Qatama Culture

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This article is one of many about Qatama
Qatama in Moj

Physical Description, Life Span

The average Qatama stands between five and seven feet tall. Most Qatama have either green or grey eyes and there are cases of blue and even light orange. The typical Qatama lives to be about 100 years old with noticeable physical degradation only late in life. Around the age of 70-75 a Qatamas hair begins to turn dark gray it is then they are declared Elders. Qatama men usually have brown or black hair while most women only have black hair. Men are almost always bearded in some fashion.

Likes, Dislikes

Above all, the Qatama are reasonable and rational. Most humans would consider the Qatama cruel and uncaring, this is partially true. The Qatama view emotions as a weakness. They have emotions but completely control them through rigid discipline. If one were to look into a Qatama soul, one would see calm hate, controlled anger and rigid uncaring nonchalance. Qatama have been known to torture, kill nonchalantly and throw prisoners to hungry animals. It is also very common for Qatama men to fight in public over a disagreement; however this is usually done after much drinking.

Religion, Legends, Myths

Stories of the "ancient ones", the first few generations of Qatama, have been passed down. Such tales form the backbone of their oral tradition and religious belief. Their religion is focused on a form of ancestor worship. The Qatama worship ancient generations, the great early generations that made the ground tremble with their step and the world tremble with fear. The Qatama revere Nature and the natural order of things. They believe the world is a living thing, to be protected and loved. In turn, the world provides. They will hunt only for meat and skins, but never for pleasure. They will not cut down trees for lumber, but will use wood from a tree which has fallen naturally. They use stones from fields, but will not quarry stone from rocky cliffs.

Regions, Boundaries

The Main continent is the only native region of the Qatama. Thousands of small villages dot the landscape of which about twenty or so communities are large enough to be called cities and governors loyal to the emperor control each of these. The Main continent is considered holy land, spiritual above all other lands on the planet, and is also considered to be the center of the world by the Qatama. Few resources exist on the main continent to be exploited. This is fine with the Qatama for they have little desire to trade with outside cultures. To compensate for the climate and lack of natural wealth, this culture relies heavily on hard work, ingenious agricultural techniques, animal husbandry and of course... war.

Realms and Regions

There are five realms that make up the Qatama Empire.

  • Anaha, which encompasses Tanaq, Anam and Aramun. It is ruled by the Muhaj clan, of the Qatam tribe, and is considered the center of the Empire.
  • Gomoq, which encompasses Godoqra and the Northeast portion of the mainland. It is ruled by the Damaq clan, of the Guang tribe, and is considered the coldest realm of the Empire.
  • Katala, which encompasses Katlaq and the Southwest portion of the mainland. It is ruled by the Gutan clan, of the Qatam tribe, and is considered the forest of the Empire.
  • Qutamya, which encompasses Qutam, and the Northwest portion of the mainland. It is ruled by the Alhaj clan, of the Ajra tribe, and is considered the desert of the Empire.
  • Mujra, which encompasses Mujara, and the Southwest portion of the mainland. It is ruled by the Tlang clan, of the Tam`q tribe, and is considered the seaport of the Empire.

Community Sizes

There are no sub-races of the Qatama. All Qatama are of the same race with virtually no physical or cultural differentiation. Community sizes vary from several hundred to several thousand. Villages are sparsely scattered and immobile.

Language, Alphabet

The central language of the Qatam people is the Qatama language. Due to the Qatama cultural purity, Qatama is linguistically unique. It is sometimes considered difficult to translate complex ideas or culture specific ideas into or out of Qatama. There are 3 primary, distinct writing systems used throughout the Empire by various social and tribal groups. These primary writing systems are; Moj, used by the imperial government and the military and most Qatam, Ajan, used primarily by spiritual leaders for religious texts and the Ajra tribe, and Uyata, often used in commerce and businessand is also favored by the Tam`q tribe. Reading and writing is very prevalent among the population. In fact, most of their history is textual in nature rather than verbally recited. Historical records are common and accurate. This stems from the Qatama custom of keeping a personal journal. Literature and poetry is extensive as these are considered intellectually enlightening. Drawing and painting are often limited because pigments, canvas and other more delicate art supplies can be difficult to obtain and protect in the harsh Qatama environments.

