The Dasaka Master Reference Post (DMRP)
The Dasaka are the BZPRPG's Toa, Turaga, and Matoran of Psionics. They come from the Kentoku Archipelago, and as such their society and culture are very different from those of the Toa of Mata Nui. Below you'll find all you need to know about Dasaka history, culture, powers, and more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- List of Definitions
- Kentoku Society & History
- Three Virtues
- Gender Imbalance
- Menti Powers
- Individuals of Note
- Visual Aspects of Culture
1. LIST OF DEFINITIONS
Dasaka (DAH-suh-kah): the species equivalent of Toa, but also an umbrella name for the species as a whole. Dasaka individuals can be learned in up to four disciplines of the mind depending upon rank and experience.
Dashi (DAH-shee): the species equivalent of Matoran, but also the name for the working class and the title for those in that class.
Dastana (Dah-STAH-nah): a relatively new clan that is a conglomeration of merchants and businesspeople.
Datsue (DAHT-soo-ay): the species equivalent of Turaga. These are revered elders who exist outside the social hierarchy. Generally retain some of the disciplines of the mind.
Fursic (FURR-sick): an old and powerful clan with a history of insubordination.
Kentoku (ken-TOE-koo): the archipelago of islands on which Dasaka society lives.
Menti (MEN-tee): the warrior class, and the title for those in that class; descriptor for a being trained in one or more psionic disciplines.
Ringti (RING-tee): the artisan class, and the title those in that class.
Rora (ROE-rah): the empress of the Kentoku Archipelago; almost always a Datsue individual. The next in line to be Rora is known as the Chojo (SHOW-joe).
Saihoko (seye-HO-koh): the merchant and nautical class, and the title those in that class. Can be abbreviated to "Hoko," an offensive term.
Toroshu (toh-roh-SHOO): a member of the nobility with command over a clan. Second only to the Rora in terms of authority, though oftentimes the military clout of a Toroshu will be stronger than that of the Rora. Toroshu are usually Dasaka individuals.
Umbraline (UMM-brah-lean): an ancient clan currently in charge of the Dasaka Empire.
2. KENTOKU SOCIETY & HISTORY
Civilization on the Kentoku Archipelago is a highly regulated matriarchal machine. From the Rora, the empress, down to the lowliest Saihoko fisherwoman, every Dasaka knows her place and her duty within the machine. Law is strict, but usually benevolent. Tradition and respect are highly valued.
Society on the Archipelago is defined by bloodlines, which supersede almost everything else. Dasaka owe loyalty to their families, and as such society is divided into interrelated clans – made up of one or more families, each led by a female Toroshu – all vying for power. Blood bonds, courtship, and fleeting alliances define the political game among the notable clans, a game that is played beneath the watchful eye of the Rora.
In the ancient past, though, the Archipelago was without a presiding empress. The Dasaka clans of ages ago were like prides of lions: wild, and led by warring males. Impulsive, quick to anger, and with little regard for the lives of their female soldiers, the warlords battled over everything from lands to mere swords. Though the warlords were strong - their mental powers were unconstrained by the modern disciplines - their haughty pride blinded them to the growing discontent of their subjects. Unified by the First Mother (who, legend has it, was in fact the Great Spirit Zuto Nui, descended from the sky) the Datsue elders of all the clans of Kentoku met in secret and arranged the overthrow of the males. There followed a revolution, and the first sovereign Council of Datsue assumed power.
For a good while, a Datsue Council presided over all the clans. The peace that endured under the rule of the Datsue was uneasy, though; bad blood between the clans still ran deep, and the lieutenants of the old warlords were not without ambition. Using the Datsue's frailty, scholarly tendencies, and military impotence against them, these lieutenants turned the opinion of their clans against the Datsue Council, and cooperatively staged a coup. Thus, the first Toroshu came to power. Though they had scorned the Datsue's leadership, the Toroshu kept in place many of the Datsue Council's innovations that benefited them, including the subjugation of males, and the separation of the Menti Disciplines.
It wasn't long before the Kentoku Archipelago was again split by war. The War of the Sea (so named because it was bottomless) was waged across generations, and many honorable clans perished in the struggle. When peace was finally reached, the remaining Toroshu decided to elect an empress, one who could act as arbiter for their future disputes and prevent such a war from ever happening again. The impartial matriarch of Clan Umbraline, seen by most of the Toroshu as wise and calm, was chosen; the ambitious Toroshu of Clan Fursic, whose armies had won the war, never forgave the insult to her family.
