A hardened people, the Juka are described as a forged race, a designed race, and ultimately a slave race. They are strong, proud, long faced, hard skinned, and stoutly framed. They are tireless workers and tireless soldiers. Tattoos and ritual scarring are used to differentiate their various lots in life. From all descriptions, they seem to exist in a future world of Britannia, one that has become industrialized to the point that nature is all but extinct.
The Philosophy of the Way
- The Jukan Warrior Code
The Juka refer to their code of conduct as The Way. It encompasses their martial philosophy as well as their ideals for an ordered society. The biggest misconception surrounding the Juka is that they are savage and uncultured. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though undeniably proud and aggressive, the Juka have developed a sophisticated culture dominated by ritual and an appreciation of beauty. Honor is the motivating force behind much of Jukan society. If every Jukan warrior had a life goal, it would be the quest for personal honor and the honor of their clan. Everything else is secondary to this goal. The exact path to honor differs slightly from clan to clan; however, certain basic principles apply to all Juka who embrace The Way.
Juka admire strength. Not simply brute strength (any animal can possess this) but strength that is refined and disciplined. There is no honor in testing one's strength against a weaker opponent - it is commonplace if you win and disgraceful if you lose.
Strength comes in many forms (strength of character, strength of will, etc.) and it incorporates skill as well. Therefore your skill with a craft is considered your 'strength.' Because of this, any display of great skill will earn the admiration of Juka.
Different clans will value some forms of strength over others. Some will ally with powerful military factions, prizing martial strength or strength in numbers. Others may follow heroic figures renowned for their valorous deeds or their great wisdom (another form of strength). Any faction that promises the Juka honor through combat will undoubtedly draw the favorable attention of Juka clans.
Juka admire beauty. Beauty is the expression of great skill and discipline. For this reason, the Juka often wear a minimum of clothing, choosing to display their powerful forms as evidence of their hard work and dedication. This admiration is not reserved for Juka alone. The beauty, symmetry, and grace of any form are deeply appreciated by these warriors.
The Juka also prize objects of great beauty. Finely crafted weapons and armor are especially valuable, but so is jewelry, statuary, tapestries, paintings, or any other object of art. These objects are often given as gifts to family and friends, but can also be given as a show of respect to an enemy.
The Juka do not hate their enemy - that emotion is reserved for cowards, traitors, and the slovenly. Indeed, the honor of the clan is dependent on the strength and skill of their opponents. The greater the enemy, the greater the honor gained in defeating him. Demonstrating respect for an enemy's strength serves to honor both parties. It is this belief that allows the Juka to coexist with the Technocrats on the same island continent.
This admiration of beauty extends to the makers of such beauty as well. Juka warriors have been known to defend poets, artists, and musicians. Not only is honor to be gained by defending the weak from the strong, it's also gained when the person being defended is a creator of beauty. The preservation of beauty is always a noble goal.
Juka only kill when the act will bring them honor. These people do not consider death trivial. Senseless slaughter is never glorious. When a life is taken, it should be for the greater good of the clan. If an honorable opponent asks for quarter, it will be granted.
There is no honor in slaying an enemy who has acknowledged your superiority. Better to let them live to spread the tales of your deeds and by so doing boost the reputation of your clan. In times of war, however, the rules change. Juka will not compromise the security of their clan. It is better to kill an enemy, even one asking for quarter, than to risk that enemy endangering your brothers.
Juka treat others with the respect they themselves expect in return. One of the most striking features of these hardy warriors, or at least the ones who claim to embrace The Way, is their politeness. Juka don't boast or brag. However, they do delight in singing war songs that incorporate the valorous deeds of their clan. In their way of thinking, this is not boasting. Rather it's more like a poetic expression of history. The truth, however, is never stretched or distorted. To do so would be considered boasting and thus distasteful.
Since Juka find no honor in defeating weaker opponents, they dislike bullies. Rude or obnoxious behavior is a sign of weakness - only those who lack strength or discipline find a need to offend or bully others. The true warrior is confident, and a smooth, amiable demeanor best displays confidence. Bitterness and jealousy breed rudeness, and true warriors reject these traits. Not to say that Juka are quiet or stoic; they love singing, dancing, and laughter. However, they are careful to temper their revelry with restraint. To do otherwise would indicate a character flaw.
The Jukan were to be included as a playable race in Ultima Online 2. After the cancellation of the game, the race was included in the Ultima Online expansion, Third Dawn, where they inhabit the land of Ilshenar.