Encyclopedia (Setting Information)   Posted by Chronicler.Group: 0
 GM, 7 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 21:59
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
This thread is not required reading

The campaign takes place on the world of Telluria.  This world is similar in size and shape to our own and consists of two primary continents, one located in the northern hemisphere and one in the south.  Both continents sit opposite each other along the equator on one side of the planet, with a massive unexplored ocean wrapping around the other side.

Regionally, the campaign is centered in Old Nigotier, the remnants of a dominion located in the south-eastern parts of the southern continent.  Nearly a half-millennia prior to the campaign’s beginning, the dominion fell to invading and migratory forces, as well as its own corruption.  Shortly thereafter, The Deceiver broke the bonds of reality and plunged the world into an apocalypse that it is now trying to survive.

In particular, the campaign begins in the Low Hollow of the Southern Vale, one of several valleys that make up a series of alpine-like valleys of the Kaithydun Mountains.  This region of the world has a taiga-like climate, although slightly more mild.  Old Nigotier is predominately settled by humans known collectively as Gotiere, although many of the existing power centers are controlled by half-dwarves, known as Haimos.  Even so, pockets of dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-orcs exist.  Bordering Old Nigotier on the west are the Cinderwoods, wherein dwells an elven civilization, and to the south the Black Lands, wherein dwells a dragonborn civilization.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:44, Mon 24 Aug 2020.

 GM, 8 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 22:01
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
Xenophobia and Slavery
Xenophobia is noticeably present; although it typically falls along racial lines, given that like-folk have formed communities with like-folk, they are most predominate along ethnic and settlement lines.  For example, although two settlements may be predominately human, they may harbor the same level of xenophobia toward each other as they would toward someone of a different race.  Slavery is also present and prevalent, supported through slaves taken in battle, as payment, as punishment, and so forth.  Glory, fortunes, and even survival are built through a mix of diplomacy, risk, violence, and conquest.

In many ways, this setting reflects 6th century Anglo-Saxon England.
 GM, 9 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 22:35
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
Humans make up the chief race in Old Nigotier and are spread across the whole of the region.  Half-dwarves constitute the next majority race in the region.  They congregate mostly in larger settlements and other power centers, although the race can be found spread across the region, albeit in relatively small pockets.  Dwarves (called Phary) make up another significant portion of the population.  They tend to congregate near power and economic centers where their skill sets are most in demand or in small temporary camps across the region.  The next populous race are Orcs, who have been driven to the wilderness or live in settlements as slaves or indentured servants.  (Orcs are the predominant indigenous people of Old Nigotier displaced and conquered by humans nearly 2,000 years prior.)  The least populous of the races in the region are goliaths and hill giants.  They too have been pushed into the wilderness, many surviving the harshest locations no one else can or wants to live.  Very small pockets of slaves from the peninsula or other locations occur across the region as well.

Ethnic Groups
Haimos consist primarily of half-humans, but also include some humans and dwarves of prominent status.  As the Haimos constitute the ruling class, they congregate around power centers.

Collectively, humans are referred to as Gotiere.  However, since before the dissolution of the Nigotier Dominion, the Gotiere fractured into several sub-ethnic groups.
  • Somneiryde (i.e. men of the peaks) consist primarily of humans, but include dwarves (Vrakkornyi, or hill dwarf, ancestry) as well.  This ethnic group is centered on the low and high valleys of the Kaithydun Mountains.
  • Posyrise (i.e. consist primarily of humans, but include dwarves as well.  This ethnic group is centered on the hills and lower valleys of the Broken Lands.  As a hold-over from the Nigotier Dominion, the Somneiryde refer to Posyrise as nierose, or Pit People (“pit” denoting their low view of those from the lower elevations who for many generations exerting control and influence over them).
  • Cenyluthe (i.e. masters of the waters) consist of an almost even mix of humans and dwarves (Vrakkornyi ancestry).  This ethnic group is centered primarily on the lake lands around the old city of Zheidsonpi.
  • Ricule (i.e. people of bare trees) consists almost entirely of humans.  This ethnic group is centered along Old Nigotier’s coast and has the most direct contact with orc tribes, which reside in that area.

