I have always thought that the Jaka needed more detail in their culture(as do many Tal races/nationalities). While I finnaly wrote down all the stuff I came up with, so here it is. However, first I must give credit where it is due. My primary inspiration( besides the Tal books) is a book by Tad Williams called " Tailchaiser's Song". This is a great book and I reccomend reading it. Also, I must give credits to cats everywhere, who I based some of my Jaka notes on.
Note on the Jaka language: The language of the Jaka is called the Higher Singing( this is an ancient name, and does not refer to actaual singing.) The following note on pronunciation apply wherever the Higher Singing is used.
Whenever 'C' is used, it is pronounced like 'S'. When 'S' is used , it is used to clarify. The true spelling is with a 'C'.
Vowels tend to be pronounced in the Latinate "ah-eh-ih-oh-ooh."
The Jaka live in small family units consisting of two parents and their children. These family units do not live in any sort of permanent structures, but instead travel about, sleeping under the stars. Jaka families are very close knit, and all members of the family wil protect the other members with their lives.
The only other type of social order the Jaka have are the Iri'az. An Iri'az consists of 5-20 family units and a number of lone Jaka. These family units claim a certain area as their territory. Whithin this territory there is a traditional meeting palce, where all adolescent or older members of the Iri'az meet on the 7th of every month, and in emergencies. Thes Iri'az have no formal leaders, however most members listen to waht the eldest members say.
While the Jaka may appear anti-social to others, they are quite sociable among members of their own Iri'az. However, while they are simply unsociable with members of other races, they are downright suspicious of Jaka who they don't know.
The Jaka have amazing senses. Their sense of smell allows them to sense the basic emotions of nearby beings. This is a contributing factor to their Sixth Sense, since they can litteraly smell fear and danger(hense the Jaka saying "This smells funny.") Their night vision is nearly perfect. This is actually due to four different senses. The first is their sight, which is good in any light since their eyes use light with perfect efficiancy, filtering out bright light at midday, while at night their eyes take in every possible scrap of light. Second is their sense of smell, as mentioned before. Third is their hearing, which is also exceptional. Finnaly, their whiskers allow them to sense even the slightest changes in air currents. This allows them to sense the prescence of objects in total darkness, since everything disturbs the motion of air. This sense works even when there is no wind.
In addition to their normal senses, Jaka have a Sixth Sense which alerts them to danger. That, in addition to their Beastmastery abilities, is evidence of pseudo-psychic abilities. While most Jaka are limited to these abilities, a very few have greater psychic skill. These Jaka are born snow white with blue eyes, and they have no twin. Their abilty is called 'Ka'var' which means soul sight, and they are calle 'Oel-var'iz' which means master seer or Far-senser.They are often silent and introspective, and when they do speak it is usually in cryptic messages. Most Oel-var'iz wander the Brown hills alone.
Their are a few Jaka who do not belong to the normal social order, and are not Oel-var'iz. They are called Thanes (no relation to the Thanes of Thanatus). They each have a territory that they wander, which usually consists of 1-3 Iri'az and the wilderness around them. They are accompanied in these wanderings by 3-7 apprentices. When a Thane dies, their most skilled apprentice takes their place, and the other apprentices go their seperate ways. Most join an Iri'az and settle down, but a few go out into the world seeking adventure.
The duties of a Thane are simple; to defend all Jaka in his territory, and eliminate evil and destructive forces wherever he finds them.
The following are new skills for the Jaka
Fik-Fac: Fik-Fac is litteraly translated as frightening motion. This is Jaka martial arts. In addition to normal unarmed attacks, Jaka with Fik-Fac can perform the following manuevers.
Claw Rage: This allows the Jaka to make three unarmed attacks in one round when at close range.
Desperate Fighting: This allows the Jaka to fight from prone or when cornered at no penalty. Use their Fik-Fac rating instead of their weapons rating.
Double Blades: This allows the Jaka to fight with a sword in each hand at no penalty. They may make two attacks, one attack and one parry, or two parries.
Leaping Slash: This allows the Jaka to make a flying melee attack at an opponent. This attack is at +1 to hit and +2 damage.
Time to Learn: 40 weeks
This skill allows the Oel-var'iz to sense things seperated by great distances of time and space. They must first meditate for one minute to enter the Dreaming. Then they will have a vision, involving sight, sound, scent, touch, and emotion. These visions are never a direct playback of an event, but rather are cryptic in nature.(GM: make up a cryptic vision, and allow the player to try to interpert it. NEVER roll to interpert the vision)
Time to Learn: May not be Learned.
Homeland: Brown Hills of Yrmania
" It is a good time of year for Dreaming"
You were born different than the others. The other Jaka have only their Sixth Sense, but you have the Ka'var. While at first the visions frightened you, you have learned over time to not only live with them but control them. While other Jaka sometimes fear you, they have a great respect for your abilities. You may have no skill at Beastmastery, but your soul sight more than makes up for this. You have decided to journey out in to the world, to find new Dreams, and to experience the many wonders of other lands.
Physical Characteristics: 5'8"-6', 110-170 lbs., snow white fur, blue eyes, features a cross between a panther and a wolf.
CHA:-3(due to attitude)
Special Abilities:Land on feet after falls of up to 30 feet, +3 to all stealth related rolls, night vision, Sixth Sense, Ka'var.
Bastard Sword +1
Short Bow +1
Equipment: Vest, loincloth, and boots of tundra beast hide; luck talisman, backpack, pouches, wrist bracers, shortbow with quiver of 20 arrows, bastard sword, greymane steed.
Wealth: 20 lumens in hides.
Homeland:Brown Hills of Yrmania
"You know nothing of honor. I will have to 'educate' you."
While the other Jaka spent their time learning Beastmastery and the ways of the woods, you learned the skills necessary for Thanehood. You spent many years in the apprenticeship to a Thane, who taught you everything you know. However, when your mentor died, another of his apprentices was chosen to take his place. Being the youngest apprentice, you were still not ready to settle down to a normal life, so you ventured out into the wotld to destroy evil and find adventure.
Physical Appearance:5'8"-6', 120-180 lbs, black fur, silver-grey mane, features a cross between a panther and a wolf.
Special Abilities:Land on feet after falls of up to 30 feet, +3 to all stealth related rolls, night vision, Sixth Sense, Beast Master
Bastard Sword +4
Short Bow +3
[choice of one other weapon] +2
Mounted Combat +3
Beast Master +1
Low Talislan: Native
Higher Singing: Native
Equipment: Vest, loincloth, and boots of tundra beast hide; luck talisman, backpack, pouches, wrist bracers, Shortbow with quiver of 20 arrows, Bastard sword, choice of one other weapon, leather armor, greymane steed.
Wealth: 50 lumens in hides and coins.