The Castes

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Existing information may be used to build characters during the beta.

 
Myths & Legends: The History of the Castes

Compared to the other nations of Evindale, only Mütvia has had the same government and social structure since recorded history began. Even the old tales that stem from prehistory tell only of draconian nobles, stalwart commoners, and itinerant drósti inhabiting the horror-filled land.

Only the Grandastium, the legendary tome of all of Evindale’s history, mentions one slight deviation from this seemingly eternal caste system. Within the “Song of Vaurain”, the titular character travels around the world in search of his origins, “settled into the land of beginning”, and is credited with being the first drósti.

Yet even the Grandastium does not mention a Mütvia without some draconian prince and a subjugated people. Instead, it mentions Mütvia as “having been and always was the beginning of the parts of humankind: the ruler, the worker, and the traveler.”

The tome also alludes to “the origins of all being in that place of demise and fame” and “no greater physical power exists than that of the Sister and in her bosom did the klane arise, flourish, divide into their parts, and die.”

Alone, these passages have little meaning. Further examination and comparison with other texts, however, reveals much greater detail.

According to the Esciti’in Texts of the Cult of Iviria, “Sister” refers to a facet of the ancient world creator deity, Sythlia. This facet represents nature itself and the driving force behind it, if not a sentient force, that pervades all the world. In traditional Mütvian lore, the name attributed to the mysterious force of nature and facet of creation is “Nor’dagha” and has been seen as a patron god/dess of Mütvia for as long as any can remember.

“Klane” refers to the “first people of the world” in the language of the Sta’abrian tribes, some of the oldest of civilizations outside of Mütvia. While Sta’abrians claim the Myrad and other offshoots of humankind in their populations, the klane are not unlike any other human throughout the world.

“…that place of demise and fame…” has been interpreted to be the mythological location of the death of Sythlia’s consort, a primeval being known as Evin, who was murdered by a hand wielding the first man-made object.

“…ruler, worker, and traveler…” fits in well enough with the nobles, commoners, and drósti of Mütvia but it can admittedly be said to describe any people of any nation. It is the first half of that phrase, “the beginning of the parts of humankind” that lends sense to it all when matched with “the origins of all being”, and “in her bosom did the klane…divide into their parts.”

This and other texts and stories throughout the world fit too neatly together to form a legend even the most ardent skeptic may find difficult to ignore: Mütvia is the alleged birthplace of humankind as created by a god and Nor’dagha is nature itself, residing in that land of birth and death.

If all of this is true, however, Mütvia may also be the location where all humans go to die, or where their souls go when they die.

Certainly, not a single inhabitant of Mütvia would disagree their homeland is a deadly place haunted by the dead and within it are represented the three basic types of humankind: the ruler, the worker, and the traveler or as Mütvians prefer to call it, the noble, the commoner, and the drósti.

In conclusion…

Whatever the case, only in rare instances has there been a departure from the feudal society for which Mütvia is known and even then not for very long. Violent peasant revolts, mighty drósti invasions, and all other manner of attempts to change the status quo have all ended the same: one child of the next generation is born a noble if the area is lacking one and likewise with commoners and drósti. Once all three main castes exist in that area, the next child born is born into the caste as befitting their environment. For example, if a drósti gave birth to a child while in the immediate service to a noble, the child would be born a commoner as that is their role.

This theory has been tested time and again and it never fails: no drósti family can forever remain in the service of a noble’s house, no commoner family can remain commoners and rule the area, and no noble can ever hope to leave their lifestyle and continue their noble heritage.  It’s as if this is the way it is, the way it always was, and no matter how much other civilizations change, Mütvia is timeless and unchanging.

The Land wouldn’t have it any other way.

NOBLES: Mind of the Land

When we think of nobles, we tend to think of princes.  After all, Mütvia is known as the “Land of 1,000 Princes”.  Not all nobles are the ruling types, however.  Academics, physicians, dabblers in the mysteries of life and death, seers, astrologers, researchers, crafters of incredible items of power, and more all fall into the category of noble.  Yet more often than not, the nobles cannot help but gather in their halls of power peering down upon the villages of commoners below, lording over their domain with a watchful eye.

Nobles and the Land

What truly separates nobles from the other castes is their relationship to that enigmatic entity known as the Land.  It is the force that drives life and death, weather and tides, natural disaster and the miracle of birth.  It is the uncaring power behind these things, the essence of the world and not the physical property of it.  It is because of the noble’s relationship to the Land that nobles are said to the be the “mind” of the Land.

Communication with the Land

One facet of that relationship is the communication the nobles have with the Land.  Many call it The Ring and through hushed whispers, in visions and dreams and nightmares, telling them of large scale events that happen within their domain.  Warring invaders, infiltrating neighboring princes, uprisings, and even reminders of the Land’s need for worship in the form of celebratory feasts and festivals marking agricultural holidays are some of the bits of information a noble can receive.

