A KARA-TUR DICTIONARY
Eadric, Tim Martin, James Pickering, XvShenLonvX
If you have more that we've missed (I know that there are many), feel free to send them to us. Just write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Ai- Blending, harmony, joining, or union. Also, to concentrate or focus.
Aiki- United spirit. The spiritual principle of destroying an adversary's will to fight, or the physical act of dominating an adversary by harmonizing with his force and redirecting it.
Bakemono- Kara-Tur cousins of the western goblin, alike in characteristics and habits. However, unlike the goblin, the bakemonos come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. No two creatures are alike. Some bakemono even have small, stunted wings!
Barbarians- Hunters, raiders, nomads. They live by instinct and natural talents, beyond the bounds of civilization.
Belt - In most Okinawan, Japanese and Korean Martial arts practitioners wear a long colored cloth belt around their waist. They are generally long enough to be wrapped twice around the wearer's waist and then tied in a square knot, with 10 to 15 inches hanging from either side of the knot. Before the 20th century most belts were colorless, but since students were prohibited from washing their belts, belts grew steadily darker through years of accumulated sweat and soil. When the colored belt system of rank was incorporated, it was arranged so that the belt color became darker as the student advanced in rank, ending with the black belt, the highest level of proficiency. Belts vary according to style and type of martial art; in some schools there is only a small colored tip on the end of the belt to show rank. In each case the color represents a different established rank; for example, brown in Japanese and Okinawan karate corresponds to red in Korean tae kwon do. The most common colors used in martial arts are white, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, brown and black.
If the belt, called obi in Japenese, become undone during practice, martial atrs ettiquette is observed. The wearer turns around, facing away from his partner, and while kneeling on one knee reties his belt before again facing his partner. See also dan.
Black Belt - Color of the belt worn in the Japanese, Okinawan and Korean martial arts. It's wearer is generally recognized as an expert. In most styles there are 10 degrees of black belt, called dan (rank; degree), in which the latter five are honorary. In some styles, the recognized master, a 10th- degree black belt, will at his option wear a red belt. See also belt and dan.
Bo Stick - A wooden staff of hard wood, normally 6 to 7 feet in length. Its hard wood makes it difficult to cut or break. It is a common weapon in Kara-Tur.
Budo - Broad term encompassing the Japanese do (way) arts. Unlike fighting systems before the 20th century, the do were designed not necessarily to be used in warefare, but as a means of physical and spirital perfection. Budo requires continuous study of techniques. It demands continuous effort in creating the ideal psychological state; constant striving is required to remove any emotion obstructing correct judgement and reflexes of the body.
Bureaucracy - Its members in Shou Lung appointed based on the results of Imperial tests, controls the day to day operations of a vast empire spanning nearly two thousand miles and over thirty million people. It is the single most powerful force in Shou Lung, for although the Emperor's will is law, it is the actions of the bureaucracy that enforce the law and make it reality.
The system has broken down and become corrupt in T'u Lung, as testing has been replaced by hereditary or graft-like political appointments. The Civil Service Examination in Shou Lung insures only the best, brightest, and most loyal are chosen - it no longer serves that purpose in T'u Lung.
Bushi - Professional soldiers from all ranks of society. Bushi are often masterless warriors, men without ties to a lord, temple, or monastery. They are commonly mercenaries, bandits, highwaymen, or wanderers, earning their money however they can. They can be found serving samurai, protecting the court, or swelling the ranks of armies. A few may be kensai who have fallen by the way. Most, however, are men of low birth who have chosen the way of the warrior to advance in the world.
Bushido - The code of the samurai, which is hard and unrelenting. A samurai's prime duty in life is to serve and obey his daimyo in all things. A samurai must be willing to accept his death at any moment. There can be no failure for a samurai serving his daimyo, for his only choices are to succeed or die in the attempt. If the samurai accepts these choices, he cannot fail since death is not failure; it is the ultimate service a samurai can render his daimyo.
Calligraphy - Kara-Tur languages do not use alphabets to compose words and words to compose sentences. The written language is composed of pictographs or logograms, each character representing a single word or part of word. Thousands of characters are needed to write books. Great precision is needed to write clearly and accurately.
Thus an individual's style and artistic ability with the ink-brush is an important measure of his social worth in Kara-Tur. The first impression a stranger forms of an individual may well be based on how graceful and beautiful his calligraphy style is. Indeed, how well one writes can often be more important than what the writing actually says. Calligraphy is a vital skill for those aspiring to high position in Kara-Tur.
Camel Cart - Method of transporation found among some of the Hordelands natives, though most ride horse. The camel's hardiness is an asset when crossing the more arid areas of the region.
Celestial Emperor - Ruling from his throne in the Center of All Heaven, the Celestial One charts the path of What Has Been and Will Be. There is only one Celestial Emperor, and he has ruled since the beginning of the Great Cycle. His appearance is that of that of a tall, aristocratic lord, dressed in shimmering robes of many colors, and wearing the high crown of the Emperors of Shou Lung. All in heaven report to him, including the Nine Immortals, the Lesser Immortals, and the dragons. His bureaucracy mirrors the perfect bureaucracy the Shou Lung strive to maintain.
Charquit - Sundried jerky, a Hordeland way of presering meat.
Ch'an- The Chinese meditative sect of Mahayana Buddhism.
Ch'i - There are many defination of the mysterious ch'i, the biophysical energy said to be generated by respiratory rhythm. The concept was probably introduced by Mencius (Chinese Medicine, Pierre Huard and Ming Wong). Ch'i manifests itself in the five elements of the universe to give substance to the world, but flows through the elements in the form of a life energy which, if understood, can be controlled. Ch'i is everywhere. It can be seen in one's handwriting or calligraphy. The Chinese calligrapher strove to impart his control over ch'i through his brush to his writing. It might be thought of as a force which gives life, or which holds the moon in place, or which holds an atom to an electron. The concept of ch'i was fundamental to the philosophis of China (Taoism and Buddhism) and, therefore, to its martial arts. Internal systems of kung-fu were very concerned with ch'i-kung (spirit manipulation); the external styles, in contrast, concentrated less on principles of ch'i-kung.
Ching - Both ching and ch'i (spirit, breath) are terms used by Taoist philosophical alchemists seeking immortality. Ching, in this context is the product of properly developed ch'i. It can also mean semen or, in another sense, and according to a different Chinese character, "muscular force." Sometimes they are contrasted as between the ch'i of the internal kung-fu systems and the ching of the external styles, but more often ching is thought to be of a nature directly related to ch'i.
