The Arkaiun were a human ethnic group residing primarily in Dambrath but also in Halruaa and the Shaar.[1] Arkaiun culture was formed through the interbreeding of Nar refugees from Shandaular and Illuskan tribes. As of 1374 DR, the Dambrathan Arkaiuns lived as servitors of the half-drow Crinti.[2] The Arkaiuns were called the Shebali, or "lower ones", by the Crinti.[3][4]


Scholars debate the true etymology of the name "Arkainun". Some claimed that it translated into Common as "people of the wind".[3] Others argued that they took their name from the mythological king of Ashanath, Arkaius the Archmage.[2]


Females of the South

An Arkaiun woman shown third from the left.

Arkaiuns tended to be short and swarthy with black or dark brown hair.[2] They originally had very fair skin, but most Arkaiuns had mixed bloodlines by the late 14th century,[5] leading to tanned skin.[1]


Arkaiuns living in Dambrath were considered second-class citizens and often worked at manual labor. Outside Dambrath some traditional Arkaiuns continued to live a nomadic lifestyle.[2]

Horses were very important to Arkaiun culture, and nearly every child learned to ride one before his or her fifth birthday.[2]


In 1374 DR, Arkaiuns in Dambrath were forced to worship Loviatar or Lloth. Those living outside Dambrath often worshiped Tempus and sometimes Malar.[2][6]


The original language of the Arkaiuns seems to have been Akalan,[6] one of the Akalaic languages,[7] and most of the Arkaiuns in Dambrath still spoke that tongue.[6] Arkaiuns living in Dambrath also spoke Common and Dambrathan,[2][8] which was a creole. Only a small percentage were literate. Second languages sometimes spoken included Illuskan, Halruaan, Shaaran, and Undercommon.[2]

Arkaiuns living in the outlaw Swagdar wastes spoke a dialect of Akalan called Swag creole.[7]


Arkaiuns favored ranged weapons, because of the open grasslands in their homelands, such as crossbows, javelins, and slings. For melee weapons, they tended to use daggers, short swords, and rapiers. Because of the temperature of the south, the Arkaiuns rarely wore heavy armor or heavy shields.[2]


[A pureblood Arkaiun is] as rare as clear thought in a man.
— A common Crinti expression

The Arkaiuns could trace their origins to the fall of the city of Shandaular in Ashanath in the far north in −946 DR. Refugees from the city fled through a portal to the Council Hills area in the Shaar. Their king, Arkaius the Archmage, remained behind to close the portal, and it is from Arkaius that they supposedly took their name. For several centuries, the Arkaiuns roamed the Council Hills region, interbreeding with a lost tribe of Illuskans.[2]

The Arkaiuns attempted an invasion of Unther and Mulhorand[as of when?] but were defeated and fled south to the Bay of Dancing Dolphins. In the ninth century DR, the Arkaiuns discovered the Underdark and attempted to capture a drow city. Instead they were enslaved by the drow and lived as servants of drow and half-drow thereafter.[2][3]

Notable ArkaiunsEdit


See AlsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 110. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5–8. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), pp. 24–26. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
  4. Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 98. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
  5. Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 29.
  8. Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 112. ISBN 978-0786965809.


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