The Gavera
A Heritage Template for the Dolmen Tribes of the Gavera

The Gavera, a species found in northern temperate climates (usually in mountain, forest and taiga/tundra envrionments) is humanity's chief competition for surface habitat on the world of Tarvedel. Also underground dwellers, the Gavera are believed to be a major species of the Deep Lands in the heart of Tarvedel itself, though humanity is less aware of the current situation in the deep underground.

The Dolmen Tribal Confederacy is an extremely loose, barely-existent alliance of between thirty and fifty Gavera family groups and tribes, each varying in size from 20-30 members to several hundred individuals. The Gavera of the confederacy are believed to occupy territories both on the surface and under it, in both the Dolmen Hills and the northeastern portions of the Forest of Vadron.

Like most Gavera, the members of the Dolmen Tribes average about 8 feet in height and often weigh close to 300 pounds. They stand on two massively built legs in a deeply bent, hunched stance which seems unnatural to a human observer, but which is in fact an evolved trait to help them fight smaller, shorter prey. Covered with short, thick fur on a heavy hide, they are often colored in grays, browns, whites and other earthy tones. Their faces are chiefly noted for having a thick short snout and large nostrils, which contract or expand depending on how extreme their exertions are, probably to increase oxygen intake. Gavera have large, almost floppy ears, but their faces lack the fur common to the rest of their bodies. Instead, it tends to be beige or very dark brown, marked either by a very tiny scale pattern of triangles, or very fine wrinkles. Their eyes are large and round with horizontal pupils, possessing a triple lid: one seems to be for sleeping; one for filtering the eye without blinking; and one for special focus at night or total darkness. The overall impression is one of stupidity and slowness. Neither is an accurate assessment.

Fighting Gaveras present a number of special problems. They can go bezerk in battle; or they may flee in the face of sudden surprises. Gavera's tough hide makes them difficult to wound, adding to the problems of fighting these difficult and canny creatures. However, disease and age damage them terribly. In addition, though their sight in darkness is excellent, they are nocturnal. Their good sense of smell is balanced by poor hearing. Finally, their own internal fighting makes them less frequent enemies than might be expected.

Physical Traits


Avg. Frame Value (male): 8
min/max values 6/11
Avg. Frame Value (female) 7
min/max values: 6/12
variation: average


Avg. Height Value (male): 14
Min/Max: 10/18
Avg. Height Value (female): 13
Min/max: 9/17
Variation: average.


Avg. Physique value (male) 5
min/max: 3/8
Avg. Physique value (female) 6
min/max: 3/8
variation: low.


Average Lifespan: 55
Child 0-6; Adolescent 7-12; Young 13-18; Adult 19-50; Old 51-80; Elderly 81-95; Venerable 96+.


Men 48%/Women 52%

Inherent Aspects

Ages Poorly, -6; Strong Stomach, +3; Darksight, +6; Sense of Smell, +4; Poor Hearing, -4; Sensitive to light, -2.

Recommended Aspects

Disease; Ferocity, Involuntary.

Minimum Attributes

Endurance = 3, Hardiness = 2, Strength = 2, Quickness = 2

Unique Aspects

Gavera females begin to grow long claws during their pregnancies, which they use both to defend themselves against amorous males and defend their children for the first few months after birth. The claws vary from individual to individual, but the breeding seasons for Gavera usually fall in October and November, with the children born seven months later. As a result, the common Gavera raiding season is in April, May, and June, when the voracious appetites of the young eat tribes out of the remainder of winter stores and early spring hunting and gathering. Females who have given birth usually have claws from January until August.


Trauma Resistance (+3)

Mental & Spiritual Traits

Inherent: Poor Memory (-3)
Recommended: Superstition (-4); Gift (magic); Low confidence

Development Considerations

Profile Restrictions

Only a warrior who has killed another Gavera has the right to mate. By extension, only a gavera who has won the right to have food is fed. As a result, internal squabbles occupy a lot of the Gaveras' time.

Inherent Expertises

Language -- Gaverake

Recommended Expertises

Script -- Gaverake (N.B. -- this is a 1 word=1 symbol system with a very small vocabulary of signs. Writing is extremely simple, but not very effective. No more than Rank 1 in this script.)

