The Forging Tradition / Ritual in The Calinan Sea | World Anvil

The Forging

"It's absolutely insane. They take the prospect to the middle of nowhere, give them a sack, then wander off and tell them to figure it out. And they usually do it. Even the Kalriv rituals aren't that full-on."
-a Helikan ambassador to Solathi, on the Forging.
  The Forging is a coming of age ritual among the Dhar people of the Marai Desert. As youths approach adulthood, it is essential that they have a solid grasp of the survival skills needed to survive in the desert. To accomplish this, youths must demonstrate these skills before being granted full autonomy and being released from their family's custody.   They do this by tracking down their own band across the desert, using their knowledge to both survive alone in the desert and to find the band.


As a youth approaches the age of adulthood, the senior members of their family and band will select a location to stop, as per their usual camping procedure. When camp is broken, the youth is taken aside and is informed that the time of their Forging has come. They are given a brief period to inform the band of any kind of reason (illness, for example) that the Forging should not happen. If none is found, the band will break camp, leaving the youth behind with instructions to find them. The youth must remain in one place for 48 hours, allowing the band a head start. Once the 48 hours have passed, they can begin moving, and must use their survival skills and a bare minimum of tools to not only survive, but to track down their band.   Youths may use any means available to them to find the band, and indeed are expected to make use of anything available to them. There is no way to be disqualified or to 'cheat'. Often a combination of survival techniques are used, including tracking, navigation, talking to other Dhar on the road, and recalling knowledge about their tribe's habits. The band are prohibited from using deception or to behave in any way other than the way they would usually behave while wandering the Marai, to ensure the authenticity of the scenario.   If the youth tracks down the band, they are congratulated by the band, and a feast is held at the next stopping point in their honour, where they are formally released from custody and initated as an autonomous member of the band.   A youth can fail the Forging by two methods; either by failing to find the band within a ten day period, or by getting themselves into mortal peril that requires a rescue.


Any youth approaching adulthood takes the Forging. There is no limit to how many times it may be taken if it is failed; it is essential that these skills be mastered, and learning by error is an intended part of the process. People who are clearly unfit to take the Forging, such as the disabled or infirm, do not have to take it. However, they must remain in the custody of the band as they are unable to fully take care of themselves.

Components and tools

Youths are given a bare minimum of tools to complete their Forging; usually only being given a tent, a trowel, a staff, a weapon and three days' supply of water. They are expected to forage and craft anything else that they may need.


Unknown to the youth, one of the more skilled rangers in the band is assigned as a shadow to the youth; they observe the youth from a distance, but will not intervene unless absolutely necessary.    In these situations, the ranger will intervene and rescue the youth, taking them back to the band. This in and of itself is a learning experience, as the youth will be able to observe how the ranger finds the band.
Primary Related Location
Related Ethnicities

Cover image: by World Anvil


Please Login in order to comment!
Aug 4, 2021 15:53

I like how the Dhar ensure that those being tested won't die because they fail and how they simply see a failed forging as a learning experience. However I do recommend that you rephrase the part about people with disabilities and the infirm. Quite a few disabled people would be capable of taking this test but the sentence implies that all disabled people would be considered "unfit".   Additionally I'm not sure what "they must remain in the custody of the band as they are unable to fully take care of themselves" means. Do the Dhar never let people with disabilities or the infirm never go places alone? Are they never allowed to leave the group? Or is it simply that the Dhar are especially careful to make sure these people aren't separated and have help when they need it?

Creator of the the Disputed Lands, a bronze age world of politics and clockwork magic.
Aug 5, 2021 05:36 by Liam J. Johnston

Very good point on the disabilities/infirm phrasing and one I should revisit now I'm off the clock so to speak. Basically the way the Dhar view it is either you're able to survive in the desert on your own, or you aren't. So someone who can't walk obviously isn't going to pass. But absolutely right that there are many with what we'd consider disabilities who would still complete it successfully.   I probably need to flesh it out more, but the Dhar would see it as a duty of care given the bands are pretty close-knit to make sure someone who can't survive alone in the desert doesn't wander off and get lost or die of exposure. So they could move about by themselves, but they'd be urged not to go far, so that they can be helped if required.