FW: Varmandisage, demographics and the City Rings of Sartar

Scott Johnson (ScottJ@pageahead.com)
Tue, 27 Dec 94 12:10:00 PST

I am forwarding this to the list for Jeff Richard 
(jeff.richard@metrokc.gov). All replies should be addressed to him. Thanks.

Subject: Varmandisage, demographics and the City Rings of Sartar
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 1994 8:32AM

Could you forward this to the Digest?

Here are a few notes about the world-famous Varmandi clan from my on-going
Sartar campaign:

     After two generations of leadership by the Hoskulding family, Vastyr
Dengarlson was recognized as chieftain of the Varmandi by the clan moot in
late 1613.

     Vastyr is 37 years old, rather short and burly. He is famed for his
considerate, cooperative and thoughtful nature that values the prosperity of 

his clan above all other concerns. As chieftain of the Varmandi, Vastyr
enjoys the unqualified support of the priestesses of Ernalda and is backed
by most of the clan's elders. His wife, Inandra Ortossisdottir, is a holy
Ernalda woman originally from the Konthasos clan.

     Vastyr's relationship with the clan's thanes and godi are often
strained despite the faith the clan's elders have in his prudent and
cautious leadership. Once the thane Hend Jaranison, a boon companion of the
previous chieftain Rastorlanth Hoskuldson, furiously demanded that Vastyr
lead the clan in a vengeance raid against the Orleving clan. Hend blamed the 

Orleving for Rastorlanth's death during Starbrow's rebellion. Vastyr asked
the holy women of Ernalda for aid and they sent a score of widows to weep at 

Hend's doorstep, until Hend backed down.

     The year after this incident (1615) the clan's senior godi, Sveirtig
Hoskuldson recruited warriors from the Anmangarn clan to follow Wind Lord
Geir Sveirtigson and the Varmandi thanes in a raid against the Orleving
clan. Outmanouevered by the clan's wily, war-loving Storm Voice, Vastyr
reluctantly agreed to formally lead the clan's fyrd. Nonetheless, after a
battle of champions where the Orleving mercenary Killer-Gest was killed by
Anmangarn warriors, Vastyr agreed to leave the Orleving lands with a
(according to Geir) small payment of tribute.

     After the raid, Vastyr generously gifted King Kangarl with a large
share of the clan's booty and encouraged the King to gain glory and respect
in the Malani lands. The next year, Kangarl and the Colymar huscarls crushed 

the flower of the Malani tribe in a battle outside of Red Bird Fort.

     Frustrated by what he saw as Vastyr and the clan elders' cowardice,
Geir Sveirtigson began leading personal raids against the Orleving and other 

Malani clans with his picked warband. Vastyr and the clan elders vigourously 

condemned Geir's banditry but Geir dismissed their protests as the
complaints of "women and toothless old men."

     Finally last Storm Season, Geir and his men killed a tax collector of
the Red Emperor as he was "gathering tribute" from some Varmandi farmers.
Geir argued that the Lunars' brazen robbery was intolerable as long as he
had air in his lungs, but Vastyr and the clan elders were horrified.
Shouting down Sveirtig's protests, Vastyr and the elders outlawed Geir from
the Varmandi clan, denying him food, shelter or kinship for three years. To
Vastyr's surprise, 6 clan huscarls and 5 other Varmandi men followed
Killer-Geir into outlawry, announcing that they would keep their swords
sharp in the Holy Country.
     Varmandi Demographics

     As of 1617 there are 560 adult Varmandi living in the clan lands. There 

are another 400 - 500 Varmandi children.

     Of the adult Varmandi, 45 are clan elders - ie. adults over the age of
60 years. Their wisdom forms the basis for clan policy. Because of the
disasterous war 15 years ago, women elders outnumber male elders nearly two
to one.

     There are 246 adult Varmandi men living within the clan strongholds:

     132 carl farmers (8 elders - 122 effectives) another 30 farms are
headed by widows and single women
     35 herders (2 elders - 33 effectives)
     29 hunters (2 elders -27 effectives)
     10 professional warriors
     15 clan thralls
     13 craftsmen (3 elders) with an additional 25 craftswomen
     5 clan thanes (including the chieftain)
     4 godi and acolytes ( and another 6 priestesses and female acolytes)
     2 entertainers (1 skald and 1 fool, or is it the other way around?)
     1 full-time grain merchant

     There are 314 adult Varmandi women living within the clan strongholds.
In general they duplicate the occupation of their husband (with the
exception of the warriors' wives) with some exceptions already noted. The
nearly 30 elder women have a decisive voice in the clan's internal politics.

     The Varmandi are divided into 13 bloodlines or steads. The four leading 

families are headed by clan thanes, but that distinction is determined by
the clan moot not by any family's hereditary right.

     Currently some two dozen adult males are living outside of the clan
lands. The most famous of these is the Wind Lord Killer-Geir Sveirtigson and 

the twelve men who followed him into outlawry. Others include Ole Swenson, a 

travelling devotee of the Talking and Trading God.

     The methodology for these figures was KoS (Report on the Orlanthi) and
the Barbarian Belt breakdown in G:CotHW.
Assorted thoughts on the city rings of Sartar:

     According to KoS, Sartar attempted to persuade Ortossi, King of the
Colymar, into building a city ring. One of Sartar's futile arguements in
favor of the city was that "I will create the city council so that you and
your kin will be lords of it now, and when it grows over the centuries to
come." I am (albeit without a lot of evidence) assuming that each of the
four lesser cities that Sartar founded contained the some compromise with
the rural chieftains and clans: that they and their decendents would
dominate the internal politics of the cities.

     In the historical world rural control over the urban population has not 

been uncommon, for example Republican Rome was dominated by the rural tribes 

not the urban plebs. In the US Senate, rural and underpopulated states like
Wyoming have as many Senatorial votes as California.

     In the Jonstown of my campaign, the City Ring is composed of clan
thanes from each of the Confederated Tribal Kingdoms. Each clan has a right
to a Voice on the Ring. The politically impotent city residents have only
one official voice - their mayor aka "Speaker for the City-Folk", unless
they belong to one of the local clans.

     I suspect that the city-folk, many of whom are wealthy (by hill-folk
standards) merchants, lenders, and influential sages tend to resent that an
Orleving herder has more say on the City Ring than does a non-clan city
resident of Jonstown. Most likely the urban residents are more open to
"foreign" ideas and customs than are the rural thanes than dominate the
city's law and politics. This mild tension between the city-rings and the
hill-tribes was usually kept in check by the Sartarite Princes.

     IMO this is exactly  the opposite urban-rural relationship from what
the Pelorian leaders of the Lunar Empire are accustomed to. In Dara Happa,
the cultural cradle of the Empire, the cities rule the farmers. The Lunar
belief that the fall of Whitewall will mean the destruction of Orlanth is
merely a projection of this urban-centered mindset. IMO Lunar fixation on
the "five cities of Sartar" led the Imperial military leaders to believe
that seizing the city-rings, and most importantly Boldhome, would pacify the 


      I suspect that Governor-General Euglyptus the Fat and his Yelmic staff 

believed that "the cities are the key to Sartar". The Report of the Good Rat 

in KoS certainly reinforces the underestimation that the Empire's military
leaders had for Sartar's rural population. Most likely Euglyptus continued
receiving glowing reports about "pacified Sartar" from his urban praetors
even during Starbrow's Rebellion. No doubt Fazzur Wideread's tolerant policy 

is based upon his understanding of the hill-tribes' greater importance.

     Jeff Richard


Make your own free website on Tripod.com