WHISPERS FROM THE MOUNTAIN The Map of Viystea Viystea, a land torn asunder by the meddling of the Corvus in eons long past. The West trudges on as warlike clan spills the blood of warlike clan in the long shadow of the twin nations that still cling to the ideals of the Old Empire, but even they twist and writhe in webs of conspiracy over petty differences. It is now, in the Third Age as the frost creeps back northward that the realms of mortals once again wring their hands in plotting, shields and axes are taken off the wall and life returns to normal. Although, there are machinations afoot that put the most complex webs of lies and betrayal to shame in the realm of Viystea. Zheng Feng, a famous Ling author, archaeologist and adventurer traveled to the Aunthayavon Peninsula in search of new species and new experiences for a new book. Above all, more than the great serpents, the giant insects and the bat-men, he sought the Old Men of the Mountain, of which tales and rumors abound from the highest courts of Ling to the seediest taverns at port. The Old Men of the Mountain are but a recent discovery by all, and not even the Corvus, who know more than most about Viystea and its nature are baffled by their surfacing. The peninsula of Aunthayavon has always been a wild land with jungle so thick few have braved them and fewer have returned from such foolish endeavors. Zheng Feng, experienced and uncommonly lucky adventurer seemingly vanished, the last anyone knew of him was that he wanted to speak to the Old Men of the Mountain. He set out with his goal and the only thing to show for his effort was a torn and wrinkled journal, soaked through with jungle rain in most places save for a few pages. "Tall, deliberate[...]always cloaked in robes of the same black as a cave you can not see down." This excerpt is the only real proof of the Old Men of the Mountain and their appearance, found three weeks after his voyage from Ling, his arrival and his disappearance. Three days after, an Austhalti merchant fleet never returned from its voyage to Ling. The sea was supposed to be calm around Austhalti and the rest of the Western Seas. Rumors from sailors come to port in Austhalti's port towns and trade posts tell of black masses, creeping mists and night skies of unnaturally black pitch. The coasts are more sinister, fishermen bring up death in their nets and the sea smells of wrongness. These foul sights and treacheries beyond comprehension have pinned several nations' scorn and distrust firmly on the Corvus, the crowmen of the Southern mountains, as their meddling into a mysterious plane of existence is what had brought magic into the world so many eons ago and tales from travellers and Corvus alike speak of their fixation of studying the effects and anomalies of this plane they refer to ominously as "The Far Side". Not long after emergence of the creeping darkness around Austhalti, a Corvus scholar came across a mysterious artifact while searching for the cause of phenomina attributed to The Far Side to seal it off at the source. The scholar, Fenron, had attempted to create a Seal about the artifact and find a way to remove it without disturbing the rift it seemed to be causing between Viystea and The Far Side as if it were an obstruction blocking a gate from closing. Before he could find an answer to what it was or how it got there, an Austhalti fleet happened upon the cave and apprehended Fenron and ceased the artifact, despite the Corvus' urgent warnings. Upon the second night of the voyage, the artifact awoke from its dormancy and some otherworldly power consumed the fleet. Of the twenty ships that had set out in search of the source of the darkness, only three returned, including by chance the artifact. It now lays in the hands of the Austhalti, and what they decide to do may very well determine the fate of Viystea. Never before in history has any nation possessed such a dangerous artifact, not since the Corvus first breached the boundries to The Far Side so many years ago. Now suffering the scrutiny and malice of the world at large, the Corvus are trying desperately to locate and contain the artifact and prevent forces that do not understand the powers they are tampering with from causing a cataclysm that could once again change the world... or end it. A travelling Ling scholar, Xi Hao, has caught word that one of the Austhalti generals is proposing that the artifact, now a great state secret, be used as a weapon against their eternal enemies of Andvalt, the other great elvish empire. Knowing the importance of acting quickly, she rushed to the booming port city of Summerhold with a plan. Calling out for adventurers, mercenaries, and any and all seeking fame, glory, and riches, she set out to gather a small, diverse team that would be unbound by law or tradition to reclaim this artifact and preventing it from reaching the apex of its potential; there is no knowing the devastation that would be unleashed upon the world. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the world at large, there are stirrings in the dreaded Aunthayavon Peninsula. The Old Men of the Mountain are set to become more than just ominous whispers of wary travelers and scholars; their machinations are unknown, but almost certainly sinister. It won't be long until Viystea knows a terror unlike anything it had experienced before. Standards Whispers From the Mountain is a dark-fantasy, low-magic, Early-Medieval fantasy RP that takes place in an era comparable to our own world’s 900-1000 AD timespan. This RP holds its players to a high writing standard (few typos, grammar errors, the ability to write at least three paragraphs per post, which is only 12-15 sentences, really) and we express the right to deny those that do not meet the standards the GMs have set forth. The GMs would like players to have the ability to create believable, interesting characters or to work with them to achieve that standard. Furthermore, prospective players should have passing knowledge on Early Medieval society or the willingness to ask the GMs about the subject. The GMs are more than willing to help anyone asking for assistance in anything the player would need. Although the RP is set in a world that jumps around in timespans, with 900s-1000s clashing with the 1500s at times with Corvus, Viystea itself has its own lore, some created by the GMs, but most created by the players themselves as time goes on from anything from backstories in the character sheets to mentions of historical events, legends, etc. Basic Info As implied by some of the plot written above these standards, this RP shares some themes from Lovecraftian or "Cosmic" horror, and is influenced by the insanity-inducing mythos of H.P. Lovecraft and other writers in the same vein. As per the wishes of the GMs and the atmosphere of [Rainbow]EXTREME HOPELESSNESS AND DESPAIR[/Rainbow] player death is a thing. Don't worry, they won't be arbitrary or random. Do something that'll get your character killed and he dies. Whether it be city guard or the otherworldly horrors from beyond the veil-between, your character is mortal. Overall, the GMs of this RP would be happy to work with those willing to join us on a dark, gritty adventure through an original land where players get to have a large role in creating its lore and explore the world. Races & Regions of the West Note: As with the real world in the 900s-1000s and whatnot, you won't find a lot of races diversifying the cities. For example, it is very rare to see one of the Tiger-Men of the Huul'Tuur walking around in Austhalti or a Hogatai Orc in Andvalt. Nations will have a population consisting of mostly its native inhabitants with a minority from the nations immediately surrounding it. The elves of the Austhalti realms are an Empire almost only in name. An amalgamation of duchies and kingdoms with Prince-Electors that cast in their votes to choose a new Emperor when one leaves this plane for the next. Having a culture deeply intertwined with the faith of the Old Empire by holding their ancestors in the highest regard as guiding hands of fate, they hail themselves as defenders of the faith and are home to many Knightly Orders and Church Militant. The Grand Empire of Austhalti aims to reunite the Old Empire and return to the golden age before the Great Schism under the banner of the Old Faith. Founded by the descendants of the Lord Marshal of the Old Empire long years past, they remain one of the most powerful realms in the West, rivaled only by their Southern brethren. Players may PM both GMs with a sheet for this race and region! Grand Empire of Austhalti (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Grand Empire of Austhalti (open) Grand Empire of Austhalti (close) When the Old Empire fell, the bloodline of the Old Emperors fell with it. The Old Emperor's ruling council held the what they could of the Old Empire together as best they could but the Lord Marshal of the Old Emperor took his vassals and his men to the northern holdings, where a line was drawn between the two and their differences. The Andvalt are ruled today by an absolute monarchy led by the descendants of the late Steward of the Old Emperor's ruling council. Under the Queen's iron rule, the Andvalt have managed to stay powerful through the use of money and intrigue, expanding their influence through a trade network that spans the entirety of Viystea, from Osstholm to Ling. The Southern Empire of Andvalt (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Southern Empire of Andvalt (open) The Southern Empire of Andvalt (close) The Oynengjar are an amalgamation of smaller tribes led by Bardulf Stag-Horn, Son of Fidulf Red-Tooth. The Oynengjar are hardened by the constant back-and-forth of attack and defense against the warlike Hessvoy tribes to the East. The Oynengjar are a fierce and brazen people, whose warriors will sometimes charge into battle wearing nothing but their warpaint. The forest echoes with the sound of warhorns in times of great upheaval and war and are alight with bonfires where the Starry-Eyed are called to dance in times of celebration and peace. Tribal Confederation of the Oynengjar (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Tribal Confederation of the Oynengjar (open) Tribal Confederation of the Oynengjar (close) The Hessvoy Grasslands rumble with the pounding of hooves in the day and mirror the night sky with campfires of the Hessvoy Elves at night. Sharing a very similar horseman tradition with their distant Hogatai