Dhanûian Ethnicity in Araea | World Anvil


Hard homes make for hard people.  
— Ramaður-shi, the Iron Hag of Dhanû
  Dhanûian are the people who make their home in the dangerous Sheoin Region, each newborn inheriting a war that has been waged for generations. Proud, fierce, rowdy and energetic, the Dhanûian make steadfast friends and dangerous enemies. They think themselves superior than most others because of the land they inhabit but have a need to prove it. A Dhanûian might risk her life to save an outsider from some horrible creature simply to show that she can excel where they failed.      

Warriors and Poets

  Like most people of Araea, the Dhanûian come in many forms. They have mixed with other cultures since time immemorial and while some clans take pride in a particular lineage, these are about deed and not appearance. Any man, woman or other who can survive the harsh struggles of Sheoin is a Dhanûian - anything else is a waste of effort in a land where none can be spared.  
by ArtDeepMind

The Dhanûian value physical prowess, endurance and the mental fortitude to go on. Theirs is a culture of warriors, where those who fight also rule and those who cannot toil in the fields or workshops. Honor, glory and prestige are measured in deed and behavior with each warrior looking to outdo the others. They hunt heads and slay beasts to collect trophies, then display them as a sign of their virtue.   But they are also poets and artists. Nobles are considered warriors first, but those who cannot also sign are incomplete in the eyes of their peers. Other hold the opinion that they fight as they do so that that the crafter, the singer, the dancer or poet and bring beauty to the world without fear.
Outside of Sheoin, the Dhanûian are feared as pirates and raiders - deadly in combat, with strange and terrifying masks. Dhanûian raid both to claim trophies and glory, and to gather resources that Sheoin simply doesn't have.

Obligation and Expectation

Like insects in a spider's web, everyone in Dhanû is bound. I will be the spider.  
— Ramaður-shi, the Iron Hag of Dhanû
  Dhanûian society is held together by a system of obligation and expectation. Obligation are the things that someone is required to do, while expectation is what it is considered that they should be doing. A warrior is obliged to fight for their clan but they are expected to show honor and mercy to the defeated, to keep their word and to know poetry. It is a complex system of unspoken rules, insinuations and class restrictions, that only the Oathed.  

Shame and punishment keep order. Those who break their obligations can be disciplined by their clan or by the Oathed, facing anything from beatings to imprisonment. Death is a rare penalty, saved for the most heinous of crimes or broken oaths. Some are cast out and become Clanless, forever a non-person in Dhanûian society.   Those who break with expectation face a more subtle sort of punishment. Depending on what expectation was broken, a Dhanûian gossip, shaming and mockery or find themselves denied service at stores or shunned at clan-feasts.   Class and clan also matters when it comes to expectation. Peasants are not expected to fight and face no penalty for fleeing a battle, for instance. Even when they to go against expectations, warriors and nobles tend not to treat them so harshly for it - they are after all only peasants. Other commoners are not so merciful, however.

by Cuong Pho




Dhanûian nobles and warrior place great spiritual value in the use of their masks: elaborate headpieces and helmets to display their ambitions and nature to the world. They wear the likeness of a beast to channel its ferocity or toughness, or that of spirits and ancient heroes to call upon virtue they either claim or aspire to. Commoners are typically not allowed to own masks but exceptions are made. The Dhanûian are nothing if not willing to recognize merit.   Each mask is a handcrafted piece of art and even the poorest warrior will own one. Some may be handed down through generations while others are given as coming of age gifts once earned. Chitin, bone and metal are the most common materials used with nobles expected, though not obliged, to use more elaborate and refined materials.
Wearing the mask unbidden is akin to bearing a naked blade into conversation.

Festivals and Traditions

  Dhanûian traditions are a mix between rambunctious celebration and somber contemplation. Alcohol and drug feature frequently, though the celebrants are expected not to overindulge and those who are on duty are obliged to refrain.  

The Feast

  The most frequent and celebrated event is the Dhanû Feast, a gathering where bonds between clanmates are renewed, feuds are settled and enormous quantities of alcohol consumed.   The Feasts take place in the Dhanû Clan Hall and are considered a sign of a clan's fortune. The prosperous can afford frequent and well-stocked feasts, while the poor can only hold smaller celebrations.   Almost any reason is good enough to throw a feast - victory in battle, death of a noble, the birth of a child, a particularly auspicious omen or because it is the third day of the week. When times are hard and resources scarce, such celebrations become more tempered and infrequent.

