Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Mhun

IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
edited November 2015 in Aetolia Development
A guide to using this information in-game - a Mhun outside of Moghedu might know a lot or a little, depending on whether they were raised within Mhun culture or by other Mhun. If not, then it's likely that little to none of this would be relevant to them, but to a more insular Mhun family it might well be the case that much of this is common knowledge. Mhun who live in Moghedu, who have left it, or who have been exiled would probably know a lot of this. Otherwise, discretion is probably key, as the Mhun have historically been a pretty closed culture and a lot of this information would only really be accessible to someone who's fluent in Mhun. Entesh, untesh!

GOVERNMENT

Historically, the single unifying leader of the Mhun people has been the Great Mhunna. In the absence of this leader, caste leaders tend to rule over their various dominions, with Mhun priests and craftsmasters commanding the most sway in what closest resembles an informal, republican system of governance.

This system of governance existed informally largely because periods of Mhun independence have been short-lived, with the race generally falling under the dominion of one southwestern empire or another.

There have historically been five castes: Miners, Soldiers, Crafters, Merchants, and Priests. This order reflects the prestige which these castes command in Mhun society at large, as well as the ways in which the Mhun value ingenuity and cleverness - the less intellectual an occupation, the less value it is considered to hold. Whether this reflects an original Mhun value, or is the result of the Mhuns' common role as physical labor to their rulers and oppressors, is difficult to tell.

Ever since the Nesventian reformation and the advent of Mhun independence, a Mhun nation-state has formed in the Siroccians, ruled theocratically by a single High Priest and the Priestly caste. Much of the informal caste system has thus been formalized, with caste leaders authorized to carry out discipline and law within their own castes - incidents between castes are handled by the Priests.

In the modern day, the castes are defined as Laborers, Military, Crafters, Merchants, and Priests, and their duties have expanded to meet the growing needs of the Mhun civilization.


RELIGION

The Mhun ancestral faith concerns itself with seven Spirits, although the word 'Spirit' does not properly reflect the depth and scope which is commonly attributed to these deific figures. Each of the Spirits encompasses a different sphere of influence, and are held to be equally powerful and equally necessary to the multiverse's functioning. The seven Spirits are:
  • Laasen, who governs stone, and who is patron of the Miners.
  • Promentesh, who governs the act of creation, and who is patron of the Crafters.
  • Mheribus, who governs death and darkness, and who is patron of the Soldiers.
  • Lokhanni, who governs wisdom and cleverness, and who is patron of the Priests.
  • Haddeneh, who governs wealth and bounty, and who is patron of the Merchants.
  • Cheshehe, who governs the cold, the damp, and the life-giving waters.
  • Mhuinnah, the first mother, patron of earth, who gave birth to the Teshen and the Mhun.
It is this faith, and this refusal by Mhun society at large to accept the Gods of Sapience, that has proved so definitive of their ongoing oppression - the Mhun refer to the Gods of Sapience as 'Keepers', out of the understanding that their own Spirits were usurped and cast down.

Given the centrality of faith to the Mhun identity, along with the historical Mhun willingness to accept converts to the Mhun faith, it makes more sense to consider 'Mhun' as a category defined by both race and religion. Though converts have been few and far between, there have historically been those who have undertaken it.

In the modern day, however, Moghedu forbids converts, and has set down strict, formal guidelines which restrict Mhun identity to those who are Mhun by birth alone - these same laws distinguish between Mhun born in Moghedu, and Mhun born elsewhere. A Mhun who leaves Moghedu is not permitted to return unless explicitly authorized by the Priesthood; it is very rare that this authorization is extended.

The main schism that exists among Mhun concerns the canonicity and the nature of the last Great Mhunna, Nesventesh. Among Mhun who live outside of Moghedu, she is largely considered among the same category as other Great Mhunna, a ruler and a reformer who led her people to freedom. The Mhun of Moghedu, conversely, ascribe divine significance to her - she is, to them, proof of the Spirits' existence, and herself a Spirit - the Mhun Spirit of war and bravery. Thus, in Moghedu, eight Spirits are worshipped - outside of it, where the faith is held, a mere seven.

