Tribes and Families

Tribes or Families or Clans or…?

The subject of what Tribes are in Jotunheim and what They may wish to call Themselves is a prime example of each Tribe being large enough to present to us humans differently. The following is how I currently understand these terms.

Tribe – term used to describe a grouping of related Jotun Who have a particular elemental affiliation or animal form as Their default (though magic and practice can result in many forms being possible, one form is related to birth heritage and the easiest and/or most natural to utilize). This term is most often used by politicians, government workers, ambassadors, and by priests in formal rites; it is often used when talking to outsiders, and it is used when the representatives of each grouping consult with lawmakers and other government people. Other terms are used within the Tribe – Unkindness (Talons), Sleuth (Bear), Run (Scales), Nest (Serpent), Pack (Wolf).

Family – term used to describe the related groupings of Jotuns affiliated with Fire in Muspelheim (They will refer to Themselves as a Flame) and Snow / Ice in Niflheim (They will refer to Themselves as Snowflakes or Icicles). The Family of Fire and the Family of Snow and Ice are phrases originally used by these groupings, and They prefer to use them unless government protocol requires the use of ‘Tribe’. The idea of being a Family with many families within that coincides with this term has influenced the Tribes in Jotunheim, though not all refer to Their Tribes as Families (limited to Elemental Tribes related to these Families).

Recognized Tribes include: Wolf, Serpent, Bear, Talons, Scales, Ocean (Family of Waves), Mountain (Family of Mountains), Tree (Family of Roots), Lightning (Family of Electricity), Fire (Family of Fire), and Snow / Ice (Family of Snow and Ice).

Clan – term used to describe groupings of Jotuns (often related) with a particular elemental affiliation or animal form as Their default Who do not use the term ‘Tribe’. These groupings are often below a certain population level and claim affiliation with a parental Tribe in order to be represented in government proceedings. A Clan also typically owns and controls a smaller section of land than a Tribe, or They may be the smaller family groupings below the term Tribe for a particular grouping and purposefully split up the land attributed to the Tribe. Some Clans are more comfortable interacting with humans and outsiders than Others, so a visit to the Capital to check records may be the only way to know that a Clan exists within the Realm.

Recognized Clans include:

  • Wolf Tribe affiliated
    • Ironwood – whether 9 or some other number are seen as individual Clans of the Ironwood differs, depending on Who is talking and who is being talked to, but an overall Clan for the Ironwood is recognized.
  • Serpent Tribe affiliated
    • Salt Bleached Bones – ancestor work is the primary focus of its members.
    • Rattler – skilled in drumming, singing, and music / vocal based magic (often including galdr) who provide services during holy day rites, funerals, weddings, and any occasion that calls for music and singing.
  • Talons Tribe affiliated
    • Raven – skilled diviners with Clan specific divination methods; often sought out for services by those outside the Talons Tribe for specific topics.
      • Due to the high visibility and majority of Raven affiliated Jotuns, many associate the Talons Tribe with being a Raven Tribe. Outside of government paperwork, the semantics barely matter, and even other Jotuns think there is a Raven Tribe instead of a Talons Tribe.
    • Owl – skilled night-time hunters and game butchers; members often also focus on acknowledging the sacrifices of all Prey (outside of the holy days for this).
    • Vulture – priests trained in the handling of dead bodies and burial methods appropriate for all means of death (‘straw death’, contagious illness, non-contagious illness, etc.); often sought out by all Jotuns for funeral preparations and funerary rites.
  • Family of Fire affiliated
    • Lava – Mountain / Fire lineage Who return to Muspelheim; work is closely tied to the land (influence tectonic plates) and volcanoes. Often helpful with anger management and regulating emotions in a therapist equivalent role for the Tribe.
    • Desert – Mountain / Fire / Serpent lineage Who return to Muspelheim; specifics of work is very initiate bound, but often appears related to Rattler work (drumming, singing, music / vocal based magic, galdr, etc.).
  • Family of Snow and Ice affiliated
    • Wind – Fire / Snow / Talons [often Raven] lineage Who return to Niflheim; skilled diviners with Clan specific divination methods that share some similarities with Raven methods but also contain methods of Their own. They are often sought out for divination services by all of the Snow / Ice Tribe.

Kindred – a term used to refer to a town, city, village, hamlet, etc. with a particular Tribe in the majority, and often within the Tribe’s territory. May or may not include closest family relations (parents, siblings, aunts or uncles, grandparents, etc.), and may or may not have a hall with the equivalent of a town leader depending on the size. Kindreds that are large enough to be equated with towns and cities often have a designated location to watch televised events.


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