The rule of the Umbralines has continued ever since. Punctuated here and there by Fursic uprisings and attempted coups, and the occasional inter-clan war, the age of the Rora has been one of prosperity upon the Kentoku Archipelago.
3. THREE VIRTUES
The Dasaka, like the Matoran, hold three virtues paramount. The Dasaka’s virtues, like the Dasaka themselves, might seem at a glance to be a warped reflection of what exists on Mata Nui. The Dasaka do not, in fact, revere the Great Spirit Mata Nui; they venerate a completely different Great Spirit, Zuto Nui, and they fear her sister, the evil Zataka. Zuto Nui's three virtues, the central pillars of Kentoku society, are as follows:
Order – Always respect your place on the social ladder, in the family, and in the clan. Never go against the caste system or cause entropy in society.
Power – Strive to be better than you are, stronger than you are; become as powerful and resilient you can become. Always act to improve yourself and your clan.
Honor – Make your actions reflect positively on your clan and your fellow Dasaka. Give elders, betters, and teachers the respect that they are due. Be humble, be courteous, and be courageous.
When it comes to loyalties in Kentoku society, family ties are superseded only by the Archipelago’s long-standing caste system. There are four castes in Kentoku society: Menti, Dashi, Ringti, and Saihoko.
Menti (Warrior Class: mostly Dasaka, and the rare Datsue)
- The warrior caste of society, and the highest tier. While this entire caste is generally referred to as “Menti”, within this caste there are three further ranks: Rora, Toroshu, and Menti Warrior.
- At the very top of the Kentoku hierarchy is the Empress, the Rora. While the Rora retains unassailable authority in name and prestige, she has little actual military power, that resting chiefly in the Toroshu below her. In essence, the Rora is a figurehead of the Dasaka species, not its true leader. Nevertheless, what the Rora says carries much weight, as she can bestow punishments or rewards upon anyone she wishes. The Rora acts as an arbiter of inter-clan disputes.
- Immediately below the Rora in terms of political power are the Toroshu. They are the generals and the diplomatic heads of their respective clans. In practically everything, especially in war, Toroshu hold absolute power, as all Menti warriors are instructed to obey their Toroshu before all else. Under a Toroshu is generally a web of nobility and lieutenants.
- Menti warriors, the soldiers and guards of the empire, answer directly to their Toroshu both in peace and wartime. Menti warriors are trained in particular disciplines of combat to become deadly soldiers, the muscle of a Toroshu's power. A handful of Menti warriors serve the Rora directly as peacekeepers and guards on Sado.
Dashi (Worker Class: generally Dashi)
- The second tier of society, the Dashi class is comprised of farmers and other manual laborers. Great value is given to those who work, so the simple farmer and peasant are the next-highest rank after the warriors and nobility.
- According to Kentoku ideals and work ethic, farmers are superior to artisans and merchants because they produce the food that all the other classes depended upon. The Dashi also make up the majority of the population, and therefore represent the near entirety of the workforce and taxable income. The lives of Dashi are simple and safe; it’s seen as extremely dishonorable (and impractical) to slay a Dashi.
Ringti (Artisan Class: generally Dashi, and occasionally Dakasa)
- Third tier of society, the Ringti class is made up of skilled workers. Although artisans produce many beautiful and necessary goods, such as clothes, cooking utensils, weapons, etc, they are considered less important than the farmers. Even skilled weapon makers and boat wrights belong to this third tier of society on the archipelago.
- The artisan class lived in its own section of the major cities, segregated from the Menti (who usually lived in the Toroshu's castles), and from the lower merchant class. They usually live comfortably, as imperial quotas and tariffs regulate the supply and demand for goods, and a profit is almost always turned.
- The Dasaka individuals in the Ringti class are usually crystal smiths, who use their abilities as Mindarms and Soulswords to craft fine crystal objects, such as buildings and weapons. There is a specialized school in Sado that trains crystal smiths to apply Menti powers to delicate tasks.
- Ringti inventors are treated with fickleness by society. The Menti leaders are generally adverse to technological advancement, as it goes against tradition, but some of the more shrewd ones are willing to disregard this pride if a truly useful invention, such as the submersible, is created. Ringti generally have thick skin against critics, and so will celebrate these victories rather than wallow in their rejections.
