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Vantha

The People of the Aurora Borealis
Height4'8"- 6'0"
Weight80-150 lbs
Lifespan80 - 100 years
Major featuresDark skin, black hair, deep vividly colored eyes that change color with their moods.
AbilitiesWinter Survival and Carving
Population5,000
Most common inAvanthal
ReputationCarvers and Storytellers
Racial godsMorwen, The Goddess of Winter and Rhaus God of Bards and Music, Numerous Other Gods and Goddesses
Racial bonus+10 Carving or Storytelling


The Vantha, or the People of the Aurora Borealis, as they call themselves, are humans that dwell in the far northern reaches of Taldera within their lovely ice city of Avanthal. Hardy and well-adapted to snow and extreme cold, these people have a rich history that stretches well before to the Valterrian and is rife with storytelling and carving at its foundation. Famed for their intricate carvings, masks, and the storytelling that goes with them, the Vantha have a tremendous oral history that not only explains the beginning of the world, but how the world will end as well. Also famed for their changing eye color, the Vantha claim that everything about their existence is owed to the Goddess Morwen, who dwells among them for three seasons before venturing out in Winter to walk the rest of the world.


Contents

History

Morwen's Lights Always Guide Us.

It is said, in some of the favorite Hold stories and histories, that the Vantha arrived on Mizahar through the colored pathways suspended in the stars. Called Morwen's Lights, the Aurora plays heavily into Vantha spiritualism and day-to-day life. To a Vantha, simply looking up at the night sky of the extreme north is proof enough that the stories are real. No other place on Mizahar do Morwen's Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, show itself. These colorful ribbons of blue, green, violet, pink, yellow, and orange hum and crackle with the static energy which the Vantha believe can be channeled into a pathway to other worlds. It is this same pathway they believe they came through when the world was still very young. They settled it and became some of the oldest living people on Mizahar in the modern age. The proof that they are indeed beholden to these wondrous lights is in their eyes. Unlike other humans, the Vantha's eye color changes as their moods change, though always in vivid jewel tones and deep, rich colors that reflect Morwen's Lights.

Biology

Physical Appearance

The Vantha are a sleek, athletic race that have smaller stature and perhaps shorter height than a lot of Mizaharian races possess. They range from 4'8" to 6'0" The males being the ones that hit 6'0" and then it is rare, and rarely get heavier than around one hundred eighty pounds. The Vantha always have dark hair, usually black, though it can go silver and finally white with age. Unusually though, their hair seems to shimmer with highlights that often reflect the color of the Aurora. This trait is one of the reason they are considered 'People of the Aurora'. A man might have black hair with blue highlights, while a woman might have black hair with a subtle shimmering of green to its glossy features. Their hair can be straight or curly. Regardless their hair is often (especially when venturing outside in the cold) braided and wrapped with fur. The Vantha have an unusual quality to their eyes. Unlike other humans, the Vantha have dark, vibrant hues to their eyes that change with their moods. Deep greens, brilliant violets, rich dark blues, subtle ruby, and even luminous gold are not uncommon colors for Vantha eyes. This feature, they claim, validates their oldest tales that the Vantha did indeed come from the stars. It is not even uncommon for their eyes to be multiple colors at once, banded or blended as their moods mix and transition.

Their skintone ranges from olive to almond to almost a golden brown, though this can vary considerably. They almost never have extremely pale skin tones, as they instead tend towards richer, deeper coloring. In terms of facial shapes, the Vantha tend to have smaller, more rounded heads, rather than elongated or square-shaped faces. Their noses are somewhat small, sized to fit their features, while their hairlines tend to be set low on their scalp. Their eyes are not as big or wide as those of some humans; instead, Vantha features can be described as almost subtle or delicate. They have an almost ethereal quality to their beauty that often makes one think of the twilight, when the Borealis is strong, and night is chasing day away or vice versa.

Common Traits

Most Vantha, while not terribly strong, are considered very hardy. This isn't so much a physical trait as it is a learned ability from having lived generation after generation in the frozen northern wastes of the Ice Reaches. Other than their hardiness, Vantha are particularly dexterous. While they have been known to weave, they are not particularly good at metalsmithing and gageteering. However, they are amazing carvers, dancers, and storytellers. Their long, slender fingers are particularly useful for manipulating delicate tools, and thus they are incredibly good at embroidery and leatherworking.

Psychology

We Carve Life.

