Sh'reen Ethnicity in Lost Waves | World Anvil


The people of what is now the Sh'areen Calipahte first lived in the central and north regions of that area but spread as the Caliphate did. Now they are numerous and because of successful trade have also spread across the world.  

Social Strata

While the Sh'reen are very liberal in some respects compared to other cultures, such as relationships, sexuality, matters of personal expression, and so on, it is very conservative in others. Social mobility is next to impossible within a single generation. Religion governs nearly every aspect of life, and loyalty to family, nobility, and the Caliph takes up most of the other priorities. Individual freedom is valued only so far as it doesn't upset the status quo.   It can be helpful to think of honour as an extremely valued trait that can be increased or decreased depending on the actions of yourself and those you are aligned with. This honour is mostly affected by four different areas: individual action, religious action, loyal action, and societal action. Here are a few examples:  


Positive actions
  • Being inviting and friendly.
  • Public displays of affection.
  • generous with compliments.
  Negative actions
  • Greed.
  • Rudely reject invitations.
  • Question someone's honour.


Positive actions
  • Observing daily rituals with grace.
  • Attributing fortunde to the gods, apologising to them for misfortune.
  • Donations to a temple of a a sanctioned god, especially Amaunator.
  Negative actions
  • Expressing negative views on any sanctioned god.
  • Sinning against a god's principles, especially openly.
  • Worship of any god who might question the social order.


Positive actions
  • Helping one's family without question.
  • Uphold the ideals of one's noble house.
  • Seek the betterment of those of the same faction.
  Negative actions
  • Aiding a noble house opposed to one's own.
  • Spreading any negative rumour about one's family, house, or those of lower status serving oneself.
  • Breaking one's word.


Positive actions
  • Providing safety to those of lower status serving oneself.
  • Providing officials with anything they need for their office.
  • The wellbeing of the Caliphate is more important than any individual.
  Negative actions
  • Questioning the authority of those of higher status.
  • Disrespect any official without ample evidence.
  • Speak to those of higher status without being spoken to or having previous permission.
  • Court, or even worse, marry someone of a lower class.

Any honourable or dishonourable act reflects not only on the individual but also on their family, their noble house, their class, and eventually the Caliphate as a whole. The higher the status of the person in question, the greater the effect is. A high noble better behave or their entire people will suffer from shame. And they must keep those beneath them in line or their house will suffer for a long time. This is also a major factor in making everyone want to remain honourable as anything else would also hurt the ones they love.   The following table attempts to provide an overview of the different classes of society. In most cases, it is impossible to change class, but marriage across class borders can allow children to rise or sink in status compared to a parent. Children of married parents are considered to be of the status of the highest class of their parents. Those born to unmarried parents are instead of the lower class of their parents, or just of their mother if the father is unknown.  
Rank Description
Caliph The Celestial summoned to act as Caliph is the absolute ruler of the Sh'areen Caliphate.
Divine Guide While assumed to be apolitical, the Divine Guides are the priests closest to the Caliph.
Qel'tath The leaders of a noble house is directly responsible for an area of the Caliphate. Which houses outrank each other is a matter of honour, size and wealth of their territory, as well as history.
Sh'areen Senator While more directly involved in the central government, a senator is a representation of a Qel'tath, not their superior. A senator of a significant house might consider themselves more important than the Qel'tath of a small one but would never state that outright in public.
High Noble The closest in line to be Qel'tath is considered a High Noble. The more important the house, the more people will be included and the higher the rank of the High Noble compared to others of this class.
Hand of the Caliphate Hands are the members of society that provide great services. Generals, those who organise great cities, ministers, etc. This is the only high class that is theoretically attainable by service alone. In practice, most Hands are the children of Hands before them. Their contacts help, and many assume that talent is inherited. When others reach this rank, they are typically nobles or high nobles that focus on service to the Caliphate rather than their own ambitions.
Noble Nobility is important, even if they're not part of the group closest to rule. They can expect to be treated with respect no matter what. Their houses usually provide them with some resources, depending on how far they are from the Qel'tath. They might not all live a life of luxury, but they are able to remain above most.
Excel These are the people in valued positions. Most of the ranking staff in public service land here, even if they're a simple scribe or guard captain. But this level also, and slightly more respected, includes wealthy merchants and skilled artisans. Like with Hands, almost all of the Excels are children of those within the same class as they inherit the means to their position. It happens that one of them fail enough to be considered a commoner, or that a commoner comes into enough wealth that their children are recognised as Excels by the Hands responsible for assigning such titles. This might also be where a noble who has no ability to sustain themselves through contacts might end up.
Commoner The majority of free people fall into this category. They have jobs that are important and only requires some skill. Low-status work requiring much skill and talent are also part of the functions this class serves. This includes cobblers, farmers, road builders, and many more.
Undesired Every society has those who do the jobs no one else is willing to do. They are too poor or too desperate to say no. Being assigned to this class is also a potential punishment for crime. This means that criminals, in general, are considered undesirables, and anyone of this class is often suspected of having criminal tendencies.
Slave While often treated a lot better than the Undesired, slaves are lower in class. But a good slave isn't wasted on labour that would cost less to hire an undesirable to do instead of risking the slave. Of course, they still are ultimately not allowed to disobey and lack many rights of free people. An owner is free to buy and sell their slaves freely and restrictions on treatments of slaves are lax. But a slave is expensive and while an Excel might be able to afford one, they can't be reckless with such a valuable asset. Only nobility and up are likely to have more than one slave, and even a Qel'tath's dozen or two are valuable enough that they will handle them with some care.
Non-persons A few people have no more rights than animals. Very little evidence of a goblin being up to no good is needed to free someone of murder charges against them, for instance.