cousins, these Elves believe in bravery, strong will, and personal honor. Welcoming in peace and frightening in war, the Hessvoy are a colorful people, both in their culture and in that their culture accepts any who prove themselves. The Hessvoy Nation (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Hessvoy Nation (open) The Hessvoy Nation (close) Species: Hessvoy Elves Physical Description: Tall, lithe, and of mixed ethnicity, the Hessvoy are typically are elves of darker features than their more fair cousins, although members of other elven groups have been known to travel to Hessvoy villages to join them, increasing the racial diversity of the Hessvoy. Often over 6.5 feet in height, the sight of a mounted Hessvoy host storming across the grassy steppes is a sight to behold. Most of the men sport well-trimmed beards and short hairstyles, the women keep a single long braid in an intricate weave running down their backs that is only cut once it reaches the length of her tailbone. Given the Hessvoy’s relationship and culture of horsemanship, almost all Hessvoy are in excellent physical condition. They are identifiable by the long coats that protect the rider from the elements, extending down to the knee. While these coats can be fur-lined leather, all manner of fabrics can be used in their construction. Common to each village is a dyed trim on each coat that acts as a unifying colour of each village, and it the colour flown on a Hessvoy village’s banner when the host rides. The often bright colours also act as an immediate indicator of one’s allies in battle, not only differentiating them from their foes, but to keep rider formations from fragmenting in the chaos of battle. Culture: A civilization of horsemen, the Hessvoy elves share a deep relationship with the beasts that serve as their mounts and companions that is rarely seen anywhere else in Viystea, with the elf folk learning to ride within two summers of learning to walk, sharing a saddle with a family member until they are old and large enough to handle the beast alone. A rider will outlive many horses in their lifetime, and it is expected that they care for each and every one from birth to death as if they were family. The bond between rider and steed is sacred, and it is this bond that allows the Hessvoy to pull off acrobatic feats with fearless confidence while riding, including standing on the saddle, steering the horse with the slightest shift of weight while the rider engages a target with his or her bow, a specialty of the Hessvoy. The traditional weapon of the Hessvoy is the Voyich Saber, a long, gracefully curving blade without hilt that is used as a general riding weapon. A Hessvoy rider is expected to be able to cut with precise drawing cuts at any speed, often across unarmoured segments of an enemy. It is considered a great shame for a Hessvoy to miss his or her target, and straight dismemberment is considering sloppy and the work of an amateur. A battlefield in the Steppes is often littered with oddly intact corpses with only expertly placed crimson gashes telling of the victim’s fate. While Hessvoy typically stick to their own borders, they are infamous raiders who periodically raid deep across the borders to pillage settlements and supplies from neighbours, but never other Hessvoy. It is not to say Hessvoy villages do not occasionally skirmish, but to steal from another Hessvoy is seen as treason of the soul and body of the spirit of the Hessvoy, as all people are considered one under the Steppe skies. Each Hessvoy village is led by an elder, called an Alvoy, who is in charge of the major decisions of the village, including appointing leaders of the war host, the Dispatch Riders, and those who would stay behind to tend to and protect the young. The Alvoy is almost always the eldest male of the village, although female Alvoys are not unheard of and some villages appoint the Alvoy by rotation from family to family every 58 years, when Povarda Comet appears in the night sky. Regardless of how an Alvoy is appointed, he or she carries with them the Hesrew, the Wind Mace, an artifact symbolic of the control over wind magic that all Elders are expected to master, although only the Alvoy may summon it during times of war, mainly as a practical consideration that he or she is orchestrating the war host and wind is used as a method to steer the war host as well as be used as a weapon against the enemy; Indeed, particularly strong winds can shake formations, tear weapons from hand, and blind unprotected eyes from blowing dusts and grass. Another application many hosts are fond of employing are using the winds to guide and push arrow volleys towards enemy ranks, striking with far more force, distance, and precision than any single rider could hope to accomplish. Outside of this, magic is generally frowned upon by the Hessvoy, as they see it as something only the Alvoy are worthy of wielding. Dispatch Riders, or Sukle, are celebrated by Hessvoy as amongst the bravest and resilient of their people. Often the fastest rider in the village with the most endurance is selected for this prestigious position, as they are sent far and wide to relay messages, pay tribute, and act as envoys on behalf of their Alvoy. Sukle are often warmly