Saihoko (Merchant Class: generally Dashi)
- Merchants occupy the bottom rung of the Dasaka’s feudal society: traveling traders, shopkeepers, and even sailors are placed here. Merchants are ostracized as "parasites" that profit from the labor of the more productive peasant and artisan classes, and despite their essential role in society, most other Dasaka revile them.
- Not only do merchants live in a separate section of each city; the higher classes are generally forbidden to mix with them, unless on business. Nonetheless, many merchant families are able to amass large fortunes through their hard work and business sense, and force their ways into higher castes.
- It is common to insult someone by calling them a “Saihoko”, or even “Hoko” for short, representing the lowest of the low.
Datsue (Outside class system)
- The Dasaka species equivalent to the Turaga exist as a general rule outside the caste system, having lived a long time and now retired from their previous careers to become respected advisers and holy women. Their elder status earns them freedom within the Archipelago, and they are free to pursue whatever they wish.
- While they are an integral part of the traditional Kentoku hierarchy, Datsue are simultaneously above and separate from it. They are the keepers of the history and knowledge on the archipelago, and the ones that perform the spiritual and symbolic ceremonies important to the Dasaka. The Datsue serve those who seek understanding and counsel. They help prepare new Menti for their training and give sage counsel to the young as well as the old.
- In times of great crisis, it is the Datsue who act as judge and jury, ferreting out the dishonorable and administering justice according to the ancient laws. Most Toroshu work in tandem with a Datsue, relying on the elders as advisers.
5. GENDER IMBALANCE
Female/Male birth rate – about 40:1
Because of the imbalanced gender ratio on the Kentoku Archipelago, males are rare; as such, they are highly prized within society as both reproducers and aggressive warriors. After a male is born, the Toroshu of his clan isolates him at a young age, sending him to Sado to be trained as a fierce Menti warrior. After extensive training – males are almost always taught in two disciplines of the mind – they are generally assigned as companions or bodyguards to high-ranking females. Only familial First Sons, the eldest males of prominent clans, escape such duties.
Ironically, males have virtually no rights save those defined within their specialized role in society; male Dasaka are, due to their value, perhaps the most completely controlled by the caste system. The birth of a male in a family can instantly gain that family status; conversely, the death of a male prior to his apprenticeship will cast a family into the deepest shame. Most females will never have offspring, this task being either regulated to those higher in the caste system or saved as rare gifts for acts of service or bravery. To mate and bear offspring with a male is considered a great honor.
6. MENTI POWERS
Menti warriors fight using different psionic powers. To limit their warriors' strength as individuals (advancing the virtue of Order) and to turn their Menti warriors into specific tactical weapons, the ancient council of Datsue split Menti training long ago into several different disciplines. The discipline or disciplines a Dasaka will study depends upon her pre-existing affinities and aptitudes – tested at the beginning of her training – and on her rank in society. While no discipline is inherently better the next, students of each tend to believe their practice is the superior one.The higher on the ladder of power one ascends, the more schools are open to be learned. All Menti are trained in at least one school. With more experience and military rank, it is possible for Menti to attain a second discipline. Powerful, exceedingly rare Menti known as Battlemasters are proficient with three; only the heroes of legend were rumored to have been able to use all four psionic powers. The disciplines are as follows: Soulswords, Sighteyes, Mindarms, and Willhammers.
Soulsword Discipline (Psychophysical Energy)
Allows the user to harness psionic energy and, to an extent, use it in the physical world. A rudimentary and less precise Soulsword ability is to take psionic energy and whip it at foes, most often as a blunt attack. Fully experienced Soulswords, however, can form and mold the same raw psionic energy into a physical weapon, breaking the barrier between mental and physical attacks. The psychophysical weapon produced is made of shimmering, dripping and solid energy, and it can be used in lieu of a normal physical weapon. Soulsword students, however, must choose only one weapon shape to study, as an incredible familiarity with that weapon is essential to its effective use. Soulswords may only summon ONE psychophysical weapon at a time.
Weakness of the Discipline: Soulswords’ training in recognizing and resisting other disciplines of the mind – the illusions of Sighteyes and the influence of Willhammers – is minimal, as most of their time is devoted to the rigorous endurance conditioning necessary to maintaining their weapons in extended combat. Soulswords are also rarely aware of the line between their reserves of physical and elemental energy in the heat of battle.