Cultural Features

Environmental Adaptation

Gavera are clearly designed for colder-weather environments, and their diet depends in part on the woody composition of some types of bark, and, according to some unreliable accounts, certain types of underground fungus.

As a result, they are tied to the colder temperate regions, and to regions where part of their diet comes from.


From a human point of view, Gavera are raiders, parasites and a clear fringe element which should be wiped out. They are hardly dominant, being confined to certain wilderness areas from which they emerge to do battle from time to time, often in search of tools and materials which they cannot make themselves, such as weapons.

Heritage Orientation

War/Active (Ethnocentric); Aquisition (Goods, honor, mates)

The Gavera are a raiding culture with extreme views of honor. In Gavera culture, only Gavera may possess honor, and honor may only be obtained by the shedding of the blood of others; the capture of their property by blood, guile or fear of the honored one; or by the capture of their mates. While Gavera culture is largely patriarchal, women often live by these same tenets, since they are usually as strong and as fierce as the males. It is advisable not to cut a Gavera female off from her next and her babies.

Customs & Lifestyle

In general, Gavera culture recognizes three forms of power. First, it recognizes spiritual power in the form of the Gift of magic, which Gavera possess in about the same ratio as humanity does. Second, it recognizes and values wealth, in the form of not of money but of goods and interesting materials. Gavera leaders engage in elaborate gift-exchanging sessions, as well. The more elaborate gifts, by extension, required greater honor to obtain in order to give them. Since these gifts were often taken from human settlements and travelers, it is little wonder that human settlements are raided often. Since honor is also aquired through victories in battle, raiding has a further benefit: the accrual of honor.

Gavera are largely nocturnal, dwelling in caves whenever possible. Gaveran honor requires frequent honor-duels, both between individuals and groups.

Gaverans have a difficult time recovering from disease, and many often die of gangrene or worse, much of it caused by the unsanitary conditions of these battles.

Symbols & Art

The Gavera have a simple written language, consisting of a hundred or so symbols, each representing a word or concept. The language is extremely primitive, lacking a number of important words, possessing no numbers, and containing only a dozen or so verbs. The Gavera have some ability with mining and metalworking, and while their work is often crude, it does have a certain charm to the right people. More often than not, Gavera pieces must be resized or merely inspire similar works by humans, since the Gavera are so much larger than humans.

Religion & Magic

Gavera tribes each have a totem spirit which serves as a guardian and guide.

Tribal shamans are believed to be called by the spirit to service, though it is believed that many shamans possess the Gift and use Starwater, like ordinary humans. The spirits are often believed to be mere fabrications on an otherworldly power to allow the shaman some dominance over the tribe.

Gavera tend to be superstitious, however, and so the dominance of the Shamanic class in not unusual, despite the fraud. All gavera, the Dolmen Tribal spirits aside, usually worship the Twins Kagach and Murekagh, more out of fear than any sense of devotions. It can hardly be argued that the Shamans of the Twins are among the most despised-- and most feared-- of the Gavera mystics.


Gaverake seems to be a gutteral descendant tongue of Nethraic, like many of the languages of the Underground. The origin of its symbolic written form is currently unknown.

Status & Family

Gavera are patriarchal and patrilineal; the Gavera bulls are simply more wrathful and more dangerous than the females. Even so, the society is polyamorous, with the whole community responsible for children until children decide to challenge the authority of an adult by physical aggression. At that point, the child seems to become an adult in the eyes of the community; as a result, many children die at this point, and the survivors become significantly meaner.

Clothing & Decoration

As noted earlier, the Gavera are fond of valuable objects, which they both make and steal. Clothing is rare among the Gavera, except for tribal leaders and especially tribal shamans. Pieces of chain mail, armor and weapons are often popular; and most individuals of any standing at all possess a number of jewelry pieces of varying sizes.

Historical Notes

The Gavera and humans of Deira have been locked in an age-old struggle for dominance of the river valley, Vadron Forest, and the Dolmen Hills. How long this conflict will endure is uncertain, but it is likely it will last for some time; a number of the Dukes and their chief vassals have lost their lives to these creatures, and the oaths of blood-vengeance on both sides seem to be piled sky-high.

©1995 Andrew Watt (; comments/suggestions welcome
Converted to HTML 19 April 1995 by Sixten Otto (