Campaign of the Month: November 2011
Avatar: Conquest of the Imperial Order
The Water Tribe is a collective term for the two polar tribes that practice the art of Waterbending. Members of the Water Tribes, for the most part, inhabit the polar regions. There is also a small population of Waterbenders located in the swamps near Omashu.
The Water Tribes are a peaceful people. They strive to live in harmony with nature and with the other nations of the world. There are two sects of Water Tribes, the Northern Water Tribe and the Southern Water Tribe. The southern tribe broke of from their sister tribe after cultural disagreements, such as segregation of women benders in the north, caused a group of the tribe to brake off and eventually settle the southern tribe.
Waterbenders usually use their abilities for defense rather than aggression. Due to their defensive nature, they are hesitant to join any conflict.
The Water Tribe is far less powerful than most other nations. Its economy is very small and is dependent on ocean resources, which can be attributed to the relatively small population of the Water Tribes.
Ethnically homogeneous, members of both tribes typically have light or deep brown hair, blue eyes and a light brown skintone (even though there is a severe lack of sunlight at the poles most of the year). Water Tribe clothing is typically a set of blue anorak and trousers lined and trimmed with white fur, and worn with mittens and mukluks. Men may wear their hair long and half-up or in short ponytails (also known as “warrior’s wolf tails”). Women plait and braid their hair in various styles, sometimes with accent beads, and many sport “hair loopies” in various styles. In the Northern Water Tribe, males appear to wear a darker blue than those of the Southern Water Tribe and royalty often wears purple. Their influences are drawn greatly from Inuit and Native American fashion. In the Foggy Swamp Tribe, they wear very little, just leaf-hats, loincloths, and wristbands, all in green, reflecting the color of the water and their surroundings.
The Water Tribes consist of three distinct groups, primarily based on their geography and affinity for Waterbending. The Southern Tribe occupies the South Pole and has a much smaller poplation. The Northern Tribe consists of the majority of their civilization, occupying the North Pole with a multitude of able benders. Although separated, the Northern and Southern tribe retained a custom of coming together during a New Moon justly called the New Moon Celebration. The Foggy Swamp Tribe occupies a swamp just souther-west of Omashu, while most, if not all, of its members are competent benders with some unique talents, such as Plantbending.
In the Northern Water Tribe, women are of marrying age at the age of 16. Males who wish to marry females gift them with a traditional Betrothal Necklace. This signifies that the woman is to be married. The ceremony is completely organized by the parents, and marriage of free choice is not practiced. In the Southern Water Tribe, it seems that people are allowed to choose their own partners. For young Southern Water Tribe boys, when they turn 14 their father takes them on a rite of passage known as Ice Dodging. After completing the ritual, they are given “marks” of honor, they are the Mark of the Brave, the Mark of the Wise, and the Mark of the Trusted.
The Water Tribe’s dominant season is winter. To an effect, more Waterbenders are born during winter than any other season and their powers are at their strongest during the season due to the longer nights. In actuality, both polar Tribes experience winter-like weather consistently, with snow falling year-round.
Natural Resources and Foods
Inhabiting frozen poles near the seas, the Water Tribes inherently are dependent on the oceans for a majority of their natural resources and well as the bounty of the frozen tundra. Sea prunes are a favorite, while giant sea crabs are considered a delicious delicacy to those in the Northern Sea. Squid and seaweed can be used to make a wide variety of dishes, including soup, seasoning, and even bread and cookies. Sea squid is a popular food that can be made into a variety of things, including sea squid soup. Seaweed can be used to make seaweed bread, seaweed soup, or seaweed sprinkles to top seaweed cookies.
Skins from seals are used to create tents in the Southern Water Tribe. Pelts from polar bears and other furry animals are used as clothing and to cover barren surfaces. Naturally, hunters and fishermen of the Water Tribes are some of the best in the world in their field.
The Foggy Swamp Tribe uses the plants and fauna in their swamp to provide them with all they need, and they eat small game, such as Possum Chicken, fish and giant bugs.
All adult male tribe members are fully-trained warriors. Their weaponry includes clubs, bladed boomerangs, spears made of bone (also used in spearfishing), scimitars, and machetes laced with whale teeth on the dull side of the blade. Water Tribe warriors typically wear black and white warpaint on their full face before going into battle.
Waterbending warriors of the Northern Tribe are all masters of their element and wear face masks to cover their mouths and hoods. Warriors of the Northern Tribe paint their faces with three lines of red on their forehead. The more organized Northern Water Tribe makes use of armories located on the warrior training grounds which serve as weapons storage and war planning rooms where orders are distributed. Their Waterbenders engineer and utilize a countless amount of iceberg spikes scattered across the ocean just outside the city as a first line of defense against enemy ships. The spikes are capable of ripping through solid metal and sinking even the largest wooden ships. The currents in the iceberg fields are known to be extremely dangerous, but are easily traversed by Water Tribe vessels. The iceberg spikes themselves are also used as cover for warriors to hide behind, enabling to easily ambush any unwanted visitors.
Ships of the Water Tribe
The ships of the Southern Water Tribe seem to be cutter sailing ships, containing wooden hulls and utilizing the wind for propulsion. The boats are shown to be operated by at least two people, one to maintain the main sail and one to control the jib, a smaller sail at the rear. The ships appear to be designed more for use as a transport vessel than combat.
The Northern Water Tribe’s most common ship is a double-hulled vessel powered by Waterbending. Though its small, compact size enables it to be used for a variety of applications, including transporting civilians across the canals within the city, its main purpose is to be used for short, open ocean trips. Even though its not necessarily designed for long voyages, it is capable of being used to travel over a thousand miles and withstanding the harshest ocean conditions. Warriors use this ship to patrol and protect the waters just outside the Northern Water Tribe.
The Foggy Swamp Tribe uses Swamp Skiffs, which aren’t designed for combat. Instead they’re used for hunting and transportation. They are powered using Waterbending.