Having a flair for the dramatic, a Vantha can easily take what most people would equate to a rather boring, mundane day and spin it into a tale of epic proportions, without ever changing any of the facts. Given enough time, they will produce costumes, props, and orchestrate sound effects to make the tale even livelier. Their extroverted, friendly behavior comes from season after season of being crowded together in their snowbound homes and having to entertain themselves when all the work is done and night has fallen. For the most part,the Vantha are showmen to the core, taking careful precaution to make every word count, have meaning, hold intent, and lure an audience into an astonishing audio experience.

Reproduction & Aging

Like most humans, the Vantha live anywhere from about eighty to a hundred years under normal conditions. Considered mature at age sixteen, girls are often married to the husband of their parents' choice anytime thereafter up until age twenty. Women unmarried after age twenty are considered either Icemaidens or hopeless. Suitors often provide a bride price which can consist of a small fortune in carvings - whale bones being considered the most valuable - masks, candlesticks, tradegoods (furs, blubber, beadwork, fabric) and anything else the Vantha consider valuable. The price is paid to the parents by the male wishing to marry the girl and is either accepted or rejected according to many factors. The parents might not accept the most lavish bride price when a girl turns sixteen, but in fact might wait a few years. Sometimes they take the girl's feelings into account and accept the bride price from the man the girl most wants to marry. The girl will then leave her Hold and join with her husband's Hold, bringing with her the stories, songs, and poems of her people. At the time of the move, a girl will change her last name to reflect her new Hold. Sisters and best friends will often plead with their parents so they go to the same Holds. Children are born shortly after the marriage and are welcomed into both families with much joy. The Vantha cherish their children, protect them, and often indulge the entire sub-race's flair for exaggeration when children get into trouble and make up wild tales as to why whatever unfortunate event happened.

The elderly among the Vantha are truly respected and protected. Their wisdom is timeless and passed out without a thought to the fact that their opinions might be considered meddling. Younger parents often consult elders on marriage arrangements for their children. In fact, after age fifty - halfway through their lives - the Vantha stop celebrating their birthdays and instead celebrate Wisdom Days, marking off the time they have been alive and giving a nod to the accumulated knowledge they have acquired.

Half-Vantha

Any PC that is more than half Vantha blood and was actively playing (note: this is different than just having a history of being alive) during the Djed Storm of Spring 1, 512, then you have acquired the Vantha trait of changeable eyes. If you were not an active PC during this in-game event, your eyes are a singular color and do not change. Half-breeds have none of the other standard traits of Vantha - ie shimmery aurora touched hair, etc.

Society

Social Structure

Animals are a favorite subject to carve.

The Vantha gather together with Avanthal as their primary settlement. However, unlike other provinces, the Ice Reaches of Taldera are fairly remote and safe, so there are quite a few smaller settlements called Holds scattered throughout the city, both up and down the coastline. There are seven in all of any significant size. Each Hold has its own traditions, stories, and micro-culture. They specialize in various things; some breed reindeer, some are proficient whalers, and some are even capable of growing food in the bowels of their Holds. Avanthal is the culture hub of these seven Holds, and houses by and large a mix of all these holders. Avanthal contains the resources, training centers, and markets that are required to sustain its inhabitants. The Ice Palace is also located in Avanthal, which is the reported home of Queen Morwen, Goddess of Winter. She rules the Vantha fairly and justly for three seasons out of the year.

Language

The Vantha speak Vani, a musical lyrical language designed for storytelling and singing. It is said that a simple, sad song written in Common and translated to Vani can go from an interesting, moving piece to a subtle, heart-wrenching ballad. Vani is ideal for storytelling, both epic and simple. It is said that the Vantha is the only race that can take a single-syllable word and turn it into an lengthy, fluid paragraph.

Names

Vantha names are varied. They have no set form or structure, but do tend to sound alike from Hold to Hold. Here are a few examples of names. Vantha rarely if ever use surnames. They do however, tend to associate themselves with their Holds. So, a Whitevine Hold resident must call themselves Kavi Whitevine.

Although not good metalsmiths, the Vantha do etch extraordinarily well.

Example Names

  • Plaryn Snowsong
  • Senra Iceglaze
  • Isastle Whitevine
  • Coren Winterflame
  • Svisra Skyglow
  • Nenith Frostfawn
  • Keliselle Coolwater
  • Fenia Skyglow
  • Klarra Snowsong
  • Nohadar Winterflame
  • Minosa Iceglaze
  • Dadaryi Coolwater
  • Aviastas Whitevine


Family Life

Life Can Always Be Captured In Snow.

