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Tuskarr
Tuskarr.jpg
Classification Humanoid
Faction/Affiliation Independent, Neutral, The Kalu'ak
Character classes Healer, Hunter, Rogue,[1] Shaman, Sorcerer, Spearman, Trapper, Warrior
Icon-RPG.png Barbarian, Expert, Fighter, Lone wolf runemaster, Scout, Soldier
Racial capital Kaskala
Racial leader(s)  Elder Atuik (Howling Fjord)
 Elder Ko'nani (Dragonblight)
Racial mount IconSmall TurtleBoat.gif Turtle (Giant turtle)
Homeworld Azeroth
Environment Cold land
Area(s) Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Howling Fjord
Language(s) Tuskarr
Organization(s) Clans

“Through sunsets beyond counting, the tusked people have dwelled here in the land of ice. We have lived on the bounty of the sea. We have grown fat on the meat of the antlered ones. The sea and land has given us life.”

Mystic Tomkin

The tuskarr (known as kalu'ak in their own language)[2][3] are a peaceful humanoid walrus-like people indigenous to the cold shores of Northrend. They make their home along the southern coast of the continent having settlements in Borean Tundra, Dragonblight and Howling Fjord. Most are members of the Kalu'ak faction.

History

Despite the absence of any records documenting the tuskarr's past, many significant facts have recently come to light.[4] Brann Bronzebeard believes that the tuskarr may be descendants of a walrus Ancient Guardian, though for the moment this is only a theory.[5] The tuskarr are constantly beset by the kvaldir and the gorlocs, but even their enemies marvel at their skill at catching the dangerous creatures of Northrend's waters.[4]

Though they have seen their share of difficult times, they found new allies in their ongoing struggle against Northrend's hostile forces when the Alliance and Horde arrived to the continent for the war against the Lich King.[4] Although the Scourge threat was eventually dealt with, the tuskarr are constantly on the move and looking for food. Some of them—like Wally, Master Angler Karu, and Trawler Yotimo—decided to head out and find some new fishing grounds in Pandaria in the south.[6] Other tuskarr have been spotted on Darkmoon Island,[7] and after Zandalar opened its port to non-trolls for the first time in centuries,[8] a group of tuskarr traders arrived to sell their wares. More tuskarr merchants can be found in Boralus.

Settlements

Kaskala.

Ruined

Biology

With their squat and sturdy bodies, tuskarr are generally not built to run, but they do not drown easily: they can survive being submerged in water so cold it would kill most other denizens of Azeroth in minutes.[3] Their tusks get longer and yellower with age,[9] but can also turn yellow if not regularly cleaned. Both males and females possess moustaches. When a tuskarr sighs, they let out a long, whistling note through pursed lips.[3]

Culture

Fishing and whaling are extremely important in tuskarr society.

Tuskarr statues in the Borean Tundra.

The tuskarr are a kind-natured nomadic race that roams the southern coastlines of Northrend, guided by the carved cyclopean statues that mark their seasonal fishing routes.[4] Their society is divided into clans, each consisting of a small number of families. Most kalu'ak carve their tusks with ideograms showing their family and clan affiliation, but some instead engrave symbols for deeds of great distinction. Most tuskarr have only a single name; surnames like "Sharktasted" or "Beastkiller" seem to be applied based on special traits or accomplishments.[3]

Tuskarr society centers around fishing and whaling. This is of such vital importance that a tuskarr's ability to fish affects its social standing within the community. While tuskarr do hunt land animals in lean times, their primary sustenance comes from the sea.[10] They are renowned for their prowess and fearlessness in catching some of the most dangerous creatures in Northrend's frigid waters, including whales and giant squid. Not even the unnamed leviathans that lurk in the ocean depths are beyond the tuskarr's reach.[4] Most tuskarr fishers use rowboats, while children use kayaks. It's generally held among the kalu'ak that teaching about fishing methods can only take place between a parent and their child. Each clan has a "catch master" who weighs each fisher's daily catch and records them using multicolored cords they keep on a "counting staff". The tuskarr share food equally, but a catch above the basic requirements earns knots on that fisher's cord. Knots can be traded within the clan for luxuries and tools, or exchanged for coins if they need to trade outside their own small group of families. Knots can also be earned by doing fine embroidery, but this is less respected than fishing.[3]

