Sipasa was the chief of the Sassa tribe. The sassa had lived under the thumb of the crumbling Pileusian Empire (that is, Vangir) for over forty generations. This hobgoblin tribe wasn't much different than the others in the region that has now become Kataf. There was much order and military training that would put Aruthien to shame. The Vangiri had outlawed the use and ownership of weapons, but still allowed the pre-Katafin the farming implements needed to tame the land. This was their mistake, as the hobgoblins of this region can make war with sticks and stones, to say nothing of scythes and threshers. Sipasa had taken it upon himself to free his people from the Vangiri and had made pacts and alliances with nearly every hobgoblin tribe in the region. In a single day, as a united force, the hobgoblin tribes were able to strike down their giantkin overlords and drive out the remnants of the Vangiri for good. Sipasa owed daughters and sons to many other chiefs, and gold and aurochs to countless more. He quickly paid his debts and, as their hero, the tribes crowned him their united war-king.
have many Naduumian traditions (as best remembered by the short lived people). Hobgoblins were used as the primary non-giant workers in the Pileusean Empire outside of the shivan lands and have been on Avantarra since the Diaspora. For several thousand years they were entirely dependent on the giants for their daily lives, as almost willing slaves to the giants. Slowly, their own culture and independence developed and tribes began to form among the slaves. These proto-tribes were encouraged by the Pileuseans, since it made the workers more efficient and their work better done. But the development went too far for the giants' comfort and they crushed these tribes before they could organized enough to rebel. The tribes were scattered and mixed so that no two families who had shared a tribe were within a hundred miles of each other. But this didn't stop the hobgoblins. They realized that the giants saw them as a threat, and this fueled them. It took another four hundred years, but they were able to secretly establish new tribes and were able to create a network between these tribes. In around 5200 PN, the First Vidra began, a great rebellion of all of the hobgoblin tribes. They threw down their giant masters and established for themselves independent tribes.
This warrior state existed for roughly a thousand years, but it had begun to diminish by 4500 PN when the Pileuseans were able to reorganize and drive back the hobgoblins. By 4200 PN, they hobgoblins were once again a conquered people. They were the second people to gain their independence from Pileus after the dwarven rebellion and the suicide of Garus. The Second Vidra started in 3728 PN, as the hobgoblins struck back against the weakening giant empire. Their insurrection was swift and bloody. Tens of thousands of each people died in the conflict, but the goblinoids were able to carve out for themselves a territory once again, regaining some of their former glory. This time, rather than a war-confederate, the despot Nasaha took the reins of the people in his iron fist. He ruled the nation cruelly and roughly for twenty years before passing it down to his firstborn son. For fifteen generations, Nasaha's family ruled over the "free" hobgoblins. Three hundred years was too much for the tribes. They had essentially leapt from "anvil to the furnace", to use a Katafin idiom, and they wanted no more of it. An uprising ensued, with the first blood drawn at the end of the year 2421 PN. This rebellion was lead by the warrior-prince Katafi, who became the first Tikari (similar to a triumvir) along with Hadura and Jabuta. The Tikari state was roughly a republic, with each tribe sending a representative to the senate, but all final decisions were determined by the Tikarom (pl. Tikari). This republic, known ad Picasa, lasted another 500 years before Nirdayi seized power. 1974 PN, when he was appointed Tikari after the death of Harada, he quickly slew his fellow Tikarom and anointed himself the Tanas of Picasa. As an autocrat, he squandered the wealth and power he had stolen, but he was still respected by the hobgoblins. Ancient Naduumian tradition, which the people still preserved, allowed for a stronger man to take when he could from a weaker man. Nirdayi had seized what he wanted from not just one man, but from an entire nation. The respect was begrudging, but it was still offered.
Bloody and violent despots assassinated their way into power over the hobgoblins for another 800 years. Some were better than others, but all took the scepter at the tip of a blade. The size of Picasa fluctuated over these centuries, based on the power of the Tanas and his military. By this time, Vangir had become the chief enemy of Picasa, and they squabbled over territory constantly. In 1048 PN, during a civil war in Picasa, the Vangir struck and overwhelmed the hobgoblins. They took everything from them and forced them back into the servitude that had been the hobgoblins' fate under the giants of Pilea. Vangir had to quash pockets of resistance and uprisings all throughout the area of Picasa for several hundred years, and finally completely removed all weapons from Picasa. In secret, the hobgoblins kept training. They honed martial techniques using what tools they were allowed, mostly farming implements and craftsmans tools. Honed into weapons in the fields and forests, the hobgoblins waited their time to once again rise up and establish for themselves a nation.
