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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Human—High Vallorean, Tethorna

Human—High Vallorean, Tethorna

History

The High Valloreans were at one time in ages long past a collection of rugged, ferocious barbarian tribes from the mountains and forests in northern Vallorea. Over the centuries, the Tethorna Vallorean tribes conquered other tribes, and built a group of powerful city-states, which gradually unified and joined into a great and powerful empire. The High Valloreans are the ruling class throughout the Vallorean Empire, and a large portion of the senate, bodies of nobles, knight orders, wizard orders, temple leadership, and such are occupied by High Valloreans. In recent centuries, more common Valloreans have been gaining wealth, status and positions of political and economic power within Vallorean society. The High Valloreans, while possessing lifespans considerably longer than lesser men, and holding forms of great strength and vigor, are nonetheless a minority in the empire as a whole. Increasingly, as the Valloreans numbers greatly increased, and the empire expanded, more and more Valloreans gained in social and political power. While the Valloreans have general equality through the law with high Valloreans—there are various particular rights and privileges that only High Valloreans enjoy. The High Valloreans have forged a glorious, enduring empire that has served as a great bastion of humanity in a dark and savage world. The capitol city of the Vallorean Empire is Tarmenor—believed to be the largest, greatest city of humanity in the world. The Vallorean Empire controls the western Dragon Sea, and reigns with an awesome navy of huge, powerful warships and highly-trained, ferociously-disciplined and zealous crews. On land—the Vallorean Empire has been built by the hands of the Vallorean legions.

The Vallorean legions are composed of hardened, vigorous professional soldiers that are stern, violent men of great skill and ruthless, unyielding discipline. The Vallorean legions are typically led by orthodox, competent and professional generals, known as Legates, who have specialized training, as well as books detailing the extensive knowledge, training, tactics and strategy of warfare from famous generals throughout the empire’s history. Such Legates lead their legions with dignity, valour, and unflinching discipline.

On the battlefield, the Vallorean legions are generally superior to all barbarian armies—and many civilized armies as well—for the chief and salient reasons of toughness, tactics, discipline, and ruthlessness. Some scholars have wondered how the Valloreans have managed to create such a powerful, glorious empire that has endured for over a thousand years. The Vallorean Empire has chiefly been able to do this by the unique organization of their legions, and several political policies and cultural attitudes that prevail, to combine into forming a particular formula that is the basis for the Vallorean dominion.

Firstly, the Vallorean legions are tactically flexible, with easily detached and recombined formations. As a matter of course, Vallorean legions fight in ordered, disciplined ranks and files, and are able to quickly and easily deploy into various formations that provide significant tactical advantages over their enemies—even when the legions are vastly outnumbered. For example, the Vallorean square—made up of long files, with checkered ranks extending deeply behind the front rank. This ubiquitous formation is made more flexible by having the various ranks step to the side and back, endlessly rotating the ranks to the rear, and promoting a fresh rank to the front where the fighting is occurring. As the ranks rotate, this simple innovation allows the various ranks at any given time to not only gain immediate medical care, but also to have fresh water, and to rest. This formation and tactic provides the Vallorean legions with fighting ranks of legionnaires that are always refreshed, eager and vigorous—as opposed to the barbarians, which typically fight in a chaotic, screaming, disorganized mob, and exhaust their best warriors in constant fighting, each warrior concerned primarily with their own glory, and not being thought of as cowards or weak by their tribe and fellow warriors. For the Vallorean legionnaires, while individual glory is important and valued—of far greater value is the discipline and obedience of the whole unit, and their performance on the battlefield as a unit—as opposed to what they do as individual soldiers.

In all forms of military knowledge and skills, the Vallorean legions have a historical, professional basis of learning—the advanced Vallorean culture possesses books, and also advanced schools and academies where the knowledge and wisdom of the generations of soldiers, centurions, and generals are preserved, and taught in systematic ways down through the generations. This basis of professional knowledge essentially provides Vallorean commanders with standardized strategic concepts, tactical thinking, unit formations, and battlefield solutions, tricks and stratagems that allow every Vallorean commander to be at least generally competent, and professional in his judgments, command, and leadership. This provides the Valloreans with a uniform, predictable consistency of competent battlefield leadership and performance—as opposed to the barbarian people’s often chaotic, random “luck of the draw” as to the genuine skills of whatever barbarian chieftain or warlord may possess—and certainly an unpredictable performance in the face of a large, professional Vallorean army led by a professional general. Even many civilized and advanced kingdoms and city-states cannot produce such steady, reliable and competent military leadership in the same consistent degree of the Vallorean Empire.

Secondly, the legions are tough, hardened professional soldiers—they train, march, and live for war, every day of the week, every month of the year. Within the ranks, the common legionnaire has been hardened by constant, vigorous training, and drilled over and over with the use of tactics, weapons, and formations. When not actively fighting in battle, Vallorean legionnaires are always training for war—practicing combat tactics and formations, weapon drills, vigorous athletics and team sports, as well as wrestling and boxing. These specifically military duties are interlaced with extensive, harsh training out in the field, where Vallorean legionnaires live in the mud, rain, or burning heat of the sun; march for 20 miles in a day with heavy packs and full gear; lots of running, jumping, and swimming in cold rivers; all routinely finished at the end of the standard day in the field by the construction of a strong field-camp, fortified with an extensive trench, fortified earthen and wooden wall; and wooden spines all around.