Likytue consist of a mix of dwarves (Vrakkornyi ancestry) and humans, with the dwarves maintaining primacy within the ethnic group.  This ethnic group is gathered along the western rivers of Old Nigotier.

Tukethio (mountin dwarf ancestry) consist entirely of dwarves who have been displaced from their homes in the far south.  They travel through the region as migratory caravans.

Enytharu consists primarily of orcs and half-orcs, but also includes small contingents of humans and dwarves who have eschewed the trappings of "urban" life.

Gociteru consists of entirely of goliaths.  This ethnic group is centered on the western side old Nigotier.

Groups of people who live in isolated communities on the outskirts of civilization are often considered as a subclass of society, as morally questionable, and as lawless.  Ruling elites and others who reside in relatively more centralized communities refer to these groups as doirytuno.

Halflings, gnomes, and half-elfs do not have communities of their own in this region; rather, they form sub-groups within larger ethnic groups, mixed in with settlement populations with varying degrees of integration or segregation.

Elven and dragonborn ethnic groups are still forthcoming

Racial Differences
Haimos half-humans have ash-pale skin, typically black to dark-brown hair, thick facial hair, orange to golden yellow eyes, protuberant noses, and a broad skeletal structure.

Gotiere humans have gold-brown skin, typically light-brown to dark brown curly hair, thick facial hair, thin angular noses, and broad skeletal structure.

Vrakkornyi dwarves have moderate brown skin, medium to black thick hair, curly facial hair, and pronounced facial structure.

Tuketheu dwarves have ash-pale skin, white straight hair, thick facial hair, pronounced facial structure, and bright golden eye colors.

Elves have caucasian skin, dark to light brown hair, high foreheads, thin noses, are typically taller than humans and dwarves and half-dwarves, and are comparatively thinner framed.  They have eye colors that range from ice-blue to forest green.

Halflings are substantially shorter than their counterparts, have tan brown skin, bright eye colors, and red-to-brown hair.

Gnomes are substantially shorter than their counterparts, have caucasian skin, thick body hair, rounded facial features, and thick brows.

Ethnic Differences
Haimos speak Koidykemi, a creole made up Xaulndkimai and Groti.  Males keep their hair cut short, but grow lengthy beards that they groom delicately and decorate with jewelry.  Females also keep their hair short, often shorter than males.  Given their access to more and better materials, the Haimos maintain a noticeably more expensive style in dress and appearance than their ethnic counterparts.

Somneiryde speak a mixture of Peakland Groti, Koidykemi, and Erephio.  Males and females grow their hair long, including beards for males.  The Somneiryde trace their ancestry to Gotiere settlers and Vrakkornyi migrants.  Given the higher altitudes of the Somneiryde lands, their clothing tends to be of thicker material in comparison with other ethnic groups in the area.

Posyrise speak a mixture of Woodland Groti and Koidykemi.  Compared with Somneiryde, the Posyrise wear thinner clothing.  Males grow long hair, but typically keep short beards.  Females also grow long hair.  Both sexes tend to braid their hair.

Cenyluthe speak a mixture of Lakeland Groti and Koidykemi.  During the summer months, males keep short cropped hair styles and clean shaven faces.  They let their hair and beards grow out during the winter months.  Females also keep short hair styles during the summer and longer ones during the winter.  Unlike other regional ethnic groups, females do not wear pants, but dresses.

Ricule speak Riculi, a descendant language from Groti.  Administrators, merchants, and other members of the elite are likely to also speak Koidykemi.  Males tend to have thick long hair and beards.  Females are likely to have hair reaching their lower backs that they keep in tight braids.  Both males and females wear decorative hats.

Likytue speak Erephio, with a small mix of Koidykemi.

Vrakkornyi dwarves speak a dialect of Xaulndkimai, but most who reside or do business in Old Nigotier learn to speak Koidykemi.  Men and women shave their heads.  Men do not grow lengthy beards, but often sport thick, bushy sideburns and mustaches.  Vrakkornyi believe they descend from a distant family associated with the Tuketheu.

Tuketheu dwarves continue to speak Xaulndkimai as their ancestral language, but many learn either Koidykemi or, for those who travel extensively in the Southern Vale, Woodland Groti.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:53, Mon 24 Aug 2020.

