There are thirteen zebra tribes, differentiated by their origins in zebra mythology and the regions they traditionally occupied. They are sometimes referred to as "the twelve and one". "The twelve" were supposedly the children of the sun and the earth, while "the one" were the children of the moon and the earth. A zebra's tribal affiliation is passed down matrilineally, from mother to child.
In zebra mythology, the Achu were one of the twelve tribes born from the sun and earth. They were born "of the high and fiery mountains", which probably refers to a volcanic region in the zebra lands. They are known as fierce fighters who developed many unarmed fighting styles, including at least one that is capable of defeating a power-armored foe.
Shujaa was a member of the Achu tribe prior to her defection.
The Propoli were born "in a village", and were probably one of the first of the twelve tribes to settle in one place. They are the builders and inventors who founded many great cities. They are marked by horizontal stripes, which do not touch the spine and intersect at the ribs.
Xanthe is a Propoli.
The Carnilia were born "on a fertile plain", and were probably the first zebras to develop agriculture. They are largely farmers, but they are perhaps more infamous among zebrakind for their sexual practices.
When famine strikes, Carnilia frequently disperse and may be adopted into new tribes. Their descendants are not forever marked as outsiders, though; their unusual curling stripe pattern tends to fade out within a couple of generations.
The Mendi were born "in a deep wood". They are described as healers.
Zecora was likely part of the Mendi tribe, considering her choice to live in the Everfree (a deep forest) and her skill at brewing potions, many of which involved healing or curing.
The Zencori were born "on a wind", which may refer to mountains, or to their habits of nomadism. They are the storytellers who maintain the oral history of zebrakind, not as dry lists of people and dates, but as lessons couched in entertaining stories.
The Atoli were born "on the islands". "The islands" aren't identified, but may refer to Zanzebra. They are sailors who form a combination of navy and coast guard, though many have gone pirate in the years since the War.
They speak an unusual dialect in which phrases are constructed backwards compared to most Zebra speech. Those who frequently interact with other tribes often learn to speak in the conventional style for the sake of being understood.
Adama, a mare with whom Lancer was romantically involved, was Atoli.
Pronunciation of this tribes name denotes which of up to 4 sub-tribes a zebra in this tribe belongs to. Each sub-tribe has very different traditions, clothing, and ships.
The most common and civilized members of the greater Atoli tribe. Their ships are military and commerce vessels.
This sub-tribe are cannibals and eat parts of their enemies to gain their strength. They do this proudly and openly as part of tradition. They have allegedly done this since before the Day of Doom.
The Estoli had never known war with the ponies, being on the far side of the continent off to the northeast. Their ships were long, thin, beautiful things that seemed doomed to tip over at a stiff breeze.
Their stripes are painted over with colors of blue, green, and red. Feathers, fish heads, claws and fangs, and other strange organic bits are tied in their manes and tails. They pierce their ears, noses, and lips with all manner of strange decorations. Rather than weapons of steel, they wield wooden paddles tipped with shark teeth or jagged blades of obsidian, or barbed spears made with stingray spines. Oil made their hides shine, the stallions’ straining muscle barely contained with them. The mares moved with a beauty and grace. They also file their teeth into points.
The Eschatik were born "in the deserts".
They're an odd bunch, deliberately. They're very similar to the Orah in that they're seen as a 'low tribe' and 'marginal'. The difference between them is the Orah try to be a community, while more Eschatiks are solitary. They're a tribe of philosophers, mystics, and madmen. They like to ask unponderable questions, and then spend a few years pondering them. Unlike the Logos, they don't actually do much with it. They don't cross reference things. They don't try to apply it. They just try to know things. Learning is the goal, not the means. Most Eschatiks are mongrels of other tribes, leading to their swirly and abstract stripe patterns. There are few, if any, pure blooded Eschatiks. The only reason why they are a tribe at all is that they tend to (but not always) have the strongest connection to the spirits of any tribe. Rather than a village with a shaman, they will have a village OF shamans. They create lasting and elaborate pacts that not only last lifetimes, but whole generations. Thus, unlike the Orah, an Eschatik must be taken seriously. They almost universally wear some kind of mask at all times, and are frequently decorated with flowers, gemstones, large feathers, or other ornate decorations that favor the spirits they venerate. And unlike most other tribes, some Eschatiks actually seek out spirits to possess them, mutating and warping their bodies even further. A few wise people have noted that while the Starkatteri dealt with evil, corruptive spirits they at least never took any of them to bed. Sexually, Eschatiks are all over the map, ranging from self emasculating ascetics to daily tantric sexual escapades.