Cliffs of Tanghai - A great black basalt cliff overlooking the Hungtse River near Taitun, in Shou Lung, the cliffs were inscribed by red lightning with the words of the Path of Heaven in year 440. The cliffs are considered to be the holiest place in all Shou Lung, as they are a living symbol of the existinance of the Celestial Emperor and the Celestial Heaven. The inscriptions, one meter high, are carved along the outer face of the cliff, and cannot be reached by any way short of flying.
Daisho - Katana/Wakizashi set.
Daikyu - This is the largest type of bow found in Kara-Tur. In some ways, it is similar to the longbow. It is seven feet long and bent at the ends for greater power. Unlike most bows, the grip is not centered, being closer to the bottom. This allows the bow to be fired from horseback and kneeling positions.
Dan - Category of rank in Japanese, Okinawan and Korean martial arts that classifies students, instructors and masters who wear the black belt. It usually takes three to four years of ascent through the kyu or gup grades to reach 1st-degree black belt, at which the dan ranks commence in some systems, 6th degree and upward are awarded for merit or accomplishment, instead of physical proficiency.
The dan ranks for Japanese and Okinawan martial arts are:
shodan - 1st degree
nidan - 2nd degree
sandan - 3rd degree
yodan - 4th degree
godan - 5th degree
rokudan - 6th degree
shichidan - 7th degree
hachidan - 8th degree
kudan - 9th degree
judan - 10th degree
juichidan - 11th degree
junidan - 12th degree
The dan ranks for tae kwon do (Korean) are:
illdan - 1st degree
yeedan - 2nd degree
samdan - 3rd degree
sahdan - 4th degree
ohdan - 5th degree
yookdan - 6th degree
childan - 7th degree
paldan - 8th degree
koodan - 9th degree
shibdan - 10th degree
chodan - 1st degree
ea dan - 2nd degree
samdan - 3rd degree
sadan - 4th degree
ohdan - 5th degree
yukdan - 6th degree
childan - 7th degree
paldan - 8th degree
kudan - 9th degree
shipdan - 10th degree
Degree - Black belt rank given in martial art ot one who has completed a prescribed course of study. No such ranks were issued originallly in the Chinese styles, other than master and student. See also dan.
Dhaztanar - The "crystal-towered," is the largest city of Sephar. Fabled and fabulous, is the key to trade between the east and the west. It is one end of the Silk Road, the busiest caravan route between Faerun and Shou Lung. It is the largest port on Gbor Nor, shipping goods down the Rauthenflow to the Alambar Sea. It is the home of the Caliph, master of all Semphar.
Dhyana- The Indian meditative sect of Mahayana Buddhism.
Do - When it follows any particular style of the Japanese martial arts, this term means the "way," or mor clearly, "the way to enlightenment, self-realization, and understanding." Do implies that a martial art has been transformed from a practical means of combat to an educational form with emphasis on perfection of human character. Kendo breastplate; constructed chiefly of heavy strips of bamboo covered by laquered leather. The leatherwork and lacquer are often beautifully decorated.
Dobok- A Korean word meaning training uniform.
Dojang- A Korean word meaning training hall.
Dojo - Facility in which karate, judo, aikido and other Japanese do arts are practiced; also called gakko (school). In early Japan, it was the name of a place, usually part of a Zen temple, devoted to religious exercise. Its original Sanskrit meaning, bodhimandala, is the "place of enlightenment" in Japanese, this word means "place of the way." This name was adopted by the Japanese warrior to identify all the halls where he practiced the martial arts.
The four sides of a dojo have special names and functions. The central locale is called kamiza, implying "upper seat"; it is the place of honor reserved for instructors, honored guests, and judo officials. Opposite the kamiza is the shimoza, or "lower seat," the meeting place for all students. During the official ceremonies and instructional periods, students are assembled in ranks along this side.
When facing the kamiza, the side of the dojo to the right is called joseki, or "uppper side"; on the left is the shimoseki, or "lower side." When instructed, students line up along the shimoseki, while instructors face them from the joseki.
Dojo Etiquette - Some of the rules common to all dojo are:
1. Students must bow when entering or leaving the workout area.
2. Students must wear the traditinal uniform to all practice sessions.
3. All uniforms must be clean and in good condition.
4. Students must keep their bodies clean and nails trimmed.
5. Students must not wear jewerly or sharp objects when working out.
6. Students must not chew gum or candy, or eat while in the dojo.
7. Students must not engage in idle talk while in the dojo and should remain attentive at all times.
8. Students must always be courteous and helpful to each other.
9. Students should never use their skills, except in self defense.
Dojo Oath - Code of conduct in the dojo and a guide to everyday life.
It was written by isshinryu's founder Tatsuo Shimabuku.
We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm, unshaking spirit.
We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way so that in time our senses may be alert.
With true vigor, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self-denial.
We will observe the rules of courtesy, respect our superiors and refrain from violence.
We will pay homage to our creator and never forget the true virtue of humility.
We will look upwards to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires.
All our lives, through the disciplines of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the way.
Dojyu - The imperial city of Kozakura.
Dragons - Oriental dragons are very diferent from western or Zakharan dragons. Instead of being different species, differentiated by their color and alignment, they are almost supernatural creatures, each type an official in the Celestial Bureaucracy. Each type is charged with some aspect of government - the Li Lung control the energies of the earth, while the Tun Mi Lung is the dispenser of ocean storms. Humans know of the divine importance of dragons, and often prepare ceremonial precessions and banquets, even worship, to curry flavor and please dragons.
Dragonwall - Marks the current western border of Shou Lung, forming a protective barrier thousands of miles long. Said to be the hardened body of a great dragon.
Eight Million Gods - Ancient religion of Kozakura and Wa, a collection of beliefs and rituals that relate to various nature deities. There is no great teacher or book for the Eight Million Gods, nor uniform rituals of worship. Observances vary from deity to deity and shrine to shrine.
Elemental Tribes - Faith of the Purang hillmen of the Jungle Lands. They recognize a wide number of nature spirts and deities, whom they have grouped into tribes based on each spirit's relationship to the elements. River, rain, and monsoon deities are members of the water elemental tribe; those of plant, field, and stone are of the earth element tribe, and so on. The specific deities honored varies from place to place.
