Macji'Ozara Ethnicity in Adazuri | World Anvil

Macji'Ozara (Mac-Gee O-Za-Ra)

The Macji'Ozara are one of the original inhabitants of the Just Desert. Their settlements are composed of two sub-species of Numo Folk. The Numouni: Bipedal snake-humanoid hybrids and the Numobumay: snake-hunanoid hybrids whose lower half is a snake tail. The Macji'Ozara are known for the high value they place on knowledge and the extremes they will go to protect it.  
  The Macji'Ozara was originally a network of wandering tribes found in the desert region. Rather than exchanging goods, they would often exchange knowledge of customs and talents of other Folk they encountered. Over time, they began to settle in an oasis with the express purpose of building a library to house all the knowledge they had acquired. This oasis grew into the city of Macji'Ozara and in the center of the city was the Asimati Athenaeum. Known throughout the lands as the greatest library in the world, the Asimati Athenaeum holds Adazuri's greatest secrets and magnificent artifacts that reveal untold knowledge and power.   During the Devils' Storm, the Macji'Ozara folk came under attack. As purveyors of knowledge, the majority wished to stay out of the Devils' Storm. However, their people were targeted by fiends and fallen folk in the desert. Some wished to destroy all the knowledge they held. Others wanted to use it to gain power. Large swarths of Macji'Ozara defected, taking with them great knowledge in exchange for powerful positions. They became the Shari'Ozara. Others fled north. Many of them eventually settled in the Cicadas Swamp. Some, however, stayed behind to protect the Asimati Athenaeum.   Those that stayed behind used their vast knowledge of the arcane to hide the city. A mixture of dangerous traps, mythical beast guards, and confusion and illusion spells made it impossible for any Folk the Macji'Ozara did not deem worthy to find. Today, the city is known as the Shrouded Sanctuary. A place for good Folk to be invited if they find themselves lost in the Just Desert. And if a person is lucky, they may even receive a guided tour of the Asimati Athenaeum.  
Worthy of Knowledge
  The Macji'Ozara will often use money when trading with other Folk. However, with their own kind, their preferred method of currency is knowledge. Although the Macji'Ozara collectively have vast stores of knowledge, it is not freely given to their people. Rather, they must earn everything they learn. At a young age, this may be through riddles and puzzles. If they show potential in a particular field, a Scholar may choose to make them their student. As their knowledge grows, they must travel to discover new ways of thinking or ancient artifacts of lore.   Seekers self-select into either Specialists or Generalists. Specialists will focus on a single subject, such as a type of arcane magic or a particular kind of artifact. Generalists will cover a great swarth of information and focus on the connections that can be made between different subjects. As Seekers increase in knowledge, many become Scholars. However, only the greatest of Scholars will eventually be known as Sages. Sages are held in the highest esteem for the Macji'Ozara Folk. One must reach this level to hold leadership positions within the society.  
SeekersMust uncover as much information about a particular subject. Finding new lore or artifacts will move your position into a Scholar.Must make connections between different subjects. Discovering an unthought of way to combine two schools of thought.
ScholarsAble to teach others. Must create a new form of knowledge or artifact in your field of study.Able to teach others. Must find a way to connect two subjects to create a new ability.
SagesSpecialists Sages are rare. Those that reach this height have developed a new knowledge that is beyond wondrous. It would take a lifetime to reach this level.Generalist Sages even rarer so. It is from this select group that Sage Queens and Sage Kings are elected for life. They possess wondrous knowledge of the Folk psyche.
Sacred Mounts
  The Macji'Ozara hold the Serpopard to be their most sacred beast. The Serpopard has the body of a leopard with the long-necked face of a serpent. Macji'Ozara Folk create bonds with them and the bi-pedal Numouni use them as mounts during journeys across the desert. The fallen Shari’ozara also have Serpopards, but they are used as little more than beasts of burden. The Macji'Ozara find this highly offensive and when given the chance, they steal Serpopard cubs from their wicked cousins and raise them as their own.
Wandering Seekers and Scholars
  Despite living in dangerous territory, the Macji'Ozara have never left their wandering ways. When traveling through the desert, they have the power to draw water from the sand. Many travel with hunter nimrods, who kill beasts for them to eat. More dangerous is the Folk that they encounter. Seeking to avoid conflict whenever possible, the Macji'Ozara will often disguise themselves as Shari'Ozara. Every wandering seeker or scholar also possess a copper coin which allows them to identify friends in their travels.
The Macji'Ozara are warm-blooded. Their skin varies in texture between smooth reptilian scales and soft flesh. Their appearance is fearsome to many with vertical slitted pupils and large irises in shades of green, gold, and brown. However, their mannerisms belay their intimidating image. Common shades of Macji'Ozara include green, red, brown, yellow, or a combination thereof.   Although the Macji'Ozara have some natural resistance to the sun, they typically wear loose clothing and scarves to protect themselves from the oppressive heat of the midday desert. Whether light or dark, clothing is typically muted. Any jewelry or accessories they wear will often have some practical means --usually holding some type of magic that will be useful on their journey. As a general rule, the Macji'Ozara are not prone to vanity of appearance. Showing off their intelligence, however, is a different matter.
Macji Coin
If you, young adventurer, are traveling through the desert and stumble across some Numo Folk, all may not be lost! If they believe you to be a potential ally or source of lore, they will hand you a coin. Although the coin looks like a normal copper piece, the illusion will fall away to show their emblem. These coins are magically-encoded to their individual DNA, just like Heroic Adventurers' badges, so it is difficult to replicate. This is how you know you are among friends. And if you are particularly lucky, they may even offer you respite at the Shrouded Sanctuary.  
Knowledge Snobs
Macji'Ozara have a specific definition for intelligence in their culture. Specifically, it is about uncovering facts and discovering different applications of knowledge. Unfortunately, they do not leave a lot of room for other types of intelligence, such as prowess. One such example are their hunters, called Nimrods. As a carnivorous species, the Macji'Ozara rely on Nimrods for food; however, those that take this job are often mocked. This, of course, completely disregards the intelligence and teamwork it takes to go against the Beasts of the Desert.  
Rainbow Macji'Ozara
Macji'Ozara hold the rare rainbow-colored Numo Folk in high regard. No matter their family background, rainbow Numo are provided with the best Scholars their settlement has to offer. They have strong innate magic from birth and will often advance to Sage at an incredible rate. It's difficult to know if this is because of their innate knowledge or favoritism among their people. It is foretold that every Rainbow Macji'Ozara will do great good or terrible evil.

