Riders of Destiny
Societal Structure: Flexible class system/Meritocracy
Cultural Qualities: The Ket values of honor and earnest achievement have given them quite a reputation. The phrase, “As good as the word of a Ket” is commonly used to describe something of superior quality. As such, people from Ket receive a +2 innate bonus to Diplomacy check. However should a Ket be caught in a lie the NPC’s attitude will automatically move two steps toward hostile.
Specialized Equipment: Jousting Armor – Ket smiths have long worked to improve mobility in their armor while mounted. All masterwork armor made in Ket reduces the armor check penalty by an additional point to a minimum of 0 for the purposes of affecting the Ride skill. This ability stacks with the masterwork bonus as well for a total reduction of 2.
Favored Horse Breed: Destrier
Ket is nestled between the Yatil mountains, the Barrier peaks, and the Lortmil mountains. It is also the only lowland route between the land of the horselords and the east. The weather is almost always overcast and the people tend towards tall with pale skin and hair color that varies between bond and black.
The Ket wear breeches, skirts, and tunics of coarse wool, though people of higher status wear more refined clothes as befits their station. Most men and women wear boods of one kind or another but noble women also wear slippers. Most Ket carry a small utility knife, but those skilled enough often wear a sword or other weapon.
Ket society is organized by noble families with hereditary rights, but the Ket people also recognize that just because one is born into poverty or into nobility does not mean that one must stay there. A Kettish common phrase is, “From one’s ability, to one’s Station.” Nobles who prove to be unworthy of their station find little support amongst the other nobles and if several generations of the same family cannot maintain their place in society, it atrophies and they lose it. This process can be slow and as such it is reversible. For a peasant to work his way up however is much easier.
If a person, regardless of station, demonstrates talents or skills beyond that of their lot in life, they are often brought to the attention of the local noble family who finds a suitable place for them to use their talents. In some cases this means setting a young smith up with a shop and a loan to help get them on their feet, and in other extreme cases, a young person can even be brought into a noble family. Usually this occurs only with those people who demonstrate a high skill at arms or magical ability. In these cases a person falls into one of three categories. The most common is to be considered a sponsored member of the household. Here a person is given food and shelter and treated well and in return they apply their skills on behalf of the family while flying the family colors. They are not servants and are able to wear the familial crest without issue, but they are often treated like a distant cousins, being afforded all the proper courtesies but having no real pull within the family and are not in standing for any inheritance. After years of loyal service most receive a stipend and a comfortable place when they get older .
Other than being sponsored, the other two methods of joining the family are quite literal. One option only given to the most useful and talented people who have been a part of the family for a while, is formal adoption. The noble family announces that henceforth the subject is to be a formal part of the family, usually at “Birthday Party”. Adopted members of the family can inherit, but are also expected to pull their weight beyond just doing using their particular skills and be involved in family affairs like managing the family holdings. Most people within this group get there by first being sponsored then earning this internal promotion.
Lastly a person can be invited to marry into the family. This is most common for someone who has already been “adopted”, but occasionally a self made person is invited to marry into the family. Through these methods the noble families keep the blood fresh and the family strong.
On the order of establishing which family has more status, land and wealth are important, but having tournament champions in the family can be even more important. The annual tournaments are followed closely by all in Ket and most aspire to be good enough at an event to join the tournament. Tournaments have many events and the winners of each are treated like national heroes, and no event more prestigious than the joust. In Ket horses are used for most of the same reasons that other cultures use them, but they are also specially bred here for combat and power, to make the joust even more dramatic.