Emperor Kai Tsao Shou Chin - Samurai emperor of Shou Lung, is possibly the most powerful individual on all of Toril. Known as the Rebuilder of the Dragon, is known as a reformer, seeking to heal religious shisms in Shou Lung, replace corrupt officials with new blood, protected the peasants from nobles attempting to create new fiefs, and has elevated science and alchemy to the traditional ministries.
Family - Is a very important part of most Kara-Turans lives. Family here does not mean just the father, brothers, and sisters of the individual, but the entire set of relations - uncles, grandparents, cousins, great-uncles, aunts, and in-laws. Knowing one's family and its collection of alliances and feuds is of extreme importance in Oriental society.
Furthermore, the family includes its ancestors - especially those who achieved great fame in their own day. These ancestors are treated with respect and reverence and can add great honor to a family. Often the warrior rides into battle proclaiming the deeds of his ancestors as proof of his own worth. The government official holds his ancestors as brilliant examples to be followed. A person who does not know his family and its past is often not considered a whole man.
Feng Shui - Literally "Wind and Water," is the ancient Shou art of place divination. A master of feng shui is able to divine the proper place in which to perform certain activities, such as casting spells, creating magical devices, or locating safe places for camps and fortifications. Every aspect of Shou life holds elements of feng shui. Good feng shui can be round doors or the color red, while bad feng shui can be promoted by the color black or windows or doors facing west.
Five Elements Theory - Water, fire, wood, metal and earth. Working through these five elements, ch'i or ki produce the five atmospheric conditions, the five grains, the five planets, the five metals, the five colors, the five tastes and so on.
Forbidden City - Located in the heart of Imperial Capitol, it is the truly the Empire of Shou Lung's center. Within this compound are the Palaces of the Emperor and his family, the halls of the government, and the great Hall of Judgement where the Son of Heaven sits upon the Jade Throne and rules the Empire. It is surrounded by huge walls nearly three stories high.
Gajin - Foreigners, not from Kara-Tur, who do not understand such concepts as honor or the importance of family.
Gargantua - Truly monstrous creatures in proportion and ferocity, known to reach heights of 200 feet or more. They appear in many different forms, but the most frequently encountered types are those of giganitc humanoids, insects, and reptiles. These beasts tower over virtually anything they encounter. Their origin is unknown; all men know is that they occasionally appear from distant jungles, hidden islands, or the depths of the sea to ravage the land. The appearance of one is a national or at least regional emergency.
Geisya - A Kara-Tur girl (more commonly Kozakuran or Wa) that is trained to provide (as by playing on the samisen, dancing, serving food or drinks, or by sympathetic, witty or amusing talk) entertainment and lighthearted company as for a man or group of men. Geisyas are not prostitues - that is the yujo or korobi geisha. Geisyas are similiar to western bards, able to sing, dance, and compose impromptu poetry.
Grenade - A common piece of equipment used by ninjas. They are not grenades in the modern sense - they do not burst with explosive force. Instead, they are carefully blown-out eggshells filled with a variety of powders. Hollowed out nutshells and paper packets are also used. They are used to blind opponents and create distractions.
Gi- A Japanese word meaning training uniform.
Giri- Literally "right reason." A sense of obligation or duty.
Hai Nu - Intelligent aquatic humanoids that live in the sea.
Hakama- Pleated, skirt-like pants worn by practitioners of the classical Japanese martial arts and some traditional budo systems.
Hanshi- A master instructor or the headmaster of a ryu.
Hantachi- Literally "half standing." A stance on one knee. Also, a training format in which one student is standing and the other kneeling.
Hara- Literally "belly." The center of the body where one's soul resides.
Hengeyokai - Intelligent animals which can assume human form. Several subraces exist, each a diferent type of animal; examples include carp, cat, fox, and rat. They are found throughout the Oriental world, usually on the fringes of huamn-settled lands.
The ability to change shape is natural to hengeyokai. They are not lycanthropes, and do not have their symptoms or vulnerabilities.
Honor - Is different from the honor of a paladin or cavalier, but similar to Zakharan honor. It is not a judgement of good and evil. Individuals of high honor are not necessarily good and those with low honor are not necessarily evil. A cruel villain can possess high honor and a heroic samurai, through unfortuante circumstances, might possess low honor. Honor is more a measure of the deeds accomplished by both the individual and his family or clan. It reflects obedience, loyalty, talent, and success, qualities that can be held by any individual regardless of alignment.
Horse Stance - A basic posture in all the martial arts. Legs spread approximately twice the width of the shoulders, body weight evenly distributed and toes pointed straight forwars. One's "horse" is thought to be the center of strength (in conjunction with the tan-tien and small of the back). Although not all stances fall into the category of the horse stance proper, which refers specifically to such stances as the horse-riding stance, chi-ma-pu, and kung-chien-pu, the strength of one's stances in general is often referred to as horse strength.
In many styles, students are required to stand in a horse position for an hour or more before beginning training. Other systms have a horse "set," as in Choy-Lu-Fut and Hop-Gar, in which a succession of horse stances are assumed.
I- A Chinese word meaning mind.
Iaijutsu- Although this is a skill learned and used with a weapon and not a peaceful proficiency, it is one that can be learned by anyone willing to devote the time and effort. Iaijutsu is the art of fast drawing a melee weapon - unsheathing it with blinding speed.
Impossible Palace of the Siver Domes- A legendary palace which appears at random times all over Shou Lung. It is most often seen in times of great strife within Shou Lung, and legends tell of its mysterious inhabitant(s) providing information, weapons, or spells to those brave enough to enter its doors.
In- The soft, female, dark, or negative principle of nature.
Island Kingdoms- Series of island nations to the south of the main continent of Kara-Tur. The most well known are Bawa and Bertan. Known for their volcanic origins, dense jungle, seagoing merchants, and wako. At least in Bawa, a caste system is rigidly enforced; from top down are the nobles, the propertied, the laboring, and the outcasts.
The region is also infamous for cannibals and headhunters.
Jade- A semi-precious stone, normally a transluscent green color, but may be red, white, bluish green, or black. Highly valued in Shou Lung, it is crafted and shaped into many ornamental forms and into many uses. A highly valued trade item everywhere in Kara-Tur, those who carve jade are much respected.