Among more traditional Mhun, the acceptance of the Sapient Gods is one of the more serious transgressions a Mhun can make against their people. Nonetheless, many Mhun who live outside of Moghedu have taken on more continental worship, either splitting their attentions between the Sapient Gods and the Gods of their ancestors, or forsaking their ancestral faith altogether. Attitudes toward ancestral heresy can vary greatly, even within members of the same family. One thing upon which nearly all Mhun are agreed, in the modern day, is that no self-respecting Mhun joins Bloodloch - this is considered one of the worst kinds of treachery.


CULTURE

It makes little sense to consider Mhun culture as being significantly separate from their religion, given what has been mentioned before. In Mhun culture, the Mhun people, the Mhun race, the Mhun faith, and the Mhun identity have unparalleled emphasis placed upon them, to the point where one of the few unforgivable acts is to betray one's own race to non-Mhun. This is one value that remains consistent both inside and outside of Moghedu and among Mhun of all stripes, though as with any sufficiently large group of people, there are exceptions which prove the rule.

Other elements of Mhun culture have been forgotten or stripped away, save for the religious core - Mhun cuisine tends to amount to whatever can be scrounged from the ground and which fulfills the requirements for edibility outlined in their holy scripture. Worms, moss, and hardtack are common elements, though snakes, insects, and small reptiles have historically been common fare. In order for food to be considered edible, it must be 'decided' and prepared by one of the higher castes - a Crafter or a Priest, most typically. When spices can be acquired, they are used liberally, a tradition which arose in an attempt to disguise the taste of spoiled food.

In spite of, or perhaps because of, their brutally oppressive circumstances, Mhun have come to place a great value on cleverness, resourcefulness, and ingenuity, and have historically served as crafters, scouts, and agents of the various empires that have enslaved them. The Mhun language, being full of loans from other southwestern languages, tends to be constructed in a roundabout, unintuitive fashion, the better to prevent outsiders from gleaning their true meaning.

It is highly possible that some of the earthen observances of the Mhun people were influenced by similar Hlugnic rites, the ancient Dwarves being worshipers of Dhaivol and therefore focused upon the earth as well. One of the most important phrases in the Mhun language is "Entesh, untesh" - here meaning "From the earth, to the earth." Though the allusion made is grim - that Mhun are fated to return to the earth sooner rather than later - its meaning is ultimately defiant, meaning that there will always be Mhun rising up as well.

This bleak but ultimately hopeful statement serves as an apt summary of Mhun culture and the Mhun attitude toward life. Mhun humor is dark, biting, and often defiant, rife with puns and word games. There is also a strong generational divide between those Mhun born before the year 421 MA, and those who were born afterward, who did not live before the coming of the eighth Great Mhunna, Nesventesh. Older Mhun tend to have a bleaker, more guarded outlook, while younger Mhun, not having been born at a time in which the Mhun were under the influence of Bloodloch, tend to exhibit a less cautious attitude.

Mhun culture in Moghedu in the modern day tends to be very strict and regimented, perhaps owing to a long history of the same being imposed by outside forces. Telepathic monitoring by the Priesthood is commonplace inside of the mountainhome, to the point where students are often nudged to pay attention to their lessons by disciples. This pervasive telepathy also serves as one of Moghedu's main defenses, and insurance that no outsiders will break in - and conveniently, a means of controlling the Mhun populace at large.

Owing to the relative isolation in which the castes work, and the Priesthood's monopoly on thought and information inside of Moghedu, corruption runs rampant, but this is structured in such a way that it's only truly apparent to outsiders. In spite of this, there is a strong warrior culture, and a strong thread of xenophobia that is encouraged in all Mhun from birth - the extreme measures are justified through a culture-wide paranoia that outsiders will try to come and slaughter them again.


LANGUAGE

Details on phonology, vocabulary, and basic patterns are included below - bearing in mind that as a rule, Mhun is a subject-object-verb ordered language. Though historically it has been written in a vowel-minimal, consonant-heavy script, this orthography has only recently made a resurgence. Mhun can also be, and often is, written using Common letters instead. Even in this Common form, however, Mhun letters are still used in place of numbers, the base seven system being a cultural quirk and a point of pride for many Mhun.

