Quick Stats
Lifespan: 40 years
Height: 6'4" to 7'6"
Build: Bulky, muscular
Colouring: Dark hair & eyes
Culture
Government: Tribes led by Warlord
Population: ~1,700
Language: Malaki
Currency: None
Calendar: None

Malaki hail from the Badlands in Acantha. On the verge of extinction, they are divided into hunting tribes some 20-50 strong. They value strength of character as much as physical prowess and train their young from the age of six to track and take down prey much larger than themselves.

Malaki are brutish omnivores forced to live a nomadic lifestyle to follow the sparse wildlife of the Badlands. They raid local villages and rival tribes frequently in search of food and water but otherwise spurn outsiders. The weak are abandoned or killed.

Physical Characteristics

Malaki range in height from 6'4" to 7'6". They are muscular with strong bones, powerful legs for chasing prey, and cloven hooves. Females have four thick horns which sweep sideways away from the head and curve or twist into a point. Males have six of these thick horns which branch into small but deadly antlers. The genders otherwise look very similar.

Malaki favour simple leathers and furs, covering only the genitals. They braid the longer fur around their horns and wear necklaces and horn ornaments made from leather cord and the teeth and claws of previous kills. Before battle, they proudly dye the bristled fur on their torso with temporary markings which denote their tribe.


Life Cycle & Reproduction

Band Age
Gestation 30 weeks
Infant 0-2
Child 3-5
Brave 6-12
Warrior 13-36
Elder 37-39
Dead by 40

Malaki are very short-lived because of environmental hazards and their violent lifestyle. It is very rare for them to surpass 50 years, and those who reach even 40 are treated as living legends. However, Malaki value physical prowess so strongly that the weak, infirm and elderly are cast out without resources or sympathy.

Monogamy is not encouraged and homosexual relationships are forbidden. Strong warriors have a responsibility to spread their genes as far as possible and are never without a partner. If a couple is proven to produce strong off-spring, they are encouraged to pair up again, but relationships do not normally last beyond conception.

Malaki have live births but their tolerance for pain means that mothers are active right up to labour. Babies are carried on the mother's back in a sling, which can be spun around for breast-feeding on the move, until they are weaned. It is a measure of their strength and survival instincts that Malaki children never cry and mothers are right back on their feet within an hour of giving birth.


Politics

H
I
E
R
A
R
C
H
Y
Warlord1
Veterans
Warriors
Elders
Braves
Non-Combatants2

Malaki live in small tribes of 20 to 50 warriors plus dependents. The Warlord's orders are to be followed without question and there must be respect and deferral to seasoned warriors. Tribes share a hard-won sense of kinsmanship and community as they rely heavily on each other for survival, especially in battle and while on the hunt. There is little room for personal rivalry.

The only time a tribe's members are permitted to question the Warlord's decisions is when they are officially challenging for the position.

Allies & Enemies

The Malaki are seen as barbaric and axe-happy, a race best left alone for fear of inviting their wrath, yet many Acanthans hold them in awe. They are not openly at war with anyone, but they frequently raid local villages for resources and are keen to fight if an opportunity arises. They do not trust in diplomacy and shun potential allies for their weaknesses.

Predators & Prey

Resources are so scarce in the Badlands that some of the more barbaric tribes are necro-cannibals while others supplement their own hunts with what they can take from those weaker than themselves. Malaki can be opportunistic scavengers when necessary.

Habitat

The Malaki are forced to live a nomadic lifestyle in order to track prey across the Badlands and avoid being eaten themselves. It is rare for Malaki to leave the Red Mountains (except while on a raid or at war), though they could live virtually anywhere if they were not too proud to concede defeat.

  • Acantha - (Newly discovered realm of the god Danae.)
  • Badlands - (The Red Mountains of Acantha.)

Population

Malaki are technically on the verge of extinction as there are approximately just 1,700 in existence. However, they have been this way for centuries and somehow manage to maintain their numbers regardless.

Culture

The Malaki are a ruthless and warring race who solve all their problems with violence. They cannot afford to show mercy or kindness even to their own. Even their strongest warriors are abandoned if they grow old or take too long to recover from their injuries.

The heat and winds are so harsh in the Badlands that tribes cannot work through the middle of the day and must instead split their working hours into two shifts. They will hunt from dawn, nap through the hottest hours, and then take care of chores around camp during the afternoon. If the morning's hunt was not successful, they will head out again in the evening, and then return at nightfall to share a campfire meal which serves to strengthen communal bonds.

Languages

Malaki speak a brusque dialect of Acanthan, named Malaki after themselves, which is made up of a lot of hard and sharp sounds. Accents have subtle variations between tribes but they all sound threatening and violent.

Names

Malaki name their off-spring twice: Once by the mother when they are born, and once again by the Warlord when a Brave becomes a Warrior. Their first name is temporary and used only to distinguish them from other children. In fact, babies are often numbered rather than given proper names.

