Skull and Shackles
Languages: Common, Polyglot
Favored Regions: Mwangi Expanse, Rahadoum, Sargava, the Shackles, the Sodden Lands, Thuvia
Favored Religions: Desna, Gozreh, Nethys, Pharasma, various demigods
Female Names: Bekyar — Babashk, Kamshi, Shivkah, Sinkitah, Soki
Bonuwat and Mauxi — Butandra, Kalizama, Marisan, Shimshem, Simbala
Zenj — Me’amesa, Mpaandi, Ntisi, Shikaba, Xabala
Male Names: Bekyar — Harisko, Kamishah, Seckor, Suuktidi, Yekskya
Bonuwat and Mauxi — Banipani, Baolo, Mitabu, Pateba, Teruawa
Zenj — Bikmelu, Hadzi, !Kunat, Kpu’unde, Shokamb, Tabansi
Appearance: All four Mwangi ethnicities have dark skin and dark hair, though significant
variations between the four groups exist.
It is something of a misnomer to refer to the Mwangi as a homogenous people, for they are as diverse as the lands of deep Garund. At least four major groups exist — the Bekyar, the Bonuwat, the Mauxi, and the Zenj — and others may roam the unexplored vastness of the continent. Perhaps these others dwell in concealed and advanced civilizations carrying on the ways of their ancient forebears, or subsist in the jungle depths as tenacious hunter-gatherers — few can say for sure, as Garund keeps its secrets well. The forebears of the Mwangi are thought to have been a powerful and enigmatic civilization in central Garund, but little is known of this ancient and fallen empire. It is perhaps this ignorance of Mwangi history that has traditionally led historians, explorers, and other foreigners to view them as a single ethnicity.
The Mwangi are an adaptable people. Within a generation or two, Mwangi immigrants entering other societies integrate into the larger community, adopting its mores and customs, and either leaving their own behind, or hiding them behind closed doors. In their homelands, travel and contact between tribes are common, and most have adopted a trade language called Polyglot that combines words from different dialects and allows speakers to communicate with Mwangi from across the great tracts of the Mwangi Expanse.
The four major Mwangi ethnicities possess disparate appearances and cultures, and each ethnicity encompasses a number of tribes. The Bekyar, the least understood of the major Mwangi subgroups, hail primarily from the Kaava Lands and the surrounding regions. They are extremely tall and lanky, wearing elaborate hairstyles, and their ranks include a frighteningly impressive number of slavers. If they can’t take slaves from others, they are not above selling their own kin.
The water-loving Bonuwat are colorful and friendly, and are of average height with expressive mouths and generous smiles. They are among the farthest-ranging of the Mwangi, with trading networks along Garund’s eastern coast that predate many of the current kingdoms of Avistan. They favor colorful, loose pantaloons and vests, appropriate for fishing and sailing, and are the Mwangi most often seen by northerners, as they possess an extensive trading network along the Mwangi Coast and frequent the ports of Bloodcove and the Shackles.
The Mauxi seem to be only distantly related to the rest of the Mwangi, for their skin is ashen and their features more angular. They are withdrawn and aloof, having adopted the ways of the northern Garundi among whom they dwell. Most speak Osiriani, though many also speak Polyglot among themselves as a private cant. Though northern nations like Thuvia are primarily
Garundi, many Mauxi have become part of the upper classes there, and seek to draw a sharp distinction between themselves and other Mwangi.
The Zenj are the most common of the Mwangi peoples, with an abundance of tribes scattered across the interior of the Mwangi Expanse. They are slightly shorter on average than most humans, with slender, muscular frames and wiry black hair. Most dwell in small villages and make their living from the land as cattle herders, hunters of the savanna or jungle, or fishermen on the rivers, though an increasing number live in cities that dot Sargava and the Mwangi Expanse. Many neighboring tribes are linked through trade and intermarriage — leaders in particular are encouraged to marry members of other tribes to strengthen political alliances. Zenj who move to another locale, whether fleeing war, disaster, or famine or out of simple curiosity, tend to carry their tribal structure with them.
Because of the manner in which other cultures tend to lump their distinct ethnicities together, the Mwangi peoples are frequently misunderstood, and “civilized” adventurers from the north are often fond of regaling audiences with tales of Mwangi slavery, cannibalism, and genocide. While all of these things can be found among the Mwangi — particularly among the Bekyar — to paint all the cultures of the far south with the same brush is a gross misrepresentation.