The Urlans (often referred to as the Meic by Arcadians) are the nomadic herdspeople of Megea. They value individual ability, and despise unfairness and prejudice. They are the people of Bemalonc, lovers of struggle and glory, yet impartial and fair. They typically have black hair, blue eyes, and stone-white or grey skin, measure 7 to 8 feet tall, and are well-adapted to the cold, barren climate of their home. At their best, Urlans are decisive, just, and courageous. Their drive to perfection pushes them to incredible talent, and they never back down from a challenge. At their worst, Urlans are self-absorbed, callous, and vain. They act with no concern for others, sometimes going out of their way to cause harm, and believe themselves invincible.
Little distinction is made between Urlan female and male names. Ex. Aukan, Elgan, Garan, Ilnat, Kori, Lokin, Pauvin, Thelai, Urklan, Vinat
Urlan family names are typically short and always end in a vowel, similarly to clan names. Ex. Arki, Gile, Lano, Preni, Vai
All Urlans have a clan name of four or five syllables and ending in a vowel. The clan name shows which tribe an Urlan belongs to. Ex. Anakalathai, Elanithino, Gathakanathi, Kalagiano, Katholavi
Shared customary codes and values
Urlan culture places great emphasis on self-sufficiency, to an extreme that often puzzles outsiders. A Urlan with little ability is seen as a liability to others, and such are sometimes abandoned by their tribe. These outcasts either die in the wastes or eventually carve out a lonely existence apart from any tribe. Urlans are also devoted to competition, and constantly strive to outdo one another. Rivalries are common among Urlans, and in some extreme cases may cause a tribe to split apart. Tournaments in which many tribes cone together to compete are held several times a year, often accompanied by festivals and carousing. Urlan tribes are organized into three divisions: Elders, those too injured to work but with knowledge or other skills, who remain in the tribe’s camp; Workers, those who craft goods or gather fruits and vegetables from the camp’s surroundings; and Hunters, who follow the mountain-goats and herds of deer far and wide. The Elders usually include a handful of truly old Urlans, but few live to old age. The majority of Urlans meet an early death, as they constantly strive to outdo one another and take ever greater risks. Most practitioners of magic among them are druids, who can be part of any division.
Common Dress code
Urlan clothing consists of several layers of fur garments, stacked so as to provide maximum insulation from the cold. High boots and heavy hoods are common, although some prefer snowshoes for greater mobility. Most clothing materials are used with minor treatment to protect them, and dyed clothing is rarely seen. Married Urlan wear long, white scarves to show their marital status, though some prefer to wear their scarf as a sash or bandanna instead.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Venison is a staple Urlan food, as is goat milk. Cheese is less common, and usually saved for festivals. Many local vegetables are eaten, especially wild radishes and calendula. The snow-covered lands make clean water common, but beer is also brewed (and tends to be very strong in comparison to Aressan beer). Urlans are slow to offer help to others, especially foreigners, believing that one should give others the chance to prove their strength alone before working together. They value the experience of elders greatly, as those who survive to old age are rare and lucky.
Urlans despise unfairness, and those who attempt to gain an underhanded advantage in competition are shunned. Competition should measure skill and effort, without outside considerations. Urlans likewise consider the noble-peasant hierarchy of most Aressan realms to be strange; why should the king rule simply for his lineage, when there are more capable rulers within his realm? Gender roles and social classes are similarly looked down on, as Urlans believe that gender and background have little effect on a person’s ability.
A Marginalized CultureThe Urlan are perhaps the most marginalized and stereotyped group in Aressa. Arcadians see them as simple at best and willfully ignorant at worst, and believe them incapable of understanding the concept of creativity. They view Urlan competitiveness and druidic practices as signs of an animalistic love for violence that cannot be turned to good, often conscripting Urlan fighters into the army for their raw power. The Axish see them as backwards and primitive, foolishly placing value in physical strength rather than technological progress. They belittle them as deluded followers of a perverted version of the Three Virtues, placing Loyalty (in twisted form as “fairness”) above Respect and thus above Honor. As the Axish have little contact with Urlans beyond the battlefield, the common image is of a hulking, muscular berserker who fights merely for personal glory or the love of battle, and not out of duty. In addition, many Axish believe that Urlans are all loyal subjects of Arcadia, and so an Urlan who finds themselves in Axish territory is likely to find themselves captured as a spy The Urlans, in turn, see the Axish and Arcadians as weak hypocrites. For all their superiority, their posturing, their art and their technology, few are self-sufficient in any way. The nobles train for a battle they will never draw sword in and cannot feed or dress themselves without a host of servants, the peasants have little idea of weaponry beyond “pointy end towards enemies,” and the craftsmen are so focused on their art that they can neither wield weapon nor gather food. They see Arcadians as invaders and brutes who value all the wrong things, but are still better than the hypocritical Axish, who wouldn’t know their precious “virtues” if one snuck up and attacked. Few Urlans take much interest in mainland Aressa, and those that live away from Megea, whether as soldiers, exiles, or for some other reason, are typically met with quiet discrimination and sometimes open hostility.
The Urlan disdain gender ideals, believing that everyone, regardless of gender, must be able to contribute to the tribe.
Courtship is swift among Urlans, and involves a ritual competition for the love of one’s partner, undertaken regardless of sex. Although in most cases this competition is mere tradition, and the lover’s friends are often asked to “throw” the competition (in a rare exception to the Urlan principles of fairness), it is occasionally used to resolve rivalry for another’s love. The marriage ceremony is simple and consists of the couple remaining silent and secluded by themselves for one day, after which they paint each other’s faces using dyes reserved for the purpose and are considered married.