Kalu'ak wear oilskin and fur clothes and create scabbards and baskets from sealskin. They use whalebone and whale teeth as crafting materials for most of their weapons, as well as for other items like buttons, though some weapons are instead made from volcanic glass. In addition, they light their lamps with whale oil. When making camp during their nomadic journeys, they sleep in tents,[3] whereas permanent settlements have buildings made from the bones of great sea creatures. Larger group dwellings are dug deep into the earth.[9] When a clan travels from one stopping point to another, most of the mothers, adolescents, and children travel across the ice in sleds drawn by draft seals (and consequently need lots of food stocked up in case of delays or accidents), while the heartier fishers travel there in their boats (allowing them to catch their own food on the way).[3] The tuskarr use giant turtle boats as a transportation system among zones in Northrend. They lead the turtles by use of carrots on a fishing line. They also breed penguins as farm animals.[11]

The walrus-men practice a form of magic that, on its surface, is astonishingly similar to shamanism. Kirin Tor scholars have not yet deciphered the source of the tuskarr's magic.[12] While the tuskarr serve the elements differently than other shamanistic races, the power that they are able to call forth is formidable.[13]

Though they prefer peace, the tuskarr fiercely defend their settlements when necessary, and they are no strangers to the conflicts erupting across their home continent.[10] They are not a vengeful race, but justice is seemingly highly valued in their society[14] and their laws demand that all tuskarr must seek retribution against those who shed their kin's blood.[15]

Seeing their iconic kites soaring above Northrend's shores is a clear sign that tuskarr are nearby.[16] Kalu'ak children fly kites as a pastime, but settlements can also fly large numbers of kites at once as a way to signal to those far away that something great and wonderful is happening.[3]

Faith

The tuskarr worship a small pantheon of deities or spirits such as Tayutka, Karkut, Issliruk, and Oacha'noa. In addition, the tuskarr carve massive stone heads that allow them to communicate with their ancestors. Each head houses the specific spirit of an elder which acts as both home and body, thereafter referred to as stone elders. A tuskarr shaman uses a set of ritual items to perform a ceremony, in which they recite a chant in a strange language to guide an ancestor's spirit to their rightful statue.[17]

One of the tuskarr's beliefs is that all souls are one with the magic of the world, and so attempts to control all magic would doom everyone.[18] Mystic Tomkin refers to magic as "Silap Inua", and says that it "is harnessed by all thinking peoples to heal or harm. It is the power of life. It is the power of souls living and dead." He also says that the efforts by the blue dragonflight to cage all magic is the greatest threat to the tuskarr, and indeed, to all life in the world.[19]

Notable

Name Role Status Location
Neutral  Elder Atuik Chieftain of the Kamagua Kalu'ak Alive Kamagua, Howling Fjord
Neutral  Elder Clearwater Honored fisher, organizer of the Kalu'ak Fishing Derby Removed Eventide, Dalaran (formerly)
Neutral  Elder Daftusk Visitor that occasionally appears in the VIP section of the Zoo Bizarre Alive Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon Island
Neutral  Master Angler Karu Representative of the Anglers Alive Golden Terrace, Shrine of Two Moons
Neutral  Karuk Survivor of the massacre at Pal'ea Alive North of Riplash Strand, Borean Tundra
Neutral  Elder Ko'nani Chieftain of the Dragonblight Kalu'ak Alive Moa'ki Harbor, Dragonblight
Neutral  Mystic Tomkin Mystic and storyteller Alive Unu'pe, Borean Tundra
Neutral  Okuna Longtusk Pitfighter who has escaped from the sea giants in Shipwreck Cove Alive Shipwreck Cove, Azsuna
Mob  Orinoko Tuskbreaker Gladiator in the Amphitheater of Anguish Killable Amphitheater of Anguish, Zul'Drak
Neutral  Taruka Beastkiller Inexperienced fisher turned renowned monster slayer Unknown Unknown
Neutral  Boss Whalebelly Pitfighter of the sea giants in Shipwreck Cove Killable Shipwreck Cove, Azsuna
Neutral  Trawler Yotimo Master Spearfisherman of the Anglers Alive Anglers Wharf, Krasarang Wilds

In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne

A tuskarr as they appear in Warcraft III.

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, the tuskarr appear as neutral hostile creeps on maps with the tileset Icecrown Glacier. They attack hostile units on sight and may drop items. There are different unit types of tuskarr:

Unit name Level Hit points / mana Armor Attack type Damage per hit Abilities
BTNTuskaarBrown.png Tuskarr Fighter 2 250 2 (heavy) Melee 14-15 -
BTNTuskaarGold.png Tuskarr Spearman 2 300 0 (heavy) Ranged 23-27 -
BTNTuskaarBrown.png Tuskarr Healer 3 300/200 0 (medium) Melee 23-27 Abolish Magic
[Heal]
BTNTuskaarBrown.png Tuskarr Warrior 4 475 1 (medium) Melee 21-25 -
BTNTuskaarGold.png Tuskarr Trapper 4 475 1 (medium) Ranged 28-34 Ensnare
BTNTuskaarBrown.png Tuskarr Sorcerer 5 475/300 0 (medium) Ranged 34-40 [Inner Fire]
BTNTuskaarBlack.png Tuskarr Chieftain 7 950 4 (heavy) Melee 44-49 Command Aura

In the TCG

Icon-TCG.png This section contains information from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and is considered non-canon.

