The three tribes of the Alam are each sub-divided into scores of different families. These extended families are the basis of Alam society, members of a family will often live together in large sprawling estates of houses and villas. In contrast to their mercantile attitude with others, family members can be generous and gracious with each other, without any expectation of favour or obligation. What they do expect is a strong sense of loyalty towards the family, to betray your family is one of the most heinous crimes you can commit in Alam eyes.
Families are always matrilineal, descent is traced through the woman's line. This means that if two Alam marry, the man is expected to leave his family and join his wife's family. Children are always raised by the mother and the men and women of her family. In this way the Alam can ensure that every single member of the nation can trace an unbroken line back to the three Founders.
A family can be exceptionally large, so there is no requirement for the active members be closely related to each other. They also have a habit of adopting individuals with no family of their own who have become fast friends of one or more family members. Such people do not become an actual member of the family, unless they marry a woman of the family, but they are otherwise treated no different from blood family.
Each family appoints a Dhomiro, effectively the head of the family. The main role of the Dhomiro is to represent the family to outsiders and to give the family leadership and direction. Each family has their own method for selecting their Dhomiro, but it is usually a senior member of the family who is well respected by all. The goal is to identify an individual whose leadership will benefit the family and who they can unite behind. It is not unusual for the Dhomiro to change over time, most sensible Dhomiro will step aside as soon if they realize they no longer possesses the support of their family.
Creating an Alam Family
The Alam family is intended as the easiest way for most groups of players to create an Alam group. Alam families often have sprawling mercantile interests, so it is a simple way to create a group who intend to try and earn their fortune in the Empire. Smaller families often work together to run a harem, the traditional Alam meeting place, so they are perfect for any group that is interested in running a professional hospitality tent. Alam families can easily include most characters, skilled warriors who protect the families caravans, learned mages who serve as fortune tellers for the family or wise priests who offer spiritual advice and organize great parties. The Alam family has been designed to include all these characters.
A family can be as small or as large as you like. Characters who are part of the family don't need to be related to other characters, they may be distant relations, or even outsiders who have simply been adopted into the family. There might be hundreds of your family who never attend events, working on your families estates, fighting as mercenaries in the Empire or crewing a fleet of ships. Or your family might be just the characters played by you and your friends when you come to the events. The Alam family is intended to be flexible enough to support whatever suits the background for the kind of family you want to play.
Before choosing to play an Alam family, it is worth looking at the other social roles that exist in Alam society. A group that wants to play the members of a ritual team may find something built around the Hakima concept is a better fit for them. Or if your group wants to focus totally on fighting and battles you can play that as a family group but it is also worth looking at the Kohan to see if that is a more enjoyable basis for a group. If you want a more general mix of fighting and trading, you could create an Alam family but play one that operates one or more Corsair ships.
You will need to pick one of the three Alam tribes for your family to be part of. Your tribe has no direct game effect, but it's does affect which Hakima groups your family might work most closely with and it will affect your roleplaying with other families. If you don't know which tribe you want to be part of, then we recommend picking whichever tribe currently appears to have the fewest families in it.