The Minotaurs of Tarathan (Tarathanians) have organized themselves into tribes, and are centered on a fortified town. Powerful chieftains, who also take part in voting at huge tribal councils that elect kings, lead the tribes. The tribal chieftain controls virtually all aspects of daily life of the tribe, while kings are usually only involved with large projects, foreign diplomacy, and organizing regional defenses and large-scale military expeditions. Tarathanian Kings also enforce a general unity, and negotiate inter-tribal conflicts and disagreements. The Kings, and chieftains alike, hold their positions not necessarily by might alone, though personal courage and success in war is a prime factor, but also by general wisdom and skill in leadership. Should the leader be deemed lacking significantly, then the king, or chieftain, is voted out, and a new leader is elected to the position. Yearly councils and elections are held to sort out major problems facing the tribes, as well as confirming the leadership.
Druids, Bards, chieftains and warriors are held in the highest esteem, and have great influence. Skilled craftsmen and other leaders within the community that have a track record of wisdom and skill, whether male or female, are also highly respected and admired.It is these classes of warriors and professionals that usually make up important advisory positions within the community.
Slaves are usually taken from prisoners of war, and those captives taken in raids. Criminals are often sentenced to a time of slavery, usually for a specified time of servitude. Slaves are sometimes adopted within the family, and become full members of the tribe. Rebellious slaves are usually executed.
Tarathanians have generally organized a society that values merit and personal achievement. Intelligent, resourceful, and skilled individuals are highly respected, and can enjoy not only esteem, but also broad support for their efforts.
Members of the tribe are expected to work hard and to contribute in their daily activities. Females can participate in many different professions and activities, if they demonstrate talent, but otherwise are expected to fulfill traditional roles and positions within their society. Weakness and cowardice is universally despised, and in fighting units, anyone demonstrating cowardice may be set upon by his fellows and killed.
Tarathanians love life, and enjoy wild feasts and parties. They enjoy strong drink, and can become aggressive and belligerent when drunk. Tarathanians hold honor to be of prime importance, for everyone. Oaths are taken very seriously, and one who makes an oath is expected by everyone to fulfill it, or die trying.
Tarathanians have developed great skill in metalworking, weaving, and pottery.
They are accomplished merchants, and value trade and exploration. Merchants
in the tribes are not only respected, but often-wealthy individuals. Tarathanians
often organize trade caravans to set forth to foreign lands and peoples in order
to forge trade relationships. Groups of merchants and colonists will often set
out for foreign lands to establish trade-colonies. These trade colonies will
engage in trade, as well as resource cultivation for the tribes back home.
Tarathanians worship a pantheon not unlike that of many humans.
They are a vigorous, barbarian culture. They have a rugged, rural existence that has fully embraced and interwoven itself with the rhythms of the natural world. Ttarathanians seem to be very open to embracing different religious traditions. They have developed a rich religious life, but one that recognizes the harsh environment that they live in.
Tarathanian temples are often carefully crafted of great timbers, finely carved and formed with majestic peaked roofs. These temples often feature stone floors, and pillars of carved oak. Great hearths are set in stone, with shelves lining the sides. On these shelves are placed skulls of various animals, unusual creatures, and defeated enemies. Throughout the community, carved oaken totems are found, with runic inscriptions worked into them. These wooden totems often form a spiritual warning, or relate the significance or importance of the site where they are found.
Tarathanians, while deeply religious, have not developed a tradition of Paladins or Templars, in an organized sense. They do have groups of devout Berserkers though. Religious structure is primarily formed from Druids, and Bards. Druids form the priestly class, and serve as advisors and judges in the community. Bards serve as messengers, storytellers, and historians, as well as musicians. Troupes of Bards often lead warriors into battle with heroic poems and inspiring songs and chants. Tarathanians are often superstitious, and observe many different omens and divinations.
Tarathanians often use tattoos. In addition, painting themselves in strange colors of paint for ritual significance is popular before going into battle, or participating in religious ceremonies and rituals.
Tarathanians are often buried in earthen tombs, with slaves and animals sacrificed
in their honor. They are often buried with treasure and personal grave goods.
Leaders and especially brave champions are burned upon a raised bier that has
been especially decorated for the occasion. At such times, prayers and oaths
are recited, and groups of women wail while Druid-priests intone ancient chants.