A popular pastime in tuskarr culture is the creation of intricate and decorative kites.[20]

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Tuskarr are humanoids with solid builds, thick torsos, and broad shoulders. They wear warm furs under oilskin jackets. Their heads are blunt and almost hairless, with a pair of great tusks pointing down from their upper jaw. Their brown faces are friendly and expressive.[21] Most tuskarr do not learn more than Tuskarr and Common, but those who do speak the tongues of their enemies understand Low Common and Zandali.[22]

The tuskarr culture is centered around fishing and whaling such that a tuskarr's fishing ability is seen as a moral guideline of sorts.[23] Tuskarr females farm the few crops that grow in the tundra while also collecting a variety of berries and roots. Animal husbandry exists in the tuskarr culture.[24]

Culture and society

The tuskarr are peerless fishermen and whalers. Their self-contained economy is based on the ocean's bounty. These stout-hearted creatures have a budding society along the frozen coasts of Northrend. Although the tuskarr do not yet have an organized society, their villages lay scattered across icy beaches, bustling with activity and commerce. Communities are established to help with fishing, animal husbandry, and defense rather than political interest. The family is the primary social structure, and tuskarr have no community figureheads aside from familial leadership roles. Kinship usually involves three generations from both the mother and father's sides. Functionally, these extended families are treated as one, so the action of a member is the responsibility of the entire group. Marriage occurs as soon as a man can support a wife, and for females as soon as they reach puberty.[24][21]

The tuskarr are a simple people who place extreme emphasis on family values. Their hierarchy includes the family first, the larger community second and the individual third. Because of the vulnerability of the tuskarr, however, the families tend to keep close proximity with the others. When the families must coordinate, a family is picked at random to take charge for that particular situation. Each family has its own implicit leader, but the entire family bears responsibility for each of its members.[23]

Tuskarr shamans have the power to influence events such as weather, food, and illnesses. Shaman magic is often quite a production, even something like curing the sick: the shaman may speak with ghosts of the patient's relatives and even battle other spirits into submission before forcing them to help heal the patient.[21]

Law

Tuskarr laws are simple. No tuskarr may avoid helping tend to the needs of the settlement — gathering food, making clothing and housing, patrolling in defense, etc. The sea is communal property for fishing and whaling. Catches are divided among the community as much as is feasible, with those who miss out on one catch getting the first choice the next time. Tuskarr individuals have personal property, but possession is conditioned by actual use.[21]

Tuskarr laws are not meant to punish criminals as much as they are meant to maintain community peace and prosperity. Punishment is mild, usually aimed at injuring one's social position (through gossip, ridicule, or ostracism). Still, some matters are taken seriously. Blood vengeance is always required in return for the taking of a life, which may result in an ongoing feud.[21]

Hunting

Fishing and whaling form the basis of everything from moral guidance to conversational slang. Boys strive to be good fishermen and girls dream of marrying a good whaler. Success in fishing is a sign of right living, and failure is a sign of moral disorder. The tuskarr afterlife is imagined as a paradise with choice catches and successful whaling without hard work.[21]

To visit a tuskarr village, visitors must bring several fresh fish along, to prove they can fish. Fishing is more than just a means to survive for tuskarr — it's also a moral guideline. If they think that someone cannot fish well, that is a bad person, so evidence of successful fishing means someone must have good morals and therefore must be respectable. If a person brings several large fish, he is treated like a long-lost and much-beloved cousin.[23]

Religion

Tuskarr have simple rituals relating to social rather than religious circumstances — birth, marriage, sickness, and death most prominently. Other rituals relate to celebrating a good catch and venerating those who are lost at sea or who fall in battle.[25]

The tuskarr believe in an afterlife plentiful in game; and their rituals (which celebrate positive social behaviors such as marriage, bearing children and hunting) indicate the proper way an individual should act so as to reach the afterlife.[26]

War

The tuskarr often war with the indigenous ice trolls and nerubian spiderfolk of Northrend. Though they have done well to evade the undead Scourge, the tuskarr know that it is only a matter of time before the legions of the dead come calling. Tuskarr favor spear weapons and nets as their primary tools of war. Tuskarr warriors coordinate in combat, each working to ensure the well-being of the others. Typically, one member of a squad will attempt to snare an enemy in a net, while the others attempt to dispatch the trapped opposition with their spears.[21]

A tuskarr in Dark Factions.