Trade, Alliances

The Qatama are somewhat isolationists. They generally avoid contact with outside cultures and do not welcome travelers. Culturally purity has been the main reason and it has been maintained for centuries. However, as the decades pass, more and more Qatama leave the main continent to seek what lies beyond its shores. Qatama are rare on the other continents, but most of the nomadic tribes are aware of the Qatama just as the Qatama are aware of most of the nomadic tribes. The most frequent Qatama renegades are thieves and warriors who only seek knowledge and believe that the only way to understand life and the world is to experience it firsthand. Rarely are these renegades welcomed home. Therefore, the decision to leave is a grave one.

Food Distribution

Primary food sources are crops; various land animals and the occasional aquatic delight. Food surplus and food storage does not occur, as there is usually just enough to feed everyone. (It is considered an insult to the host to waste even a single crumb). Indeed, wasting food at any time is virtually unheard of.

Technology - Architecture, Tools, Weapons

Qatama technology is consistent with the human average. They are capable of producing tools and weapons of most metals. Architectural construction is advanced in stone cutting and fitting. Most Qatama dwellings are completely stone. Qatama is akin to Earth's Middle Ages, roughly 700AD-1200AD. Some of the most identifiable achievements include; Silk, Thread combination Weaving Loom, Complex glasswork, Stained glass, Paper, Advanced minted coins, Iron, Standard Measures, Magnetic Compass, Hooded Lanterns, Cog, Great Galley, Shipboard rams, Simple crossbows, Re-curved bows, Catapults.

Use of Animals/Transportation, Long Distance Communication

Horses and oxen are often used as steeds and beasts of burden. Long distance communication is often done with trained hawks or other birds. Dogs serve a variety of functions.


The Empire of Qatama uses an ancient system of coinage, which has remained unchanged for centuries. The coins of Qatama are rectangular in shape and have an indentation, which makes them easy to stack.

  • One gold kutara = 5 silver kutal = 25 copper kutaq

Gender Differences - Rights, Responsibilities

The Qatama are unique in their perceptions of the sexes. Virtually no distinction between male and female rights and responsibilities exist. This quality is considered alien by most other cultures (that are male dominated).

Marriage System

Qatama marriages unite a male and female in a social bond as "mates". Qatama marriage is misogynous, but only at a superficial level. Qatama are very open about social interaction and sex. Marriage rituals are small and simple. Mates are usually close and rely on each other while they are together. Divorce is nonexistent. Partners simply leave each other.

Household Form, Family Form

The duties of the household are divided up by gender. Women cook food, wash clothes and see to the children. Men work within the clans and in the fields. Men also perform repairs about the house and do most heavy manual labor. Large families are typical with as many as seven or eight spouses and as many as twenty children. Children normally live with their parents until age ~16 for boys and ~18 for girls. At that point, they may move into a guild, join the military, serve aboard a ship, marry into a family or choose some other path. In agricultural areas, it is common for them to stay on and help with the farm.

Taq's family tree

Birth - Beliefs, Customs

Qatama have a gestation period of 11 months. Unwanted pregnancies are terminated through the ingestion of a mildly poisonous herb. Adoption is not unheard of on Qatam, however, it is most often between family members and mostly orphans that are adopted. There have been cases of the Qatam Imperial Guards adopting unwanted children to work preparing food, caring for animals and equipment; these children are put to work at the age of ~13 and are granted the right to join the military or follow their own path by the age of ~20.


Children are educated in groups by village scholars. In the larger cities, specialized academies exist. Discipline is harsh. Recreation and games usually have an educational theme. Children are taught that strength of will is as important as strength of body. Girls are educated by women and boys by men until the age of ~5, after which they are educated by whomever the teacher may be.

Death - Beliefs, Customs

The Qatama death ritual involves wrapping the deceased tightly in a fine mesh cloth from head to foot and then burning it. Ceremonies are short and simple consisting of prayers and songs by relatives and friends. It is common for entire clans to gather for the passing of a well known clan member. These gathering are always held at sundown, after the gokumaq (burning of the body) there is a feast that usually lasts until sunrise.


