Hsunchen Overview

Hsunchen peoples are stone-age hunter-gatherers. Small families wander about a territory while the men hunt, trap, and fish, and the women gather plant foodstuffs. The clothing of most hsunchen is of whatever rawhide is most common locally. Clothes can be quite sophisticated, such as cloaks made of woven grass, coats, belts, leggings, loincloth, and shoes, all made of leather of different skins. All additionally generally also own a costume made of the pelts (or other body parts, such antlers, claws, teeth, etc.) of their totem animal used in religious rituals (where they become the beast of their totem).Being steeped in spirit magic the adults also wear many colorful accoutrements to serve as foci for their charms. Purely decorative objects are unusual, even the most mundane being imbued with some blessing or power before being worn.

Weapons are Stone Age, and typically include bow and arrow, spear, stone and horn axes, flint daggers and so on. Here are some examples: http://outline-of-history.mindvessel.net/_images/0079.png

A good reference source for clothing is Ötzi the Iceman:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bozen_1_(177).JPG (summer clothes)

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clothes_of_%C3%96tzi,_Naturhistorisches_Museum_Wien.jpg (winter clothes)

http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/gepts/pb143/Lec12/Oetzi%20Clothing1.gif (Ötzi’s undergarments)

http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/gepts/pb143/Lec12/Oetzi%20Clothing2.gif (Ötz’s clothes)

http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/gepts/pb143/Lec12/Oetzi%20Clothing3.gif (the fully kitted Ötzi)

http://www.iceman.it/en/clothing (more on Ötzi)


Fig. 1. Bear Hsunchen hunter: The Bear Totem people (who call themselves Rathori) live in a vast sub-boreal pine forest (with some deciduous trees). The northern reaches of the forest is sub-arctic, the southern reaches are more temperate. The people themselves are, on the average, on the taller and heavier end of the human norm. Their skin color is brownish, their hair ranges from brown to black, and their eyes range from brown to black as well. They are hairy, and men tend to be bearded.

Our male Bear Totem hunter carries a spear, but his main weapon is a deadly bow and arrow. He also wears a bearskin cap with a leather chin strap. His shoes were waterproof and wide, seemingly designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for the top panels, and a netting made of tree bark. He has pouches sewed on to him and probably a bear-skin cloak as well. He carries a variety of magical charms made from parts of the bear – claws and teeth definitely, but also plenty of other magical charms that help him with other spirits. He’s a rugged survivor, self-reliant, and something a more civilized warrior would not want to encounter in his home woods!

Likely Runes: Beast, Spirit, Air, Plant, Movement, Death

Fig. 2. Reindeer People shaman: The Reindeer Totem people (who call themselves the Uncolings) live in a vast tundra region just below a gigantic thousand mile glacier (imagine something like the Ice Age continental ice sheets). They subsist almost entirely on their herds of reindeer, making use of their milk, meat, antlers, and so on. Despite their low technological level, the Uncolings are socially and magically sophisticated. Each spring they meet in huge gatherings, and perform magical ceremonies that require thousands of participants. The Reindeer Totem people are slightly taller than average height (but shorter than Bear Totem folk). Their skin is dark, but their hair ranges from white to almost black. Their clothing is made largely out of reindeer hide and looks somewhat similar to that of the Sami nomads of northern Finland, Norway, and Sweden (and other subarctic reindeer herders).

Our female Reindeer Totem snake dancer shaman carries a magical drum with lots of magical Runes painted on it (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pHnvwWQtpgI/TvBdMzY1cpI/AAAAAAAABIw/dpSen6R9IIU/s1600/Sami+Shaman.jpg). She wears clothes made of reindeer hide, with a tall reindeer-fur hat with feathers, bones, and other magical charms. In fact, she is simply covered with magical charms of every description – bones, feathers, stones, knots, you name it. She wears an apron made our of snake ribs (something like a Plains Indian breastplate http://thegrandfathersspeak.blogspot.de/2009/02/short-history-of-hair-pipe.html) and a necklace with a snake head (maybe a real snake head, maybe a magical stone carved to be a snake head). Her leggings are decorated with vertical stripes (symbolizing the Cosmic Dragon which is the source of her power).

Likely Runes: Spirit, Earth, Beast, Mastery, Magic, Fertility, really any rune except Chaos.

Below: A preliminary sketch of two Hsunchen by Jeff Laubenstein:

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