Dinosaur Riding Barbarians: Stego-Hittites and Raptor Scythians

The last of the nations from Dinosaur Riding Barbarians are the Stego-Hittites and the Raptor Scythians. After this I will have to start making actually new content again. Or find some other old project to cannibalize for blog posts. One or the other. Minor formatting error in this post brought to you by the WordPress editor being wonky. For some reason I can’t make the Raptor Scythians header an actual header without turning the entire section into a header.

Stego-Hittites

The king of the Stego-Hittites is not considered a god, a speaker for a god, or even a descendant of a god. The king of the Stego-Hittites is first among equals, the man who is in charge because someone has to be and he seems to be doing a good job of it. This has two important consequences. First, Stego-Hittite society is relatively egalitarian, with most social mores being enforced by mob justice and most disagreements being deferred to judges, who are appointed informally and ad hoc, and whose only legal power is that they are respected enough to command the loyalty of the able-bodied men of the village. Generally speaking a judge will select and groom his successor (often one of his children) and the community will accept the succession upon the judge’s death, but a judge can be cast out at-will. Disputes between villages are settled jointly by their judges, and if they cannot agree, they appeal to the king. Sometimes the king will appoint a regional governor to act in his stead over a certain area.

The second major implication of the king being first among equals is that, like the judges, his only claim to authority is the loyalty of the able-bodied soldiers within his kingdom. Other prestigious psuedo-noble families can split the kingdom with civil war just by claiming that the current king isn’t doing his job properly and calling upon the army to defect. If things have been going poorly economically or militarily, the army might indeed split or throw a coup outright. The Stego-Hittites are thus an unstable kingdom, whose borders expand drastically whenever there is a powerful king on the throne and then contract during periods of civil war when outlying vassals break away while the heartlands fight one another for control. Sometimes the kingdom will remain split for multiple generations before one side or another happens across a powerful enough ruler to reunite them.

The Stego-Hittite military is assembled by the king taking a tour of the major population centers, where the locals gather up their arms and join him to march on foreign lands for plunder. This means they have an awful lot of light infantry and slinger artillery. Wealthy warriors show up with armor as heavy infantry or, if they’re especially wealthy, with a stegosaurus or ankylosaurus, usually crewed by a few family members (often adult children, siblings, or niblings).

Working for the Stego-Hittites

The Stego-Hittites are an extremely loose coalition. You aren’t really required to show up even for war, although cowardice or disloyalty from able-bodied warriors, and especially from capable veterans, is frowned upon to the point of being totally outcast if you make a habit of it. Popularity with the community in general and the local judge in particular is the entirety of your legal standing in Stego-Hittite society, so the degree to which you have to help out your fellow Stego-Hittites (and especially the village or city within which you specifically live) in order to remain a member of the society is very vague. Close ties with prominent families who are related to kings or else have enough fame and respect to theoretically become king if the current one should become unpopular are also an enormous benefit. Anyone seeking to become not just a part of the Stego-Hittites, but prominent amongst them, would be best off forging ties to prominent members of these prominent families.

Raptor Scythians

Most of the Lauarasian desert and grassland belongs to the Raptor Scythians. The population density of these nomadic tribes is thin, and that partly explains it, but they are also deadly effective mounted combatants with a powerful bond to their utahraptor mounts. The Raptor Scythians are unified by their culture, but not by government. Each tribe is separate from the others, and they fight one another as readily as the sedentary kingdoms.

In Raptor Scythian society, the first loyalty is the family, the second is the tribe, and there isn’t much of anything after that. Raptor Scythians will side with Brachiosumerian worshipers of fire gods and war goddesses as easily against a rival Raptor Scythian tribe who worships the exact same nature spirits as they do (though in fairness they worship a different set of ancestors, not that many people could tell just from observing the rites). Shamanism is important to the Raptor Scythian tribes, with the tribe shaman being second only to the chief in importance, but the shaman of an enemy tribe is just another enemy to them. They aren’t loyal to spirits of nature and the dead, they just don’t want to be cursed.

Glory is at the heart of Raptor Scythian society. Skill with a raptor, effective hunting, effective raiding, and general feats of strength, courage, and cunning are considered glorious. The chieftain of a tribe is the one among them who is considered to have amassed the most glory, and while the position is sometimes psuedo-hereditary, this is only because children are assumed to take after their parents and thus effectively inherit some amount of their parents’ glory. This gives them an advantage that often proves decisive, but any member of the tribe can eclipse the chieftain’s son if they are committed enough.

Raptor Scythians are perceived from the outside as a terrible dark horde which makes constant war upon the civilized lands, but if that were true there wouldn’t be any civilized lands left. The reason for this perception is twofold. Firstly, the Raptor Scythians have limited production and therefore limited trade and no capability to make finished goods, and thus almost all of their urban industry goods come from raiding, which means any given tribe is raiding almost constantly, and that in turn means that Raptor Scythian tribes are more likely to team up with one another than with a sedentary people, because even if they have no particular loyalty to one another, all Raptor Scythian tribes want basically the same things and thus will have very similar priorities when picking targets. Secondly, sedentary kingdoms and city-states are usually at peace more often than not, with warfare generally being a generational event. Raptor Scythians almost never engage in total war, but they instead engage in perpetual skirmishes and raids.

Working for the Raptor Scythians

Raptor Scythians are wary of anyone from outside their own tribe. They will gladly accept allies, but only as allies. They can be friendly to outsiders, but unless an outsider has a child with a member of the tribe, they will never truly be a member of the tribe. Even so, a tribe is more than happy to accept the assistance of a few extra raiders and to give them their fair share of the loot, and to maintain such an alliance indefinitely. You won’t be invited to sit by their campfire or ride on their mount, but you can set up your own campfire right next to everyone else’s and march your giant dinosaur along with all their raptors and benefit from strength in numbers just the same as you were an actual tribe member. There’s not a whole lot of advancement amongst Raptor Scythians, though. They’re raiders, so they don’t generally do the whole world domination thing. Genghis Khan’s greatest feat was uniting the Mongolian tribes, and he had the advantage of already being a member of one of them.

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