Tuskarr are peaceful people, but they show little mercy to ice trolls, nerubians and anyone else they consider their enemies. While they sometimes organize raids against foes that threaten the ancestral territories where they build their villages, the tuskarr more frequently defend against their enemies. Anyone wreaking havoc on a tuskarr village, however, unleashes the full wrath of these people.

The tuskarr are disciplined and well organized, and each of them takes the defense of his family and village seriously. For many tuskarr, it is a matter of survival, but also of pride, to be prepared against any threat. Because of their reliance on fishing and whaling, tuskarr receive training in the use of nets and spears at a young age. All tuskarr also receive at least rudimentary training in ways to put these implements to use against an intelligent foe. Warriors patrol the areas surrounding their villages and act as lookouts in strategic locations. These warriors warn their people of impending attack.

While they follow no particular leader, tuskarr fight in squads composed of 6 to 8 members of the same lineage. The tuskarr abide by the recommendations of the individual with the most warfare experience, or the one they consider the wisest among them if no warriors are in the group. Most often, the leadership of a squad is divided among 2 or 3 members deemed learned in matters of war. Because the members of a squad are family, the tuskarr warriors are not only extremely loyal to one another but also get along together. They are also used to working together — after many years spent fishing and whaling with their brothers — and thus are efficient as a unit in times of war.

Sometimes, a squad includes a couple of specialists. The most common specialist is the net thrower, a dexterous fisherman with some experience in warfare whose mastery with the net causes great trouble to opposing troops. Sometimes, a squad also includes one or two javelin throwers. These warriors carry up to a dozen javelins and provide useful cover fire to the members of the squad. Also, when such an individual is available, a squad includes a shaman who can cast spells to hamper the opposition or heal the troops.[27]

Architecture

Tuskarr houses are solidly built structures of wood and stone, with thick, thatched roofs. They are only one story, and sprawl rather than rise, because of the incessant wind. Heavy shutters cover the windows and short entry halls lead from the outer door to an inner one, which keeps heat from escaping and cold from entering. Their homes are radial, with a single large chamber at the middle and the sleeping quarters arrayed around it. They have large pits in the center, lined with stone, and keep a fire blazing constantly — it heats the entire house and has spits and trays for cooking food.

Tuskarr are fishers and whalers, and they use every part of the animals they hunt. Whale bones form support beams in their homes, and heavy sealskins and other furs cover the floors and the doorways. They create dyes from various squid inks and fish scales, and have colorful weavings on their walls.[28]

Clothing

Tusken inner clothing is brightly colored under their thick furs and oilskins. When a tuskarr woman accepts a tuskarr man as her husband, she weaves him a vest and he wears that against his skin. She replaces it once they have children, and again if he becomes the head of their extended family. She repairs it when necessary but otherwise he never takes it off. When males die, they are buried in their most recent vest, and the others are wrapped together to fashion a pillow for the body.[29]

Notes and trivia

  • The Wrath of the Lich King flash site implied that the tuskarr were only going to ally with the Horde,[30] but in-game they are neutral to both factions.
  • In N [10-30G3] The Jig is Up, Annie Bonn states that tuskarr slaves die only a few after leaving Northrend's climate. Since tuskarr appear in other areas like Pandaria, the Broken Isles, or Zandalar (which differ a lot from the cold climate of Northrend), it seems this has been retconned, allowing the tuskarr to endure hotter climates without dying. Trawler Yotimo can be asked about this discrepancy.
  • Some tuskarr can be found in Helheim, presumably brought there by the kvaldir attacking their settlements in Northrend.
  • The males are voiced by Adam Bitterman.
  • Lani Minella is listed as having voiced the female tuskarr, but no females are currently found in World of Warcraft.
  • The race's name is spelled tuskaar in the file names for their unit icons in Warcraft III and in early concept art for Wrath of the Lich King, but this spelling has never appeared in-game.

Inspirations

The tuskarr appear to be inspired mostly by Inuit stereotypes, some Polynesian indigenous cultures, and other popular media cultural elements.

  • They may be partially inspired by the Tuska, a race of humanoid walruses from the ThunderCats cartoon franchise.
  • The term "Silap Inua" is a reference to the Inuit concept of Inua.
  • Their giant stone heads are based on the moai statues of Easter Island.
  • Some quests[citation needed]  are inspired by the poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" found in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass.
  • In the game Animal Crossing, Wendell the Walrus (a humanoid walrus who greatly resembles the tuskarr) forms his opinion of the player based on the kind of fish the player brings him. Wendell will not give the player any paintings, nor will he pay any attention to them (except for a few mumbles), unless they bring him a fish — which is his favorite food. This trait is nearly identical to the non-canon Lands of Mystery's description of tuskarr judging outsiders based on the fish they present.

Gallery

References

External links

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