The Vargan race is the youngest race of all on Vallhyn. While humans can trace a lineage back thousands of years a Vargan might still be in the company of their progenitors. Feeling a need for a loyal champion, Luaere expended great amounts of her energy to create the first Vargan: Mikhail Telbain. She endowed him with strength, endurance, heightened senses, and the ability to wield her divine powers. Luaere also instilled in the first Vargan a sense of honor, duty, and truthfulness. It was her belief that humans were too unreliable and many of the other races too connected to their patron-deity. So impressed with her new champion, Luaere felt it worth the risk to expend more of her energy to create more Vargan to serve her. It is said that in populating the race so that it would be self-sustaining, Luaere took inspiration from different virtues. From these different inspirations the original Vargans aligned themselves into five Great Houses. Contemporary Vargans may belong to a Great House or a minor one but each knows from which cloth they are originally cut.
Vargans are not known for their social skills and most outsiders view them as uncompromising, stubborn, and frustrating. In many cases that view is correct. Most Vargans live by very strict codes of conduct and honor. They are deeply adverse to outright lies and half-truths. This can make conversations with them interesting. The mix of brutal honesty, constant corrections, specificity, and the refusal to answer questions is often viewed as off-putting. Vargans that are not in frequent contact with other races and/or are young are known to be the worst offenders.
Age and exposure to other cultures tends to temper the Vargan personality. Those that know them best are quick to discover that their Vargan companions tend to have a dry wit, a realistic outlook, and an even temperament. Though rare, some Vargan turn the traits that others view as negatives into positives by building a reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, and solid council. These individuals are often viewed as highly charismatic and have been quite popular as ambassadors of their people.
Vargans heavily resemble their lupine cousins and it is safe to assume that the wolf was Luaere’s inspiration for her champion’s race. They are tall, broad, and powerfully built. More importantly, they are aware of their stature in comparison to other species. This leads to most Vargans relying heavily on their strength and being less concerned with finesse. Given their natural regenerative qualities, Vargan warriors rarely bother to avoid danger. It is more common for them to outfit themselves in the heaviest armor available and charge directly into harm’s way. What isn’t stopped by armor will hopefully be handled by regeneration.
M: 6’10″ – 7’6″ / 208 cm – 229 cm
F: 6’6″ – 7’2″ / 198 cm – 218 cm
M: 320 – 480 lbs / 145 – 217 km
F: 280 – 440 lbs / 127 – 200 km
Born to serve, most Vargan take their duty very seriously. Virtually all worship their patron deity Luaere and a vast number of them serve Her directly as members of the Sodality, Her organized religion. Vargans do not understand the concept of faith. They have absolute knowledge of their creator and wield Her divine power very effectively. Despite that knowledge, most Vargan do not actively attempt to spread their religion. They tend to be very quiet about the subject and view it as a personal commitment between themselves and Luaere.
The Vargan people lead a very decentralized lifestyle. The vast majority of their legal structure comes from the Sodality. Vargans gladly follow the order of their patron’s church even though it is not exclusively comprised of their race. Beyond the Sodality’s law the average Vargan owes their obedience to a house. Each house has its own customs, laws, traditions, and taboos but they are not drastically different. Most minor houses take their traditions from the Great House from which they sprang. To ensure peace and civility between all houses and to protect citizens who may accidentally break one house’s rule while upholding another’s, a Grand Court was established. Each season the court meets and handles all judicial issues and rules on general guidelines for all houses to follow. The court is compromised of three members from each Great House and one from each minor house. On all issues a simple vote is held where the group with the majority wins.
The vast majority of Vargans are employed in martial professions. They are at home filling the role of soldier, mercenary, knight, bodyguard, or anything else along those lines. Most end up in the service of the Sodality and frequently trade their skills for the goods and services they need to sustain them. This has lead to many symbiotic relationships with the various races of the world. Those Vargans that chose not to take up the sword tend to take on roles that are considered of great importance. It is generally viewed as a great honor to become a master smith or hunter. It is also not uncommon for a Vargan that is particularly powerful in the divine arts to become a cleric.
