running. I their own lands, no human, elf or orc can outrun them. This is reflected in their hunting-tactics. One way is to wound the prey, run it down, following it until the beast is too tired to stand, then throw spears at it at close range. The other is to shoot poisoned arrows at it, then follow it until it dies, or move for the kill immediately.
Tracking is something the Doimo respect and know. They are among the world’s finest trackers, after living and hunting in their lands for thousands upon thousands of years. Nothing escapes them if they want to get it, as they can even outrun horses in the distance, and not a single piece of information escapes their wary eyes.
Also few other peoples are so versed in botanic, as the Doimo master the usage of several hundred plants, herbs, berries and spices. This knowledge is especially used for their poisoned-tipped arrows, medicines, the “spirit smoke” and the “regular smoke”, the first representing a drug where you burn some special herbs, the leaves of the aenge bush and the goe bush, and inhale the smoke to get a narcotic effect where you can get visions and talk to the spirits if combined with their wild dance, and you manage to enter a trance. It is the medicine man that leads these trance-like dances, and it is he who translates the meaning of the visions to their own clicking language. Sometimes, the medicine man can get so-called after-visions, which might come even weeks after dancing and inhaling drugs. These visions usually come in one picture, and last only for a few seconds. But the medicine man will always remember such visions. Later, when he comes to a Holy Cave, he will paint the visions on the wall, in red, black or white.
The material in the paintings is usually ochre and iron ore in the red ones (various shades by heating the ochre in the flames - red proved to be the most durable colour), and charcoal, soot and black minerals for the black colours, silica and white clay for the white. Liquids are used for diluting these pigments. These appears to be antelope fat, blood, human urine, egg white, plant sap, and water. Fingers, quills, feathers and very thin bones are applied to the paint as well.
Image description. One of the entrances to the Holy Doimo Caves in the Naezshan Zhunite mountains. Picture drawn by Faugar.
Holy Caves are caves found at several places in the Naezshan Zhunith, holes in
the rock that lead inside the ground. The walls are covered by the
vision-paintings, and legend paintings. Similar paintings might be found on
rocks and stones everywhere in the Thirstland, facing east. The Holy Caves are
usually a tabu for anyone other than Doimo people, and the punishment of
trespassing is death (more accurately, to never come out of it).
The “regular smoke” are just the leaves of the goe bush, which is lit, and the smoke inhaled. This is supposed to give you a pleasant feeling, but apparently not the first time, where it just gives you a cough and a light head.
The Doimo in general have little potential for magic, but their medicine men have in most cases a small talent for either wind magic, water magic or earth magic in addition to their own shaman-like magic.
All the Doimo children get the same basic education: they learn about the plants, how to make medicines, they learn what there is to be learned about other languages (usually just a few words, but as all new words are shared, it always grows), they learn about the old legends and stories and about the spirits. They can’t read or write, but as they say: “the land is our book”. One of the more enjoyable things the children learn (or so they say) is how to hunt, track and wield the bow, spear and war club.
Doimo are peaceful, sharing people, who usually help travellers (even though there exist only few those in their region). They are not fighters, and have no need for squabbles among the clans or other peoples. They like life the way they live it, with enough space to move freely in, enough prey and plants to feed on, and relatively no worries. Only a few times, the Doime were forced to fight, when the rumours of rich treasures where abroad among the surrounding tribes, or Orcal soldiers pushed too deep into their lands. Each of those battles were a bloodbath for the aggressor. The Doimo use hit’n’run tactics with bows and snares to take out their enemies. Poisoning water is also a favoured tactic.
The Doimo also have some peculiar views on the animals they hunt: they think it has the same right to live as the hunter. That’s why they never hunt more than they strictly need, and live in a perfect balance with nature. Their myths tell about a time before the beginning of time, when humans lived alongside the animals, and could speak their language in the world of spirits. And from the myths they remember the glad times when they didn’t have to hunt, to freeze and fight for survival. Another point of view spread within the Doimo people is that the Orcristh are the tools of the evil spirits, and thus want to fight the Doimo clans.
