Katallah are a unique tribe, just as the Velitar are. Their ancient
origins are identical to the Velitar, having migrated from Paradise
during the Destruction. With the other surviving tribes they settled
into the lands that became Calbazar. The traditions of the
were different than the Velitar or the Savarn. Though they ruled
themselves comfortably, the Lords of the Katallah did not seek to rule
the other Tribes. Further, of all the Tribes, the Katallah had
weakest ties with the Mitraen Church, a larger percentage of Katallans
adhered to the Old Faith (Druidism) then any other Tribe. (Conversely,
more Velitar were Mitraen than any other Tribe.) Most scholars
that it was this lack of allegiance to the Church or interest in Power
for its own sake that led the Katallah into the business of selling
their support to the highest bidder. As the only real neutrals in
inter tribal dynamics they were in the unique position to profit from
the various tribal struggles. To be in a position to profit, the
Katallah had to be regarded as trustworthy by those relying on their
services. Since most Katallah did not ascribe to Mitraen beliefs
the Old Faith does not ascribe to Divinely enforced Oaths, the Katallah
had to be as good as their word. Over time the reliability of
Katallahn mercenaries became a matter of honor to the Katallah and a by
word amongst the Tribes.
Origins of Katallah tradition go back to the misty ages before the
Destruction, even, or so it is whispered, before the coming of Mitra.
To understand it one needs to understand something about the origins of
Man in Paradise and, most of all, the nature of the Lords of the Tribes.
said that in those First Days there were no Tribes, all men were of but
one Tribe. That men were little better than beasts and knew not the
ways of civilization. In these times men were few in number and weak,
compared to the things that walked the world. In this time of
it was the Eldred, the Elves who succored Man and gave him the skills
and knowledge of letters, agriculture, metallurgy, music, the arts and
religion. There was, it is said, a special relationship between the
Eldred and some of the Men they taught. There was an intermingling of
bloods and a new kind of Man appeared in the world. He combined
elements of both races, though his affinity was more to men than Elves.
Thus were created the First Lords, great was their power and long did
they live. As the generations of man passed into time, these
gathered unto themselves, those peoples to whom they had the most
affinity and thus were born the Tribes.
in that void of time, something happened with one of the Tribes, the
one that grew to be the Velitar, that caused a deep bond, almost a
racial bond, to develop between the people and their Lords. The
of this bond was never duplicated with the other Tribes and it plays a
role throughout Velitar history, even unto today when there are no more
the Lords and their Tribes all sprang from the same stock, there have
always been rivalries and even periods of open warfare between the
groups. It was this history of intercine struggle that gave birth
the Katallahn mercenary tradition. The Lords of the Katallah, though
willing to negotiate contracts for whole armies of their warriors,
always remained neutral themselves. Warfare for the Lords of the
Katallah was only waged to protect the clan. These outbreaks of
clan warfare, though savage and severe, have never been enough to
completely split the Tribes, until.......
coming of Mitra brought new elements into the mix of clan politics.
For the first time the Lords and their people swore allegiance to
Higher Power than themselves. The Lords of the tribes made their
decisions regarding how the people would interact with the new Deity.
Of all the Tribes, the Velitar tied themselves most whole heartedly to
the God, while the Katallah, in keeping with their traditions of
neutrality, made the weakest of contracts. (This is not to say that
there were not individual Katallah who were devout followers of Mitra,
there were and are, but speaking as a whole, the Tribe is not.)
the devotion of the Tribes to Mitra that eventually caused one of the
perpetual power struggles to permanently rend the Tribes. The
of the Velitar's attempt to seize the Throne of Calbazar, their defeat
and the subsequent Exodus are well detailed elsewhere. What is
clear is the fact that the reason the Velitar were unable to make peace
with the victorious Tribes was religious. Just as the Velitar's
ties to Mitra brought forth some of the greatest Clerics and Saints, it
also yielded some of the most depraved monsters allied to all that
Mitra abhors. It was some of these Velitar that committed the
sacrilege and brought the unending wrath of the Tribes down on the clan.
Lords of the Katallah had, as was their wont, cut the best deal they
could for the services of their warriors in the Velitar's rebellion.