Basic vocabulary: http://pastebin.com/WAPUU9C0 (Note: This indicates, incorrectly, that the word 'nhu' means 'no'. This word should be understood to mean 'nothing' or 'none' instead.)

How Mhun deals with yes/no questions: http://pastebin.com/8CNv92zm

How Mhun deals with letters/numbers: http://pastebin.com/Kai1MU6d
Post edited by Ignotum on
IselleKelliaraIshinAsaraiiXeniaEmelleChesheteshCheshen

Comments

  • IselleIselle Member Posts: 64 ✭✭✭
    Wow, I can't put into words how much I love this, as someone who roleplays a mhun from Moghedu! All of this is so interesting, and I enjoy the level of detail put into the language section (I'm really into linguistics).
    Ignotum said:

    Mhun humor is dark, biting, and often defiant, rife with puns and word games.

    This is great! Already pun it up anyway, but now you've given me a blank check to keep going, haha.

    Like the other thread, are you open to questions? Completely understand if not!
    AsaraiiIshin
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    There are some questions I can answer, some I can't. Have at.
  • KelliaraKelliara Member Posts: 469 ✭✭✭✭
    Mmm. More delicious racial lore and information.

    Thanks a heap for this.
    Now with 253% more Madness.
    Chibi-Kelli by @Eleanor.
    Ishin
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember, Guildmaster Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Man it's pretty dope how much of this details how/why Ishin would behave such a way and I had no idea about a lot of this :o
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    learn.
    -Benjamin Franklin
    Iselle
  • IselleIselle Member Posts: 64 ✭✭✭
    How fluid is the caste system? Is it possible, for example, for a Mhun to start as a miner and work her way up to a crafter? Were relationships between castes allowed, discouraged, or explicitly banned?

    Are there extreme ways that Mhun worship differ from worship of the Gods of Sapience? Like do they have shrines and offer sacrifices as well?

    Sorry if this one is already common knowledge or implied, but is Mhun society matriarchal? Equal?

    Thanks a lot!
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    edited November 2015
    Iselle said:
    How fluid is the caste system? Is it possible, for example, for a Mhun to start as a miner and work her way up to a crafter? Were relationships between castes allowed, discouraged, or explicitly banned? Are there extreme ways that Mhun worship differ from worship of the Gods of Sapience? Like do they have shrines and offer sacrifices as well? Sorry if this one is already common knowledge or implied, but is Mhun society matriarchal? Equal? Thanks a lot!
    "Is it possible, for example, for a Mhun to start as a miner and work her way up to a crafter?"
     
    It is possible. Less so in modern Moghedu than it was historically, because of the more regimented nature of Mhun society within the mountainhome - but nonetheless, possible. Flux within the lower castes is more common than a Mhun of the lower castes becoming a Merchant or a Priest. Crafter is about the best a Mhun of low status can reasonably hope for. It should be mentioned that castes don't matter outside of Moghedu - those Mhun that live elsewhere rarely define themselves in caste terms, but rather as 'Mhun'.

    "Were relationships between castes allowed, discouraged, or explicitly banned?"

    Relationships between castes are generally disapproved of, so in practice most marriages occur between members of the same caste.

    "Are there extreme ways that Mhun worship differ from worship of the Gods of Sapience?"

    One major difference is that it is forbidden to make explicit art of the seven Spirits - abstracted, humanoid, Mhun statues tend to be the preferred depiction (that is, the statues are considered not to depict the Spirits, but rather Mhun who embody the qualities of the Spirits - a fine distinction), but to put any sort of physical description or appearance to the Spirits is considered a form of heresy and a means of opening the Mhun faith to outsiders. No physical description of the Mhun Spirits is recorded in Mhun scripture, nor attested by Mhun folklore. Structured, performed worship is rare, both due to suppression and Mhun values - Mhun are encouraged to see the Spirits in all aspects of existence, and their own lives and work as an extension of the Spirits' wills.

