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DM tips:The Brecht

This is a review of Brecht culture,etc in the Birthright campaign setting.

[top]Physical appearance

Fops and dandies all - Lord Gaelin Thentraven
Brecht prefer colorful clothing, take great care with their appearance, and move gracefully - all Brecht dance to one degree or another. This often leads other people to under-estimate the Brecht as 'all show and no substance', this perception is right in a handful of cases, but generally completely incorrect, although the Brecht are always happy to exploit being under-estimated.

[top]Attitude and Culture

Merchants to the bones, they'd sell their grandmothers for a shilling! - Alejan ibn Malik
Brecht tend to be remarkably outgoing and open - Brecht tend to be open to new ideas and experiences. The Brecht are quick to spot - and exploit - opportunities to gain advantage which has given them a poor reputation amongst more tradition minded cultures. The Brecht admire any superior ability or skill, but value quick wits and humor far above brute strength or focused drive which they tend to disdain as obsessive - to the Brecht flexibility is far more important since it allows one to respond to the whims of fate.

[top]Trade and industry

A nation of shop-keepers and fishermen - Lord Allinn of Dhoesone
The Brecht are amongst the most technologically advanced of the human tribes in every area of skill. Brecht tools are famed far and wide, Brecht skills are less recognized but no less valuable - the terraced farms and system of canal irrigation found in Muden would be a national wonder in Anuire or Khinasi.
The Brecht are a hard-working folk, but equally quick to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The Brecht see little benefit in hoarded wealth, wealth invested or saved to procure some expensive good is acceptable but simply storing wealth to them defeats the point of it - a miser has no friends in Brechtur.
The Brecht do not nominally have serfs, and slavery is banned in most nations (Kiergaard being a notable exception), but bankrupt debtors are often made into indentured servants and the poor are as exploited by the merchants of Brechtur as much as they are by the nobles of Anuire or the geirhou of the Khinasi.

[top]Law and governance

Most Brecht law is a fusion of Anuirean Imperial law and ancient Brecht traditions but is mostly similar to Anuirean law aside from stronger rights for non-nobles. The Brecht consider property rights exceptionally important - often punishments are greater for property damage or theft than for physical assault.
The Brecht economy is based on control of assets, merchants import valuable materials such as gems, gold, etc in return for tools and other goods worked from common materials. The Brecht export significant quantities of foodstuffs to the Rjurik and Vos - although the Vos gain more by raiding than trade. Brecht tools are valued across the continent and found as far afield as Diemed.

[top]Social strata

To them money is everything, honor is nothing, these worms are deserved prey. Pyotr Ivansson
Although outsiders such as Anuireans and Khinasi tend to see the Brecht merchants as running the realm, this is a misconception based on the fact that most Brecht met outside Brechtur are merchants. Within Brechtur the nobility still holds a significant amount of power, albeit less than during the time of the empire.
In traditional Brecht realms such as Muden, and especially Danigau, the Count's power is the equal of any Anuirean Duke and merchants follow the law rather than making it. In more 'modern' realms such as Dauren the merchants actively influence the development of the law and own much of the land with the result that the nobility and wealthier merchants are practically indistinguishable.
In a few realms the chaos of the imperial collapse left literally no nobility at all - not Anuirean overlords, hybrid nobles or the ancient 'pure' lines, in these realms being noble just means that one has wealth with no real concept that the powerful are in some way inherently 'different' - although in Brechtur varying wealth is enough to create deep divisions in society.

[top]Family and marriage


The Brecht are not as obsessive as some of the human tribes about family ties (outside the blooded) and adopting a promising youngster is fairly common with the adoptee becoming a member of the family. That said, blood is thicker than water and the Brecht can often trace family ties though dozens of cousins, with extended families sometimes working in trades together against all 'outsiders'.


We trade in a worn plough, they a worn wife, the degeneration of society inevitably follows - Mother Rieva of Haelyn
The Brecht are one of the few human cultures to permit divorce and remarriage. Their relatively cosmopolitan culture places little stigma on prior failed relationships allowing a fairly fluid society where long marriages are respected, but a failed marriage is, like any other commercial venture, something to be put in the past while a more promising future is sought.


Unsurprising the Brecht take inheritance very seriously. Tools are passed down from parent to child, indeed routinely children takeover the parents business or employment as the parent ages. Amongst the nobility inheritance tends to be split amongst the children for all but the realm regents - the last distinction serving to maintain realm intact rather than see them fragment with each generation.

