Cascartuga

Playable Sophont

Shelled Mariners

The Cascartuga, like so many other sophonts, came to Solith from far across the Endless Ocean. This robust race of shelled humanoids sailed across The Big Black for four long generations before finally settling on Haven's southern peninsula. They continue to spend nearly their entire lives at sea, becoming unparalleled mariners and masters of the sea.
 
Over a Cascartugan's staggering lifespan, they continuously grow in size and are capable of reaching titanic proportions with venerable age. There are tales of Cascartugans so large their mighty jaws could snap entire ships in half. Yet the Turtlefolk's lengthy lifespans and tremendous power promote a uniquely pacifistic outlook on life as they prove to be among the most patient, resilient, and often stubborn individuals in all of known creation.

Cascartuga History

The Cascartuga first began their defining voyage across the Endless Ocean from a diminutive island of emerald green leaves and sand as orange as a raging fire. When cataclysm struck the Isle of the Emerald Blaze, clouds of black smoke choked the pristine paradise as flaming sheets of molten rock wreathed its shores. The oldest and largest of the Turtlefolk took it upon themselves to bring salvation to their doomed species and escape their destruction. They ferried the young children of the Second-Generation atop their very backs and set out blindly into the vast Endless Ocean. Though not born for such harsh open waters, the First-Generation used their knowledge of the Great Current to guide their people across an immeasurable distance in search of a new home.
 
On their generations-long journey, the Turtlefolk learned to sail the seas in even the most devastating of conditions and became some of Ravare's most skilled sailors and mariners atop their living vessels. Their ships are unlike any other, composed of the most massive and ancient of their brethren. These enormous vessels vary significantly in size but easily outstrip all other mundane sailing methods and create the Cascatugans' unique relationship with the sea. Their vessels are not bound by the winds or ocean currents and power through the turbulent surf through sheer grit and determination. These living ships have a mind of their own, and the ancient Cascartugans that carry their kin atop their backs can prove more intelligent and wise than any of their crew. Their vast libraries of knowledge allowed the Turtlefolk to survive centuries away from land, learning to survive off all the sea could offer. Two generations of Turtlefolk would be born on the open ocean before their people would see an end to their voyage and finally settle in Haven.
 
Yet their decision to settle on Solith was not one of choice but was forced upon them. When they first sighted the shores of abundance, the last surviving member of the First-Generation took his final shuddering breath and the secrets of the Great Current with him. This truly ancient being was the last of the brave souls that initially fled the Isle of the Emerald Blaze, a creature older than any living Cascartugan by several centuries. Within the titanic rotting carapace of Herok of The-First, the Cascartuga set down deep roots and constructed a grand capital city on the Dust Shores' isolated coastland. Today the vaulted halls of Greatrock keep the peace by protecting the Dust Shores and maintaining delicate stability in the relatively calm waters of its coast. The Merrow are the mortal enemies of the Turtlefolk, as their coastal patrols repel countless raiding parties during their seasonal ransacking of the Blacksea coast. Their blood feud grows in intensity with each year and rapidly approaches a dangerous tipping point. Meanwhile, the youngest Cascartugans venture out from their people as diplomats and adventurers to connect with the outside world.

General Information

Lifespan
More than 1000 years old, reaching maturity at the age of 50. Cascartuga continue to grow in stages throughout their life.
Average Height
5 to 6 feet tall.
Average Weight
400 to 450 pounds.
Related Ethnicities
Cascartuga Names
Baka, Damu, Gar, Gura, Ini, Jappa, Kinlek, Krull, Lim, Lop, Nortle, Nulka, Olo, Ploqwat, Quee, Queg, Quott, Sunny, Tibor, Ubo, Uhok, Wabu, Xelbuk, Xopa, Yog.
Generational Surnames
The-First, Venerable-Seconds, Third-Born, Fourth-Ocean, Haven's-Fifth, Sixlings, Future-Sevenths.