    The awareness of the Spirits is reflected not through formal services, but through short blessings spoken throughout the day - over meals, before and after completing work, before sleep and after waking, before and after a hunt, after a slaughter of Mhun which one has survived, and of course over the dead. Items commonly used by Mhun are 'decided' (that is, evaluated for their compliance with the laws of the Mhun faith) and sanctified by Crafters and Priests, including food, tools, and weaponry. This same sense of spiritual omnipresence is reflected in the praxis of the Priestly caste, who view themselves as vessels of the will of the Spirits, and the caretakers of the Mhun faith. The influence of Sentaari philosophy on Mhun culture since the Nesventian revolution has lent itself to this attitude of praxis-as-doctrine.

    "Like do they have shrines and offer sacrifices as well?"

    It isn't the Mhun custom to offer sacrifices to their Spirits, instead taking the view that their lives and their work is honor enough - and aside from the temples in Moghedu and Enorian, there are no Mhun shrines or sacred places to speak of in the world abroad. This is in large part due to the fact that historically, attempts to build sacred symbols of their faith have met with violent suppression. Thus, the Mhun tend to keep their faith to themselves, out of deference to the Gods of the continent and their frequently-violent followers.

    A couple of quotes from Mhun scripture, to emphasize the commonly quoted sources for this approach to faith:
    "Do not make images of the Spirits. Do not write words of the Spirits. Do not record ways of the Spirits. The faith of our people sacred is, and though images, words, ways stolen can be, images, words, ways of the heart stolen cannot be."
    "Burial of the dead for Laasen.
    Crafts and beauty for Promentesh.
    Bravery and defiance for Mheribus.
    Patience and sayings for Lokhanni.
    Coins to the poor for Haddeneh.
    Water to the thirsty for Cheshehe.
    Love of others for Mhuinnah."
    "Like stone we were made, shaped by the Seven Spirits. We by the Seven are blessed - by Laasen, upon the earth we stand, by Promentesh we create and propagate, by Mheribus we sleep and die, by Lokhanni the differences of right and wrong we know, by Haddeneh we prosper and profit, by Cheshehe our fill we drink, and by Mhuinnah we for one another bear love. Bless them for these gifts, likewise, on every day!"
    "Eat not the food of others. You your food into a temple will make, for that no poison, no outside thought your lips will pass. Only the makers of things will decide, as regards what food your lips will pass. First the makers of food will decide. Then the makers of wines. Then the makers of all else. Then the priests. The earth-farmers on these matters will decide not. Education they have not. Good sense they have not."

    "Is Mhun society matriarchal? Equal?"


    Mhun society is mostly gender equal, although under outside pressures and genocide they've tended to place a greater priority on protecting women and children - Mhun men are considered more expendable in this sense, given as they are not capable of carrying children. This of course operates from the common presumption of a gender binary and its correlation with sexual dimorphism, which you can feel free to play with as you desire. An equal number of Great Mhunna have been men and women - and similarly, both genders are historically represented among the important figures of Mhun history.

    Another quote to illustrate:
    "Hear me, men. Women you will honor and protect. Women earth are. Of a punished field no fruit, no herb, no crop grows. So too with women. Not only your light you will love. Not only your mother. If a child of the Keepers a woman of the Mother makes to attack, you in her place will stand, and the blows you will bear. From Earth, to Earth, it is said - so too from women, to women.

    If fruit within a woman grows, and there is no man for protection, then woman who abundant are not in her defense will stand, and the blows bear. That man, woman, or child who away from their women stand when fruit within them grows will upon their hands the same gloves stained wear, as if they themselves the fruit, within the womb, had murdered."

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

    IshinIselleAnfini
  • IselleIselle Member Posts: 64 ✭✭✭
    Amazing. Thank you so much for being so detailed/informative! Definitely going to incorporate this into my writing.

    Aaaand I can't stop myself - just a couple more, sorry:


    Are there certain styles and forms to Mhun art? And Mhun music - any particular instruments, or mostly vocal, etc.?

    Are there noteworthy norms to Mhun fashion and jewelry? Outside Mhuns have probably adapted to the outside world, but I was thinking there could be some influence still.

    Are those from the lower castes typically not educated or taught to read, or is it slightly more egalitarian?
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    edited November 2015
    Iselle said:

    Amazing. Thank you so much for being so detailed/informative! Definitely going to incorporate this into my writing.

    Aaaand I can't stop myself - just a couple more, sorry:


    Are there certain styles and forms to Mhun art? And Mhun music - any particular instruments, or mostly vocal, etc.?