received by villages, being welcome as an honoured guest. It is believed that the Sukle carry the spirit of their village and the will of his or her Alvoy with them, and as such is seen as the embodiment of the entire village. In times of peace, they will often bear invitation to visit, feast, compete in tournaments, or tributes to the receiving villages’ Alvoy and their family. During times of war, it is the Sukle who passes on the word to neighbouring villages, who will dispatch their own Sukle to spread word. It is not uncommon for several villages to ride to war or raid together as one. Only three times in Hessvoy history has the entire nation been called upon to ride to war; tens of thousands of riders converged at The Giants, a set of five mysterious pillars erected by people long forgotten in the center of the Hessvoy Steppes that act as a meeting ground for the most grave of matters. The sight of the entire Hessvoy nation charging down upon you while chanting for nothing less than the utter destruction of your soul is nothing short of terrifying. Customs and Values: For the Hessvoy, family is the most important thing about life, a sacred unit that should be preserved and cherished. The tight-knit nature of Hessvoy families is so complete that when a Hessvoy host rides to war, the entire family mounts of for battle, men and women. Men and women both share equal standing in society, given they share the same responsibilities and hardship. Life in the steppes is challenging, but rewarding for these hardy people who have a life for life that can warm even the sternest of souls. Song and dance are long-standing Hessvoy traditions, as is oral storytelling tradition. A Hessvoy’s history and faith is passed down from generation to generation from the Alvoy, who tells tales of the Hessvoy, their village, and their heroes to the children. These stories are so ubiquitous with Hessvoy identity that it is difficult to find a Hessvoy who cannot recite the tales as well as the Alvoy. Remarkably, as Ling historians have discovered comparing tomes separated by hundreds of years regarding Hessvoy stories and customs, the stories told today are almost exactly the same as they were told before. Honesty and integrity as seen as essential traits of a good Hessvoy, who care nothing for deceit and see lies and subterfuge as a cowards’ tools for men who have no fire left in their hearts. Hessvoy festivals, usually held at the beginning of each month, are lavish affairs where finery is worn and competitions are held in each village to see who is the best rider, swordsman, and archer. Oftentimes, 2 to 5 villages will join together for each season and it is here that Hessvoy men and women often pair off and meet partners who often marry before the festival is through. This mingling of villages is seen as essential for a village’s strength, diversity, and prestige, and offers an essential expansion of the gene pool. Hessvoy families typically number from 3-5 children, who reach physical maturity around 30 years of age. A Hessvoy is not considered an adult until Piovarda comet appears for the first time in their life, regardless of physical age. Likewise, a Hessvoy’s birthdate is celebrated with the blooming of the first flowers, not the actual date of birth. As spring is the season of birth, it is only appropriate that Hessvoy, who are attuned to the natural world and the land they call home, age with it. Outsiders are welcome, contrary to the often fierce and independent reputation of the Hessvoy, and all manner of elves can be seen in Hessvoy hosts and villages, and in rare cases, men and other races. To them, it is not your racial origin that makes you Hessvoy, it is your acceptance of the Hessvoy spirit that makes you one of them. An outsider is only accepted as a Hessvoy if the Alvoy accepts them, which can be a lengthy process, indeed. The Alvoy needs to see proof of the fire in one’s heart to know what lies I their soul. Religion: Brash, bold, and fearless, a Hessvoy seldom backs down from a feat of bravery, a povale, as conquering one’s fears and apprehension is how the fire in a Hessvoy’s soul is maintained, so the day they die, their soul and body are burnt as one and able to ascend together to the stars to rejoin one’s ancestors, who are believed to be racing across the stars in a Great Host across the endless black sea to the afterlife. The Povarda Comet, as the Hessvoy call it, that comes into the sky once every 58 years is believed to be the Great Host coming around to collect the dead to take them to Tarshor, roughly translated as “The Valley”, an endless paradise where rider can join his or her ancestors and their loyal horses who had perished over the Hessvoy’s long life. It is believed that when a Hessvoy dies, it is their first horse that receives them in the Great Horse, and in death they meet as equals, the service the horse provided in life is rewarded with the gift of speech. It is just as often a Hessvoy conveys with the spirits of their ancestors as well as the fallen Horselords, as the deceased horses are called. The Hessvoy are a people who recognize the intelligence of their steeds, and feel the experiences they had in life are worthy of consideration and respect. The Gardtharoy, a