Furthermore, the Vallorean legionnaires are skilled and hardened by all kinds of rough, physical labour—chief of which is the constant construction and maintenance of the famous Vallorean roads, as well as the construction of bridges, aqueducts, bathhouses, many civic buildings, fortified walls, towers, and fortresses. Vallorean legionnaires are also trained and drilled in the construction and deployment of a wide variety of war machines—from ballista and catapults, to battering rams, scorpions, and siege towers. The Vallorean legionnaires are widely trained in basic skills with a variety of tools, as well as basic skills in carpentry, blacksmithing, stonemasonry, concrete-mixing, bricklaying, engineering, and siege warfare. While there are certainly specialists and professionals of various trade-skills serving in the legions, all legionnaires are provided with basic professional skills noted, and can perform in a variety of tasks and complete various projects—though for more complex projects, they would need to be supervised by a more experienced professional.

The Vallorean legionnaires, as professional soldiers, are paid professional wages; they are supplied with a basic, standardized kit of equipment, armour and weapons; they are provided with access to consistent, professional, and advanced medical care; they march, live, and fight unburdened by the presence of women, wives, children, or other family on the battlefield or close at hand; they are provided with a highly-valued reward in retirement; and for provincials, serving in the legions also gains them Vallorean citizenship, which not only confers political, legal, and financial rights to them, it also elevates their social status, and provides these benefits to their immediate family and their descendents through the generations.

The Vallorean legionnaires, as soldiers, are not necessarily stronger or in some inherent way superior to their enemies—for in truth, they are not. In fact, many barbarian warriors are considerably larger, and stronger, and inherently more daring and ferocious. The Vallorean legions, while equipped with fine, heavy armour, strong, heavy shields, and excellent, lethal weapons—many barbarian peoples and other civilized nations and peoples possess weaponry and armor that is at least of comparable quality to the Valloreans—and occasionally superior in design or performance. However, the Vallorean legions make use of their weaponry and equipment in a more thorough, consistent, disciplined and professional manner. Furthermore, the advanced, sophisticated imperial economy, manufacturing, and administration allows the legions—every legionnaire, to have such supply of armour, weapons and equipment, with vast supplies of more always available.

The Vallorean legions live by the milk of harsh, brutal, discipline. The Vallorean legionnaire is expected to be loyal, courageous, disciplined, obedient, and tenacious. Vallorean legionnaires are required to be obedient to their officers—failure in such results in the guilty legionnaire being punished by their centurions, which customarily administer severe beatings by using a long, supple, wooden rod, which they traditionally carry with them as a symbol of their rank and authority—as well as an instrument of punishment and discipline. More severe examples of disobedience, or cowardice, dereliction of duty, and so on, are often punished by death. Vallorean officers are expected to be courageous, disciplined, resourceful, strict, intrepid, daring, just, fair, and loyal. Vallorean officers that fall short of these virtues, or fail to properly discipline and train their legionnaires, may be dishonourably discharged from the legions, or executed, depending on the severity of the failure, and the judgment of the commanding Legate. Needless to say—an officer that fails in loyalty or obedience to his Legate or has otherwise failed in the performance of his duty, may be dishonourably discharged from the legions, or executed, as the commanding Legate desires and judges appropriate.

Legionnaires are typically run through a gauntlet of two files of their fellow legionnaires that proceed to beat them to death with stout wooden clubs. Vallorean officers found guilty of various crimes are typically punished in public, by being beheaded on a rough wooden platform in front of the whole legion. When a Vallorean Legate has been displeased by the overall poor discipline and battlefield performance of a particular legion—the whole legion is punished, in public, by being decimated. The guilty legion is assembled in public, and gathered all together in strict formation, whereupon the Legate goes down the ranks, and randomly by lot picks every tenth legionnaire and executes the soldier on the spot by plunging his sword into him, several times if necessary, until a tenth of the legion has been so judged and executed.

The Vallorean legions are infamously ruthless—while the Vallorean Empire is typically keen to embrace diplomacy, once the enemies of Vallorea have provoked the wrath of the Vallorean Empire and chosen war, the fate to come is an absolute and total judgment of relentless war, death, slavery, and ruthless subjugation. In the minds of the Vallorean emperors and the Vallorean senate, such a policy is threefold in benefit; (1) such a ruthless policy serves as a political deterrent to war, and thus ensures peace, prosperity and harmony. Enemies of the Vallorean empire know full well that if they choose war with Vallorea—and fail to achieve victory, or some diplomatic treaty with the Valloreans--that the might and wrath of the empire will bring total ruin and subjugation of their entire realm and society. Thus, the mere suggestion made by Vallorean diplomats and ambassadors that legions will soon be on their way—is often quite sufficient to greatly inspire any foreign diplomats, kings or other leaders to quickly seek a peaceful resolution with the Valloreans—and always such a resolution is obedient and profitable to the desires, policies and goals of the Vallorean emperor. (2) Such a ruthless policy of total war and ruthless subjugation possesses the benefit of expanding the frontiers of the empire, and adding great wealth in natural resources, taxes, booty and slaves. (3) Such a ruthless policy provides all participating legions and their commanding Legate an opportunity for glory, as well as enrichment. By ancient custom, the commanding Legate allows his victorious legionnaires to keep with some exceptions, as stipulated and decreed by the commanding Legate, all such booty and treasure that they can carry. Furthermore, victorious legates often reward their victorious troops with additional rewards of booty, from armour and weapons, to other treasures, coin, slaves, and great feasts and other privileges. By ancient custom, a portion of such captured booty and spoil of war gained during the campaign also goes to the senate.

