Keystone Alpha Unit 41 (Codename: Stimulus)
The Bonded Tribes
Roughly 60 years after the Outsider invasion of Chafesek, the Confederation came into contact with the various Goliath tribes of the world Kaya. The opportunity to trade with extra-planar groups had greatly excited the tribes as they were always in competition with one another for land, resources, technology, and the favor of their ancestral spirits. This would sometimes lead to seasonal skirmishes for territorial dominance, but rarely escalating into full blown wars. Then, in the tenth year of King Jonathan the Unityblade (son of Gabriel the Chosenblade), the Outsiders came and attacked Kaya.
The Outsiders began mopping through the various tribes one by one. Jonathan, using the power of Lord Pashat’s Thunderkeep, took his army to Kaya and united the various Goliath tribes into a unified force. Their primal magic and martial might pushed back against the Outsiders, ultimately expelling them from their world.
The tribes now clearly understood the threat of forces beyond their world and saw the Planar Confederation as mutually beneficial. The various tribes each applied for membership but all were rejected because there were over 40 different tribes. Even if each tribe was given part-membership, the Confederation would be overrun by a disproportionately powerful Goliath voting block. The terms were set that to join, the Goliath tribes would have to unite in some form.
This posed a problem as the varied tribes had generation of resentment towards one another. A great threat could unite them, but little else. Who would get to represent them? Eventually it was King Jonathan himself who suggested that, in the spirit of their strong spirit of competition, that they hold a contest every few years to determine who would represent the Goliath tribes.
The giants liked the idea and embraced the concept of “The Games” to decide which tribe would get to send its shaman to the Confederation. Every two years they hold their Games in conjunction with their Festival of Winterdawn. The Games had the beneficial side-effect of ameliorating the seasonal skirmishes, with the understanding that in disputes of territory, the team which faired worse in the Games cedes the disputed territory until the next Games.
While some societies are hierarchical in nature, none has as complicated a caste system as the Goliath tribes. At the top of each tribe is a shaman, and shamans are ranked according to placement of their tribe in the Games. Then, within the tribe your place is determined by how well you did in the Games. After that, if you did not earn the right to compete for your tribe in the Games, you are ranked according to your contributions to the tribe (as determined by the shaman). By the time it is done, every Goliath has an individual spot within the caste. The system is known as “the Chewmani” and not giving the proper respect to one above you in the Chewmani is extremely abhorred.
Because they grow up with a very strong sense of rank, Goliaths sometimes struggle in other societies when they don’t feel like they know where they “sit” within a group. It seems natural to them that you are either above or below them. The concept of being their “equals” is very difficult for them to understand. When not given a place, Goliaths will decide rank for themselves, even if they don’t formally tell anyone who they believe is on top or on bottom. This has carried over into politics with the Goliaths showing great deference to the politicians of Niketos since they view them as the top of the Planar Chewmani.
Since the Goliath society is tribal in nature and focuses on primal spirits and strength, it is easy to assume they are primitive and simple. But that would be far from the truth. The Goliaths are actually quite inquisitive, always looking for new technology and techniques, always looking for some way to improve their standing in the Chewmani . They also have a strong connection with their past, especially familial. It isn’t uncommon for Goliaths to be able to recite their parentage dozens of generations in the past. This connection to the past has lead to Goliaths being some of the greatest historians of the Confederation.
One of the great mysteries the Goliaths seek to know is the mystery of orium-smelting. Orium was an ore used by ancient civilizations that enhanced the magical properties of whatever was made out of it. The art of smelting it was lost to time, and due to the fact that smelting orium improperly causes the magical items to become fatally flawed, it’s not safe to just experiment. Despite the risks, many Goliath historians have joined the Academy to puzzle out the secret to orium smelting.