Major language groups and dialects

The official language of the Sh'areen Calipahte is Sha'ree which is also spoken by many sh'reen who live elsewhere.

Shared customary codes and values

Devotion is an integral part of Sh'reen culture. It is seen as a very structured and dedicated form of love, unlike random acts of kindness that aren't sustainable. All kinds of devotion are honoured and thus, the culture makes no difference between the love between members of the same gender compared to the love between different ones. The few taboos that exist, such as incest, is even interpreted very loosely by the upper nobility. This might be frowned upon by the lower classes, but there are so many more important things to worry about.   The focus on devotion also places a lot of emphasis on family. Those who can will care for those who can't. This means that everyone is involved in raising a child or caring for the elderly. Individuals with disabilities are often given aid by those close to them in the same way. There is no form of handicap that is considered unworthy of help. In return, those given support are expected to do what they can to show devotion in turn.   There are a few clear downsides to this. First of all, not everyone has someone around to take care of them, and without that original support, it might be hard to find anyone to take you on. Society only provides support if nobility deems someone useful for a specific task. The exception is various organisations that treat members who show dedication to the group with the devotion a family would.

Average technological level

There are several strong nodes for arcane magic in the Sa'ar Desert, and the religious nature of the culture means that gods are relied on to provide a lot of strengths. As a result, large portions of the culture ignores technology in favour of magic and is lagging behind some other areas of the world.

Common Etiquette rules

Greetings between any people who are not close friends is always a bow. A handshake is incredibly rude - those actually close would likely give each other a short embrace instead. The higher the status the other has than you, the deeper the bow.   Water is very important in the dry lands this culture grew from. It is often used to cleanse oneself of bad actions, intentions and thoughts; it can be poured over one hand has a promise is made, and it is considered very bad luck to spill it without use.

Common Dress code

The most common animals kept in the Sa'ar Desert are goats of various kinds, thus their fur is the most used for clothing amongst commoners. Those of slightly higher stature might wear clothes made from camel hair. Only higher echelons, such as nobility, wear clothes made of materials that are hard to get hold of, such as silk.   The most common article of clothing is a simple long tunic with a belt, together with comfortable trousers, shoes with thick soles that protect from the hot ground. Everyone who spends any time at all out in the sun wears some head protection. Most commonly this is a headcloth fasted with either leather straps with various adornments. Speaking of jewellery, necklaces and bracelets in precious metals or with gems are popular status symbols among the upper classes.   Speaking of the upper classes, while the style of clothing is usually similar to that of the ordinary people, they are made from much more exquisite materials, are more well-made, and often come with things like shawls or sheer or lace details. They might also use rare colours such as blue. Commoners usually end up with pale brown, nearly white, clothes or dye them dark. It is also possible to get hold of deep red dye reasonably easily, something merchants, in particular, are fond of.   Those living closer to the coast (especially in the south) or Solaris are more likely to have exotic materials or styles inspired by other cultures.

Art & Architecture

A lot of aesthetics are based on a very minimalistic base with geometric patterns on top. Different regions and noble houses favour different patterns and colours. For instance, House Seelon often has it's emerald green mixed with white and gold in concentric circles and triangles.