During the campaign, Vallorean legionnaires are routinely expected to be brutal and ruthless in combat with enemy warriors and soldiers, and to be prepared to chase down and capture any fleeing leaders, their families, and retainers, and imprison them, torture them, or execute them, as desired by the commanding Legate. By ancient Vallorean custom, the first legionnaire over the wall of a besieged city is to be specially rewarded and recognized with honours by his commanding Legate. Vallorean legions in conquering a territory or city routinely bring absolute devastation to the enemy lands, killing animals, slaughtering the population, and bringing fire, death and slavery to everyone in their power. Whole cities are burned to the ground, and tilled with salt so that nothing may grow their ever again; whole cities are methodically and thoroughly looted of every fine treasure and booty; enemy leaders, their families and retainers, are often crucified along the roads leading to the city or atop broad, high hills, so that all may see the wrath and judgment of the Vallorean Empire; especially important enemy leaders and their families are taken in chains back to Tarmenor, where they are marched through the streets of the city in a great triumphal procession, celebrating the glorious victory of the Vallorean legions; vast portions of an enemy population are slaughtered en masse, with their bodies burned in great heaps or cast into vast trenches of mud or sand; what portions of an enemy city’s population that are not ruthlessly put to the sword, are marched away in chains as slaves to further enrich and serve the empire. The ruthlessness of the Vallorean legions is a key and important factor not only in preserving and promoting peace, but in achieving glorious victory and wealth for the empire once war has been embraced.

The enduring success of the Vallorean Empire is promoted and ensured by the dedication of professional, disciplined, highly-trained and loyal legions. However, there are several other factors that contribute to the success of the empire as well. Culturally, the Valloreans are tenacious, and untiring in their love of war and military glory and honour. Valloreans naturally believe not only in the superiority of their civilization, but also that they have a divine appointment to be the guardians and champions of humanity in general—and of the West in particular. Politically, the Vallorean Empire allows its citizens to vote and enjoy a range of participatory processes that have meaningful consequences to their daily lives. Furthermore, Vallorean citizens enjoy a range of political and legal benefits, and the Vallorean society also holds genuine hope for significant social and economic mobility, providing the unwashed masses with a genuine stake in the continued prosperity and dominion of the Vallorean Empire.

These reasons and motivations ensure that the Vallorean Empire always has a vast number of soldiers that may be recruited into the legions. Strategically, the Vallorean Empire is often much more resilient and capable of suffering severe losses, disastrous defeats—and still, within a short time, be able to come back and counter-attack with even more armies. The capacity of the vallorean empire to recruit, train, and equip armies of motivated, well-trained soldiers in a rapid manner has provided the empire with immense resiliency that allows them to ultimately crush their enemies, even when on occasion, their enemies have superior leaders, or have achieved some devastating victory against a vallorean army sent against them. From all of this, the vallorean empire has grown, and endured, and stands as a bastion of glory, strength, and prosperity that continues to inspire humanity in the face of a savage world of darkness and barbarism, lurking with vast hordes of barbarians and monsters, and ripe with plagues and disasters.

Physical Appearance

Tethorna Valloreans are typically very tall, with powerful, heroic physiques. Tethorna Valloreans are often charismatic, charming, and dynamic. Tethorna Valloreans typically have pale, white skin that is usually smooth and flawless. Tethorna Valloreans typically have raven-black, ebony-black, or platinum-blonde hair. Tethorna Valloreans usually have some color of blue, grey, or green eyes, and occasionally golden eyes that are a mix of amber and dark gold.

Urban Tethorna Vallorean men typically wear their hair very short in styles similar to a “crew cut”; “High and Tight”; “Flat-Top” and other similar variations. Short styles that reach the neck or top of the shoulders are also fairly common, and socially acceptable. These styles for Tethorna Vallorean men predominate in both the northern and southern provinces of the empire. Tethorna Vallorean men are also typically clean-shaven, as having facial hair is often considered to be a barbarian custom, as well as a rural commoner custom. Likewise, Tethorna Vallorean society typically views having long hair past the neck to be a barbarian and rural custom. However—many Tethorna Vallorean men who live in northern provinces and rural areas in particular also embrace wearing their hair longer, to the neck, shoulders, or even the middle of the back in length. Northern Tethorna men also embrace wearing beards in various styles. In many regions of the northern provinces—as well as in northern cities—these fashion and grooming customs are considered quite acceptable, though often humorously or gently critiqued as “old fashioned”; “barbarian style”; or “rough”. In ancient times—during the time before the Vallorean Empire was formed, when the Tethorna Valloreans were still living as rural barbarians and were ruled by the Great Chieftains, such styles of longer hair and beards were the entire cultural norm. Tethorna Valloreans have thick hair that is typically straight, though wavy and curly hair is not uncommon.