Luaere did not see it fit to endow her children with a language of their own at their creation. The first Vargans spoke common, the language of humans. Over the scant few centuries that the race has existed they have developed their own dialect of common but are generally understood with little trouble.
Vargans believe that competition breeds strength. It is very common for them to create friendly rivalries with their siblings, cousins, friends, and/or anyone else who happens to be walking by. This desire for competition is most apparent in their relationship with the Minotaur race. Both races pride themselves on their strength and warrior prowess. As such, when Vargans and Minotaurs mingle there will inevitably be some sort of contest between them.
Rivalries are also firmly established within the Vargan’s House-based social structure. In each Great House and in all of the minor ones there is a vast web of contention and each strand is considered a tradition. For the most part these rivalries are framed as friendly competition but they have been known to turn deadly every so often.
The Great Houses
House Telbain: The Silver Star
The first and (in the eyes of some) the greatest of all the Vargan houses. Founded by Mikhail Telbain, the first Vargan. Mikhail Telbain was an exceptional swordsman and showed promise in his ability to wield the divine arts. It is because of that that the House Telbain has a long history of producing some of the most talented Knights of the Half Moon. In some ways there is no distinction between House Telbain and the Sodality as virtually every member takes the oath of service. All of the families within the house are known for their charisma, positivism, and absolute loyalty to Luaere. Expert swordsmanship is a skill highly valued by all house members. Members of House Telbain are often the ambassadors for the Vargan race and boast proudly that they have the least rivalries of any other house.
House Thane: The Steel Blade
The smallest and in many ways the weakest of all the Great Houses. Founded by Sebastian Thane, the great betrayer. House Thane was destined to be the defender of the Sodality. House Thane grew quickly as Sebastian recruited and trained warriors to fill the ranks of the Sodality’s military. All of the families within the house are known for their determination, martial prowess, and their dedication to the militant orders within the Sodality. The family Thane, however, is known for its betrayal. As his army grew Sebastian Thane was seduced with promises of power from the demi-god Varscuro. He turned his back on Luaere and sought to take the Sodality by force. His play for power might have succeeded were it not for his hubris. In the eve of the Sodality’s defeat Mikhail Telbain challenged Sebastian Thane to a contest of swordsmanship for leadership of their respective houses. The loser’s House would swear loyalty to the winner. Thane could not pass up such an offer but was slain by Telbain, ending the rebellion. No Thane currently rules the house nor do they have say in the Grand Court.
House Razok: The Silent
The least centralized and most insular of all the Great Houses. Founded by Boarin Razok, the perpetual student. House Razok is the most mysterious of all Houses and keeps many curious traditions. Minimalists in every way, the families of the house waste nothing: not food, water, space, nor words. House Razok is known for its great sense of duty, agreeableness, and reason. Boarin Razok rarely spoke but when he did so everyone was sure to listen. To this day its members often serve within the Order of the Full Moon and their council is sought by all.
House Aethees: Her Hand
The most divinely blessed of all the Houses. Founded by Celeste Aethees, the faith-singer. House Aethees has a long history of service within the Sodality’s Order of the Full Moon. The families of the house produce some of the most powerful divine magic users in the world thanks to their founder. Celeste Aethees had a voice so pure that her chants not only brought forth Luaere’s blessings but also brought her enemies to tears. Members of House Aethees are generally intelligent, artistic, and clear-voiced. Their style of divine arts is often the most impressive, performance-like, and ritualized. House Aethees is also one of the few Vargan houses that produces arcane magic users as well. This is often viewed suspiciously by other houses.
House Caemen: The Just
The House most concerned with justice for all Vargans. Founded by Adrian Caemen, the arbiter. House Caemen and its families are most concerned with ensuring equal justice for all. Members of the House tend to sit and evaluate both sizes of every disagreement before finally passing judgement. Adrian Caemen spent much of his time arbitrating the disputes between the early Vargan and was known for his great sense of fairness. Many of the agreed-upon laws come from his decisions. As such, members of House Caemen have been known to be frustratingly slow to move to action and are often quite specific with the letter of the law. Vargans within the house are open-minded but judgmental. For this reason most end up in the service of the Order of the Crescent Moon as inquisitors.