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Illph
Illph
Home Continent: Vestin
Territories: Agasgani, Galivladi, Duyugodiv, Eladi
Languages: Illphi, Duendai, Trade
Slavery: Banned in all areas but Galivladi
Relationships: Neutral to all but the Duendo -- on friendly terms with the Duendo.
Average Height: 5'0"-5'7"
Average Weight: 137 lbs
Lifespan: 150 years (Capable of living 250 years)
Focus: Hunting, fishing, farming, ceremonies and festivals
Holidays/Festivals: First New Moon of Spring, The Green Corn Ceremony, The Mature Green Corn Ceremony, The Great New Moon, Friendship, Winter
Notable Members: Goga Aduladi

OverviewEdit

Like the Duendo, the Illph are a tribal people in most areas they occupy. Each tribal territory is a loose confederacy of the villages that make it up, each led by a supreme chief. In the years past, Illph territories were occupied by Drude and their Human slaves. Though the Drude have long since receded, the former occupation led to a high Half-Illph and Illph/Drude population. Those villages that border on Drude countries are more "civilized" than their brother tribes, yet they still remain close to their native roots. Even the less-advanced Illph tribes use the Illphi syllabary. Though the Illph have warriors, they are mainly a culture of farmers and hunters, and rarely war with other nations or tribes unless provoked. They are a religious people, and celebrate many holidays and festivals throughout the year, often painting their faces and bodies for each holiday. Just like their Duendo neighbors, Illph are capable of living 250 years, but often only reach around 175-200 due to "lower living standards" and the dangers of the wilds they occupy. Most Illph are polite to outsiders, and will often offer hospitality to those in need, Illphi or not. The Illph nation as a whole is on friendly terms with the Duendo nation, and it is a rare Illph indeed that does not welcome a Duendo into his house with open arms.

Unlike most other cultures, the Illph are mainly a matriarchy -- much of the power in their tribes are held by the women. Family and clan lines are traced through the mother, and children are always considered a member of their mother's clan. Though exact leadership responsibilities vary from region to region, most Illphi tribes have a council and at least one chief. A man is almost always elected as chief of his tribe, but he often defers to his mother or wife for advice, and village councils are primarily made up of elder women. Chiefs are not typical leaders - they are expected to listen to all sides of a story and the concerns of their people and to then make decisions everyone can agree on through compromise. In most cases, chiefs can be removed from power by the people and/or the council if a majority feels he is not doing a competent job. Many northern Illphi tribes have a War Chief and a Peace Chief. The Peace Chief governs most of the time, while the War Chief is elected during wartime. These chiefs always have at least a few well-picked advisers to guide and aide them in governing in addition to the traditional councils.

Illph are around the same size as the Drude, though often they fall a few inches shorter of their northern cousins. Illph skin is of an auburn hue, ranging from a dark brown to a medium tan, all tinged with red. Illph hair is naturally black or dark brown, and they rarely dye it anything else. Their eyes are often black, brown, dark brown, and rarely emerald green or hazel.

AnimalsEdit

The Illph are spread out over a wide expanse of territory, and so the kinds of animals vary depending on the climate and region. Throughout the Illph nation, dogs are common pets. They serve as beloved companions, hunting aids, guards over the home, and sometimes are used as pack animals in the plains. Many Illph revere dogs, and some tribes consider them guides for spirits on their way to the afterlife.

In the northern regions, wolves are also frequently domesticated animal companions. Less frequently, but still often, feral cats are domesticated into pets and are valued for their vermin-catching abilities. Most feline pets taken in by the Illph are "house"cats, but sometimes larger species are brought in, though they are rarely larger than lynxes.

Most Illph are hunters and farmers. As a whole, they believe in taking only what you need and have no concept of ownership over land and animals. As such, they do not keep livestock. However, those further north and under more Drude influence have adapted to keeping livestock. Cattle are the most common in these regions, as are chickens, turkeys and sometimes pigs.

Hunting and trapping game is the primary meat source for the Illph. In the northern woodland, common game includes deer, moose, caribou, bears, wild turkeys, otter, muskrats, beavers, rabbits, squirrels and porcupines. In the central plains, the tribes follow and hunt the buffalo herds. These bison are almost the sole source of meat, though sometimes the Illph there also track small game such as prairie dogs and hares. In the southern plains, buffalo are also hunted, but the people are not migratory and also hunt deer, hares, elk and foxes.

