Tribes of Man
Hundreds of human tribes have scattered across the galaxy, each numbering anywhere from a few thousand to over a million members. A true census of the Tribes of Man is virtually impossible. The largest groups are the Four Great Tribes: The Children of Phoenix, Blood Eagle, Starwolf, and Diamond Sword. These large tribes each have populations of at least one to five million, and can field at least 150,000 warriors, before counting in allied tribes, reserves, mercenaries, and the like.
A proper way to regard larger tribes – and certainly the Four – is as tribal nations united by a common culture and spiritual history. Nevertheless, the honor-based culture of the wilderzone hearkens back to the Old Earth of the Cybrid Wars, and tribal allegiances can mutate rapidly. Almost all of the flux of tribal politics can be explained by perceptions of honor. If a tribe loses too much honor, its membership will shrink as disaffected groups defect to form their own tribe or even join another that offers a new place of honor. Leaders who embody the principles of honor – and who can lead wisely – gain many followers in a short time. However, loyalty is a key component of honor, and those who shift allegiance find they must work hard to earn the trust of their new allies.
The independents are the most prone to shifting alliances, and it is said that they hold the balance of power in the wilderzone if they were to unite. Certainly it is true that the Four forge alliances with independents to one degree or another, and that tribal alliances are an important factor in securing critical Hyperweb junctions.
The Tribes of Man, as they collectively refer to themselves, are hardy explorers. They exist on the frontier of the Great Human Empire, in the wilderzone far from the core of civilization. They recognize themselves as part of the great body of Humanity, but they pay only token heed to the sovereignty of Imperial rule. Tribal emissaries negotiate with the Imperial legate at Rho Silvanion IV, but in truth, the Empire exercises no power in the lawless wilderzone. There are those who claim the Empress would like to send magistrates and the dreaded saar-marines to tame the Tribes, but cannot because of the great battle against the enemy called the Scourge.
Still, as Imperial settlers and refugees from the Scourge begin to enter the wilderzone, tension increases. The Tribal nations raid the newcomers, and those Imperial groups who can muster forces retaliate. Taken together with the constant raids and the new political tensions building between the Tribes themselves, the wilderzone is ripe for an explosion.