Swynfaredian humans Ethnicity in Scarterra | World Anvil

Swynfaredian humans

The term ethnic label "Swynfaredian" refers to be born in or of the land of Swynfaredia.   Swynfaredia's nobility is made up entirely of hereditary sorcerers who have ascribed near divine status to the nobility's dragon ancestors.  At most 3-4% of the general Swynfaredian population has hereditary sorcerery.  A lot more than the general population of most human lands, but hardly a defining trait of the Swynfaredian ethnicity as a whole.   Below the nobility, the Swynfaredians are primarily agrarian like most other Scarterran humans.   Swynfaredia naming conventions are based on the Welsh language. Most Swynfaredian NPCs are named via google searches for "Welsh baby names" and many of the geographic land marks and noble house titles are mangled derivatives of Welsh words.


Major language groups and dialects

Most Swynfaredians speak Common as their mother tongue. The Swynfaredian upper class speaks and writes in Draconic at formal events but they still usually speak Common primarily for day-to-day conversations.   Many scholarly tomes in Swynfaredia are written in Draconic making it more difficult for commoners to climb their way into being scholars.   More than a few modern dragons have made disparaging remarks about what the so-called "Swynfaredian Draconic dialect" has evolved into.

Culture and cultural heritage

Dragons are of course a big deal. Not just in formal courtly Draconic but a lot of dragon based metaphors and jokes permeate Swynfaredian vulgar argot.   Children of all social classes play with dragon toys and play dragon themed games.
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Shared customary codes and values

All nations at least try to create a sense of patriotism and national pride in their populace but in Swynfaredia this patriotism often butts heads with the Nonagon. Swynfaredian humans are, on average, more secular than most other Scarterran humans.   The Kingdom of Swynfaredia state doctrine pushes the ideology that sorcerers are better than non-sorcerers, draconic sorcerers are better than other sorcerers, and sorcerers descending from the Founding Dragons are superior to other draconic sorcerers.   The has amped up the legend of the Founding Dragons so much that they are practically deific figures. This has gradually expanded into general reverence for dragons. Dragons themselves were rarely known for great piety towards the Nine believing that the Nine were above them, but not by much. While the Swynfaredian dragon blood nobles are not quite that bad, on average, they are considerably less pious than the ruling class of most other Third Age kingdoms. This attitude has trickled down to the lower classes.  
Scarterra world cover
Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake
Every major priesthood in Scarterra has at least some representation, some above board and some in the shadows. There are more than a few home grown Swynfaredian religious groups too, some above board and some in the shadows. All that said, Swynfaredian attendance at religious observances is lower than in other nations and per capita donations of the upper classes and lower classes are relatively lower than in other lands. Some of the most pious Swynfaredians are directly or indirectly affiliated with anti-government groups.
  The Masks, Guardians, and Keepers traditionally spar with each other over who gets to influence the royal and ducal courts in most fuedal nations but in Swynfaredia the Nonagon is so shut out of politics that these three groups tend to feud over relative scraps of influence.   Nami and Zarthus is somewhat informally suppressed by the ruling elites. Maylar worship is actually suppressed with clearly worded royal decrees. All three of these groups operate largely underground in Swynfaredia.   For different reasons, Tenders, Stewards, and Children enjoy more tacit support from the dragon blood elites so these groups wield comparable influence in Swynfaredia than they do in other lands with the Children enjoying more influence and prestige than they normally enjoy in most feudal human lands...but only if they buy into the pro-sorcerer rhetoric.

Average technological level

Swynfaredia is more or less on par with all the other major powers of Scarterra though given that they partially repress Wizardry tradition, their formal magical spell craft is lacking there but they mostly make up for this with organized and compared to the rest of Scarterra, fairly academically based sorcery.   Swynfaredia values the science of alchemy above all other non-magical studies and a disproportionately high amount of recent advancements in alchemy occur in Swynfaredia.   Seamanship, metallurgy, and engineering are slightly behind the other major powers of Scarterra.

Common Dress code

Lower class clothes are pretty standard for the rest of Swynfaredia with simple garments but Swynfaredia has more access to dyes than most other Scarterran nations, so while peasant clothing is fairly simple in form and function, it is rarely bland.   Upper class clothing among the dragon bloods is of course dragon inspired. Scaly cloth patterns are extremely common.   Other Swynfaredian fashion trends include capes and shoulder pads to vaguely ressemble wings, hats made to ressemble horns, and sometimes vaguely tail-like trains on women's dresses among stranger things.   They often use magical items as status symbols, especially magical jewelry.   Makeup and cosmetics and to a lesser extant formal hairstyles vaguely mimic dragons.   Many sorcerers and sorceresses with skill with Illusions regularly change their appearance with illusions. Some will take on fake draconic features, others simply want to hide scars and blemishes and otherwise flatter their existing features.

Art & Architecture

When possible, Swynfaredia like to emulate ancient draconic architecture which centers around very tall towers and very large doorways. Normally, pragmatism forces buildings to be more modest.   Dragons are a big deal in Swynfaredia, with dragon sculptures, dragon friezes, dragon murals, dragon toys, and dragon inspired clothing among other things.   Even the lower class Swyfaredians frequently incorporate dragon artwork into homes, at least the best they can do with modest means.

