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"Vargens" refers to the native inhabitants of the planet Vargo and includes a diverse population ranging across nearly every social class. Most Vargens are serfs: peasants that are bound to the land they farm. However, an increasing number of Vargens have found their way into the cities and hold jobs as street merchants or entertainers. There are also several Vargen noble houses, each with its own history and stereotyped personality (much like the great Noble Houses of the Known Worlds). Up until 4996, the Vargen nobility of House Mercedes ruled Vargo but the arrival of the Known Worlds forces changed all that. The Mercedes were not about to hand over allegiance to the Phoenix Empire and there was a war for Vargo. The superior technology of the Empire prevailed, and House Mercedes was largely destroyed.
Vargens have varying opinions of the "Offworlders" (as the Vargens call them). Some simply have not forgiven them for their sudden arrival and their overthrow of House Mercedes. Other Vargens have benefitted greatly from the arrival of the Offworlders, and have celebrated the opening of the jumpgate. A Vargen cannot help but be partially defined by their stance towards the Offworlders.
Vargens still make up the vast majority of the population on the planet. Even in Vargo City, the center of the Empire's power on the planet, Vargens are the heartbeat of the urban metropolis. Most market stalls and businesses are Vargen owned and this, combined with sheer numbers, gives them an undercurrent of influence. Vargens have been known to riot when things turn against them, and no place in the city is off-limits to a stampeding crowd.
Even without riots, there are some areas within the city and in the surrounding areas that are known to be controlled by Vargens. This control is often established by questionable, but effective actions. City-dwelling Vargens seem to know more, see more, and hear more than they should. Their information networks stretch farther and run deeper than most Offworlders know. Though they do not sit on the throne of Vargo City, no one knows the city's streets and secrets better than Vargens.
When the jumpgate was closed at the end of the Second Republic, Vargo was isolated from the Known Worlds for nearly a thousand years. During this time period, a powerful family known as the Mercedes rose to rule on Vargo. Through a reletively forgiving hand, the Mercedes earned the support of the people throughout the centuries. They are known as brilliant orators and motivators and the name they carry has a magical quality among the commoners, who often view the Mercedes as local heroes. The Mercedes ruled up until the time of recontact (4996) when a war was fought for Vargo. The Empire's forces, with their superior technology dealt a swift and decisive blow to House Mercedes, destroying most of their infrastructure and shattering their hold on the planet.
This family has been important since Vargo's early history, and has produced many important leaders. Up until the time of the offworlders' arrival the Vesiron still held lands near the ancient bridge across the Great River, ruling the villages of Vesiron, Antol, and Beldira. Other Vesiron still have lands beyond the area currently controlled by offworlders, concentrated principally near Taigen and Kendt.
Another family of ancient lineage, also one of the Founding Families, which provided a number of influential Speakers and Church Leaders. They held the lands of Monedo, Isheres and Chalure, and others in the interior of the continent, with extensive estates near Ionel in the north.
The Veda family once controlled Shirat, Urupla, and Jandor, and many villages to the southwest of there, as well as estates near Haina and Joppa on the southeast coast. Their line produced a number of noteworthy politicians, including Speaker Indira Veda, who held her seat at the time the offworlders came to Vargo.
This family arrived on Vargo during the second wave of migrations of the Diaspora, along with other Irish and Scottish pioneers who settled the provinces of Neauvaire and Taramor. They hold land there to this day, and are renowned as just and honorable.
Descended from another of the Founding Families, the Imandura have blood ties to the Mercedes dating back to just after the Fall. The Imandura once controlled Karthan, Hesen, and Andino, and they still have land near Certao in the north, and along the Doura River to the west. The Imandura have a proud history of military service, and many of their sons and daughters served as officers in the Civic Militia.
Said to be descended from ancient Irish kings, the Rourkes hold lands in Neauvaire and Taramor, and arrived on Vargo with other Galic immigrants during the Diaspora.
Though this family held little land, it owned a considerable merchant fleet, and several factories in the city. It is rumored that some of the Sinclaires are living incognito in Vargo City. It is possible that a few made it to Port Lewellyn as well, where the family controlled several small estates.
