Heortling Culture
[Heortling Culture] 
[Heortling Religeon
[Other Religeons] 
Myths & Prophecies 
Campaign Diary 


[Heortling Culture][Heortling Religeon][Other Religeons]


Heortling Culture


Who are we ?

We are Orlanthi, born in hardship, formed by story, strengthened by adversity, made invincible by freedom. We are a tribe of the longhouse, of the field, of the great forest, of the battleground. We are a people whose sons and daughters will endure as long as the winds shall blow.

We are the people of the Storm, the men and women of Thunder. Renowned in all the worlds, we are the tribe of Orlanth and Ernalda. We are many and we are strong. We are a rich people, for we know the secrets of the earth. We are a proud people, farmers, herders, warriors and peaceweavers. We live in steads and villages and hunting camps, but can also build cities and fortresses, and sky steads made of wind and lightning. We are of the Cinsina tribe and we live to the north of Jonstown in the Jonstown confederation. We are the Red Cow clan and we live in Red Cow close to the Dolutha Clan in Dangerford.

The Lunars came with their scimitars and strange Gods. They conquered our land by treachery so that only our rivers run free. Servants of the predark, they ban true worship and offer us instead the mask of their twisted Red Goddess, the lies of their Seven Mothers, and the wind of their false Thunderer Doburdun.


In our society everything revolves around the idea of kinship. It is much more than simple genealogy and dictates the rules of ownership and distribution of resources, rights to use land, relationships with outsiders, clan defense, the workings of justice, the practice of marriage, and the ownership of religious ceremonies. It tells us who is a friend and who is an enemy and is scred to us. We support kin as we always have done. Most men stay with their tula all their lives, but women depart on marriage to live with their husbands tula. There are several types of marriage however and some times allow women to claim their children for their mother's clan.

Clan, Bloodline and Household

Our clan is the fundamental until of Heortling society. Our clan (Red Cow) all claim descendance from our ancient ancestor Thurkan the Red, and we belong to the Cinsina Tribe. We have a proud tradition and our ancestors have shown us the true way to live. Our clan is our family, but we forge alliances through marriage to other clans. The land we own (the Tula) is the lands surrounding the village of Red Cow. The Clan is run by the 25 members of the Clan Ring, although 7 members form the Inner Ring who represent the Lightbringers who went on the Lightbringers quest with Orlanth. The Clan Chieftain and ring maintains justice, conduct litigation, declare feuds, wars, enter into treaties train the fyrd and protect the temples and our holy places. The Chieftain receives all gifts for the clan and distributes the wealth.

Within the clan are several bloodlines with about 30-80 members in each going back to a specific ancestor. The elder male (spakeman) maintains the shrine to the bloodlines founder and leads it supported by his brothers and cousins. What effects one member effects the entire bloodline.

A household, hearth or longhouse has about 20 members usually of the same bloodline. This is the family, although at times members will move between hearths of the same bloodline. The senior woman, the hearthmistress has control over the hearth and here her word is absolute. Although most of the cattle belong to the clan a competant household through good husbandry can acummulate a small herd for the household.


Strangers are enemies until proven otherwise. We report all strangers to the Chieftain and thanes at once, and they alone decide if they should be killed. The Chieftain's household and companions may speak for the stranger and may begin rites with strangers who might be friends. The ritual goes thus:-

  Questioner: Are you friend or foe?

  Answer: Friend.

  Questioner: I am (name and title), what is your name?

  Answer: (name).

The questioner pauses to consider if they have heard of the stranger, let his truth magic work and see what his companions have to say. If no lies are detected and there is no other reason to send the stranger away then they are welcomed thus.

  Questioner: You can have my hospitality. I offer you water.

  Answer: I will not steal from you, fight you, or say bad things about you.

If a known person shows up and is not welcome, the host may offer the guest "water as a feast" which is a great insult.

Law and Justice

Justice is gift of Orlanth and is the responsibility of the lawspeaker. It keeps the clan strong and provides them with peace and harmony.

Justice extends to everyone who is part of the sacred web of kinship. No one is immune: even animals, dead ancestors and storms can be brought to court as they are part of the sacred order. Violence is in itself morally neutral as it can be for good or bad. Like Orlanth tribal members must be responsible for their own actions and must correct incorrect actions.

The pursuit of justice serves many functions within society. The law courts are not only for resolving conflicts, but also for political display and manipulation. Justice is dealt with by negotiation between two groups related by kinship. Anything outside kinship is dealt with by violence. Individuals are not held directly responsible for their misdeeds, but the families and bloodlines share in the responsibility and compensation. Heortlings believe that there is no privacy between kin and any deliberate action will be planned with their knowledge. It is bad for a person to bring shame on one's kin. Justice is dealt with normally in terms of compensation rather than pnishment. A person who has support of most of the clan is likely to win the case.

If a clan or bloodline refuses to pay the compensation then a feud is started between the goups and violence can ensue.

A person's Wegild is equivalent to their income from ten years worth of living. When Wergild is collected the whole clan pays, with the amount equal to the proximity of the person to the offender. If a clan accepts wergild then it means they have accepted they will not start or continue a feud.

Social Ranks

A clan is divided up into a number of social ranks. These are given below.


Nobles are the Chieftains, Kings and Queens, Chief Priests and Priestesses. They inherit their rank from the tribe and live in the largest steads with personal servants, guards and messangers.


Thanes are the leaders of the community such as master craftsmen, warriors, heads of bloodlines, priests and high entertainers. They form the clan council and the chieftain chooses members of inner clan ring from amongst them. The Chieftain or King appoints Thanes and can demote them at a whim.


The Carls of the clan are farmers. They tend the clan's herds. The cattle are the most important herd and those that tend them are the most important Carls. The Carls are the most important people in the Clan are without food people go hungry. Haughty Weaponthanes should not forget this.


Cottars are the lowest rank of freed man. They tend sheep, pigs, farm garden plots, work as labourers, hunters, herders and fishermen. Most craftsmen rank as Cottars, but the master redsmith and master brewer rank as Carls. At the bottom of the Cottars are the stickpickers, low entertainers (jugglers and storytellers) and charcoal burners


The lowest class of person are the Thralls who are no more than mere slaves. They have no legal status and are thought of as property as an alynx and a cow. Most Thralls are debt slaves or other criminals, although their children are not Thralls as their parents were. The nature of Thralls varies amongst different clans and in the Cinsina tribe they are starting to become less widespread.

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