Sighteye Discipline (Illusion)
Allows the practitioner to create and maintain illusions that can fool all five senses. Sighteyes can make their enemies believe anything they wish by overriding the sensory receivers of that enemy's mind and replacing those feeds of information with fictional information. A Sighteye's illusions are utterly convincing when maintained properly, so much that they can fool the deceived into believing almost anything. A highly trained Sighteye can make themselves basically invisible by replacing their appearance, scent, sound, and etc. with other sensory perceptions. A Sighteye, however, cannot fully eliminate an enemy's senses, only change what they are sensing. Sighteyes can target multiple minds at once, though the more sets of senses they are fooling, the more energy it will take them to do so successfully.
Weakness of the Discipline: Sighteyes, when performing convincing illusions, cannot move. To leave the mental plane long enough to even, say, take a step, would immediately break the Sighteye's projected deceptions.
Mindarm Discipline (Telekinesis)
Allows the practitioner to moving objects by mental force. This schools trains in the art of manipulating physical objects with the mind, and Mindarms are able to lift, push, pull, shove, or throw objects using only their mental prowess. Simple actions, such as throwing objects in battle, are very basic and take little concentration for a Mindarm. More delicate or complex motions, however, require more finesse and focus to be done correctly. Objects in motion, such as projectiles, also take far greater skill to manipulate than static ones. The larger an object that a Mindarm is trying to influence is, the more rapidly it will tire them to move. Limited levitation is possible to advanced Mindarms, who have the ability to lift and toss themselves in a controlled manner.
Weakness of the Discipline: Mindarms have the most physically strenuous Menti discipline, since they are often involved in other bodily action at the same time as they are wielding their powers. As such, they tend to burn out relatively quickly.
Willhammer Discipline (Mental Entry)
Allows the practitioner to see into, enter into, and interact with the minds of other beings. A Willhammer can thus press their will upon others through honeyed thoughts, sheer force, or other forms of mental deception. Willhammers can project emotions, words, images, and subliminal thoughts into their minds of choice, and are as such the only Menti able to converse telepathically with non-Menti (such a conversation occurring inside the mind of the subject). Since Willhammers can more or less see what the subject of their power is thinking, they generally understand the best way to convince others to follow their will on a case-by-case basis. Willhammers can only affect one being at a time. Mental entry is, in its nature, a one-sided negotiation of wills; as such, it does not work automatically. Its power can be resisted if the entered mind has an abnormally strong will or sense of self.
Weakness of the Discipline: Willhammers, unless extraordinarily skilled, are hardly ever able to convince their enemies to do exactly what they seek, even if their intended puppet has submitted to the Willhammer's wishes. Their discipline also requires much concentration, and as such restricts most bodily movement.
A minor discipline that allows the practitioner to communicate with other Menti. It is the first skill taught to every Dasaka during their training; as such, all proficient Menti have the ability to "speak" with one another via thought. Telepathic communication basically works like a radio: an individual will project the words/images they wish to communicate onto the mental plane, where others can selectively pick up the “transmission” with mental plane access. Every Menti (indeed, every sapient being) has a different "feel" on the mental plane; this is how when multiple Menti are communicating at once, they can distinguish different streams of consciousness from one another, or sense approaching beings on the mental plane. Telepathy grows more difficult and less accurate as distance increases.
While there are dozens of families and clans that inhabit the Kentoku Archipelago, three stand taller than the rest: Clan Umbraline, Clan Fursic, and Clan Dastana. It is these three monolith clans that carry the most political clout, and the actions they take affect all other families in the Empire. Most minor clans loosely ally themselves to whichever of the three leading clans best represents their interests.
The Umbralines can trace their history, ancestry, and bloodline back to the creation of the Empire, and have held power for a long time. They are staunch defenders of the old ways, a voice arguing for conservative stability in an otherwise tumultuous political scene. Despite making up a minority (albeit a large one) of the Dasaka population, the Umbralines are unquestioningly the most influential of the clans; the current Rora, Yusanora, was the Umbraline family’s matriarch before her ascension, and although her current position separates her from the management of her clan, her favor is still felt. The Umbralines contribute a majority of the Willhammers to the Menti ranks (as this is their clan discipline). While not always adverse to change, the Umbralines are highly conservative, more willing to rely on tried-and-true customs and technology than new inventions and ideas. Umbralines tend to be the diplomats and mediators of the empire.