Jinja- A Japanese word meaning shrine.
Jito- Stewardship, offered but not required of samurai of 7th level or higher. It is stewardship of one of his daimyo's properties, of which the samurai must watch over - protecting property, settling disputes, quelling rebellions, and collecting taxes. In return, the samurai receives one-quarter of all the taxes he collects. The samurai is watched over by the daimyo's shugo, or constable of the province.
Ju- A Japanese word meaning suppleness, flexibility, or yielding.
Applied to combat, the principle of ju is one of adaptation, taking advantage of an opponent's method and force to defend or neutralize his purpose. Martial arts chronicles confirm, though ju, a Chinese influence upon that school of thought in Japan which held the principle of nonresistence to be superior, not only in moral sense, but in the practical reality of combat.
Jujutsu- A Japanese word meaning art or technique.
Jutsu- Fighting method with the bugei, arts of war, rather than with sporting or aesthetic values, which are generally linked to the do (way) methods developed in Japan after the mid-18th century. Some of the more popular were karate-jutsu, kenjutsu, aiki-jutso, and jujutsu; these were the antecedents of karate-do, dendo, aikido and judo. Also spelled jitsu.
Junk- Generic term for most types of Oriental ships, includes a great many subtypes. Lorcas are among the largest and most advanced, showing much western infuence in their hull, but with more traditional rigging and sails. The trading junk or Pechili trading junk is a seafaring passenger and cargo caring ship common throughout Kara-Tur. Traditional war ships include the small war junk (with around 2-6 artillery engines) and the ocean war junk or ta-ping-ch'uan (with around 4-16 artillery engines). The river junk is a sailing cargo boat for rivers and bays. The crooked-stern junk is a river cargo vessel built to negoitate the most treachorous rapids, using bow sweeps for added maneuverability. There is also the fishing junk, the flower junk (generally a floating restraunt or teahouse), and the house junk. Sampans are generally smaller rowed vessels, used for fishing, ferrying, and cargo transfer. The Dragon boat, unique to Shou Lung, has one sole purpose; to race in the annual Dragon Boat festival.
Kabuki- Type of theather most common in Wa, less cerebral and more spirited than Noh. These perfomances feature energetic dancing and singing and rarely last more than a couple of hours. Like Noh dramas, kabuki actors are exclusively male.
Kabukimono- Loosely organized fraternal groups of soldiers in Wa. Their colorful costumes and proud songs highlight the parades of many holidays.
They typify the problems of having too many military men with too much time on their hands. At best, their juvenile needs for excitement are merely annoying; at worst, they can be dangerous.
Kama- A straight-bladed sickle. It is a farmer's tool that can also be used as a weapon for great effect. Ninjas tend to use this weapon, since it can be carried without arousing great suspicion.
Kami- A spirit as conceived in the Shinto religion. Divines spirits who dwell in nature.
Kamikaze- Divine Wind.
Kamiza- Literally "spirit seat." A shelf on the front wall of a Japanese style training hall where a shrine often resides.
Kata- A formal, prearranged exercise.
Katsu- A Japanese word meaning victory.
Katana- A single-edged slightly curved sword ending in a chisel point. It evolved gradually from the normal sword and is noted for its superior construction and design. It is perhaps one of the finest types of swords made. Great care is taken in making the katana and the forging and construction of it is considered a rare and valuable art.
For the samurai, the katana is more than just a sword. It is part of his honor and the honor of this family. It is his personal weapon, not be used by others. To touch the scabbard of the sheathed katana or to draw the blade without permission is to insult the samurai.
Kensai- Martial artists in the purist sense; their life is devoted to mastering a single weapon and achieving perfection in its use. Traditionally kensai means "sword saint" or "sword master," but kensai have expanded to include almost any weapon or fighting skill.
Khahan - Or great khan, a Hordeland khan of khans. The ruler of all the khans, and is a title of great prestige and power. Not passed on to father from son, but is that individual's title until taken away by force. Khans rule the ordu, or hordes, of which several make up a tribe. Several obogh, or villages (of sorts) make up each ordu - generally three or four.
Khazari- Small nation of mountain dwellers under the nominal command of a hereditary prince. The Silk Road runs through the center of the country, making Khazari a strategic territory for caravan trade. It is located in one of the northermost extensions of the Yehimal, not far south from the southern terminus of the Dragonwall.
Ki- Japanese word meaning "spirit"; energy believed to be the source of life. It was generally held that this powerful source of energy could be tapped only if a man had stabilized that position of inner centralization in the hara. In India this vital force has been known for centuries as prajna, in China as ch'i, and in Japan as ki.
The coordinated energy of the hara could infuse a man with tremendous vitality and make him powerful in action, more so that the man who had developed muscular power alone. As might be expected, the range of the methods of using these inner techniques is considerable, but all of them included in addition to meditation and concentration, the fundamental exercise of abdominal breathing.
In ancient texts, the word itself is translated as air, atmosphere, breath. The doctrine was a main source of metaphysical and intellectual speculation for Indian, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese scholars, philosophers and religious leaders. Finally, it was adopted by almost all the important schools of martial arts.
Ki or ch'i, is a concept that is both natural and simple. Those who make of it something mysterious and akin to magical power miscomprehend what is essentially a common property of all human beings. Learning to release and utilize ki is where the difficulty lies. Its function in the human body has been described as "electricity the flows back and forth along the wires of our nerves," and as "the psycho-physiological power associated with blood, breath and mind; the biophysical energy generated by respiratory rhythm.
Ki Power- Difficult to define term, but is a force or energy drawn from within a person to allow that individual to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. Some classes, such as the kensai and ninja, are trained to harness the ki power present in all individuals.
Kiai- Focused or concentrated life force. Also a "spirit shout."
Koan- A riddle with no logical answer used in the Rinzai sect of Zen to confound the conscious mind and allow the aspirant to achieve spontaneous insight.
Korobokuru- Small, hairy men who live in remote wildernesses, similar to western dwarves. They delight in nature, simple art, and craft. Living in vast jungles, snowy mountain forests, or barren wilderness areas, they seldom come into contact with humans.
Since they have a lower level of civilization and the general conceit of humans, humans consider korobokuru to be backward primtives, and rarely accept them as full members of human society. They are typically seen as rude, pugnacious, boastful, and somewhat comical by the rest of the world.