Such struggles had happened many times in the past so this was nothing
unusual. Win or loose the Velitar would endure and the Katallah
prosper. But this time the nature of the game took an unexpected
Because of what happened during the fighting, the other Tribes swore to
not just defeat the Velitar, but to utterly destroy them! This
Katallah in an awkward spot. Those who had signed on with the Velitar
had done so till the end of the fighting, but there was to be no end to
the fighting. In the tradition of the Katallah the warriors
their employers to the bitter end. When it became clear that the
Velitar would have to flee Calbazar the Katallah fighters gathered
their families and marched with the Velitar. It is true, to the
of all Katallah, that some few Katallah, very few, deserted the
Velitar. Some did so out of religious convictions, others to keep their
families in Calbazar, but these were the exception. All told about
three thousand Katallah, both warriors and non combatants, went into
the desert with the Velitar. However, the bulk of the tribe, including
all of its hereditary leaders, remained in Calbazar and did not
participate in the Exodus.
the Katallah in Velitrium have no Clan leaders (Not that the Velitar
have any now either!) and very few hereditary Nobles that can trace
their lineage back to Calbazar. Most Katallahn Nobles (and their are a
few) were elevated by the Velitar Kings after arriving in the Valley.
all the Tribes, the Katallah is subdivided into family clans (The term
Tribe and Clan are used interchangeably for the most part, but their
also exists another level of organization that the term clan applies
to.) These clans trace their origins back to the families of the
of the Tribe. Each tribe placed different emphasis on their
Velitar virtually ignore them, there is no attempt to keep or even
track clan bloodlines. The ties and the individuality, along with the
names and identities have all but vanished. (The only exception to this
is the White Book where family lineage and clan are still carefully
recorded.) The Katallah however still place some emphasis on the Clans.
The Clans in the Katallah Tribe are of course related by blood.
are no Clan Lords in Velitrium (presumably they still exist in
Calbazar.) and the real function of the Clan is to determine which of
the Books of Honor an individuals name is recorded in.
The Clans and
the Books of
are a written record of the Katallah's Honor. Each clan maintains
Book (it runs to several volumes.) In the Book is recorded the
every Katallahn at birth. The next entry after that is the Katallahn's
death. No details are listed, no notes about how he or she died, but if
the Katallahn failed to live up to the Honor of the Tribe, then his or
her name is stricken from the Book. It doesn't matter how you
died, it doesn't matter whether you were good or evil, a hero, mighty
warrior or a simple peasant. If you lived honorably, fulfilled
Contracts and never shirked your Duty, then you earn a place in the
Book. (Even if a Katallahn never went to war or sold his sword his name
will be entered, if he did no harm to the Clan's Honor.) However, if
you did break your contract, cheated an employer, deserted a battle or
failed to uphold the Clan's Honor, then your name is lined out.
remains as an object lesson. The presence of a Struck Name in an
individual's lineage is not in itself a problem, but if their are more
than one, especially in the last seven generations, it is a negative to
your family name (-1 reputation to other Katallah in your clan) and if
a clan has a lot of Struck Names in its Book, (more than 10 in the last
seven generations) that is a negative to that entire clan! (-1
reputation to all Katallah. This can be cumulative with a family
Katallah of Calbazar had twenty three clans, only eleven of these are
represented in Velitrium. The original Books for these clans were
in Calbazar, so the Books maintained today only date from the Exodus
on. (Almost 800 years ago.)
The eleven clans
Clan: Oak Tree
Clan: Shooting Star
Clan: Lightning Bolt
relic of the ancient origins of the Katallah are the clan symbols or
totems. The original meanings and function of these totems is
history (Though it is rumored that the Druids know the truth.)
they serve simply as an identifying mark between Katallah (very few
Velitar know, or care, which totem goes with which clan.)
Katallah (though by no means all) have the clan mark tatooed on
weapon arm, it is believed to add strength to their blows and speed to
their parries! It is often found on the weapons that are made for
Katallahn warrior or by a Katallahn craftsman. The presence of a
on a Katallahn style sword or dagger is considered proof that it is a
‘Genuine Katallahn.’ (The fact that many Velitar craftsmen add
marks to their products is generally ignored.) Katallahn craftsmen
NEVER turn out cheap or shoddy goods (It may not be a high quality
weapon, but it is always at least of Good Quality.)
Books are maintained by elders in each clan, chosen by acclimation for
their integrity and strength of will. Though the clans are not
geographically defined, there are concentrations found in different
Clan = Ferramentum,
Clan = Ferramentum,
Gemmatus, western half
Clan = Frontier,
Clan: = Argentium,
Clan = Frontier,
Clan = Gemmatus and
Ferramentum, countryside -1
Clan = Gemmatus,
Clan = Ferramentium
and Argentium, countryside, central
Rebellion was hard on the Katallah clans. Aside from the high
casualties that depleted the Katallahn ranks throughout the Valley, the
clans of Rochav, Mahgar, Aylor and Coldon were heavily recruited by
Duke Mulgrave. When he marched his army, retainers and families into
self imposed exile in Khun Dhagra, his Katallahn mercenaries had a hard
choice to make. Honor called for them to stay with their
that meant leaving Velitrium forever, King Urien made it quite clear
that they would never be permitted to return! Khun Dhagra is, as
know, home to hordes of Goblins and the center of the Demon serving,
cannibalistic Scarlet Cult, which routinely cuts the heart from
followers of Mitra on their bloodstained altars. Even the Druidic
Katallahn were hardly safe from similar fates. Consequently, all
handful of Mulgrave's Katallahn mercenaries abandoned him along the
line of retreat. Many waited till the absolute last moment before
leaving, but only a handful passed through the Gates of Blood.