Families are close among the Vantha. Generations often live together, and it is not uncommon for individual Holds to have horribly complex family trees with everyone living within the Holds somehow connected either by blood or marriage. Vantha also welcome outsiders, so that no one visiting Avanthal is treated like a stranger. The journey north is too difficult, and under a Goddess' cool but watchful eyes, the Vantha consider themselves safe. So, rather than having Inns and Taverns where people stay, Holders often invite strangers to the city home with them to exchange news and stories and eat heartily of their meals. Among the Vantha, their personal rooms are considered their Arvinta. Each Arvinta consists of a communal meeting or sitting room. Then there are private rooms for couples, and a common sleeping/living room for all the children. Visitors are often given a private room, while a couple will move in with the children to make extra room. Some of the larger, more expansive Holds with wealthier families have spare rooms in their Arvinta or special guest quarters when people move from place to place visiting. Holds often have common areas and craft cottages in buildings attached and are always made of solid stone. External buildings are often built from ice and warmed from within by special braziers that conduct heat into the room but do not melt the thick ice walls. A Hold may contain multiple Arvintas and might hold upwards of a couple hundred people.

The Holds

When a person joins a 'hold' their name automatically becomes what the Hold name is. The leader of a Hold is known as a Pavintu Janta. The Holds are as follows.

  • Frostfawn- This is the Hold of Avanthal that deals with Animal Husbandry. It is said that these Vantha have a special kinship with their animals. Each member is known to have at least one animal that they treat as though they were family. When Morwen told the original Frostfawn members to establish their Hold, they wanted to live in the forest where their animals were the most comfortable. Their Hold is deep in the Avanthal woods and is very large to hold all the members and their animals. Frostfawn will never claim to own animals. They believe that their animals are their family and treat them as such. If one ever calls a Frostfawn's animal their "pet," they get very upset. The specialties of Frostfawn are Animal Husbandry, Bird Keeping, Falconry, Horsemanship, Hunting, Riding, Tracking, Trapping, and Wilderness Survival. The current Pavintu Janta of the Frostfawn is Tovan Frostfawn.
  • Skyglow- The members of Skyglow are masters of the visual arts. The founders of Skyglow wanted to settle where the sky glowed the brightest. They searched until they found the perfect spot. They settled where the sky was clear and the land was free of anything that would obstruct their view of the Aurora that constantly shined in the winter sky. While under these beautiful lights, the Skyglow members felt inspired to create art. They began to sculpt, paint, draw, and do any kind of art they could create. Soon Avanthal was full of their art and the best of it was created by a man named Pavic, the first leader of Skyglow. No Skyglow member has reached his level of artistry. All Skyglow members respect him and his art deeply, but all try to surpass his mastery of the arts. They excel in Painting, Drawing, Sculpting, Pottery, Sewing, and Weaving. The goal of most people in this hold is to have their art displayed in Morwen's Ice Palace. Other places where one can see art by people from Skyglow are The Sculpture Yard and The Temple of Everwinter (both in Avanthal). All art that is not shown off in these places are either kept by the artist, donated to another Hold, or sold. The current Pavintu Janta of the Skyglow is Vannis Skyglow.
  • Snowsong- The masters of music in Avanthal. Before they founded their Hold, they searched for the land where the winds blew through the trees in such a way where it sounded like music. Due to this constant musical muse, they became inspired to create music They excel in Singing, Musical Composition, Carving, Writing, and Poetry. They make their own instruments and often teach others to play music. Their skill at carving instruments soon led to a love of carving wood crafts in general and some Snowsong members carve beautiful masks and furniture. One of the best known Snowsong members is Lee'ena Snowsong who is the priestess at The Temple of Everwinter. The current Pavintu Janta of the Snowsong Hold is Layota Snowsong.
  • Winterflame- The cooks, bakers, and all other culinary artists reside in Winterflame Hold. They are called Winterflame because, when they founded their hold, one always knew which one it was due to the members cooking over roaring flames. Most members work at the Luminary Commons, the Crystal Cavern, or the Market Place. Winterflames also are skilled gardeners. The water in Avanthal is not good for gardening under regular circumstances, but Winterflames use Stormgems. These Stormgems create heat that is warm and powerful enough to make their crops grow. Their specialties include Brewing, Cooking, Farming, Food Preservation, Herbalism, Gardening, and Vinting. The current Pavintu Janta of the Winterflame is Nennvar Winterflame.
  • Iceglaze- If someone needs a house built or some plain, sturdy furniture made Iceglaze is the Hold you should visit. When they were founding their Hold, they wanted to live where the the ice had the most luster. When they finally settled they found that the ice they had coveted was in fact not ice but a mineral called Icestone. From then on the people of Iceglaze began to experiment with this mineral and began to build and craft houses, weapons, and furniture. This reflects what they do to this day. Iceglaze members excel in Architecture, Carpentry, Construction, and Geology. Their current Pavintu Janta is Jecore Iceglaze.
  • Whitevine- This hold is known for being the medical Hold. These caring Vantha work either at the Whitevine Healing Center, the Icewatch Barracks, or out of Whitevine Hold if they feel the need. Many of these medical workers have Rak'keli's Gnosis mark or are trying to obtain it. Usually the Vantha who are born to Whitevine are peaceful due their duty to healing and medicine. Those who are not usually join Icewatch and use their knowledge in Medicine for the protection of the city. The expertise of the Whitevine Hold lies in Medicine, Herbalism, and Massage. The current Pavintu Janta of the Whitevine is Seffarah Whitevine.
  • Coolwater- The Coolwater Hold specializes in all things having to do with the water. They are boaters, fishers, and masters at navigating the sea. Their most sought after skills are Fishing, Sea Navigation, and Sailing. They also are very good at astronomy because they use the stars to navigate in the sea. When Coolwater was founded, the members wanted to live where the water flowed cool enough for the Talderan sea animals that they wanted to hunt and fish for. The current Pavintu Janta is Envan Coolwater.

