The Tikbalang are a race of half man, half donkey hunters and foragers who inhabit the desert and forests of Thalagarno. Tikbalang are about 4 feet tall and weigh about 250 pounds. Tikbalangs look wild and unkempt. Their faces are hardened by the harsh weather. They have large long ears, thick tails, and small narrow hooves. The short, smooth coat is light sandy brown to gray-dun in colour. There is a thick mane that runs from the back of the head, along the neck and around the elbows. Most adult males have sparse beards and long sideburns.

Like human barbarians, tikbalangs often use body paint and ornaments in their pierced ears or nose, flesh cut with leave a particular sacred marking, and other ornamentation that humans would consider primitive. Tikbalangs speak a language called Khulan. They have very loud, raspy voices.

Tikbalangs are cautious but friendly and avoid violence, if they can. Tikbalangs use recurved bows, hurl spears and nets to great effect, usually taking advantage of their improved speed to outmanoeuvre slower opponents.

Tikbalang Society

Kinship is measured different among the tikbalang. Under kinship rules, they may have the same family obligations to their aunts and uncles as they would toward their mother and father. They might even accept an outsider into their group. A tikbalang can sleep both standing up and lying down, often in the open, with warmth and comfort provided by the camp-fire. They sleep during the warmest hours of the day, only active in the late afternoon and early mornings.

A nation (or tribe) are made up of tikbalang who share the same language, customs and laws, numbering about 500 individuals. Most nations are built near rocky hills that offer shade during the day or inside deep canyons. Within each nation are several hordes. Each horde consists of a number of families who might band together for hunting and food gathering. Hordes are further divided into family groups who each have their own camps and eat separately, but may share food between families. There are also clan and totemic groups, where a totem is an animal, plant or other object believed to be ancestrally related to a tikbalang. One born into one totemic group must marry outside that totemic group. A clan has its own identity and ancestral territory, and functions as the custodian of that particular area. Clans have the same territory and totems.

Tikbalangs are usually quite friendly and are not very choosy about who they start alliances with, as long as they are good company. Clap sticks and seed rattles are popular instruments among the tikbalang. Shells and leaves are sometimes tied together and are put around ankles to produce seed sounds when dancing.

Tikbalang Characteristics

Cautious, conservative, friendly, grim, honest, instinctive, self-dependent, vocal

Roleplaying a Tikbalang

Here are some tips and ideas to use when playing a tikbalang. Feel free to incorporate any or all of these ideas into your character's personality and mannerisms.

Consider your actions carefully. When you make a friend, stick by that friend no matter what. When you make an enemy, strive against that enemy with all your might.

Never let strangers go without food and drink, a place to rest, and a bath, if needed. Most tikbalang also offer a parting gift to the stranger before he leaves. You believe that treating a stranger poorly will incur the wrath of your ancestors, as it is well-known that they watch over you.

When someone offends you, demand satisfaction (i.e. to restore one's honour). Any tikbalang can challenge another to a duel. Spears and spearthrowers were the weapons used in such fights; as soon as blood was drawn, onlookers would intervene to separate the combatants and the winner would be proclaimed.

Game Information

Backgrounds in the Suwarnabumi universe
Human Backgrounds AchariyanEbonGanihasaIllangKedayuhLanganeseNiahnese NinangkoruPhanarienShoal-peopleSundamaneseThano
Non-human Backgrounds AghoyAswangHarimauKatawKinnaraMahomanayMawasNagari RaksasaSirena and SiyokoyTikbalangTiyanakToyolVulthok
Some material on this site uses the Open Game License.
All Open Game Content is contained within a grey text block.