Main article: Qatama names

Qatama names usually consist of two or three parts, depending on the class and tribe affiliation: the personal name, sometimes a familiar name and the family or clan name. Ranks and titles always precede the personal name.

  • Qan Kaguma Amul oj Takaga
Lord Kaguma Amul son/descendant-of Takaga
(title-personal name-familiar name-patronymic-clan/family name)
  • Najan aj D`haga
Najan of/from D`haga
(personal name-of/from-clan/family/place)
  • Muha Ohan
Monk Ohan
(title-personal name)
  • Koyonam
commoner name
commoners often have single names as they may or may not have clan/familial/tribal affiliations.

Social Structure

The Social structure is complex. From lowest rank to highest: commoners, artisans, scholars, judges, warriors, monks, elders, lords, overlords and the emperor.

  • The Kahan
The Kahan is the noble class and are usually found in government charge of familial clans and often trade organizations.
This class is made up of the Omoq (emperor) and his extended family, the Kagan (overlords) and the Qan (lords). Judges and council members also belong to this class.
  • The Muhan
The Muhan are the monks and nuns and are responsible for the upkeep of temples and shrines as well as protecting religious and spiritual texts.
The Qan Muha (lord monk/nun)is considered the highest ranking monk in the Empire and is often an adviser to the Omoq.
Other spiritual titles include; ongoq muha - elder monk/nun, and murha - monk/nun apprentice.
Scholars also fall into this class and are usually referred to as mon ru (one who learns).
  • The Tohan
The Tohan is the warrior class and is made up mostly of the Imperial Army.
  • The Odohan
The Odohan is made up of artisans of all types, it also includes the merchants.
  • The Mulhan
The Mulhan is the worker class, sometimes referred to as the peasant class...

Tribal structure

  • Each Qatama belongs to a tribe, clan and at a minimum a family.
  • The tribal hierarchy is;
Tribe -- tang
Clan -- tang
House/Order/Brotherhood -- t'ja
family -- tanga
  • Tribe and Clan are differentiated by name recognition.
  • There are only 4 tribes: Qatam, Guang, Ajra, Tam`q
  • There are ~40 clans that are powerful and influential enough to warrant recognition. Their banners are flown throughout the Empire and can be seen here.
An example for Taq of the Gyota clan, Guang tribe who lives in Qutam

Political System

The elders of each clan unite into councils and serve as the legislators, creating and refining laws. Small patrol groups enforce laws. The Judges deals with legal transgressions. The ruling elders appoint the Judges.

Common Laws

  • Honor and Praise the Ancient Ones
  • Control your weaknesses keep a rigid discipline.
  • Train and focus your physical strength.
  • Avoid outside contact, keep your culture pure.
  • Use war as a return if either yours or a fellow clan is being attacked.
  • Study your history, write your own.
  • Show your family honor.
  • Your strength of your will is as your strength of body.
  • Your sex does not change your responsibilities or rights in your clan.
  • Keep what is yours not another's.
  • Keep your life safe; do not take another's.
  • Eat and drink what is in front of you, do not take food for granted.
  • Take only what nature has given; do not take what has not been given.
  • Honor Qatama, the Land of your Ancestors.

Ownership, Inheritance Customs

Ownership laws and property customs are similar to humans. Bartering is the main system of trade. Credit and debt are mathematical concepts, which the Qatama understand but rarely use because it is considered impolite to trade in such abstracts. Inheritance always falls to the oldest surviving child, regardless of sex.


The Qatama military is rather divided. Each clan can muster a militia of approximately 2/5 its total size. If ever there was a great need, dozens of these groups could be united into a formidable army. However, no hostile force has ever attempted to penetrate the main continent. Qatama militias combine bows and steel, utilizing both ground and mounted troops.

