Long ago, before the rise of the Nameless Race across the ocean, before the founding of the Nymus Republic, before the Darsai had been taught the codes of chivalry by Thane, there existed a race on the western coast of Vellastrom known as the Brorg-Dao.
They were a fierce, warrior people, who worshiped 73 gods of battle and combat (and one god of rain.) This reptilian race valued strength and courage in battle and their drinking halls would be filled with loud songs and tales of great deeds.
However, over time, the Brorg-Dao began to come to worship other, more sinister beings.
They began to venerate foul demons in place of their old gods, and over time their society came to be dominated by the witch doctors who served the demons.
The greatest and most terrible of the demons they served was called Tang-Roth and his followers came to call themselves the Tang-Dao.
Seeing the dark road the rest of their race was going down, many of the Brorg-Dao departed on board their long ships, travelling far to the south, where to this day they keep alive the ancient ways of their people, living as warriors and raiders who are feared throughout Vellastrom.
But for those that did not leave, a dark time came upon them, as different clans fought amongst each other for power.
A young woman, known as Zha-Tsung, looked upon the state of her people and realised that if things continued as they were, their race would surely perish from Harkovast.
She departed into the wilderness for 15 years. Exactly where she went is a topic of great debate. Some say she went as far as the White Kingdom across the eatern ocean, others say she managed to reach the mystical shores of Eldex and learned teachings from the Wizards.
When she returned, she saw that the situation in her home land had continued to deteriorate, with civil war raging unchecked and foul demonic powers being unleashed against the populace.
The people were shocked to see she had returned, for most had assumed her long dead. She had a strange calmness about her, something the war like clans were not used too.
She denounced the demons and those that followed them and declared that she had uncovered the source of the peoples suffering.
She declared that they were trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth and due to their chaotic lives, the people were ultimately harming themselves and this was the reason that their race was now dwindling.
She then announced that if the witch doctors or war lords disagreed with her they should send 100 of their best warriors to kill her, but if they failed to kill her, she would be vindicated.
Many mocked Zha-Tsung's strange announcement at first, but it soon became clear that many people (tired of war fare and blood shed) were heeding her words, so a great many warriors were sent forth to silence her.
The warriors rushed at her, slashing savagely with various axes and blades. Much to their surprise, Zha-Tsung moved with such speed and skill that they were unable to strike her. For many hours the warriors attacked her, but the grace and skill of her strange movements was such that not one of them could land a blow on her. Zha-Tsung did not retaliate or attack in anyway, she simply continued to move around them, evading all blows.
Over time the warriors one by one became frustrated and gave up, or collapsed from exhaustion. In then end, only one remained, Chan-Hoi, he greatest warrior of all.
Such was his great strength and courage that he refused to stop fighting, continuing to attack Zha-Tsung for a full day and a night after all the other warriors had admited defeat.
Zha-Tsung could have continued the fight in this manner indeffinitely, such was her mastery, but she took pity on brave Chan-Hoi, who would clearly fight until he dropped dead. So she delivered a single touch which immediately knocked the great warrior unconcious.
When he awoke, Chan-Hoi threw himself down before Zha-Tsung. He had fought many battles and had never been bested in combat before.
He announced that truly Zha-Tsung must be the one their people should follow, the one who could save them from their decline.
This demonstration of her abilities and Chan-Hoi's conversion caused many to flock to her cause.
Over time, her follows came to be known as the Tsung-Dao, in honour of their founder.
Zha-Tsung taught them about meditation, spiritual insight and harnessing life magic through elaborate martial arts.
The Witch Doctors of the Tang-Dao and the demons they served, realising their power was rapidly shrinking, launch fierce attacks against the Tsung-Dao. But their frenzied, uncontrolled attacks were no match for the calm precision that Zha-Tsung imparted to her followers (both in single combat and in broader strategy.)
Chan-Hoi became the first Shogun and his elite warriors the first Samurai, and they thwarted the Tang-Dao in battle in ever encounter.
Zha-Tsung did not set out to destroy the Tang-Dao through military might, however. Instead they were allowed to dwindle, as more of them gave up their war like ways and joined with the Tsung-Dao, while those that remained were destroyed through infighting, futile attacks against the Tsung-Dao or from starvation and disease brought about by the Witch Doctors mismanagement.
Within Zha-Tsung's life time, the Tang-Dao had ceased to exist.
When Zha-Tsung finally died, her spirit had achieved such a state of enlightenment that Tsung-Dao believe she left the cycle of reincarnation and became a god, benevolently watching over her people.
Chan-Hoi also ascended to godhood, as would other Tsung-Dao over the centuries, Moi-Lin, Bah-Nang and Ming-Pang. These five gods are the only ones the Tsung-Dao believe have so far achieved enlightenment, though eventually the Tsung-Dao believe that as a race they will all achieve this higher state of being.
These gods are not worshiped by the Tsung-Dao as the gods of most races are. Instead they are held up as examples to follow, of what can be achieved when the mind and body are perfectly ordered. The Tsung-Dao do not call on their gods for aid, but instead try to follow the example that the gods set while they were alive as mortals.
Tsung-Dao legend warns however, that Tang-Roth, the most evil of all the demons that once plagued them, was not destroyed and still waits for his chance to take revenge for his humiliating defeat, trapped in a cold realm in which there is no light, howling his hatred of the Tsung-Dao, over whom he still claims lordship. The Tsung-Dao say that if their race was ever to fall back into evil ways, it would herald Tang-Roth's release and return to the world.
Oh, and if Tang-Roth turns out to be the KITW I might just be a tad bit disappointed...
More on Tsung-Dao society...
Some of the information here may have already been stated, in the topic on Tsung-Dao origins, sorry for any repeats! Also sorry for any typos, I wrote this out quick so there be the odd mistake!
