Jalan: Mysteries of the Haunted World
The most diverse and expansive of the four major human supercultures are the Archipelagans, those peoples of, or descended from, the myriad tribes, clans, and cultures that wander between the many islands of the Sea of Thorns. Due to the many unique and often hazardous biomes of these islands, the Archipelagans have developed a knack for trading, travel, invention, and exploration. When they first reached the mainland, their settlements spread and advanced rapidly, and to this day are only held in check by the martial prowess of their neighbors and the deadly creatures they are still discovering.
Most island communities consist of sturdy, permanent public structures and more disposable, temporary private structures only built to last until the next migration. Boats, wagons, and other modes of travel and transport are lovingly-crafted, and useful beasts of burden or companionship are well cared-for. Storage is considered its own art form, and containers are both highly decorated and well-designed to be durable and to preserve material without contamination. Metal is seen as both a sign of prosperity and decadence, and is usually only used in tools and weapons, except by nobles, rich merchants, and those seeking marriage; it symbolizes one’s need to move on to a new stage in life.
Like island communities, mainland communities focus their architectural work on lasting public structures, but private structures also use more permanent construction. However, private land ownership is generally restricted to an elite few, and a great number rent land or housing from wealthy landlords. Archipelagan economies focus heavily on trade, even on the mainland, and tend towards monoculture within individual communities, relying on other communities for variety in produce and goods.
Archipelagan cultures are formed around punctuated cycles, leading to an expertise in time-keeping, calendars, and reading signs of change, as well as a culture-wide delight in holidays, anniversaries, histories, and predictions. In general, they favor warmer, sunnier weather, and tend to have tan to brown skin, curly brown or black hair, and brown eyes. However, many island populations are isolated for long enough periods that they develop unusual features, which are eventually passed onto the larger whole, resulting in many distinct physical traits that can appear far from their origin.
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