[top]Buildings and cities

You can smell their cities for miles downwind, if you are lucky rotten fish will be the worst of it - Brynwbhie Harpersong
Brecht like to build tall tightly packed cities along the coast, buildings have steep roofs to shed rain or snow. Grand structures are built of stone and slate, slightly lesser structures are constructed of brick, mortar and tile, with common buildings wattle and daub over a wooden frame. All buildings tend to be rectangular in shape, gardens are rare in settlements but some wealthier Brecht have sizable country estates - generally fenced or otherwise clearly marked as the owner's private property.

[top]Relationships with other races


The Anuirean empire conquered the Brecht with little resistance - save from Danigau. This was primarily due the chaos in Brechtur prior to the Anuirean invasion - many Brecht died in the War of Light and Shadows from Vos and goblin raids, while Brecht losses at Deismaar were severe amongst the nobility. As a result the Anuireans simply replaced the ancient Brecht nobility or drove out dominating Vos or goblins with little impact on the majority of the population besides an end to banditry and raiding.
In modern times Anuireans tend to be viewed with caution but are generally seen in a positive light - Anuireans generally adhere to contracts and are wealthy enough to make trade profitable. That said if Anuire was ever reunited the Brecht might swiftly come to feel threatened by the martially-oriented Anuireans.


Good bargainers, honest traders, soft though - Duindin Darrowdell
The Dwarves live away from the Brecht's beloved coasts, trade valuable goods, never break a contract no matter how lightly formed, and are militarily strong - the Brecht have always found trade with the Karamhul more profitable than war and relations are good as a result.


The Brecht tend to have poor opinions of goblins - the western states know the goblins of the Gorgon's Crown, Kiergaad and Urga-Zai and consider them savages; the realms of the east are familiar with the goblins of the Mistmoor and great Kal Kalathor and see the gobins in a slightly better light. In general however the Brecht consider the goblins backward, poor, untrustworthy, and accordingly view them in a harsh light.


Trade between the Brecht and Khinasi is frequent and the Khinasi tend to be seen a potential customers rather than as rivals or foes as a result. The Khinasi pre-occupation with 'face' often baffles Brecht who are far more interested in outcomes than methods, while the Khinasi interest in magic and philosophy seems unprofitable to the pragmatic Brecht.


The relative poverty of the Rjurik makes them poor customers for Brecht goods, although they are a good source of lumber, furs, and other natural produce. Various Brecht merchants have often conceived grandiose plans for 'civilising' the Rjurik in order to efficiently harvest these natural resources, however the backwards druidic philosophy of the Rjurik has driven these plans to ruin time and again. The oft-frozen northern seas and western mountains prevent much Rjurik contact with the Brecht other than from Hjorig and so most Brecht simply ignore the Rjurik.


The Brecht shunned the haunted forests of Coullabhie, and as a result Brechtur was one of the few realms to avoid the wrath of the Gheallie Sidhe. The power of the mysterious elves interests the Brecht, but the isolationist elves are rarely seen. In general the Brecht ignore the elves and the elves are i turn happy to ignore the Brecht. Minor issues over logging, hunting and so on are common but rarely spill into serious conflict - the Brecht control several forests not inhabited by elves and so avoid trouble by simply avoiding the sidhe.


The Brecht and Vos have never got on amicably. During the days of the empire the Vos raided the eastern Brecht and Basin states, or were in turn the subject of 'reprisal raids' by the Anuirean nobility. When the empire fell and the Brecht League formed, its first outward expansion was the 'uncivilized barbarians' of the Vos with their 'empty lands' that simply needed to be swept clear of savages and civilised. Trade between Brechtur and Vosgaard is minimal simply because the Vos leaders rarely value trade or the concept of law beyond the strength of their axe - any merchant foolish enough to take a boat of goods to trade without also taking along a number of doughty marines is simply asking for the Vos to swarm his ship and take the cargo as booty - and the crew as slaves.
In general the Vos are seen in a similar manner to goblins - savages that may have valuable resources or useful skills, but inherently savage brutes that must be dealt with carefully from a position of strength.

[top]Temples and the gods

The Brecht consider Sera, lady luck and the patron of trade as foremost amongst the gods. Most soldiers revere Sera's general, Haelyn and her warring champion, Cuiraecen; scholars tend to revere her vizier Avani while farmers heed the words of her harvest-lord, Erik. Almost all Brecht however look to Sera for the reason why such pursuits are undertaken - the gaining of prominence, power or wealth with which to better oneself or one's family.

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