The Sahaani were "born in the Southern snows", but have migrated over time from the Antarctic regions to inhabit the north pole and several non-arctic glaciers as well. They are notable for their particularly long coats, which vary from 'fluffy' to 'shaggy' to 'hairy'.
The Sahaani are artists. They believe (to varying degrees) that the purpose of life is to make the world better by creating art, and they tend to think in terms of beauty and adding things to the world. Ironically, Sahaani rarely make a living from their art; rather, most Sahaani art is anonymous. An artist that proudly displays their work is seen as looking for praise for themselves rather than creating something beautiful for its own sake.
In addition to creating beauty, the Sahaani adore the beauty of nature. They particularly appreciate inspirational natural locations such as unspoiled wildernress, rugged mountains, and iceberg-choked bays, even if others would not find them beautiful. In fact, Sahaani reject the entire concept of ugliness. To them, there are simply different kinds and intensities of beauty. As such, they believe that no one should feel shame for their own body; fat, thin, tall, or short, everyone is beautiful in their own way. Unlike the Roamani, who expect an individual to blend into the group, Sahaani expect one to stand out. Their clothes are all highly decorated and personalized to ensure that no two Sahaani look alike.
In the war, rather than being pidgeonholed as artists, most Sahaani acted as engineers who saw architecture as just another expression of artistry. In this role they frequently clashed with Propoli, who favored practicality over form.
The Orah were born in "the swamps". Marked by thin, jagged stripes, they are hunters and beast-slayers who inhabit the lonely, wild places in Zebrinica. They are, by and large, isolationists who would prefer to have nothing to do with the other tribes. Most zebra therefore see them as backwards, inbred hillbillies. They speak a slurred, abbreviated version of the zebra tongue.
The Tappahani were born in "the jungle". They are famous for their feasts. Tappahani stripes are twisty and convoluted, and they speak in a rapid, rather rude version of the Zebra language. They also have a reputation for being high-strung.
The Logos were born "in a library". They kept the written history of the zebras, and probably dealt with all forms of record keeping and bureaucracy.
The Roamani were born "on a battlefield". In general, they were the greatest zebra fighters, and were likely the most powerful tribe, and the founders of Roam.
The last zebra Caesar was a Roamani.
The Starkatteri were also known as "the One". Unlike "the Twelve" tribes, they are said to have been sired by the moon rather than the sun in zebra mythology. They were the first tribe to build cities, but they practiced strange magics granted to them by striking deals with the stars.
The Starkatteri grew proud of their strange powers and fought a war to rule all of Zebrakind, which caused the Twelve to unite against them. The Starkatteri called down a large-scale meteor shower, which decimated both the Twelve's armies and the Starkatteri's own cities. The Twelve remained strong enough to win, however, and branded and shunned the Starkatteri. To this day, the Starkatteri are only grudgingly accepted in Zebra society, and they are easily identified by a pattern of facial stripes that are described as looking like the orbital paths of planets.
The original role of the Starkatteri in Zebra society is unclear, but Pythia indicated that Starkatteri necromancers originally acted as psychopomps, ushering the souls of the dying to the Summerlands (the Zebra version of the Everafter.) But then some of them started getting "creative" with their charges and gave all necromancers a bad name. This fate seems to be common among those who meddle with powers granted by the stars.
Prior to the Great War, the Starkatteri still had a role in the election of a Caesar, where they cast the deciding vote in case of a tie.
Known members of the Starkatteri tribe include Amadi and Pythia.