of this all Katallahn from the Clans Rochav, Mahgar, Aylor and Coldon
are at -1 with all other Katallahn and most members have an additional
-1 for their family lineage.
event that a Katallahn fighter does something to get his or her name
Struck, he is automatically at a -3 reputation within his clan
-2 with all Katallahn and -1 with all who regularly hire mercenaries
(in the Valley.)
(Advantages and Skills)
of generations of combat experience have allowed the Katallah to
develope a series of mental exercises and disciplines that have
enhanced their combat abilities. Some of these disciplines are
to the Katallah, some can found in all fighters. There are
schools of discipline, and though both may be learned over the course
of ones life, only one may pursued at a time.
Disciplines are available AFTER Character creation. Though a character
may be able to buy some or all of the Advantages inherent during
creation, these are not the same as the Disciplines. Practicing the
Disciplines will allow the advantages they contain to be had at a
mental and physical exercise, drills and conditionings, the Katallahn
warrior seeks to strengthen his Will to the point where he is able to
virtually ignore pain and even some injury.
first step in this discipline is to strengthen one’s Will Power.
is the hardest part and generally takes the longest to do.
Character may put no more then 2 points per GAME YEAR into buying 1
level of the Strongwill advantage (It costs 4 points per level. If the
Character started play with Strongwill, he or she must buy an
additional level at the above mentioned time pace to qualify for the
Discipline. What ever you were born with must still be trained and
the Character has obtained the level of Strongwill, the next step is
easier. It involves Focusing this extra Will Power on one’s body and
its reaction to pain. 1D months after achieving the Strongwill
the Character may spend 1 more CP and make an IQ roll. If he
roll he may try again in 1D months. Success allows the character to
increase his pain resistance to that of the High Pain Threshold
final step in this Discipline is in the actual toughening of the body
through the power of ones will. Some time after achieving the
discipline of pain resistance, usually 2d months, a character may
attempt to achieve the Discipline of Immunity. (This
not true immunity, rather it adds an extra level of DR to the character
and may be learned even if a character has already started with the
advnatges Toughness I or II. The extra DR achieved, adds to the
achieve the Discipline of Immunity, the character must pay 15 CPs AND
make an IQ roll without the benefit of Willpower or any other
enhancements. Success means you add 1 to your natural DR. Failure
means you still add 1 to DR, BUT you ALSO gain the Disadvantage
Berserk. Your Strongwill bonus from the Disciplines DOES NOT aid
in resisting Berserk.
Disciplines seek to
enhance the Katallahn’s awareness and defensive reactions.
first step in this discipline is to enhance one’s Awareness. This
the hardest part and generally takes the longest to do.
Character may put no more then 2 points per GAME YEAR into buying 1
level of the Alertness advantage (It costs 5 points per level. If the
Character started play with Alertness, he or she must buy an additional
level at the above mentioned time pace to qualify for the Discipline.
What ever you were born with must still be trained and focused.)
that has been achieved the character must choose one of two Focuses for
enhancing his defensive prowess... Either the Shield or the Sword.
Having selected one, the character must spend extra time each day
least 1 hour a day) for 1 year plus 2D months practicing with the
chosen Focus. At the end of that time 3 CPs must be spent and an
roll is made and if successful the character gains either Enhanced
Block or Enhanced Parry. If it is unsuccessful the character may
again in 2D months. Once one Focus is completed, the other may
studied using the same parameters.
Katallahn has achieved mastery over both these Focuses, he or she may
concentrate on enhancing his Dodge. As before, this requires
practice on a daily basis (at least 1 hour a day) for 1 year plus 3D
months, at the end of which the character invests 10 CPs and must make
an IQ roll. Success means the character gains Enhanced Dodge,
allows the character to try again in 3D months. Two failures means that
the Discipline cannot be achieved and the 10 CPs are lost.