 GM, 10 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 22:49
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
For the purposes of the campaign, the common language spoken by people in Old Nigotier is Koidykemi, a creole of the predominant human and dwarven languages at the time the Nigotier Dominion fell.  While there are numerous dialects of Koidykemi, for game purposes, they are all considered the same language.

Similarly, while there are dialects and different languages among the dwarven populations, those who are not natives of Old Nigotier speak Erephio as their primary language.  For game purposes, goliaths, hill giants, ogres, trolls, and other giant folk also speak Erephio.

The vast majority of elves in the campaign, who hail from the Cinder Woods bordering Old Nigotier, speak Ynkhetur.  Given the history of the elves of the Cinder Woods, their language is not shared across other elven cultures or civilizations.  (However, such cultures and civilizations are most likely outside the purview of the campaign, and thus inconsequential.)

Gnomes, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs speak the native language of the community in which they were brought up.

I've yet to work out language information for dragonborn or orcs, so for the time being they speak Worm Tongue and Orc Speech, respectively.

Other languages from the PHB and so forth exist as is in the campaign to some extent, although some more or less so.

Important Note about Languages
Language evolution and change are a part of the cultural heritage and development of communities in the setting.  That is to say that language has changed over time, so that writing made by someone many hundreds or even thousands of years prior to the campaign will be (in most instances, barring scholastic expertise or magical means) unintelligible.  Just because a character can speak the language of the dwarves contemporaneously, doesn't mean the character can decipher ancient dwarven text carved on the wall of a lost cave.  While this may pose some challenges to characters in-game, it also offers role playing and storytelling opportunities.
 GM, 11 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 23:13
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
Major Religious Groups

An important note: I'm still in the process of developing religious systems for various races and ethnic groups.  If your character isn't a native of Old Nigotier, say for example is a Vrakkornyi dwarf or Cinder Wood elf, we can work together on putting together a religious system, if that is necessary (e.g. for a cleric of that race and origin).

Major religious groups in the region consist of cults devoted to elemental archbeings and an ascending semi-structured religion devoted to worship of saints and idols.  Somewhat minor groups consist of cults devoted to fey worship, cults that venerate the Dead Gods, and death cults.

Followers of cults devoted to elemental archbeings are known collectively as heso meryvu or “faithful sons.”  Generally, the religion is known as nai ti pata conylo or “the father faith.”

Followers of the religion devoted to worship of saints and idols are known collectively as volytairis or “fraternal kin.”  The religion as a whole is known formally as the Inheritors of the Medial Flow and Divine Power; colloquially, the religion is referred to as the Church of Eight, in reference to eight holy tablets held by religious leaders.

Followers of the religion dedicated to fey worship are known as minythouho or “cast offs.”  Each fey cult maintains a separate identity, affiliated with its namesake or a religious landmark.

Followers of the religion that venerates the Dead Gods are known as painytula or “oath-takers” on account of the many oaths taken by adherents.

Followers of death cults are known as umbrists.

Origin of Religious Groups
During the collapse of the Nigotier Dominion, a large portion of the Gotiere population began to turn away from the True Gods.  Many believed the True Gods had abandoned them, while others believed the collapse of the kingdom to be punishment, akin to exile from their grace.  In turn, these people turned to pagan worship of the fey, with some going so far as to enter into pacts with powerful fey figures in return for being granted powers that could be used for protection and against foes.  These various cults rose in prominence during and immediately after the occupation of the Southern Vale by the Eastern Wind.  By 450AR, some of these cults are over two hundred years old.

Gotiere in relatively well established towns and cities remained faithful to the True Gods, up through The Rending.  Thereafter, the number of adherents declined gradually, with regular worship being replaced by traditional veneration.  In turn, regular worship evolved to idolatry aimed at capturing the principles and forces of existence.  Small, isolated groups of die-hard adherents to the old religion remain scattered throughout the realms, including the Southern Vale.  These groups constitute a mystery cult, and by 450AR, they have existed for at least two hundred years, some even longer.