Koryo- A long peninsula that extends from Shou Lung down to the northern islands claimed by Kozakura. This mountainous land was once known as Choson, and is really a loose association of three kingdoms, united under a strong warlord king.
Kozakura- Or the "Little Cherry Blossom," is inhabited by the same race of people as found on Wa, and has similiar customs and traditons. Kozakura howerver is far from a unified state. For several centuries it has been the scene of incessant warfare between powerful daimyos, all struggling to gain the title of Shogun.
Kumiss- Fermented mare's milk, an imporant part of Hordeland nomad's diets and used in many ceremonies.
Kuzushi- To off-balance an opponent before executing a throw or some other technique.
Kyu- Class. A category of rank for ungraded students, those who haven't reached the "black belt" ranks.
Lamas- Religious leaders of the Plain of Horses. Many supervise temples, while others reside in major cities or wander with no fixed abode.
Land of Snow Demons- The far northern reaches of Kara-Tur, a vast expanse of permafrost tundra, unbroken except for a few stunted trees and upheavals of rock.
Language- Their is no common as there is in Zakhara or Faerun, instead three main languages. Shou Lung, of which there are several dialects, is the most widely spoken, and can be heard in Shou Lung and T'u Lung. Kozakura is spoken in Kozakura and Wa. Beastlands is spoken to the west of Shou Lung, in the Hordelands. There are also several notable nonhuman languages - tengu, oni, hobgoblin, and hengeyokai - and also a trade language and language used by ninjas. The trade language is understood universally, but has a limited vocabulary, and is really well-suited only for conversing about business and common needs.
Li- A Chinese word meaning strength.
Lords of Creation- Faith of the Jungle Lands, particularly the Kuong Kingdom. The lords are a close-knit family of powerful deities, each one responsible for a different aspect of earthly existence. Followers of this religion may worship a single Lord of Creation, or many at once.
Worshippers of the Lords of Creation have little of the philosophical perspective offered by the Path of Enlightenment, nor the respect for nature spirits found in those who follow the Elemental Tribes.
Lotus- Most prized flower in all of Kara-Tur, has aphrodisiac, sedative, or even posionous properties.
Machi-yakko- Youth gangs whose members are the sons of shopkeepers and merchants, found in Wa. Originally organized for social functions, they are becoming increasingly involved in political activities. The government recognized kabukimono have increasingly clashed with the non-sanctioned machi-yakko.
Make- A Japanes word meaning defeat.
Malatra- Or the Jungle Lands, are south of T'u Lung and Shou Lung, and is a collective name, encompassing several peoples. The main civilizations are the Kuong Kingdom, the hill tribes of Purang, and the Seng of Laothan.
Laothan is the northern jungle area of Malatra, sweeping south in a curve from the T'u Lung border to the Dwai river. A region of vast rainforest and monsoons, its people bear many similiarities with those of T'u Lung.
Purang is a hilly region, little known, home to primitive tribesman, known for hunting with blowguns and poison darts.
Kuong is the southern jungle country of this region, and has the heaviest jungle of all Malatra. The people are racially similiar to those of Purang, but more advanced.
Man catcher- A two-pronged pole arm. Each prong is curved to encircle a humanoid creature of man-size. The man catcher has spikes and sharpened edges to both damage the opponent and prevent the use of hands and arms.
Mandarinate- Of Shou Lung, is made up of the upper echelon of scholars and officials, and includes both court scholars and the heads of official ministries of the bureaucracy. It includes the Chancellor (right hand of the Emperor), the Chamberlain (responsible for maintaing the Household of the Imperial Court), the Emperor's Wu Jen, the High Priest (of the official Faith), among others.
Meijin- A Japanese word meaning "great master".
Menkyo- A license or certificate.
Monks- Seek to create a perfect union between mind and body through the practice of meditation and fighting skills.
Nature Spirits- Outward manifestations of the powers of various plants and inanimate objects found in nature. Lesser nature spirits are those of trees, flowers, rocks, and bamboo groves. Greater nature spirits include those of mountains, boulders, plains, extremely ancient trees, and small islands. All are associated with a particular object or place from which they derive their life force. Damage done to this thing or place affects the spirit accordingly.
Nightingale Floors- Specially designed floors, meant to squeak when stepped upon, often found in the homes of important or powerful persons - to try and foil ninja assassins.
Ninja- Are practitioners of ninjutsu, the art of invisibility. They are masters of stealth, disguise, acrobatics, and assassination. They canot operate openly, and often are seen as bushi, sohei, wu jen, or yakuza.
There are actually three classes of ninjas. The highest is the jonin, traditional head of a ninja family. The middle class is the chunin, the go-betweens and messengers. The chunin are the most common ninjas (if ninjas can ever be considered common), and are usally dual-classed to hide their true identity. The lowest class was the genin, the opeartives. Although the genin sometimes leads a double life, more often they existed only as ninjas, living in remote base camps deep in the mountains.
Ninja-to- This is the ninja's standard sword. It is approximately the length of a short sword, making it easier to conceal on the body. Unlike the katana, the blade is straighter and of lower quality. However, in keeping with the ninja's methods, the sword and scabbard have multiple uses, varying from ninja to ninja.
Noh- A type of drama pefromed in Kozakura and Wa. It combines speech, singing, and dance in as single performance. There are a great number of noh plays, mostly dealing with historical subjects. These plays are very exacting and stylized. Each move and word is meant to be done in a specific way, each costume represents a specific person, etc. Mastering Noh is very difficult, and Noh masters are highly prized.
Northern Wastes- Uncivlized region to the south of the Land of the Snow Demons. It is primarily made up of the Ama River Basin, which includes extensive regions of taiga and swamps. The Northern Wastes also includes the northern Koryaz Mountains.
Three "nations" or tribal groupings live in the Ama Basin, differing according to appearance, dialect, and culture. They are the Issacort (the most cohesive, forming a tribal confederation), the Pazruki, and the Wu-haltai (the least cohesive, its clans forming alliances only in times of need).
Nunchaku- This is a martial arts weapon, derived from the comon agricultural flail. It consists of a two lengths of hard wood or iron connected by a short chain or cord. It can be used to parry attacks, club an opponent, or catch weapons. It is easily concealed. Martial arts training is required to use this weapon effectively.
Obi- The belt made specifically to hold a samurai's daisho.