tribe of Elves with pale skin, fair hair and steely eyes, a trait which they share with their cousins to the Northeast and West. The Tundra here is not a place for the soft of flesh and weak of will and outsiders are judged accordingly. The Elves that live here cloak themselves in the fur of Spade-Horns, a dangerous and tenacious creature whose fur, when worn, gives testament to the strength of its wearer. Players may PM both GMs with a sheet for this race and region! The Gardtharoy (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Gardtharoy (open) The Gardtharoy (close) In times long past, before the formation of the two Great Empires of the West, the sight of the red sails of the Osstholm would strike fear in the mighty Princes and Dukes of the Austhalti to the Merchant-Prince of the Saffi Coast. Now though, Osstholm finds its riches by selling its armies to the highest bidder and the Andvalt maintain a tradition of hiring the veteran warriors of Osstholm to guard their Queen, serving in the elite Queltara. Osstholm (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Osstholm (open) Osstholm (close) Species: The Osstish Physical Description: An Osstish elder, scarred and battle-worn At a towering 6 to 7 feet in height, an Osstish cuts an imposing figure. Born with broad shoulders, thick legs and arms and an overall hardier body than most Elves, the Osstish make for great warriors that are still respected by those who remember the sight of red sails on the horizon. They share fair hair and blue eyes with their brethren of the North, the Gardtharoya. They leave their golden hair long and braided and their beards uncut until they die. Culture: Since the Osstholm peninsula does not provide its sons and daughters with rich soil, the Osstish turned to the sea and the nations beyond it. Early in their culture, the Osstish inherited much of what they knew of battle from the neighborin Gardtharoya, who had been fighting amongst themselves for years before the chiefs were rallied by the formation of the Hessvoy Nation to their south. It was sometime thousands of years ago that an errant clan from the Gardtharoya migrated to the Osstholm peninsula. Simple tools were the only thing brought over, so mastery of the axe, spear and shield, as well as the bow were the primary tools of life and death. Over the years, the Osstish developed a seafaring culture that started out as fishing trips but as the voyages reached farther and farther, they saw new lands. Rich lands. Thus did the Osstish turn their spears from the fish in the river, their axes from the trees and their bows from the elk and set their bloody path on the coasts of Austhalti, Andvalt and all the way to the Saffi Coast. As the raids became more commonplace, the Osstish transitioned from a mostly hunter-gatherer culture to a warrior culture that prized strength and cunning above all else in a man or woman’s life. The Osstish are a proud people, obsessed with notions of honor, bravery, courage and ferocity. As such, it is a strictly adhered to belief that cowards will be forced into the depths of Diwaz's realm, a place of isolation and torment. As the tradition of raiding became more common, the need for a defense of their homes when the men were away was needed. Two things came of this, the concept and tradition of upholding the women as fellow warriors in defense of the homeland and the ability of women to hold titles of bravery and status, being buried with swords, shields, axes, armor and riches as the men. The women never accompany the men on raids, as they are too important as matriarchs of the household and bearers of children, but they are trusted to fight as fierce as the wyrms of legend if pressed by those looking to loot and burn an unattended household. It is for this reason that villages that lasted long enough to grow substantially developed themselves into fortified towns, mostly made out of wood while the richer cities where Jarls or particularly wealthy Thegns live will have stone walls. Even if the tradition of raiding and the problem of rogue sea-raiders has dropped out of relevance, these walls are still maintained and are the most advanced shelter one will see in Osstholm. Usually, buildings are made out of wood with thatch roofs. Drinking halls are the only ones that can afford to have wooden roofs, usually being the property of the Jarl or Thegn who rules in the town or city. These halls are where the townspeople will gather for celebrations like Fenn's Day, the holiday commemorating the battle between Fenn, Uther's son and God of Strength and Heroism, saved the Osstish from the evil spirits of long ago, who burned the distant lands and froze the others, and whose dark magicks birthed the monstrosities in the forests and mountains. Beasts such as the Spadehorns, still hunted and worn as prizes by the Gardtharoya. Similarly, the coming-of-age practice of the Osstish is a whaling trip or a wolf hunt, depending on the village or town one is born in. Many spears in the early days of the Osstish were repurposed from fishing or whaling harpoons and the practice of archery was used mainly for hunting and these coming-of-age rituals still remains a tradition and beloved pastime, where Osstish may show their strength and