Following the expulsion of the Eastern Wind, religious practices in the Southern Vale became variegated and highly localized.  Tuketheo exiles brought with them their veneration for the elements and their ancestors.  Removed from their ancestral homes, the exiles constructed menhirs and megaliths and other shrines to venerate the elements and their ancestors.  This mixed with the Southern Vale’s idol and other-worldly worship.  Over time, belief and veneration of the True Gods and the religion built around them vanished, although cultural memory retains some understanding about them.  Indeed, during this transition, nomenclature went from “True Gods” to “Dead Gods” in reference to the old pantheon.

In time, a few major religious systems evolved.  Larger settlements controlled or influenced significantly by the Haimos adopted a semi-organized religion based on idolatry and monument building, focused on ancestral worship.  Smaller settlements, particularly those removed from strong central authorities, adhered to pagan fey worship, with the inclusion of menhir constructs and shrines.  Mixed within both of these religious systems was a sub-religious system dedicated to death worship, with a particular increase in the latter with the rise of the undead.

Around 300AR, a new religion began to surface.  Derived from a nascent sense of ancestral worship, lingering veneration for the Dead Gods, and worship of ideals and forces, this new religious movement elevated exceptional ancestors to divine status.  These individuals performed incredible, many would say miraculous, feats, while personifying important aspects or ideals of the culture.  Indeed, the exceptionalism of these individuals enabled them, in the new reality created by The Rending, to transcend mortality.  By 450AR, this new religion had developed a loose but steadily solidifying structure and spread to various parts of the realms, including the Southern Vale.  It has come to be known as the Inheritors of the Medial Flow and Divine Powers.

The Age of Madness has also ushered in cults devoted to death worship.  Some of these cults seek to understand death and to use this understanding to protect adherents from the terrors of the night.  Other seek to harness death as a power.  Those seeking protection offer sacrifices in hopes of placating night creatures and the dead.  Those seeking power offer sacrifices in hopes of channeling the power night creatures and death for their own ends.  The former is known collectively as the Umbrian Congress, while the latter is known as the Tokens of Penumbra.

Basic Theology
Heso meryvu or “Father Faith” is a polytheistic religion with numerous deities representing the prime elements (i.e. earth, water, wind, and fire).  A very loose confederation of cults centered around specific deities or groups of deities form the basis for this faith.  For many of Tukethio and Haimos, an important deity is Dionekos, a capricious elder elemental of fire who is venerated for giving life to dwarves.  She dwells in a plane of fire, seen by mortal eyes as the evening star Vesipa.

Nearly all of minythouho congregations are polytheistic, with religious elites gathering in whatever mix of theology and doctrine suits the suite of their various local needs.  Minythouho that draw particularly from other-worldly powers, however, tend to be more monaltry-based in their theology; the extent to which such theologies range between polytheism and monaltry depend mostly on how “jealous” the other-worldly power is of its followers’ attentions.

Painytula follow a theology based mostly on kathenotheism, with continued veneration of the True Gods while rejecting all other forms of divinities as illegitimate.

Although Haimos and Gotiere volytairis recognize all or the majority of saints, they invariably choose to venerate one above all others.  Even if multiple saints are provided a place of eminence in a local congregation, one of the saints will always be held with more esteem and veneration.  Consequently, volytairis theology is henotheistic, the choice of which saints to hold in higher esteem almost always chosen by the ruler of any given settlement.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:01, Mon 24 Aug 2020.

 GM, 12 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 23:22
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
Government in Old Nigotier
Generally, government in Old Nigotier is created through alliances and force, centered on families, not individuals.  Family leadership passes hands through agnatic seniority, from brother to brother (although, not necessarily brothers by blood), based on common consent of a family’s elders.  In turn, families secure alliances with other families, relying upon individual descendants to honor past agreements, as demanded by family honor.  By careful cultivation of alliances and strategic use of force, any family theoretically stands poised to “seize” control of government functions.  Ultimately, governmental authority is a state of being taken and held by families, not granted through custom or any preexisting legal framework.

Form/Structure of Government
Like the majority of other Realms, governance of the Southern Vale is structured according to personal relationships between powerful land owners and military leaders.  These individuals and their relationships are defined and driven ultimately by a desire for wealth, property, power, and honor.  Within this structure, individuals fall into categories of land owners capable of producing a high yield per year, land owners capable of producing a reasonable yield per year, land owners or individuals with a certain number of beasts of burden capable of producing a small yield per year, laborers, and then slaves.  The ideals of honor and power necessarily promote a militaristic mindset within the society.

