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The Ji'Li Tribal Conglomerate spans a great deal of the volcanically-active islands and tropical belt. Many wars have been fought between the various tribes of one island to the next, or in general if the peninsula-dwelling Ji'Li are any better or worse in their names than their counterparts. These wars continued to escalate and in their resource-rich homelands, the weaponry, magic, and invective continued to develop until (it is said) that mere words in conversation could cause groaning and pain in the listener.1

Each acknowledged tribe2 saw their numbers decreasing, and thus a great kurultai/conclave/convention was called. Many marriages formed in the wake, but more importantly, the question of lethal force against other tribes was debated. For many days and many nights fights broke out and Words were said. The only clear victor was Baar4, master of drink, for he sold the inebriating concoctions3 (some possibly Fengak in origin) that eventually had the representatives mellow enough to listen to each other. Once listening, it left them with two options:

1) Develop softer, meaner weapons.
2) Focus on the outside world.

Being a practical people5, they of course chose both. The first led to the ritual of "Mok Con," a duel of wits, which can be (and often is) played amongst any level of Tribesmen. (Other races have attempted and succeeded in gaining Face with this ritual, but only a few have ever gained Names.) In fact, often the contest is begun, played, and won, in a single conversation that outsiders who do not know the ritual words miss completely. Mok Con is played for Face (if not Name.) Face is a kind of running tally of points between any two Ji'Li. It can be won from anyone, including people outside the Tribes, but if not viewed by a member of the Tribes, it doesn't count. Only those with crippling lines remembered for ages (and often become the punchline of jokes told by Ji'Li storytellers) become parts of Names.

The Ji'Li love to travel, and have always engaged in the kind of wanton capitalism that make their presence tolerated if not entirely appreciated. It is said the only thin Ji'Li is one who has not tasted the world. Ji'Li as a rule love to eat, the stranger the better, and it is said some feasts have been Mok Con.

In regards to the War of 1000 Kegs, the question that is rarely asked about these rotund tricksters is, "Where did they get a thousand kegs of explosives?" The secret may lie in their disciplines (akin to Beakery) they have turned from ceremony and tradition of the Loa Key Moo, sometimes mistranslated as "the spirit of the exploding cow."

[1] The ritual of "Pun" is still a dueling technique in the upper northwest Ji'Li Islands. It also led to the creation of Names, which make the Ji'Li owners of some of the longest names, and easily angered if you are calling them out without mentioning all of them. His or her name will reflect their birthplace, parentage, tribe, physical features as a child, features as an adult, events in their life, contests won, and many other notes. Luckily, they're actually pretty laid back if you put the Ji' in front as an honorific, but one can never be too obsequious, unless, of course, you're trying to win Mok Con.

[2] Many lineages remain unacknowledged as "tribes" until they have emerged as victors in a Mok Con, or contest of wits.

[3] Including, it is said, the fabled "Armageddon Ale" which is less useful as a beverage than as a siege weapon.

[4] Now of the Ji'Baar line, these practical tribesmen have contracts all over the globe fulfilling a special need for spirits and elixirs. The Ji'Baar Shamen have developed martial arts disciplines based off the inebriated stance called 'the drunken ghost.' If they had labels, Ji'Baar would be an imported beer, dark, with a nutty taste. Ahem.

[5] Once you got past the initial "Ung!" of meeting and evaluating each others' Face and Name, and deciding if some ancestors would fight and thus encourage your swagger and one-up-manship, the Ji'Li are quite able to work together.

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Page last modified on October 29, 2008, at 05:25 PM by Meera

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