worth by bringing down a great whale or going out into the forest and killing a great Direwolf. Once the beast is killed and taken to shore or back to the village or town, the one whose coming-of-age day it is must cut out the heart, cut off a piece and eat it, infusing himself with the strength and ferocity of the creature. In the case of those who hunt wolves, they will keep the fur of the beast, make a coat and hood of it, tan the leather and use it as their armor and clothing respectively. Direwolf hide makes better armor than cattle hide, as the skin is thicker and becomes hardier through the tanning process. Customs and Values: The elves of Osstholm are a society where men and women are held equal in status, with both sexes able to hold titles, own land and houses and practice the same rights. Women are allowed to reject marriages they do not want and divorce can be carried out between a married couple, should the woman want it. As a people and culture that value strength of character above arbitrary restrictions based on sex, it was natural for women to become equal in their society, both out of customs and necessity. All Osstish, men and women are expected to be able to fish, hunt and defend the homestead, with men holding the only right women do not have, which is to go out on raids. Osstish philosophy is that of strength, independence and cunning, as well as stoicism in the face of grief and hardship. Along with this, hygiene is very important to the Osstish, as a man or woman who does not take the time to groom themselves is prone to disease and is liable to kill the entire village if they are able to be in contact with others. It is because of this that combs, brushes and baths in hot springs are a large part of Osstish culture. Since Osstholm is an unforgiving land, much like the Gardtharoya tundra they left long ago, the Osstish hold a grim outlook on life and living, viewing the weak as nothing but dead weight to be carried by the rest and something that should be cut away at the first chance. Any baby born with any defects or abnormalities is left in the snow, high in the mountains, to be taken by the Gods and reformed in the clay of mortality that all were formed from before coming down to the mortal realm. As such, both Osstish men and women are of grim disposition, hardened like their fathers and mothers before them and so on, down to the first of the Osstish but seldom emotionless. One must laugh sometimes when they live in Osstholm. Learning to hunt and fight is paramount to becoming a man, as much as growing a beard is. In Osstish culture, one is not a man until they grow a beard, and there are sagas in which characters are berated or seen as just short of being men for not being able to grow one. The pursuance of masculinity and strength in the males is a staple of Osstish culture, and where raids do not happen in this day and age, it is not uncommon for the first-born son to be sent off to serve in the armies and hired off to other nations or to seek glory and riches in serving the Andvalt Queen in her Queltara. As well as this, the coming-of-age rituals are still practiced until today. It is from this view of honor and manhood that leads to the honor-duel being a common way of settling disputes between individuals or different clans. There has not been a clan-wide war since older times, but with the reformation of Osstish martial culture in relation to their new role in Western Viystea, the duel has become a common alternative to lessen the bloodshed and make sure that there are as many able-bodied and young men to serve in the armies while still being able to settle disputes and not let them fester. Law and order is important to the Osstish, as in a land as unforgiving as Osstholm any disputes that are allowed to boil over are liable to lead to the downfall of an entire village or town. It is because of this that the laws stating that one may never spill the blood of close kin, that one may not steal from another Osstish and that one may not lay with another who is betrothed to or is another’s. Law and cooperation is paramount to an Osstish family and the extended village or town they reside in. Those who used to raid in the old days, did so in the name of survival and necessity, as well as glory and riches. Those who still raid today are seen as rogues and miscreants and are mostly those who practice in the Cult of Diwaz, the bastard son of Fenn, who took his father's strength but none of his virtue and devoted himself to the subjugation of lesser things. It is also not a strange sight to see Osstish covered in tattoos of their deeds or family history, or simply a mural of a tale of the Gods if they feel like honoring the Gods. The tradition of tattooing personal exploits is leftover from a time where the runes were not yet made and cave-drawings and a sort of hieroglyph was used to tell stories of ancestors or stories dating back from before time. It was only a matter of time before the Osstish began to use themselves as canvases to tell stories of their families, clans or their patron Gods. Although runes are not widely used to write down what was once only known in the oral traditions or on the walls of caves or the skin of elders into sagas, the practice of