Marked in Blood
The Rjurik (RYUR-ick) inhabit the taiga and highlands of northwestern Cerilia. They’re a tall, broad-shouldered people with blond or red hair and fair complexions. Both men and women wear their hair in long braids. The Rjurik are stubborn individualists who don’t swear fealty to anyone besides their own kin; the family is most important part of Rjurik life.
Most Rjurik follow the god Erik, old father of the forests, and druids are revered throughout Rjurik society as teachers, leaders, and advisers. Common Rjurik have a deep respect and love for Cerilia’s wilds, and carefully avoid over-hunting or clearing virgin forest.
Living in the wind-swept land north of Anuire, the Rjurik make their living by hunting across the hills and moors of their territory. The Rjurik rely on individuality to see them through, yet they also place a strong bond on the clan. They are nomads in the summer, but return to their halls at first snowfall, there to keep the cold at bay with feasts and roaring fires in the
mammoth hearths. They venture out into the cold in hunting parties, replenishing their larders as necessary. Because of the harshness of the landscape and the ever-present danger of monsters, the Rjurik almost never travel alone.
Though the Rjurik have jarls to lead them, and can demand the jarls step down if they fail to do a good job, the true rulers of the people are the druids in their groves. They bend the Rjurik opinions, and conduct the rites that keep the Rjurik mighty. The jarls seek out the druids in the oaks and taiga, searching for words of wisdom to guide their people.
There’s little war in Rjurik. For one thing, the Rjurik people don’t see the need to glorify themselves through massive battles. For another, the nearest clans are usually a good distance away, making the logistics of battle uncertain. Finally, the Rjurik prefer to face off in one-on-one challenges when an insult is dealt or when an upstart seeks to become the new jarl,
rather than wasting precious lives.
This is not to say that the Rjurik will not fight wars. When foreign armies invade the tundra, the Rjurik can mobilize better and faster than nearly any army in Cerilia. Since they know their land well, they can travel across it far faster than their enemies, and reinforcements seem to arrive at supernatural speeds.
The Rjurik themselves are a hardy race of foresters, hunters, and warriors. Their jarldoms and clan-holds are scattered along the forbidding coasts of the Mhiere Rhuann and the icy Thaelasian passage, although a few small holds can be found as far east as the Krakennauricht. The Rjurik are a free-minded people who place little importance on titles or rulers; a Rjurik jarl reigns by the consent of his folk and can be replaced if they don’t like the way he’s doing his job.
In a historical context, the Rjurik are an amalgamation of that of the Nordic Vikings and the mythic Celts. Rjurik technology is not particularly advanced and can be viewed as roughly equivalent to the technologies of the Middle Age cultures.
Rjurik cultural traits: The Rjurik are a wild and hardy people. They are taught from an early age a deep reverence and respect for Cerilia’s wilds and are notable foresters. You gain a +1 bonus to all Fortitude saves, and have a +1 bonus to all Wilderness Lore checks in forests and hills. Wilderness Lore is considered a class skill for you at first level.
Automatic Language: Rjuven.