The City of Lives
A bloodline of thousands of copies of a single woman, their street gangs ruling over the lower-class districts and acting as an unofficial militia for the City.
Many, many generations ago, an angry, arrogant young woman named Iver entered the City, fleeing from her own Realm. She spoke of imperious men, unwilling to see the worth of women—which, she averred, was unsurpassed. She came to the City heavy with child, but unwilling to see the son of her hated former paramour enter the world. A desperate plea (or angry threat, depending on the tale-teller) to a local Bloodshifter, and she had her solution: What came from her womb was nothing but an exact duplicate of herself.
Since that day, the Iversdotter clan has the strange capability that every child born to an Iversdotter will be another Iversdotter. Right down to the cellular level, every Iversdotter is identical to that original. And since Bloodshifting is a common Craft among the Iversdotters, men are never needed—and seldom desired—to continue the bloodline.
In modern times, the Iversdotters lead (and make up 90% of) the City’s largest street gang, essentially ruling over Clovenmouthe, Tradespoint, and Belltown—and maintaining a significant presence everywhere but the highest-class areas. In these districts, the Iversdotters act as an informal police force, maintaining the peace wherever they have a vested interest, and also rent out their services in the form of Thief-Binders. Even in wartime the Iversdotters find themselves on the front lines, being the largest organization of combat-trained people in the City.
All Iversdotters are female—and, in fact, the same woman. She is tall, with light blonde hair, striking Nordic features, and a muscular and buxom figure. There are, however, many variations on this basic form. To start with, the Iversdotters have been a clan for over a dozen generations, so there are children and old women as well as those in her prime. Second, Iversdotters take a variety of careers and interests, leading to some who are thick as a wall and others who are wizened and bookish. Third, to help differentiate their natural similarity, forms of (often radical) body modification is commonplace: including variant hairstyles and color; tattoos; piercings, from earrings to belly; or extreme Bloodshifting effects like strange skin colors, horns, and bone spurs.
Culture & Personality
Iversdotter culture all revolves around the family—and most often, the family business. The Iversdotter street gang oversees nearly all business, legitimate and unsavory, in their areas of influence, and every Iversdotter is expected to contribute. Some work as management, others as enforcers, still others as tradeswomen. Leaving the gang, while not strictly taboo, is still fiercely frowned upon, and any who work outside – for one of the noble houses, or exploring the Plains or Realms—are expected to send back money, information, or whatever resources she can spare.
Iversdotters tend to be straightforward, disliking untruth. They are tightly-wound, taking life very seriously and focusing on the here-and-now instead of vague futures or artistic vision. Their intense nature makes them few friends, but earns them many allies. Many Iversdotters see life as a challenge, an experience to be conquered. Because of their tight-knight, clan nature, Iversdotters are slow to trust anyone outside their bloodline, but once they do trust, they form tight bonds and lifelong trust.
Iversdotters are extremely concerned with purity. Since their own bloodline has stayed precisely the same for generations, they look on mutations and genetic drift with disgust. Kipmen, Crossbloods, and Grate-Scratchers are all suspect because of their lack of genetic cohesion. Many Iversdotters have romances with men (and women) from other bloodlines, but their natural ability means that any child will be an Iversdotter, and anyone who employs a Bloodshifter to alter their progeny is forcibly ejected from the clan, and their daughter or (shudder) son loses all Iversdotter status and privileges.
Relations With Other Bloodlines
* Grate-Scratchers: Just plug your nose and tell them to get you something. They’ll find a way to get it into your hands.
* Kipmen: Good fighters, but it’s hard to respect someone who tries to sniff your crotch and calls you “mistress.”
* Leovites: Sometimes it feels like the City’s a battlefield—us on one side, these judgmental pricks on the other.
* Pariahs: We trust ourselves and not them; they trust themselves and not us. A fairly insurmountable barrier.
