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Tsemasi's Avatar

12.13.2011 , 10:55 PM | #1
:: Origins ::

Mandalorians are people of contradictions. They have an unmistakeable identity, yet they're not a true race. They have no country in the conventional sense and are scattered across the galaxy. These feared warriors have a savage reputation but they cherish family life and will adopt children orphaned by war, rather than kill them as other species might. This odd blend of tough pragmatism, brutality and affectionate family life makes them a mystery to many.

And they're probably not even the original Mandalorian race. Anthropologists disagree about their roots; did they begin as humans or, as a few academics still claim, a gray skinned non-human species? Whichever theory you find most convincing, they became aspecies of predominantly human nomadic warriors.

For the vast majority of speces, culture is the unique expression of their being. When species are overrun by other cultures, and adopt their beliefs and practices, they still retain something of their old ways.

But the Mandalorians are an exception. They adopted a culture and became completely defined by it. Their nearest parallel, ironically, is the Jedi --- with whom the Mandalorians have had so much antagonism and conflict.

Whatever drove the first humans to adopt Mandalorian customs and language, they remain a people who will accept anyone willing to follow their code, and non-human species are welcome into the community. Mandalorians believe that you are what you do, not what an accident of birth dictates.

But they're still predominantely human, and a large percentage of the population shows genetic markers of the peoples of Concord Dawn and nearby planets. Although there is no true Mandalorian ethnic type, the prevalance of common gene clusters indicates that specific populations were either absorbed by Mandalorians or joined them.

Concord Dawn is a good example. Jango Fett, one of the icons of Mandalorian history, was adopted. And yet his genome already shared many markers with his adopted community. Without deliberate planning, Mandalorians nevertheless selectively bred themselves for certain traits that are now considered their definining characteristics: discipline, close famiy bonds, extraordinary physical fighting skills, and intense loyalty.

Warrior Nomads

Nomadic peoples prize protable skills more than possessions, and this aspect of the Mando mindset still underpins their society even when settled on Mandalore. Even when living in settled communities on Mandalore, their nomadic warrior ethic remains.

Inevitably, a nomadic warrior race with no fixed territory to defend becomes associated with mercenary activity. For centuries Mando'ade or children of Mandalore, as they call themselves - have been seen as little more than bounty hunters, assassins and mercenaries.

But not all Mando'ade spend their lives as hired soldiers. Their mercenary history is very recent and relatively brief, and they have other trades related to soldering that earn them a living when they aren't at war.

Many, scattered across the galaxy in small communities, earn their living as weaponsmiths, bodyguards and other occupations that the host population finds too dangerous or too dirty. Many remain in Mandalore sector, working the land or laboring in factories and workshops. All of them, though, are capable of becoming an army at a moment's notice.

Over the centuries, some have questioned the Mandalorian compulsion to cling to nomadic ways despite having a home world in Mandalore. The practice, though, is more than attachment to tradition. Mandalorians spread themselves to avoid presenting enemies with a convenient target. Despite repeated attacks that were thought to have wiped them out, the resilient Mandalorians keep coming back.

While they have earned thei rliving more recenly as soldiers of fortune, most of the Mandalorian's history has been spent fighting for their own purposes, not for others'. But although they're a ruthless enemy, they display an unexpectedly gentle side in warfare by adopting war orphans.

What Makes a Mandalorian

Geography has played a nebulous role in Mandalorian identity. Although Mandalore is regarded as their home world, many Mandalorians were not born there and many have never even seen the planet.

Their society places no emphasis on birthplace, species, or citizenship, and so Mando'ade have no "state" as modern galactic politics understands it. They ignore rank and status and prefer to judge by actions and achievements, true meritocracy: the Mandalore, or leader of the clans, is the nearest they have to a head of state. And yet nobody mistakes Mandalorians for any other people when they see them.

Mando'ade regard the following six acts --- known as the Six Actions, or Resol'Nare --- as central to Mandalorian identity; wearing armor, speaking the Mandalorian language, defending themselves and their families, raising their children as Mandalorians, contributing to the clan's welfare, and rallying to the Mand'alor when called ot arms. Anyone who practices them is considered a Mando'ad. THe emphasis on carrying out these acts daily, not simply playing lip service to them.

For a people who appear to have little interest in rank and hierarchy, Mandalorians are extremely co-operative in combat. The rugged individuality so marked in their approach to most things is set aside to reach a common goal, and they'll do whatever it takes to achieve their objective. Their fighting forces settle into informal command structures without thought or effort, focused on the outcome and not personal ambition. This instinctive flexibility is also what makes them superb mercenaries.

Because they're self-selecting, they attract and retain people of the same mindset and genetic predisposition, which reinforces these traits. The more that soldiers are inclined to co-operate on the battlefield, the more likely they are to survive and produce children with the same charactersitics.