    Are there noteworthy norms to Mhun fashion and jewelry? Outside Mhuns have probably adapted to the outside world, but I was thinking there could be some influence still.

    Are those from the lower castes typically not educated or taught to read, or is it slightly more egalitarian?

    "Are there certain styles and forms to Mhun art?"

    Mhun aren't great fans of curves in a lot of their art - a lot of it takes on a very fractal appearance. This flows naturally from their long experience as miners and gem polishers. To them, geometries are beautiful, particularly those involving shapes with equal length sides. Even in depicting themselves, it's generally rare that they strive for impressionism.

    Quite a lot of art meant to depict themselves is more abstract, out of a school of thought that you shouldn't try and carve something too lifelike - the idea, of course, being that art shouldn't imitate the thing itself, but rather take on a form which possesses and communicates the traits of the thing.

    "And Mhun music - any particular instruments, or mostly vocal, etc.?"

    Mostly vocal, some percussion, but overall Mhun don't use an extensive amount of instruments in their music. Comparing by the music of our own world, their songs are highly melismatic, featuring strong chromaticism based upon minor keys. Theirs is a style of music uniquely suited for expressing grief and longing - happy songs, joyous songs, are few and far between.

    The closest their music gets to happy is a new and budding genre of 'war' song, making strong use of Mhun percussion instruments. These include drums, crafted from animal hide stretched over frames of wood, as well as various bells and gongs. The war song is almost cacophonous, featuring repeated lyrics that generally focus upon a theme of killing non-Mhun in mass quantities.

    "Are there noteworthy norms to Mhun fashion and jewelry?"

    Like the art, strongly geometric in focus - Mhun colors tend to be limited, on account of the fact that much of the dye they produced was exported as a valuable commodity to their various rulers. Thus, their Priests tend to wear unadorned hues of gray. Merchants tend to use ochre to produce hues of red, yellow, and brown in their own clothing. Historically, Mhun of lower castes have not tended to wear much clothing, on account of the hot Mhojave weather and their work in close quarters tending to keep them warm - the fact that Mhun were not typically permitted access to any means of producing their own cloth was undoubtedly a factor.

    In modern times, the Mhun make extensive use of imported wool and flax, although this is still costly and therefore prohibitively expensive for the lower castes - thus, you tend to see Laborers wearing the traditional loincloths, and the Military wearing whatever they're issued. Thus, only Crafters, Merchants, and Priests make extensive use of color and fashion, although Mhun of all castes are likely to possess jewelry. It's not uncommon for pieces of jewelry to run in families, particularly smaller bits that suited themselves to being hidden when adventurers raided the mines.

    EDIT: Also worth noting is that Mhun, although typically favoring long robes and hoods as garb, have adopted various outside styles of dress. Many Merchants who are called upon to deal with the outside world, for example, have taken to tailcoats, which are worn by women Merchants as well as men.

    "Are those from the lower castes typically not educated or taught to read, or is it slightly more egalitarian?"

    Literacy is only uniform among the Merchants and Priests. Beneath these two castes, literacy rates start plummeting. About a third of Crafters don't read - these tend to be the craftsmen whose work doesn't require extensive mathematical computation - half of Soldiers, and about three fourths of all Laborers don't read Mhun. Their access to the history and the faith of their people is through oral tradition and the words of the Priests.
    Iselle
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember, Guildmaster Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Ignotum - How do the Mhun deal with violent children/young adults? I would imagine rather harshly, yeah?
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    learn.
    -Benjamin Franklin
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    edited November 2015
    @Ishin - depends on whether they're being violent toward Mhun or outsiders. Other Mhun? No-go. Outsiders? No one's going to complain too hard. Mhun parents also tend to be rather strict in terms of how they discipline their children - if only because poorly-disciplined children with a tendency toward disobedience have a similar historical tendency not to make it to adulthood.
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember, Guildmaster Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ignotum said:

    @Ishin - depends on whether they're being violent toward Mhun or outsiders. Other Mhun? No-go. Outsiders? No one's going to complain too hard. Mhun parents also tend to be rather strict in terms of how they discipline their children - if only because poorly-disciplined children with a tendency toward disobedience have a similar historical tendency not to make it to adulthood.