Members of the first two classes constitute the elite of society and make up its aristocracy.  These individuals exercise authority over their demesnes and all those who fall within them, with certain restrictions placed upon them through custom.  Owners of property are granted rights over the property’s use and transference.

The limited ability to travel through the land and the resulting isolation of local economies leads to merchants failing to achieve any level of regional power in this structure, but may well be able to establish themselves locally.

Typical Titles
The primary rulers of lands take upon themselves the title of “Principal.”  Most, if not all, who do so undergo elaborate rituals and ceremonies as a means of propagandizing the event.

Some Principals elevate their cohorts to the role of “Steadman” or Thesandraizh.  Those elevated so are imbued with significant authority from the Principal, in effect being authorized to act on behalf of the ruler as though he/she were there themselves.

Rulers who hold power over a village or other similar-sized settlements or lands of equal size are assigned the title of “Fast.”  While it is possible for someone to assume the title themselves, they do so at significant risk of reprisal from a higher noble who believes they exercise authority over that particular realm.

Within Haimos families, an hierarchy of authority typically falls first with a single patriarch and/or matriarch, a First Brother and a First Sister, elders (though not necessarily achieved by age by also by exploit, reputation and recognition), and then brothers and sisters.

Minority Political Status
All individuals are ostensibly eligible to own property, even slaves, though the ability of certain minorities to negotiate transference of property to their ownership is often difficult.  Ethnic prejudice by Haimos toward Tuketheo, on account of conflict between their shared ancestors, often leads to an outright refusal to transfer property to the former or a demand for higher than normal or even reasonable amounts of payments.  As standing before and treatment by the law is dependent upon and influenced by property ownership, minority groups are often left with limited or no political status within society.  As a consequence, they oftentimes are unable to seek redress for grievances from ruling authorities or receive trial by peers.  With limited or no access to property ownership, minority groups are also often deprived of voice during times of council with rulers or social leaders.
 GM, 13 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 23:22
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)

Although the setting uses a different base for counting etc, for game simplicity we're sticking to the simple 24 hours for a full day.  Length of daylight varies on the season and location.

A week is determined by Telluria's largest moon Rinal.  The first day of the week occurs on the new moon, and there is a new moon every seven days, without variation (so that a week is 6 days long).

For the sake of game simplicity, the first day of the week is called First Day, and so forth.

For reasons not important to the story, Telluria completes a full orbital rotation every 360 days. There are twelve months, each exactly 30 days long.  Remember that the campaign is set in the southern hemisphere, so seasons are opposite to what we typically associate with medieval fantasies.  Below is a table that shows the month, its in-game name, its equivalent to the southern hemisphere IRL, and its relative "weather/temp/etc." to our northern hemisphere IRL. (In actuality, the climate of the campaign setting dictates a significantly shorter growing period, but there's only so much I can world build at a time.)

MonthNameSouthern EquivRelative
02First SunAugustFebruary
03Frost's EndSeptemberMarch
05Labor of FieldsNovemberMay
06Last SeedDecemberJune
07Sun's CrestJanuaryJuly
11Last SunMayNovember
12Year's EndJuneDecember

 GM, 14 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 23:25
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
Since the setting is somewhat different from your "typical" medieval fantasy, I'm linking some images below to give something of an illustration of what settlements look like in this area at this time.  Because of The Rending, people tend to congregate into isolated strongholds, the largest being known as -haven (hah-vane).

Granted, there are variations based upon local topography, available resources, and so forth, but more or less settlements in Old Nigotier are a mix of Scottish brochs, Iron Age Celtic homesteads, and Bronze Age Arkaim / steppe stonehenges.

I'm working on an actual illustration that better demonstrates what these settlements look like in-game.

Broch examples:

Celtic examples:

Arkaim examples:

 GM, 18 posts
Mon 24 Aug 2020
at 18:39
Encyclopedia (Setting Information)
Definition of Marriage
Males outside of the nobility are limited by custom and law to a single living female spouse.  Male nobles may engage in concubinage, a custom borne from the high mortality rate among their members, low fertility rates among those of mixed race, and their desire to maintain their bloodlines.  Concubines and their offspring, however, do not have claim to inheritance from the male noble, unless accepted by the patriarch/matriarch of the family.