The Fursics are an old clan with a long history and an even longer list of grievances. Their family has had a grudge against the Umbralines for as long as anyone can remember; they’re resentful of the Umbralines’ power, and frustrated after several failed coups – attempted in the past – by members of their family (which more astute Fursics always try to distance themselves from, calling such acts of infidelity to the Rora “ancient history”). Though less populous than the Umbralines, the Fursics have twice as much land at their disposal, which is ironic since they do not have the numbers to properly care for and defend such vast territory. The Fursics provide to the Empire with many Sighteyes, as this is their clan discipline. Many Dasaka outside the family are convinced that it is through deception and cheating that the Fursics have come to amass and cling to such power within the Empire, even despite their notoriety. Fursics tend to be the informants and spies of the empire.
One of the youngest Clans to come to power, and one of the most unusual, the Dastana Clan are more of a confederacy than one single family. Originally a group of Saihoko, this family became so wealthy and powerful through their shrewd mercantile business and inventions (notably among these, the submersible) that over time they gained enough influence to buy their way into the upper clans. This above all else is the reason that other clans universally despise the Dastana. Nevertheless, there are few that would dare touch them: the Dastana hold the purse strings of the empire. They are neither the most populous nor militarily strong of the clans, but they control the merchant and artisan castes, and therefore hold the majority of the money in the Empire, forcing everyone to put up with them. The Fursics despise the Dastana, while the Umbraline remain cool, if not friendly, with them. The Dastana have, over the last few centuries, provided many Mindarms – their clan discipline – to the Empire, cleverly mated into influential families, and performed acts of political subterfuge (to rival even those of the Fursics) on their road to power. The Dastana tend to be the merchants, artisans, inventors, and moneychangers of the empire.
- Clan Ageru: This medium-sized farming clan contributes a very significant proportion of the Archipelago's food supply. The majority of the Ageru's civilian population are Dashi harvesters, who work and live on the clan's swathes of fertile land on Odaiba. The Ageru's prolific harvests give them a certain degree of political clout; an army, after all, marches on its stomach. The Ageru are an old clan; historically, they have almost always been firm supporters of the Umbralines and the Empire. Ageru philosophy puts a lot of emphasis on the old ways of honor, tradition, and dutiful service. Besides food production, Clan Ageru is also known for producing talented Soulswords; members of other clans are known to joke - though rarely within earshot of an Ageru Menti - that these Soulswords' skill can be credited to all that time around scythes and sickles. Agerus' discipline and skill earn them no small amount of respect; an officer is always happy to have an Ageru Soulsword under her command. Clan Leader
- Clan Daikura: The Daikura have devoted themselves to preserving knowledge of the Menti disciplines and passing the sacred knowledge on to successive generations. It is the Diakura who chiefly preside over the School of the Mind at the Yards on Sado, where all Menti are trained in the psionic disciplines. Since they own no land here (the school itself is a part of the Imperial Palace, and so is owned by the Rora; the Daikura, legally, are only its custodians), the Daikura must hold lands elsewhere in order to be recognized as a clan. Their territory is confined to a valley on the lower slopes of Mount Koshiki; it is a fertile area, and its farms produce abundant crops, fertilized by the old volcanic soil. At the head of the valley is their castle, Tarakona. Politically, Clan Diakura is conservative, though not quite as much as their Umbraline associates. They honor the virtue of Power most among the three, as could be expected of those who study the magical disciplines of their race. The Daikura have no clan discipline, since they must have members who are masters of each discipline in order to give instruction in them all. Clan Leader
