Tribal Communion Tent Building / Landmark in Excellence | World Anvil
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Tribal Communion Tent


Creme-white, ash-stained heavy skin held aloft by two long wooden poles forming a triangle with the ground. The tent's covering is crafted from the skin of a large white beast and holds spiritual importance. The poles and eight staked pegs are sourced from the camping area. Adorning the poles are bone chimes, these are the bones of all Orcs and family bones must stay together for communion use. The interior of the tent has symbols burned into the tent covering and is empty of any other furnishings.   The covering's color represents the bones of Orcs and stained with ash to reflect the removal of flesh from bone. The bones are kept with the tent for communion with the ancestors and protection against spirits that wish to inhabit bodies. Though the covering holds importance, it is representational and for quick communion ease. If the camp is in distress, the bone chimes will be quickly cut down by any Orc, who can reach them.

Purpose / Function

Tribe Communion

Head Mothers and Arm Uncles meet in the tent to discuss matters of the tribe. Only Head Mothers and Uncles with leadership can enter the tent while in communion unless an Orc is given the communion's permission to enter. During long communions, rug skins and blankets are placed on the floor as well as a fire is set in the center. Other furnishings can be added, however, they must be removed at the end of communion.

Individual Communion

Any Orc can commune with the ancestors inside the tent and they may take their family bone chime with them. The bone chime must be refastened to the tent poles after communion. If the Orc wishes for solitude while communing, a single bone placed into the ground at the tent's entrance will signify this desire to other Orcs. However, if a Head Mother is ascending then this communion can be interrupted.

House Communion

These communions are invoked for two reasons; tribal communion needs guidance from past Head Mothers, or a Head Mother's ascension. They summon only the Ancestral Council and a summoning of other house members is rare. Only if the tribe is under distress can Orcs, not of Head Mother status, witness the communion of the Ancestral Council, or communions of many house members. This separation is done to protect the Orcs from unruly spirits, emotional distress, and maintain the spiritual balance.

Communion Rituals

"A drop of blood upon the bone of the ancestor, while chanting the incantation is all you need do," Head Mother Warren crossed her arms, "Though it is the spirit's choice whether it heeds your calls."
Individual spirits can be summoned by any Orc, however, summoning more than one spirit is forbidden. Most spirits can choose to appear, however, Head Mothers know ways to make a spirit appear without it's choice. If an Orc's death was sudden, the Head Mother will gather the family for a grief communion with the Orc's spirit.  
"Drink of the bloodline held by the Mother of Before invoking house names and the rattle of their bones surrounded by family will you meet the ancestors."
— A short description of one Head Mother ritual
A Head Mother's ascension into the ancestral council is different as it requires several preparing rituals and ritualistic items. This particular ritual invites the ancestral spirits to inhabit the other Head Mothers to speak with the to-be-ascended Head Mother. This is not the original ritual, rather a focused version to prevent opening the spiritual veil. Any ritual, opening the spiritual veil to summon many spirits causes ruin to the tribe and is taboo if performed by other members.


Head Mother - Each household is governed by a Head Mother. She attends tribal meetings and ascensions of other Head Mothers. There is only one Head Mother per house.   Skull Cup - top part of the skull of the previous Head Mother and it's use is a cup.   Ancestral Council - a spirit council formed from Head Mothers selected from each household in the tribe.
Alternative Names
Bone Tent, Tent of Council, Ancestors' Tent
Room, Religious, Monastic Cell

House Communion Components

  • Blood of Head Mother, current
  • Bones of Ancestral Council
  • Houses of the Orc's family
  • Skull Cup

Matters of the tribe

  • Status rise of Uncles
  • Tribe member loses/gains
  • Funerals
  • Rites
  • Marriages
  • Disputes
  • Criminal offenses
Species | Jul 10, 2021

Nomadic, matriarchal society casting necromancy to survive in hostile areas they live in.

Cover image: Vier Kohten by LARS, CC BY-SA 3.0
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Author's Notes

Tent Design Link

  • SummerCamp2019

  • Please Login in order to comment!
    Jul 2, 2019 03:46

    Interesting purpose for a tent, are the Orcs nomadic? I would recommend improving the readability of some sentences, for instance, I'd recommend including the titles in the paragraphs to make it clearer, although it may just be my opinion. The Head mothers are explained, but what are the arm uncles?   'Tribal communion needs guidance' probably should read as 'tribal communion is for guidance'. I found it a bit jarring when you suddenly went into a quote under Communion Ritual especially since you have a second quote after that.

    Jul 2, 2019 03:57

    Yes, they very much are. Not quite sure where you are referring to on the 'titles in the paragraphs' like which paragraph specifically. Might need to reword the 'Tribal communion needs guidance' but I thought it was clear....hmm welp I did ask for feedback like this so thanks. Yeah......not quite sure how to work that paragraph with the two quotes on top of each other.

    Jul 2, 2019 04:03 by Richard Bradley

    An interesting article overall, I was a tiny bit confused because my brain takes a while to absorb info but otherwise it's just fine. I'm wondering why it's forbidden to summon more than one spirit, though? Are they too powerful/will something bad happen? Or is it just against tradition?

    ricky -- 24 years old -- he/him, fae/faer, tiger/tigers pronouns -- current project: novanati rebuilt
    Jul 2, 2019 04:07

    It's like opening a portal and you don't know what/who will come out. The ritual calls out to specific individuals but naming too many and not have items to focus in on that individual spirit can cause ruin. One of the things these rituals does, it allows the spirit to inhabit a body temporarily which is used for communion purposes of the tribe.

    Jul 2, 2019 08:11

    This is a very well thought out article so far! It tells me a lot about the orcs of your world immediately showing they are matriarchal for the most part, and that they can pierce the veil to the lands of the dead. Does a tribal communion invoke the spirits? Or only if the tribal communion needs guidance? It's a little unclear. I also feel like having those two next to each other would make it a little easier to read. I might even list the house communion first, just to have it go down the hierarchy. So "Communion with Ancestral Council" -> Tribal Communion -> Solo Communion. I'd also like to know more details of the rituals. Is the quoted text the incantation or is it just a description of what to do for the communion ritual? It's a little unclear.

    Jul 3, 2019 04:37

    Only if guidance is needed will spirits be summoned for a tribal communion. I hope the edits I added reflect this. Did other edits and renaming that should address the distinguish issue between the communions.   Ritual Details will not be farther included in this article, but will have their own separate spoiling article. Yes, I added a sentence in the quote to state what it is. Also, put the other quote in its own box and give that paragraph abit more to balance it out.

    Jul 3, 2019 06:15

    Definitely a lot more clear. Great job! I look forward to learning more about your world. The Orcs seem so cool! :)