The Abzan emulate the endurance of the dragon and their symbol is the scale. They are a clan that understands that the world is a brutal place, and that to survive in it, they must be able to rely on and trust the people around them. Consequently, duty and family have become the centerpieces of Abzan society, and the clan is resolved to destroy any who would threaten its stability. The Abzan see themselves as the millstone, moving slowly, always with purpose, crushing all before them.
The Abzan have adopted the scale of the dragon as their symbol. Metaphorically, each member of the clan is a single scale, and when combined with the others in their clan, they form an impenetrable defense. In the past war with the dragons, the scale was also a literal defense. Soldiers claimed scales from fallen dragons and incorporated them into their armor for protection.
Abzan culture is built around surviving the hardship of living in the arid, rocky desert. Above all, the Abzan value family. Family is the institution that has allowed them to persist and even thrive. The level of trust that members of the clan have for one another is typically linked to closeness of blood. Betrayals of such trust can result in a ritual disowning, where both parties shed blood into a fire. By contrast, if a clan member refers to another clan member as sister or brother, it is a mark of high esteem.
The Abzan have become very insular and distrusting of those outside the clan. The only exception to this general rule is the status of Ainok, a race of canid humanoids. It has been many generations since the ainok nomads helped the Abzan survive. They are still tolerated in Abzan cities, although they typically live on the fringes of the human-dominated society.
Due to the scarcity of resources even in the oases, each Abzan family is responsible for caring for a particular fruit-bearing tree, called a kin tree. The firstborn child becomes a tree warden, or caretaker, while the other children may become soldiers, merchants, or artisans, and will plant trees of own with the seeds of their parents' tree when they start families. When family members die, they are laid to rest beneath their family tree without a casket. Their bodies provide nutrients for the tree, which in turn bear fruit for future generations. Instead of headstones, family names are carved directly into the kin tree. This concept reflects the Abzan ideal of duty to the family. In fact, the spirits of the dead are closely connected to their trees, and can be called upon in times of war.
The Abzan are known as adept war strategists. They believe that most of a battle is fought before the armies engage in the field. Disciplined soldiers, high walls, and ample supplies will win the day. The Abzan value the ability to choose the site of a battle to optimize their strengths, and will often forego pursuit of the enemy after victory in favor of holding strategic ground. However, they have learned to turn losing situations to their advantage and are known for using the harsh desert terrain as a weapon. Many Abzan generals have led an enemy army into the Shifting Wastes, where the desert ultimately claimed victory.
The Abzan clan is made up of a web of interconnected families, each of which is ruled by its oldest member. To an outsider, the clan may look like a unified entity. In reality, the organization of the Abzan is dynamic, with families maneuvering politically to form bonds with some families while trying to isolate others. That being said, the Abzan are all too aware that disunity can allow them to fall prey to other clans. They select a khan to organize the clan's defenses and lead the army in times of war. Each family is responsible for providing soldiers for the greater Abzan army.
As the Abzan wage war, they create many orphans among their enemies. Krumar are the orphaned children of enemy clans taken by the Abzan to be raised as soldiers. The taking of krumar is a tradition that dates back to the days when the Abzan were raiders, and it remains a strong institution to this day. Krumar taken by an Abzan must by law be treated as bond-kin, and many krumar have been adopted by the families they are bound to protect. Many orcs have joined the Abzan as krumar.
Abzan human magic revolves around ancestor worship, which is connected to the Abzan reverence for trees. Each family kin tree is a hub for its ancestors' spirits. Some among the Abzan have learned to communicate with these spirits, and even call them forth to either protect their descendants or harm their enemies. The Abzan have discovered that amber, tree resin, and sap aid in spirit magic. Amber wards are found in Abzan homes and Abzan soldiers carry amber with them to war. Spirit speakers consume distilled tree resin to help them connect to spirits. Weapons made from the wood of fallen kin trees are said to be blessed.
But when disowned Abzan die, their spirits have no place to go. Long after death, the spirits of the Disowned continue to seek redemption among their Abzan kin. Some Abzan mages seek out these lost spirits. This is a taxing feat because these spirits are vengeful and malicious. However, in times of war, the malevolent spirits are channeled by Abzan mages to be unleashed against the enemy.
- Dragonscale are heavy infantry who make up the bulk of the Abzan army. These are troop levies pulled from Abzan families. They carry dragonscale shields.
- Ibex cavalry are the heavy cavalry, or cataphracts, of the Abzan. They wield both lance and bow, and they ride on war ibexes.
- Krumar orcs were taken from orc families and raised to be house guards for the Abzan. They are treated as family, and many orc families live in Abzan settlements. In times of war, they serve as shock troops.
- Scouts are adept information gatherers and are often deployed to harass enemy troop movements.
- Tree wardens are perhaps the most skilled warriors. It is their singular task to protect their family's kin tree at all costs.
- Spirit speakers summon and channel ancestral spirits.
Abzan soldiers march to war confident that their Houses march with them. The Abzan avoid extended supply lines by incorporating weapons stores into their battle formations. "The Houses always hope for peace, but we always pack for war." -Gvar Barzeel, krumar commander
The mere approach of an Abzan war beast is enough to send enemies fleeing in panic.