Cover image: by Brgfx


Author's Notes

Low-key hate how Serpent folk are always made out to be evil, even though they're known to be sources of both wisdom and healing in many cultures. I still have evil snake people in the lore -- but they started out good and made the decision to be wicked. There's more I want to say about their culture, but I already wrote too much for a 300 word prompt.   Serpopard is an Egyptian/Mesopotamian mythical beast.   The species name Numofolk comes from Dogon ancestor spirits, the Nommo.

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Jul 20, 2021 23:24 by Ezra Aldrich

I too hate the bioessentialism when it comes to "evil species" in fantasy. Glad to see more people trying to develop stuff like this. It was a nice and interesting read!

Jul 23, 2021 05:40 by Cassandra Sojourn

I'm glad that you liked it! I also struggle with the amount of sapient species in my world and trying to make sure they're represented by different cultures as well. I'm trying to remind myself to paint in broad strokes for the summer though.

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Jul 30, 2021 10:31 by A

This is well done and interesting! All the information gives a good overview and details for players and readers alike to understand more about the culture. I like also the "good" serpent folk side rather than the always evil/conspiring. I would say that this is not too much, but if you want to "shred down/minimise it", make a species template about the species that are the Macji'Ozara. That way you can move the appearance there and focus on the cultural aspects here (Well, clothes are an exception) and thus develop a more in-depth view on the species. This is all just suggestion though, do as you like! (Also, love the Serpopard, never have I heard of it before and will have to look more into Mesopotamian mythology now)

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Jul 31, 2021 22:40 by Cassandra Sojourn

I do want to take out the part their appearance and move it to a species template. I was just trying to focus solely on the summer prompts for now. But eventually, this will be edited and some aspects moved around. (I saw eventually because I can be bad about going back to polish up things I've written.) I hope that I'm able to bring more interesting creatures into the world. I like using magical beings from myths that aren't written about as much.

Choose your poison:   Phasmatum: An Afro-Solar-Fantasy world created for my epic novels.
Adazuri: A shonen-inspired magitech fantasy world home-brewed for 5e.