Social custom and laws also encourage marriage.  Individuals who do not marry within a suitable amount of time are censured or even brought in for charges of violating public welfare.  Once more, this is born out of the relatively high mortality rate following The Rending and the need to maintain population numbers.

Recognition of marriage vows, ceremonies, etc. is determined locally, but in almost every instance is tied to the perceived validity of the religious authority under which the marriage occurs.  So that in areas where multiple religious practices are tolerated, a marriage performed by different priests/priestesses would be considered valid (barring specific circumstances), while similar marriages performed in areas where only a single religious faith is tolerated would be seen as invalid.  Even so, if a religious power was invoked during the ceremony sealing the vows, an invalid marriage could not be readily disregarded.  Instead, punishments like exile and so forth would be meted out, thus separating the couple while not violating the oaths.

Marriage Celebration
In the Southern Vale, noble male congregants of minythouho (“cast offs”) begin their purification ritual by being buried up to the neck, to symbolize the end of their adolescence and a return to the earth, or a base life.  While so buried, their heads are ringed with stones, which symbolize the strength of the earth and to encourage the man to be strong in his convictions and principles.  These things are done by unmarried men chosen by the groom, under the supervision of a Cast Off spiritual leader.  The ritual begins before sunrise and concludes at noon, with the unmarried attendants extracting the groom and the two patriarchs accepting him with gifts.  The groom then offers a prayer and sacrifice, before receiving a gift from the spiritual leader.  These activities take place from noon until evening, when the unmarried men escort the groom to the festival, where they present their gifts to him.  Noble female congregants begin their purification by being immersed in numerous bathing pools.  She is attended by unmarried women under the supervision of a spiritual leader.  The bathing begins in darkness under moonlight and proceeds until noon.  Bathing involves various ointments, salts, and so forth.  The bride is removed from the baths by the attendants and received by her mother and other close female family members who provide her with gifts.  She is then subjected to an extensive ritual conducted by the spiritual leader intended to grant and ensure her fertility.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, the bride is clothed in ceremonial garments, including a veil, and conducted to the feast.  At the feast, the bride’s father and family patriarch (both if not the same person), delivers the bride to the groom, where the dowry is presented.  The following day, the bride and groom join together at a consecrated holy site to bath together in a ritual overseen by a spiritual leader.  At this time, the bride removes her veil.  Participation in this ceremony is limited to the bride and groom and their attendants, parents, and patriarchs.  Once the ritual ceremony is completed, the party conveys itself to another family feast, where the groom provides his gifts to the bride, her parents, and her family patriarch.  The third day consists of a large feast, where allies and associates attend.  A substantial amount of gift giving between various groups commences as part of the festivities.

In the Southern Vale, noble male volytairis (“fraternal kin”) begin their wedding ceremony by washing and bathing in blessed waters provided by a spiritual leader.  The male is then anointed with sacred oils and prayed over, all while the male meditates surrounded by idols.  At the conclusion of these events, the male is then provided holy writ, which he reads aloud in the presence of spiritual and family leaders.  Following the reading, the male then recites oaths of honor and fidelity, swearing allegiance to his ancestors and his present forbearers.  These oaths are witnessed and sealed by the leading spiritual leader.   Noble female Fraternal Kin begin their wedding ceremony in similar fashion.  They too engage in a washing and bathing ceremony, but are attended by priestesses who, following the ceremony anoint the female with oils and fragrances.  They also perform a ritual of painting runes all about the female’s body in the presence of idols dedicated to fertility and vitality.  This ritual, particularly in instances where the female is of mixed race, are critical components of increasing the likelihood of conception and the perpetuation of the bloodline, community, and race.  The ritual ends with the rising son, the female being brought out to bath in its first light as a means of sealing the runes and supplications.  Following the cleansing and blessing ceremonies and rituals, both parties are brought to the altar and married at noon.  If necessary or preferred, the wedding is instead performed at dusk or dawn when Vesipar is either just rising or just setting.