Mandalorian Society

There is no gender in the Mandalorian language. THis mirrors the equal status of men and women and the general flexibility of societal roles, despite what appears many traditional division of tasks along gender lines.

Men are expected to be warriors and to raise and train their sons to be the same. Women maintain the home wherever the nomads happen to travel, and raise daughters. But women are also expected to have the combat skills of a man in order to defend the homestead when the men are away. Women also fight alongside men on the battlefield. If they have no dependent children to care for, they're expected to share the responsibilities of defense and warfare.

Not surprisingly, the Mandalorian female ideal that men respect is not fragile and graceful but physically strong, enduring and gritty. The word laandur (delicate), is a common insult among women. If you imply that a Mando woman is a bad mother, a poor fighter, or a laandur you'll find out the hard way she's none of these things.

Marriage is expected to be for life --- which is someitmes prematurely short for warriors --- and usually takes place soon after the Mandalorian turns 16. A couple enters into legal commitment simply by making the following pledge to one another.

Mhi solus tome (we are one when together)
Mhi solus dar'tome (we are one when parted)
Mhi me'dinul an (we share all)
Mhi ba'jurl verde (we will raise warriors)

Despite emphasis on their fidelity and chastity before marriage. Mandalorians are surprisngly forgiving and relatively unconcerned with parentage. As they prize action and pragmatism above words and intentions, they take the view aliit ori'shya tal'din (family is more than bloodlines), It's the daily affirmation of family life that matters to them, which explains their propensity for adoption and even welcming adults into the Mando fold. With many widows and orphans in Mandalorian community, suitable foreign adult males are not only welcome but also necessary.

The adoption process, like marriage, is a simple statement of intention: the gai bal manda (name and soul) takes its place in the declaration ni kyr'tayi gai sa'ad (I know your name as my child). That, and the ongoing adherence to the six tenets of Mandalorian life, is all that it takes to become a Mandalorian.

Just as it's possible to become a Mandalorian, it's also possible to lose your Mandalorian status, renounce it, or even have it taken from you. Exile is a rare but feared punishment.

The Mandalorian Family

[The definition of offspring or parent is more by relationship than birth: Adoption is extremely common, and it's not unusual for mercenaries to take war orphans as their sons or daughters if they impress them with their aggression and tenacity. ::: Mandalorians :: IDentity and Its Influence on Genome, published by the Galactic Institute of Anthropology.]

In exceptional circumstances, such as abandonment or a failure to live up to responsibilities, partners can divorce eachother simply by declaring that they are shuk'la riduurok (a broken love). Children may also disown their father or mother by declaring them dar'buir (no longer a parent). This is rare and usually follows abandonment or an act of cowardice that shames the family.

If the first child is a son, parents may wait eight years before having another child so that the first is old enough to acompany his father and be trained as a soldier for five years until he reaches adulthood at 13. Then his father is free to train a younger son. At 13, both girls and boys undergo a rite of passage in military and survival skills that makes them legally adults.

If the firstborn is a girl, the couple may try for a son soon afterwards. A daughter will ususaly stay with her mother until she marries. But if a couple has only daughters, the girls will be trained as warriors by their father exactly as boys would be. Boys learn their earliest lessons from their mothers before the age of eight, so her fighting skills are critical, a couple pledges to raise warriors and this is a joint commitment.

Women are expected ot train their daughters in combat skills, but fathers also take part in their daughters' education. Despite their fiercely masculine reputation, Mandalorian men play an active role in raising their families. Most have a strong parenting instinct, one of the reinforced genetic traits from absorbed populations.

The parents' duty is to train their child in survival skills and Mandalorian culture and language, and to prepare them to raise the next generation of warriors. Elders imbue children with essential Mandalorian ideals of loyalty to clan and family, personal discipline, courage and respect for thier heritage.

The Mandalorian way of life is a dangerous one and widows and orphans are a fact of life. Families never hesitate to adopt orphans, and unmarried men and women regard it their duties to take widows and widowers as spouses.

Religion and Spirituality

Mandalorians were once intensely religious but disslusionment with the old fanaticism and worship of war itself gave way to a far less supernatural belief system among modern Mandalorians. They now regard creation tales, such as Akaanati'kar'oya (The War of Life and Death), as parables to illustrate a deeper philisophical meaning rather than literal supernaturalism. The stars were mythologized as fallen kings of Mandalore, and there are tales of the mythosaurs, but the pragmatic and skeptical Mandalorians look for allegory in these stories.

The manda --- best described as a combination and state of being, the essence of being Mandalorian, and an oversoul --- is not viewed a literal heaven. Traditionally, the Mando afterlife is seen as a plane of spiritual energy in constant conflict between stagnation, and the opportunity for change brought about by destruction --- a parallel with modern theories of cosmology. In Mandalorian myth, this conflict is symbolized by the eternal war between the sloth-The Maker Arasuum --- the personfication of idle consuption and stagnation -- and the vigorous destroyer The Maker Kad Ha'rangir, who forces change and growth in the universe.