Beliefs. The Doimo are also very religious, believing in spirits that are everywhere. They think that spirits live in everything, from humans, to animals, plants, even dead things like rocks, the winds and weather. They also believe that those spirits shape the world, and can give rewards to those who act wisely, and punish the fools. Some of the most revered spirits are those of their dead ancestors. They have gone to live in the spirit-world, but can return to advise and guide. They also believe that the darkwinds and demons are very evil spirits, and must be avoided or slain if encountered. Anyway, the tale of an encounter with a demon is traditionally one that must be spread. Another common belief is that the Orcristh are the tools of the evil spirits and demons.
Housing. The Doimo commonly live in small wooden buildings, held up by a semicircle of branches, with grass, clay and leaves between. They also live briefly in caves, under small, hastily made shelter and sometimes under the open sky. The Doimo don’t have the same need for solid houses, as they are nomads, and generally move about a lot, and they don’t have to keep the temperature in, or out, even though its cold in the night.
Doimo cover themselves with animal hides and blankets of plant fibre. Also, they don’t spend any other time inside their crude shelters other than sleeping.
Sometimes, if they know there’s a radd bird or armoured hedgehog who might endanger the clan, they might make a small fence or stockade, and keep a guard. But for those unaccustomed to such way of life, it might be a total nightmare, as if the biting cold doesn’t keep you awake, the wildlife will.
Clothing. The clothing of the Doimo clans are simple: in the rain season, it’s usually a small loincloth for both men and women. The simple loincloth is usually made of animal skin or leather, from the abdomen-area. To use the skin around the abdomen is apparently a traditional thing. The loincloth hangs from a belt around the waist. On that belt everything else hangs, like a quiver of arrows, a knife, war club, pouch for herbs and similar items.
At summertime, the Doimo cover the body with a cloth made by rough plant-fibres or animal skin. The blanket-like summer-clothes cover the entire upper body, and most of the arms, legs and neck. To keep it in place, the belt is still around the waist, and there is another belt around the shoulders.
During the night, the Doimo clansmen cover themselves with about anything they can get: animal hides, plant-fibre cloth, grasses and each other to keep the cold out, and the warmth in.
When the men know they are going to, as they say it, “make the good spirits cry”, or fight in our tongue, they paint the visible parts of their body. The face of a great warrior might be coloured black with charcoal, and four red streaks going diagonally from left to right. As for the other warriors, it is a variation of black, red and white stripes painted in their faces, on their arms, chests and legs. The Doimo believe that the spirits will aid them in their task, and strike fear in their foes. And, as far as they know, it works. Only the most battle-hardened warriors won't hesitate when they suddenly see painted, madly howling men wielding spears and clubs appear in the middle of your ranks. Or stand in the shadows filling your men with poisoned arrows...
Diet. The Doimo eat berries, fruits, leaves and stalks alongside meats. They believe that the spirit of the plants will be displeased if they kill the plant, so they try to forage berries and fruits instead of leaves, leaves instead of stalks, and only in the direst need, they eat roots. Doimo believe that the spirit of the plant has just the same right to stay in this world as they themselves.
Their hunters might eat a plant called morta’ii, a plant producing a drug-like effect which can give a feeling of strength, of being fully rested and removing the feeling of hunger and thirst (it is very juicy). A fully grown man might live for days on only this fruit, and he won’t feel the need for sleep. In fact, he won't be able to sleep for several days after eating the morta'ii. This plant is found everywhere in the Naezshan Zhunith.
The Doimo men also hunt antelopes, some small deer-like animals living in the thirstlands. They also hunt Wild Bulls, a large, long-horned ox-like creature. If they find the tracks of armoured hogs, radd birds or foxes, they might take them, as Doimo have little love for such animals. However, as the Doimo believe that the animals have the same right to live as themselves, they will eat their meat. Those are their primary game, but they might kill smaller animals for food as well. Doimo are also known for example to eat lizards and insects when they are hungry enough.
Doimo breakfast usually consist of a weak herb tea and berries. Sometimes dried meats. The midday meal consist of a soup, stew and/or roasted meats. At evening, they eat a little of the leftovers.
Weapons. The Doimo wield only the same weapons they use for hunting, except for a war-club of bone, polished wood, or with an iron ball in the end. Their spears are often poisoned, but when they go to war, the entire spearhead is covered with the yellowish poison. Usually, a stab from a spear prepared for hunting will at first weaken you, then kill you in about 12 hours. A spear prepared for combat will first drain your strength, and then kill you two hours after the stab. The spears are either thrown at a distance, or wielded as jabbing weapons.
