Banna

The Banna (AKA: fae, breed, blest) are the remnants, in the Tell, of the original colonists from the Plasm. While the vast majority of colonists eventually became humans, a number somehow managed to maintain their ability to cross the Caesura and retained their understanding of the Coil. As humanity developed, these colonists followed alongside, gently evolving and becoming the Banna.

Like Noom, the Banna use magic and have various powers, and usually abnatural appearances as well. Like the Shoal, the Banna are not limited to any specific numina, and their appearance is not as closely tied to the numina they possess. This Tribe includes dwarves, trolls, giants, elves, wights, and all the other sorts of mythical creatures mentioned in human mythology. They do not clearly reflect a particular aspect of reality as their numina. What is the numen of an elf? What about the Nunnehi? Or a gnome, a pixie, or a kappa? You have no way to discover their numina simply by looking at them, as you can with most other Noom.

Compare trolls and Pex with flower numina. It’s easier to see how the numen of a Pex ties to their appearance, but it’s not clear at all what the numen of a troll might be. A numen of Trollness is the only immediately obvious answer, and numina (and genetics) just aren’t that simple. Instead, Banna tend to have numina like the Shoal, representing totems and inner strengths, as opposed to outer appearances.

Their appearance has been affected, however, by the Lex of the developing cultures in which they found themselves, and they are now the fairies and spirits of folklore. In Ireland, there are banshees, selkies, and wizened cluricauns. Greece has the satyrs and sirens, among others, while China has numerous dragons and phoenixes. Dwarves, elves, werewolves, mermaids - all of these are usually Banna.

Confusing the issue for the Banna even more is the fact that they have been historically prone to transformation by Lex, becoming more so as time passes. Still, caught in popular imagination, their metaphysical existence can be profoundly changed, resulting in a number of ostensibly Banna individuals actually being Quem, with numina reflecting what they used to be: a water-numen dwarf Banna becomes dwarf-numen Quem, for example.

Most Noom have only the House as their tightest group, but the Banna have Septs as well. A sept is a family line, a broad bloodline of Noom who have adapted to particular lifestyles, thanks to the constant effect of Lex and the inevitable crossing of branches within family trees. Born into a particular sept, a Banna inherits an appearance, the limitations and advantages, the familial feits and seemings, and all of the things that allow the Banna to survive in the Tell.

This constant reminder of what they were, and the torture of being separated from it, has resulted in a large number of Banna joining the Marahh. Shoal attitudes towards them haven’t helped – like other minority cultures, they’ve been oppressed, vilified, and subjected to varieties of dream-based objectification, with worse effects than any Shoal has undergone. Such ideas actually rewrite their very identities – literally. That they join the Marahh is thus understandable, though ironic: Banna are the closest to Shoal of all the Noom in the Coil, spatially, physically, and metaphysically.

Even with this background, not all Banna are Marahh. Many love the Tell and the comforts and experiences provided them. In most of the world, living conditions are not so bad; the Dominion is more civilized, and there are greater opportunities available to them.

Because their appearance, and their gifts, aren’t tied to their numina, the Banna Houses are divided socially, by what the Banna do and how powerful they are (in magic as well as in social standing). With all this diversity, it should be no surprise that the Rades they follow are just as diverse. Like the Shoal, their attitudes vary considerably, but their appearance can provide some guidelines in determining politics. The less human they look, the more likely they are to be Marahh, since they’ve been prevented from participating in much of Shoal culture, and treated with fear and loathing. Still, nothing is certain, and you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Most Banna are, for the greater part, human in appearance. Minor details only serve to mark them as different from any given Shoal walking down the street. Pointed ears, skin with a slight tinge of a different color to it, a slightly more graceful or bulky turn of limb, small enough to fit in a tea-cup or larger than most buildings: these are common distinctions. Even with these significations, it is not always immediately apparent who is Noom and who is Shoal, reminding us that Banna and Shoal are not as different at the Marahh would prefer to consider.

