G is for the Great Clans

Note that this post contains an entirely non-canonical Faction developed by myself as an agent within Marienburg and several other WFRP locales. Clan Birlithe was originally created for my campaign in Praag, and has since grown to become a large mover on the WFRP political scale in my growing meta-campaign of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Also note that I am using the IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet with the clan names to help with pronunciation. If you are unaware of the IPA, please go here to listen to the various examples, and read up more about it on Wikipedia (for I promise, it is awesome).

The Elftown of Marienburg is famed throughout the Old World as the last true High Elf holding on the ancient continent - with the rest of their peoples residing in Ulthuan, the capital, and various minor forts along the Ulthuan - Cathay trade routes to the far south. This Enclave or Exarchate is ruled over by a council of eight Elven Clans, representing the eight families that first settled back in Sith Rionnasc - the Sea Elf term for Elftown.

Heading these eight clans are the five Great Clans, greatest of which is Clan Ulliogtha [u.lːiɔg.θa] whose Clan Lord sits as the Exarch of Sith Rionnasc. Ulliogtha is known as the Bdon-Shathiras clan - the Noble Explorer Clan - due to their connection to Sillandiel Fartrader (the Elf Captain who first brokered the deal with the Baron of Marienburg). They are the largest and wealthiest clan in the city, and hold extensive trade networks with Lustria, Ind and the South Lands.

Next in terms of greatness is Clan Lianllach [liɐn.lɔkʰ] - the Eosik-Lar clan, or Dire Heart - who are renown as the hardest bargainers, and the most ruthless merchants the Elves have to offer. They are currently without a Clan Lord after their last Lord was executed for treason against the Phoenix King of Ulthuan. They hold the second largest fleet behind Ulliogtha and boast the highest amount of marines of any Elven Clan in the city. They trade extensively with Nippon, Cathay and the New World. There are even whispered rumours of illegal trade with the Dark Elves of Naggarond, but few are so brave as to suggest this out loud. It is very much the poison of Lianllach which has fostered so much ill-will between Humans and Elves in Marienburg.

Third in line for power is Clan Birlithe [bɜ.liːθ], known as the Belah-Ashafares clan - the Finders of the Way. They bring Elven interests to new cities and trade centres, in the hopes of paving the way for other Elven clans to settle and expand the entire trade network of Ulthuan. They have recently been very successful in bringing Erengrad and Praag into the trade network of Ulthuan, and are currently looking to move efforts towards Norsca. They trade very little themselves, but act as brokers for the other Clans in cities where they are the only Elven interests. As such, they have close ties to all other Clans and are highly respected. They are headed by a wizened old Clan Lord who uses his many sons as Merchant Princes to further his goals in foreign ports.

The fourth most prominent and respected clan is Clan Aisellion [aeːsɛlː.ɔn], the Doiramasuctb clan - the service clan. They pride themselves by devoting their lives to providing services necessary to the running of Sith Rionnasc - dockworkers, warehouse operators, watch patrols, and overseeing the Hall of Trade. Whilst many would believe Aisellion and its Clan Lord to be weak due to this subservient role, they would all be wrong, for it is Aisellion who settle all disputes fairly and justly between the clans. With few ships of their own, the clan favours the ports of Araby and her riches.

Finally there stands Clan Tallaindeloth [tɐl.lein.dɛloθ], the Doiricshatir clan - curious clan. Headed by a far reaching Clan Lord, they spend most of their time finding new lands and exploring in an eccentric way which sets them as the strangest of the clans. Their ships travel far and wide, in seemingly random patterns, all the while attempting to find that which no one else has before. Trade, to them, is a secondary motive - more of a way to fund their far-flung adventures, and a good way to sustain themselves when they reach an never-before-known port. They are currently attempting to map the coasts of the Chaos Wastes in a futile effort to understand the impossible.

Whilst the five Great Clans stand paramount, there are the other three lesser clans which make up the rest of Elven society, and below them are countless Na-Shathiri - clan-less - Elves. Further still, the roles of the various clans are not set in stone, but are changeable depending on the whims of the Great Clans. Whilst this century, Ullioctha sits as the greatest mercantile power, next they may take the service mantle of Aisellion who will take the globe-trotting of Tallaindeloth and so on. They change as it befits them and as they become bored with their immortal lives...