Solitary, pair, hunter group, family, or war party
- “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.”
The tuskarr (known as Kalu'ak in their own language) 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.
Despite the absence of any records documenting the tuskarr's past, many significant facts have recently come to light. Brann Bronzebeard believes that the tuskarr may be descendants of a walrus Ancient Guardian, though for the moment this is only a theory.
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. The tuskarr's tribal affiliation is evidenced by the sigils inscribed on their tusks, and although they are a peaceful race, they are constantly beset by the Kvaldir and an arctic race of murloc-like creatures known as the Gorloc. Yet even their enemies marvel at the tuskarr's 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's depths are beyond the tuskarr's reach. 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 are also breeding penguins as farm animals. Tuskarr have recently been spotted on Darkmoon Island and on Pandaria, stating that the new climate is going to work out great for them.
The tuskarr have seen their share of difficult times, but with the Horde's recent arrival they have found a new ally in the ongoing struggle against the hostile forces of Northrend. The tuskarr formed a bond, and the Horde has sworn to aid their new allies in any way possible. It should be noted, however, that the tuskarr are a neutral faction, and both the Horde and Alliance will are able to interact with them.
With the scourge problem having been dealt with, the tuskarr are constantly on the move and looking for food. Some of them, like Wally and Trawler Yotimo decided it was time to head out and find some new fishing grounds in the south. After Zandalar opened its port to non-trolls for the first time in centuries, a group of tuskarr traders arrived to sell their wares. More tuskarr merchants can be found at Boralus.
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, and most of their settlements line Northrend's coastlines. 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.
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. While the tuskarr serve the elements differently than other shamanistic races, the power that they are able to call forth is formidable.
While the tuskarr are not a vengeful race, justice is seemingly highly valued in their society. Their laws demand that all tuskarr must seek retribution against those who shed their kin's blood.
The tuskarr worship a small pantheon of deities or spirits such as Tayutka, Karkut, Issliruk, and Oacha'noa. In addition, the tuskarr carve massive, moai-like 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.
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. 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.
In Warcraft III: 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|
|Tuskarr Fighter||2||250||2 (heavy)||Melee||14-15||-|
|Tuskarr Spearman||2||300||0 (heavy)||Ranged||23-27||-|
|Tuskarr Healer||3||300/200||0 (medium)||Melee||23-27||Abolish Magic|
|Tuskarr Warrior||4||475||1 (medium)||Melee||21-25||-|
|Tuskarr Trapper||4||475||1 (medium)||Ranged||28-34||Ensnare|
|Tuskarr Sorcerer||5||475/300||0 (medium)||Ranged||34-40|
|Tuskarr Chieftain||7||950||4 (heavy)||Melee||44-49||Command Aura|
In the RPG
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. 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.
The tuskarr culture is centered around fishing and whaling such that a tuskarr's fishing ability is seen as a moral guideline of sorts. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fishing and whaling form the basis of everything from moral guidance to conversational slang. Boys strive to be good fisherman 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Notes and trivia
- It was initially stated, according to Annie Bonn, that tuskarr slaves die after only a few days after leaving their climate. Since tuskarr appear on 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.
- Early concept art shows that they were originally called Tuskaar during the development of WotLK, but they went back to their original name in the game itself.
- While the tuskarr appear to be inspired mostly by Inuit stereotypes, concept art also features Moai-like statues, so there might be influences from south sea island cultures as well, specifically Easter Island (or Rapa Nui).
- The poem of the Walrus and the Carpenter found in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.
- Possible outside influence from 1980's cult cartoon Thundercats which featured a species, known as Tuska, who were humanoid walruses.
- Possible outside influence from the game Animal Crossing. In the game, 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 you any paintings, nor will he pay any attention to you (except for a few mumbles), unless you bring him a fish — which is his favorite food. This trait is nearly identical to the tuskarr judgment of outsiders based upon the fish they present.
Tuskarr in World of Warcraft as seen at BlizzCon.
Tuskarr concept for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.
A tuskarr chieftain, perhaps Tusklord Hrak'kar.
Tavru Akua action figure.
A tuskarr jouster at the Grand Tournament.
- ^ Kilejo
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1
- ^ The Wrath of the Lich King Bestiary
- ^ "Legacy of the Damned: The Return to Northrend", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ Trawler Yotimo
- ^ Borean Tundra
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=4822672699&pageNo=3&sid=1#40
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 182
- ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac
- ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: Scourgewar. Blizzard Entertainment. 113: Tuskarr Kite.
- ^ , ,
- ^ Mystic Tomkin#Quotes
- ^ a b c d e f g Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 104-105. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07.
- ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 23. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ a b c Kiley, Ellen P.. Lands of Mystery, 92. ISBN 9781588467843.
- ^ a b Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 208. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 105. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07.
- ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 187. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ Kiley, Ellen P.. Lands of Mystery, 93-94. ISBN 9781588467843.
- ^ Kiley, Ellen P.. Lands of Mystery, 94. ISBN 9781588467843.