Marriage ceremonies and rituals for the lower classes share many similarities, but are significantly less involved and shorter affairs.

Decision on Marriage
Marriages among Haimos are determined by the family patriarch/matriarch and elders.  The most significant deciding factor is land.  Arrangements for marriage occur early in the lives of prospective partners.  Prior to marriage, a noble woman receives her lands, which become her husbands after.  The woman retains ownership of the lands in the event of her husband’s death or the dissolution of the marriage.  If the husband dies, the woman receives her lands once more, in addition to a quarter of her husband’s.  The husband retains his wife’s lands if she dies.

Decisions on such marriages are based on the value of the bride, perceived as the dowry she comes with, her supposed fertility (and bloodline), and skill set.  The two patriarchs exchange gifts with one another and make oaths to support and sustain one another.  In this way, marriages become a vehicle for creating or strengthening alliances.

Concubinage is entered into freely by all participants.  Indeed, individuals outside of the nobility are prohibited legally from entering into concubinage relationships and members of the nobility in such a relationship that can be proven to be coercive become dissolved.

In the lower castes, excluding slaves and indentured servants, marriages are arranged between the bride-to-be’s father and the prospective groom.  Dowry’s are smaller among the poor, and thus of less significance.  The gifts provided by the groom to the bride-to-be and her parents assume a prominence in negotiations.  As an extension of older Tuketheo custom, if there are multiple suitors for the same woman, the parents hold a competition (song, dance, or games), with the daughter granted to the victor.

Divorce is a rare occurrence and heavily discouraged.  Marriage vows are sealed through religious powers and actual curses are a possibility for those who violate or dissolve them.  Among the lower classes, divorce is practically disallowed under almost any circumstance.  Within the ruling elite, however, some exceptions are made, primarily for the purposes of dissolving alliances and agreements between houses.  These require the intervention of individuals with enough authority/power to absolve those in the marriage of their vows, thus breaking the seals and curses placed upon them.  Significant resources, offerings, and so forth are necessary to dissolve such seals fully and effectively.

Responsibility for raising children falls primarily upon female relatives.  This is a shared activity among the relatives, with the mother’s mother and next youngest sister assuming prominent and even leading roles in that endeavor.  The oldest male sibling of the child’s father takes a direct role in raising a male, although the majority of that child’s care and rearing remains the responsibility of female relatives.

Custody of Children
Children are seen as property of their mothers, not their fathers.  If a marriage ends for whatever reason, the mother retains ownership of her blood-children.  If the mother passes away or is otherwise incapable of performing her motherly role, ownership of the children transfers to the mother’s next youngest blood-sister.  If there is no such relationship at the time, ownership and responsibility for the children resorts to the next closest female blood relative.  In all of this, the father retains claim on his first born, so that when that child comes of age, he or she comes into the father’s direct care.

In all of this, concubines retain ownership of their children, but should they lose such ownership through death or other circumstances, the children become the property of their father.

Family Name
Haimos nobility use compound family names consisting of toponymic and hereditary components.  For example, Ekil baiAtemn Sirfoicen meUtyletho denotes Eksil’s place of birth or residence as Ayemn Sirfoicen and his membership in the House Utyletho.

Non-nobility have no family names of which to speak.

Orphans become the property of the ruler of a settlement or area.  Depending on localized circumstances, orphans are left to their own devices, are taken in as unpaid or underpaid servants, taken into slavery, sold as chattel, or taken to be trained as soldiers or craftswomen.

Treatment of Boys and Girls
Generally, boys are treated by their parents at a distance, with extended family members, such as aunts and grandparents, taking on a more direct role.  Parents intend for their male children to quickly learn to fend for themselves and to provide hard physical labor or some other similar endeavor to support themselves and to help support the family.  Males are perceived of, generally, as relatively disposable to their female counterparts.

Generally, girls are kept under close supervision by family members, with direct care and oversight by parents.  Parents support their female children up until they are of marrying age.  Females are perceived, generally, as relatively more valuable than their male counterparts, largely given to their ability to give birth to the next generation.
Some ethnic differences occur in this regard.  Half-Phary females are predominantly infertile.  As a consequence, ideas related to future generations lie more with male heirs than female ones.  Female Half-Phary typically assume roles as honored concubines to their male counterparts or to male human noblemen.  So it is that Haimos perceive human females of having greater marrying and procreation potential and thus greater preference and somewhat better treatment is given toward them at some levels of society.