In autumn 238 PN, the time came. Sipasa had been making secret dealings for years with the various unofficial tribal chiefs, setting up the system to overthrow the Vangiri. He only gave them as much information as they needed to complete their task and made sure that no single task was essential. He knew that many would die, as sacrifices for the betterment of the people, and he made sure that none were included that were not willing to give their lives for the cause. The coup was swift and violent. Katafin history claims that the Vangiri were deposed in a single day, though it took only marginally longer. The major Vangiri heads of state were all removed within the month. Before the year was out, the nation of Kataf was officially established and Sipasa was set as its head.
The northern portion of Kataf is cold and wet, with wide plains punctuated by incredibly dense pockets of forest. The south turns those plains into sweeping steppes and rocky hills. The east are various rocky and sandy coasts, with cold tides and strong currents. All the borders are in constant flux, as the war over the border between Kataf and Vangir is constantly being debated and expansion into Vraie is continual.
Winters are cold and wet, with lots of ice, especially in the center of the country. The summers are dry but mild, in the hills in the deep south it can get rather warm.
The common folk are militant and orderly. They all train hard from a young age in the ways of war. Before they are taught a trade, they are taught to wield weapons and wear armor. They are harsh and straightforward, though very respectful of established authority lines (unless those authorities overstep their bounds). They are as industrious as their military lifestyle will allow, and they are unaccepting of weakness. They eschew nearly everything but the mundane, and all things must have military application to be useful. As a rule, the Sassa are more concerned with adherence to the rule than with the trivial concerns of "good" and "evil".
The leadership of Kataf are all military commanders, and they run their cities and regions as such. Orders are delivered and they are expected to be followed, and they are followed. The leaders are very typically Machiavellian, leading through love or fear, whichever is most expedient. The ends often justify the means and complaints are little tolerated. Duty is expected and duty is rewarded. The leaders love and respect their people, like a good general does his troops, but not such that they will coddle their people. Much is expected and much is given.
Katafin dress heavily and ready to move at a moments notice. They are always with a weapon, and rarely without some sort of armor (usually simple leathers). Coloring is almost unheard of, leaving fabrics to whatever natural state they come in. The only coloration that is used it used for subtlety in warfare, camouflage mostly. Heavy animal skin coats (usually bear or mastodon) are worn in winter, with fur-lined caps being common as well.
The hobgoblins of Kataf are a completely carnivorous society, developed in response to the view that farming is slave work and no Sassa will be a slave again. As such, shepherding and hunting are the most common ways of providing food for a village. Sheep, woolly rhinoceros, horses and aurochs are the most common herd animals and all can be used for food or as mounts. Coastal settlements are known to rely on fishing and whaling as well as farming and hunting.
The weaponsmith Niha, whose skill can craft weapons of incredible magic and splendor, is renown among the hobgoblins. All smiths strive to attain his level of mastery and to wield - to say nothing of own - a Niha Blade is an incredible honor.
The common language of Kataf is the Avantarran dialect of Goblin, and it is the official language of the nation. Many of the citizens can still read and understand Avantarran Giant, but most refuse to speak it. Since the invasion of Vraie, many have learned Western Eianic. Several of the other Avantarran languages are well known, though mostly for military purposes, with special focus on Elvish and Dwarven.
Kataf is named after the hobgoblin hero Katafi. The derivative form Katafin is in reference to him and is the term usually used by outsiders to refer to people and things from Kataf. The terms Sassan and Sassa are the proper terms used by the hobgoblin people to refer to themselves. It simply means "the people" in Avantarran goblin. For most purposes the terms are interchangeable.
Religion is a personal preference and, as long as it doesn't interfere with your duties, you may practice it as you please. Because of this sentiment, there are no temples in Kataf, though some of the very devout have personal shrines in their homes and a military barracks may have an idol (though it is treated more like a mascot). To many, religion is seen as too unreliable to be useful; whether you receive aid or not from a god is dependent on too many hidden factors and the Sassa prefer to know their odds.
Those that do practice an organized belief often follow the tenets of Brandt, Kath, Mishya and Shalokar. Preference is often given towards the more lawful aspects of the various gods, with a slight majority preferring evil aspects over good ones.
