Kushtaka

Playable Sophont

Inspired by my love, Belle.

Vicious Primitives

The Kushtakas or the Otterfolk as the natives of Haven have come to call them, are a vicious lot. They are found only on Yupic Island and claim to have traveled across the Endless Ocean on its many hidden currents before settling on Haven. Well known for their hostility and xenophobia, the Kushtakas remain secluded on their island home and are willing to fight with tooth and claw to keep it that way. Few Kushtakas have ever ventured onto the mainland, and even fewer trust the land-dwellers that live upon it. Because of this, the Kushtakas remain stunted both culturally and technologically as one of Haven's most primitive sophonts.

Kushtaka History

Born to the frigid sea and claimed by its waves, the Kushtakas have swum the chaotic currents of the Endless Ocean since time immemorial. Long ago the mother and caretaker of the Kushtakas, Kushyip, came upon the doomed continent of Kushbasca where ice and snow sought to choke the life from the land slowly. Upon its frigid shores, the mother of the Yulpic Pantheon carved the Otterfolk's first Holt, and the fabled riverside city of Kushyinak was born. Her children, the Kushtaka, grew old and wise within her sheltering embrace until they ventured out in search of their own Holts. Yet like so many other sophonts, disaster would bring a twilight to the age of the Yulpic Pantheon and bring devastation to the continent as the earth shattered, the sea froze over, and the mightest of rivers became vast glaciers. Seeking to survive this arctic cataclysm, the Yulpic Pantheon fled across the Endless Ocean in search of warmer waters. Together Kushyip, Anguta, and Tceski ferried their peoples across the Endless Sea to what they believed would be the fertile lands of Haven. Sadly as they arrived only a few short years before The Fall, the Kushtakas did not find a lush world of abundance but found a land cursed with the Unfallen plague. This disaster was the tipping point for many Kushtaka, who now believe the mainlanders of Haven cannot be trusted to maintain the natural order and that they will stop at nothing to bring about the doom of the continent.
 
As one of the largest God-Beasts known to exist within Haven, Kushyip has been able to guarantee her people some semblance of safety on the rocky shores of the island of Yupic. Taking the physical form of a titanic river otter, she is said to lurk beneath the murky waters of the Blacksea, where she prevents the worst of its monsters from devouring her people. The Elders of the Kushtakas say that if you gaze deep into her eyes, you will see the secrets shrouded by the depths that only she can reach. As one of the few remaining deities tied to the sea that has yet to be devoured by Shadiym, the @Sire regularly attempt to establish relations with the xenophobic tribe with little success. While conflicts with the Shorewall Military and the City of Marble have served to further the divide between their people and the rest of Haven. Today, only a handful of Kushtakas choose to involve themselves in mainland affairs and politics as they seek to establish and then maintain some semblance of natural order over the continent's chaotic sophonts.

General Information

Lifespan
60 to 65 years old, reaching maturity at 10.
Average Height
Around 6 feet tall.
Average Weight
180 to 200 pounds.
Average Length
7 feet from tail to snout.
Related Ethnicities
Male Names Amak, Chinook, Miki, Nanook, Pakak, Atka, Kaskae, Kavik, Kayuh, Ulva, Tikaani, Tonrar, Pukak, Siku, Yaktag.
Female Names Arrluk, Nanuq, Kanut, Nukka, Miska, Nini, Sakari, Shila, Tanana, Aga, Eska, Kaisha, Kima, Suka.

Naming Schemes

All Kushtaka names are derived from their native tongue, Yulpic, whose high-pitched chattering is often difficult to understand and even more difficult to pronounce. This causes much confusion and many mispronunciations among other sophonts. Yet still, many Kushtaka refuse to change or alter their names in any way but may begrudgingly respond to the shortened nicknames imposed upon them.

Yulpic

Yulpic is the native tongue of the Kushtaka.

Description

Like many Beastfolk, the Kushtakas average around six feet tall and weigh slightly more than most humans. A sleek coat of thick, oily fur protects their skin by helping keep them dry and warm during long stints in the Blacksea's freezing waters. This dense fur comes in a variety of colors from browns and tans to the more common whites and grays. The same oily residue that prevents water from reaching their underfur and skin also gives them a distinct advantage when trying to slip away from danger. Their lower jaws make quick work of any dangers they cannot evade as they are strong enough to bite through bones, shells, and even weak metals. These powerful jaws possess a locking mechanism that makes it all but impossible to shake off a biting Kustaka; thus, they use their Lockjaw extensively in and out of combat as both a tool and a weapon.
 