The Fast

  Observed across the year, Fasts are held in response to particular omen. They usually last no more than a day or two, during which Dhanûian are obliged to eat only little. Alcohol is forbidden, usually ritually consumed by families or clans at the end of a fast.   Instead, people meditate and gather around small fires where the bladder of a particular jelly-fish is burnt to release a narcotic smoke. Poetry, courting or sex are not forbidden and commonly indulged. It is a time for lovers to connect or commit once again in an atmosphere of tranquility.   Warriors preparing for battle, those performing hard manual labor and expectant mothers are exempt from the fast.
Every man or woman has at least one great treasure to give - their word.
Dhanû   The city-state of Dhanû is the central home for the Dhanûian. Located on the shores of the subterranean lake Hoshãn, the city is a chaotic patchwork of competing clans and fiefdoms. All of Dhanû are bound together by obligation and social expectation, of debt and favor.   Read More About Dhanû

The Ideal Dhanûian

  No matter if they are warrior or peasant, the ideal most Dhanûian aspire to is never surrender to the horrors of the world. Should they be defeated or captured, should they fail or falter, the Dhanûian idolize those who do so with grace and remain unbowed. Death is a waste - the end of an otherwise long journey.   Gender, sexuality or other things don't really enter into things as far as the Dhanûian are concerned. But there is a considerable class divide, with those born into the family of a warrior considered inherently superior to someone born to a poor peasant family. Social mobility is limited and many die as they lived.        

Honor The Dead

  Like most cultures in Araea, the Dhanûian practice the funeral rites of the Shikei and engraved skulls are potent symbols of prestige within their society. Heads are counted after battle as a tally of a warrior's prowess and are later displayed in the Dhanû Clan Hall.   Traitors, Clanless or those who break their obligations either have their skulls smashed and used as fertilizer or are decorated in a way to shame the deceased and warn others of their folly.        

The Forge of Bones

  While all parts of Araea make use of the monsters that inhabit the dark to craft necessities, few take it as far as the Dhanûian. They are experts at butchering horrors and creating arms, armor and everyday items out of the parts.   The forge-city of Izhaso is the greatest of its kind, a ichor-drenched ward of industry and manufacture. Corpses arrive here daily to be transformed into things that the Dhanûian need to continue their lives, from weapons to instruments.   Read More About the Forge of Bones                    

At Their Best

  The Dhanûian are steadfast and tough, willing to brave any danger and willing to see anything through to the end. They are skilled fighters with a passion for the beautiful things in life that surprise those who only know them as marauders. No matter the odds, they are pragmatic and fierce. Deed and action are all that matter.  

At Their Worst

  Cruel, arrogant and glory-seeking, the Dhanûian care little about who they harm or what they destroy as long as that next glory is won. They hide their true selves and become like the monsters their masks resemble. Outsiders cannot be trusted and the divide between noble and commoner is as deep as the Abyss.    
by Miguel Eins

Articles under Dhanûian

Cover image: by Vladimir Fomin


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Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
13 Jul, 2019 01:47

"The Feast/The Fast" I cannot understate how wonderfully satisfying that is to read, great choice of headers there! The two traditions directly contrasting one another, formatted into columns like that? A+

13 Jul, 2019 08:46

<3   I am glad to hear it worked out! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dr Jimothy
Jimmy Shrekson
1 Aug, 2019 19:36

Do they practice slavery? Ie: kidnapping people from other places and having them be new additions to the lower class?

1 Aug, 2019 20:16

Yes and no; it's examined more in the city-state article itself ( https://www.worldanvil.com/w/araea-qurilion/a/dhanC3BB-article ). They do engage in some slavery, but mostly selling them to the Maw ( https://www.worldanvil.com/w/araea-qurilion/a/alazeta-the-slavers-gate-article ) rather than keeping them for themselves.   Most of Dhanu are pretty unenthusiastic slavers, but there's a couple of clans that have taken to it. There's no industrial slavery in Dhanu, though.

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
26 Jun, 2022 22:11

Being alive on the third day of the week is an excellent reason for a feast if you ask me!