Houses, Kinship, Life

Houses, Kinship, Life

The Houses

There are Five Hundred Houses. Some of the Houses may be called Circles or Sects, Coteries or Clans, Halls or Tribes, but they are always and constantly a collection of families linked at great remove and possibly little more than a traditional alliance, and those Houses can generally be found everywhere among all the many realms, the homelands of each being a new branch of that House, but always tracing back to the Founding House.

This applies to the vast majority of people within the Imperial World. The 25 Tribes of the Kahokian peoples are part of this, and the Seven Sects of the Hyborian peoples are as well. The Five Hundred in its most specific application is a link to those who emerged from the Bitter Road and had become forged anew by that trial, but the way of organizing is far older.

A House is a linkage of people at scale, usually through the thin bonds of kinship in all its forms, and this is what gives them strength. The tradition holds that the Head of a House or branch of a House, has the ability to call upon all those within the House to work to aid the House as a whole, and to contribute to its fortunes.

The House of Usher is legendary, for its members have held the throne of the Emperor for generations, and many are still related to the rulers of other Realms. Complex chains of relation exist, but all Houses keep great ledgers in which all marriages, birth, and deaths ae recorded, and the House Count is kept.

Houses are the strongest opposition to the power of the Guilds, far more so than the Courts themselves, as they have significant power. It is also said that anyone can found a House, a rule that many do not realize is present, by petitioning the Ruler of the realm in which it is to be founded and beign granted a Writ.

Every noble on Wyrlde belongs to one of the Houses or Circles, even when it is just a tracing of lineage back to one of the original families from the Age of Fable. While several have fallen aside over the many, many seasons since then, there are still many Great Houses that trace back, as well as new ones that have arisen in the years since. It is said that for a thousand years there have been Five Hundred Houses, and they will stand for a thousand more, though the names will change. In most cases, a Circle is also a House, not merely a guild.

Houses operate slightly differently from realm to realm – the House of Hoar, for example, is only led by women in Aztlan and only led by men in Sibola – but the core underlying concept remains the same; they trace back down through the seasons to a core ancestor, tracked in each realm’s Great Codex. Houses can be split among the entirety of the Empire, each branch linking towards a given nation, and given the complexity of linkages and alliances, it can create a sense of disunity, even though it has long lost the direct linkage of kinship.

There are Five Hundred Houses, but only 60 of them are currently considered Great Houses. The myth of Landing speaks about how there were thirty thousand families that celebrated the first full year of the Wyrlde, as an example. However, there are very few that have enduring or current influence and power. Houses are key players in Durango, Sibola, and Lemuria.

The Great Houses of The Empire


































































Among the best-known Houses are Usher (Sibola), Ford (Durango), Skye (Akadia, Lyonese), and the Circle of Lanterns, which is powerful everywhere, as they operate as a House and as a Guild and are not afraid of blackmail used judiciously.

The Great Houses ae marked by two factors: First, a significant number of titled Nobility lies within their ranks. Second, They tend to be tightly controlled and politically active across multiple Realms, using tools such as Envoys and employing even Adventurers.

Family & Friends

Everyone on Wyrlde has something they are tied to, and it is a deep and abiding linkage that carries with it an onus of responsibility or debt or something. For most people, these are good things, but for some they are a burden, a problem, an embarrassment.

We are, of course, talking about who you are related to.

There are four main lines of descent for most people. Such a small number should drive home how great the devastation was following the God’s War. Those lines of descent are from those who survived the Bitter Road to Sibola, those who separated and became the people of Kahokia, those who were lost before the end of the war and found Islandia, and finally the Therians, who are a force unto themselves.

All of them adopted a system of recording family and creating links between people that began before the God’s War and has endured because of its usefulness.

At the lowest level is the immediate Family. Parents and their children. These might be Hearths, which are those of a given household, as often chosen as by direct relation. They could be a Family, strongly tied by bonds of lineage, including adoption. Or it could be a Vale, or Camp, a bit looser and more about support and care of each other.

Above that is the Kin, the kinfolk to whom one is related, through marriage or direct descent, the extended family formed by siblings and grandparents.

Next is the Kith, the relations of Kinfolk, by honor, blood, marriage, treaty or whatever, it is the great grandparents and their closest who forge a Kith.

Kiths band together into Tribes, and here the ties that bind are ones of trade, of necessity, of shared suffering, of survival and persistent loyalty. In the Seven Cities, among the Empire, Tribes became Houses, Circles, Gangs, Coteries, Communes, and Cartels that control so much of the trade and lives of so many – some of them became powers in their own right, like the Circle of Lanterns, or shifted to guilds, such as the Cartels. Others became Nobility.