- Clan Eiyu: An old clan of small size, the Eiyu have been, since their inception, a clan dedicated to melding philosophy and combat. Located primarily on Odaiba, their home there is a modest castle surrounded by enough farmland to sustain themselves and, if harvests are good, to take a little to market on Sado each year. The Eiyu's relative insignificance in most areas - economic, militaristic, and agricultural - would have confined their clan to obscurity long ago, had it not been for their distinguishing philosophies. The Eiyu are some of the most prominent scholars and philosophers on the Archipelago, and their theories about unity across the Mental Plane have led to the creation of their clan's most prized skill: the Twin Souls. The Twin Souls is a training method between two Menti Warriors wherein the discipline of Ideatalk is so heightened that the two practitioners, incredibly familiar in each others' minds, can respond together in battle with the speed of instinct. The Eiyu are, in their own words, scholars first, and warriors second. They never seek out a fight, though they are more than willing to defend themselves, and others, if need be. Clan Leader
- Clan Herupa: Clan Herupa is reputed for providing advisers, assistants and bodyguards for the other clans. Clan Herupa’s penchant for providing loyal subordinates to other clans has given them a respect of Order and Honor beyond that of other minor clans. The Herupa are based close to the southern end of Oki in a small complex large enough to hold the few Herupa families that live there. During the early stages of life, Herupa children are raised like anyone else in the Menti caste, and upon reaching a mastery of their skills as warriors, they are withdrawn from Sado and taken back to the Herupa compound on Oki. It is there they are trained to act to not only defend their masters, but to give aid and advice should they be required to do so. Upon completing this training, Herupa Menti offer their services to a master, who agrees to house them, treat them with respect, and pay them a set wage for their duties. In return, the Herupa clan member will then swear utmost loyalty to her new master, and serve that master for life. Herupa who betray their oaths of loyalty are invariably executed by their own clan in return for their treachery. Clan Leader
- Clan Hogo: This small clan serves as loyal retainers of the Rora's line, considering it their duty to protect the authority of the Rora and the treasures that lie within the Imperial Palace. Traditionally, the Hogo have tried to stay aloof of inter-clan disputes, the better to concentrate on this sacred duty. However, the Hogo's current Toroshu has taken a greater interest than her predecessors in the activities of the other clans, and for the first time in ages, she is directing the Hogo to become more involved in politics. As such, the Hogo are currently suffering a quiet crisis between those who wish to remain out of clan politics and those who fully support their Toroshu's actions. Although supposedly a neutral clan devoted to the Rora alone, the Hogo are most prone to taking the side of the Umbralines, seeing the Fursics as treacherous vipers. They are, though, slightly less conservative (or more pragmatic) than the Umbralines, and are willing to tolerate the Dastana for their contributions to the imperial treasury. Clan Leader
- Clan Kyoshi: An offshoot clan of the Dastana, Clan Kyoshi was once the clan that provided most of the Archipelago's theoretical scientific discoveries, covering everything from medicine to mathematics. However, with their current Toroshu on the brink of death and with no chosen heir, a war of succession has broken out within the once peaceful clan as to who should become the next leader. This has caused the Kyoshi, splintered into competing factions, to retreat as a whole from the public eye. Their clan is mostly made up of Ringti scholars who are renowned across the Archipelago for their discoveries; with the clan's current internal turmoil, though, most of these non-combatant scholars have gone into hiding. Clan Kyoshi is odd in that in addition to a given name and the name of the clan, members of the clan also usually carry a third name, their original family name. The inclusion of these names is to help the component families within the greater Kyoshi clan remember their individual histories... lately, of course, it's only helped the Kyoshi remember their own disunity. Clan Leader
- Clan Mamoru: The Mamoru are a clan dedicated to mining and shaping Crystalline Protodermis. The Mamoru reside principally on Iki - where they mine a majority of their marketable crystal - but also hold small settlements around the Archipelago near other mineral sites. Many Mamoru Dasaka choose to live below the ground, as they feel this brings them more in touch with the earth; other clans usually refer to such practices as "mine madness." The Mamoru do little to discredit these impressions; in fact, thrill-seeking young members of their clan notoriously entertain themselves by jumping straight down long mine shafts with only bouncy cords to save them from the mortal plunge. A fairly old clan, the Mamoru tend to favor the clan in power, as much of their crystal is bought for Imperial projects. Menti from this clan are typically disciplined either as Soulswords (to mine the crystals out of the earth) or Mindarms (to carry the mined crystals to the surface to be sold), and very few are trained for combat. Clan Leader
