Heritage is where you come from, the background of your character, the people and history of your relations and relatives – it is the culture and history of your family and the source from which your personality, ideals, and hopes, and dreams are wrought.
Wyrlde has many peoples, divided into Kindreds, that are often complex and distinct in and of themselves – but unlike many expect, Wyrlde does not have realms that are wholly dedicated to one or another, for that is not the history of Wyrlde – here, the Peoples have all struggled, and most share a commonality at a deep and abiding level that is difficult to explain to others.
Your Heritage is the people you come from; it reaches into the past and draws the line from who they have been to who they are now, their history as a living force, their natures and values. It represents traditions passed down among your family, among those like you, and is part of what makes you who you are today.
All Heritages are built around The Family, The Kin, The Kith, The Tribe, The Clan, and the Nation. It is through these ties, bonds, and history that they grow and survive. A Heritage often carries within them values, traits, and qualities that endure and shape the generations that follow and ensure that they can survive in a world that has a long history of trying to kill everyone.
When the War of the Gods started, there were only Humans on Wyrlde, and only one kind of Humans. The Gods, constantly seeking ways to overcome each other, took people who volunteered among the Bright and Shadow Host, but were conscripts among those who served the Dread Host. From those relative few people, the Gods worked in teams to fashion from the living peoples those who would have gifts that served some role or purpose in the war. This was how the Houses that existed before the War several became the core of the peoples that we know today: The Elfin, Dwarfs, and Tritons, of course; but also, the Goblins, Thyrs, and Grendels. Even the Kobolds and Therians came from such.
It is this history and the link of hearth and home that establishes them among the people. Much of this happens in the Tanjins, Kindred Houses, Halls, Communes, Grottoes, among the Broods and Coteries, and other ways of passing that heritage on to the next generation. These places, among each heritage, serve as the schools and teachings for the youth, sometimes even a second home, with different structures to each of them that influences what they teach.
Dwarfs have Halls, Elfin have Communes, Tritons have Grottoes, Therian have Broods, Humans have Kindreds. Each of them arose out of a particular aspect of survival either during or after the God’s War, and those are what carry them forward. The forging of the Nations of Islandia, Kahokia, and Sibola are all derived from the bonds and fealties among the various branches and relations – sometimes distant, sometimes not so much – that arise from the long-shared goal of survival even after the Powers That Be abandoned and allowed all of them to slowly die of hardship and duress.
A notable aspect of most of the Imperial and related peoples on Wyrlde is that all of them can trace their lineages back to four thousand two hundred thirty-one distinct families. Islanders have thirty-eight families, and Hyborean have five.
Most of them, to include Kahokians, come from the survivors of the God’s War. Even though it was over a thousand years ago now, it remains a deeply scarring and influential moment in history in part because 80% of the global population at the time was wiped out, killed in the five centuries of conflict, followed by the horrors, sacrifices, disasters, and loss of the Long Walk, the Deadly Journey, the March of Madness, The Bitter Road, the Bleak Journey; the path of sadness that followed for generations struggling to survive in a world without any of the Powers they had been fighting for.
In the years since those two massive cullings, many family lines have died out, and others have arisen, but ultimately everyone is part of this entire chain. There simply weren’t that many people left. Bonds of family, alliance, and dependence became essential aspects of simple survival.
During and following the God’s War, the people organized themselves into distinct units, each of which has a particular importance. These units are as follows:
Family – usually a collective of parents and children. Families build what are called Camps – small settlements that have a distinct flavor built around a core idea of basic needs, smaller than a Steading and not really recognized by authorities. Family is exceptionally important, and the expectations of a family can shape and guide an individual’s entire life.
Kin –related familial groups. Kin generally congregate in Outposts, which are formed by the gathered Camps. Among the Elfin folks, a Kith is often what forms a commune. A Kith is great grandparents or grandparents, their children, and their children’s children. Kin go out to fifth degree relatives, up to twice removed. Kin can be called Bloods, Kinfolk, Vales, Outposts, and Camps.
Kith – a group of kinfolks linked by a single common ancestor pairing. Kiths are also called Halls, Kindreds, Communes, Grottoes, and Broods. Kiths are often joined together by necessity into Hamlets. Kith can go out to 9th degree relatives, up to twice removed. Traditionally, when someone strikes 10th degree of relative on both sides of their families, they form a new Family, and become part of the larger Tribe. Kiths are usually formed of not more than four Kins, though it can depend as it is based on the relationship of the Kith’s leaders (typically sibling). They are constantly growing.
Tribe – are traditionally collective of five Kiths, tied to each other by often forgotten bonds, a minimum of 10 degrees removed among the different Kiths that make it up – though direct relation is not a need. Linked often by old blood ties and entanglements forged out of surviving the Bleak Passage, working together to form and create the ties, bonds, and alliances that forge them. Tribes generally live in a Village, linking them together for defense, trade, and survival. In the Bright Lands, Tribes are often called Houses, Cartels, Syndicates, Coteries, Sects, and Circles. The tribe structure allows people to shift the nature of the relationships, as well, such that we have seen Guilds, Circles, and Syndicates become very powerful within entire areas. Posses do not fall into this, as they tend to be less about relation and more about wealth, akin to a guild.
Clan – A Clan is a collection of three to ten tribes, gathered for common purposes. Clans are usually large enough to occupy a Town and fall within that given structure. There were 500 Clans that settled in what became Sibola at the end of the Trail of Terrors, the sum total of all those who endured. Along the way, disagreement led to a dozen Clans breaking off from the main body and seeking a passage where one was not seen, and they became the Kahokians. Clans can sometimes be a Nation, especially among the larger, older Houses and the realms outside the Bright Lands of the Empire.
Nation – A Nation is a group of Clans led by a common body. There is no limit to the number of Clans that make up a nation, but it is always considered to require 3. Zefir is said to hold the Scroll of Nations, which somehow knows the relationships among all the different Clans and of what nation they are part. On the founding of Sibola, the surviving leaders of each of the Nations, formed from the leaders of the Clans, became the nobility. A Nation is how we arrive at The Seven Cities – for each ream is a Nation itself– even when that nation is not tied down such as with the more savage peoples.
Lineage is mostly tracked through the Kith of the individual – sometimes they can choose, sometimes it is arranged for them, sometimes it is simply decided by a combination of custom and tradition. That a tribe is composed of
In all cases, though, each person on Wyrlde can trace their lineage through their family and up to their Nation. This can mean that a full naming may include each of those linkages – and among the savages of realms like Kahokia, that is the normal manner, even though within the Empire itself these things are far less formal.
Still, it is common for one to carry the names of their Kith and Kin, and to have responsibilities that derive from those relationships. This means that for some people they will have a given name, and then trace other names back through successive history.
Donegal Tournoy, of the Tournoys of Akadia, from the Kith of Salan of the Haloran tribe, of Clan Houser and the Sibolan Nation.
The format of the statement and trace can change, but the key points remain and can tell a tale all by themselves; why did the Tournoys move to Akadia from Sibola, for example, using the above.