Steppe People Ethnicity in Derkomai | World Anvil

Steppe People

The Steppe People, known as grissmanne (grass people) in the Sudkou language are a tribal, nomadic or semi-nomadic people living in The Steppe, the vast grasslands lying between the Northern Wastelands and The Great Equatorial Desert to the north and south, and Great Eastern Mountains and The Great Western Mountains to the east and west. Most of the Steppe People are affiliated only with their tribe, but two small kingdoms of Steppe People, Da Nis Grissyond Okku and Da Azmi Grissyund Okku, lie along the shores of the enormous lake at the eastern edge of the Steppe, called the Great Inland Sea (Da Nala Sei).   After the disastrous military campaign and death of Ogday Chagan at the The Battle for Sendoshi, the Steppe People were never again united under a single ruler. The remnants of Ogday Chagan's kingdom at Lokdoshi fell into chaos, with bickering, infighting, and outright war between some of the tribes. A group of tribes from the southwestern parts of the Steppe and The Great Equatorial Desert united under a respected but not all-powerful chieftain they called Da Maji, establishing a new kingdom at Lyndoshi named Da Nis Grissyond Okku. After some years of infighting and intrigue, the kingdom at Lokdoshi was re-established, much weaker than it was under Ogday Chagan, as Da Azmi Grissyund Okku.   The Senyon imperial court encourages and promotes discord and conflict between Da Nis Grissyond Okku and Da Azmi Grissyund Okku, playing one side against the other, and playing tribes within the kingdoms against one another. The Steppe People are seen by Senyon as barely civilized barbarians, coarse, uncouth, and dirty. The Senyon people often insult Steppe People by calling them, in Sudkou, "xogriss," or "grasslings." Trade deals between Senyon and the Steppe kingdoms are tilted unfairly in favor of Senyon as much as possible. Princesses and daughters of noble families of the Steppe kingdoms are often given as gifts to minor princes, officials, and businessmen of Senyon as gifts to secure those trade deals; few are well-treated.   The Senyon Emperor Yixing-Jiumin Jinsen and his court have passed laws and issued decrees to stop the discrimination against and abuse of the Steppe People and Senyon. The Emperor has signed laws to eliminate unfair trade, and he has taken a princess of Da Nis Grissyond Okku, Noble Lady Ailaliuta Sarantuya, as a consort, signaling to the people of Senyon and of the world, that the Steppe People are equal to all others. Despite these measures, Senyon continues its schemes to ensure that the Steppe People are never again a threat.

Naming Traditions

Family names

When written or spoken, family names precede given names, as is the tradition in Senyon, Chessa, and several other countries of Derkomai. Given names are not often used without the family name, as the given name by itself is considered an intimate form of address, as between a married couple. Between strangers and acquaintances, only the family name with an honorific is used; learning and being permitted to use someone's given name, even together with the family name, signifies a close or important relationship.


Major language groups and dialects

Most of the tribes of the Steppe People speak dialects of Sudkou, but many have accents, as well as vocabulary and grammatical differences, that make their speech almost unintelligible to someone that speaks "standard" Sudkou from somewhere like Daskar in Sudland. Tribes in the far north of The Steppe often speak dialects of Nodkou.

Shared customary codes and values

Despite their reputation as uncouth barbarians in Senyon, the reality is that the Steppe People are hospitable and polite in the extreme. Living as nomads on the open grasslands and desert, subject to whatever weather comes their way, they understand far better than most how fragile life is, and that mutual help improves everyone's chances to survive and prosper. So, sharing a meal and shelter with other people of the Steppe, and even travelers, is a given and rarely denied. Whatever help is required is provided, if possible.   Being for the most part nomadic people on vast grasslands, they place less value on property and things than many other people. They acquire fewer things, as whatever they have, they must carry with them as they travel. Borders have little meaning to them; they will go where they want to go, as need or desire takes them.

Common Etiquette rules

The Steppe People value soft words spoken with sincerity much more than forceful arguments, believing that it is more important to convince hearts than minds; though, persuasive reasoning carefully and respectfully presented will win both. Giving offense to another is gravely wrong to the Steppe People. Profuse, sincere apologies and offers of compensation are given to the one offended.

Common Dress code

Being exposed to the elements often, Steppe People protect themselves as best they can. They wear warm, thick clothing of leather, wool, cotton, and sometimes (for the wealthier members) silk. Bare skin is not often seen, not so much for moral or religious reasons, but simply because the Steppe is often cold, dry, and windy in the north, and hot, even more dry, and windy in the south. Exposed skin quickly will become parched and wind or sunburned.

Art & Architecture

The Steppe People do not produce much "stationary" art, like sculpture or painting; everything they own they must be able to easily take with them on their travels; therefore, their art must also be mobile. So, they are gifted with textile art, decorating with fantastic embroidery, weaving incredible carpets, rugs, and cloth, sewing beautiful clothing, and making beautiful, functional, and durable goods from leather - boots and shoes, belts and overcoats, saddles, tents, and much more. They also produce small carvings on bone and wood and make functional utensils from them, as well.
The World of Derkomai

Cover image: by Peter Nelson (Zero Sum Games)


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