Horses are found throughout the Illph regions, and are used universally as mount animals. The nomadic central plains Illph use horses the most, learning to ride and bond with horses from a young age. There, the horses are used in both warefare and hunts, as well as transporting the tribe's tepees and other supplies when they move. Some central plains tribes still use dogs to transport their goods using a travois: a sled-like device made of two poles tied to either side of a dog or horse.

ArtEdit

Illph art is as varied as the number of tribes, but they do share common characteristics:

  • Emphasis on percussional music: Music is a large part of Illphi life, and is a central focus during most ceremonies and rituals. The Illphi use drums, rattles and other percussion instruments, along with flutes and whistles made of wood, cane, or bone.
  • Practical artwork: The Illph often decorate everyday objects such as pottery and baskets. Pottery is often painted depicting famous battles or folklore. Sometimes sculpture is combined into ceramics, usually in the form of stylized animal or spirit figures.
  • Jewelry: Both Illphi men and women frequently wear at least some jewelry. All Illph have their ears pierced as toddlers and wear ear studs until reaching adulthood. Then, the adults wear earrings, often keeping the same two in for their entire lives. Jewelry is most often made from animal bone, wood, stones and shells. In the north, metal jewelry is also common.
  • Beadwork - Beads (made from a variety of natural objects) are found throughout Illph tribes. Aside from being used as a form of currency, beads are used to decorate belts, clothes, hair, and ceremonial objects.

The plains Illph are known for their hide paintings that tell the history and lore of their people. All Illph artwork is at least somewhat stylized and abstract rather than realistic. This is because the stylization is believed to help connect the people closer to Adanvdo Elohi (the Spirit World).

Children/FamiliesEdit

Illphi families are close-knit and very interdependent. Traditionally, most tribes were subdivided into clans. People of the same clan were considered closely related and therefore could not marry one another. Each clan had a different responsibility in overall society, and clan lines are traced matrilineally. That is, children are considered part of the same clan as their mother. In many areas, clans lived together in a village.

These original clans were:

  • Northern eight clans: Bear, Wolf, Deer, Hawk, Beaver, Turtle, Heron and Snipe.
  • Central six clans: Bison, Coyote, Jackrabbit, Owl, Meadowlark and Monarch (as in butterflies)
  • Southern seven clans: Fox, Salamander, Gohpher, Goose, Squirrel, Rattler (snake), and Honeybee.

Over time, these clans have broken down into many other clans, much more like the clan/family structure of the Drude. Current day Illph, including those less under foreign influence, now take on surnames that represent the modern, diverse clans. These family lines are still traced through the mother, and husbands take on their wives' family name when they marry.

While the clan connection has grown more distant than in the past, most Illph still live with extended family. In a home or homestead, it isn't uncommon for grandparents to live with their children and grandchildren. Aunts, uncles and cousins are also often found under the same roof. Most often, a newlywed couple moves in with the bride's family. In some tribes, only the unmarried children remain with their parents and siblings. Once they marry, they move into their own homes, but remain close to the woman's family.

Illphi villages range anywhere between a few dozen families to several hundred. Nomadic tribes tend to be smaller while settled villages are generally larger.

ChildrenEdit

The Illphi value their children highly, and tend to use gentler forms of discipline when they misbehave. The Illph rarely spank their children. Common forms of punishment for bad behavior are either lightly scratching the child with thorns or teasing them. Community dependence and cooperation are values taught from a very young age, and children are expected to be curious and carefree while young. They are allowed to make their own mistakes and learn from them, so long as these mistakes are not severely harmful to others. As such, the need for severe discipline often only comes when children misbehave at an age where they are expected to know better.

Illphi babies are carried on their mother's back in a cradleboard or gently propped against a tree near their mothers and other relatives while they work (often harvesting crops). Children play lots of games, but upon reaching age five or six, start helping their parents. Children's hair is often kept simple: Whether short or long, it simply hangs loose. Sometimes their hair is tied up to keep it out of the way while working. More elaborate hairstyles are adopted when children come of age. All Illphi have their ears pierced by the time they are two years of age. They keep simple bone (or metal) ear studs in until they come of age and are allowed to wear regular earrings.