Tethorna Vallorean women often wear their hair long and straight, or in long, curled masses. The Tethorna Valloreans often prefer darker colored clothing, and fine jewelry of all kinds is very popular. In rural settings, Tethorna Vallorean women typically wear modest perfume or cosmetics, if any at all; while in urban areas, Tethorna Vallorean women are very fashionable and sophisticated in their styles and tastes of perfume, oils, cosmetics, and clothing. Male Tethorna Valloreans likewise are more influenced by the prevailing cultural customs, typically ranging from simple, rustic and unpretentious preferences in a rural environment, and far more fashionable, sophisticated and rich in urban communities.

For the Tethorna Valloreans, their family lineages and histories are considered to be extremely important, and are lavishly and diligently recorded since the founding of the empire. Almost all Tethorna Valloreans possess scrolls or books which document their family lineage and history all the way back to the founding of the empire, and beyond, as well. All Tethorna Valloreans learn to speak and write Common Vallorean, and also High Vallorean. High Vallorean is the ancient language of the Tethorna Vallorean tribes, and is zealously maintained and guarded by the Tethorna Valloreans as an ancient and cherished aspect of their culture and heritage. High Vallorean is typically only taught to Tethorna Vallorean people, though occasional exceptions are made. All Tethorna Valloreans are literate, and may learn additional languages for each point of intelligence beyond 10, in addition to their base languages of Common Vallorean, High Vallorean, and Urrgan. Most common Valloreans, as well as non-Valloreans refer to the Tethorna Valloreans as the “High Valloreans”—while common Valloreans are referred to as “Common Valloreans”, or typically, just as “Valloreans”. While the Valloreans may have many cultural nuances that differentiate themselves from the High Valloreans, except when referring to a particular trait or custom of the High Valloreans, Vallorean culture is generally dominant and universal throughout the empire. Certainly, all foreigners and non-Vallorean peoples make the general reference to the “Valloreans” and the “Vallorean Culture” as being synonymous with the entire Vallorean culture as a whole, without making distinctions between the “Valloreans” and the “High Valloreans”


N.B: Player Characters are encouraged to review the Vallorean Character Tables, presented below:

Tethorna Valloreans are very tall, strong, vigorous, and charismatic. Tethorna Valloreans gain a +1 bonus to Strength at character generation, as well as a +1 bonus to Constitution and a +1 bonus to Charisma at character generation. Tethorna Valloreans are, however, typically less agile than other humans, and suffer a -2 penalty to Dexterity.

Tethorna Vallorean Character Ability Summary
+1 Strength
+1 Constitution
+1 Charisma
-2 Dexterity

Tethorna Valloreans are blessed with a great vigor, and do not suffer the standard effects of aging, and maintain the strength and vigor of their youth well into their final years. Only when the Tethorna Vallorean approaches the extent of their lifespan, do they begin to show signs of aging. Such advanced effects of aging come upon them rather quickly; presaging their journey to the afterlife is at hand. Pure Tethorna Valloreans possess a lifespan that is two-three times greater, or more—than lesser men.

Tethorna Vallorean Character Tables

Tethorna Vallorean Character Table: Skin Tone
Dice Roll/Skin Tone
01-70%: White-Pale
71-90%: White-Olive
91-00%: White-Tan

Tethorna Vallorean Character Table: Hair Color
Dice Roll/Hair Color
01-40%: Raven-Black
41-50%: Ebony-Black
51-60%: Black-Brown
61-00%: Platinum-Blonde

Tethorna Vallorean Character Table: Eye Color
Dice Roll/Eye Color
01-05%: Blue-Bright
06-10%: Blue-Midnight
11-20%: Blue-Ice
21-30%: Blue-Grey
31-40%: Blue-Green
41-50%: Grey-Iron
51-60%: Grey-Pale
61-65%: Grey-Green
66-70%: Grey-Ice
71-80%: Green-Pale
81-85%: Green-Kelly
86-00%: Golden-Yellow

High Vallorean Height and Weight Tables
Male Tethorna Base Height: 6’2”-7’4”; (6’0”+2d8”);
Average Height: 6’8”
Male Tethorna Base Weight: 180-360-lbs; (160+20d10);
Average Weight: 260-lbs.

Female Tethorna Base Height: 5’10”-7’0”; (5’8”+2d8”);
Average Height: 6’4”
Female Tethorna Base Weight: 136-280-lbs; (120+16d10);
Average Weight: 200-lbs.

Politics

The Vallorean Empire is ruled by the Vallorean Emperor. Politically, the Vallorean Emperor also enjoys the titles of Drannicus Imperator, and Primus Magisteri, and Princeps. The Vallorean Emperor is by tradition given the titles and position by majority vote of the Vallorean Senate. The Vallorean Senate is organized from various senior and lesser orders, composed of members of noble families from throughout the empire. Furthermore, the emperor is supported by two Consuls, each being elected to the position by the Vallorean Senate. Various noble titles, composed of Lords, Barons, Counts, Dukes, among others, are given to various members of noble families. Within the Vallorean Empire there are noble titles, and noble titles that serve as separate functions or ranks, reflecting a particular government position, post, or responsibility. Serving the empire are governors, prefects, tribunes and magistrates in various capacities. Magistrates and others are voted into office by popular vote. All male and female Vallorean citizens possess the right to vote, as well as the right to run for the office of magistrate.