Any time after
Enhanced Parry Discipline, the Katallahn warrior may buy the Parry
Missile Weapon skill. (PH)
the few `day to day' advantages of being Katallahn and having your name
inscribed in the clan's Book of Honor, is that when a young Katallahn
desires to begin a career in the ancient tradition of mercenary, the
clan elders can (usually) arrange for the fee of his (or her) first
weapon permit to be waived. Future ones, needed after that one
expires, will still cost.
is a traditional saying amongst Katalla, "My Word is My Honor and
Honor is My Life." It is widely used and a shortened version, "My
is My Honor" has come to be used as the `Seal' or acceptance in
negotiating terms with a would be employer.
Katalla mercenary, who does not suffer from being "Struck from the
Book" can demand and expect 5% more pay than a non Katalla merc. This
is because there are certain terms that all Katallahn mercenaries live
by. These are universal and are implicitly understood by an employer
who seeks to hire Katalla.
NEVER break a
NEVER desert an
NEVER kill Katallahn
contract is Honorably Discharged (both parties have lived up to their
obligations) the Katalla will not accept a contract to serve against
that employer for one year and one day after the original contracts
If a contract is
broken by the
employer, then all bets are off. The following actions will break
Failure to live
up to the terms.
obvious one of these is a failure to pay. But it can also include
failure to supply sufficient or adequate food, shelter and equipment
(if the contract called for it.) It can also occur if the
seeks to utilize the Katalla in a way not originally specified. For
example, Katalla hired to protect a caravan are called upon to hunt
down a group of bandits. This is a task that could easily be
negotiated, and the Katalla might even be convinced that it is
essential to their original Duty, but if the employer attempts to push
them into such a task without consultation, then the contract can be
qualifier: It often comes to pass that, during an extended
especially one with much field work or sieges, that pay, supplies, etc.
are delayed. It does not reflect well on a Katallahn if he voids
contract due to the unavoidable messiness of war. But, if the
fails to live up to the terms at the first reasonable opportunity, that
is a different story.
employer fails to pay because of the fortunes of war, ie; he was
defeated and lost everything, a Katalla is expected to shrug off the
loss and move on. After all, he bears some degree of responsibility for
the defeat. But, if the employer refuses to pay what is in his
to do, the Katalla may, with out any reflection on their Honor, take
what is coming to them..... This may not sit well with the Law, but
that is another issue all together.)
is a less obvious contractual problem. If an employer sets the
a clearly suicidal task, without assuming the same or similar risk
himself, the contract can be called void. What this means is, if
employer assigns his Katalla mercenaries to fight a clearly hopeless
rearguard while he and his hauscarls hightail it over the hills, the
Katallah can ground arms and consider the contract void. If the
employer wants a charge against an impregnable position or impossible
odds and he is going to lead it! Then the Katalla will follow.
limitation can lead to problems of interpretation. For example,
ordering the Katalla to hold an impossible situation while
reinforcements are gathered is legitimate, as long as their is reason
to believe that the employer is honoring his word. Evidence of
faith on the part of the employer is a willingness to place Hauscarls
in the same situation as the mercenaries. (Hauscarls are highly valued
and since a wergild is owed by the Lord for their death, they are
rarely sacrificed uselessly.)
Mulgrave led his Katalla into an impossible situation, but he never
Wasted them. Even when he was unable to lead personally, he never
asked anything of the Katalla that he didn't ask from his own hauscarls.
are rarely in writing, though an employer hiring large units of Katalla
generally will put it in writing. Sometimes, if the terms and duties
are particularly complex or extended, written contracts are drawn.
A few other
Katallahn fighters are infantry. This is not to say that they can't or
don't ride. But Katalla combat tradition is infantry.fighting.
practice of putting a thrusting point on broadswords and the style of
swordplay that takes advantage of the point is of Katallahn origin.
was already in use before the Exodus and now is widely practiced
throughout Velitrium, but the style and the weapon type are still known
as `Katallahn.' (A character must define whether or not the
skill reflects the Thrusting style. The `Default' is not.)
Katalla are not a disenfranchised or subjugated minority in Velitrium.
They are held in the same esteem as any pure blood Velitar. Many
Katalla are Druidic and subsequently suffer some degree of religious
discrimination, but no more so than a Velitar Druidic follower.
trade of Mercenary is not unique to the Katalla, nor is it universal
amongst the Katlla. Probably 70% of the male Katalla population spends
at least some time under arms. (As with the Velitar, Katalla women can
and do take up arms, though it is MUCH less common than with men.) They
aren't always sell swords (or Blankshields) some serve in the Army or
with Ducal troops or those of the lessor nobles. Wherever they serve
though, a Katallahn can be relied on to keep his contract.