The Han were an ethnicity of humans who lived in the land of Koryo in Kara-Tur in prehistoric times. They were the ancestors of the Koryoan people, and presumably also the Kozakuran and Wanese peoples, owing to shared linguistic roots. The Han language was the basis for the Koryo, Kozakuran, Wa-an, and other languages, and continued to be used by scholars and philosophers for ages afterward. A related people were the Chinhan.
The Han people once fled invasion by the forces of Shou Lung. Much later, it was told that they'd hidden a great hoard of jade somewhere in the Sillan Mountains. Around 1357 DR, jade was discovered at the mountain village of Mu Tong, and some thought it evidence of the ancient Han trove.[note 2]
When the Kanko volcano rose up out of Kang Bay and erupted, it was said that the very skies over Koryo caught fire. The land was devastated; the city of Old Bejung, closest to Kanko, was engulfed in poisonous gas that killed all the people, before the city itself was obliterated in a matter of seconds and buried in ash. According to legend, the entire Han clan sought shelter from the eruption in the vast Dang Caverns.[note 3][note 4]
The Han spoke the Han language. Legend told that after the creation of the land of Kara-Tur, the gods themselves handed down the Han language to the Han people. It became the root tongue for the Koryo, Kozakuran, and Wa-an languages, and possibly others. By the 14th century DR, Han was studied and employed only by philosophers and sages of Kara-Tur.
Han magicians crafted a number of legendary vessels of power, each of which would play an important role in later Koryoan history. The Wo-ha Ui-jung were ten vessels that each bestowed great and strange powers to those who used them. These became separated over the centuries and some were lost, but according to legend, the one who brought all the Wo-ha Ui-jung together once more would be the first emperor of the whole world. Another was the Hu'i Wing, a huge brazier that granted visions of the future.
One branch or descendants of the Han were the Chinhan people. History recorded them as the last to hold the coiled dragon, the greatest of the Wo-ha Ui-jung, in around the 7th century before Dalereckoning.[note 5]
The island realms of Wa and Kozakura, lying to the south of the Koryo peninsula, were thought to have been settled by an offshoot branch of a mainland people in ancient times, though they were quite different by the 14th century DR. These people were most likely the Han,[speculation] as the Han language was the root of the Wa-an and Kozakuran languages. Human civilizations did not record this migration, nor when it happened. However, the much-disregarded but far older oral tradition of the korobokuru of the islands told of humans arriving from over the sea, of korobokuru heroes fighting foreign chieftains and winning wondrous treasures.
By that time, an entrance to the ash-covered ruins of Old Bejung had also been found. They were expected to contain much treasure.
- The history of Koryo and the Han people as presented in Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms: Volume II is scattered, mostly disconnected, or without context. Therefore, except where specified, the dates of the following events are unknown and the chronology is hypothetical.
- This Shou invasion could have occurred at any time after the First Age of Shou Lung in −2487 DR, or more likely, the ascendancy of the first emperor in −1250 DR.
- Hypothetically, this eruption could have ended Han culture and civilization, as suggested by the destruction of Old Bejung. However, it is also possible that the "Han clan" surviving in the Dang Caverns founded the subsequent Han culture.
- For simplicity, these eruptions of Kanko have been merged; the intent behind the sourcebook was likely that these were part of a single event. Nevertheless, it is possible that Kanko erupted multiple times.
- It is unknown who the Chinhan people are, but, by context and similar name, it is assumed they are a branch or descendants of the Han people. The date can be estimated from the statement that the coiled dragon "has been lost for 2000 years" by the setting date of around 1357 DR.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 117. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 120. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Curtis Smith and Rick Swan (1990). Ronin Challenge. (TSR, Inc), pp. 86, 87. ISBN 0-88038-749-1.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 126. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 118. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- slade et al (December 1994). Encyclopedia Magica Volume I. (TSR, Inc.), p. 223. ISBN 1560768428.
- Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 136. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
- David Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo (Province Book of Miyama). (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
Maztica: Azuposi • Dog People • Green Folk • Metahel • Nahopaca • Nexalan • Payit (Itza)
Taan: Commani, Dalat, Fankiang, Gur, Guychiang, Igidujin, Kashghun, Khassidi, Naican, Oigur, Pazruki, Quirish, T'aghur, Tsu-tsu, Tuigan, Zamogedi
Kara-Tur & Malatra: Bavanese & Bertanese • Bawani • Han • Issacortae • Koryoan • Kozakuran • Kuong • Nubari • Pazruki • Purang • Seng • Shou • Tabotan • Tayanulchi • Wanese • Wu-haltai