Hope you enjoy learning a bit about our lizardy friends....
Tsung-Dao are a reptilian race associated with the magical elements of steel and life.
This magic manifests itself in the remarkable abilities Tsung-Dao are able to harness through meditation and martial arts (with regard to life magic,) and in the incredible swords their samuraiās wield in battle (metal magic, obviously.)
There are physically large and strong, and have scaly skin which makes them tough to injure.
They are not actually cold blooded, but their bodies are worse at regulating their own temperature then other races, making it difficult for them to travel in very hot or very cold regions.
Tsung-Dao society is strange and baffling to outsiders.
They have no centralised government, or indeed any formalised system of government at all.
In times of peace, decisions are made by councils of local elders, those considered wise, trusted and spiritually enlightened.
Tsung-Dao do not use money, or really engage in formalised trade. Instead, their society is very communal, with the members all working towards a common purpose.
Tsung-Dao seek order above all things, both within themselves (which they try to achieve through meditation) and in the society around them. They very rarely break the rules of their society and take joy in working towards the good of the community. The minor infractions that do occur are normally dealt with by public shaming of the guilty party (who in most cases, confesses and feels great remorse for having shamed themselves.)
Due to the rareness of very serious crimes, the punishments for these are normally very draconian, death being most common.
It must be understood though that Tsung-Dao do not obey their laws out of a fear of punishment, they do so because it simply does not occur to them to do otherwise. After all, breaking rules would just make everything more chaotic, an idea that most of them find frightening in and of itself!
The Tsung-Dao enjoy routine, a day where you do the same thing as yesterday is a day well spent! Mostly this will involve working cleaning, making things or most importantly farming (either in the paddy fields to get rice or in the insect farms).
Water clocks are commonly used to regulate the time of day so meals can be taken at the same time, in large communal dinning halls.
For relaxation, Tsung-Dao enjoy meditation in search of spiritual insight, practicing various martial art disciplines and taking part in very formalised and rigidly structured plays and dances.
Outsiders will mostly notice that when you stay with the Tsung-Dao they are friendly, generous, welcoming but most of all incredibly boring!
Suggestions of deviating from the days normal activities or of rowdy behaviour will be met with blank or embarrassed looks.
This focus on order makes the Tsung-Dao society peaceful, but also rather uninspired. Though they are as clever as any other people, innovation is relatively rare and this has left them technologically somewhat backward compared to other races like the Nymus or Darsai.
In battle, the Tsung-Dao army is largely a militia, often equipped and trained especially for the battle or war they are needed for.
Fortunately due to their great strength, natural inclination towards order and martial arts training, Tsung-Dao can be adapted to fearsome soldiers relatively easily.
Many make use of iron shod staffs, spears and slings in battle.
The only full time warriors in a Tsung-Dao army are the Samurai.
These are elite warriors who act as constant protectors of the Tsung-Dao people.
They are equipped with army which, while not up the standards of Darsai plate armour, gives good protection and are also the only Tsung-Dao to carry swords (for a none samurai to use a sword would bring great shame on Tsung-Dao in question.)
These blades are light, but incredibly sharp, and combined with the samuraiās life time of training can make short work of even heavily armoured foes.
In times of war the Samuraiās act as generals and leaders, as well as elite shock troops and cavalry. When commanding an army of Tsung-Dao, they can always be confident of their orders being carried out!
In recent times there have been some Tsung-Dao, often younger individuals, who have become frustrated at their lot in lives, and have become dangerously rebellious. Some have even broken away, forming fierce bandit gangs, or travelling to other nations to work as mercenaries.
There is even some talk of rogue samurai (ronin) who have forsaking their sacred duties and begun using their skills for their own personal gain.
Some of the elders fear that the West may have a hand in these events, a theory that seems born out by new that The Heretic has been seen in the Tsung-Dao lands once againā¦
I just thought of something I forgot to include in this essay....
Laying eggs! Doh!
Yes, Tsung-Dao lay eggs, which makes giving birth a lot easier on the mothers!
They lay one egg at a time and these are then cared for by the community in special hatcheries.
When they hatch they are breast fed by their mothers and also fed chewed up food (which they can eat right away after hatching.)
Children are cared for by the community as a whole, with different people being assigned to care for them at different times.
Tsung-Dao children still know who their parents and direct family are, but consider the rest of the settlements adults to be an extended net work of teachers, uncles and aunts.
Children are encouraged to take part in group activities (meditation, formal dances, martial arts training etc) which are very formally organised and rigidly structured. Of course to a Tsung-Dao child, this type of tightly controled activity is very enjoyable. They Tsung-Dao have no issue with homosexuality and consider samesex relationships just as valid as hetrosexual ones, however they are very prudish about sex.
In a society where public physical contact makes people uncomfortable, any overt display of affection would be considered to be in very poor taste.
Sex outside of marriage is a huge scandal in Tsung-Dao society and someone having an affair would leave them utterly aghast an horrified!
Tsung-Dao are very communal so happily feed and shelter the Samurai. Sharing just comes naturally to these guys.
There would indeed be varying numbers of Samurai depending on the size of the settlement. Samurai's do indeed provide training for villiages since they can provide an effective militia. They are the guardians of all the Tsung-Dao know-how when it comes to warfare, after all.
A Samurai warrior of appropriate skill would take on apprentices to train as new samurai from all the availiable hopefuls, so yes, a samurai tryout is an appropriate description. ! A rogue samurai who doesn't defend a particular area or fights for his own reasons apart from society is indeed a Ronin (funny, I was just thinking about this today for some reason.) Some Ronin are known to be brave warriors and heroes who travel to battle evil and go where they are needed, others are honourless thugs or mercenaries seeking to make a fortune in foriegn wars.