Introduction: Gehen Volki are a fierce pastoral people that work iron and adamantine from the hills and mountains into weapons of war. Content in conflict and struggle they are not a united people but are deeply spiritual, revering Nature and the Five Elemental Devils, They actively experience reincarnation and most can recall portions of their past lives. Their lands are far stretching plains and the grassy hills of Gehen Volki Ort.
Introduction to Gehen Volki Races: Zuerst, Red-skinned half-orc half-elves with an elemental affinity for fire; Zweite, green and black skinned pureblooded orcs with an elemental affinity with earth; Dritte, gray skinned half-orc half-humans with an elemental affinity with metal; Vierte, the rough pureblooded humans of the Gehen Volki with an elemental affinity to mutable water; Fünfte, the half-human half-elven of the Gehen Volki with an elemental affinity for wood.
Common Classes: Adept; Aristocrat; Commoner; Expert; Warrior
Exceptional Classes: Barbarian; Cavalier; Druid; Oracle; Ranger; Summoner; Witch
Prestige Classes: Assassin; Group Leader; Horizon Walker; Liberator; Low Templar; Nature Warden; Pathfinder Chronicler; Pit Fighter; Rage Prophet; Stalwart Defender
The Gehen Volki have a complex and colorful culture with many oral traditions. They are divided into five kingdoms due to many factors both internal and external. They are the most dangerous threat to the Imperium. The five kingdoms of the Gehen Volki are kingdoms are separated by the great rivers they run through the Gehen Ort region, all massive non-fordable waterways that divides the Gehen Ort. Only three bridges cross the mighty rivers, one between the city of Kein Ort and the city of Einin Ort. The other is between the city of Jeder Ort and a hamlet of. Einin Ort’s kingdom is ruled by the Elche Fürsten, the Elk Lords, with Mörder Starkelche as their undefeated ruler. Kein Ort’s kingdom is ruled by the witch simply known as Widerlich and her family. Jeder Ort is a small kingdom is ruled by a council of five powerful oracles that is connected to two sides of a river by a bridge. The other birdge is between Ohne Ort, a kindgom ruled by the capricious fey summoner Hexe Fee and Ein Ort, a kingdom ruled by Wilden, the most brutal of the barbarians.
Gehen Volki life is based on the trade of metal forged in the hills by the northern kingdoms and the meat of cloven hoofed animals that they tend in nomadic flocks/herds on the plains by the southern kingdoms. The main settlements are way stations of trade between these powers that be, divergent ways of life and the outside world. Gehen Volki Ort has no easy way to bring trade in from other cultures, nor would these fiercely independent people want such a thing. A standard Gehen Volki views foreigners as weak, clueless and softened by their lifestyle. Gehen Volki value strength and wisdom, and both come from struggling. This comes out in many aspects of their day to day lives.
Given the nomadic aspect of their pastoral food base the Gehen Volki tend to be the second best traveled of the five cultures. This helps them appreciate the natural world, its cycles and the harsh beauty of its ways.
The Gehen Volki are made up five race, unlike every other Culture in Virtateron their races are completely capable integrated via marriage that’ll produce offspring. The children born of such mixed race couples universally favor the mother’s race. This makes the culture matrilineal, surname derived from the mother. Paternity is often ambiguous, with males in wedlock taking on faith that the child is theirs.
One interesting legal tradition the Gehen Volki have is that if a female Gehen Volki kills any male for her to be punished it must be proven that she did not have a good reason to do so. This makes husbands step lightly around their wives, even though also by tradition males are deferred to in public as the leaders.
Male Gehen Volki are universally talented at combat, while female Gehen Volki are universally talented is magic. These two things are accepted as universal truths but does not mean magic is exclusively practiced by females nor combat exclusively practiced by males. Struggling is valued so Gehen Volki do not always choose the easy path.
The Gehen Volki revere the Five Elemental Devils and have nature worship deeply imbedded in their culture. The natural world is greatly respected for its power and delicate balance and this is seen in the spiritual elements of their funerary practices. The Gehen Volki believe that all energy and power in the universe are only borrowed and will be returned to the land to be born again. They bury their dead in such a way as to nourish bushes and trees. Being able to lose one’s self in the wilderness and thrive is one of the highest honors among them.
The Five Elemental Devils represent a constant struggle and balance of different aspects of reality. The Gehen Volki value struggle, strife and conflict and the fruits of strength and wisdom these things provide. “Harmony through conflict” is a common Gehen Volki saying and comes from both their observations in nature and the tales of the five elemental devils. Meteor Tuefel, the Devil of Heaven and Metal is sharp, righteous and aloof. He is overcome by Heftig Tuefel, the Devil of Fire and Battle, who is in turn overcome Stürmisch Tuefel, the Devil of Wave and Wind, who is overcome by Grabmal Tuefel, the Devil of Earth and Ancestors, who is overcome by Sammlung Tuefel, Devil of Wood and Lore, who is overcome by Meteor Tuefel. Mystical roles within Gehen Volki culture are strongly dominated by females due to their innate aptitude. This shapes the faith system less than some would expect due Gehen Volki value of harmony through conflict. While females are respected for their mystical prowess the physical prowess of the males are seen as also valid.
The cycle of power represented in the struggle between the Elemental Devils validate that there are many ways to be strong, and wisdom isn’t just a matter for mystics but for everyone who isn’t a fool.
Their reverence of nature and struggle help them overcome the difficulties of rural life and give them a solid understanding of their place in the world. The five elements struggle within a cycle making a rich and meaningful world full of possibility for those who learn “harmony through conflict”.
