Lt Murgen?s notes on Khinasi Culture: Wisdom

DM Tips: Khinasi culture: wisdom

This article is an Observation
The contents herein are entirely player made and in no way represent official Birthright history or occurences which are accurate. The characters and events listed are of an independent nature and applied for roleplaying, fictional, speculative, or opinions from a limited playerbase only.

Khinasi » Khinasi culture » Khinasi Culture:Wisdom


The Red Kings of Aftane have crafted a system of posts and riders to facilitate communication in their holdings. Post stations were built along caravan routes at frequent intervals, no greater than a horse could gallop in 2 hours. Strong, skilled men riding fast, muscular horses carried messages from one post to the next.
These posts are officially communications between the kings and their generals. But the riders also carry news that is important to the caravan trade - bandit activity, caravanserai availability, supply requirements, and the like. These riders are considered as one of the main reasons their military is so successful. Many regents from other areas have sent spies to study this system.


In many respects, insignia are similar to coats of arms in other societies. They also function as a person?s seal and in place of signing their name. Insignia come in three parts for members of each ?Zada- a personal symbol, a house or family symbol, and a profession symbol. Less important members of the ?Zada will have either just the house symbol, or the house and profession symbol. Profession symbols are only used by people who are considered craftsmen, not apprentices.
An insignia can be as simple as ink on paper, signifying their name. Many insignia are made into lockets and necklaces, or worked into rods, daggers, or headpieces for walking staves. Many different places keep recordings of these identifiers- some by family, some by Gerihou, and some by the State. It is unheard of for someone to bear the symbol of a house without being recorded somewhere. To use one without consent is an offense to everything Khinasi culture holds dear. Forgery of such symbols of a noble family is a high crime, punishable by a slow death in the case of forging the symbol of a Tamounzada.


The great king El-Arrasi codified the Canon of Avani and the books which contain the Avaniahura. These books form the basis of law in Khinasi lands. They can be quite complicated and difficult to read through and find relevant information. Different regions give more or less credence to rulings and interpretations from different books. There have been several attempts by various leaders to codify and simplify these, but they have met with failure. Some of the collections:
  • The five Nyaizes (worship, praise)

  • The Siroxe (monthlies)

  • The al-Avriginia (blessings)

  • The Drenkad (Acts)

  • The Menoc-i (Wise Spirit)

  • The collections of Arda Viraf

  • The Sead Daur (Hundred Chapters)

  • The Riveyits, or traditional treatises, by region.

The main tenets expressed in these books, however, mirror the Khinasi values. The law gives credence to those that see it as their duty to defend order, which would cause decay without action. The emphasis is on moral choice- to choose between the responsibility and duty, for which one is in the mortal world, or to give up this duty and so facilitate the work of drux. Humans bear responsibility for all situations they are in, and in the way they act to one another. Intent of an action is seen as of equal importance as the results of that action . Legal liability is then to be summed up in the simple phrase, "good thoughts, good words, good deeds."
As such, there is a tendency to see any form of asceticism or stoicism as unnatural. The avoidance of any aspect of life, which includes the avoidance of the pleasures of life, is a shirking of the responsibility and duty to oneself, one?s family, and one?s social obligations.
Fire and water play a central role in certain legal proceedings. In some areas, people affirm their oath of testimony by placing their palm upon the surface of holy water in a special bowl. Other areas use a small, ritual fire, and the affirmant hold their hands above it while swearing their oath.
Much of Khinasi law is only used in extreme circumstances. The family is seen as within its rights to handle issues within their own walls. Theft, domestic violence, and many other crimes are taken care of by the family itself. Between individuals, minor offenses are usually settled by cursing contests. The two square off in front of a crowd and insult one another, until crowd declares a winner. This is accepted, and there are few hard feelings. For more serious crimes involving loss of Sayim, duels and lengthy convoluted vendettas are not uncommon. If the crime is large enough, lynch mobs may form to dispense justice.
The laws seek to protect those that profess their innocence, and uncover the truth. The laws also seek to moderate and ?suggest? appropriate punishments in individual conflicts. Finally, the law seeks to establish standards of conduct to keep crime at bay. For example, the streets of Ariya are lit at night by baskets of wood suspended by chains. It is the legal responsibility of the land-owners on that street to keep them lit. A man was robbed one night. The man caught up with the robber, and was about to kill him when the constabulary intervened. Both were taken to jail and questioned. When it was revealed that the street was unlit, the owner of that property was called in. The owner was considered to have aided the robber, until it was shown that the robber doused the flames himself.
In the end, the robber was seen as having offended both the robbed and the land owner. He was required to pay back the monies taken, and spend 4 hours each day for a month in the Courthouse Courtyard proclaiming his crime and unworthiness. He was sentenced to 2 months of service keeping the street where he committed the crime clean of animal refuse and trash. The person who was robbed was fined for having tried to mete out ?Excessive retribution? against the robber.

