The Rundaine are a traveling people whose wagons move throughout the eastern continent. Rundaine are famous for their music and revels and also for their honey and wax products which are procured annually from several giant bee hives - others have tried to emulate their harvesting, but such attempts invariably end in disaster. Indeed some bands of Rundaine employ giant bees as protection.
The Rundaine visit small settlements providing tinkering, healing, and minor magical service as well as entertainment and bees by products. Many communities are deeply suspicious of them because they actively encourage people to join them in their merry wanderings, and also unfairly tar them as thieves.
I like the idea of potentially allowing adventures within Giant Bee Hives, or helping the Rundaine transport a baby queen to start a new hive - or trying to steal the queen. Wanted something to make the Rundaine marginally different from generic gypsies. But I can understand it might be a bit much or some people.
I like it because you haven't given them a race but a way that they could be from all races. Perhaps an adventuring party can run into these gypsy's during another adventure and be called on later to help them and be made honorary members of the clan.
Not much needed for approval as things can be added as they are learned through adventuring. So if anyone doesn't have anything to add in the next couple weeks I say we vote on this and perhaps add it to the Societies section in the wiki.
I actually like the bees and don't think it's too much at all. I presume you were thinking they travel about and sometimes visit giant hives that they know about off in the wilderness somewhere in order to get the supplies they need for their crafts? Those that have giant bee guards that travel with them would obviously need a hive wagon...
I like the bit about them encouraging people to join them in their wanderings. A nice way to include all races in the Rundaine.
How about adding a divine aspect write-up? The Queen of the Rundaine, perhaps. A somewhat bee-like goddess.In addition to the Queen, the Rundaine could be very open to the worship of other deities. Essentially, with the exception of their Queen, they would worship the divine archetypes themselves and recognize the aspects are just a smaller part of a whole. In actual practice they would worship the specific aspect of whatever location they are traveling through while still recognizing a greater concept behind the aspect. This might brand them as heretics in many places; yet another reason for their outcast status. Maybe they maintain some sort of record of the gods; either in book form or in the memory of their religious leader.Matriarchal society. Maybe a loose caste system (warrior/worker divide. Must be rather open to accommodate newcomers to the clans): the Sting of the Rundaine as warrior caste. Newcomers gain caste when the group visits a giant bee hive. Caste is determined by the queen of the hive.Pictographic language with corresponding hand sign language (idea inspired by hobo signs).
I like all of that save the idea of castes, and hive wagons, and I would want the Matriarchal society very light.
The way I see it the Rundaine realized long ago that they have to rely upon diplomacy more than force of arms, a Rundaine Caravan will typically be large enough to scare off any but the boldest bandits. So I don't like to think of dedicated warriors, I'd say mostly bards, maybe bee themed summoners, adepts, and experts. I don't like the idea of them l;eaving decisions about their lives up to bees which are unintelligent at the end of the day, I'd say they respect them and see them as their totem, but don't get silly about it.
A Hive wagon is going overboard for me the vast majority of bee species are solitary creatures, so it hardly strains credulity to say that these have been domesticated as guard bees over the years. Bees are quite furry, etc., so I see them as beloved pets either sleeping ontop of or inside the wagons with their owners, etc. Maybe a special hive wagon could be used in the event of a new queen being moved or a hive transplanted, etc., but I'd like it to be the exception rather than the rule.
Matriarchalwise maybe traditionally men take care of business in the villages, etc., while a Head Woman loosely controls the caravan - like the drones going out to collect pollen. All have to be done with a light hand as the Rundaine are all about freedom with a Matriarch serving much more in the role of Mother to the group than ruler.
Maybe ruler is to strong a word. Why not say that somehow it is the same in every caravan that the oldest and wisest woman of teh group is differed to when it comes to desicions need for the group as a whole. They take her advice to heart and it is almost like she has given a command although she has really only given them advice.
Re: Warrior caste. Traveling through wilderness can be dangerous and warriors necessary. Owlbear diplomacy comes by force of arms not with glibness. I don't think a warrior caste is inappropriate. Perhaps the term 'caste' is the problem but it was the easiest way for me to designate a division of tasks like bees.
Re: Bees. Honey & wax production is predominantly an activity of the social bees not the solitary bees.
Re: Social Organization. I don't object to men traditionally dealing with matters of business concerning things outside the caravan and women being in charge of matters within the caravan. I never said the word 'ruler', though, that was someone else's addition.
Just a possible route I was keen to head off. I'm still very against the idea of having formalized warriors which is not to say that a goodly proportion of them are fairly handy. I see protection coming from numbers, skill, diplomacy, and arms as a last resort.
Having warriors who see themselves as such spoils the concept for me, to me most Rundaine should see themselves as poets, singers, dancers, with some tending towards the druidic arts, or commerce. They would have a higher proportion of character classes that average, but tend strongly towards highly skilled classes.
I would also like to think that members can leave without any stigma, etc.
As for the bees yes it is hive bees that make honey, but I'm not sure why that precludes the keeping of different strains. We have afterall domesticated many kinds of animal it hardly seems a stretch. I had considered stretching the vermin thing further, but the idea of giant vermin pulling carts, etc., seemed a bit much.
Of course there's no reason there cannot be fairly wide variation between troupes, etc. So we might all be able to have our cake and eat it.
I think you are reading much more into 'warrior caste' than I'm meaning. The warrior caste would just be those who defend the caravan when a fight is necessary. It's a job that can't be ignored particularly for a people who are considered outsiders and who travel through dangerous areas. I don't think it breaks the concept and it fits with the bee/hive model. If you want to dispense with the caste idea, fine. It was just an idea presented to give them a little more definition as a culture than just 'bee-tending wanderers'. Same goes for the matriarchal society and everything else I suggested.
I think warrior caste defacto implies things you are saying you don't mean, to me it implies people who see themselves primarily as warriors and are of an actively martial bent. I like to think that everyone capable of doing so would participate in the defense of the wagons.
But again I think the nice thing about gypsie troupes is that you can simply have both in existance, perhaps Rundaine troupes who spend more time in the wilderness lands - perhaps tending hives there - have a warrior caste as you describe it.
Hmmm, bees aqre disappearing in real life aren't they, or at least they've had a substantial population die off, there's an adventure in that...