The Welenia were once the most renowned (and enthusiastic) makers of war in Arcadia – until they, or at least several important factions among them, got tired of it. Since then, they’ve adopted a number of institutions to keep themselves largely pacific – institutions that have served them incredibly poorly in a time of potential conquest. More hawkish elements among them will likely soon have their day.
Like their New Andoran enemies, the Welenia are decentralized and democratic – so democratic, in fact, that the dead can vote (through the interpretation of Welenia’s powerful necromancers.) Unlike the Andorans, they are not individualists, and extended kinship networks are of prime political, social, and economic importance. Traditionally, women were regarded as having authority in times of peace as men in war; with the “permanent peace,” most power in practice is in the hands of older women, who, with the system of matrilocal exogamy in place, sit in the most dense positions within the kinship networks that govern their society, and well-placed women monopolize the ranks of the necromantic cult as well. Welenia understandings of gender are fairly strict, but as a safety valve at least allow people to choose their own gender upon entering adulthood. Though free, this decision is final – once accepting the rights and obligations of manhood or womanhood, there is no reneging them.
Also unlike the Andorans, they have a form of slavery, called pawning. In former days, a clan would revenge a murder by killing a member of the offending clan; now, the blood debt is repayed by a relative of the murderer joining the new family as replacement. In theory, they take the place of the deceased with all their rights, with only such restrictions are as deemed necessary to ensure that they perform the functions necessary to act as a naturalized clan member. In practice, they are frequently socially isolated and resented. In addition, the existence of a growing market for slaves in New Cheliax means that clans are increasingly incentivized to declare pawns in violation of their duties and hence salable.
The Welenia Confederacy is dominated by temperate forests and is to the northwest of New Cheliax.