A gathering of tribes is a Clan – and the Syndicates of Durango are essentially Clans, but it is Clans that have the great power in Islandia, Hyboria, and Kahokia. Built from the tribes and overseen by them, the yearly convocations in each of those shadow realms is always a sight to behold, as the leaders come together and discuss matters.

And when you bring all the Clans together, you have the Nations. It is the nations which forged each of the Seven Cities, but also that keep the shadow lands from being invaded by the Seven Great Cities.

A person’s nation is their Homeland, their realm. They might belong to one of the Clans or one of the Tribes, and they may take a name traditional to it, or possess a keepsake or heirloom of it, or possess some responsibility handed down, or task they are expected to meet.

Family names – surnames – often track to the Kith one belongs to, and many bear links to another kith that is part of the same tribe. They may take it from their mother, as in Aztlan, or they may be given it from their father, as in Sibola. They may take the hyphenated or combined name, as in Lyonese or Qivira, or they may step aside as they do in Dorado and Durango and instead draw their name from their Kinfolk or family.

In families of demihumans, these lineages are traced back to the nation’s leaders, always taken from the clan leaders, who in turn are taken from the tribe leaders who in turn are taken from the kith leaders who are made up of the heads of each kin – and their family will always trace through this.

It is one of the most unusual aspects to the demihumans, in that they hold onto those histories, that they hold on to the knowledge that what they are came from a sacrifice for the greater good, the greater need, the rest of all these peoples.

Among the Therians they link within the five great clans and how one is born often decides where you will find yourself – the yearly convocation is known for such. For them, the knowledge of their Tribe and kith and kin are almost sacred and tied to their own sense of identity and defiance.

Among the Kahokians, these lines are always filled with tales of survival, of overcoming adversity, or challenging the very Gods themselves.

There is an exception to this: Antilia. But no one is quite sure what to make of Antilia.

Perhaps the darkest, whispered secret is that the same lineages of the earliest Kiths that survived the Great March is that they trace their lines back *before the War*. And there, in the most ancient of recesses, we find that the Dread Peoples trace their lines back to the same ancients.

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 Akaediea, 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 Akaediea from Sibola, for example, using the above.


Childhood on Wyrlde is broken into stages.

The first is as an Infant. Infants are up through the age of 4.

The second stage is when they are a Child, from 5 to 9. It is childhood that the ability to use magic becomes more apparent.

The third stage Wyrlde calls Youths. Coming of Age happens usually towards the end of Youth, as for some reason it has shifted over time to where development is uniform among the sexes. As a result, women and men mature physically at the same rate, and around the same time, instead of distinctly in different times. Youthhood is between 10 and 14 years, with coming-of-age rites around 14 or so for most, but connection to the broader community and responsibility are delayed. It is during this period that some of the most famous adventurers learned much of the unique qualities about themselves.

Starting at 15 is when they are called Apprentices, only in part because it is the age most folks are apprenticed out. All young adults who appear to be this age are generally called prentices, as the guild system in place reinforces it, and the long-held traditions of preparation and defense that have been baked into the culture over the years make it a necessity.

Adulthood comes following that at the age of 20, and most apprenticeships are given over to Novice status or the individual heads into the world proper. This is the age at which it becomes described as Age of Majority and Age of Consent, and there are elaborate rites of passage for this. It is also the age at which responsibility for one’s actions kick in, regardless of other factors – many a ‘prentice has been enslaved or imprisoned or branded for some damn fool thing they did. Fortunately, the young are more likely to claim Ordeal.

Senior is when they generally become what folks think of as “old”. It is when infirmity and depredations of time have firmly taken hold of the body, and it begins to become more and more difficult to remain hale and whole for nearly all the peoples, this happens starting around 20 years before the end of their lifespans, or about the last 20% of it.

Lifespan is a general end point for most people, assuming illness and disease or violence do not claim them. This figure can vary as much as ten years in any direction for all but the Goblin. They seem to be almost programmed, having a variance of only about a year to either side. The rest can vary 3 to 10 years in either direction.


In all Cities and many Towns, there are established schools, called Tanjin, that grew out of an effort originally sponsored by the emperor, but was strongly influenced by aspects of Qiviran society and the mysterious Colonies. These schools vary from informal ones that teach basic reading and math skills to the poorest to exclusive, deeply involved efforts sponsored in part by one of the Grand Colleges or perhaps a university.

Goddess of Change, Mystery, Wonder, and Fun
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