The Vallorean Emperor serves for a lifetime appointment. Succession to the throne is often hereditary, though not always so, and any designated successor to the throne must be successfully elected by the Senate, confirmed by the Senate, and blessed by the High Concord.

Culture

The Tethorna Vallorean culture is an ancient, sophisticated culture that has developed a powerful civilization over two thousand years. The Vallorean Empire itself has existed for over a thousand years. The Vallorean culture is heroic, warlike, dynamic, traditional, hierarchical and patriarchal. The Valloreans are typically traditional, orthodox, warlike, materialistic, competitive and religious. Prime values in Vallorean society are honor, dignity, the family, the state, one’s noble lord, structure, hierarchy, discipline, loyalty, valor, piety, and military glory. The Valloreans ostensibly embrace an unusual form of mono-pantheism; what this essentially means is that the Vallorean Pantheon of gods is the only state-sponsored, sanctioned, and state-approved religions. There are exceptions, and exemptions, though most other non-Vallorean religions are typically outlawed and persecuted. Favoured non-Vallorean religions permitted to exist within the Vallorean Empire are heavily taxed, and do not enjoy a range of political and legal rights and privileges that the various cults of the Vallorean pantheon enjoy.

The typical Vallorean citizen is religious, prays daily, and makes weekly sacrifices to the Vallorean gods, as well as making weekly visits to several different temples of the various cults, as well as a patron deities’ temple for additional sacrifices, religious services, worship, as well as special counseling, and various religious activities and instruction. Vallorean temples are very involved with a large range of social outreaches and communal activities, and Vallorean citizens routinely and regularly participate in all such temple-sponsored services and activities.

Valloreans are generally monogamous, and marriage is highly valued, honored, and cherished. Traditionally, Valloreans expect their daughters to be virgins until the holy and divine-anointed state of marriage is gained. Ideally, young Vallorean men are also expected to be virgins until marriage, though there is less societal and family sanction against males who are not virginal, as compared to women. Vallorean men and women alike, as adults, whether married or unmarried, are allowed and expected to participate in the various religious fertility rituals and celebrations—it is during these particular occasions when a Vallorean is allowed to engage in sexual activity with someone that is not their married spouse. However, it is only during these occasions when extra-marital sexual relations are considered proper and acceptable. Carrying on with lovers, concubines, or other sexual playmates in brothels and bathhouses for both men and women outside of such sanctioned occasions is not approved of or accepted by the traditional Tethorna Vallorean society.

As children, all Vallorean children are expected to be disciplined, honest, virtuous, respectful, well-mannered and obedient. By Vallorean law, Vallorean children that are disobedient or dishonorable may be beaten or punished as the parents see fit, and the father holds the right and authority to kill his disobedient and dishonorable children. In adulthood, all adult men and women are expected to lead lives of discipline, dignity, integrity, honor, and virtue. Valloreans often arrange marriages for their daughters when they reach adolescence, though occasionally the girl is permitted to choose a favoured candidate. Valloreans adolescents or even adults that embrace marriage without the express approval of their parents, especially the father, may be fined or stripped of various privileges and family resources, disinherited, and or thrown out of the family home in shame and disgrace.

In marriage, Vallorean women are expected to be loyal, obedient, submissive, respectful, hard-working, industrious, thrifty, responsible, virtuous, as well as always being dignified, graceful, and pious. In marriage, Vallorean men are expected to be authoritarian, disciplined, dignified, proud, loyal, hard-working, responsible, honourable, civic-minded, politically and philosophically educated, industrious, and pious.

Tethorna Vallorean marriage customs are summarized as follows:

Monogamous; Strict, Formal

Strict: A strict adherence to fidelity and exclusive sexual relations is expected. Violation of these expectations and customs may provoke serious social and or legal consequences. Adultery is often punished with savage torture, and often death sentences are the standard.

Formal: The society has very high standards and strict rules and expectations for any kind of divorce. There may be specific requirements that the couple or people involved must exhibit in order to be allowed to divorce. There may be various significant social and religious stigmas attached to anyone that has been divorced. Children born out of wedlock are likewise social outcasts if such is becomes known.

Economically, the Vallorean Empire is a vast dominion, rich in natural resources of every kind, and enjoys a sophisticated, coin-based economy. The Tethorna Valloreans have a great passion for trade—nearly as much as their passion for combat and warfare. Vallorean merchants and nobles alike are typically always highly keen on discovering and exploiting any economic resources—and the Valloreans are well-known for fully exploiting various trade-treaties, resources, and merchants as a prelude to massive military invasion and conquest of foreign lands and peoples. The Valloreans have famously used any disruption or change in trade and access to natural resources as sufficient cause to invade and crush neighboring peoples and tribes. “Trade” was disrupted, or some access to some natural resource was believed to be threatened, and thus, in the interests of protecting Vallorean “Trade Interests”, the Vallorean legions must therefore intervene so as to “restore law and order, and ensure the continued safety of trade”. In Vallorea, wealth and trade are critically important, and merchants and tradesmen are typically viewed as honorable and dignified professions.

