Kaia - The Explorers of the Deep

Despite all the time that humanity has spent in the cavernous depths, most of Araea remain unexplored and shrouded in mystery. Unpredictable tunnels and prowling, alien beasts make the darkness a dangerous place. Only the bravest bring light into the dark and they are known as the Kaia.  
I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think we're going the wrong way.  
— Sodai, famous Kaia-Tene
    Kaia are the explorers of the vast underground world of Araea. They blaze the trail into new deeps, map maze-like hollows, and see sights of wonder and horror.    

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Team & Roles

    The Kaia work in teams, ranging between 4 and 6, divided into 6 roles. For very large explorations several Kaia teams sometimes work in unison, usually originating from the same guild or client. Not all teams contain every role, and in others some members hold two roles.   While all Kaia are expected to be self-sufficient enough and survive the loss of any one or two team members, successful teams can often work in complete silence and be confident in each team members ability in their role.    

Kaia-Tene   Banish the Dark   The Kaia-Tene are experts in light and darkness, guiding the team's way through both. At the beginning of any expedition, it is the Kaia-Tene who plan the team's supplies of light and related material, then keep track of those during the trek.   They know when to use what they have for the best effect, and know how to make light out of any number of the strange things that live in the caverns.   Just as important as darkness is light, avoiding being blinded or overcome by the light cast by streams of magma or the flashing, blinding glimmer of certain predators.

Kaia-Ahere   Remember the Way   Just as important as finding the way is recording it, and that is the task of the Kaia-Ahere. Map-makers and scholars, they have mastered the difficult art of tracing the up-and-down and spiraling paths of the caverns onto vellum or parchment.   It is a vital part of the Kaia's task, as no one will pay for a discovery they cannot find. During the expedition, the Kaia-Ahere are also responsible for marking the path, creating waypoints, and making sure that the Kaia can find their way back.


 

Kaia-Heoa   Blood in the Deep   Not mere warriors, but tacticians and rangers, it is the Kaia-Heoa who determines not only how the team will engage in battle but also whether or not it is in their interest to do so.   The good Kaia-Heoa know that the best battle is one avoided. As such, they are not only skilled in battle and tactics, but also stealth, camouflage and anything else that will help Kaia avoid a grisly end in the stomach of some underworld horror.   Between expeditions, they usually serve as arms-masters and drill-sergeants, making sure the Kaia is always sharp and ready.

Kaia-Gai   Food and Fortune   Quartermasters, chefs and negotiators, the Kaia-Gai are responsible for the team's supplies and procuring them.   Many come from a background as merchants or diplomats, and frequently serve as the team's face. During treks, they track foodstuff, organize the foraging, and cook meals.   Hunger and thirst are some of the most tangible threats to a Kaia and the Kaia-Gai's skill can mean the difference between starvation and glory.

   
 

Career

Qualifications

The life of the Kaia isn't for everyone. Even I think we're a little crazy sometime- who else would so gladly go into the Far Deep as us?  
    • Sodai, famous Kaia-Tene
The Kaia's different team roles all have different areas of expertise but there are a few traits that the Kaia value regardless of position. The Kaia was expected to be resourceful and clever, able to make the most out of the sources at hand. Independence and self-sufficiency are highly valued, and the mental toughness to deal with weeks or months away from home in alien darkness. Knowledge to survive, forage and find shelter are essential.   Other then that, the Kaia sport a wide variety of skills and they consider this to be a point of pride: everyone with backgrounds from bakers to Saen-Kaw athlete have walked the path of a Kaia. You never know what will come in handy and it is impossible to account for every situation or contingency. Improvisation, above all else, is the mark of a successful Kaia.  
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by Randis Albion
   

Payment & Reinbursement

  Teams of Kaia are usually benefactors of patrons, either organizations or wealthy clients. These patrons pay for equipment, lodgings and so on, and in return benefit from or direct the Kaia's exploration. Some Kaia become independently wealthy through fortunate discoveries and survive by selling new finds to interesting parties. Others still work on a mercenary bases, working with client to client for specific requests. All in all, the wealth of a Kaia can range from threading water to fantastically rich, depending on what exactly they find in the darkness.    

Becoming Kaia

  The Kaia come from all walks of life and becoming one is at once simple and difficult. To join a Kaia Guild, all that is needed is the recommendation of three Kaia of the guild. Outside recommendations are sometimes considered should they merit it. Few are expected to have full knowledge of the intricacies of surviving in the Deep, so the Kaia value character and personality over skill. With the dangers of their every day life, earning the trust of a Kaia to the point of a recommendation can be notoriously difficult and require the prospect to prove that they are someone the Kaia can entrust not only with her life, but the life of her entire team.  
Some are not willing to wait or to earn their place. The wealthy or arrogant sometimes try to buy their way into a Kaia guild by offering money in return for recommendation. This is rarely successful and any Kaia who would sell their voice so cheaply quickly find their reputation in tatters among other Kaia should it be revealed.   Others just try to found their own Guilds, replacing knowledge with wealth - other Kaia call these guilds "bait", for their tendency of attracting unwanted attention down in the deep.
  Once a prospect have earned their recommendation, they go through a lengthy tutelage under the same three who recommended them (or any designated replacements, should they die or retire) to learn what they need to survive in the unknown dark. They're not considered true Kaia until they have been on their first expedition, and are then welcomed into the Guild and Kaia-community as full-fledged members.   There is no limit to how long one can remain a prospect. Becoming true Kaia must be earned and those who don't make the cut are banished from the Guild.    