- Clan Mashtet: This insular clan, hailing from a small island north of Odaiba and Kozui called Hanaloi, was known in its heyday for providing the Empire with lumber. Most famously, Mashtet artisans utilized both the Mindarm and Sighteye disciplines to create their signature artwork: Mashtet carvings, precisely carved crystal, inlaid in wood, imbued with semi-persistent illusions which had to be renewed by a Mashtet carver annually. But, several years ago, the Mashtet compound was discovered completely empty. There were no signs of a struggle, nor any clues as to where the Mashtet people had disappeared to. Not even Mashtet clan members that were elsewhere within the Archipelago at the time of the mysterious event, such as training Menti or traveling Saihoko, can imagine what happened. Most of these Mashtet strugglers mourned before being absorbed by other clans. The number that have remained publicly Mashtet can be counted on one hand. Thus, Clan Mashtet is also known colloquially as the Lost Clan, and their old homeland Hanaloi is considered haunted. Clan Leader
- Clan Plangori: Made up of mostly dye artisans, Clan Plangori is a large but fairly weak clan based on Odaiba. Their village is located in the heart of the jungle, far from the prying eyes of other clans. They are known for creating the sumptuous dyed fabrics that adorn rich residents of Kentoku, and the less advantaged on special occasions. They also are the only Ringti who can produce the deep, superb colors that adorn the royal family. Though Plangori is an ancient clan with ties to Umbraline, their nature requires them to keep a neutral stance, as it is to their advantage to gain sponsorship from as many clans as possible. In addition, because they are so insular they are beholden to Saihoko to sell their work. The few Plangori Menti are trained as either Sighteyes or Willhammers, and are largely responsible for guarding the clans secrets from other Menti. The remaining members of the clan include Dashi, which breaking with tradition are often hunter-gatherers, and a few Saihoko merchants, who though generally looked down on have done very well for themselves. A few Plangori Saihoko act as clerks throughout the islands, taking orders from important clients and displaying the clan’s newest and most expensive works. Clan Leader
- Clan Roku: Clan Roku builds and maintains the Kentoku Archipelago's infrastructure. Roku architects and builders are widely viewed as the best in their fields, and the standards to which they hold themselves are quite strict. The Roku pride themselves on more than their craftsmanship, though; they also proudly uphold the three virtues of Zuto Nui, considering those to be the strongest foundations of all. Though Clan Roku's size is considerable for a minor clan, it is nevertheless seen as nonthreatening in the scheme of inter-clan relations. The Roku are known for their neutrality in political affairs; they are roughly split even between conservatives, who trust tried-and-true stabilities, and liberals, who seek to create a more beautiful universe. The Roku's scattered politics are enabled in part by the sporadic, constantly shifting dispersion of their clan, as their work requires members to "island-hop" for most of their working lives. Only a few Roku maintain their clan's ancestral castle on Iki and the University of Structure in the Towers of Knowledge on Sado. Clan Leader
- Taajar Culture: The Taajars are a nomadic people distinct from the Dasaka's dominant 'Imperial' culture. They live in fenced villages in isolated areas of the Archipelago, where they usually reside in wooden longhouses. Taajar warriors are highly trained in physical weapon combat - a rarity for Menti warriors - and bear exotic blades and armor; because of their temporal fixation, however, Taajar warriors are usually less practiced with Menti disciplines than their Imperial counterparts. The Taajar are primarily a trade-oriented people; a great deal of them live in tents outside cities or clan holdings to barter more easily. This affinity for trade, however, has relegated almost all Taajars to the status of Saihoko in the eyes of Imperial Dasaka. Other areas Taajars specialize in are the breeding of animals and glassblowing. They have their own language, Vulgar Taa, and are quite proud of their past. The Taajars have learned to live within the Dasaka Imperial caste structure, and can speak fluent "Common." In antiquity, the Taajars were a large barbarian hoard, who were defeated by the Dasaka in battle, and saved from destruction by the Rora. Since then, they have maintained a strict policy of neutrality in Kentoku affairs. Culture Creator