Military glory is perhaps the greatest value that is held and cherished by the Valloreans. Military glory and martial prowess is, along with economic wealth, and academic achievement, a triumvirate of prime cultural values for the Valloreans, and one or more of them are all essential for any kind of political career. The legions are a primary military career, though the Vallorean Navy also has a very long and noble history, and is highly regarded as a career for citizens as well as the army. Vallorean commoners often enlist in the military, and make a career in the military a path to professional success, social respect, and reasonable financial security. Vallorean knights typically spend several years serving in the cavalry regiments of the Vallorean legions, before returning to the noble armies of their noble lord back in their homeland.

Historically, the Tethorna Valloreans admire and greatly respect both the dwarfs and the elves. In Vallorean history, there have been a few occasions where a great Vallorean prince or noble married an elf—as both male and female Vallorean nobles have loved and married elven lovers. Elves and dwarfs are both generally welcome anywhere in the Vallorean Empire. However, while the adventurous nobles and great heroes of the Vallorean Empire have periodically embraced relationships with elves as lovers, and with dwarfs as friends, much of the empire has never even seen either an elf or a dwarf, and in many regions, elves and dwarfs are mythological creatures of great intrigue or beauty—but also of potential danger. In many primitive, rural areas of the empire, elves and dwarfs are believed to be mystical, strange, dangerous, wicked and evil. Periodically, any dwarfs or elves discovered in these brutal, rustic areas have been captured and killed by hysterical, wild-eyed and grim mobs, determined to keep their communities safe from being contaminated by such dangerous magical beings. The Tethorna Vallorean populations are generally far more educated, sophisticated, and knowledgeable, and do not hold to such violent, brutal superstitions.

In rural areas of the empire, Halflings are accepted and considered normal, natural creatures that are generally peaceful and inoffensive. In the larger Vallorean cities, people are far more urbane, worldly, and educated, and thus have fairly open and tolerant views for all kinds of races of creatures and humanoids, especially elves and dwarfs, but also for ogres, half-ogres, minotaurs, albeeri, harthak, saedren, and urrgan peoples. Naturally, however, such members of these races must appear to be members of various societies and tribes sanctioned and approved by the Vallorean Empire. Within the cities, the common depictions and customs of such races are generally known throughout the populace at large. Vallorean Ogres, for example, are viewed entirely differently from barbarian ogres, which are viewed and known to be evil, brutal and savage creatures. Vallorean Ogres are descendents of ogre tribes that submitted to the empire and became citizens. In some regions of the empire, there are huge populations of half-ogres that have been bred on vast agricultural farms alongside multitudes of state-owned barbarian slaves that work throughout their entire lives, living and working on these vast farming estates, as well as enormous mines in various hills and mountain ranges. Typically, half-ogre populations on such labor communities live and work amongst themselves, and are kept separate from state-owned human slaves.

From the most ancient of times, the Tethorna Valloreans befriended tribes of the wild and barbaric Urrgan. Urrgan are a race of noble, humanoid wolf-people that are often generally nomadic and rural, either living in small rustic villages in the forests, or wandering in the wilderness as nomadic bands. The Urrgan are typically noble, valiant, simple and barbaric, though they are generally friendly and on very good terms with local Vallorean populations, especially communities that contain Tethorna Valloreans. All Urrgan peoples, whether they live in the wilderness or within urban towns and cities are considered as Vallorean citizens, and are generally held with a deep sense of affection, loyalty, admiration, and paternal protectiveness by the Valloreans, whether Tethorna or common Vallorean.

Tethorna Valloreans typically believe that they have been divinely-appointed to be the guardians of the West, and to be the saviors of humanity, and the champions of all that is righteous and good. The Tethorna Valloreans are generally convinced that it is they, for the past thousand years and more, have been the guardians and protectors of law, order, freedom, dignity, and righteousness, and have defended countless realms and peoples from being subjugated and destroyed by the forces of darkness. Indeed, over two thousand years ago, the elves and dwarfs were engaged in a huge war with vast armies of beastmen, orcs, and monsters known as the Dragon Wars. The Tethorna Vallorean tribes—in those days, vast and powerful in numbers—marched to help the elf and dwarf kingdoms to the far north that were threatened by the forces of darkness, and proved to be decisive in achieving victory. After the Dragon Wars ended, the Tethorna Valloreans eventually formed the Vallorean Empire, which has grown powerful and endured ever since.

The Tethorna Valloreans have an ancient custom of holding gladiatorial fights as part of the funeral rituals and celebrations of a Tethorna Vallorean noble that has died, and is now traveling to the afterworld to serve the gods in glory. From this ancient custom, the Tethorna Valloreans have embraced Gladiatorial Games for the whole empire, as a way of providing entertainment to the masses, gain vast wealth, but also to serve as a sort of mystical religious blessing honoring all of the soldiers fighting and dying in the legions, serving and protecting the empire. Furthermore, as hand-to-hand combat is typically bloody and savage, the Valloreans feel that young men—especially from a young age need to become accustomed to the sight of bloodshed, and the screams of the dying. Through such spectacles of the gladiatorial games, the whole populace might be better hardened and steeled to violence and bloodshed, so they are better equipped to fight and serve the empire with unwavering courage and grim tenacity.

