The Adventurer's Guild
Though they have been unified as one people for hundreds of years, the Vestenmannavnjar still segregate themselves into twenty–five tribes, sometimes referred to as the Norvik Tribes or even the Norvik Nation. This is both for tradition and respect to their ancestors, and each tribe knows for certain which of the Living Runes came from their stock.
Over time, this system has warped as tribes split, declined and reformed, but each still has a connection to a Living Rune, and the Norvik Nation still refers to itself as “twenty–five tribes.”
Tribal names are a simple matter, consisting of a founder’s name and the Vesten word for people, folk. When a Vesten wants to incorporate her tribal name with her own, she uses the word af (meaning “of” or “from”), as in Darda Bergensdottir af Larsfolk. Because of their de–population over the last century, the remaining tribes have spread out and often mingled with each other among the remaining provinces (what the Vesten refer to as herdings). This has caused many of the tribes to decline in power and influence, with only the following maintaining a semblance their former glory.
Even before the Worst Days, before the Living Runes won the gift of Lærdom, the Aarensfolk were known for their mystical ways. They have always had a strong connection to the spirit world, able to see and perceive things beyond the realm of most people. The abilities of the artist Fornuft are just one example of their special genius.
As a result, many of the Vestenmannavnjar’s most gifted Skjæren come from Aarensfolk parents. Because of their affinity to the supernatural, they have developed a peculiar physical trait. Their eyes gleam more purple than blue, and become darker as they grow in magical power. An Aarensfolk Master’s eyes often resemble brilliant amethyst.
The Bodilsfolk have the honour of having more High Kings come from their tribe than any other. They have a reputation for wisdom and fairness, and encourage understanding and empathy in all their dealings. The Living Rune Bevegelse belonged to them, and remains a constant source of inspiration for her people.
In the absence of the High King, representatives of the Bodilsfolk ensure that the annual althing occurs at Thingvallavatn. They see the swelling political authority of the Vendel, and know that they must soon have equal power or perish. Their leaders have searched vainly for some way to counter the League while still remaining true to the Living Runes.
The Enhedsfolk are the only tribe which has yet to lose a single member to the ways of the Vendel. They are a people of strong unity and purpose, confident in themselves and their role in Grumfather’s creation. Like their ancestor Sterk, they know that their strength lies in their wholeness.
The members of this tribe accept the traditional caste system and follow it without question. They act as an extended family, looking to one another for support in good times and bad. They see the other Vestenmannavnjar (and even Vendel) as part of this family, and welcome them into their homes with warm food and a place by the hearth.
The Handelsfolk is one the smallest tribes remaining. More Vendel have come from their line than any other. They are natural craftsmen, and find it difficult to resist the temptation of growing wealthy from their work. However, those who remain exert great influence over other tribes, and contribute much to Vestenmannavnjar society. Kyndighet, the most skilful of the Living Runes, fought the Great Wyrm on their behalf.
Handelsfolk especially love to work with their hands. They produce wonderful jewelry and fabrics, and know how to make a premium trade for them. Such training starts early.
A favourite Handelsfolk childhood pastime is to trade toys and treats for the best deal.
When the Grey Wanderer came to the first Jordsfolk, he entrusted them with a sacred duty. They would be responsible for keeping and nurturing his creation. For their reward, he taught them how to gather bounty from the sea and soil, and to make mead from honey. Even their mightiest jarls serve as hunters and fishermen, developing battle tactics from observing the ways of nature. Høst, the celebrated Rune of the Harvest, is their most loved and venerated ancestor.
Like the land they cultivate, the Jordsfolk can be both pleasant and fearsome. They despise their Vendel relatives, seeing the expanding cities as a deadly fungus that will rot the world unless properly cleansed. The ranks of Vesten’s raider ships are filled with angry Jordsfolk.
The Vestenmannavnjar have a near–legendary reputation as warriors, and the Larsfolk are the legends made flesh. When not engaged in a fight, they are preparing for one.
Krieg exhibited every quality that makes them noble, and every flaw that could destroy them.
Even the carls and thralls among the Larsfolk know how to handle themselves in a fight. Children learn how to hold a weapon by the time they start to walk. Their lives are filled with constant conflict, and their greatest desire is to die in glorious battle and be remembered in stories by the generations that follow. They have little use for the Vendel, seeing them as easy targets upon whom to hone their skills.
The homeland of the Skadesfolk is now home to the worst excesses of the Vendel.
As a people they are now nomadic and scattered amongst the other islands. Despite their hardships and the distance between them they have unity no matter what misfortune befalls them.
Perhaps it is no surprise that Herje came from this tribe. The living rune survived no matter what and inspires his people to go on no matter what ruin lies ahead.
Among a race known for its sailors, navigators, and explorers, the Stjernasfolk have produced some of the best. They claim they were the first people Grumfather taught how to build a longboat and the first that made contact with the other tribes. Not surprisingly, they claim the Living Rune Reise as one of their own.
Stjernasfolk have also developed a reputation for excellent map making, especially maps of the stars. Their carls have used these maps in trade for generations, amazing foreign scholars with their accuracy. Other Vesten say that the Stjernasfolk see the world differently, like an eagle soaring from the clouds. From the startling details they frequently supply about terrain and geography, this saying may hold considerable truth.
The Vendel like to say that the Vestenmannavnjar are “stuck in the past” and “unwilling to accept change.” Such charges certainly hold true for the Tillitsfolk. They are staunch believers in the old ways and would like nothing more than for the rest of the world to pass them by. The hermetic Kjøt hailed from this tribe, and his people follow his example of seclusion.
The Tillitsfolk are self–sufficient isolationists. They occasionally tolerate other Vestenmannavnjar, but shun all others to the point of aggressive hostility. They refuse foreign goods, tools, and supplies, often resorting to very primitive alternatives (such as stone instead of steel) in order to survive. To live among the Tillitsfolk is to live out of time.