Military meritocracy headed by a warrior-king (called the pradhana senapati). The rulers of regions are determined by whichever military commander is responsible for the defense and preparedness of a region. If a tukari (roughly equivalent to a legion) moves, then the mandara in charge of the unit ceases to make the rules for that region. There are 28 tukari, one for each of the tribes lead by Sipasa in the Third Vidra, each in charge of a single geographic region. The size of each region (also called a tukari) varies based on the military needs of that region. Central, stable and uncontested regions are larger while border regions, unstable regions or regions prone to attack are much smaller. The tukari are broken into districts, lead by lesser commanders, on down to specific villages or even certain streets in cities being assigned squads of troops to govern them. All decisions are made based on rank and importance, with codified delegation of responsibilities being outlined all the way from the war-king down to the line soldier.
Raktamutthi is the pradhana senapati and absolute ruler of Kataf, though his decisions are typically regarding inter-tukari disputes or important international affairs, leaving regional and local affairs to the mandarom (s. mandara) over the area. The pradhana senapati achieves the scepter by rising up in the military ranks and must prove bravery in combat, intelligence, craftiness, subtlety and resolve. He must pass a ritual test to be awarded the scepter. Interim times where there is no pradhana senapati, a steward is elected by the military until a suitable warrior-king can be found. The steward only has power to enforce currently existing laws and is often selected from the mandara Adala. The pradhana senapati, however, can come from any level of the military as long as he or she passes the rituals. The current pradhana senapati, Raktamutthi, has held the scepter since 191 TC.
The mandara of the regional tukari determines the internal affairs of his or her own region. Each tukari is broken into districts governed by a tana (pl. tanan). Sometimes, in larger or more urban regions, a tana will place the jenta over portions of the district. The law is enforced by both the military and the common people. The general populace has the right to press charges against anyone caught breaking a local, regional or national law. All trials are convened before a military court known as the Adala, which has levels for the jenta, tana and mandara. There is a secret police that keeps tabs on branches of local and regional government. They are known as the naphusi and they answer directly to the pradhana senapati.
The Katafin have allied themselves with the Evad dwarves and the Gaersh when it has been necessary. Normal relations however consist of trade agreements and non-agression pacts. There are also trade agreements with the shivan and Corsairia.
Vangir and Kataf have been at war constantly for longer than either nation can remember. The Katafin vow to cease their attacks only when the final Vangiri lies dead in the field. In 130 PN, Kataf began to war against the failing Vraien Empire. Though not as fierce a war, the Sassa have been fighting more or less continually for over 300 years.
Ancient allies of the hobgoblins (prior to the establishment of Kataf) include XXXX and a small colony of drakes which dwelt in the region and have since become extinct. Ancient enemies include Pilea and the elves of Skos. The Sassa have an indoctrinated hatred of elves.
The Katafin only establish permanent cities in areas that are well behind the front lines. A tukari can cover over twenty miles in a day and a Katafin city is never closer than a week from the fighting lines. Any of the tukari regions inside a week's march from the front have mobile encampments instead of permanent cities. Even outside of this range, permanent structures are uncommon except on strategically important locations, such as near iron mines or at safe harbors. A city often starts as an outpost or fort and, as the front moves further away, its military value is converted into economic value. The older and larger a city, the more central it is likely to be.
The military is everything to the daily lives of the Katafin. All males between the ages of 12 and 20 are required to serve in the military.
Magic is "elven foolishness", both arcane and divine. Because of this, there are almost no magic users to speak of. A rogue Sassa might break the social stigma and study magic, but unless it can be proved to have direct, practical and reliable applications, they will not remain a Katafin much longer. This does not mean magic items are rare, but simply that they are weapons of war and not convenience. The Katafin have always worked directly with their hands, taking and making everything they need. Using magic is for the weak, the elves, and has no place among the strong.
All Sassa are hobgoblin. No other races are allowed to be called such, though a few have become Katafin. The few who have were dwarves and humans.
They hate elves, regardless of national origin. They harbor a similar hatred of giants, though lesser firbolg often are given a chance. Humans, orcs, Half-Orcs and dwarves are often respected. Flen and gnomes are not given any reasonable amount of thought as there are none native to the region around Kataf. With the exception of elves and giants, individuals are usually evaluated rather than groups.
Martial classes are very common, especially fighter, monk, rogue and ranger (skirmisher). Barbarians are uncommon, since the nation as a whole has a lawful bend, though they are not unheard of. Warrior is, by far, the most common NPC class, with expert taking a close second. Anything with spell casting is rarer than rare for a Sassa. Some immigrants are known to use magic, however.