The Tethorna Valloreans believe that the courage and ferocity shown by the gladiators, and their sacred blood being spilled in honor to the Vallorean legions, provides divine blessings to the legions, and also serves as a form of spiritual redemption for the dying gladiators as they enter their journey to the afterlife. No matter what crime, what offense, a gladiator engaged in the life before becoming a gladiator, while he still may be damned in the afterlife, the gladiator may achieve if not total salvation, then at least the gladiator gains some measure of honor and glory in the manner in which they fight and the manner in which they face death.

The Tethorna Valloreans are united by a common culture, language and religion. However, there is some degree of schism, both politically and culturally. Politically, the Tethorna Valloreans of provinces in the northern half of the empire are very jealous of protecting their ancient feudal rights, and carefully and zealously defend their noble powers, rights, and privileges. The Tethorna Valloreans of the northern lands are typically feudal and deeply independent politically. Valloreans in the north are typically violent, martial and warlike, and are highly authoritarian and parochial. The northern Valloreans believe in their divinely-anointed rights and powers, as well as the ancestral rights, lands and powers given them by the Great Chieftains before there even was a Vallorean Empire.

Northern Valloreans are also typically rural, and much of communal life is centered on the ancestral castle of the noble lord—rather than a great city. Northern Valloreans deeply revere the natural world, especially the great forests, majestic mountains, and the shimmering lakes and rivers. Northern Valloreans work mightily and with great care to protect and preserve various natural areas and landmarks, and are careful in thought and policy in any policies of land use and development.

Northern Valloreans are often idealistic, heroic, and romantic in how they view the world, and how the world works, and should work. Northern Valloreans believe in many rural and mystical religious and cultural customs, and embrace their own mystical religious customs with great passion and fervor. Northern Valloreans—especially those of full Tethorna blood—are deeply against the intermixing with non-Tethorna peoples, as doing so dilutes the Tethorna blood, which is believed to be blessed by the Vallorean gods, and a chief source of the Tethorna Vallorean’s famously long lifespans, and incredible vigor and strength. Culturally and socially, as well as religiously, northern Valloreans are typically stubborn and very traditional, and are zealous in their resistance to any kind of change or demands for them to change, and become more “modern” and more “worldy”.

The northern Valloreans generally live in provinces that are far more ethnically, culturally, and politically homogenous and unified. The localized unity and rugged wilderness of much of the northern lands has contributed to the unchanging culture of the northern Valloreans, and even the various non-Vallorean tribes and peoples that have been conquered or absorbed over the centuries have been very close and similar to the Valloreans in culture, politics, and religion. Nonetheless, even in conquest, northern Valloreans often embrace a certain respect and thoughtfulness regarding foreign peoples and customs, and generally seek to accommodate foreign people’s customs and values in a forthright manner, subject to what they believe as the general supremacy and security of Vallorea. In contrast, the northern Valloreans often feel that the southern Valloreans are often not merely concerned with the welfare and security of the empire—but also view all non-Valloreans as uncouth, savage barbarians that when conquered, must submit their culture and customs—not just their religion—wholesale to the demands of the empire, and must simply accept that their cultures are essentially inferior in every way to that of the Valloreans, and the sooner they conform and embrace the Vallorean culture, the better off they will be.

The northern Valloreans, while firmly believing in the supremacy of the empire, also believe that even in conquest, the Valloreans are obligated to make as many reasonable cultural accommodations to the foreign peoples as can be done so, while honoring and securing the Vallorean supremacy. There is often passionate and heated philosophical discord between many northern and southern Valloreans over where to draw the lines as it were in the process of conquest and cultural blending that will likely never be truly resolved, as both factions have developed differing views in response to the very different environments that they find themselves living in, and informing their philosophical and political views.

Southern Valloreans tend to be everything the northern Valloreans are not—generally speaking, the southern Valloreans are very urban, sophisticated, and worldly, and live comfortably in a world that features many facets and changing currents of thought and philosophy. The southern Valloreans are not always—but much more likely to interbreed with non-Valloreans, and also to live in huge cities, and are constantly concerned with wealth, and the acquisition of more wealth, power, and status in a complex political and social environment. Southern Valloreans have resigned to themselves the need and desire to breed with other races and peoples, and generally assume everyone does so, and is eager to do so. However, even in the southern provinces, there are some Tethorna Valloreans that remain pure-blooded, or largely so, and actively speak against and condemn fellow Tethorna Valloreans that intermarry with foreign peoples. Southern Valloreans are, though in different ways, more imperialistic and materialistic than northern Valloreans. Southern Valloreans politically and philosophically are more comfortable with restraining or modifying individual noble’s powers, while strengthening and increasing the powers of the Emperor, as well as the Magistrate Councils and political participation by the urban masses.

Southern Valloreans are also often more comfortable with political customs that reflect the primacy of “The ends justify the means” as well as “The rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few.” Naturally, in dealing with the more culturally and religiously diverse lands and peoples in the southern regions and provinces of the empire, the southern Valloreans are typically forced to live in many hypocritical ways and embrace wholesale contradictions to many expressed political and philosophical values. This, too—the southern Valloreans are more comfortable with, and accept they must reign and govern a great empire where they must live fully in the real world of pragmatism, lust, greed, self-interest, competition, and innumerable philosophical, religious and cultural differences and conflicts.

