Citadel at Whitepeak
The Vilsven are famed barbarian warriors who ride horses into battle. The live a nomadic lifestyle, hunting, herding, and raiding across the lush plains of southern Dysion. The Vilsven people take the boar as their sigil. They are primarily hunter-gatherers who trade horses and fur for weapons and metal goods.
Vilsven society is tribal. Large extended family groups are governed autonomously by Hovdings and Prasts (Chieftains and Priests), although these tribal leaders do gather occasionally to make collective decisions for the nation as a whole.
Vilsven culture is centered on two concepts, the bonds and the hunt. The bonds (Kjeder) are the responsibilities and cooperation that must be upheld in society. Law, order, peace, justice all these would fall under Kjeder. Those who breach Kjeder are severely punished, more often than not they are put to death.
Despite this devotion Kjeder is not seen as a good thing. It is a necessity that the brave should wish to do away with. That removal of bonds is the hunt (Jakten). Jakten is the dream and goal of all true Vilsven warriors, it is considered to be true freedom and fulfillment of purpose. In Jakten there are no rules. For the sake of peace, Jakten is limited only to ceremonial hunts and wars against the enemy.
Principally, Jakten is allowed during an annual ritual of the same name. In this Jakten all the tribes gather in Sundsval, the Vilsven’s only permanent city, to hold an enormous hunt in the Siopi Valley. Hunters who emerge victorious are celebrated and granted the title of Jakta in Vilsven society, if they did not hold it already. Those who have not yet achieved Jakta are referred to as Kjed.
This distinction between Jakta and Kjed is hugely important in Vilsven society, more important than gender for most purposes. Jakta have full rights and act as figures of authority in Vilsven society, while Kjed or relegated to the home as chattel of their Jakta parents or spouses. Jakta are permitted to marry any number of Kjed provided they compensate the Kjed’s parents appropriately.
Women are more often Kjed and the vast majority of men are expected to become Jakta, but this is only a generality not a rule. Males who display an aversion to violence and a propensity to domestic work at a young age are considered Kjed, while females adept at fighting are expected to become Jakta. The fact that females who are good Kjed fetch a high price does cause parents to pressure young females into that role, and insinuating that a young man who is training to be a warrior is a Kjed is definitely an insult to his prowess, but conversely parents who try to force young tomboys into domesticity are considered shortsighted and dishonorably greedy, and calling a young male Kjed when he has chosen the role simply isn’t an insult. There is also no stigma against Jakta of any gender marrying male or female Kjed.
The Vilsven have a long history of war, not only among their own tribes, but against the Empire which they have historically considered heretics ever since the Empirer’s allegiance with the Fion. Their opposition to the Empire is primarily a result of an especially strong cultural taboo against black magic. The Fion, as practitioners or black magic, have long been considered heretics among the Vilsven. Twice in the past three hundred years, councils of Chieftains and Priests have decided to wage war against the Sinnach, both times they were eventually defeated by the Fion.
In the most recent attempt, referred to as the War of Bronze Blades, the Fion drove them all the way back to the south, but the Empire intended to do more than merely defeat the Vilsven. Fion forces proceeded to defile wide swaths of grasslands, using fire, salt and necromancy it uninhabitable by the Vilsven’s horses and game. In a few cases Fion magic left miles of grassland dead and brown, which combined with the Vilsven’s use of Bronze weapons gave the war its name. The Vilsven leadership eventually agreed to surrender but not before a large portion of their ancestral home was decimated.
The treaty at that ended the war was relatively kind to the Vilsven. It left the chieftains in control of Vilsven lands as vassal lords to the Emperor while stripping Vilsven priests of political power. This combined with intermarriages with Sinnach nobility created a rift in Vilsven society. Vilsven nobility increasingly emulated their Sinnach peers. Meanwhile, common folk increasingly saw their rulers as foreigners or traitors. There has even been talk of revolution against the Hovding Lords by certain radical priests.
Vilsven tend to be olive skinned with blonde or brown hair. They tend to wear light (by Tellachian standards), simple, leather clothing. There is little in the way of specialized clothing in Vilsven culture. Dress does not change from profession to profession, although status is often conveyed through mantles of various complexity and quality. Chieftans will often wear large fur mantles that preserve the face of the animal. Jewlery and elaborate tattoos are also common status symbols. The priest caste, called Prästs, is one of few examples of specialized dress in the culture. They wear long ceremonial robes of braided animal hair decorated with bones and charms.
- +2 Strength, +2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence: Vilsven culture is adventurous and violent and it tends to breed strong individuals both in spirit and body. It does not, however, have many institutions of learning or complex arts and sciences.
- Normal Speed
- Fearless: Vilsven receive a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear.
- The Hunt: Vilsven receive one of the following two options: mounted combat as a bonus feat and receive a +2 racial bonus on ride checks, or
- Weapon Familiarity: Vilsven are proficient with handaxes and battleaxes and treat any weapons with “Vilsven” in the names as a martial weapon.
Most Vilsven spend their days with blades and horses. You found your talents elsewhere. Magical talent is a rare and coveted gift among the Vilsven. You were likely mentored in secret by a member of the priest caste—destined to become a spiritual leader of your people. Unfortunately, the Fion agents sniffed you out, tearing you away from your birthright.
- Suggested Strength: Training in Magic or Educated
- Suggested Weakness: Frail or Contemplative
- Suggested Classes: Cleric, Sorcerer, Oracle, Witch
- Forbidden Classes: Druid, Paladin, Wizard, Cavalier, Inquisitor
The Vilsven are the semi-nomadic inhabitants of the southern lowlands. Fierce warriors and expert horse riders—every Vilsven, regardless of birth and gender, is trained in combat and horsemanship. Some become homemakers but even these know how to wield a blade. Even in your youth, you are likely adept at both skills. Your tribe has long been subjugated by the Sinnach Empire, a insult that burns deep in the hearts of your people.
- Suggested Strength: Resilient or Combat Training
- Suggested Weakness: Proud or Brutish
- Suggested Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger
- Forbidden Classes: Paladin, Wizard, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Druid