On- A Japanese word meaning debt, obligation, or favor. A burden.
Oni- Fearsome spirits that dwell in desoloate and forbidding places. They usually stand seven to eight feet tall, have one to three eyes, and one or two horns on their head. They have human, bull, or horse heads, and many are evil.
Outer Isles- Collective name for the small islands that border the main islands of Wa. Some are occupied by primitive races with exotic cultures. Others are inhabited by dangerous creatures. Many of the islands are virtually unexplored.
Paitza- In the Tuigan empire of the Hordelands, an important sign of the khahan's power, seving as an official passport, that those carrying one are on khahan business and not to be harmed. It is a metal plate, about 1 foot long and 3 inches wide, with the value of the metal (iron, bronze, silver, or gold) determining the rank of the wearer.
Path, The- The officially recognized "state" religion of Shou Lung, primarily due to a well organized temple militia and strong influence at court. It emphasizes honor, duty, and respect to one's elders, ancestors, and the Imperial family. Out of character, it is Confuscianism.
The Path of Enlightenment is also observed among the Seng of the Jungle Lands.
Plain of Horses- Also known as the Beastlands, is the Kara-Tur name for the eastern Hordelands, home to vast steppes and fierce armies of mounted warriors. It separates Kara-Tur from Faerun.
Pyschic Duel- A fierce but hidden struggle fought between warriors proud of their skills and their honor. The psychic duel does not require psionic talent. It is a test of the wills of the duelists - their courage, skill, and determination. It is an invisible fight, the outcome revealed by a faint grimace, the flicker of an eyelid, or the tic of a muscle. In it, the individual displays his mental determination as a warrior, showing just how tough he is.
Ra-Khati- Very mysterious mountain kingdom of the Katakoro Shan mountains, near the eastern edges of the Hordelands. Ruled by the Dali Lama and his lamas, strangers who enter are given three choices; remain inside forever, becoming citizens; die; or let their tongues be cut out, preventing them from telling the world about Ra-Khati.
Renshi- A trainer. A teaching certificate roughly equivalent to fourth or fifth dan.
Ri Ben- (Name of Japan)-Origin of the sun.
Rice- The one constant in the lands of Kara-Tur. Everyone eats rice, in one form or another, as it is served with every meal. It is boiled and served as a main course. It is cooked in a pasta-like gruel. Leftover rice is mixed with meats and vegetables. It is vinegared, shaped, and served cold. It is pounded and crushed and made into rice-cakes. It is ground into flour and formed into buns and noodles. It is mashed, fermented, and made into sake, a strong drink.
Ronin- Literally "wave man." A samurai without a master. He may have disgraced hismelf and been expelled from his daimyo's service as a consequence. He may voluntarily leave his master's service, especially if he must perform some act that would normally bring disgrace to his lord.
In Wa, there are a large number of ronin, due the shogunate's decision to reduce the numbers of fiefs and reorganize the administration; to many strong rulers were thought to be a threat to the nation's stability. Early some ronin rebelled, but many have since become farmers or even laborers, living anonymously. Some of the more ambitious have become traders and merchants. They are generally respected by the common people of Wa for their integrity and sense of duty, and can regain full samurai status by the decree of a daimyo.
Ryo- A feudal monetary measure of gold.
Ryu- A style of an art. A school.
Sabum- A Korean word meaning teacher.
San- An honorific title meaning mister, miss, etc.
Samurai- Members of an elite class of warrior nobility. Their prime duty is to be absolutely loyal to their master (daimyo) and serve him however he commands. They follow the code of Bushido (which see).
To properly serve his daimyo, a samurai must be skilled in his main weapons, the katana and the daikyu (great bow). He must be adept at horsemanship. Ideally, he must also be accomplished in the arts - calligraphy, music, noh, poetry, and painting. A samurai must strive for perfection in all things, since they reflect upon his honor, the honor of his daimyo, and the honor of his family.
Semphar- Mighest nation of the Hordelands or Endless Waste, is both eastern and western. It has grown fat on caravan trade, and is also a lush agricultural land, the envy of its neighbors. Reflecting many influences, it has in the past been part of the ancient Imaskari, Mulhorand, and Shou empires.
Sengoku- Warring States.
Seppuku- The ritual suicide of the samuari, uses a small sword to cut himself open.
Shangdu- An idyllic, beautiful place
Sensei- Japanese martial arts teacher. The martial arts have always been indebted to the sensei, who spent the greater part of his life immersed in the forms of bujutsu. He tested the techniques and strategies of the various styles in actual combat, experimented with its weapons and devised new methods of coping with life-threatening situations. Above all, he taught his methods to others.
Little is known about the criteria adopted to evaluate a candidate for assignment as a sensai. It is assumed that the most naturally inclined and talented men from the members of a clan were appointed. In Chinese culture this appointment depended on merit, ascertained through a series of public examinations and upon constant supervision of a candidate's performance during his official career. In Japan, however, it became largely hereditary and consequently, was passed from the original teacher to his natural or adopted son. While the records of masters of arms in China abound with names of individual fighters known for their prowess in various systems, in Japan such records point primarily to schools and families of bujutsu experts who too considerable pride in recalling a long line of professional ancestors and whose written or oral instructions they tended to follow quite closely.
In Japan, a sharp distinction can be made between the teachers of the military class and those belonging to other classes. The sensei of the first category comprised the majority and their specialties included, in order of importance, archery, spearmanship, swordsmanship, general strategy and several subordinate styles of unarmed combat, such as jujutsu and aikijutsu, used in combination with the traditional armed styles. The latter category formed the minority, being men who usually specialized in arts of combat that could be practiced without arousing the attention and concern of the military authorities. Among these treachers were specialists in instruments of various social classes: the staff, fan, iron pipes and chained blades.
Within his dojo a sensei was in a position of supreme authority and unchallenged prestige. A student registered in a particular ryu was principally a pupil of the instructor who accepted him as a disciple. Thus personal discipleship, rather than institutional membership, was the working relationship. It has been observed that even today one seldom witnesses a more pronounced form of respect, often virtually indistinguishable from actual subservience, than that accorded to a Japanese master of any martial art by his Japanese students. There have been many attempts to export and transplant this type of relationship to the West in certain judo, karate, aikido, kendo schools, etc. More often than not, the results have been frustrating and disappointing to both the Japanese instructor and his Western students, since the necessary cultural promises simply are not present in the West.