Nobles and the Undead

Most think the Land provides and takes away all life.  Our physical bodies are made up of the stuff in and on the ground, in the air, and in the seas and rivers.  We truly are what we eat and the Land is no exception: when anything dies—and everything always does—it digests the fallen body to retake into its womb the very things it once produced.  When the Land falls ill, however, it rejects the dead like a vomit and hence rise the undead.  (This theory is fraught with problems, however, as anyone who has been in Mütvia for any length of time can tell you.  Mütvia is replete with undead.  Always has been.  In fact, nowhere else in the World of Evindale are undead known quite so well.) Whatever the reasons for the undead, the Land has seen fit to give some nobles control over the these walking corpses.  Not all nobles can and it does take practice like anything else.  By exerting their inborn authority in a powerful manner, a noble can effectively communicate, control, and (when needed) more easily destroy these horrible creatures than others.

Creating a Noble

Playing a noble can be exciting but does not mean you must portray a politlcal or government leader. In fact, the majority of Mütvian nobles aren’t political leaders at all.  From scholars to villains, from rogue knights to squires, from exiled house members to an inept fool with noble blood, a noble can be anything you want it to be.

Sample Archetypes

The Dragon

The Herald

The Intelligencer

The Knight

The Physic

The Prince

The Rapscallion

The Scholar

The Wolf

 

Noble Birthrights

Sense Undead

The ability to sense undead often comes in handy to the nobles when outside of their manor house and something stirs in the distance.  The noble should then state loudly “Sense Undead”.  The answer will be yes or no, but the noble is to be warned: some undead can disguise their true nature from such lordly prying eyes. Each use of this birthright costs one Threshold.

Of the Land

Due to the near impervious link every noble has with the Land, they are not so easily possessed by spirits.  Any time a spirit attempts to possess a noble with either Minor Possession or Major Possession, the noble may return with “No effect”. Use of this birthright does not cost a Threshold.

Noble-Only Endeavors

Control Minor Undead Control Major Undead Control Greater Undead Control Superior Undead

COMMONERS: Body of the Land

While the nobles oversee the workings of their domain or pore over eldritch tomes in search of forbidden knowledge, it is the commoners who provide food, make up the ranks of militia, craft nearly every needed item, and are the most hearty of survivors in all of Mütvia.  Armed with the knowledge of what’s out there and how to defend against it due to constant exposure, the commoner is the very embodiment of the popular rally cry, “Mütvia Regestöi”, meaning “Mütvia is/in our heart.”

Commoners and Denizens of the Land

Constant exposure to the denizens of Mütvia have given them a wisdom many foreigners will never understand and a stalwartness that is truly awe-inspiring.  From daytime attacks by animals to the nighttime haunts of dreadful spirits, the commoners have learned to survive at all costs.  Still, it takes a keen eye to be a commoner, for they are adept at recognizing the patterns of creatures and how to use that against them.

Communication with the Land

Folk wisdom is the trade of a commoners.  Every group of bird that flies, pattern seen in a mushroom ring, or the color of the sky right before the sun sets can shed some light on the commoner’s existence.  Being able to read the Signs is all important, yet not all commoners have mastered it.  Those who do excel at forecasting the movement of forest and water spirits, the temperment of the Land’s denizens, and sometimes even the health of the Land itself from a physical standpoint.

Commoners and the Land Spirits

Every living creature has a tie to the Land and this is where the commoners excel.  From the sanji forest spirits to the water-based vodnici, the commoners have an understanding very unlike other castes.

Creating a Commoner

Sample Archetypes

The Crafter

The Cutpurse

The Leech

The Mystic

The Soldier

The Warden

The Vrojiti

The Shadow

The Kirkejoi

Commoner Birthrights

Gather Food

Survival in Mütvia is key and knowing how to provide for one’s family is part of that.  Even better is knowing what rare herbs can be used to heal faster than most.

During check in, the commoner will receive one Gathered Food card.  Each Gathered Food card may be used to heal one limb or torso wound.  It is best to use it when needed, however, as all Gathered Food cards expire at the end of the event in which it was given.

Gathered Food cards can be used on another, but only a commoner may apply the healing.

Not Today!

Facing Mütvia’s dangers on a consistent basis has resulted in a breed of people who know how to survive.

Twice per Surge, the commoner may call out “Not Today!” in response to any attack that would cause them to enter Bleed Out and allow them to ignore that last wound.

Use of this birthright does not cost Threshold.

Commoner-Only Endeavors

Heal Land Spirit

DRÓSTI: Soul of the Land

Since the legendary Vaurain walked the earth, there have been drósti in Mütvia.  Bound by ties of blood with a strong sense of family, these interant people are often considered the outcasts of society.  Accused of witchery, daemon-worshipping, and child kidnapping, the drósti are all but hunted and killed merely for their free style of life.  With “no land, no master” as their motto, it is no wonder princes hunt them and commoners fear them.  The secrets of the drósti are many, but so are their hardships.

Drósti and the Veil

“Where there is a ghost, there’s a damned drósti behind it,” is a common enough saying and for good reason: many drósti find their livelihood dabbling in the world of spirits.  Yet while most drósti have nothing to do with the Veil, it cannot be doubted drósti have a mastery over spirits few can comprehend.  Like nobles and undead, commoners and land spirits, drósti can call out to and control the incorporeal.

Creating a Drósti

Sample Archetypes

The Eddei

The Evil Eye

The Fate Caster

The Thug

The Midnight Blade

The Veil

The Urchin

The Spiritualist

The Barjas