Another dangerous Doimo weapon is the bow. They are expert marksmen, and wield their bows with dangerous accuracy. The iron or bone arrowheads are also covered in the same poison, but the amount of poison used for the arrows are the same for both hunting and fighting.
The bow is usually used for quick strikes, when arrows appear from nothingness, poisoning a handful of their enemies. At such strikes, the wound in itself is usually not critical, but there is no remedy to get for their poison, as the only cure is a secret held as tight as the recipe for the poison.
The war-club is usually made of polished bone or wood, with a hard, smooth ball of the same material, grown naturally in the end of the club. When the ball is of iron, the handle is usually wooden. These weapons are used for melee fighting, crushing skulls and bones. Sometimes the men might wield a bone knife in addition to the traditional weapons. This is also coated in poison.
Also common among the Doimo is the so-called Doimo Brawling, a form of weaponless martial art, which is said to have its origins millenia ago when Anhalli of the Nattrav was victorious over a demon and only used his bare hands. It is actually a very effective fighting style with a long tradition, supposedly a gift from the spirits. However, among their own people Doimo Brawling has become a sort of ritual as a last resort when differences among clan chieftains cannot be solved in any other ways. For this purpose the best trained brawlers of each clan are chosen to decide the argument through the art of Doimo Brawling. Successful brawlers therefore also stand in high esteem among the Doimo and the male youths of the tribe try their best to stay in shape - perhaps they will once play an important role for their clan when they have to follow the call of the chieftain...
Occupations. Doimo men are usually the hunters, roaming the area around the camp looking for tracks. They might stay away from the camp for several days until they return. The men are also the ones to look for precious iron, and who work in the smithy, making spearheads, arrowheads and a few other tools. In fact, the Doimo have little need for iron, but they mostly use it in arrows and spears.
A Doimo men can also become a medicine man. He is the one with extensive knowledge of lore, the ancient myths and legends, about medicines and the spirits. The men who know magic have to become medicine men. Women who have a talent of magic will be revered as a wise woman, and will usually marry a medicine man.
Another thing concerning medicine men is that even though they are reluctant to use their magic for fighting, they are the ones to lead the band into battle wielding the traditional weapons. Only when they deem the spirits agree with it, they use their magical powers to batter their enemies down.
The women on the other hand serve mainly as the foragers. They find the plants, and gather the parts suitable for eating. They take care of the children and the elder. They are proficient in preparing food and clothes.
Government. The Doimo clan society is a sharing one, where everybody shares the food, tools and knowledge. They have always lived that way, with everybody doing something, everybody helping each other, so that the other tribes where the people are greedy, dealing with theft, and might fight for money, can barely comprehend the way of the Doimo - and the other way round of course. The Doimo also tend to find trouble in other lands, as they have no understanding of land and animal ownership. Several Doimo have been hanged, locked up or outright killed by angry peasants and soldiers. As the Doimo are used to live freely, and can’t stand to be confined, they will wither and die within days of being imprisoned, as they won't neither drink nor eat. Those few who travel outside the Thirstlands are usually taken care of by contacts outside their lands, mentors-to-be or emissaries from the different city-states’ armed forces.
The Doimo have little sense of being a tribe. The clans only meet to trade (rarely, they make what they need), and usually only meet when they cross each other’s path. Then they spend the time exchanging knowledge. If somebody learned something in another language, or if there has been any non-Doimo travellers lately. Such new knowledge is quickly spread among clans and camps. Yet, the Doimo will work together if there is need for it. Usually, that involves orcs and swords.
The clans are spread in bands of families and blood-ties. The camps might have anything around 10-50 members. In each of those bands, there will be one who is the “first among equals”: the chieftain. He takes the major decisions with the elders of the tribe. Usually, the chieftain and the elders use good sense in their ruling, and the band will thrive. There is also a chieftain of a clan, who leads one of the largest bands within their clan.
The band chieftains choose the clan chieftains when the old one dies. Thus they make sure there is always a wise man leading them. The chieftains are sometimes medicine men who have enough respect to get the title assigned to them. An important thing to mention here is that the medicine man doesn’t have anything to say in the matter, as he is a man with great influence within the band. The clan chieftain also has a chosen medicine man at his side all the time. He is there by the will of his fellow medicine men’s whim, as he either has no say in the matter.
