The Tribes of Man

The Tarbek

These are the horse-clans of the Great North Plain. They are brownish-bronze in skin, tall with jet-black hair. In the face, they have both the classic almond eyes/epicanthis folds of our Asians, plus the high cheekbones of the Amerind, making them very striking in appearance.

The Tarbek are a nomadic people, building no settled cities. They do set up summer camps, where the women will grow vegetables and fruit, and the men will fish, but such camps are normally torn down over winter. Foundation stores will be left for next year's camps, and some especially-developed camps have some perennial plants and even small orchards developed.; but the Tarbek do not develop these extensively as any base which became too large and well developed would become an easy target for another clan.

The fierceness of the Tarbek is legendary--mothers of other tribes will frighten small children into obedience with the "The Tarbek will get you!" The Tarbek have no metalworking except for copper ornaments (there are some copper deposits in the hilly uplands on the North edge of the plain.) However, they are excellent flint workers, and their arrows and lances are sharper than any but the finest dwarf-forged steel. The Tarbek do prize metal; they also trade with the northern Cluathan clans for their copper & bronze ornaments, and with the civilized lands for iron, silver and gold. This is primarily for objects of ornaments an status, as metal is not otherwise influential in Tarbek society.

Tarbek life is centered around the hunt and around war, which are not that much different. As horse-mounted warriors, they are supreme with the bow and the lance; on the ground they would use bow, spear and war club. It would be a great status symbol for a Tarbek clan-chief to have gotten in spoil or trade a sword or war-axe, but it's not a primary weapon. The atlatl is used for the thrown spear, and the sling stone is used, but only as a boy's and women's weapon, not for warriors. Light leather armor is in use--if a suit of plate were captured it would no doubt be cut up for ornament, since it is so impractical. Light chain, does get used, and there is a rumor of a great clan-chief who possesses an elven mithril suit.

The plains contain herds of both bison and mammoth, which the Tarbek hunt for food (but not the horse, for it is sacred.) There is a shamanistic magic tradition, but Tarbek mages never seem to become very accomplished (shamanistic spells have only been worked out to about 3rd level.) Since the Tarbek are illiterate, spell books don't help much. Tarbek clans can be identified by their tattooing and war paint.