* Prometheans: They don’t take the real world seriously enough, and have not nearly enough self-control. But they don’t look down on us, so that’s a major point in their favor.
* Rurals: It’s hard to understand their obsession with the land, animals and such. On the other hand, they’re so simple and straightforward they can always be trusted.
* Sky-Carvers: You can always find a job working for the Sky-Carvers—but expect to be spit on, and don’t trust a word they say.
* Crossbloods: Disgustingly impure. And you never know when you’ll encounter one…
* Outlanders: We don’t care if they don’t know the rules; it still doesn’t mean they can break them.
Iversdotters are almost universally City-dwelling, but they have spread themselves across the eleven districts. Certain areas, such as Tradespoint and Clovenmouthe are completely under Iversdotter control, while in other areas, such as Council Heights, they work for the ruling noble houses. In virtually every neighborhood, the Iversdotters are seen as useful enough to keep around, whether or not the people in charge approve of them completely.
Religious beliefs are surprisingly varied for a culture based around a single woman – many Iversdotters follow the Light, while another subsection believes in the precepts of Kivian Taoism. Many worship the original Iver, as a demigod and paragon of humanity, in the Iversdotter Revelation. And finally, a fair number of Iversdotters are complete atheists, focusing on the realities of here and now and the potential of Iversdotter-style humanity to change the world for the better.
* Female: Aemsi, Aengi, Allvid, Asti, Auga, Freyldis, Grosta, Hernskedda, Hrani, Hrosta, Idvil, Illrunn, Ilvar, Kara, Sirir, Skjarn, Skurid, Svaldir, Thodbrundi
* Family: Iversdotter
* Clan/Descriptor: Bull-Caster, Fat-Pockets, Of Cobble Canyon, Of Penelope’s Wharf, Right-Cross, Rum-Runner, Thin-Grin, Woe-Winner, Worm-Dealer
* Personal names are similar to Earth Norse and Scandinavian female names. Clan names are “of [place],” descriptors are two names linked by a hyphen.
Recommended Archetypes: Athlete, Battlecrafter, Commander, Soldier
Recommended Crafts: Bloodshifting, Worldshaping, Mindsharing
Iversdotter Bloodline Aspects include the following:
* Blood of the Valkyr
# The blood of a hundred generations of warrior women courses through the character’s veins.
# Invoke: The character can gain a bonus to melee combat or when making heroic, self-sacrificing actions.
# Compel: The character must leap into the fray, putting glory and honor above self-preservation.
* A Thousand Sisters
# All Iversdotters are closely related, and their culture focuses on being completely connected and interdependent.
# Invoke: The character can find another Iversdotter with knowledge or abilities relevant to her needs.
# Compel: The character is drawn into another Iversdotter’s troubles.
* Ruling the Streets is a Duty, Not a Privilege
# The Iversdotter gangs rule significant portions of the City, and consider themselves as peacemakers and maintainers of law.
# Invoke: The character can gain a bonus related to the Iversdotters’ influential, respected, and feared position in the City.
# Compel: The character must deal with her enemies justly instead of succumbing to emotion.
* The Perfect Form
# The Iversdotters are genetically perfect, and see themselves as superior to every other Bloodline.
# Invoke: The character can gain a catch-all bonus to physical activities or resisting illness/poison, and also to gain a bonus to Rapport due to her beauty.
# Compel: The character has trouble relating to other Bloodlines, suffering a penalty to Rapport, Contacting, etc.
Choose one stunt from the following as a free stunt (costs no Refresh). In addition to their free stunt, Iversdotters may also select the following stunts for their usual Refresh cost:
* Talk the Talk (Concentration: +1 to Contacting with the underclasses)
* Quick Mover (Specialization: +2 to Athletics for movement)
* Craft Training (Basic Bloodshifting, Basic Worldshaping, or Basic Mindsharing)
* Favored Weapon (Concentration: +1 to Melee with favored weapon (class and aspect))