The Mergoths are a rough and tumble people of the forests and hills. They are crafty and strong warriors, feared by their enemies. Personal honor is a premium. A good life is measured by having strong children by strong women to leave your hoarded wealth to, and by dying a good death. Strangely, this has lead to a society that, while organized around clans and tribes, follows a strict chain-of-command, from war-captain all the way up to High Chieftain. A Mergoth knows that, while his goal may be to amass his own personal wealth and to strengthen his holdings and lineage, that goal is best served by following the orders of his leaders. Dissention in the ranks is handled by allowing men to voice their concerns. A great leader is one who is not only strong but capable of adjudicating disputes justly. Good ideas are rewarded with chances for advancement within the societal structure. This makes for a form of totalitarian democracy whose result is a warrior who tends to be both incredibly adept martially as well as clever, cunning, and ruthless.
Traditionally, they have lived between the Brechen Mountains and the River Braeda. Recent times have seen invaders from the East of the Brechen Mountains – the dreaded Urzgal – reaching further and further into Mergothian lands. This has forced the Mergoths to encroach ever more on the lands west of the Braeda. The Älteste Häuptling (high chieftain) has dictated that, for the time being, encroachment will be accomplished as peacefully as possible.
Mergoths build structures from peat, stone, and timber, depending upon the materials available. Settlements are centered around a large longhouse. Typically, this was the home of the founder of the settlement, and is most-often used as a temple and community center. Communities tend to be formed in orderly grids, with the longhouse left pointing to the north. Settlements will extend to the south before they are expanded to the north, though this is more a rough guideline than an edict of civil design. The Mergoths don’t really have cities per se, though many of their settlements are quite large and old. Even the seat of the Älteste Häuptling only be called a city because was founded in the rubble of a once-grand but now forgotten city from an age beyond.
The pragmatic nature of the people means that they treat many every-day activities as ritual and prayer. This makes for a rather informal practice of their religion. The clerics of the Mergoths tend to have other occupations until they become of great age. High holidays are more formal events, with much preparation – sometimes months in the making. The Mergoths are horrified by the nasty older Havetic practice of burying the dead; they believe that the body must be burned in order to release the person’s soul, allowing them to return to the Great Hall of the Gods. Consequently, the Mergoths are terrified by ghosts and completely unnerved by cemeteries. This extends to abandoned settlements, which are seen as the corpse of a community; when a community must move from its settlement, it customarily burns the buildings down in a ceremony. The fact that the Älteste Häuptling’s hold is built upon the bones of another settlement grants him a near-mystical aura of awe among his people.
The Mergoths are organized into four stammen (tribes, singular stamm), each with their own Häuptling (chieftain). While the Älteste Häuptling does preside over all the Mergoths, each stamm operates independently, with cooperation and coordination with other stamm and clans occurring only as necessary. The Älteste Häuptling acts as a grand mediator, dictating only very high-level decrees.
The Skathi are originally from the Brechen mountains. They have been the most affected by the Urzgal raids. They are known for their skills with iron and stone.
Hailing from the fertile lands of the southern hills, the Batavi are known for their hospitality, their gold work, and their beer. They live deep in the forests between the river and the mountains
Language: Frig Mergothian (Mergothian Dialect)
The far southern fringe of Mergothian lands find the Friggi. They are more like plainspeople, known for the bounty of their fields their skill with horse and bow. They herd sheep and goats on the edge of the forest, in the low rolling grasslands between the forest and the Cavallo Mountains.
The Morehii are river people, known for their skill with loom and leather. They inhabit the forest and river lands bordering the Braeda River