For the Gehen Volki years begin on the first crescent moon of the planting season. There are 12 lunar months, each 30 days long each solar year. Each year has four seasons each three months long. Their months are listed in order as follows:
Saat, Geilheit, Ehe, Liebe, Trächtig, Pflegen, Abernten, Erhalten, Geburt, Stillen, Herzen, Sorge
The Gehen Volki favor sturdy clothing made of leathers and strong wools to frail plant fiber cloths. They favor warm colors and earth tones. Decorative body paint, piercings, ritual scarification and tattoos are fairly common, especially among the note-worthy. Hair styles vary widely from Mohawks, long dreadlocks, braids, close cropped hair and clean shaven can be seen in individuals from the same community and merely express personal preference. Hands tend to be calloused from manual labor and weapon wielding. Many bare scars from previous conflicts. Obesity is exceedingly rare, not even those with the highest social standing become fat, unlike many of the other cultures. Almost universally they have a ferocious confidence that reflects in their countenance.
The races of the Gehen Volki have ties to the five elements that they recognize They all have the ability to intermarry and bear children, a unique feature to their Culture. The value of struggle, and the nomadic nature of their pastoral food source within Gehen Volki Culture leads to many mixed marriages, forming diversely talented family groups and breaks down racism against fellow Gehen Volki. The stigma of being a foreigner, and thus soft and weak, still carries weight but if you are a Gehen Volki then the color of your skin or elemental affinity is merely an indicator of talents, not a ridged caste that requires specific societal roles. The understanding of the Five Elemental Devils allows racial unity even through strife.
Zuerst Appearance: Orcish and elven blood mixes with the Zuerst, who typically stand several inches taller than most humans with lean, powerfully wiry muscle, their broad but bony shoulders act as precision pivoting points for their arms. Their legs are set with equal leverage of a strange hair-sprung quickness to their arms. When moving quickly their motion is a poem to efficiency, but this same trait causes seems slightly exaggerated gait when moving more casually. They typically have dull red skin, coarse hair all the color of flames, high brows, wide almond-shaped eyes that match the hue of their hair, sharply pointed ears, low-bridged broad noses and protruding, tusk-like teeth.
Zuerst Societal Role: Naturally quick and feirce, Zuerst are frequent skirmishers and archers in Gehen Volki armies. They also do well in raiding and thieving. Of the Gehen Volki they are the least comfortable in the wilderness, and most likely to choose traveling into to urban areas of other cultures. They also are the least likely be be Adepts but are more likely than most be Oracles. Zuerst are more likely to be a a warrior than a commoner.
Zweite Appearance:Powerfully built, the pure blooded orcs of Virtateron typically stand just a few inches taller than most humans and have much greater muscle mass, their broad shoulders and thick, brawny hips often giving them a slightly lurching gait. Zweite typically have thick dull brown or ebony skin, coarse dark hair, heavy brows, beady black eyes, pointed ears, a broad low-bridge nose and protruding, tusk-like teeth.
Zweite Societal Role: Known for their great physical prowess, Zweite often form gangs, fight for sport, or join an organized army. Of the Gehen Volki they are the most likely to be Barbarians. They excel at both being warriors or commoner trades that require strength.
Dritte Appearance: Dritte are roughly as tall as most humans with powerful builds and grayish skin. Their canine teeth often grow long enough to protrude from their mouths, and these “tusks,” combined with heavy brows and slightly pointed ears, their hair ranges the same as humans. Their eyes range all the metallic shades of gray, with a rare Dritte with blue eyes.
Dritte Societal Role: Naturally wise and strong, Dritte are inclined towards having powerful senses of justice. Frequently they are looked to when wrongs are committed to set them right even though they lack the bravado and force of personality to quell crowds through words so they act instead. Frequently the right hand of a more personable leader. Dritte do well in most classes except Oracle. They are wonderful warriors and prosperous experts, or commoners. They are often expected to be adepts due to their talent for it.
Vierte Appearance: A subtype of human with dark tan skin for those who live on the plains to the pale skin for those who live in the hills, Vierte possess a wide variety of skin colors. Generally speaking, humans’ skin color assumes a darker hue the closer to the sea level and the hotter the climate their parents lived. They tend to have a variety of features based on parenthood. Cheekbones may be high or broad, noses aquiline or flat, and lips full or thin; eyes range wildly in hue, some deep set in their sockets, and others with full epicanthic folds. They are influenced heavily by the mixing of their parentage, and seem to be a canvas for mixing races into one race.
Vierte Societal Role: Diverse and talented, Vierte often specialize to great effect or become good in multiple classes, no class is beyond their reach. They, the Fünfte, and the Dritte make up the most successful commoners and experts.
Fünfte Appearance: Fünfte are taller than humans but shorter than elves. They inherit the lean build and comely features of their elven lineage, but their skin color is normally dictated by their human side. While half-elves retain the pointed ears of elves, theirs are more rounded and less pronounced. Their eyes tend to be human-like in shape, but feature an exotic range of colors from amber or violet to emerald green and deep blue.
Fünfte Societal Role: The only race of the Gehen Volki without Shards of the past, it is a frequent saying that "Fünfte are without memory“. They are not begrudged this by other Gehen Volki, but often they feel separated from the shared memory of the people, and long to live well so that they can remember pieces of this life in their next incarnation. They are as diverse in talents as the Vierte and fulfill similar roles with the additional duty of translator or poisoner.
Steriotypical Views of other Cultures:
- Jundo-no-min: In their arrogance these fey have left the natural world behind, making them cruel, aloof and unnatural.
- Pasaje’: These beings are brave but insane, never trust one, like you’d never trust a mad elk. If you ask one to tell his tale, you will make a crazy friend.
- Frum: Foul worshipers of coin and servants of undead horrors.
- Imperium: Slave-makers and the worst of tyrants. Their army is undefeated for now, but when the wheel turns they will be crushed beneath it.