Thus, while the Valloreans are generally united by a common language, religion and culture, “in-house” they have more than a few issues that provoke passionate public and private arguments and feuds, as well as occasionally heating up to such extent as to inspire nobles dueling in the parlours and palaces, as well as confronting each other in noble tournaments. In addition, due to these political and cultural frictions, various nobles and merchants alike are occasionally engaged in urban street campaigns, where mobs and gangs of hired thugs, mercenaries, former gladiators, as well as groups of ordinary citizens clash in savage and bloody riots. Furthermore, within the fine, white-marbled halls of various establishments and offices as well as schools and estates, there are often rich dinners and gatherings held where philosophers, nobles, priests, and other men and women of letters, education and eloquence engage in spirited philosophical debates dealing with all of these issues, among other topics of interest.

Religion

The Valloreans are primarily mono-pantheists, and united in their religious faith in one, single, religious pantheon that holds dominion over the entire Vallorean Empire. Vallorean temples hold various seasonal celebrations and festivals throughout the year, and are actively involved in numerous communal outreaches and activities for the entire community, as well as sponsoring weekly worship and religious services in every neighborhood and community.

The Tethorna Valloreans build large, elaborate temples of stone and wood, as well as other fine materials, and elaborately decorate their temples with as much wealth and fine craftsmanship as the community can afford. All Vallorean cities have prominent temples to each of the major gods, and often smaller temples to other lesser deities. Towns and villages may typically have one or several small temples to major deities, as well as a few shrines in honor to other deities that are especially favoured by the local community.

The Vallorean gods are briefly detailed as follows:

Vallenar—Sar-Vallenar; Supreme God of the Vallorean pantheon; “God of the Rising Sun”; “God of the New Dawn”; God of the sun; fire; war; righteousness; glory; valor.

Vallenar—Tar-Vallenar; Supreme God of the Vallorean pantheon; “God of the Majestic Sun”; God of the sun; rulership; judgment; law; fire; nobility

Vallenar—Ar-Vallenar; Supreme God of the Vallorean pantheon; “God of the Setting Sun”; God of the sun; fire; magic; law; knowledge; prophecy

Dhoranna—Kal-Dhoranna; Supreme Goddess of the Vallorean pantheon; Goddess of fertility, passion; vengeance; chaos; wild animals; and rulership

Dhoranna—Var-Dhoranna; Supreme Goddess of the Vallorean pantheon; Goddess of fertility; nature; earth; water; air; and fire

Dhoranna—Sar-Dhoranna; Supreme Goddess of the Vallorean pantheon; Goddess of fertility; wisdom; love; marriage; crafts; healing

Paladan—God of healing, smithing, fire, strength, wisdom and hope

Teganna—Goddess of the Moon; the stars; beauty; romance; glory; and war

Aribeth—Goddess of the Moon; justice, wisdom, purity, compassion and healing

Rhyllu—Goddess of the Moon, magic, chaos, prophecy, knowledge and secrets

Ulleric—God of Winter; mountains; storms; thunder; strength; and war

Utharna—Goddess of Winter; chaos; battle; death; storms; and destruction

Taarna—Goddess of Autumn; earth; harvests; domesticated animals; crafts; abundance

Halladar—God of Autumn; chaos; forests; nature; wild animals; earth

Galdar—God of Summer; forests, wild animals, nature, hunting, and nobility

Dramah—Goddess of Summer; fire; passion; fertility; music and art

Sarmanda—Goddess of Spring; waters; fertility; joy; passion; healing

Dartherrus—God of Spring; chaos; wild animals; music; passion; fertility

Martherrian—God of trade; travel; crafts; law; wealth; fortune

Nohbirrian—God of death; plague; pestilence; law; nobility; fate

Hardrannus—God of trickery; fortune; chaos; music; art; poetry

Elladain—God of the sea; trickery; nobility; travel; chaos and fortune

Mallannon—God of the sea; chaos; water; storms; animals; destruction

Dhamarna—Goddess of the sea; waters; animals; beauty; wisdom; compassion

Warfare

The Vallorean Empire is the strongest empire in all of Western Arthann. The Vallorean Empire has gained this great dominion by building and maintaining a huge, highly-trained and disciplined professional army, and a strong, powerful navy. The Vallorean Empire has an army of many legions of tough, professional soldiers organized into units of heavy infantry, as well as excellent heavy cavalry forces. In addition, the army also includes within the legions various units of archers and skirmishers. The Vallorean Empire typically augments the professional legions by the use of provincial auxiliary forces to supply additional skirmishers, raiders, archers, light and medium cavalry, as well various native barbarian forces which possess a range of special skills, training, and talents.

Cultural Weapons and Armour

Tethorna Vallorean Cultural Armour
Leather Armor (AC 8)
Hide Armor (AC 8)
Studded Leather (AC 7)
Scale Armor (AC 6)
Breastplate (AC 5)
Chainmail Hauberk (AC 5)
Banded Armor (AC 4)
Platemail (AC 3)
Shield, Wooden
Shield, Steel

Tethorna Vallorean Cultural Weapons
Dagger, Dart, Sling, Club, Heavy Mace, Light Mace, Handaxe, Battleaxe, Heavy Flail, Light Flail, Warhammer, Shortsword, Broadsword, Longsword, Bastard Sword, Greatsword, Great Axe, Great Flail, Great Warhammer, Javelin, Spear, Lance, Pike, Shortbow, Composite Shortbow, Longbow, Composite Longbow, Great Longbow

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