Kushtakas often come across as gangly and plodding while traveling overland. However, they are still among the most graceful and expedient swimmers on the continent due to their elongated webbed feet and muscular tails. These long tails both act as a counterbalance to assist in their rapid movement through water, and as a rudimentary hand used to hold onto floating debris loosely. They are further aided by their massive lungs, so much so that they can easily reach great depths before requiring a return to the surface for air.

Aquatic Mammal

When creating a Kushtaka, remember that your people are not a land-dwelling species even though you may breathe air. Like the Merfolk, your people have claimed the ocean as your home and completely adapted to aquatic life. While your people may nest on a rocky islet inhospitable to most, they spend nearly their entire lives within the waters.

Society

The average Kushtaka spends their entire life either hunting prey or defending their island home. Kushtaka pups practice the ways of the spear and the siksi from a young age, as the weapons function well both in water and on land. The children of Kushyip believe it is their right to hunt and devour all creatures that are not their own, whether they be large or small. This has led to the rightful mistrust of the species by much of sophontic life on Haven. Though they know nothing of the art of working metal, the Kushtakas are clever and industrious tinkerers capable of crafting complex weapons and traps out of nearly anything. Their collective pride is in their unique siksi, a strange crossbow-like weapon that launches hollow bolts that swiftly travel through water. Due to how slow they are on land, the Kushtakas have traded extensively for any and all kinds of metal armor to better outfit their soldiers on land. Some Kushtakas have claimed they are strong enough swimmers to even wear their armor while swimming, yet the validity of this claim has yet to be proven. The few interactions Yupic Island has with the mainland are often delicate affairs that are only one wrong move away from open conflict. Many adventuring Kushtakas seek to improve their people's relations with the mainlanders as they endeavor to bring about Haven's natural order. Among the Beastfolk the Otterfolk are viewed as kindred spirits but their distance from Verdant has resulted in little exposure to the primal races of the continent.

Yupic Island

To the Kushtakas, nothing is above family, not even their own survival. They believe they all originated from a single mother, Kushyip, and makeup one enormous family. They live in communal homes upon Yupic Island, where several generations will commonly live under the same roof. This is the only Otterfolk settlement on Haven due to their diminutive population and distrust of the mainland.

Yupic Island.png


Articles under Kushtaka



Cover image: by Damion Otter
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Comments

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9 Dec, 2018 14:11

I really like them! The idea with the hollow bolts was unexpected this far into the article, but very good! Explains how they are such good water hunters. Do they also wear their armor while swimming? I'd imagine it would drag them down, or does it?
One little thing: "nearly most of their lives" is a bit redundant. '^^

10 Dec, 2018 05:06

As a big fan of otters, I like this. I like this tremendously. Particularly the thought that went into the prioritzation of family and the siksi. That said I have many overlapping questions:   1) Food: Specifically, you mentioned they eat any food that is not their own. The obvious question being, are there any known incidents, myths, or particular Kushtaka who engaged in cannibalism? Are they prone to keeping other, even sentient, species around as livestock and slaves?   2) Violence: Given their aquatic and primitive nature, do they remain isolated? Do they engage in piracy, raiding, or attacking/ capturing people who venture too closely to their lands? Is slavery a part of their culture, be it regularly or when the opportunity strikes?   3) Armor: given that metal is heavy and they prize metal armor highly, do they have a specific term for migration and the moving of such a heavy sinkable material? Say via raft or iceflow or their term for it. If the Kushtaka to range away from their home for raids or the like, do they bury caches of armament at the end of 'raiding season' only to return for them at their convenience/ next season?

10 Dec, 2018 05:15

1.) As my world is currently for players, I will likely be making a few pages of lore on them private until they find out. I will add you to the "GM Knowledge" subscriber group that will let you view them once I have written them. Cannibalism is going to be massively taboo, even more so than normal. Being that they regard everyone as family, it is a pretty rare occurrence.   I think I will have them be clam farmers. Otters holding shells are so damn cute.   2.) They are isolated currently by choice and by their environment. I need to add more on it, but the quote at the top refers to these "undead whales" that hunt around their island. This makes leaving the island very risky.  

Well known for their hostility and xenophobia, the Kushtaka remain secluded on their island home and are willing to fight with tooth and claw to keep it that way.
This was also meant to imply their strong dislike in neighbors or visitors.   3.) You have given me wonderful ideas from this question! I am going to make them have "stashes", similar to other rodents like squirrels, that they hide underwater. They protect the metals from rusting by using oils and fats.   4.) (You didn't ask 4, but whatever) You have also inspired me to make them to have been raiders in their past. That is how they originally survived so far from home, by taking from others by force. Sadly, these days they can no longer risk raiding.

Author of Ravare.
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