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

Sunhigh is celebrated throughout the Sh'areen Calipahte, and many outside celebrate it too in honour of their heritage.   Birthdays are rarely seen as something important for the individual, instead, their accomplishments for the community is more likely to be celebrated. The same goes for other distinctions between individuals versus society.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

When a child is born, soon after there is Ascending, which is a way for the parents to show their baby to their friends and family as well as a chance to get help starting the new life.

Coming of Age Rites

Throughout most of sh'reen culture, adolescents go through Graduation to represent when they reach adulthood. However, this is not universal and lacking the ritual is at most seen as an wired quirk of one's upbrining.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Most of the sh'reen are dedicated to Amaunator and that church handles funeral rites as they do anything else. Those who worship other gods and therefore seek out the funerals for that god, usually make this very clear to their loved ones. And some seek out the Church of the Raven Queen for their funeral, regardless of which god they dedicated their lives to the most.

Common Taboos

The sh'reen are very hierarchical in their thinking, and acting out against one's social betters is very frowned upon. When interacting with those from other cultures, this can sometimes be confusing since the sh'ree aren't sure how to interpret the social standing of the other. And in turn, the person from different cultures might find the situation awkward, regardless of how they are positioned relative to the sh'ree.   Speaking of other cultures, the Sh'reen often find them strange and not in a good way. Others are seen as uncultured, cold, and unreliable. They don't care as much about race, skin-colour, or the like as they do ability to adobed to Sh'reen customs.

Historical figures

Ashqi Al'chaqni was the first Caliph of the Sh'areen Caliphate and in may ways, the laid the foundation for the values of the culture that dominates the area.


Beauty Ideals

Men are usually either entirely clean-shaven or have a full beard - even if it's kept short or parts, such as the moustache or chin strap, are grown longer. Clothing that is intended to be provocative will be revealing while serious-minded people might prefer stricter clothes. More of a traditionally female body is sexualised - breasts explicitly in addition to the groin and bum, while the male body is usually sexualised more evenly outside those areas. That said, transgressing the usual norms for men and women is rarely considered more than a slight oddity.   Clothes are usually simple and considered important protection from the sun. Actual fashion statements are traditionally made with intricate jewellery or other accessories. Materials not available in the desert are especially impressive. A wooden circlet with gems embedded might not seem impressive, but when the wood needed to be transported a thousand kilometres, it is a clear sign of wealth and influence.

Courtship Ideals

Courting someone often includes poetry, song, or some other performance. Writing something yourself, even if badly performed, is usually appreciated but not mandatory. And hopefully, the one you're trying to woe already likes you well enough to overlook and issues with your performance. Being direct isn't stigmatised, provided you accept a no as a no. It also isn't considered bad form to decline an invitation if you're not interested.

Relationship Ideals

There are three kinds of relationships, though they aren't explicit. There are those defined by marriage that has the goal of producing offspring with a clear linage. In the upper echelons of society, they are quite often created to strengthen alliances and to ensure that inheritance follows an intended path. And in all strata of society, they might well be arranged by parents or other guardians rather than those in the relationship.   Then there are love relationships, which may or may not coincide with the first kind. It isn't unusual for a person to be involved in more than one such relationship at any given time. There is no secrecy need for these relationships as long as linage for offspring can reasonably be determined. Some form unofficial 'marriages' amongst a group of loving relationships, solidifying their commitment. Several of the churches will happily give their blessing to such unions.   Third, some friendships are still considered friendships despite also including elements that might otherwise be considered part of only romantic relationships. This includes cohabitation, sex, and shared finances. While it isn't regarded as strange to sometimes have this kind of relationship, it is usually assumed to become a love-based relationship, even of those involved don't see it as such.

Major organizations

The culture almost synonymous with the Sh'areen Caliphate, but it extends outside it, and several other cultures exist within populations within the caliphate.
Common family names
Abed, Azura, Behlinn, Gorbani, Khadem, Razeri
Common feminine names
Amaya, Banao, Donya, Fareshin, Leila, Roya
Common masculine names
Amad, Ezrai, Faraihd, Kamred, Mehdi, Zand
Common third gender names
Em, Hakashi, Kijath, Nifi, Tchedo, Teato

Additional Traditions
Colours and Symbolism

Articles under Sh'reen


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