Tao Ethnicity in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil


The chaotic sailors who live in the unfathomably large Gangtao Migrant Fleet


  The unique and sprawling people of the massive Gāngtao Migrant Fleet and countless smaller splinter fleets across the oceans of Zheng-Kitar, the titanic fleet Migrant Fleet is made up of so many ships that, when all four navies that make it up are assembled in one place, all the room on the horizon would not be enough for hold them. The Tao are a people most chaotic and adaptable that live in and atop the myriad ships of the Migrant Fleet and beyond, from the massive and overdesigned and overbuilt Lifeships of the Fleet to the gigantic warships and even the flagship of the Migrant Fleet, the legendary Numiastran Dreadnought Bushūbunáo, originally named "Tyrant's Iron" before it's legendary maiden voyage that saw it sunk to the watery depths, said to be nearly a half mile long - a city on the water hoisted back from the depths by Gangtao Salvage Crews to sail again.   As citizens of the only mobile nation in the world and all the other habitual sailors that travels the oceans, the Tao reflect the oceans which they call home - they hold the ideals of freedom, liberty, and profit close to their chests, and hold an almost fanatical love for their nation, fleet, or ship in their hearts, as it is one of the only places in the world where one's race, ethnicity, past, present, or future fall away - "A man's truth he finds beneath the mast", as the saying goes in the Fleet. Loyalty to one's captain and brotherhood with one's crew are central, and it is a place where nothing restricts its citizens - to board or leave at any port of call is the greatest right of any Tao, and one which they hold tightly to their chests. They are the souls who treasure their freedoms, the salty sea air, the joys of the open sea, and a life beneath the mast and of constant stimulation and new experiences - there is no better place to see the world, from its highest heights to its watery depths, than in the crew of the Migrant Fleet or one of the countless other vessels sailing atop the water.  


  The Tao are diverse and many - but as sailors who sail the seas both above and below, their appearances are often weathered and tan, their skin leaning towards dark and tan. The attire they prefer is loose and free-flowing with a focus on ease of movement rather than protection - often a simple vest for both men and women is the garment of choice, as 'shame' is a rare concept to be found in the Migrant Fleet. Enough to cover what's important, and little else - they enjoy garments that let the salty sea air to hit their skin, though hats or bandannas are often standard issue for Taoans - without some means of keeping the sun from baking them alive, they learn very quickly how painful the sun can be. They are sailors to the core, dark skinned and lightly dressed, with a focus on keeping the sun off of their bodies while letting air flow free and their bodies move without restraint.  


  The history of the Migrant Fleet and of the Tao is one as old as any other - but simpler than any would believe. Unlike the Narixian or Khadagarian people, whose history was begun by great folk heroes, the origins of the Taoan people are as simple and unique as they themselves. Long ago, during the Age of Conquest, things began when merchants who sailed the Oseishin and Liuwang Oceans began to make simple alliances and banded together, joining their individual ships to form small sailing fleets - in greater numbers came greater protection, and more people meant more helpers, and more workers to contribute to the cause. They vowed to sail together, under a common flag, to all their ports of call - making a long circuit across the continent that would take them far and wide - and keep them safe all the while. Far safer to go to such remote places together, than alone, after all.   In time, as these alliances grew and merchants added their own ragtag and varied ships to this growing independent merchant fleet, there came a need for dedicated protection as profits skyrocketed and morale soared - the simple ragtag defenses of the merchants clustered together could no longer defend the growing fleet against those who would seek to capture or raid them. So came dedicated sailors, ex-navymen, and warriors of the water who came to the fleet's defense, joining their alliances and throwing their lot in with the merchants in exchange for a cut of all profit gained from their journies and in the ports of call the merchants stopped at. And even further, as the fleet continued to grow, thousands drawn by the week to rumors of a newly born "Superfleet" of free spirits where any could join or leave at their pleasure, there came a need for a command structure to organize all those in the growing "Superfleet" and give them unified purpose and direction - no more would the communal meetings and decisions be sufficient to govern the ever-growing Superfleet. So came the admirals and fleet commanders - men and women who once served in the naval armadas of other countries of the era, retired or abandoning their service to join the migrant fleet as leaders to give direction to the chaotic fleet.   And in time, as the "Superfleet"'s reputation spread far and wide, it gained the Moniker "Migrant Fleet", taking the Gāngtao name - meaning "To die free" in the language of the Seogharan people, as their official name. Thus was the Gāngtao Migrant Fleet born from the collective desire of men and women across Zheng-Kitar to live a life of profit, collective benefit, and freedom - and in time, so large did the fleet grow that it became too unwieldy for one High Admiral alone - and in a historic decision, it was decided that the fleet would be split into north and south - two collective halves of the same united whole. These halves would split the circuit the central fleet had taken since its inception, each meeting to swap people, stories, and info at set intervals...and long after, those fleets would in turn grow so large they would split again, forming the four fleets of North, South, East, and West as they are known today - a country so large that the act of bringing its disparate parts together would be unthinkable.  


