Kapahuk Building / Landmark in Shireon | World Anvil


A Kapahuk is a traditional Inmali dwelling built to be easy to set up and pack down to make temporary camps. It is a round tent-like structure made from wooden supports and leather sheets stitched together to form the walls and roof. One Kapahuk is large enough to comfortably fit three or four grown Inmali as a living space, or about 12 individuals as a place to sleep in a pinch.

The whole point with the Kapahuk is to be a home that can easily be transported when the tribe moves on to their next place. Due to the wooden supports a packed Kapahuk is still large, reaching between two to three meters in length. It is not a practical shelter when travelling by foot, but with a whole tribe with some Beardoxen to carry the long bundles it's one of the best choices of shelter to bring.

The Structure

A Kapahuk is a simple construction, made out of twelve to eighteen straight pieces of wood, about four or five meters in length, leaning together at the top. Three of these should have a branch at the top to hook together as the main support and are put up first, evenly distributed around the center. If no branched wooden pieces can be found these three can be tied together instead. The other supports save one or two are distributed around the main supports, simply leaning on the structure. On the side pointing away from the wind two of the supports are put slightly further apart. This is where the entrance is placed.

The leftover supports are used to help positioning the leather walls around the supports. These supports are put on the outside of the structure on top of the leather.

Kapahuk interior by Milladamen


The interior of a Kapahuk is started by putting down two thick branches, long enough to reach from the entrance to the fire pit. These mark the entrance of the Kapahuk. The rest of the floor around the fire pit is covered by soft material like moss and soft leafy bushes, which is then covered with a layer of Beardox skins for extra warmth.

It is not uncommon that there is a flat piece of wood or stone on the floor in the back of the Kapahuk. This is used for preparing food and other tasks that require a flatter and harder surface than Beardox skin covered moss.

A Fire Inside a Tent

Lighting a fire inside a tent is usually seen as a bad idea. Fires make smoke which will quickly fill the tent, suffocating everyone inside. Yet this never seems to happen in most Inmali Kapahuks.

The reason why the Inmali seems to avoid filling their living space with smoke lies in the setup process of the Kapahuk. There's a hole in the top for the smoke to disappear, which is usually covered halfway to block the wind, rain and snow from entering the Kapahuk. In addition, when setting up the fireplace the Inmali make two small canals in the ground to make air circulation. The air comes in through the canals and carries the smoke out of the hole at the top.

The canals are either dug down into the ground or made with some branches as walls. Sometimes the canals are covered with something used as a roof to prevent the Kapahuk's bedding to block the airflow. If the canals give the fire too much airflow, one or both of them are blocked either at the fire pit or by the outer walls of the Kapahuk.

The fire pit itself is marked by a circle of stones, and is the heart of the living space. It is important for both cooking and warmth, both which are important to survival in the cold, harsh climate of Inmalenor.


A Matter of Pride

Every Inmali that owns a Kapahuk takes good care of it. It's seen as a sign of good character if their tent is kept in good shape. Small holes in the outer layer should be patched as soon as they're noticed, and the leather should be treated with fat once in a while to keep it from drying.

Wood on the Tundra

The vast tundra landscape of Inmalenor is mostly devoid of trees. This makes it hard to find good materials for making supports for a Kapahuk. However, on the western edge of Inmaleor the tundra meets the vast forest of Kael Thalori. Here there are no lack of trees.

There are some tribes living in this area who have specialized in choosing suitable trees and preparing them. They drag these as far east as they can get in half a year, bartering them to other tribes along their way, then turning back to get more when they've run out or traveled for half a year.

If they only have a few supports left when they turn back, these traders might leave some supports on random places on their way back as a gift to someone who might break one of their own. It's considered very rude, almost a taboo to pick up one of these discarded supports if you don't need one, and usually this is enough to prevent most opportunists from gaining a free support they could do without.

Cover image: by Noel_Bauza


Please Login in order to comment!
10 Jul, 2019 05:35

Day 10! Give it up for day 10! It's time for your newest bit of feedback from me, the feedback wizard!   Love the Kapahuk so much! When we think of buildings, we immediately think of permanent structures like stone and brick houses or wooden cabins. But of course the Inmali would have more portable homes! It's also very practical, with there being enough room for a large family in there if needed.   I also love that you include a small section on Kapahuk care. It's a dual purpose; keeping the structure patched up could become a matter of survival if you get caught in a storm, and it's good to keep up appearance to your fellow Inmali. It also fleshes out the culture of the Inmali, which is an added bonus.   I have a question about the building materials. Due to them living in a tundra, how would the Inmali have access to wood for the "poles" of the structure? Would it be through trade or cutting down the occasional tree on the tundra?   Alright, I wish you a good night/day/morning/afternoon/whichever, and I'll catch you tomorrow. :D

21 Jul, 2019 19:01

Thank you so much for all the comments! They really make my day every time, and are super helpful now that I try to polish and edit all my rushed WASC articles! <3

The article is almost completely rewritten now, and after having a really long think about where they get their wood from, I think I've come up with something - a kind of wood caravan system going from the woods in the west to the tribes on the tundra. I wouldn't even have remembered that there are no trees on the tundras if you hadn't asked about it, so thank you!