Shinto- Way of the Gods.
Shou Lung- Or "Receiver of the Dragon," is the largest and most powerful empire of Kara-Tur. It is also the oldest state of Kara-Tur and has been in existence for over 1,200 years in one form or another. It has been ruled by an emperor for all of its history, except for a few periods of turmoil. The bureaucracy he heads is manned by thousands of officials, major and minor, chosen by a system of examinations given throughout the land.
Shou Lung is divided into 14 provinces, headed by a governor. The provinces are connected by a well-maintained network of roads and bridges, as well as Imperial Messengers. Dikes and dams are construced to control flooding, and coinage and paper money is minted and honored throughout the land.
Shukenja- Wandering holy men. They act as teachers, adivsors, and healers to whomever needs their aid. They are respected by all, from peasant to samurai, for their devotion and magical abilities. Their self-sacrifice, accepting a life of hardship and poverty, combined with devout religious beliefs, places the shukenja outside the caste system.
Shuriken- A small throwing weapon. It comes in many sizes and shapes, the two most common being the star and the spike. Stars have three or more razor-edged points, ensuring that at least one will strike the victim when thrown. Spikes are large pins, tapering to sharp points. Easily concealed, they are thrown by hand and have a limited range.
Shogun- Supreme general of the emporer's army.
Silk Road- The major east-west trade route across the Hordelands (or Endless Wastes, or Beastlands, or Plain of Horses). Relatively safe, it passes through Shou Lung, Khazari, and Semphar. It is shorter than the northern Spice Road, but travelers are often heavily taxed passing through its many cities.
Sohei- Warrior priests, though more warrior than priest. They protect monasteries from attack and extend the monastaries' political claims. They have limited magical ability.
Spice Road- More northerly east-west trade route, is longer and less safe than the Silk Road. Does not have the Silk Road's taxes however, and is the only current route between northern Faerun and Kara-Tur.
Spirit Folk- Appear human, but their ancestry includes various spirits of nature. They are closely attuned to nature and natural forces. They are the descendants of humans and nature spirits, and are of three distinct races; bamboo, river, and sea spirit folk.
Unlike korobokuru or even hengeyokai, they appear completely human; indeed, many come close to the ideal of human beauty in society. In addition to being part of a human clan or family, they also have additional responsiblities to their spirit lord - the Lord of the Wood, the Lord of the Rivers, or the Lord of the Sea.
Style- An expression that usually refers to the type of martial arts on practices. In karate, the word style refers to the system or school in which one practices. Since there are hundreds of different types of karate, each with different characteristics, the word "style" has become common among practitioners when referring to the specific kind of karate they are engaged in.
Sun Tzu- Author of "The Art of War" over 2,000 years ago.
Tabot- A mountainous, cold land to the west of most of Kara-Tur. Deeply mysterious, it is virtually inaccesible; it is surrounded and permeated with dense bamboo forests, glaciers, deep valleys, and insurmountable peaks. Freezing winds, avalanches, mud-slides, dust storms, and yeti plague the would be travler. Its people are either holy men of the monastaries, or nomads, moving with their herds of yak.
Taekwondo- Way of smashing with feet and fists. A modern martial way and combative sport emphasizing high kicking and body punching. Also spelled "tae kwon do" and "taekwon-do."
Tai Chi Ch'uan- Soft, internal art usually practiced in slow, graceful forms. Modern versions used mostly to promote health.
Tai Otoshi- Leg drop. A commonly used judo throw.
Taiso- Limbering, stretching and warm-up exercises performed by martial artists before a class.
Tanden- The body's center, two inches below the belly button.
Tao- A Chinese word meaning "The Way".
Tao Te Ching- The Way of Changes, a Chinese classic written by Lao Tzu around the 3rd century B.C. It is the fundamental text of Taoism.
Te- A Japanese word meaning hand. Old name for striking arts on Okinawa.
Tea Ceremony- A highly specialized art practiced by nobles in Kozakura and Wa. Although outwardly is appears tobe a simple if not trivial procedure, it is actually a skill that requires painstaking concentration. Every movement and step must bed performed with an exact amount of grace and precision, designed to create an atmosphere of serenity and calm. Similar to the Zakharan coffee ceremony, only much more elaborate.
Tengu- Race of birdlike humanoid creatures found in uninhabited mountain areas, though not far from settled lands. Many people believe they were the original inhabitants of the land before the arrival of humans. There are two types - the crow-headed tengu and the humanoid tengu.
Tensho- Okinawan karate kata employing dynamic tension and sanchin stance.
Tong- Or secret society, which are everywhere in Shou Lung and to a lesser extent in T'u Lung. The secret society may be devoted to protecting the weak and fighting corruption, or may be devoted to crime and the underworld. Examples include the Many-Hued Peacock Society and the Society of the Purple Lotus.
Tori- Defender; Nage. The person who applies the technique.
Trigrams- Unique aspect of magic that permeates Shou Lung culture. It is a form of divination in which a handful of broken and unbroken chopsticks are thrown into a circle, and six are selected from the top. The resulting series of broken and unbroken lines are then compared to a matching trigram in the Book of Change to determine the meaning.
T'u Lung- "Earth Dragon" was a part of Shou Lung until a dispute over imperial succession 300 years ago. Claiming its own emperor, T'u Lung set up a separate imperial court. After many wars between the two states, the situation has stablized, though no love is lost.
In the wars of succession, the Emperor of T'u Lung was supported by powerful officials and nobles of the rebelling provinces, though this later proved to be a problem, as future T'u Lung emperors were unable to rule without the nobles' support. The nobles replaced the examination system with hereditary positions, and T'u Lung's public works in its six provinces subsequently declined.
Ukemi- Breakfalls used in judo and other Japanese martial arts to avoid injury when bieng thrown. Ukemi has been called the key to judo. Until the fear of falling is eliminated, the judoka has not the confidence to attempt advanced feats. There are two types of ukemi in judo: falls in which the arm strikes the mat; falls in which the body rolls like a ball.
In mastering ukemi, a student first learns to strike the mat with both arms and hands while falling backwards. The arms are held straight about 45 degrees from the body. The head is kept tucked upward to prevent injury. Next, breakfalls to the left and right side are practiced, in which only one hand and arm strike the mat. In a side breakfall, the leg and foot also strike the mat simultaneously with the arms. Finally, the rolling breakfall is perfected, in which the arms and feet strike the mat as the body rolls forward in a somersaulting motion.