Numina: anything
Common Rade: anything
Appearance: anything

Jen

AKA housebound, the Good Folk

House Jen contains the Banna tied to particular places. Some have particular natural features that they live in, and from which they draw life – dryads in their trees and nereids in their lakes are but two examples. Other Jen survive in man-made places – suburban homes, business parks, all-night laundromats and convenience stores, local pools. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to the Jen, cities are just as populated as the rural areas.

Jen homes are hereditary, the connections to a particular place reaching back through generations. Since those first Noom, the families have adapted, magically and physically, creating the broad bloodlines and characteristics that define Jen septs. Each sept is vitally dependent on its home – without it, the Jen weakens and dies. They can survive for months in replacements, but without the particular home or powerful magic, death is guaranteed.

This makes the Jen fiercely protective. Whether it’s a particular hill on the outskirts of town, or a specific street through the middle of downtown, the Jen will keep it safe. They are also protective of the locals who frequent their homes; by keeping Shoal safe, they are hoping to guarantee that there will always be people interested in preserving their homes. The Jen used the tactic for practical reasons, but they’ve since fallen in love with the Shoal and their creativity. Now, they’ve formed a Rade of their own, aligned with the Calyx but separate.

House Jen is uninterested in the War, or the Compact, or problems with the Caesura. They are the self-appointed protectors of the Shoal and the Tell, and nearly the full membership of Rade Aegis.

Common Septs: house-elves or brownies, trolls, will-o’-the-wisps
Common Rade: Aegis
Appearance: mostly humanoid

Peri

AKA jobbers, the Wee Folk

The middle-class, blue-collar House, the Peri are the septs who have jobs. Strongly associated with particular activities, these Noom draw the magic that sustains them from crafts and the processes that sustain the Tell. There are septs associated with such ancient handicrafts as cobbling (the well-known leprechaun), but there are also pixel-pixies, who survive on digital art, and factory gnomes dependent on the mechanized construction of cars and home appliances.

Like other septs in different Houses, the Peri have a collection of feits germane to the sept occupation, heirlooms passed on from parent to child. Like the Jen, they take the safety of their homes very seriously, whether those homes are concrete buildings devoted to their ‘vocations’, or realms less easily definable. They watch over Shoal engaged in their profession, ensuring quality and honest business – transgressors are swiftly punished, though usually not in obvious ways.

Politically, Peri are very like their Shoal counterparts, conservative and cautious. As far as most of them are concerned, the majority of Rades are way too extreme, and few of them have really made up their mind about the threat of the War or the problems with the Caesura. They’re not sure that all of it isn’t just propaganda, and they’re generally happy to leave the decisions to others with more power. It’s no surprise that most Peri are Whim.

Peri are small. Tiny, like the pixel-pixies, up to the largest, who stand at two feet high. Most tend to be fairly humanoid in appearance; this is common to most Banna, as they’re the result of millennia of mixing, just like humanity. And of course, Lex tends to create beings a bit more like humans too.

Common Septs: garden gnomes, gremlins
Common Rade: Whim
Appearance: small, humanoid

Tautha

AKA Lords and Ladies, the Folk

Shoal have dreamt of mighty fortresses, powerful warriors, and beautiful princesses for as long as there have been Shoal to dream. All of that dreaming is responsible for House Tautha, the Banna who depend on the power of social roles. From nobility to homeless, these are the Noom who foster society and civilization at all levels.

The sept most mentioned in folklore are the aristocrats, the duchesses and barons and courtiers, and of course the kings and queens. These Tautha embody all of those dreams, and do what they can to maintain aristocratic behavior among the Shoal – this is the sept of elves.

Not all Tautha are so noble; there are septs who ensure places for the homeless, and people to fill those places, tricksters, knights, and socialites. It can be confusing, trying to distinguish between the Peri and the Tautha because both houses are tied to activities. The key is that the Peri oversee production, and they’re connected to things, whereas the Tautha consider themselves responsible for behavior and social understandings, and so they’re connected to people.