Naming Schemes

The Cascartuga prefer simple, gender-neutral names that are usually no more than a handful of syllables and feature at least two vowels. They are the only Beastfolk to quickly and wholeheartedly adopt the tongues of Humanity, having completely lacked a language usable on land before their arrival on Solith. Adults tend to have a pliant sense of identity and frequently change their names to suit new chapters in their long lives. Conversely, their surnames are constant and never change, denoting an individual's generation rather than expressing any familial ties. They structure their names by combining their first names with the nomenclature "of the," followed by their Generational Surname. When they speak these names beneath the waves in their native tongue, they transform and become beautifully delicate songs that haunt the minds of listening land-dwellers.

Aqui

The native tongue of the Cascartuga is Aqui, like all waterborne sophonts their tongue can only be understood from beneath the waves. Its haunting, melodic quality gives their tongue a song-like beauty utterly unique to the Turtlefolk.
   

Description

The Cascartuga are semi-aquatic humanoids covered in a leathery hide of fine scales and sporting an enormous, durable shell. They resemble common sea turtles but feature elongated necks that permit a more comprehensive range of motion and a full set of apposable, clawed fingers that sets them apart from their bestial kin. Their rigid and boney shell can make up as much as one-third of their total weight, which averages a staggering four hundred and fifty pounds. Their scaly hides come in shades of brown and green, very similar to that of the Saheel, while their shells tend to come in rich colors of the deepest browns. Unlike the thick skin of the Saheel, the Cascartuga rely entirely on their protective shells to shield them from harm. Their defensive carapace is composed of dozens of solid bone sheets that fuse together to wrap them in a protective shield capable of deflecting all but the mightiest of blows. Like the Cascartugans themselves, these shells grow continuously, expanding by creating additional plates to cover more and more of their scaled flesh. Among incredibly old members of their species, these secondary plates eventually fuse with muscle and cartilage to create a durable cranial plate and a densely muscled, vice-like set of jaws. These heavily armored individuals serve as their people's living ships and are protected so wholly they are more akin to floating castles than sailing vessels.
 
Common Cascartugans stand no taller than most Humans at between five and six feet tall, but they can become some of the largest sophonts known to exist with great age. The gargantuan forms of the Second-Generation are so large that many of them dwarf the Blacksea Caravels constructed within Shorewall's shipyards. Unlike many sophonts, the Turtlefolk have no cultural drive to wear clothing of any kind and often wear nothing more than a woven satchel to carry their possessions. The older they become, the more common it is to see them entirely shun clothing in favor of proudly displaying their richly colored carapace. What few tidbits of clothing you may find among their people are always lightweight, waterproof, and easily removable. Additionally, as the Cascartugans grow to genuinely enormous sizes, they lose much of their ability to communicate outside their native Aqui tongue. The titanic Second-Generation exclusively communicate through their alluring songs, creating haunting melodies that reverberate beneath the pounding waves.

Generations and Mariners

When creating a Cascartugan, remember that your people fled disaster at the Isle of the Emerald Blaze long ago and sailed for generations across the Endless Ocean before settling in Haven just before The Fall. As an adventuring Turtlefolk, you are rather young and hail from the Fourth or Fifth Generation; you are only as old as a century and a half and can reach sizes only slightly larger than an average human. What purpose drove you to venture out beyond the shadow of Greatrock? What did you leave behind?

Society

The society of the Cascartuga is exceptionally divided, made up of several distinctive groups differentiated by age and size. All Cascartugans honor the First-Generation, who saved their people from annihilation and now live on in storied legends and honored fables. Cascartugans use the First's names with all the reverence of a devoted worshipper seen among other sophonts when they swear upon their gods or capitals. They hold a similar reverence to the Isle of the Emerald Blaze and the Great Current that carried away from their doomed home. After the death of Herok, the Second-Generation become the vessels of their people in Haven and the last Cascarutgans to remember their island homeland. Their haunting songs drift in from their berths, reminding their people of their home and all they have lost. Half of the Turtlefolk population serves aboard these gargantuan creatures as they patrol the Dust Shores' coastal waters for their mortal enemy: the dreaded Merrow of the Bloodwind Sea. Outside of their bloody conflict with the Merrow, many Cascartugans are extremely pacifistic and believe that with patience and perseverance they can endure through or outlive any challenge. This has also led to a pessimistic view of the fate of Haven among the older generations who believe The Rebirth is only a temporary reprieve for Solith. Inevitably, the other sophonts of Solith will bring about another apocalypse.
 
