TLDR - Brass/bronze steampunk meets Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Clothing and Accessories
“The 51st Exploration Corps arrived in the Mishi system in 22103 AD, where they discovered a heavily populated planet just beginning to enter its Industrial Revolution.”
“Under the direction of the water barons, the first major industry on Mishi IV emerged. The planet was resource poor, but many settlements began mining out the scarce metal deposits. Copper was most abundant, though tin, silver, gold were not uncommon. Through some quirk of its formation, Mishi IV had very little iron content in the upper crust, so iron mining was not a frequent occurrence.”
“Eventually, technological innovation caught up with cultural innovation and the Ni-Kunni began to enter an industrial phase. Though hampered by the lack of iron and thus steel, the Ni-Kunni developed numerous strong and advanced brass and bronze alloys. The introduction of the steam engine caused an explosion in industry and soon massive, steam-powered factories began to spring up across the globe.”
“However, the civilizations of Mishi IV would not naturally progress beyond the beginnings of an Industrial Revolution.
“The planet possesses little in the way of material resources, with little in the way of heavy metal deposits.”
((I chose to interpret the above as indicating a sort of late Victorian/Early Industrial age level of technology with the exact levels likely depending on closeness to the larger cities. My Baron, as the leader of a smaller, distant settlement in the mountains would have limited access to most of the finest modern things. He would, as the richest member of his community, be able to acquire the occasional accessories, thus his fine mechanical watch. In addition, his settlement’s source of wealth came from its control of valuable metal deposits. He displays the work of his local craftsmen with his fine chain harness, bag and of course his key chain. The key chain is of special significance as it holds the keys he uses to ritually unlock the city aquifer every morning. It is in many ways his badge of office. All the chainwork was made by me out of either brass, bronze, copper or silver.
The folding sickle is a Pashtun Lohar. This is a strange weapon/tool with a very contested historical narrative. In some fashion these were used by 18th century Pashtun tribesmen, however how exactly and to what degree is unknown. They generally had a straight non-mechanical sickle with these folding ones only being made more recently in the 19th/20th century. Today they are as far as I can tell a novelty produced by craftsmen in Kandahar for tourists more than anything. I thought it seemed to fit well with the steampunky/metal-working motifs and I happened to have one my father found at a yardsale so there it is.))
“This matches well with traditional Ni-Kunni dress, which tended to be breathable and concealing, protecting the wearer from heat, the sun, and sand storms.”
“For men, the robe is considered a regular, every-day garment. Worn traditionally it does not have a hood, but many adopt a more mainstream Amarr style and add one”
“While the head scarf was common among ancient Ni-Kunni, it has fallen nearly completely out of favor in modern culture, and is typically only worn during ceremonies such as weddings.”
“They typically wear their hair close-cropped and in simple styles. Beards come in and out of fashion with the years, though long beards are typically seen as inappropriate. Among ancient Ni-Kunni, they were impractical in the Mishi climate and thus have remained unpopular to the present.”
“Jewelry is uncommon among both sexes. It is considered ostentatious and flashy, not befitting a Ni-Kunni of substance.”
“On land, the reptiles are the dominant native life forms. These fill the majority of ecological niches, with several apex predators growing to the size of adult slaver hounds. Several species have been domesticated by the Ni-Kunni and are used as livestock and beasts of burden. Arthropods and small mammal species fill out the biosphere. Mishi IV has no native avians, with flying reptiles filling their evolutionary roles.”
((For the clothes I went with all natural plant fibers. I am unsure what exactly the Ni-Kunni would use but I imagine given the lack of non-reptilian larger lifeforms it is less likely for them to use animal products except maybe some sort of silk. The robes, shirt and the sash were linen. The headwrap was cotton. My son’s shirt was linen as well. My wife did the tailoring and edging with gold thread. I went barefoot as honestly I could not find appropriate sandals, it seemed fine though for hanging out in the gardens. The beard was a matter of reality, I did not want to cut it at the moment as I am growing it out for personal reasons. However I think the lore leaves it open enough to get away with it, especially as the Baron lives in the more temperate mountains. As far as jewelry goes the article is vague as to whether it was rejected historically or if this is a later response to their position in Amarr society. I choose to believe it is a little of both. While a little flashy his accessories are all in keeping with his position and I think appropriate.))
Society and Religion
"Stories were passed down through the generations, but as knowledge faded, these tales became twisted with legend and embellishments to become little more than fables.”
“The most prominent is that the Ni-Kunni’s ancestors, much like those of the Amarr, were religious extremists looking to start anew in a new world.”
“Several major religions emerged and spread during this period. Though much information on them has been destroyed and suppressed by the Amarr, enough artifacts and records remain to paint a detailed picture.”
“ While the Amarr stamped out many of the less desirable cultural practices, they found that the Ni-Kunni did most of the work themselves.”
“While the ancient Ni-Kunni had a rich and varied culture, it has mostly been erased by the Amarr.”
“The pre-contact Ni-Kunni practiced a variety of religions. The majority of these were minor ones, practiced by isolated communities and families. Much of them had died out by the time the Amarr arrived and those that did not have mostly been erased by the Amarr.”
“These warlords were known as water barons, as they raised armies to conquer and control the permanent potable water sources on Mishi IV. While these water barons were autocratic rulers and often subject their people to great cruelty and hardship, they also provided a necessary stabilizing factor, keeping violence from erupting over water and other resources.”
“The first Ni-Kunni novel, ‘‘The Shamar of Sutan’’, was written during this time, though it only exists in fragmentary form today.”
((There is quite a bit more across the various articles detailing the various predominant religious beliefs of the Ni-Kunni. My Stellar Disk is not necessarily connected to any of those, however what they show is a rich and varied heritage dedicated to methods of discerning natural laws to assist the Ni-Kunni in predicting things like weather patterns. I was imagining an artifact from their past, some sort of religious device used to assist in astrological divination subsequently repurposed in their modern era for use in alchemical ritual. When held with the correct orientation the disk tells multiple tales.
The center hemispheres are the planet and its moon. From the northern point and proceeding clockwise the points represent the planets III, V, II, I, VI, VII, VIII and then IX. This is the order of luminosity from brightest to faintest they would display when at their closest approach to Mishi IV. The symbols burnt into the wood at these points are alchemical symbols depicting a process of purification and transformation as you begin at the moon and spiral out through the planets. They are real historical symbology modified with each planet’s numerology and some personal touches. The check marks on the outer circle are the 221 days of Mishi V’s year, split into 8 months. Seven of the months are 27 days with a long month of 32 finishing the year. The inner check marks are the 6 day lunar cycle. The reverse check marks at the end of each represent the need to readjust at the end of each year due to the orbital math.
The similarity to the Amarrian symbol that came to be the Khumaak was actually unintentional. I think that solar imagery is pretty common throughout human history, often with even numbered points as that’s sort of the easiest way to draw a sun. I thought the parallels would be interesting and it inspired the idea that these pictures would have been reserved from the public by the MIO for the potential religious implications.
The use of the name Shamar as a title comes from the above quote and the former CCP Eterne’s further non-canon fiction wherein he seems to use it as the Ni-Kunni word for Water Baron.))