Foods & Cuisine

Meat and Poultry

Pork is a staple meat for Swyfaredia, common on the dinner plates of peasants and princes alike. So much so that Swynfaredians are often disparagingly called "Swineherdians".
  Horse meat is considered a low status food in many parts of Scarterra, or is even considered taboo. Things are different in Swynfaredina. Both ancient and modern dragons like to eat horse meat, and Swyfaredian dragonbloods like to emulate dragons, so for many Swynaredian dragonbloods often considered horse meat a delicacy. There are some dragon bloods who publicly disagree with this notion and refuse to eat it. There is also a qualitative difference between horses raised for their meat and work horses that get eaten after their useful life is over.   Beef is a more common high status meat. Most peasants have tasted beef, but only get the cheap cuts or enjoy beef on special occasions. Goat meat is considered a peasant food and almost never eaten by the upper classes. Upper-class Swynfaredians rarely consent to be served goat cheese but often eat cow based dairy products.   Fresh water seafood is generally considered peasant food but sometimes nobles will eat it. Salt water seafood is considered appropriate food for all social classes.   Bonecracker eggs are considered a high status food frequently gracing the tables of dragon blood households and occasionally gracing the tables of peasants on feast days and weddings. Partially as a result of this, Swynfaredian peasants have greater access to chickens than most peasants do in other lands.  

Staple Crops

  Wheat and maize are the most popular cereal crops grown, commonly eaten by all social classes. Chestnuts are fairly important staples and enjoyed by peasants and princes alike. Rice is grown in some southern regions and is important in those places.   Barley and potatoes are commonly grown, but are considered peasant food.  


Swynfaredia does have much of a domestic ale or beer tradition. Swynfaredia's most popular breweries and ale houses in Swynfaredia are almost always operated by immigration or first generation children of immigrants.   Wine and hard apple cider are the two principle alcoholic beverages of Swynfaredia. Wine is generally an upper class drink and cider is a generally a lower class beverage but there are low end wines and high end ciders that break the norms.
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  There are corn based, potato based, and rice based alcoholic beverages as niche products.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

On their name days, babies are commonly annointed with water and ash. This is short and simple for peasants and extremely ritualistic and complicated for dragon bloods. If possible, spells of all eight school of magic are ritually cast in the infant's presence.

Coming of Age Rites

Swynfaredian Otectum Parties act as sort of magical debutante events for dragon blood sorcerers, but does not apply to non-sorcerers.   Regardless of social class or sorcerous potential, tween kids or early adolescents often have some sort of formal attainment ritual where they walk through fire. Usually, this is just the young person walking under a pair of lit torches.   A more hardcore practice is gradually becoming more popular. Sometimes the young ones are actually burned, often told to willingly pick up a hot object. There is normally a magical Healer present or at the very least some burn treatment ointments.

Funerary and Memorial customs

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Cremation is the norm for the upper classes. They frequently bury or entomb urns of the deceased's ashes in family shrines.   Sometimes the lower classes practice cremation, sometimes burials. When they do practice cremation, peasants usually scatter the ashes of the deceased rather than keep them.
  Filial piety is not especially common in Swyfaredia but it is not forbidden either. Most dragon bloods at least go through the motions of ancestor veneration. Fiilial peity is more common in Southeast region of Swynfaredia where it is not unheard for peasant families to maintain family shrines. The region has picked up a lot of cultural pracices from both Stahlheim and the Elven Empire which includes their attitudes towards filial peity.

Common Taboos

Swynfaredia is ever-hungry for reagents but trade in any body parts of dragons is a capital crime as it is for deriving reagents from human bodies. Those aren't the only illegal reagent source, but they are the most important two magical taboos. Even humanely sourced reagents are heavily regulated largely so the dragon bloods can keep track of who has what and charge a surtax.   Of course, forbidden reagents are still traded in the black market. Once a magical item is actually created, it is becomes very hard to prove where the component reagents came from.

Historical figures

The major historical figures of Swynfaredia are of course the four founding dragons: Fremiss the Vibrant, Gorisonad the Wise, Kovenoth the Builder, and Numaness the Mystic.


Beauty Ideals

In the upper classes, having minor cosmetic traits stemming from dragons are considered very attractive, Draconic eyes, especially are considered attractive. Hypocritically full half-dragons or so called quarter-dragons with very overt are often viewed as being off-putting (though few admit that publically).  
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In general, beauty standards across Scarterra are pretty universal. Signs of health and vitality are attractive. Smooth skin, youth, thick hair, etc. Muscular men and curvy women are generally considered attractive.   Swynfaredians lean heavily towards Earthy ethnic traits, that gradually become more fiery and watery as one moves south in Swynfaredia. Earthy standards are often considered the ideal.
  This doesn't mean that outsiders with non-earthy traits are automatically quasimodos. Sometimes they receive favorable attention as well as unfavorable attention for being "exotic looking". Some exotic traits are considered attractive are some are considered off-putting. Elements of attraction and prejudice are not always logical or consistent.   Being tall is generally considered attractive among the upper classes Half-dragons and half dragon legacies are frequently tall therefore tall is good). Most Swynfaredians are earthy and earthy people are on average the shorted ethnic variety in Scarterra so Swynfaredians with a dash of dragon blood in their veinsleak their height advantage out of the bucket fairly quickly.

Gender Ideals

In Swynfaredian society, having sorcery or at least having blood relatives with sorcery is more important than what a person's genitalia. At least if they want access to high status positions.   Swynfaredian lands and titles pass to the eldest living child regardless of sex, as long as that child is a sorcerer or sorceress. Squibs may not inherit titles though in some cases the sorcerous children of squibs may still inherit.   Among the Swynfaredian dragon bloods, gender roles are relatively egalitarian with regards to the sexes. For example, there are more noble women serving and knights (Talon and Fang Warriors), alchemists, and sages than in most other human nations. There are more noble men serving as chancellors and stewards than in most other human nations.   That said, gender roles are muted but not eliminated. There are still more male knights than female knights. There are still more female stewards than male stewards. Gender egalitarianism has not trickled down to the peasants, at least not much.

Major organizations

The Arcane Registry is a very powerful organization that fills a niche unneed outside of the land of Swynfaredia.

Cover image: by Eron12 with Hero Forge


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