Every Mando warrior who dies is said to add to the army of the afterlife, defending wives and children living in its permanent, peaceful homestead --- the only place Mandalorians believe they can ever reach a non-transitory state of existance.

The Concept of Dar-Manda

Mandalorian spirituality has its roots in pragmatism. Living the Mandalorian way and believing in community's idaels are all that keep a nomadic peopel together and preseve its identity. Without a commitment to those principles, the community either perishes or is subsumed into the host population. In absense of a single species, ethnic heritage, and fixed territory, only values and culture survive to pass from generation to generation. If they are not rigorously maintained and reinforced, the community is doomed.

Traditional Mandalorians regard being a dar'manda --- someone who is ignorant of their Mandalorian heritage -- as the worst fate imaginable. It's a difficult for non-Mandalorians (aruetiise, which can mean anything from non-Mando to enemy) to grasp, but it's equivalent of having no soul and no afterlife. The obliteration of personal identity mirrors the real obliteration that faces a people who lose their defining culture. ALthough few Mandalorians believe in a literal afterlife, they do believe in the manda.

To be part of the manda, the communal spiritual state of being Mando'ade, a man or woman must understand the basics of their culture and embody the ideals of the Mandalorian kar'ta - the heart, or in this case the soul. This means responsibility for the next generation, loyalty to their people, and a fighting spirit. Without this, a person is considered lost for eternity.

The duty to ensure children know know enough of their heritage to be part of manda motivated the Cuy'val Dar - the Mandalorian instructors recruited to train clone troopers for the Grand Army of the Republic - to educate their men in Mando customs as they would their own sons. The instructors believed that even if the troops died in combat and never lived in a proper Mando community, they would have an eternal place in the collecitve consiousness.

Daily LIfe-and Death

The Mando concept of home (yaim) describes the sense of safety and comfort that can be found in even temporary settlements. For a Mandalorian, home is where the armor lies.

Some nomadic races carry tents, but Mando'ade prefer either to build temporary structures, known as vheh'yaime, from woven green and mud, or to take over the homes of enemies defeated in combat. "Temporary" can mean any period of time from overnight to years. The only certaintiy is that the Mando soldier or family never expects any home to be a permanent one. They're ready to move at a moments notice.

Settled races usually derive their annual festivals from the cycle of the seasons on their home world, but becase Mando'ade travel from world to world, they have often become disconnected from these cycles. Those from Concord Dawn - traditionally a farming community - do still mark the end of the harvest by that world's calendar, but generally the life-cycle events - births, coming of age, marriage, death - have become the only ones celebrated. The uncertainty of nomadic warrior existance means most Mandalorians celebrate life whenever they get the opportunity, enjoying ale, communal singing, and relaxing with their families and clan.

For professional soldiers, sudden death is an occupational hazard. But Mandalorians don't take it quite as calmy as aruetiise might imagine.
Burial is unusual - Manda'lore and other people of national importance are exceptions - because nomads traditonally had no cemeteries. It's also impractical to carry dead bodies with the army when men die in combat. Communities cremate their dead if they can reocver the body, scatter the ashes, and keep one of the deceased's possessions as a memorial. This is often a whole suit of armor, which is valuable. In case where the armor can't be recovered or kept, parts such as helmets, gloves or buckles will be taken instead. Mando'ade recite the names of dead loved ones and comrades each night before sleep as a conscious act of keeping their memories - and so their existence - alive.

There is a single Mando'a word, aay'han, which describes the state of mind when Mandalorians savor a peaceful moment with family and comrades and also grieve for those who've died. THe nearest Basic translation is "bittersweet," but it hardly comes close to defining what a significant concept it is for Mandalorians. The emotion's duality is very much in keeping with a people who are a mass of contradictions.

Food and Drink

Soldiers and nomads both need their food to be portable, nourishing, and preferably to require little cooking. Mandalorians are no exception. They have a few distinctive dishes that are, at best, an acquired taste but that fit the need for food thats more like field rations.
Gihaal is a dried fishmeal mixture like pemmican, a nutritious blend of fat and protein that lasts for years without refrigeration but has a pungent, clinging aroma many find offensive.
Aruetiise find other Mandalorian foodstuffs more acceptable. Uj'alayi (uj cake) is a dense, flat, and extremely sweet cake made of grounnd and crushed nuts, dried fruit, spices and scented uj'jayi syrup. Tihaar is a strong, colorless spirit made out of any fruit that's available, like an eau-de-vie. While Narcolethe is often seen as the quintessential Mandalorian alcoholic drink, many Mando'ade prefer net'ra gal (black ale) which is the sweet beer very much like stout or porter. Shig is any infusions of herbs or spices drunk hot, and is often made from a quick-growing citrus-flavored herb called behot.


