Cultural Cues Culberon is an amalgamation of cultures inspired by pre-Christian and medieval Scots, Irish, Welsh and Celtic peoples.
Costuming Culberrans favor sturdy clothing in simple colors and basic cuts. Kilts are in fashion among some Culberrans, though many may still choose trousers. Most clothing is made from wool, and earrings or torcs are popular accessories.
Culberon is a cold, rainy land north and west of Illumin. Skjanos and the Outlands both share an eastern border with Culberon. Most of Culberon is heavily forested – as a result, timber buildings are quite common. The land is good for agriculture and raising small livestock such as sheep or cows. While most of Culberon was forcibly brought under Illumin rule several centuries ago, the small northern isle of Innes (pronounced ‘Innish’) managed to resist a complete takeover, though they were cut off from the mainland for several generations.
The bards are the highly respected keepers of the history of Culberon. According to them, the land was populated by a people fleeing some disaster to the south. These people eventually formed themselves into clans and vied for power and resources with other clans. Though there are many minor clans, the major clans are:
- Burnett: The Burnett clan produces renowned warriors and great smiths. It holds the secret of making woad, and produces many fine swords for Culberran fighters.
- Innes: While not every Innesman is from the clan, the clan claims to speak for all Innesmen. Innes fighters are quite fearsome in battle, able to wield a greatsword in each hand.
- Kerr: The Kerr clan comprises mostly woodsmen and rugged individualists.
- Ramsay: The Ramsays, renowned for their wild closeness to nature, had their power broken during the Highland War and never recovered; to this day few if any Culberrans claim Ramsay lineage.
- Stewart: The original victor in the clan struggles, the Stewart clan lays claim to the spiritual and physical rule of Culberon.
In CY 106, the Culberons and Illumin met – and this meeting did not go well for the Culberrans. Illumin quickly decided to add Culberon to it’s list of conquests, and proceeded to do so rather easily. Though the Culberrans resisted as best they could, they were no match for the better-trained, better-disciplined and better-equipped Illumin legions.
For the next two hundred years, the Culberrans could only put up a token resistance from guerrilla fighters as the Illumin did their best to crush their culture and erase their history. Military officers would retire to stolen farms in Culberon territory, and the people were treated as second-class citizens or even slaves in their own home.
Only when the Illumin Empire was in decline were the Culberrans able to finally free themselves. Taking advantage of an army distracted by Bech and internal conflict, and learning well the military tactics of their oppressors, the Culberrans managed a successful revolt, though it took them several years and many lives to fully expel the Illumin from their homeland.
Once Culberon was finally free, the Culberran people began a long effort to reclaim their culture – starting with re-instating a High King. Currently, King James Stewart is High King of Culberon, who eschewed a golden crown at his coronation and instead accepted a crown of Culberran sacred wood.
Along with an end to Illumin oppression came an end to the forced hiding of the bards and druids – respected pillars of Culberran society. Bards are traveling entertainers, carrying news from town to town and keeping alive the oral history of Culberon. The druids are far more reclusive, only leaving their sacred groves for seasonal rites or equally compelling reasons.
Naturae and elemental magic are welcome in Culberon, though the Culberrans are suspicious of Necromancy and revile Mesmerism as an Illumin corruption. Sun acolytes are also welcome, though they may sometimes clash with the druids. Fae are also quite common in Culberon, and a wide variety of superstitions have sprung up surrounding these creatures, most often called the ‘Fair Folk’ by those who do not wish to call down a fae curse on their heads.
Culberrans tend to be suspicious of outsiders, and outright hostile to Illumin citizens. Their relations with Skjanos largely depend on if the Skjanos in question is there with a raiding vessel or a trading ship. A Culberran is generally wary when dealing with an elf, since elves are generally assumed to have some connection to the Fair Folk. Small groups of wild elves, however, live deep in the Culberran forests. Elusive, bird-like swanmay also live near placid lakes, though few Culberrans have ever seen one up close. Trolls are the most welcome of the supernatural races, for several trolls fought side by side with Culberrans during the struggle against Illumin occupation.