History

  There have always been explorers. Since the early days of human civilization, they have fumbled in the dark to find a way: to other resources, sources of water and food or to each other. It is vital for trade and industry, and one cannot wage war on a foe you cannot find. As time went on and societies developed, those explorers started to come together to compare technique: occasionally to brag, but often to see what did and did not work.   It was from these gatherings that the Kaia would eventually emerge, a mixture of successful and proven survival techniques honed through trial and lethal error, and camaraderie.   The tradition continues to this day. Guilds of Kaia are honored and prestigious, but for every success is a Kaia lost to the unknown.  

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The Seekers

  Based out of Mharaji , the Seekers are the largest and one of the most successful Kaia guilds currently in operation. Specializing in Far Deep exploration, the Seekers have done more to map out the area around Tuiwas' great shaft then any of their rivals.   In the same expedition that saw their leader fall to the dreaded Desolation, they brought back enough wonders and oddities from the Far Deep to secure their wealth for a very long time. They've begun to open chapters in other city-states and are popular figures in their native city.   Read about the Seekers    
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Kaia-Tani   Know and be unafraid   There are endless dangers in the depths, from bottomless chasms to ravenous things in the dark. It is the Kaia-Tani's place to know of the latter and advice her team accordingly.   They are trackers and scouts, masters of following or avoiding the beasts of the wild. In the teams that have them the Kaia-Tani take care of their animals, from riding beasts to exotic and useful monsters.  
  Kaia-Kaora   Death denied   In dangerous and unknown parts of the world, a broken foot or mangled limb can doom a man or even his party. With countless ways to die, it is the Kaia-Kaora's path to keep his team in the best shape he can and treat them as misfortune strikes. Together with Kaia-Gai, they are expert dissectors. They work together with both the Gai and the Tani to take apart any strange creatures they encounter, for discovery or for dinner.    
 
   

Kaia in the World

  Heroes, adventurers and explorers, the role of the Kaia in Araea society is almost mythical. The Kaia are popular figures in folk-lore and tavern tales alike, and almost always find themselves welcome with good cheer where-ever they might find themselves. In a world where many never stray far into the unknown, the Kaia are trail-blazers that go where no one else will: there are few who will turn down the tale of a returning Kaia.   Those who become Kaia have a rare opportunity to move beyond whatever it was they were before. From the common Hattick tanner to house nobles, all look at the Kaia as not just an adventure but an escape. There is danger, to be sure. But there is always a price to pay to become something more.  
But not all welcome the Kaia so readily.   To some, they are trouble-makers. The free-spirit and democratic way they rule themselves are sometimes seen as a danger, if not an affront to the way things should be.   The more autocratic city-states tend to follow this line of thinking, and the Kaia are watched more closely. Alazeta, ever fearful that something will rile their large population of slaves to outright revolt, have gone so far as to ban the Kaia from entering their city.   The Kaia have a saying about such edicts: "Might as well tell a cave to stop being dark"    
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by Stefan Huerlemann

Articles under Kaia - The Explorers of the Deep


Comments

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19 Jul, 2018 10:50

It is always an enjoyment to just scroll over your articles. You are a master in image research and formatting. Keep it up ^^

21 Jul, 2018 21:08

Thank you very much! I'll do my best to keep it up. :D

19 Jul, 2018 12:11

How does one become a Kaia? Is there a training and initiation process? Do they get to elect which role to fill in a team, or is it determined for them?

19 Jul, 2018 12:16

Those are some excellent questions and I will strive to answer them in the article as I update them. That's really super useful feedback and questions! Thank you so much! :D   (Quick answer would be, you try to join a team, they check you out, and the roles are sort of organically filled most of the time by team consensus. Very democratic in general :) )

11 Aug, 2018 11:58

Hey hey,   Finally found the time to address your comment! I added a new section "Becoming Kaia" whioch addresses your questions. :)   Let me know if it answered all your questions regarding it or if more should be added!

19 Jul, 2018 13:37

I have to say, whilst seen throughout your work, the use of images here is particularly great at setting the atmosphere. Love this break down!

21 Jul, 2018 21:06

Thank you kindly! :D It was a tricky one to write, but the images helped a lot once I had an inkling of what to write