Size of a House

First, let's consider the data provided by the Aging tables. I don't necessarily agree with them, but that's neither here nor there.

Unless there is a significant difference between Duneimen and Gelvani societies, it's probably not "proper" for the latter to start having children before they hit 121 years of age. Assuming good health, and similar chances of successful birth in the Gelvani version of "mid-late to thirties", Gelvani could probably have a baby up until they hit their early 190s.

I imagine that the Gelvani, being a conservative, family-based society, take child-rearing very seriously. Gelvani children become young adults (the equivalent of teenagers, at any rate) by age 16. I think it makes sense that they would start their apprenticeships by that point (that's how it works for human children under Character Creation. Thematically, then, it would make sense for parents to wait until their first child became a Young Adult before having another one.

This means that, on average, a healthy Gelvani woman might have as many as 4-5 children. She might have less children if she spent time adventuring, traveling, or otherwise choosing to focus exclusively on something else - instead of balancing her attentions between that and her future as a prospective matriarch. Alternately, she might have more if she ages better than other Gelvani.

So, with that in mind, what would a Gelvani immediate family look like once fully established?

  • The matriarch - the head of this immediate family unit - would typically be in the Old Age Category by this point; she's likely at the start of her fourth century of life.
  • She might have five children, ranging from 121 and 184 years old, who are themselves married by now.
  • She might have as many fifteen grand-children range anywhere from the Infant category to 60 year-old Young Adults.

If the matriarch is very lucky, she might be blessed with seeing one or two of her great-granchildren being born before she hears the Call of Gelthena and leaves for Arvanis.

If this immediate family - roughly thirty individuals at its average extent - chooses to live independently, they form what the Gelvani call a "Hold". Holds come in a few categories:

  1. The daughter of a House (generally not the oldest, but there are exceptions) might have decided (for a number of different reasons) to go her own way and begin her own line. Such a Hold could eventually grow into a House in its own right.
  2. The Hold may in fact be a House fallen in hard times. During the various wars that have been fought in the past two centuries, more than a few of the grand families of Mirivia have suffered hideous losses and are Houses in name only.
  3. The Hold may be a geographically separated branch of a House. One of the House's daughters and her immediate family may have been sent to secure a specific locale for the larger family, for instance.

A House, then, is the social unit that occurs when an extended Gelvani family does not separate. The head of the House is typically the oldest living daughter of the previous head and bears the title of Thena. Unlike in a Hold, her siblings (and their children and grand-children) live with them. Thus, a House will number anywhere from 30-150 Gelvani.

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