  • The military of Qatama is integrated into the fabric of each tribe and clan, as well as the government.
  • Omoq -- Emperor, responsible for governing the empire, considered the 'commander in chief' of all imperial forces.
  • Kagan -- Overlord, responsible for the governance of a realm, appointed by the Omoq. Usually a clan leader, occasionally a tribe leader, inherently responsible for the ruling of said clan and daily business. Commands a q'ma, ~50,000 warriors.
  • Qan -- Lord, responsible for the governance of a region (subdivision of a realm). A Lord is also the traditional leader of a familial clan, can also lead a brotherhood or order. Commands a qada ~20,000 warriors.
  • Kanaq -- Warlord, appointed by a Kagan, most often in time of war, but not uncommonly as commanders of policing units. Warlords give up ascension rights within a clan to gain this appointment. Kanaq is seen as a purely militaristic posting.
  • Qan Maj -- Lord Commander, not a rank of nobility, simply the highest military rank within a q'dom, ~5000 warriors
  • Maj -- Commander/Chief, responsible for governance of a city/village. A Maj is also the traditional leader of an extended family within a city/village. Commands a q'tan, ~100-500 warriors.
  • Q'toj -- Lord Warrior, also not nobility, simply the highest rank in the warrior class. Serves at the side of a Qan all of the way down to a Maj. This position is similar to a senior enlisted adviser in today's armed forces. This position is lifelong once appointed.
  • Tojra -- Master Warrior, responsible for the training of warriors and apprentices, works hand in hand with the Q'toj to insure that all needs are attended to.
  • Toj -- Warrior.
  • Gulhan -- A gulhan is a personal guard for a Qan and higher. Often they are groomed for appointment as a Maj.
  • Gulha/Gul -- Apprentice. The difference between a gulha and a gul is the length of time in training, the gulha having trained longer.


Physical strength, speed, resilience and endurance are important qualities for a Qatama. Man against man competitions is a normal form of sport. In this type of competition there is usually a champion and a challenger. Common sports are Archery, Javelin, Sword fighting, Swimming, and Wrestling.

Around the Empire

The map of Qatama, as drawn by Lord D`rada


Tanaq is the capital and the largest city in the empire; it is home to more than 10 clans and is where the Emperor and his extended family reside. It is home to several hundred thousand people and has the largest concentrations of Imperial Warriors in the empire. Before the Qatama took power it was known as Jarba and was ruled by the Ajra tribe. When the Qatama conquered it they left most of the structures intact due to not wanting to have to rebuild before beginning their rule over their new empire. The Muhaj clan, which is the Emperors clan, controls Tanaq but a cousin of the Emperor does the actual governing of the city due to the Emperor having other obvious obligations.


Mujara is the largest port on the Qatama coastline. It is a center for commerce and a haven for countless people. Many of the citizens of Mujara make their living from fishing and trade, but there is also a large amount of smuggling of Qatama banned items. The schools in Mujara are decent and the children learn well. The religious community in Mujara is not quite as large as it is in other big cities within the empire and much of this is due to the unsavory characters that frequent the streets. Mujara is run by the Mujar clan and has been off and on since the city first sprang up. The Mujar clan is powerful in regards to shipping, fishing, and trade but has a very small militia in comparison to other clans the same size. When it comes to defense of Mujara shores they rely heavily on other clans that they hold trade agreements with. Mujara is considered a decent place to live and work but has political importance only because of the trade in the region.


Qutam is the oldest city in the empire and is home to the oldest known ruins ever discovered. The city first belonged to the Guang tribe and was known as Grotlun. After the Ajra tribe took power the city became their capital for a while and was known as Bakra, under the Ajra the city flourished and became the cultural center of the known world. After the founding of Jarba, by the Ajra, Qutam was simply referred to as the second city, and many saw it has a place to only visit. When the Qatama rose to power they decided to rename the city out of respect to the Guang. Qutam has never reached the heights that it did under Guang rule, but it has become a large cultural center once more with the Qatama in charge. Qutam boasts the second largest population in the empire, as well as the largest temple known as al Kagaha, it also has three universities while most cities only have one, there are two libraries and several art houses. Unfortunately though, Qutam is now after many years of drought in the desert and many have begun to leave. Qutam is run by the Amuq' clan, which is the 4th largest clan in the empire and one of the lifelong seats on the Imperial Council, and the Council of Lords.