Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: The Tomasi

The Tomasi are the human tribe one of my players has been playing- well, he's been playing a Tomasi-Aethamir, so his focus has been the Aethamir part.  As for me, I've elaborated these notes based on his character, NPCs and the way Tomasi have acted so far in the game.  The Tomasi in fact are named after him too, as I find it to be a neat one to say aloud.

Tomasi are the Seafolk, lovers of good food and magic, and unwilling to surrender in the face of adversity.

The Tomasi, or Seafolk
The People of the Tomasi Plateau for centuries prior to the rise of their empire were well-known for their own particular arcane traditions.  With a predilection toward summoning planar monsters, it makes sense that their tribe's ancient homelands would later form part of the core of the Sorcerous Republic of Ith.

The Tomasi were a proud people long before the Ursyklon arrived on Orphos.  Their ancestors were sheepherders, their magical talents focused mainly on agrarian pursuits.  Some archaeological evidence suggests they might've served as slaves to the more ancient unknown empires, like the Aetheric.  But nothing conclusive remains it seems.

The Ursyklon were quick to conquer the Tomasi, who withdrew to the edges of coastlines to escape them.  Those Tomasi who refused to surrender instead fled onto ships, leaving flocks to instead make fortresses and castles in the many islands of the southern Maru Sea coast.  Although eventually they would fall under the sway of the Ursyklon, the epithet stuck: the Seafolk.  The Tomasi have no special claim over the sea, but their refusal to surrender, to even flee onto saltwater rather than give up describes them.

The Tomasi conquered most of the Maru Sea later on.  Their architecture, magical techniques, artifice, and other matters shaped the coast of what later would be Othebea, Ith and Ainesia.  As such, their tribe is the most numerous along the Maru Sea.  Even its name refers to them: Maru Seawalker Zarak Tyranus.  Maru Zarak was one of the oldest Queens of the Tomasi before the Ursyklon, and she led her people in their flight to the sea rather than surrender.  Maru's Sea eventually stuck, as most came to view the sea as something just inherit to the Tomasi.

The Tomasi Empire built itself on magic.  Ever since, the Tomasi have been passionate about the use of magic.  Even Tomasi with no sorcerous ability recall their people's accomplishments in terms of spells, artifice and alchemy.  The only thing Tomasi have a stronger passion about is food, hence the old Tomasi quote, "cooking is the last, true and difficult magical art to master."

Naming Conventions.
Tomasi names follow this convention: First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, often followed by a family-specific cognomen.

Tomasi use Cognomen to distinguish family bloodlines, as most of their family names go back thousands of years.  Upon reaching the age of 15, Tomasi choose a family name of their two parents to be theirs.  A Tomasi Orphan has no Cognomen, often they simply were given the surname based on the place they were born- the name of the town or city, or the geographic locale, such as Field, Boulder or River.  The idea of changing one's name for marriage isn't one the Tomasi like- marriage is a magical binding, but even it cannot alter the true name of a person for the sake of propriety.

Tomasi Middle Names or Honor Names, are given by parents to their children.  This is their immediate family's way of recognizing a favored relative, or better yet, to denote pride in something their child shows promise toward.  Names like Windtalker or Tidesong refer to nascent magical talent, something Tomasi recognize from a early age, and go out of their way to reinforce and encourage.

Note that even though the Tomasi have male and female names listed here, there also a list of third-gendered names as well.  Tomasi interactions with androgynous entities thousands of years ago instilled in them a need to also allow the naming of those who aren't male or female.  Further, all of these Tomasi names are very similar- in Tomish it is extremely simple to alter a name to different gender.  It is accepted for one to switch genders and therefore names, often multiple times, if one wishes.  With magic allowing this to happen even at a whim, it became practical to have a option for unisex, non-gendered names.

Further, Tomasi often use nicknames, shortening their names to one or two syllables.

First Name (Male): Gavin, Teorgio, Adolgo, Aldo, Kristofor, Damian, Nichel, Odesto, Santo, Walpero
First Name (Female): Gava, Kara, Adele, Adla, Dafni, Erminia, Hicaela, Mirabella, Saveria, Viola
First Name (Unisex): Gavi, Kario, Adelgi, Adlio, Kristofari, Hicaeli, Mirabio, Odesti, Santi, Dami
Middle Names: Often a given name from a favored relative.  The Tomasi aren't afraid to also given sea-based names as middlenames as well: Stormchild, Seaborn, Windtalker, Windwaker, Tidesong, Brinehand, Saltblood, Fishchild, Shipsaint, Seatalker.
Surnames: Aurelia, Brutt, Caelia, Falvia, Gabis, Junia, Oppi, Porcia, Quintus, Zarak.
Cognomen: Adjutor, Brugus, Krassus, Dunio, Rallus, Honoratus, Isatis, Marko, Montanus, Tyranus

Example Names: Dafni Adelgi Caelia Dunio, Odesto "Otis" Shipsaint Aurelia Krassus, Hicaeli "Hike" Fishchild Oppi Rallus

Most Tomasi families can trace their family lines back to legions that served the Empire over two-thousand years ago.  Many of these lines also share noble blooded or kingly heritages.  Citizens of the empire never adopted quite the same kind of nobility as non-Tomasi.  "Tomasi do not harm Tomasi" is a old refrain from the Empire, and it continues on today.  This includes usury- Tomasi loan, but never expect to make money off their fellow Tomasi.
Tomasi Bard Maralda Bloodsong Inculti Tyranus;

Tomasi nobility tended to be accumulated by immortals of one kind or another.  The exception to the rule, of course, is the Standard.  True Tomasi Nobility have a family Standard, one that was carried by the Legions and their Summoner-Legionnaires.  This is the sign and symbol of the Tomasi Noble, one cherished about all other things.

These days, most Standards are frauds or were sold long ago to settle family debts.  Tomasi Nobility are rare, if they exist anymore.  Most lost their lands to others- Othebean nobles or monstrous spellcasters who bested them long ago.  Those Tomasi nobles with them today are poor, destitute, and know that they confer no true titles or lands.

But one can try to remember the old dreams.

Tomasi Styles.
Tomasi preference a wide range of styles, often adopting foreign fashions rather than their own.  The Tomasi like blue tones, but aren't afraid to experiment with arcane magic to try out new things.  Ithic Tomasi are known for weaving illusions into their fabrics, sometimes to silence their clothes, other times to give even their waistcoats the appearance of clouds upon water.

Tomasi are dusky of skin, while their hair tends to be brown or black.  The Tomasi nose tends to be their most mentioned feature, often mocked or praised, depending on who speaks (often it is hooked, but not always).  But because of Tomasi use of magic or alchemy, it is well accepted for Tomasi to use illusion or dyes to alter their hair color, even their skin tone based on personal preference.  Tomasi often have purple eyes, although ones that are grey aren't uncommon either.  Rarely one is born with golden eyes, with literal flecks of gold in them.

Last Note: The Tomish Tongue.
The last important note to mention is the Tomish Tongue.  Not the only trade language of the Maru Sea, Tomish spread further than any other language due to the Tomasi Empire.  Tomish borrows countless words from other languages.  It tends to serve as a default academic language as well, since the Ancient Tomasi recorded copious notes and essays, many serving as the basis of learning.

The Church of the Machine has long taught Tomasi as part of its curricular, especially to those who do not know it.  Because the Church favors it as their main tongue, it has had the odd effect of only helping Tomish spread even faster.

Tomasi Stunt
Passionate Chef: No matter how poor the tools, you can turn any meat or vegetable matter into a delicious meal.  Food you cook always has the aspect, Delicious applied to it.