tattooing has become an honored tradition, and those who give the tattoos are honored individuals who act as both priests and the artists of the skin. These tattoo artists are usually devoted to the Vullwa, the ancestor to the Gods themselves, whose clay fashioned first the Gods and then all elves who walk Viystea. They see their tattoos as honoring Vullwa by adding to his handiwork and making the elven form even more beautiful. Due to the Osstish hailing from a cold and unforgiving place, their forms of entertainment are far simpler than most. No great plays are written or performed, instead, books of ancestral legends called Sagas are written down in runes. When a traveler is accepted into the house of another, they must recount their journey, adding anything to make sure the tale is entertaining in return for a bed, a meal and a tale from the host. The Osstish are a simple people but an honorable one and the stories of the village elder are something to be looked forward to to break up the monotony of living in Osstholm. Much of the legends of the Osstish are passed down through oral tradition while some are jotted down onto pages by those educated enough to read and write. Osstish sagas are considered a very valuable collectible and nobles from many lands will have at least one on a bookshelf. Andvalt notably has had performances in their grand theaters that are adapted from the Osstish sagas, paying testament to the beautiful poetry of a people often considered to be but barbaric warriors. Religion: Osstish religion revolves around the many Gods who reside in a higher realm than the one in which Viystea resides. The cornerstones of Osstish culture reflect their Gods, where order is a great pillar in their society, there is a God of Order, Jyllyn. Where the importance of the father teaching the son and daughter to fight and survive in Osstholm, the God of Fatherhood, Wisdom and War rules over such things, whose name is Uther. Women are held to be important both in the aspects of defending the homestead when the men are away( and keeping this function to this day) and bearing children, the Mother-Goddess of Fertility, Love and Beauty, Gildur, holds sway over these. There are many more Gods and spirits that rule over such things as animals and inhabit the mountains and forests and rivers. The most prominent being Vullwa, the Clay-Wyrm, who made the Gods and Elves from clay and hardened their forms with his breath. Osstish religion is a web of interconnected cults in practice, where each cult is devoted to one of the many Gods. The Cult of Jyllyn’s members are those who have cut off ties to their individual families to pursue a life of maintaining order in Osstholm and Viystea at large, although their presence in places outside of Osstholm are met with mixed views. For the most part, these roving bands of lawkeepers will only enforce the law in the untamed wilderness and will not interfere in the activities of local guardsman unless sought out for assistance. Austhalti’s cities will sometimes hire these bands as mercenaries to keep the roads safe from roving bandits and rogue Hessvoy or Oynengjar. In addition to the different cults devoted to the major Gods of the religion, there are those devoted to following the ways of ancestors so steeped in the mists of legend and history that they have become saints and minor Gods, in some cases. The cult of Saint Friesa is devoted to the practice of the bow in both hunting and war and it is not uncommon to see members of this cult hired out to foreign Kingdoms to fight in their wars as elite archers. The Cult of Diwaz is a collection of rogues and criminals who still raid and pirate along the coasts of the West. They devote themselves to the subjugation of lesser things, and will burn those they see as weak and take those who fight and surrender or who are captured as slaves. The Cult of Diwaz still casts a shadow over Osstish culture as something of the past and furthermore, the bastardization of a proud era of warriors, where raiders won glory and riches. The Cult of Diwaz is preoccupied and obsessed with only greed and glory unto themselves, not their clan, and only live to enslave, burn, rape and pillage. In addition to this, Diwaz is the one who takes the souls of those who have displayed cowardice in the face of death or have opted to pass of old age. In his realm, they are beheaded and have their ears and nose plugged with molten candle wax, their tongues cut out, teeth removed and eyes plucked, to be locked in an eternity of vague awareness where no glory may be found. But not all is war and fighting within the myriad of cults in Osstholm, as the cult of the Mother-Goddess, Gildur, will use the gift of magic to mend wounds and will make potions that effect virility and fertility. The cults devoted to the spirits of the rivers and the forests will hold festivals on days of importance, such as the beginning of Spring or Summer and it is from them that the mind-altering beverage of mead comes, as well as the seer’s caps, a mushroom which when eaten will give the one who has eaten enough of them a view into the world of the spirits and the otherworld. In addition to these, the Cult of Vullwa, the Clay-Wyrm who fashioned the Gods and the elves out