Birth and NamingEdit

Like the Duendo, only women are allowed in during childbirth -- the fathers are allowed to see their children after they are born and have been cleaned up. This is a practice that is very strictly enforced in many areas, though, of course, it is more lax in the Druden-influenced regions.

Illphi naming traditions vary from the woodland to the plains regions. In the north, the common practice was for the clan mother to name newborns. Because clans have become looser and more diverse, often the maternal grandmother names the child. In Galivladi and northern Agasgani, they have adapted Drude naming customs where the parents name the newborn shortly after birth. In the central and southern plains, babies are often named by their parents or the village shaman four days after their birth.

Gender RolesEdit

Some specific roles in society differ from region to region and tribe to tribe, but Illph men and women generally have the same basic responsibilities. Men hunt and track game, fish and create tools and weapons. Women farm crops, sew clothing, create pottery, weave baskets and tan hide. Girls learn their skills from their mothers and aunts, while boys learn from their fathers and uncles. In the plains, boys are taught to ride horses so they can participate in buffalo hunts when they reach the proper age. For the nomadic central plains Illph, everyone participates in a buffalo hunt when horses are scarce or unavailable to ride. The children wave blankets to make some bison change direction – often stampeding over a cliff. Men wear animal skin disguises and close in with bows/spears, while women move quickly to butcher and skin the bison.

Men also serve as warriors in troubled times and protect their home and families through violence. Sometimes, women accompany men during wartime. Often, they come to prepare food and carry supplies. Not too rarely, though, women join in the fighting, especially when their homes are in danger. There are several tales of Illphi women raging into battle, especially during the end of the Druden Empire when large rebellions rose up against the Empire.

Girls come of age when they have their first period (known as Moon Time). During this event, they are sent into semi-seclusion with other menstruating women at the edge of town in a small lodge meant solely for Moon Time. There she prays and contemplates and shares her mind with the other women for the duration of her period. This is NOT because the Illphi view menstruation as something unclean or impure. In fact, they view it as very sacred and holy, for menstruation is a symbol of women's valuable and powerful life-giving abilities. The reason for the semi-seclusion is because the Illphi believe during Moon Time, a women's spiritual energy becomes so powerful that it can interrupt other spiritual energies and throw the balance off. It is also done out of respect and reverence for the woman's ability to give life, for the time spent in the Moon Lodge is essentially a vacation once a month from day to day worries and chores.

Boys have their coming of age when they are thought to be fully trained in the essential basic hunting and fighting skills, often around ages 14-16. A boy comes of age after he has a vision quest. For this quest, a boy must venture alone in the wilderness and fast for four days. During this time, he meditates and attempts is expected to have a vision from the spirits at the end, telling a part of his or the tribe's future. Once he returns, he retells his vision to the elders and/or the village council (some tribes require their boys to tell their vision to the whole village). Afterwards, he is reaccepted into the tribe as a man.

ClothingEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

Common ClassesEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

EducationEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

Face PaintEdit

Illphipaint1

Event face paintings

Face painting is a long-used, sacred tradition going back thousands of years. It is not done for fun, but for several various reasons, all of them solemn and to be treated with respect and spirituality in mind. Paints are made by grinding various natural pigments, such as roots, berries, clay and tree bark. Most common uses of face paint are:

  • In festivals/ceremonies (often to denote a special position during that ceremony)
  • During wartime (again, to denote position/rank)
  • To invoke special abilities
  • Camouflage
  • Open the mind to spiritual guidance
  • To invoke animal qualities

There are two main kinds of face paint designs: Event designs and animal designs. Event designs are used for various reasons (several listed above), and the colors used mean certain things:


  • Red - War
  • Yellow - Death
  • Black - "Living" color (often used in preparation for war)
  • Green - Grants night vision when painted under the eyes; also used as camouflage when hunting
  • White - Peace
  • Blue - Heightened Spirituality -- Used almost exclusively by shamen


Illphipaint2

Animal face paintings

With animal designs, the paint is made to look as relatively close and/or symbolic of the animal it represents, and is meant to grant the wearer a trait the animal is known for. Common animal designs and powers associated with them include:

  • Bear: Power, Healing
  • Cougar: Power, Swiftness
  • Deer: Love, Gentleness, Kindness
  • Dog: Loyalty, Companionship
  • Eagle: Potency, Healing, Power, Illumination, Protection from evil
  • Fox: Cleverness, Subtlety, Discretion
  • Goat: Tenacity, Diligence
  • Hawk: Awareness, Truth
  • Horse: Freedom, Power, Safe movement
  • Moose: Unpredictability, Spontaneity
  • Owl: Wisdom, Vision, Insight
  • Rabbit: Conquering fear, Safety
  • Raccoon: Curiosity, Inquisitiveness
  • Raven: Mystery, Exploration of the unknown, Trickster
  • Snake: Power, Life force, Sexual potency
  • Wolf: Teaching skill, Loyalty, Interdependence

Certain color combinations mean other things. For example, red painted alongside white means hunting or fishing - the red showing the violence required for such activities, and the white symbolizing peacetime, so the red is not seen as a war color. Location of certain colors and color combinations can mean several different things, from showing wisdom to keeping one's mind open to the spirits.

FeathersEdit

Feathers are used by the Illphi to mark accomplishments. Though feathers of any bird can and are often used, eagle feathers are considered the most sacred: eagle feathers are given only to the bravest warriors, while hawk feathers are often reserved for talented hunters. A feather is only allowed to be worn once an Illph has shared their story of bravery with an assembled tribal court. Once given, it is expected to be displayed proudly, whether through wearing or keeping it as a trophy on one's wall. They are sacred gifts that remind one how to behave and it is considered disrespectful to put the feathers away where it cannot be seen, or to let them touch the ground.

Illph in more Druden influenced areas tend not to use feathers as often as others, but they still award them to talented individuals, chiefs, elders and shamen. These less tribal Illphi more often display feathers in the home rather than wear them, except for special occasions.

While there are variations in feather symbolism from tribal region to tribal region, there are common themes and the eagle feather is always considered the most sacred. Common feather markings include:

  • Single Upright Feather: 1st accomplishment (sometimes given with a horsehair tuft)
  • Feather with red bar: 2nd accomplishment
  • Horizontal Feather: 3rd accomplishment
  • Feather with a red spot: Killed an enemy
  • Notched Feather: Cut enemy's throat and took scalp
  • Split Feather: Wounded many times

Common accomplishments that are awarded include: saving allies in battle, remarkable bravery in a fight, exceptional skill in battle, bringing home plenty of meat to feed the community, long-term skilled hunting, and respect towards animal life during several hunts (i.e. not hunting excessively).

FestivalsEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

FoodEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

VegetablesEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

FruitsEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

GrainsEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

DairyEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

Meat and FishEdit

More information on this section coming soon.

HousingEdit

Illphi housing varies from tribe to tribe, but there are distinct similarities between the three main regions of Illphi territory.

The Northern TribesEdit

In southern Galivladi and Duyugodiv, the Illphi tend to longhouses made out of pole frames and elm bark outer walls. Most longhouses contain a raised platform on the interior that creates a second floor used for sleeping. Rooms are divided by mats and wood screens. Though these houses are also found in northern Galivladi, the area's architecture is strongly more Druden influenced in size and some materials, using stronger wood and more solid frames to create multi-storied log cabin homes.

The Central TribesEdit

The Illph in Agasgani tend to live in settled villages and build their houses out of rivercane and plaster, with thatched roofs. These homes are of similar warmth and strength of log cabins and tend to be one-story, sometimes with lofts. The cooking area is often in the center of the house, with a hole in the roof to vent smoke. Central Illphi also tend to build seven-sided buildings for ceremonies. Some of the tribes in southern Agasgani are migratory and follow the buffalo herds. Therefore, their housing are often teepees made out of tall wooden poles and buffalo hide, and are relatively easy to take down and move upon short notice.

The Southern TribesEdit

Illphi in Eladi tend to use huts as their homes, and build them in beehive-like shapes with thatched grass. They are relatively small compared to the other common Illph homes, but most grass houses can fit a small family comfortably. Tribes in Eladi that hunt buffalo sometimes use teepees as temporary shelter while on a hunt, but they are not used as permanent housing, as they are not migratory.

Most tribal villages and towns have at least one stickball field for play and official games.

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