  To Taoans, their culture revolves around the ideals of "Profit, Hard Work, and Community" - all else falls by the wayside. They care nothing about one's past, and often hold taboos against digging too much into the pasts of others among them - many swear themselves to the Taoan creed after trouble in their lives dictates they flee and start anew, and to Taoans, they protect a place where any may come, drawn by the lure of profit and hard work and freedom, to the Migrant Fleet - and have a place to call theirs. Taoans are a free-spirited people who greatly treasure their own freedoms and individuality - they are excessively individualistic, sometimes to a fault, and often do not do well in hardened and codified governmental systems. They put their stock in leaders they can trust, who have proven firsthand their qualifications and skill - they follow role models, not dictators - and are highly protective of their right to democratically elect their captains and admirals - nations where the people have no say in its rule are foreign and strange to them, as are ones where the government is distrusted or corrupt, since their Captains and Admirals are skilled, trusted to a fault, and are the chief arm of the people they lead - the head that gives direction to chaos, and keeps them safe. "Why not just throw them out then?" is a common Tao question when faced with corrupt or hated governments - a question that often meets with sighs and claims of Naivete.   They instead tend to prefer the loose, "help thy neighbor and contribute to the communal good" nature of their own culture - so long as one helps out and pulls their weight, a Tao will often have no qualms with them - their business is their own, as is their past. Loudness is second nature to them - when out on the water, it is common to Taoan culture to yell and shout to get one's voice heard above the roar of the waves and all on the deck nearby, so they tend to be very noticable when traveling elsewhere - just look for the loudest, rowdiest one in the room.   Taoans are vehement believers in the notion of the phrase "A man cannot run forever; Soon he shall find a way of life he will seek to protect, and fight for it" - what is important to the Tao is choice. They choose to be here, they choose to defend those at their sides, not because any government or leader tells them to - they love their people and work alongside them to protect the freedoms they have forged with their own hands. They have a culture of spontaneity and ingenuity, having relationships, inventions, and hobbies that they take up on whims - but once they pick up something, they often see it through to the end with strong work ethics and rigorous dedication to a given task or job. They believe in constantly following one's heart, and rarely fault one for doing so - even if that path brings them into contact only momentarily, they will rarely chastise one for following their true desires, and are used to people coming and going often - few things are permanent to them, and they have no qualms about it.   Taoan culture is deeply multicultural, as well - it is a mishmash of countless scraps of culture from countless Ethnic Groups across Zheng-Kitar, and to this end Taoans often cherish and treasure new experiences and finding new things, people and places - exploration or the simple act of finding or doing new things is something their culture emphasizes and treasures. Because of this, few things about other cultures will put them off or even shock them - the more common reaction is awe, followed by wonder and joy. They delight in seeing new things, even at detriment to themselves, and love celebrations and parties - no culture is as dedicated to the art of partying or celebrating as the Tao, and the festivals and celebrations they hold are things of legend - matched only by their rigorous work ethic. Taon culture sees scars, bruises, or blemishes or other skin-borne proof of one's life or endeavors as sacred things, and proof of one's coolness and prowess - even a scar gained from a horrible and humiliating loss is worthwhile and sacred, so long as there is a good story to tell afterwards, and it looks cool. Tao are often not the type to hold grudges, either - unless one committs a deeply personal act they cannot forgive, or an especially heinous crime, they are likely to forgive and forget to a certain extent. "No shittin' the small anchors", as the Taoan saying goes - meaning it's best if one's doesn't worry their heads over small or trivial matters.
Naming Conventions
Tao names tend to be soft and melodic, following the Hawaiian naming conventions - at least, native Taoan names. Due to the nature of the migrant fleet, most any naming convention can be found here, but over the centuries since its formation the Tao have slowly formed their own naming scheme for those born natively on the fleets - a mostly foreign concept to older Taoans who migrated onto the fleet at some point and carried their own naming conventions with them from their homeland, slowly meshing them all together until one of their own formed.
Male Names
Hi'ilawe, Amosa, Keoni, Lokelani, Ka'ana'ana, Iasepa
Female Names
Ke'alohi, Momilani, Pele, Makanui, Ululani, Ahuahu
Kekumu, Alaula, Iolana, Makaha, Paikuli, Nawahine
Encompassed species
Related Organizations


  "Cradle take you/them!" - "Gods damn you!" Equivalent.   "Anchor Asad!" - "Shit!" or "Fuck!" Equivalent.  