The clan chieftains meet regularly in the Great Holy Cave, where they discuss matters of importance and gossip. It is said that the times are good when they only discuss this year’s quality of what is known in their tongue as "silly water".
It is also on these meetings they decide that the clans decide where the different bands should be moving. Then the word is spread to the bands, and they decide more accurately when and where.
Another matter of importance is that there is nearly no crime among the Doimo, except for a few brawls after too much "silly water".
The following Doimo clans are known:
The Edohi (the Sandleaper clan)
The Andoram (the Antelope Hunter clan)
The Severimm (the Those Who Like Water clan)
The Hiliven (the He Who Brings Life clan)
The Nattrav (the Spirit-Dancing clan)
The Emohod (the Orcs-Is-Burning clan)
The Doimo produce what they need themselves. Besides that, they sometimes make
jewellery out of animal teeth and claws, or small statues out of bone or wood.
Doimo don’t have the need of fancy pottery or cloth, but they sometimes trade
things others can make better than they can, like proper leather wares and
Natural Resources. One of the most important resources in the Doimo lands are the iron ore found within the deepest part of the Great Holy Cave. The different clans have little use for this iron, except for arrows or spears, so there isn’t much of the ore that’s dug out of it each year. Besides that, there are few resources the Doimo actually see as important for their nomadic life.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The Doimo people celebrate a few things in regular intervals:
The New Camp
Doimo celebrate the making of a new camp, if it is supposed to last more than a week. The New Camp Feast is celebrated in the evening with dancing and singing.
They celebrate when the hunters come home with large game, such as an antelope or wild bull. Then they also dance and sing during the evening.
When there is a full moon, the medicine man will lead a dance, where all the dancers have inhaled the "spirit smoke". The onlookers will tell stories, and discuss the important things in life while the dancers appear to have fallen into a trance. Then the dancers will communicate with the spirits. Later, when they have woken up from their trance, the medicine man will translate the messages of the spirits. The remainder of the evening is spent discussing those messages.
History. The history of the Doimo has been
carried from person to person as myths and stories: The Doimo legends tell
about the creation of the world, but not how they got there. According to their
tales, the Doimo have lived in the land since the creation of the world. They
lived originally in the lands around the Naezshan Zhunith, from the western
border of the Orcal
orcs, to beyond the southern borders of the
Zhun city states. Then the land was mostly empty of people, and the Doimo clans
lived in a green and fertile land. This era is called the "Age of Legends"
among the Doimo. They lived mostly like the way they do today: roaming the
lands as they wish, living of the land as hunters and foragers. The Doimo where
many in those days, and it was during that era that most of their ancient
legends where created.
The “Age of Legends” ended during the time which in Sarvonia is known as the War of the Chosen. The land dried up, and mountains rose. A lake appeared in the north of the Doimo territories. Armed refugees robbed and killed. It was during that chaotic time that the Doimo developed their weaponless fighting style, now known as Doimo Brawling, learned to use the war-club, and decided that the young should be taught to use weapons against fellow humans as a last resort.
In the beginning the Doimo lived in peace with the refugees. But they killed most of their game, and the Doimo went hungry. The refugees had cattle, horses and scaled hogs in large quantities, and the starving Doimo had no concept of animal ownership. That led to the Doimo hunting the refugees’ animals. The refugees answered with slaughtering most of the clans in the more fertile south. The clans of the east and west also dwindled, by the hands of orcs and humans or the changes in the land, as most of the water had dried up.
In the end, 7 clans survived, and found a sanctuary in what the refugees would later call the Naezshan Zhunith.
For thousands of years the Doimo lived mostly in peace in their Thirstlands, but the peace was broken now and then by passing armies, bandits and treasure hunters. The worst of these were the times when 50 young and hopeful orcs dared to enter the Naezshan Zhunith, believing that the Doimo had vast piles of gold just waiting to be claimed. The clans mustered their forces as the orcs pillaged and burned Doimo camps. The first night of fighting, the orcs riding animals were shot by poisoned arrows. The following days the orcs had to marsh through several small volleys of poisoned arrows for each league they took. In the end, the last tired and wounded orcs were brought to the ground by painted warriors suddenly appearing in their midst.
Sometimes, adventurers appear armed in the Naezshan Zhunith, but after weeks of searching, they usually find nothing besides old campfires, as the Doimo prefer to flee.
Information provided by The Akorn