Notes on The Peoples and Houses of The Realm
If you have a love of history you might notice a fantasy-riff on the 'dark ages' of the islands of Ireland, Britain and the world of the north seas after the retreat of Rome. Britons, Romans, Picts, Irish, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Franks, Frisians & Norsemen all vying for land and power. Of course the notes below are merely a suggestion and kids are welcome to develop their own histories, cultures and kingdoms.
We play our games in The Realm, a vast and mist-shrouded geography of lands and seas linked to an earlier mythic age. It’s a land where the ancient bear and dire wolf occasionally cross-claw with basilisks and dragons. It's a land where Dwarvenfolk, Elvenlaik and Ogrekin still dwell. It's a land alive with magic, vastly-uncharted and full of adventure.
Ages have passed since warring clans of humankind from across the seas first began to establish fledgling kingdoms in this new world. In doing so these clans awakened an old magic long lost to humankind. You and your friends will be allied with one or more of these clans.
The Six Esteemed Houses were derived from different pioneering peoples who established lineages of power in The Realm. Each wave of pioneers awakened to the power of magic through mystical emblems now referred to, in Ghoddic, as eord-sigils. Ages ago these prophetic animal emblems first appeared simultaneously to many clan members. It's not clear where these enigmatic visions came from, perhaps they were sent by the land itself, but all the great dynastic Houses were built around these magical sigils.
In the earliest ages, human clans first came to The Realm in silver-gilded ships from west of the seas. These people called themselves the Wyddans and were the first to harness the power of magic after their sigil-dreams. The Houses of the Wyddans still have the deepest and strongest magical traditions. These Houses are the Elder House of Hart and the Elder House of Drake.
Centuries later, the Wyddans were followed by the indomitable Iztani from beyond the southern seas whose empire spanned whole continents now lost to knowledge. They fought with the Wyddans for an age, but eventually the empire from which these warriors came crumbled. Those Iztani who had been sent to subjugate the Wyddans were left in The Realm without support. These marooned warriors were visited in dreams by a mystic eagle that assisted their transformation and survival in the new world as The Elder House of A'quila. Though more often at war than at peace, a new Wyddan-Iztani ascendency emerged and ways of life in the Realm were changed forever.
A New Age
Not long after the fall of the Iztani Empire and the synthesis of Wyddan and Iztani ways, new invaders began to bleed into the Realm in droves. These newcomers came in long wooden vessels from dying lands east of the sea. The coming of the Goddi, Khodé and Ikkerik peoples marked the end of the Elder Age and the beginning of the Newcomers Age as described in The Annals of the Elder Days. They fought to establish kingdoms around the the House of Arko, The House of Sanglier and The House of Hákarl.
Now it's the Age of the Newcomers. The balance of power swings unpredictably. All are allies. All are enemies. How will you and your house navigate these dangerous times?
The oldest peoples recorded in The Annals were the Wyddic ancestors of the House of Hart , but then again The Elder Annals were written by them. Early on these people developed a deep connection to the land and are sometimes still referred to as the Old Ones, the Firstborn, or the Deep People.
The origins of the House of Drake are lost in mystery, but their language is similar to the people of Hart even if their ways are different. Whether they came earlier than the ancestors of the House of Hart is unknown, but in the first ages the people of Drake long remained a secret to most families of Hart.
The Paladins of A’quila are the noble remnants of an ancient civilization that ruled over a vast empire encompassing The Realm and lands far beyond. Overexpansion, endless war, and economic collapse were all factors in the downfall of the Iztani Empire many ages ago.
The earliest of the hardy waves of new-coming pioneers were the Goddi. They came from distant and failing lands east of the sea. Skilled farmers and great warriors, they were both invaders and refugees. Some were invited from the East early on as mercenaries by the Iztani Paladins to fight against the Bracelet of Knights in the last years of the Elder Wars of Empire.
The Ikkerik are the latest arrivals to The Realm, though they have discovered the tradition of establishing magical connections to the land through the appearance of a mystical Sigil. The House of Hákarl is their house, the newest and least established of lineage-clans. Their language is said to be intelligible to the Goddi and Khodé people, but the Ikkerik speak in a manner that other newcomers consider ancient.
The people of the House of Sanglier, the Khodé, are cousins to the people of Arko, but the Khodé came much later to The Realm, and synthesized far less. The House of Sanglier remains deeply suspicious of the Elder Houses, and though they have a culture similar to the Goddi of Arko they have protected their old traditions much more strongly.