Wa- An island that is unified military state. Although there is an emperor, the title is honorary and real power rests in the hands of the Shogun or "barbarian-suppressing general." The island is divided into fiefs, granted by the Shogun, and ruled individually by the daimyos.
Within Wa the status of the warrior, particularly the samurai, has been raised above all others. Each daimyo maintains a household of samurai, each expected to give absolute and loyal service to their daimyo. Under the warriors come the peasants, than the craftsmen, and finally the merchants.
Wako- The buccaneer and pirates of Kara-Tur. Far fiercer and more feared than their western counterparts.
Way, The- Its followers are known as Chung Tao, or Guides of the Way. More of a philosophy than a religion, its adherants believe that the true nature of the way is unknowable. The Way states that all things in the Celestial Universe affect and are affected by all others. There is no Good, Evil, Law, or Chaos - only the forces of the Universe, which may be manipulated as desired. The proper student of the Way recognizes this and strives to know the proper way in which to use these forces.
Way of Enlightenment- Virtually a Kozakuran version of the Path or Path of Enlightenment observed in Shou Lung. This well-organized religion draws lessons from the life and speeches of its great teacher in an effort to guide men to spiritual perfection. It is divided into three main schools; Toro-dai (most popular, is very much myticism), Kanchai (worshippers try to influence an invisible hierarchy of spirits), and Konjo (highly esoteric, uses complex methods of meditation and contemplation).
Wu Jen- Sorcerors and magicians. They usually live as hermits in remote areas, and are greatly feared and respected for their powers.
Since wu jen draw their power from supernatural sources, they must operate under special taboos, taboos of which is the wu jen violates he or she suffers the loss of spells, illness, and other evil events. A taboo could be not eating meat, not wearing cloth of a certain color, or not touching dead bodies.
Yakuza- Thugs and extortionists, but they are also peacekeepers and guardians of the common man. Structured bands of yakuza collect tribute from their local merchants in exchange for protection. Unlike western thieves, yakuza are much more organized and less apt to be independent. Yakuaza groups (kumi) follow a family head (oyabun). Family honor is observed.
Also unlike thieves, yakuza have incredible powers of gathering information, each yakuza maintaing lists of contacts, who provide eithier information or aid. At higher levels yakuza have contacs over entire provinces.
Yehimal- Mighest mountain range on all of Toril, it and the Jumpa River gorge serve to separate most of Kara-Tur from either the Hordelands or Faerun. A land of glaciers and yetis, it has peaks up 24,000 feet in height. Its southern extension, the A-Ling Shan, separates the ancient Raurin desert from the Kara-Tur land of the Katakoro Plateau. Its northern edge is known as Kun-Yen Shan, and is fabled to hold valleys of exiles or terrible monsters.
Yin-Yang- Two opposite forces that exist in harmony, complement each other and are dependent on each other. Yin is characterized as the negative force of darkness, coldness and empiness; yang as the positive force of light, warmth and fullness. Yin-yang represents the two primal, opposite forces: hard and soft, masculine and feminine. The binary list is endless.
There are two yin-yang symbols which represent both the philosophy and the martial arts aspect of kung-fu: the spiral and the double fish.
Both configurations are enclosed in a circle, which is indicative of the cyclical evolution in nature. The transmutation of two opposites is represented by the dark area blending into the white. Harmony between these opposite attributes is shown by the equality of the two areas. The white dot in the dark area and the dark dot in the white area of the double fish configuration show the interdependency of the two. Obviously these same principles are applicable to the spiral configuration, but its origin is not as clear. However, it is generally believed that it did exist befor the double fish diagram and was derived from the I-Ching. During kung-fu's evolution, the spiral configuration was adopted by the intellectuals and scholars and the double fish configuration became synonymous with the commoners.
The Pugilist who understands the yin-yang principles, it is said, has unlimited resources in the application of his techniques.
Yo- The hard, male, light, or positive principle of nature.
Yurt- Portable tents, resembling round domes when set up, that are the center of Hordeland nomads' lives.
Zanshin- State of total awareness cultivated in all martial arts. Zanshin is not a state achieved though analysis, but rather through experience and instinct. By an intense and intuitive use of the senses some exponents seem to achieve a stat of awareness that almost suggests a sixth sense. It produces and intriguing calmness of mind and an apparent detachment even in threatening situations, when fear or anger might seem a more natural reaction. Through zanshin the Japanese bushi achieved the proper mental and physical attitude with which to dominate his adversary. The Japanese refer to Zanshin as an all-seeing "mind like the moon."
Zen- Discipline that stresses meditation and direct transmission of teachings from master to student. Zen, as it is know to Japan, was introduced there by Buddhist monks, returning from China in the 13th century. Attracted by its austerity, many samurai sought to perfect themselves in its study. They hoped in this way to face battle and even death without expressing fear.
The aim of Zen is complete control of the mind - to attain a state of enlightenment and a sense of detachment from the physical world. This is achieved by constant meditation and strict discipline.
It is generally claimed the Zen was the foundation of martial arts in fudal Japan, that it provided the doctrine of bujutsu with a theory and a philosophy and that it provided the doctrine of bujutsu with a theory and philosophy, and that it provided the martial artist with proper disciplines for developing a strong character and personality. A man throughly versed in the techniques of concentration and meditation might achieve complete indifference to physical discomfort, pain and eventually even death. It is no wonder, then, that Japanese warriors, who were professionally fascinated by the various ways of meeting death, came to believe that Zen masters made "sport of death."
The most important contribution of Japanese Zen to the martial arts was its insistence upon intuition, believed by Zen masters to be the most direct way of reaching truth. Intuition was the quality the feudal warrior needed to develop most particularly to respond quickly to the prompting of a dangerous situation.
Finally, Zen seems to have also influenced the style of recording the techniques of the various ryu (schools). The task of writing them, of preserving and guarding them, was generally assigned to a Zen priest residing in a nearby monastery, when not performed by the master of the school himself
In the relation to moral conduct, however, Zen had little or nothing to add to the code of loyality and obedience that ruled the life of a samurai. Instead, it sustained them morally and philosophically. Morally, because Zen teaches one not to look backward once the course is decided upon; and philosophically, because it treats life and death indifferently.
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