[top]Legal Superstitions

With the evolution of the courts, several unique superstitions have come up around the law.
  • The Thirteenth day of a Month is considered as ill-omen; nothing important is
  • If a person lifts his left foot at the time of taking an oath, then his oath becomes unacceptable.
  • Bread is circulated around the head of a person who perjured himself in order to restore the Sayim of the perjured. Then it is given to a dog to consume.


The Khinasi do not fear magic as the other human tribes do. They hold magicians and sorcerers in awe, and treat them with respect. Magic is one of the truly egalitarian callings in their society. Any man or woman who has the ability to connect with the mystical forces of the universe is considered blessed.
Magicians do not have their own Geirhou. Instead, magicians tend to cluster around a library of magical knowledge, or Priory. Most will devote their lives to learning what is in the library and adding to it with their own notes and experiments. These libraries can range from a personal holding in someone?s house to a massive fortress Priory, complete with exterior battlements and armed troops. Priories tend to be quite closed off and secretive to outsiders. Some believe this attitude is a reaction to the fear and superstition that greets mages in other regions of Cerilia. Some believe that it is simply a matter of pride in their own library. A scarce few wizards fear for their secrets, spouting dire and convoluted plots by enemies to rid all Cerilia of magic or twist it to evil. Anyone who wishes to meet with senior librarians or have access to their books will have to put on a display of their abilities before they gain access. Once accepted into the closed community, they will be embraced as Azadja.
Since there is pride and honor in wielding magic, parents who suspect their children may have such talent make it known to an affiliated Priory or individual. The family will do whatever they can to support their child in their studies. Promising fledgling wizards often receive donations from their family?s Geirhou to encourage successful study. Mage Priories are funded by the aggregates of these donations as well as payments for services rendered. In some city-states the ability to cast spells of even moderate power can earn a Mage a minor Noble?s title and wealth.
Magicans, Sorcerers, and Wizards: Khinasi mages tend to be magicians and wizards rather than sorcerers. Discipline, study, and introspection bring about the understanding of the lesser magics of Aberynis. It has been noted that magicians and wizards tend to be taller and have darker skin tones than the average Khinasi. Some believe that this may be an indication of Maestian heritage, and that magical ability may flow through Maestian bloodlines. Wizards are seen as having been Gifted with the ability to comprehend the Earth power of mebhaighl (meh-VALE). Sorcerers are seen as having a blood tie to that power, through a powerful creature such as a dragon in their ancestry. Alternatively, some sorcerers see themselves as scions of the earth themselves. They believe that, just as the devastation of the gods at Deismaar brought forth the Bloodlines, the devastation of the earth brought forth their Sorcerous lines. Of course, contemporary magicians and wizards see this as a shameful excuse to not study. Magicians are those that are unwilling to touch the greater magic, settleing on subtlety and lesser powers.
All mages, no matter what kind, have a responsibility to their State. Any Khinasi spellcaster able to command true magic is legally bound to make the dangerous journey to the temple of Rilni (Ruornil) in southeastern Khinasi and swear the Five Oaths of Service: To obey the commands of the lawful ruler of the state; to preserve and protect all knowledge; never to raise a hand against another mage sworn to the oaths, except as commanded by the liege in lawful war; never to use magic to raise or communicate with the dead; and to destroy any wielder of true magic who does not abide by these oaths. An ancient and awesome power binds any mage taking the Five Oaths irrevocably. Once bound, mages find it impossible to violate the oaths, even if they want to do so.
The schools of Magic: Khinasi In theory, Khinasi mages revere all magics ? except necromancy ? and believe that all magical lore is equally worthwhile. In practice, however, certain schools, or subsets of schools, are preferred or disfavored.
The spells of the Abjuration school are highly valued. They protect the Priory and its secrets, and are widely desired by the wealthy and powerful. The clamor for such protections has diminished their prestige within the mage community, however. They are seen as a way to line one?s pockets rather than explore the true mysteries of magic.