  "Spinnable" - A general compliment used quite a bit by Taoans for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, it can refer to someone who is physically attractive, someone who has a great sense of direction, someone who talks alot(in a good way), a good friend, and more. Many uses depend on context. Uses are often created all across the migrant fleet, and many enjoy finding new meanings in their travels. The Migrant fleet's signature evolving compliment - you're sure to compliment someone when you say it, just maybe not how you thought.   "Oya!" - A word given hundreds of different meanings, but which colloquially is just a general cheer or exclamation of joy. A general cheer of affirmation that can mean lots of different things from "Let's Hunt!", "Fuck yeah!", "Lookin' Classy!" or anything in between.   "Rummer" - A compliment given to hardcore party animals or people who just know how to have a great time. A lovable drunk, or partier.   "Wolfeyed" - A compliment given to those who are excessively cunning, smart, or ingenious. A brilliant mind.   "Blueblood" - A real, genuine, high compliment to Taoans that means a true friend or truly good person. A Blueblood is someone who holds the very essence of the migrant fleet at heart - freedom, comraderie, hard work, and profit. Someone anyone can trust to do the proper migrant fleet thing or way. Not given lightly.  


  "Lubber" - An insult used for those who are incredible awkward or downright incapable on the highseas; an unseamanlike person.   "Fiddlehelm" - An insult used to describe those who let their libido do all the thinking for them. Literally, "one whose brain is their genitals".   "Decker" - A Taoan insult used to insinuate someone is incredibly indecisive, cannot make up their mind, or changes opinions or lifestyles frequently.   "Shitskimmer" - A Taoan insult used to describe an idiot, an asshole, or even a terrible sailor. A very commonly used and flexible insult - also commonly used to refer to those full of hot air. Can also be a term of endearment to one's friends.   "Anchorboy/Anchorgirl" - An insult used to call someone a huge pushover, wimp, spineless, etc.   "Hoseneck" - Taoan insult used to describe those standing around doing nothing, or being useless. Has colloquially come to derogatorily refer to those who serve under a female captain or commander in some parts of the Migrant Fleet. To those who do, some wear it as a badge of pride.  

Turns of Phrase:

  "Three sheets to the wind" - Expression conveying someone is incredibly inebriated.   "No shittin' the small anchors" - Expression meaning "Don't sweat the small stuff".   "Mourn ye not and away ye now; Ye/He/She be a Taoan now!" - A Taoan saying said to all who join the fleet and their ranks - signifying that one's history or past doesn't matter now, only their status as one of them. Also used as a warning when Taoans dig too much into their kin's pasts.   "Send you to meet the lady" - Expression originally used to convey one was going to throw someone overboard or sometimes even strap them to hull as torture. Has colloquially come to mean beating the shit out of someone.   "Shake off that steel circlet" - Taoan turn of phrase used as encouragement to be free and follow one's desires, and shake off the "steel circlet" of lawfulness and order.   "Facedeep into a wet hug" - Another Taoan expression conveying someone is incredibly inebriated. More specifically can refer to someone being either dangerously inebriated or in a bad situation while inebriated.   "Upchuck" - A term used as a colloquial unit of time to Taoans. The exact length of an upchuck can vary from fleet to fleet, but hovers around half an hour to no less than 10 minutes. Thought to come about by an old Taoan joke that they could probably tell time by the incredibly timely vomiting of the landgoers sailing with them.   "Inside half an upchuck" - Taoan turn of phrase meaning something is incredibly quick or fast. The more upchucks, the longer it will take.   "Smokin' with the Boatman" - Taoan phrase referring to the dead, or death in general. If someone says they'll be 'smokin with the boatman' come morning, they're planning on dying that next day.   "Pay the cradle tax" - A phrase literally referring to all the tribute or business a ship must offer up or handle to sail through a given area without reproach from its owners. Colloquially has come to refer to settling one's dues.   "Pissed himself down an iceberg" - A phrase mostly local to the Northern and Southern Armadas of the Migrant Fleet. Phrase that means someone dug their own grave, or caused some massive trouble that is or will come back to bite them.   "Belly up and maiden-made" - A phrase mostly local to the Western and Eastern Armadas of the Migrant Fleet. Phrase that means something or someone is vulnerable, exposed, or weak.


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