The second name has deep meaning and reflects their most prominent characteristic.

When naming your Malaki, think hard sounds like K, T or hard G rather than soft sounds like J, CH or TH.

Currency & Calendar

Malaki have no need for currency. They hunt and raid for food and make whatever weapons and tools they need from materials found in the Badlands. Anything else is surplus to requirements. All resources are divided between a tribe's members according to their rank, with bonuses for a particularly good hunt, so individuals have no need to barter.

Malaki use the sun and stars for simple time-keeping. They tell stories of past battles and hunts but do not have an actual calendar to mark the passage of time. Significant events are recounted as "before" or "after" another significant event to keep the chronology intact (see History).

Religion & Philosophy

Malaki retell their creation myth every night around the campfire but this is the only outward sign of their worship of Danae?, whom they call "The Warlord of Acantha" or "The War God". He has so little influence or impact on their daily lives that they can go for years without thinking of him at all, but they eagerly answer his infrequent summons to war and still very much believe themselves to be his guardians.

Education

Malaki train, from the very moment they can walk (usually at the age of 6 months), with just one goal: to become the strongest warrior in their tribe, and from there aim to take the Warlord's axe.

Tribal crafts, such as weapons forging, are also geared toward survival and combat. The most skilled craftsman serves as instructor until someone surpasses him. Elders can sometimes stave off their exile if they can continue teaching.

Rites of the Brave

At the age of 10, Braves are sent alone into the Badlands and given a single day to seek out something that is symbolic to their tribe (such as the tusk of an untamed reaver or the horn of a rival tribesman). This item varies between the tribes but is always dangerous to acquire. Once they have been declared a Warrior, they wear the item as a hair adornment. If they do not return before the deadline, they are presumed too weak to survive and the tribe moves on without them.

Relationships & Family

The word "family" is literally not in the Malaki vocabulary. As soon as children are weaned and old enough to walk, they are sent to live with other children in a large tent at the centre of camp, where they are guarded by sentries and raised by the communal efforts of any elders or infirm who have not yet been exiled.

Malaki do not acknowledge their children as individuals except to boast about their own breeding capabilities. Youngsters belong to the tribe as future warriors and are seen as little more than drains on already scarce resources until they can fend for themselves and begin contributing.

Half-Breeds

Malaki view other species as weak, so the very thought of breeding outside their own race is anathema. Even the strongest hybrids carry weak genetic material, so they are not accepted into the tribes and are certainly shunned as potential mates. Malaki would rather kill hybrid off-spring than face humiliation as a poor breeder.

History

  BEFORE THE MALAKI      0 XA   Earth discovered.
                      2092 XA   Soldiers assigned.
                      2599 XA   Split into tribes.
                      4766 XA   Now known as Malaki.  
   AFTER THE MALAKI   5019 XA   Daunters domesticated.
 AFTER THE DAUNTERS   7201 XA   Sentries domesticated.
 AFTER THE SENTRIES  10006 XA   Finding Namiko [PLOT].
      BEFORE ELYSIA  10012 XA   Acanthan Arc [PLOT].
       AFTER ELYSIA  10012 XA   Elysia opened.


Malaki believe they were originally humans who moved to Acantha when Xanth discovered Earth?. When she and Danae fell out, she abandoned the humans in his realm and severed all ties with them. Fearing that one day she would return, Danae sent some of his people into the Badlands to guard the portal. When they struggled to survive there, he gave them many gifts to help them adapt. Over time, he largely forgot their existence but they continue to patrol the Badlands on his behalf.


Skills & Proficiencies

Malaki are best known outside their own culture for their skill on a battlefield, but hunting and tracking brings the most respect within a tribe. Outside of the core skills, there are some Malaki who can make beautiful tools with little more than a hunk of wood and a piece of sharpened stone, but these aesthetics are almost entirely accidental and not at all appreciated by the Malaki themselves.

Skills:
Likely Jobs
Hunter
Warrior
Mercenary
Bodyguard
Beastmaster
Weaponsmith
Slaver
Bounty Hunter
Unlikely Jobs
Merchant
Scribe
Scientist
Craftsman
Tradesman
Entertainer
Magistrate
Diplomat


Related Pages

  • Acantha - (Newly discovered realm of the god Danae.)
  • Badlands - (The Red Mountains of Acantha.)

Footnotes

  1. "Warlord" is essentially a chieftain's role and can be won in combat by either male or female. They make the decisions that affect the tribe as a whole, such as who to attack next or which prey to follow, but will often stay out of the day-to-day running of the clan unless something crops up.
  2. Non-combatants are responsible for chores at camp, such as childcare and meal preparation. They include: Children who are too young to fight or start their training; Braves (older children who are currently in training but who are too young or unskilled to join real battles or hunts); Elders who have not yet been exiled but are too infirm to continue active duty; and injured warriors while on the mend.

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