Kipchak

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The Kipchak are a tribe of nomads living in Kheer Tal, the steppes of the Western Marches, and also in the DeBourgnac settlements.

History

The Kipchak and their lesser brethren, the Cuman, once roamed over most of the Western Marches, and traded with their brethern in Drakenburg. They fought each other, other tribes now lost, and the orcs of Mishrak and Nadrak. The settlers arriving around the fall of the Western Kingdom led to the systematic destruction of the Kipchak way of life. Faced with superior numbers, technology and tactics, the Kipchak and other tribes fell back to the west, retreating in a series of manoeuvres, each costing the invaders more and more, until it became too difficult for them to challenge the Kipchak on their home ground. The turning point was the Kipchak Alliance of two hundred years ago, in which the Kipchak used Louis DeBourgnac to destroy all the other tribes except for the weasly Cuman. The Cuman still have not gotten over the incident, and continually harass and niggle at the far stronger Kipchak.

Culture

The Kipchak clans live in camps formed by a wagon laager, with tents either on the wagons or inside the laager. Even those that have settled in the Debourgnac Bowl continue to live in nomad style. The native language is Kipchak. Many of the tribe will also speak Common (in DeBourgnac lands), Reichspiel (near Weisbaum), or Orcish (near the Black Forest). Kipchak is in the Nomadic languages group, and is closest to Mongolian in flavour. They have stopped traditional skirmishes with neighbouring clans, instead uniting in peaceful co-operation with each other and their DeBourgnac neighbours. Unlike the primitive Cuman, they do not take slaves.

Clothing

Most Kipchak wear a calf-length topcoat, sometimes with short sleeves, over a knee length tunic and trousers. Either boots or shoes are worn. A wide range of materials are used, with fur, wool and sheepskin perhaps being commoner in the plains, and linen and brocade replacing them nearer the towns. Colours vary: yellow, white, brown, blue, red, gold and grey are all known. Clothes can be highly patterned and embroidered. Richer or noble Kipchak naturally wear more decorative clothing. Those fighting as Cavalry, whether against Cuman, Trolls or Orcs, will probably be armoured, in a mix of Russian, Turkish, and Mongol styles. Pointed helmets with mail aventails and a metal mask moulded to look like a face are popular. The most distinctive item of Kipchak clothing is a pointed cap. There are a wide range of these, possibly reflecting various ethnic sub-groups. Most have an upturned brim, often in a contrasting colour. Some versions resemble a "Robin Hood" style, others are more like old-fashioned nightcaps with upturned brims. Many have an unfortunate tendency to look like they belonged to brownies. The Kipchak themselves are fair-skinned, blue-eyed and often described as handsome. They wear their hair long, and often have long moustaches, although beards are rare. Weapons are mainly recurved composite bows, together with sabres, maces, javelins, and lances for some nobles. Shields, when used, are small and usually round, or occasionally almond-shaped.

Warfare

The bulk of any raiding party will be archers on small steppe ponies. Some war leaders ride destriers and wear heavy plate, but this is most common when fighting against trolls. Any infantry would be the poorest members of the tribe, possibly including hired Cuman javelinmen. Tactically the Kipchak are a fairly typical steppe nomad army, relying on hit and run tactics by horse archers and javelin cavalry to wear down and disorder the enemy. The most common approach is likely to be to go after the opponents’ camp, use the infantry to protect their camp, and use the rest of the light horse to disorder and harass their opponent. Once any formation is broken up, and the heavier horses are blown, smaller groups are surrounded and overwhelmed. Against the inferior morale of the Cuman and small groups of Black Forest orcs, cavalry charges are used to overrun and crush opposition.