    Interesting. Ishin was born in Moghedu, but doesn't really know his mother - never fleshed that part out. How would something like that go, exactly? For an, I guess, orphan? And probably towards anyone, Mhun and outsider alike.
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    learn.
    -Benjamin Franklin
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    Ishin said:

    Ignotum said:

    @Ishin - depends on whether they're being violent toward Mhun or outsiders. Other Mhun? No-go. Outsiders? No one's going to complain too hard. Mhun parents also tend to be rather strict in terms of how they discipline their children - if only because poorly-disciplined children with a tendency toward disobedience have a similar historical tendency not to make it to adulthood.

    Interesting. Ishin was born in Moghedu, but doesn't really know his mother - never fleshed that part out. How would something like that go, exactly? For an, I guess, orphan? And probably towards anyone, Mhun and outsider alike.
    An orphan with tendencies toward disobedience. Well, I don't want to step on the toes of how you've written and roleplay your character, but a young Ishin, living in Moghedu at the time, probably would have had a place to sleep and enough to eat. One caste or another likely would have adopted and raised him in the absence of parents, possibly the caste of his father if known. The violence probably would have seen him getting into trouble with Mhun authorities - within and without of his caste, alike. Young Mhun who pick fights aren't unknown, but the attitude toward that kind of behavior is very strict, very prohibitive, and probably would have gotten Ishin into a lot of trouble, more so the older he got.
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember, Guildmaster Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Ignotum - no toes stepped on, don't worry :) This was also back during the old Moghedu waaaaay back in the day lol. He's 311 years old now >.> His father was also an outsider, too. Rajamalan, at the time, I wanna say?
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    learn.
    -Benjamin Franklin
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember, Guildmaster Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭✭✭
    On the topic of his dad being an outsider...how would -that- be handled? A child by an outsider??
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    learn.
    -Benjamin Franklin
  • IselleIselle Member Posts: 64 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for all this! Now I just need to find myself some good old-fashioned Mhun roleplay. Pssst, Mhuns.
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    "Rajamalan, at the time, I wanna say?"

    That's a whole other can of worms, as you might have guessed. This would have instantly relegated Ishin to Miner-status and given him the unique stigma of being part-outsider, but too Mhun to fully discredit. They would have been even less tolerant of his shenanigans than they would a normal Mhun. If his mother had been in the picture, she very likely would have been ostracized or worse for her fraternization with a non-Mhun. The mixed heritage is a huge, huge monkey wrench.
    Ishin
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    Cremation has been more popular of late, owing to the fact that in recent times, Mhun corpses were frequently desecrated by the Consanguine and other servants of Darkness - the idea was that cremation, and then scattering the ashes upon the earth, was equivalent to burial, and placed the body and spirit of the Mhun beyond the reach of their enemies. Traditional burial was once practiced by ancient Mhun - there's a mass tomb in the Undercroft containing an immense quantity of bodies, for example - and among more assimilated Mhun, perhaps so, but tradition for the last few hundred years has been burning.

    I have some more general stuff to address, though:

    (These changes hold for everything after Lleian 456 MA; Mhun born in Moghedu beforehand should still reference the older lore.)

    The transition between Spirit worship and God worship has been rocky, and there will be lore released in the coming weeks detailing how this plays out; a long story made short is that the traditional pantheon of seven Spirits (or eight, if you're from Moghedu) is still practiced among Mhun fundamentalists, and Mhun custom thus far is to avoid the 'Albedi' names where appropriate, using the given Mhun names out of respect and to avoid potential blasphemy.

    The doubt cast upon the traditional Mhun faith has moreover led to a much more critical and investigative attitude toward matters of faith and religion, meaning that skepticism and inquiry are valued among the Priestly caste now. The death of Layentesh has influenced this cultural shift as well, with the new Queen Nesvenai pushing for major reform in the mountainhome. Referencing the rewritten HELP LAWS MOGHEDU will reveal that by Sapient standards, Moghedu's laws and culture remain conservative, and almost oppressive in some instances - but it's still much more free and open than the initial post-Nesventian theocracy.

