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Vandar

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Vandar flag

Capital: None
Demonym: Vandaran
Government: Anocracy – Bands, Clans, Septs
Rulers: Shamans/Elders/Chieftans
Example Names: Alector Telikos, Sima Stenon, Mephita Vaios, Lar Tycheros

Summary
A disparate country of anarchistic and liberty obsessed clans, the sole unifying feature of the Vandar is a common language and a shared affection for local rather than regional politics. Vandar live in relatively primitive villages and have little access to technology, instead thriving as hunters and subsistence farmers. Vandar are a religious oddity in Aeldos, worshiping ancient beasts and the spirits of the wilds rather than the Ayr.

Description
Some scholars argue that the Vandar are simply a well-studied subset of the commonly found ‘Savage’, the aggressively hostile and mentally unstable population of wild-people found in the untamed places and at the borders of many civilizations. This is lazy approach to a complex group of micro-cultures is often driven by a misunderstanding or exaggeration of the common Vandaren world-view. It is well known that the Vandaren emphasize personal freedom, conquest, and dominance, but unlike Savages, for whom these drives are almost beastly, the people of Vandar driven by a deep set notion of cultural superiority and resource scarcity. But while the Vandar share some features with Savage peoples, they do avoid their worst excesses such as cannibalism, incest, and blood cults. pressures and threatening wildlife.There are several compelling arguments against this point:

  • Firstly the Vandar actively trade both internally and with other cultures such as the Svertheim and the Granden. This trade is possible due to a craft culture within the Vandar.
  • Secondly the Vandar are not universally aggressive. Many Vandar tribes are peaceful and opposed to violence.
  • Thirdly, though there are several despotic or apparently anarchic Vandar tribes, most Vandar tribes have a sophisticated form of governance and legal systems.

This is of course to say nothing of their manners, cleanliness, or intelligence…”
-An Excerpt Regarding Savagery by Ser Kaylaas of Granden

The name Vandar is applied to the numerous clans and tribes which inhabit the northwestern area of the Aeldos continent but the Vandar themselves do not use the name as each clan or tribe bears its own moniker. The Vandar are often considered a common culture and while many clans share a similar language and traditions, in reality they are more accurately characterized as an anarchic collection of antagonistic groups held together only by intermarriage and common rivalries. The only unifying traits of the Vandar are their aversion to centralized rule and generally independent nature.

The Vandar comprise several groups of semi-related cultural and linguistic bodies. While the preferred rumor about the Vandar is that they are violent raiding hordes from the north, and it is not entirely without basis that many Svertans see the Vandar as closer to savages than most cultures, the truth is less clear. While there are many Vandar clans which operate as raiders and pirates, there are an equal number of peaceful agrarian groups eking out livings in the great Vandar forests. While the Vandar raiders sometimes prey on their more peaceable and settled Vandar brethren, ancient family ties and clan treaties often forbid such behaviour. This in concert with Vandar familiarity with fellow Vandar military tactics has resulted in a rough equilibrium among the Vandar factions. That is not to say it is a stable country; the alliances between clans and the factional struggles are frequently indecipherable to outsiders and a few decades is sufficient time for the rise and fall of any number of clan-holds.

The biggest threat faced by the Vandar comes from their aggression towards the Granden, who have only barely tolerated their northern neighbours. The Granden are themselves descended from a Vandar clan which sought greater power and glory in the South. The Granden have long abided by ancient treaties regarding their northern cousins but as they grow increasingly culturally distant they are also growing wary of the old treaties and Vandar behaviour. Most believe that the Vandar and Granden are only a few raids away from war and the victor of that conflict remains unclear. While the Granden have a superior centralized governance and military the Vandar are more populous and, in times of war can call on ancient clan pacts to unite against an enemy. Technologically the Granden are the beneficiaries of some minor first age technologies but the Granden are much more practiced in warfare.

Weregild – man price

Vandar are rightfully cautious and suspicious; they live in one of the most dangerous ecosystems in the world and they are far from the top of it. Where other cultures have adapted to similar circumstances by building strong defenses and communities, the Vandar emphasize notions of self-sufficiency, competition, and almost foolish bravado. Svertan hermits are seen as mad eccentrics; Vandar hermits are seen as holy and legendary.

Another oddity of Vandar culture is the active avoidance of many first age technologies. This is commonly justified by folk tales and stories emphasizing the role of technology in human weakness and the downfall of the Urul and is also seen as a root cause of Vandar/Granden animosity.

Vandar clans regularly form ‘war-parties’ to seek out riches and servants from other settlements. These war parties are rarely more than a few dozen but occaisionally they grow much larger, becoming more akin to a raiding army. The triggers and causes for such events are unclear but it has been the source of warfare between the Vandar and western Svertan peoples for centuries. This is exacerbated by the Vandar belief in ‘war-slavery’, not shared amongst the Svertan.

Vandar Following: Many Vandar clans take the concept of marriage exceedingly seriously and spouses are expected to commit suicide if their partner is lost. This means most warriors are unwed by tradition.

Vandar Gear: As diverse as the people who dwell in the northern forests, the core weapons of the Vandar tribes are long hafted axes and spears, and composite bows. Vandar armour varies from leather and banded up to heavy plated depending on the tribe.

  • Names: Vandar

FN starting with Vowel or S are Feminine
FN starting with Consonant or T are Masculine or gender neutral

  • Baby Names: Babies have temporary names until 2-3; these names are meant to ward off spirits of ill health, and pragmatically due to the high mortality. Common temporary names such as ayay (babys crying) or little shit, or names based on tentative future wishes, etc.

The High Hunt/Hunter
Stories tell of company’s of figures, cloaked in white and carried on the backs of great black horses, who travel the sword peaks once a decade during the new moon, to venture into the forests of Vandar in search of worthy prey. It is said that these figures carry long spears tipped with a sleeping poison, and are accompanied by great spectral hounds with green eyes. Some accounts number them in the dozens. Southerners say these troops come from the chillwaste, echoes and spirits of an age now lost. Northerners claim that these hunts are led by an old dead king of the peaks, the high hunter, who stalks the forests to satisfy a shapers curse. Still others claim they are not human at all, but creatures crafted by the Ayr themselves. It is said that if the hunters see a human that human is cursed to become prey, and prey pierced by their spears shall fall into an eternal slumber. Northern forest cats are said to be able to scare away the hunt. These stories are said to be the origin of the common Northern fear of evenings of new moon. (King Wautk, his huntsman Fuik, their hounds Goze and Garm)

Raw: Wild Hunt
“many men both saw and heard a great number of huntsmen hunting. The huntsmen were black, huge, and hideous, and rode on black horses and on black he-goats, and their hounds were jet black, with eyes like saucers, and horrible. This was seen in the very deer park of the town of Peterborough, and in all the woods that stretch from that same town to Stamford, and in the night the monks heard them sounding and winding their horns”