of soft clay and then used his breath to harden them into the forms they walk in still to this day and whose scales are etched the stories of all things that have happened and will happen. The members of this cult are those that give tattoos to those that wish to bear their exploits or an ancestor's exploits on their skin, as well as symbols of power to defend against evil spirits or the weapons of mortals in battle. By giving and receiving these tattoos the Osstish pay homage to Vullwa by putting history onto their skin. The multitude of cults are a study unto themselves, and there are countless cults both small and large in membership. Despite the myriad of cults with different patrons, it remains a staple of Osstish culture, society and religious belief that cowards are deplorable and will suffer in the world-after, barred from having their clay reshaped by Vullwa like their brethren. It is indeed an Osstish belief that the soul is ever changing, as those who die honorably will have their clay broken down by Vullwa's breath, reshaped and hardened again into a different form, depending on the nature of their death and disposition in life. Those who were not warriors are often reborn into the same forms of mortal Elves, while warriors trade vessels with the mighty whale and bear. It is because of this belief that those whales and bears killed are treated respectfully and it is a ritual that the bones of the bears are are burned along with offerings of fish and honey so that their souls may re-enter into the cycle of death and rebirth. Great feasts are held and the people try to convince the bear that it had killed itself or died in an accident and hadn't been murdered. This is a Character Sheet! (Move your mouse to reveal the content) This is a Character Sheet! (open) This is a Character Sheet! (close) Name: Character's name and any alias they may go by Race: What race they are Family Origins: Where was your character born and raised? This may affect their cultural outlook. Appearance: A detailed description of what your character looks like and a picture, if possible. Please, no anime. The more people have to reference, the better if is for role playing purposes. Age: How old your character is. Age brings wisdom, youth brings strength and energy. Keep in mind elves tend to have longer life spans than men and beast races. Keep in mind the poverty and sickness that is present in this universe. A nobleman or a royal will live longer than a commoner, this applies even for Elves. Equipment: Weapons and armour. As you fill this out, ask yourself, if you were your character, would you be able to carry all of this stuff? More stuff= more encumbered. Less stuff= less encumbered, but less resources at your disposal. Also, as a lore note, keep in mind that in our real-world 900-1000 timespan, there was no such thing as Knights in gleaming full-plate. You were more likely to see mail hauberk with a padded cloth coat underneath with a big round shield made of rawhide and wood with an iron boss in the center with a handle within. Perhaps a tear-drop style shield. Miscellanea: Things like lock picks, food, smithing materials, scolls, potions. The weight thing applies as well. Doesn’t necessarily have to be things from the games. Favored Skills: List things like swordsmanship and other things here. Background and a "brief" history: Explain your character's back story, how they came to be who they are, and so on. Please make this fairly detailed as it really fleshes out who your character is supposed to be. This also will help determine if I think your writing quality is satisfactory for a High-Casual requirement. Be sure to include things like upbringing, important people in their lives, how they came into possession of their skills and equipment, where they’ve been and what they’ve experienced, and how historical events in their life time may have affected them, if applicable. Should be several good paragraphs in length, don’t be afraid to go crazy on this. It won’t be what’s expected for your usual posts, but the more information you have here the better you can play your character and the better invested you’ll be in the RP if you spent a good amount of time working on a character sheet instead of crapping one out in half an hour and expecting to care for your character with a two paragraph bio). Fighting Style: Explain how your character approaches combat and their particular skills and talents. This will help the group decide who is best suited to deal with particular situations. Personality: Explain what your character's personality is like, including quirks, faults, and so on. The goal is to make a believable person, not a Mary or Gary Sue. There's a special place in hell for those kinds of characters. Font Colour: If you wish to use a font colour for your character's speech and thought, state the colour here so people know what everyone else intends to use during the game This is a Racial sheet! (Move your mouse to reveal the content) This is a Racial sheet! (open) This is a Racial sheet! (close) Species: Physical Description: Culture: Customs and Values: Religion: Now that we have given you what we think will get you interested, feel free to voice your interest and any questions here. Thank you!