Somneiryde (men of the peaks) hold their sons at a distance, often with parents sending their male children to live with relatives or some other domicile.  Male children are treated with harsh physical punishment.  Females are kept close to home and with their parents.  While parents remain strict with their female children and use physical punishment, it is not as severe as what is given to their male children.  Governing elites of the area demand annual “public service” from the population.  Male children (ages 8-14) are assigned physical labor, while female children (ages 8-14) are assigned manufacturing labor, such as crafting state-sponsored clothing.

Posyrise (broken men) keep their male and female children close to parents for the first several years of a child’s life.  Male children over the age of 8 are often hired out, while female children are not hired out until age 10.  The Posyrise prefer daughters over sons, with households viewing themselves truly blessed when full of daughters.  Both male and female children are punished physically for infractions, with the prerogative and responsibility for punishment held by the parents.

Cenyluthe (master of the waters) hold their male children in high regard and place importance on the eldest male children of a household.  Both male and female children are taught the comings and goings of lake life at an early age, with both sexes often helping with lake work, like cargo boating and fish harvesting.  Male children are called upon for annual service beginning at the age of 10, while female children are called upon for local community service twice a year beginning at the age of 8.  Male children are punished physically, sometimes severely; female children slightly less so.  The eldest male child of a family, however, is not allowed to be beaten as punishment by a relative.

Ricule (people of bare trees) expect maturity and retrospection from their male children at an early age.  Male children are thus kept close to home under considerable tutelage and supervision and punished extensively for infractions or impropriety.  Conversely, female children are allowed to be carefree and are held to few responsibilities.  Punishment on them is significantly more restrained and less frequent.  As the female child grows and approaches womanhood, more expectations are placed upon them.  Male children are called upon to perform annual public service beginning at the age of 12.  No such requirement is placed on female children until they reach their 18 birthday.

Likytue make little distinction between their male and female children.

Marriage and Love
Except in specific cases, the ideas of love and marriage are not considered together.  Marriage is widely viewed, throughout the classes, to be a necessary institution for protecting one’s interests and perpetuating the community through mortal hardship and threats.  Love is thus viewed as a dangerous fancy that promises unforeseen and volatile consequences to those who give in to it.

Size of Families
“Single” families tend to be small, on account of the relatively high mortality rate of the Age of Madness.  They tend to be dominated by older widowers, who likely have married at least twice, if not more, over the course of their lives, with children from multiple (now dead) spouses.  Extended families (by blood) also tend to be small, for the same reason.  It takes a degree of luck for a family of siblings to all survive long enough to produce children of their own and by so doing, create an extended family network.  Extended families by oath or bond are a degree larger, but given the vagaries of life and potential for disloyalty, the size vacillates noticeably.

The Haimos family structure is influenced by the Haimos’s Phary ancestry, which held more to an idea of clan membership than membership in small family units.  Clans form around identities tied (factually or mythically) to an important apical ancestor during the time of integration between Tukethio refugees and the Grotiere.  Clans include multiple households, each tied to another important descendant of the first clan ancestor.

Over time, disagreements between households can lead to breaks or splintering.  In some such instances, the two or more opposing branches may lay claim to the same primary ancestor, but also accuse the opposing branches of violating the honor of the clan and so forth.  In other more rare instances, branches may lay claim to different or new apical ancestors.

A household consists of one or more patriarchs, their wives, their children, and their property, as well as any clients, such as elite house guards and heroes.  Thusly, the actual composition of a household is wholly dependent upon agreement, said or unsaid, between the patriarchs to form a close bond.  Some clans may have only a small handful of households with multiple patriarchs grouped in each one, or a multitude of households with widely varying number of patriarchs.

Physical domiciles oftentimes house only one immediate family, with perhaps one or more surviving members of the prior generation.  Some households place family domiciles near one another, forming a type of communal compound with private and shared living and social spaces.  The idea of a Haimos domicile is inseparably tied to the idea of urban living.