    How this effects Mhun outside of Moghedu varies widely; some continue to worship the Spirits in the old mode, others are pursuing knowledge of the Albedi gods, and some have turned to the Sapient pantheon. How you react is up to you, and regardless it isn't a point of contention with most Mhun. Racial loyalty remains an important cultural element, after all.
    CheshenIsande
  • CheshenCheshen Member Posts: 4
    Presently, I am trying to devise Cheshen's backstory, and I have two general questions to ask. The first is rather narrow: is it kosher, by lore standards, for player Mhun to be direct descendent of Moghedu (in the sense that they were born after the Nesventian reformation)? I mean, obviously, Cheshen is born after the reformation, but it is not clear to me if he would be required to be like one of the Mhun in Enorian or if he could have actually been born in Moghedu. Perhaps the broader question would be the discrepancy on the perception of Enorian Mhun vs Moghedu Mhun (does this even make sense? Perhaps I am being too convoluted in my question!).

    My second question is about Mhun sexuality. Above, you discussed the gender politics of Mhun, but sexuality seems (interestingly, I would say!) almost "compulsorily" heterosexual? I thinking about the line that is quoted above:
    Lie woman with woman, man with man, only after your duty you have performed.
    It seems that non-heterosexual relationships were okay, as long as the duty of producing more children was fulfilled. So my question: what are Mhun perceptions about same-sex relationships and other non-hetero couplings? Am I correct in guessing this sense of "compulsive"/"required" mating in Mhun culture? And I ask this in terms of Mhun culture prior to Lleian 456 changes/Spirit-to-God transition.

    Thanks! :D
  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    Cheshen said:

    Presently, I am trying to devise Cheshen's backstory, and I have two general questions to ask. The first is rather narrow: is it kosher, by lore standards, for player Mhun to be direct descendent of Moghedu (in the sense that they were born after the Nesventian reformation)? I mean, obviously, Cheshen is born after the reformation, but it is not clear to me if he would be required to be like one of the Mhun in Enorian or if he could have actually been born in Moghedu. Perhaps the broader question would be the discrepancy on the perception of Enorian Mhun vs Moghedu Mhun (does this even make sense? Perhaps I am being too convoluted in my question!).

    Oh, yeah, it's definitely okay for Mhun to be from Moghedu. Until recently (and again, we'll have more lore out soon to clarify things), it's been the case that Mhun that leave Moghedu are not allowed to return, unless part of the Priestly caste and on explicit business from Moghedu (i.e., NPCs, not players.) Mhun that left also had their knowledge of the city's layout wiped, to prevent them from becoming a security risk later on - and this was policy for everyone, whether or not they were allowed to return.

    It is also possible for him to have been born outside, in one of the major cities; villages are possible but less likely. It's been the case pretty much ever since the beginning of the Second Epoch (so, given a range of at least ten centuries, give or take a few in either direction, starting from the defeat of the first Indorani) that Mhun have traveled across the continent. Some were sent out or banished, others managed to escape. Thus, you've got Mhun communities going back a really long way in most parts of the world, who might have any number of cultural or practical differences from the Mhun of Moghedu. Those that kept the ancestral faith probably would have met with less success in the world at large than those who didn't.

    This is general and sweeping, partly so as to give people room for flexibility within the lore. Overall, however, the attitude is that Moghedu Mhun were and are more 'legitimate' Mhun than others, and so Mhun that lived outside of the mines or were raised there had to do more to prove that they belonged as part of the race. Tying back into that concept of racial loyalty, in a very big way.

    Even with the recent declarations by the Queen, that attitude remains, and might even be embraced to some degree by Mhun living abroad - a hierarchy based on how long ago one's ancestors left the mines (or, more recently, the mountainhome). Some assimilated Mhun might feel inferior in this regard, too, or like they don't have a right to call themselves Mhun in light of the suffering and the primacy of Moghedu that's historically defined the culture and faith.