The Third-Generation has yet to reach the vast size that allows their predecessors to serve as sailing ships; instead, they guard the shores themselves and nest along the coastline. These large Turtlefolk are ever vigilant against threats that may come for Greatrock, whether overland or by sea, and for their service, they are well-respected. Cities along the Dust Shores provide regular tributes and sacrifices to the guardian Cascartugans. The Fourth-Generation has yet to reach their older brethren's vast size and serve primarily as their people's leaders in the Dust Shores. These Turtlefolk believe that it falls upon their shoulders to ensure their people's survival after the First-Generation's death. Their heavy-handed leadership strains their relationship with the people of Greatrock as they prioritize the Cascartuga's safety and well-being above all else. The Fifth-Generation makes up the largest group of Cascartugans on Haven and the youngest adults of the species. Many of them serve as emissaries of the Turtlefolk beyond the shadow of Greatrock as their inexperience and relatively young age make it easy for them to assimilate into the societies of other sophonts. After adventuring for many years, they will often return to the Dust Shores and share all they have learned and experienced with the rest of the Cascartugans.


Great Rock

The Cascartugans' largest settlement is the capital city of Greatrock, built into the half-buried shell of Herok of The-First. They have created a true sanctuary for their people here, and few ever choose to leave the relative safety offered by the shadow of Greatrock. This massive area encompasses the entirety of the Dust Shores and its coastal waters. Those who travel away from their families and into Haven often miss their coastal home's peace and simplistic life. From their fortified city, the Turtlefolk wage war with the Merrow in an attempt to expel their forces from the Dust Shores and eradicate their revile raiding parties that torment many of Solith's vulnerable coastal cities. Those within the capital not engaged in this long conflict busy themselves with learning trade crafts and constructing an ever-expanding marvel of a settlement.

Dust Shores Coast.png


This article has no secrets.

Comments

Author's Notes

Cascartugan names follow no real pattern and change frequently. They should be short, sweet, and simple. Each one should have a certain amount of personality put into it as it is one personally selected by the Turtlefolk using it.


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22 May, 2020 11:41

Love the species!   I am curious ... as islanders and seafarers ... how much as that background been an impact on aspects of their culture. The use of song and music was an ancient 'timer' for all sorts of things. What is their music like? Is it influenced on the patterns and flow of the ocean currents?

24 May, 2020 08:34

Greetings Realmhopper,

The Cascartugans are unlike any other sailing culture due to the nature of their vessels. Through Aquan, the primordial language of water, Cascartugans sing to their colossal kin and steer the great living vessels through the waves. Turtlefolk crews often feature teams of swimmers trailed alongside the ship who relay orders from those on deck to their ancient brethren coursing through the water. These Turtlefolk sing a haunting song that mirrors the state of the ocean around them and its perceived danger. While on dry land, due to their native tongue's inability to be spoken above water, Cascartugans use drums in place of their voices. There is an entire subtle language of taps and tempos relating to their ocean song used by many of their kind to communicate simple ideas and emotions. Therefore nearly every instance of Cascartugan music features a wide variety of percussion instruments while being devoid of most vocals. The chorus of a Cascartugan drum circle emulates the riotous crashing of waves, the ebb of the tides, and is the purest expression of the ocean's cacophony of beauty.

Warm Regards,

Elias Dods

--First Chronicler & Professor of Divination Studies

Coauthor of Ravare.
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