From: Ian Gorlick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat 21 Aug 1999 - 00:24:30 EEST
Nick Hollingsworth's question about hypothetical Pol Joni wagons got me
thinking. There are some parallels between the Pol Joni and the Metis of
Canada's West. If we are modeling the Praxians on Plains Indians then it
might be interesting to try using the Metis as a source of inspiration for
the Pol Joni.
For the benefit of the non-Canucks out there I'll quickly describe the
Metis. (If there are any actual Metis out there, please feel free to correct
my eastern misapprehensions.)
The Metis are a mixed-race people arising from European fur-traders (mostly
French, with some Scots and English) and several aboriginal tribes. They
developed a unique culture that blended elements of both European and
They relied upon the buffalo for their main source of food and materials,
like their aboriginal ancestors. Unlike the aboriginals, they did most of
their hunting in one major hunt in the spring. They would preserve enough
meat to supply themselves for the year. (Preserved bison meat, pemmican, was
also their major trade item for the fur-traders passing through their
territory.) The hunt was a highly organized affair, with almost a military
structure. The hunters rode horses. The rest traveled in two-wheeled carts
with the supplies pulled by oxen.
They also practiced agriculture. Farms were laid out in narrow strips from
river banks. Native prairie grass was gathered as hay for winter feed.
They spoke French and followed the Catholic religion. Their artistic styles
used European themes, but often in native materials.
What can we adapt from this for the Pol Joni?
The PJ might use carts pulled by cattle for heavy transport. If their horses
don't reproduce so well in Prax, this takes some of the demands off them.
The Red River carts used by the Metis are interesting vehicles that could be
fun to have for their own sake. The carts are two-wheeled, made entirely of
wood, leather, and rawhide. The axles are wooden and are ungreased. (The
prairie dust gets into the grease and grinds away the axle in no time.) The
ungreased axles shriek as the wheels turn. A convoy of Red River carts can
be hear miles away. The wheels can be quickly removed to float the cart
across any rivers or streams that may cross the trail.
The PJ might practice some agriculture in the valleys near the Sartar or the
Dagori Inkarth. They could gather natural hay in the Good Place to
supplement winter feed, or Fire Season feed. This would allow them to stay
in more in one place rather than having to migrate as extensively as the
Praxians. It would give them more reason to hang on to their traditional
Orlanth/Ernalda religion. Barntar might remain of some importance.
The spring hunt could be a major event. It might be more about raiding
tribal herds that are encroaching too near the PJ lands than hunting wild
Maybe someone else can suggest cultural and religious parallels that should
Further on the subject of PJs in wagons:
Rather than "circling the wagons" to hold out against the attacking indians-
er- praxians in American-Western-style, think of laagering the wagons,
Boer-style, to create a strong-point from which to fight the natives.
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