Ask anyone what they associate with Mandalorians, and they'll probably say armor. The Mando'ade call it beskar'gam, which means iron skin - an indication of how central it is to their life.

Armor, especially the distinctive full face helmet with the t-shaped visor, is the enduring image the galaxy has of Mando'ade. Armor is prized especially if it's made from near-impervious beskar (Mandalorian iron), a metal that gets its remarkable strength not ony from its natural properties but also from Mandalorian metalworking techniques. The addition of carbons in the foundry creates a molecular cage structure - lighter than normal metals and yet still remarkably strong. Repeated folding of the metal during forging further enhances the beskar's strength. It's still regarded as more desireable than durasteel and even cortosis.

Armor is often handed down between generations, especially the beskar type. It's intricatly customized to suit the wearers needs and tastes and is worn by both genders.

Armor colors and markings can indicate many things, from clan or family to more ephemeral concepts such as a state of mind or a particular mission. Sand-gold represents a quest for vengeance; black, for justice. Mando'ade will often repaint their armor with new colors if they're on a particular task or have changed clans. With the exception of the Mandalore, markings never correspond to a fixed rank - a concept they find hard to accept.

Sometimes, though, colors on armor simply express personal prefrence. Blue and green are especially popular. While other soldiers opt for camoflage, Mandalorians seem not to care about being conspicious: " It's one thing to see us coming and another to do something about it. " is a common Mando saying.

Sigils - symbols painted on the helmet or chest-plate, often identify a wearers allegiance, lineage, or loved ones. But they can also be marks of honor, such as the jai'galaar'la sur'haii'se (shriek-hawk eyes). Jaig, as they're better known are bestowed as awards for bravery by some clan leaders.

But however central armor is to the Mandalorian's culture and self image, they never forgat that it's what lies beneath the armor tha makes a soldier. " Verd ori'shya beskar'gam" (A warrior is more than his armor) is a popular Mando saying.

Mando'ade are frugal people, and many amass sizeable fortunes. Although modern banking practices mean most put their credits and shares into savings, they still invest much of their wealth in their armor and their weapons. Jewelry when worn, is plain and functional. IT's often a heavy belt of precious metal - a very portabl form of currency - or a collar.

Ear piercing (and facial) is especially frowned upon because earrings can be torn off in a fight, causing injury. If you ever encounter a Mandalorian with piercings and they begin to remove them, run for it. It's a sign they plan to fight.

Mixing with Mando'ade

Mandalorians are much more sociable than generally supposed. Most aruetiise encounter them at the point of a blaster, but if you meet them in a more peaceful setting they're usually gracious hosts and honest business associates. As long as you observe the following rules, you need never discover their aggresive side.
* Say what you mean.
* Never refuse the offer of drink or a meal - for nomadic people, who live hand tto mouth, thi sis a great compliment they can pay a guest.
* Never make a pass at a Mando'ad of either sex unless you intend to offer marriage and become Mando.
* Look them in the eye or, if they are wearing visors look straight into the horizontal section of the visor.
* Take off your boots when entering their home.
* Pay your debts immediately.
* Make a fuss at their children.
* Treat elderly Mando'ade with reverence. Any Mando who survives to a venerable age must be an exceptional warrior and will still be capable of making you regret your lack of respect.

Some aruetiise find the Mandalorian character and culture so appealing that they join them. THs life is not for the faint-hearted, but those who value loyalty, commitment to family, and a passionate zeal for life will find the Mandalorian way irresistable.

After all, aliit ori'shya tal'din --- family is more than bloodlines.

From Star Wars Insider #80
Ke nu'jurkadir sha Mando'ade...

Tsemasi's Avatar

12.13.2011 , 10:56 PM | #2
Just something I found interesting and had used on a previous RP forum. Hope its helpful to RPers or just for the sake of general entertainment.
Ke nu'jurkadir sha Mando'ade...

Overmind's Avatar

12.14.2011 , 02:35 AM | #3
Mandalorians were OP in the beta.

Yermog's Avatar

06.24.2015 , 08:52 PM | #4
WOW, they get married young. I thought Torian (who is 19 when you can sleep with/marry him) was the exception rather than the rule, but apparently he's a late bloomer... 16, geeze.

MishraArtificer's Avatar

06.24.2015 , 10:30 PM | #5
Congrats, Yermog: you just dug up a thread started before Early Access of the game over three years ago.
Quote: Originally Posted by CosmicKat View Post
Twiki (with or without Dr. Theopolis), Muffet, and Wesley Crusher could form a boy band and do a Buck Rogers/BSG/Trek crossover tour, then crash on a remote asteroid, meet up with Doctoor Zee, and save themselves by making a spaceship out of random Cylon debris... and it would still be less stupid than Jar Jar. referral link!