Background[edit | edit source]
A tribal civilization primarily comprising island aumaua which has thrived in the Deadfire Archipelago for at least five thousand years. Though largely decentralized, the Huana share common values steeped in mythology and a sense of guardianship over the isles they call home. The Huana are the primary indigenous people of the Deadfire Archipelago. The term "Huana" is a loose association that describes a decentralized population of aumaua, and Huana culture has evolved into a pastiche of local variations with a common root. Yet this is not to say that the Huana are entirely without structure or leadership. In time, they were able to establish a central government, although its influence tends to diminish the farther one sails from the seat of power.
For millenia, the Huana were able to live apart from the rest of Eora, due to the remote location of Deadfire, sea monsters, and the dominance of the Wahaki, a xenophobic and militant tribe that refused any and all attempts at trade from outsiders and doggedly chased them from Deadfire. Their actions have painted a slanted view of the Huana in general, straining diplomatic relations between foreign powers and more moderate tribes. The situation continued until a determined push by the future Principi sen Patrena, fleeing the empire's collapse, and a group of dwarven explorers in 2742 AI that settled at Balefire Beacon and forged the first trade relations with local Huana tribes. The relations continued until the dwarves fell prey to a combination of naga and undead attacks on the outpost. The last of the dwarves boarded up and abandoned the beacon, leaving for unknown fates, but the opening of trade relations would survive them, allowing for other powers to push into the Deadfire.
It did not take long for other powers to take notice. Rauatai followed suit, expanding into the archipelago in 2758 AI through the Royal Deadfire Company. With imperial backing, the fleets attempted a land grab and clashed with both the naga and the Wahaki tribe. Both the naga and the Wahaki were defeated in a series of bloody battles, the most notable of which took place at the Nakaro Atoll, where fleets of Huana voyagers and warriors were slaughtered by depth charges originally meant for use against Deadfire sea monsters. Unwilling to bow to either Rauatai or the Republics, the Crown dispatched three watershapers to retaliate against the RDC by sinking its flagship, the Tenets of Iron, in a magical whirlpool. Although the incident was covered up by the kingdom, rumors of the Watershapers' might spread, forcing both to reconsider their strategy and treat the Huana united under the Kahanga banner as partners... For a time.
The Crown was aware that the Watershapers' Guild was in decline after centuries of neglect. While the awe and fear they inspired in the wake of the confrontation with Rauatai was an asset, it was meaningless in the long term due to their small numbers, with even fewer among them capable of reaching a fraction of the full might of the art. In 2801 AI, the solution presented itself in the form of Periki. As Guildmaster, she reformed the guild and instituted new ways of learning and study, bringing back old secrets from oblivion and allowing more Storm Speakers to graduate than ever before in the guild's history. The Guild rose to prominence in Huana politics, becoming an asset that evened out the balance of power between the Huana, Rauatai, and the Republics.
Organization[edit | edit source]
The Huana are spread across most all populated islands in the archipelago. Deadfire spans the length of the entire southern hemisphere, thus climate ranges from tropical in the north to temperate and polar in the south. Its largest population centers are in the subtropical band of islands, with the single largest city being Neketaka. Although many outsiders treat the Huana as a coherent whole, they are an amalgamation of tribes of differing customs, traditions, and populations, scattered across the Deadfire. What unites them is a common cultural root manifesting as a rigid caste system that endured millenia and a myth of a devastating catastrophe that happened in the long past.
Known tribes include:
- Kahanga: One of the most powerful tribes that unified many smaller tribes into one, to counterbalance foreign influences in the Archipelago.
- Wahaki: A xenophobic tribe responsible for driving foreigners away. Broken by the RDC in the Battle of Nakaro Atoll.
- Wapūa: A tribe of animal trainers.
Religion[edit | edit source]
The Huana are strongly religious and most gods have temples in Neketaka. Favored deities of the Huana include Ondra (who controls the seas) and Hylea (who controls the winds), as well as Woedica (who ensures peace by way of justice). Galawain also has a scattered following among the more conquest-oriented Huana tribes such as the Wahaki and Kahanga, who tend to use the god's endorsement of survival of the fittest as an argument for their positions of power. Huana in search of revenge against their enemies readily pray to Skaen, though he is not widely worshipped in other circumstances. Berath (worshipped as Rikuhu) , Gaun and Magran also have temples in Neketaka.