Conjurations are seen as risky and dangerous, but potentially profitable. The Shadow world lies between Abernyis and all other planes. The nature of Awnmebhaigh (the Seeming) complicates such spells. Creatures of the Shadow world have been known to use Conjurations for their own purposes. Still many mages risk the dangers for the power and knowledge gleaned from creatures from other planes. Sorcerers in particular tend to favor this school.
The Khinasi?s devotion to logic and reason would, on the surface, make Divination seem a natural choice for Khinasi mages. But the Khinasi separation between their ?home? and ?family? make the use of scrying a loss of Sayim. Of course, that does not stop people from using it. They simply take great pains not to get caught. The Khinasi accept the use of scrying by legal authorities to glean out the truth and find those who seek to do ill. Similarly, attempting to predict the future is seen as circumventing Avaniahura. The future is in the hands of the Goddess, not man. People who practice divination do so in terms of opening their minds to the Goddess and receiving that which She CHOOSES to share. Divination is considered a Gift from Avani, and ?Following Her voice along the path?. Practitioners of Divination tend to be either closely aligned with, or closely monitored by, the Temple.
The spells of the Enchantment school are largely despised. This is due to the close quarters of city living and the importance of one?s actions on how they are viewed. Being charmed or compelled may cause them to change their actions and negatively impact their Sayim. To force this onto another is an even greater offense. This may also be a contributing factor to the general disfavor of Bards in Khinasi lands.
Evocations are one of the major schools. All mages love the flashy, showy nature of evocations. Sorcerers flock to this power. Mages and wizards are more circumspect, respecting the power and the potential for loss of control it carries.
Illusionists have a special place in Khinasi society. Illusionists are the most public and evident of all mages. Khinasi appreciate the ability to create shapes and tell stories through images and sound. They are more than willing to suspend disbelief and be entertained. Similarly, some regions like Aftane consider illusion an integral part of their war plans. Deception and denial of an area are seen as valid and noble subterfuge. Phantasms and Shadows are feared for their potential links to the shadow world and the powerful, unstable Awnmebhaigh. The use of illusion outside of warfare or performance is seen as shameful. It is tantamount to lying.
Necromancy is forbidden by magical oath for all Khinasi mages, and punishable by death for all non-Khinasi. This is an absolute, and clemency is never given.
Transmutation is another school of magic that is widely appreciated by the Khinasi community but not the practitioners of magic. Many of them are seen as ?shortcuts?; enhancing ones physical or mental abilities through spells rather than effort. Others tread the line close to the shadow-world with extra dimensional spaces or access to other planes. Sorcerers are more accepting than wizards or magicians.


Many superstitions exist in Khinasi culture. In some regions, they are considered as valid and important as the law. Other regions see them as quaint ways for the backward to do the right thing. They see the truths behind such precautions. Just as some believe Avani is the sun, others understand that the sun and moon obey the Avaniahura. Tradition is a powerful force in Khinasi society, and many superstitions are followed simply out of reverence for the past.

Tags for this Page

Similar Pages

  1. Khinasi Culture:Equality
    By BRadmin in forum Main
    Comments: 0
    Last Post: 02-18-2009, 10:27 PM
  2. Khinasi culture
    By BRadmin in forum Main
    Comments: 0
    Last Post: 02-05-2009, 02:14 AM
  3. Khinasi Culture:Honor
    By AndrewTall in forum Main
    Comments: 0
    Last Post: 02-02-2009, 04:32 PM
  4. Khinasi Culture:Grace
    By AndrewTall in forum Main
    Comments: 0
    Last Post: 02-02-2009, 04:32 PM


Posting Permissions

Posting Permissions
  • You may not create new articles
  • You may not edit articles
  • You may not protect articles
  • You may not post comments
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your comments
BIRTHRIGHT, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, the BIRTHRIGHT logo, and the D&D logo are trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and are used by permission. ©2002-2010 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.