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Ancestor Worship

Family and lineage are extremely important in the Old World. The proud members of the various tribes that formed the Empire take their genealogy very seriously and most hold their ancestors in high regard. To show them honour, almost every home in the Old World has a small shrine or sacred space where mementos, small statues, and other keepsakes are displayed. These ancestors are called upon along with the deities, to bring good fortune, bountiful crops, and other positive effects to a family. While most call simply on the collective force of the entire familial line, those families that are blessed with a particularly famous ancestor consider themselves extremely lucky and speak their name often during their prayers. Nobles in particular hold their ancestors in high regard. The wealthiest build shrines and temples that can even rival those of the deities, which is often viewed with suspicion by cultists who feel that this hubris is unwise and disrespectful.[1a]

Human communities living close to Dwarf settlements take this practise to an extreme. The citizens of Wissenland, eastern Averland, and Ostermark have often been accused of paying more homage to their departed kin rather than the living Gods. Dwarfs view this practise with a nodding sort of respect, and it’s one of the reasons they and Humans can get along. However, Dwarfs often pity the short-lived Humans, who have so many more ancestors to pay homage to—one wonders how they can keep track![1a]

The Halflings of the Empire also revere their families and ancestors, although they rarely erect shrines to honour those that have passed on—they would rather show respect for their departed kin through songs and hyperbolic stories. Indeed one method for sharpening one’s memory (and a vital, if boring, lesson taught to all Halfling children) is reciting family members back as far as possible.[1a]

Elves hold their ancestors in high regard, but in no way do they venerate them in the same way that Humans or Dwarfs do. Because of their incredibly long lives, Elves are often in contact with their great or great-great grandparents long into their adulthood. When an Elf passes away, songs are sung and poetry is read, and the spirit of the departed is allowed to move on with little remorse. Humans often look askance at the blasé manner in which Elves speak of their ancestors, and Dwarfs find this attitude both rude and contemptible—this is just another reason why these two races find it so hard to get along.[1a]

Source

  • 1 Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Salvation
    • 1a -- pg. 83

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