    It's complicated. There's a lot of room to play with it. Have fun.
    Cheshen said:


    My second question is about Mhun sexuality. Above, you discussed the gender politics of Mhun, but sexuality seems (interestingly, I would say!) almost "compulsorily" heterosexual? I thinking about the line that is quoted above:

    Lie woman with woman, man with man, only after your duty you have performed.
    It seems that non-heterosexual relationships were okay, as long as the duty of producing more children was fulfilled. So my question: what are Mhun perceptions about same-sex relationships and other non-hetero couplings? Am I correct in guessing this sense of "compulsive"/"required" mating in Mhun culture? And I ask this in terms of Mhun culture prior to Lleian 456 changes/Spirit-to-God transition.

    Thanks! :D

    Yeah, you've hit it more or less on the mark. There's this idea, in some aspects of Mhun culture, that you have the duty to repopulate and replenish the race, coming from the fact that Mhun used to die in droves. So, yes, heterosexuality and reproduction were (and still are, by some aspects) considered compulsory, and part of being a Good Mhun(TM). Does this translate into bigoted attitudes? At times, yes, it does. Mhun in Moghedu historically have not been told about sexuality and gender beyond its narrow, heterosexual, binary aspects, and ignorance was enforced by the Priesthood on the subject. Unsurprisingly, that bit of Nhusema Odreyeb tended to get skimmed over in contemporary readings.

    Of course there are queer Mhun, with the last Great Mhunna Nesventesh having been a fairly open lesbian, for example. This aspect of her existence been downplayed and erased by the Mhun priesthood. The attitude comes down to the impression that Mhun who aren't heterosexual are being selfish, because they're not doing their part for their race - finishing the work that the Keepers started, as it were. It's not so much that there is an intense level of persecution - it's more that it's not talked about, and it is quietly overlooked when it happens. Mhun don't hurt or kill other Mhun over it.
    CheshenIshin
  • IshinIshin Retired Lurker VirginiaMember, Guildmaster Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Ignotum - The stance on homosexuality reminds me of a book I just read recently by Peter V Brett. In it, the Krasian city has a similar stance. It's okay, so long as you do your duty and produce a son or daughter or whatever. There are some extremes here or there, of course, but in general it's acceptable as long as you do your part to renew the race.

    The reasoning is similar as well - the Krasian men fight demons every night, and a lot die, so repopulating is a huge thing for them.

    I'm really enjoying the mhun backstory so far :)
    Tell me and I forget, teach me and
    I remember, involve me and I
    learn.
    -Benjamin Franklin
    Avishai
  • AishiaAishia Queen Bee Member Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ah I just finished all those books too.




  • IgnotumIgnotum Member, Immortal Posts: 296 Immortal
    These sound like books I should read. Thanks for the indirect recommendation!
    AvishaiIshin
  • CheshenCheshen Member Posts: 4
    Odrebentesh seems to be the only one thus far who has a surname (Odrieb). Would it be fair to say that surnames for Mhuns play off the words of their language? Asking for a friend.

    Also, WTB war picks for Battlefury.
  • SynneSynne Member Posts: 20 ✭✭✭
    After reading the laws of Moghedu I was curious as to why the "Syssin arts" are forbidden. I tried looking through the lore and the events and public logs to see if I could find the reason, but to no avail. Is it merely that all mind control is forbidden now and hypnotism falls into that, or is there a different reason based on historical events.

    This is a great thread, by the way. I love the depth of the backstory and am looking forward to seeing where it all goes in the future.
  • RazmaelRazmael Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,063 admin
    Generally speaking, Mhun don't take surnames - more common is to reference a name, and then one or both of the parents. ex. Tesh, son of Teshentesh. Surnames get taken on usually by the higher castes, particularly those who deal with the outside world; it's a way of presenting a more 'normal' face. Other Mhun, outside of Moghedu, may well have surnames as a result of adapting to the societies around them- this would fall in line with whatever cultures they became a part of. Thus, Mhun names can range from anything to wordplay - Odrebentesh Odrieb would sound, to a Mhun ear, a bit like 'Jonathan John' or 'Joe Schmo' - to constructs resembling those of other cultures. Or they might be something like 'Smith'. Or 'Anderson'. Anything from normal or bland, to fanciful to the point of comedy. It depends on whether the Mhun family wanted to be clever, or wanted to fit in.

    Re: the Syssin arts question, there's definitely a reason for it, but you don't know it. Feel free to abide by the law or ignore it as befits your character.'
Sign In or Register to comment.