- Clan Vadiru: A rather secretive clan that serves as Clan Fursic's guardians and workers. Most of the empire thinks of the Vadiru as a custodial clan, tasked of ancient tradition with maintaining and guarding Fursic lands; however, the duties of the Vadiru extend beyond such menial tasks as these. Only a few are aware that the depth of their service to the Fursics extends to dirtier work as well, or that Vadiru agents are honor-bound to die before they betray this secret; it is fully understood within the clan that if you fail, or betray the clan, you can expect a swift - but dishonorable - death anyway. The Vadiru are a composite clan, made up of skilled individuals who may or may not fully agree with the Umbraline dynasty. In recent times, their Toroshu has taken a more direct place in politics, speaking in favor of the Fursics in debates. The clan's base of operations is located in the very side of the Kozu's token mountain. Clan Leader
- Clan Vilda: One of the small clans on the island of Oki, the Vilda took it upon themselves long ago to protect Kentoku's endangered flora and fauna. The Vilda care little about the politics of the Empire so long as their arrangement with Sado stands: in exchange for supplying and caring for the Imperial Gardens' rarer specimens, Clan Vilda is given any foods or materials they cannot obtain on their own. The Vilda count among their number prodigious Willhammers who use their talents to communicate through images and emotions with animals. Many Vilda Willhammers form relationships with companion birds; they enter the minds of these birds and see through the animals' eyes, using this ability to scout surrounding areas for possible dangers. It is widely believed that that the Vilda practice strict breeding policies; individuals from the Vilda clan are amongst the most beautiful in the Empire, to the anger of many envious Fursics. The current Vilda Toroshu wants to make the clan wholly self-sufficient, should the opportunity arise. Clan Vilda's beauty, efforts to preserve nature, and general absence from the sullied world of politics have made them rather admired and appreciated by most other clans. Clan Leader
8. INDIVIDUALS OF NOTE
Yumiwa (you-MEE-wah), Rora of the Empire
Rayuke (ray-OO-kay), Umbraline First Son, Imperial Executioner, and brother of Yusanora
Desdemona (dez-duh-MOE-nah), Yumiwa's sister
Ayiwah (AY-wah), Commodore of the Rora’s nautical forces
Yusanora (you-sa-NOR-a), deceased, former Rora of the Empire
Nera (NEE-rah), Fursic Matriarch, Toroshu, and a Battlemaster
Kuno (COO-noh), Fursic First Son
Sesseta (Sess-SEE-tuh), Nera's sister
Arsix (ARE-sicks), Dastana Toroshu, Jasik's twin sister
Jasik (JAH-sick), Dastana First Son, Arsix's twin brother
Sheika (SHAY-kah), The Dastana's hired Battlemaster
Yomiken (yoh-MEE-kehn), deceased, former Dastana Toroshu
Hanako (HAN-ah-koh), Yumiwa’s handmaiden, a Herupa
Inokio (inn-OH-kee-oh), First Son of Clan Korae, tutor of Yumiwa, a Battlemaster
Ikori (ee-KOHR-ee), Kuno's handmaiden, a Herupa
Nurora (new-ROH-rah), Toroshu of a small and respected family, leader of the first expedition to Mata Nui
Tsura (t-SUE-rah), Datsue with a motherly temperament and a wry humor, was on the first expedition to Mata Nui
Nihi (KNEE-hee), Menti warrior who was chosen for the first expedition to Mata Nui, an Eiyu
9. VISUAL ASPECTS OF CULTURE
Vezok's Friend has done several artworks of the Kentoku Archipelago and its denizens, which should serve as good indicators as to the general nature of appearances in Dasaka society.
Dasaka are all various hues and balances of blue and gold. How blue vs. how gold they are, what hues they are, and that sort of thing does not denote/align with caste. The visual way castes are distinguished is by their apparel; where high-ranking Menti will wear rich fabrics and intricate crystal armor - ceremonial garments - Saihoko generally clothe themselves in pragmatic water/windproof ponchos and the like.
Colors worn by Menti are usually those of their clan. Almost all cloth Kuno owns, for instance, is dominantly red, because that's the Fursic color. The Umbraline color is officially purple, and the Dastana wear various tints of yellow. Minor clans usually have to settle for two-color schemes in their regalia, since single colors have almost all been taken by older and more powerful ones. The Rora and her family can wear whatever colors they wish, to reinforce the idea that they are separate from and above clan politics.
White and black, though, are usually not among these colors. Here's what white and black generally represent in Dasaka culture, and how they're used:
White: light, age, honor, sky, wisdom, discipline, Zuto Nui. This color is seen as female.
Black: darkness, youth, power, sea, beauty, strength, Zataka. This color is seen as male.
Unaccented white and black garments are traditionally only worn by their respective genders, and only worn for occasions of great ceremony such as the passage of power, the union of two individuals, or the eulogy of one who has died.