Painted Tribes Ethnicity in Valley of Man | World Anvil
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Painted Tribes

by hughpierre


Shared customary codes and values

Court Alliance

Soonous has been a generous benefactor to the tribes for as long as they can remember. A long time ago, the beaches were a last haven as displaced of plague refugees in the floodlands sought after sanctuary. The corn queens provided food and shelter for them but stipulated that they must not cross into the forested or hilly areas. This was a policy visibly enforced by slingers and bowmen but those on the shores, who all came from different depleted tribes and clans, accepted these conditions and their decedents would return devotion to the queenship as well as any courtier person without the citizenship.  

War Bands

When the mishapped scourges finally gave relief; the mess of humanity sorted themselves generally into five permanent communities:
  • Two on the extreme banks of the pitch lake: Lesage and Acadeesi
  • One under the Meiz cliffs: Muttli
  • One spread over the Siparia slopes: Central Siparia
  • One atop the outcrops: Southern Siparia
  None were ever necessarily tight-knit but they did, overtime, self-identify as a single people. And with comradery built through the beach communes, groups of men give oaths of fealty either to the cult or highwatch to take on military roles specifically.

Average technological level

Dye Extraction

The tattooed peoples live in a region best known for containing many rich sources of fabulous dyes; be it plants, animals, the soil, the sand, even the rocks. As a result, they developed a great many techniques for regional collection and storage.

Common Dress code

Due in-part to the 'painting' and 'tattooing' traditions, there is great incentive to show off as much skin as possible. Therefore, if a person is confident enough in their art, it could be show of social dominance/importance to carry on topless or totally nude; even though they possess the means of dyeing cloths any design they wish.

Art & Architecture


Using 5 basic painted shapes: solids, spots, rings, strips and bends as dictated by past painted diseases; a myriad of important events, personal ideals and forgotten cultural heritages can find expression on the layers of ones skin.  


Most permanent homes are made of bundled sticks and dried mud in the areas between the coloured sands and the forests. Huts made of flexible poles and stretched hides or canvas are popularly adopted by young adults to live their unmarried lives directly on the sand. Many tend to conjugate together into temporary communes where individuals freely engage in sex, drugs and other explorations until they are married.

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

Twin Alien Girls by Mauricio Ruiz

Patterned Painting

Some Painted Diseases are more well known than others, and have introduced certain standards that tattoos are meant to mimick.
Full solid colours may come from normal human tones or blotches from conditions like the Blue Devil or be tattooed over to cover symptoms of tiny unsightly rashes.
Striped markings are thought to alter others perception of those so marked. Conditions that add striped colourings to the body seem to target specific parts of the body.   For instance, whisperer's tell effected the head and neck, striped fever effected the torso and wivers effected the thighs.
There are many choices for spotting the skin. Nanáua, cocoliztli, pardus and misti hawar are a few, but making spots pleasing is considered challenging given that there are so many of them and can be unsightly.
Minor symptoms of peepers, argpte and black eye marred the victim's skin with complete or imperfect circles about the body.
These generally describe kidney shape lesions that rise to discoloured lumps on the meatier parts of the body.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

Face Marking

After birth, a travelling priest would mark the babe's face with a framing device over the forehead and cheeks to protect them in their most formative years.

Coming of Age Rites


Tattooing is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments into the layers of the skin to change the colour or incorporate meaningful patterns. Tattoos are used in certain ceremonies and to brand personal events onto their skin. It is also used, as one might suspect, to combine the made man and natural colours into a aesthetically pleasing canvas.

Funerary and Memorial customs

The tribes have three funerary practices for the different classes:

To The Sea

Guardians and other ratty priests, prefer to be wrapped in fine textiles before being weighted down and thrown into the sea. Should they die during the dry season, however, then their bodies are burned on the beach.

To The Sand

Children and adults who died prematurely are stripped of their garments and buried in a deep, pre-dug, multi-communal grave pit with an arm's layer of sand on top.

To The Soil

The elderly are wrapped in textiles of an earthen stain and buried in a plot of land that which the nearby tar is likely naturally seep into and preserve.

Common Taboos


Dedication to ones obligations is taught at an early age in tribal culture. It is one of the reasons they are so entrusted by the courtiers to be recruited on mass into Highwatch.  


To be splattered is in reference to untattooed or, more precisely, those whose naturally painted skin are splotched and messy. Such individuals may be considered unmotivated or timid since they could have used tattooing techniques to 'clean' themselves, but clearly chose not to.

Common Myths and Legends

Painted Diseases

These are a category of disease that leave coloured markings on the victims, most of which are transferable to the later descendants of the infected. Curiously, these people who are painted blue, yellow, white or otherwise patterned are considered exotic by some. Though most of these illnesses kill, those who survived are considered either as a decorative slave commodity or desirable breeding stock.


Beauty Ideals

Painted Skin

Many years ago and since, a series of plagues washed over the Floodlands that altered the skin of their victims into various colours. These mutations were inheritable, and in time a selective culture based around skin tones developed.  


Not all painted skins are beautiful. Tattoos were around before the plagues but the ideas for them shifted to become tools for adjusting splotches and defining pattern better.  


There are a great many shades in the eyes which marks their decent from the Cloud Clans.  

Gender Ideals


Martial Skills
Tests of racing, marksmanship, simulated combat and to see if one could stay awake for a long period were held yearly; with the addition of swimming being tested during the flood season.  


Domestic Skills
Working the land; whether it is farming, collecting wood or mining for dyes is considered women's work. For this reason, inheritance laws favour women during parental death and divorce.  

Courtship Ideals


For the painted tribes, painting is the practice of choosing a mate based on their colourful skin pattern. The offspring of these unions are 'painted' with intrcate skin tones and patterns deemed desirable by the culture.  

Matching Constellations

A marriage tradition where the forearm of a couple is branded with an ink-mix of false water and dyes in a unique pattern of silver stars that one person's constellation is in the inverse of the other.

Relationship Ideals

Early Marriage

Pairs who knew each other in their youth or met within the beach communes might not wait too long to seek out a beach priest and marry .

Late Marriage

Some prefer to continue on the celebratory lifestyle of a bachelor by joining a beach cult which mandates less time in the communes and sleeping under the open sky.   If this becomes too tiring then they can leave; but would be deemed too old for the communes and the permanent communities near the tar pits would only accept them if they brought back a spouse.

Major organizations

Painted House

A committee of painted tribe members voted to represent the interest of the tribes and tighten the connections within the Corn Court.  

Couch Cult

A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward one of the five appointed guardians who conduct many ceremonies and rites on the open-air beach.

Cloud Clans
Ethnicity | Mar 3, 2024
Parent ethnicities
Encompassed species
Related Items
Related Myths
Languages spoken
Related Locations

STR (Choose the lowest roll as modifier)
Armour 2d6
HP 3d6+6 ([min+max]/2)
Speed 2d10+10 ft

Cover image: Skull Aztec by Luis Mujsant


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