Castes[edit | edit source]
Huana society is divided into specific classes, each with their own purpose:
- Ranga: The title of a Huana tribal chieftain. Not to be confused with "ranga nui," the Rauataian title for the emperor. Mataru warriors possessing strength, leadership, and wisdom make a natural choice for rangas among most tribes. The Kahanga tribe diverged from this pattern centuries ago. Instead of choosing from accomplished fighters or hunters, the Kahanga look to the most intellectual and tactical Mataru-born. Recent Kahanga generations have embraced this uncommon practice by favoring ciphers in their leadership. Some believe the development to be in reaction to the spread of foreign influence in the Deadfire, but the tradition stretches farther than most credit. Onekaza II, latest of the cipher rangas, seems determined to not be the last of the cipher rangas as she clings to diminishing Huana sovereignty in the region. Rising where other tribes floundered, the Kahanga are praised for keen political maneuvering and endurance in the face of relentless trials. All that remains to be seen is how much one cipher can endure.
- Mataru: The highest class of Huana society, consisting primarily of warriors and priests. Tribal chieftains traditionally rise from the warrior ranks. The Mataru shoulder the responsibility of governing the other castes and determining the practical and spiritual needs of the tribe. Storm Speakers are a special type of chanter found among the Huana Mataru, especially attuned to the forces of weather. Storm Speakers traditionally serve tribes settling on unexplored or especially remote islands, offering protection during the period of transition.
- Kuaru: The artisanal and merchant class of Huana society. Though skill and craftsmanship are respected, those born into the Kuaru are not given the equivalent praise of the Mataru.
- Roparu: As the lowest class of Huana society, the Roparu are designated to work as unskilled laborers and to starve in times of scarcity. Their status is a function of survival in the often unforgiving Deadfire and not a moral judgment. The Roparu are destined to be reborn into the Kurau or Mataru class in their next lives.
Other groups include:
- Unworthy: A Huana designation for those who commit particularly egregious acts against their tribe, the "Unworthy" are shunned and treated as outcasts.
Outside relations[edit | edit source]
The Huana are difficult to generalize because different tribes have different stances on the various influential groups in the region.
The most visible of the tribes, the Kahanga, has made deals with trading companies from both Rauatai and the Vailian Republics, who both have outposts in their largest city, hoping that they will keep each other in check and that their mutual competition will both enrich the Kahanga and ensure their safety.
The Príncipi have historically raided the Huana, and many Huana consider them sworn enemies. However, the increased presence of the trading companies in recent years has diverted much of the pirates' attention, and it is not unheard of nowadays for the Huana to strike up alliances with the Príncipi in hopes of staving off the companies' advances.
Technology[edit | edit source]
The Huana have lived in the region for thousands of years. Earthquakes are no more a surprise to them than are the archipelago's daily soaking rains. None in Eora match their sheer creativity and expertise in building to withstand these events. The Huana's tastes have also proven to be remarkably stable over time, showing a clear preference for designs that mimic the rhythm and shapes of the natural world. The old architectural styles of Ukaizo and the Old City have been lost to time, replaced by their far more adaptable style of building - though one as transient as the oral traditions they rely on.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
|“||I think we did a better job in Deadfire because we did ask Asian devs within the studio to look at the Huana and Rauatai characters and their representation, but we should have also hired some Māori consultants specifically to look at the Huana. The Huana aren’t really Māori (just like the Rauatai aren’t really Japanese), but even a fictional culture that’s only “inspired by” a mix of real world cultures can still get into uncomfortable or outright bad territory.
A few Pacific Islanders have contacted me to tell me that they appreciate that Deadfire deals with PI-type cultures and colonial themes. I’m genuinely glad for that, but we could have very easily done something incredibly shitty through pure ignorance. It never hurts to ask ahead of time.
|~ J.E. Sawyer on Tumblr