In terms of looks, Tautha are humanoid like, just like the rest of the Banna. They vary from tiny to tall, with slight differences or severe. A variety, in other words, though they do tend toward the subtler variations. This subtlety carries over into their politics too; the members of this House do not have any particular attraction to a given Rade, and whichever Rade the Noom chooses to follow, his or her practice of it is bound to be subtle.

The tenuous connection between a Tautha’s Rade and what they do is at part responsible for the confusion that they engender in the Shoal. They may be Calyx, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t slaughter an innocent who gets in their way. They may run with the Marahh, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t aid a lost child. The Tautha have long been philosophers, and understanding their reasoning is impossible without access to that learning. Even then it may still be beyond us.

Common Septs: pucks, redcaps, leannán-sidhe
Common Rade: anything, but subtly
Appearance: humanoid

Ather

AKA beastmen, shifters

Every culture has its own particular beast-man: the English have their werewolves, selkies for the Irish, kitsune in Japan, and were-jaguars in the South Americas. All of these are septs of Ather, the House of shape-shifters, each sept devoted to its totem animal. According to the mythology, most of them are gentle, though perhaps tricksters, and this is honestly true of almost all them. The werewolf may be described in gruesome tales as a cannibalistic monster, but like his lupine brothers, he is just very misunderstood.

The Ather shift at will, and have always been able to do so. They learn shifting at a very young age; before they take their first teeter-totter steps, they’ve mastered the art of shifting. The change has carried over into their personalities: they love anything changeable and fluctuating, and that’s grown into a love of fun. The Ather have become tricksters.

Ather are unpredictable, joking constantly, but intensely focused. Juggling one moment, and stalking a shadow creature the next, their attention spans make them poster children for ADD. With such intense lives, they rarely have the time or desire to contemplate the bigger picture. The War is too nebulous for an Ather’s focused vision, and so they are, almost without exception, Whim.

House Ather members are human in appearance, though with subtle hints of their bestial natures: strangely colored eyes, exceptional hairiness, slightly pointed ears. At least one of the traditional markers of lycanthropy marks the Ather: index and middle fingers that are the same length. Still, there’s something bestial about them, even though you can rarely put your finger on it.

Common Septs: Naga (cobra), Corvidae (raven), Berserker (bear)
Common Rade: Whim
Appearance: human

Magog

AKA monsters

Magog – the name itself is enough to conjure fear in the eyes of those who know. These are the darkest of creatures, rare and deadly, the personification of “nature, red in tooth and claw”. The characteristic of this house is its savagery, and its lack of concern for anything. There are few septs to this house – there haven’t been enough survivors to create such divisions, and the Magog themselves don’t care.

Magog don’t have commonalities when it comes to forms; they’re petrifying in likeness, ranging from subtle monstrous mixes of insect and lizard to gruesome mutations of humanity. They’re sentient enough, but not known for their conversational skills, or their politics; they have no connections to any Rade. Its best to simply avoid them, like everyone else.

These monsters hide in the Gulfs, avoiding the world as best they can, for even they know that death and retribution come swiftly after their hungers have become undeniable. Sooner or later, they will take their sustenance, and armies will come chasing, revenge in their eyes. So they hide, in backwater Realms where their weaknesses are unknown and their thirsts can be sated.

As a result, when they are discovered, there tend to be large families. Finally left alone, for decades, if not longer, with little to no outside interference, they take over and farm the local populace, harvesting them like grain or fruit. You can be sure that if you run across signs of one of the Magog, there are many nearby. The wise traveler will retreat from the Realm as quickly as possible

Common Septs: ogres, pontianak (a kind of Malaysian vampire, whose entrails float beneath its disembodied head)
Common Rade: none
Appearance: terrifying and monstrous

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