The Land of Rrallarra

The land of the catran.


Rrallarra is a long, relatively narrow island, much like Japan or New Zealand. It has a ridge of hills running down the middle, moving from the tundra in the north, behind the Snow-Capped Volcano, down through a mixture of forest and savannah, and entering jungle in the far south. The island is surrounded by water on all sides, save for the Obelisk Island, a small island in the far north surrounded by chaos and connected by water to the rest of the island only at high tide. The Obelisk of Chaos is on the island in the center of one of the world’s greatest remaining temples to Chaos.

The catran corresponding to domestic felines are the ones that like the cities best. Lions and leopards like the savannah, pumas and snow leopards the mountains, tigers and jaguars like the jungle, and Siberian tigers the far north. The wanderlust of any of the felines may bring them into different territories, however, and the rules of thumb are very loose indeed.


Herding is a large part of the economy: settled catran work on crafts, and nomadic ones take turns bringing their herds through settled areas for the settled ones to hunt, in exchange for goods produced by the settled folk. Catran dislike low-level repetitive grungy tasks like mining and road-building and quarrying and plowing, so they prefer to get by without metals and stone buildings— bricks and adobe are more their speed when they aren’t living in tents and caves and magically woven trees. (Pottery-level technology is much more to catran liking: make some bricks, take a nap. Make some more bricks, take a nap. Fire the bricks, take a nap. Put down a layer of bricks, take a nap...) Working closely enough with fire to be a blacksmith or glassblower requires a truly inspired catran, so the few metal and glass products they have tend to be very high quality. Their art of pottery is well refined in using just the pads of the paws without getting the fur dirty.

Exports: fine crafts

Imports: metal, miners, blacksmiths

Internal goods: herd animals, pottery


Catran are very feline in their thinking: they wander around a lot, aren’t good at mass organization... They are more omnivorous than their four-footed cousins, but prefer large amounts of meat in their diet and seldom have the patience to actually farm land. Humans are astonished by the erratic way in which catran embrace new technology: if it involves lots of time spent in front of a hot fire or back-breaking labor, the catran are generally happy enough to leave that work to their citizens who are inspired enough to brave the heat of the forge. Richer catran can afford the products of the local smiths and glassblowers or foreign ones; the rest don’t really see a need to bother with a new technology if it’s so expensive.

Catran cities resemble clusters of Roman-style villas with tracts of semi-overgrown parkland between them, suitable for breeding squirrels, mice, birds, and other snacks, with trails as needed for getting from one spot to another and channeling the animals that get herded in by the nomads. It is considered aesthetically unfashionable to be able to see anyone else’s villa from one’s own. Conflict among catran usually occurs at a skirmish level between small to medium sized groups, not like human wars— it’s hard to get that many catran to agree on a fight!— so they don’t need city-level fortifications. (An external invasion would teach the invaders a thing or two about guerrilla warfare: catran don’t go in for paved roads, either. If an ordinarily worn path tends to get too muddy, they put in trees so they can travel the limbs, or ride herdbeasts that do the slogging for them. Either way, armies will have trouble marching in catran territory.)

Individual territory is handled by border-marker stones incised with the name of the family whose territory it is, and they always contain a niche for burning the family incense (made from a mixture of the usual incense herbs and just enough of the family patriarch or matriarch’s territory-marking spray to be recognizable), and if you run into one where the incense is burning it's time to be very polite.

The usual social grouping is the extended family and the wanderers who are hanging out with them at the time; depending on affinity, this can lead to some fairly eclectic groupings with someone’s cousin’s ex-partner having stayed with the family when the cousin moved on. One of the classic family bonding scenes is when everyone gets together to hunt a herdbeast coming through their territory, and catran usually cherish their memory of the first time Mom hamstrung the prey so they could tear out the beast’s throat with their kitten teeth.

Catran writing resembles Ogham; it descends from a tradition of marking names on trees with claws. The writing has evolved from vertical marks on trees to rows of claw marks on clay tablets to rows of much finer marks made with special styluses on clay tablets to brushwork on paper. (There is an art to using a catran brush, which has multiple tufts to allow one to four parallel marks.)

Priests among the catran tend to be in touch with fairly universal forces, far less personified than those the humans prefer: Chaos (bringing diversity and interest), Order (generally just placated to make sure it can be called on on the rare occasions that a bunch of felines actually think there’s too much chaos in their lives), the Sun (associated with the bounty of plants and the inspiration that comes when snoozing in a patch of sunlight), the Moon (associated with the bounty of animals and the hunt), and Nature (associated with the life cycle, weather, and understanding the Big Picture) are the most popular powers. The lack of personification is not so extreme as to keep images like “the wink of the Moon’s eye as we hunt across the night” and “the caress of the Sun’s tongue over my sleeping brow” out of popular poetry, though.


The Obelisk of Chaos

On an island at the furthest north tip of Rrallarra...

The Temple of the Sun

Situated high on the Snow-Capped Volcano...

The Valley of the Moon

A crescent-shaped valley in the south where the sacred hunting rites are performed...

The Great Mirror

A large, round lake that reflects like a mirror. Catran come here upon rare and dire occasions to invoke the powers of Order.