Yet another famous family whose ancestors emigrated from old Urth's Ireland, the Kavenau's have holdings in Neauvaire and Taramor. They have long been renowned as able administrators, and many served in the planetary assembly over the millennia.
A small but influential family, whose members filled many important posts in the government bureaucracy under the Mercedes as well as positions in the Civic Militia. A few Milanos still reside in the City, but keep a low profile, and others hold land in the vicinity of Taigen and Laan.
Another small, well-to-do family, renowned for the firearms manufactured at their metalworks in the city and rumored to be descended from the ancient kings of Judea (sales hype, surely). There was a branch of the family in Lerado, but no contact has been had there since recontact.
When the jumpgate to Vargo was reopened in 4994, Imperial Scouts arriving on the world noted in their first reports that the faith of the people was guided by the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun. But, that did quite tell the whole story. Within a year, the native priests were run out of the Cathedral, allegedly by a team of Avestites.
Orthodox priests who arrived on Vargo from the Known Worlds quickly realized that the Church on Vargo had not changed significantly from the time when the jumpgate was sealed: a millennium ago before the fall of the Second Republic. The Vargen Priests still endorsed and taught a mixture of republicanism and acceptance of technology that was anathema to the modern church.
Furthermore, the Vargen Priests refused to accept the claim by the Orthodox Priests that they were the legitimate church. Many priests native to Vargo believe that the Second Republic still exists and that the Known Worlds is a collection of barbarians, charlatans, and heretics.
The Vargen priests continue to teach their version of the truth to the peasants and freemen living in the untamed countryside. But, the Orthodox priests have taken control of the Cathedral of Saint Vargo and the people of the city seem to care little about what they deem minor theological differences.
Although many were at first disturbed by the change of power, most of the people of Vargo City regularly attend services and accept the Orthodox priests as their spiritual leaders.
There are a number of secret societies operating on Vargo, a result of the splintering cultures that Vargo has seen throughout its history. Some of these societies are well-known and are highly active and organized. Others exist mostly in shadows and legend.
A reform movement seeking to bring about a new age of peace and progress, hoping to uplift humankind from the ignorance and superstition of Dark Ages society.
An anti-republican organization of vigilantes with ties to the Hazat and the Temple Avesti, the Red Riders punish those who commit crimes, and anyone who speaks out against the nobility or the Church.
A violent rebel movement, the Shining Light seeks to overthrow the offworlders who now rule Vargo, and establish a New Republic founded on the principles of egalitarianism and social justice.
Sons of Vargo
Aligned with the Vargen Church, the Sons of Vargo seek to liberate their world from offworlder oppression and restore the order that existed before Alexius' scouts rediscovered the planet.
A legendary secretive order of martial artists that are said to be watching over Vargo and its people. Writings from hundreds of years ago make reference to the Sentinels playing important roles in fighting antimonist threats on Vargo.
Children of the Void (Void Wizards)
This antinomist cult has been operating on Vargo for millennia, seeking to conquer the planet in the name of their master, the Lord of Shadows, so that they might open a gateway to Qlippoth and unleash its darkness into the universe.
Other Vargen Groups
Often called the 'Sea Gypsies' or simply the 'Sea People' by outsiders, the ocean-dwelling tribes who call themselves the Mauri have plied the seas of Vargo for millenia, and have a distinct culture of their own. Descended from Polynesian and African settlers who arrived on Vargo near the end of the Diaspora, the Mauri only set foot on land to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. The rest of their lives are spent aboard great outrigger ships which gather the wealth of the sea for their subsistence needs.
Each ship is owned and operated by a single clan, whose members can trace their heritage with pride back all the way to the early days of the Republic. Most of the time the ships are on their own, but once each year, during midsummer, all of the ships meet at a pre-selected location to hold the Gathering of the Clans. The Gathering is a time of great celebration, during which the clans exchange brides and grooms for the sake of genetic diversity.
Although in general the Mauri keep to themselves, they have a habit of claiming anything not nailed down under what they call 'right of salvage', under the theory that if someone really wants something, they will not leave it lying around for others to find. This has earned them a reputation as thieves and pirates.
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