Everyday Life

While the Vantha work hard, they do not take life too seriously. Their day consists of tending their herds of reindeer, horses, and sleigh dogs. They grow food in the bowels of their Holds and in Avanthal itself, and those crops take tending on a daily basis. The Vantha, like other peoples, often use Stormgems to fuel the heat and warm glow that food crops in the cold arctic take to thrive and bear fruit. Women often are in charge of the crops while the men do the hunting and fishing. The Vantha are also proficient fisherman and whalers, so the males tend to arrange elaborate hunts targeting fish, seals, walrus, and whales. The Vantha use all parts of the animals they harvest, from the fur to the very bones and all the flesh in the middle. Hunting is done early in the day on through mid-afternoon. Crop tending happens throughout the day as well. In the evening, after the main meal of the day, the Vantha gather as a family unit and work their crafts together, tell stories, and play a wide assortment of games they have designed to pass the long, cold, endless winter nights.

Even Our Eyes Reflect Morwen's Beauty.

Weapons

The Vantha are proficient hunters, fisherman, and archers. Their main method of hunting is via spear, though they use harpoons and javelins as well. They are magnificent horse archers off the backs of their famous frostmarches when hunting wild muskoxen on the ice. They use powerful intricately carved compound bows to do so. It is said too that the Vantha use Kelvics a great deal in their hunting, because there is an extremely high percentage of kelvic polar bears in Avanthal. Morwen, it is said, knows the secret to having them breed true so that her famous Icewatch have bonded mounts that make a formidable force in defending the city.

Religion

Considered very spiritual, the Vantha's day-to-day life is filled with reverence and tales that drive their entire existence. The Vantha are the children of Morwen, Goddess of Winter. They dwell in her frozen world and thrive under her frosty care. Queen Morwen, as she is known to the Vantha, has an open welcome policy within her city. She has instilled the values in her people that make them stress the importance of family and work together as a team in order to thrive as a community. Morwen's followers are zealous in their support of their Queen. One need only to visit Avanthal to understand the lengths to which the city's people will go to stand up with their Queen. Avanthal is also the home of the Icewatch, a very powerful honor guard that supports the city and its denizens. The Icewatch acts as Morwen's personal guard and are distinguished by the dire-sized polar bears the soldiers ride. Morwen has perfected the art of living in harsh climates and, for all that her people suffer her frosty powers year round, they thrive in ingenious ways.

More than one of the Vantha hold a gnosis mark from Morwen. Like Myrians, most Vantha receive a mark from Morwen when they come of age. Morwen's gnosis involves allowing a person to tolerate cold temperatures more readily than normal unmarked people.

Active Vantha PCs

The Children of Winter