Kodan (GW2)  

Guild Wars 2
Information found at arenanet [1]

They first appeared in the world as rumor, as legends. Travelers told tales of great ships made of ice and bedecked with sails glimpsed among the fjords. Then Norn hunters returned with more stories of white furred bear-men—unlike those Norn blessed by Bear—who possessed great power but who were also filled with great fear. They were fleeing the north, the land of the Elder Ice Dragon Jormag . They were creatures of wisdom and judgment, weighing the races of Tyria and finding them wanting. They were the kodan.

The kodan are intelligent, ten-foot tall, bipedal, polar bear-like beings from the distant north. Culturally, they have a strong belief in the importance of being in balance with the world around them, but this does not mean they are pacifists. Taking a cue from the natural world, they see hunting and killing as a normal part of life. What is most important is that an individual's actions are in balance with nature. Originally from beyond the northern Shiverpeaks, the kodan tribes inhabit floating iceberg fortresses called Sanctuaries; one per tribe, they live and travel upon these mighty ice peaks, building entire cities within their shelter.

Contents [hide]


Long ago, Koda, the Ancient One, Founder of the Earth, Keeper of the Sky, formed the world. In the beginning, the spirits of the world were wild and untamed. In time, many took physical form: spirits of stone, spirits of water, spirits of wind, spirits of soil, spirits of plants and birds and creeping things. All things with form have spirits… as do many formless things.

But one day the bear stood up and looked around him and saw that the spirits of the world were restless and chaotic. He could not understand the endless cycles of creation and destruction. And so bear was the first creature to speak, and with his first words he asked Koda, “Why is this so?” And Koda was pleased and made this offer to the bear: “If you would watch and learn, then watch and learn, and you shall protect and guide the spirits of this world.” And those who praised Koda and accepted this offer became the kodan. And those who were not ready and did not wish to change remained as bears.

The kodan venerate Koda the Founder above all else. They believe that all beings are fated to come back again and again, but each time reborn as members of the same race—a sort of spiritual purity maintained throughout reincarnations. Humans come back as humans, charr return as charr, kodan come back as kodan. Only when you are greatly enlightened do you “advance,” and are reincarnated as a member of the next race in the balance. Of course, the kodan believe they are the most spiritually enlightened race in the world, and that as the top of this reincarnative food chain, it is their duty to watch over the world, judge others, and maintain the balance—by force if necessary.

They believe that the kodan are the only ones who understand this “balance” (a word often used when the kodan are justifying their actions) and that it is their holy purpose to maintain it, even if that means fighting or killing.

Although a member of an individual race won't be summarily judged according to their race's general activities, the kodan do approach other races with a certain amount of expectant anticipation. They have already begun to “judge” the people of the southern lands, as they believe that Koda would wish them to do. There's a debate among the kodan shamans known as Voices as to the fate of the Dwarves. Did the Dwarves somehow “skip ahead” and proceed directly to enlightenment, or did they fall out the bottom and destroy themselves? Either way, they have been removed from the world.

Lost Tribes

Over the seasons, the kodan spread and multiplied across the land. Their journeys were bounded only by the sea. And everywhere they went, they brought balance to the spirits. They watched and they learned and they hunted, and so served the will of Koda.

Now all things grow and all things die; even the glacier is not unchanging. And there came to be a great storm that did not end though month after month and season after season passed. And the great seers, the Voices, of the kodan said it was time to wait and to watch and to learn. With their thick white fur, the kodan would be safe. But waiting was not easy, for there was little to hunt in the storm. And in the great halls, the rumbling of bellies echoed like the roaring of bears. And there was a Claw without a Voice, a hunter among the kodan who refused to stay. He said that fur or no fur, storm or no storm, a hunter must hunt. And he led many others with him into the storm to seek hunting grounds in the lands to the far south, where the snow was light. And they were never seen again.

The kodan do not claim any connection or relationship to the Norn race, but some Voices choose to interpret early stories of a lost group of kodan as an explanation of the origin of the Norn. If this is true, they argue, then the norn are failed kodan who have forgotten their place as judges and protectors of the balance, and that is why their true “bear” form has been replaced with a fragile, furless state. Because of this pressure from their shaman, the kodan often treat the Norn as spiritual failures, possibly even a race moving backwards in the cycle of life, toward primitivism and destruction — and that even as the Dwarves before them, if this is true, the norn are a race on the edge of extinction.

Society and Hierarchy

Kodan exist in a close community on their Sanctuaries, acting in concert and living in peace. They have disputes and disagreements, of course, but they consider themselves “above” most interpersonal conflict. The balance is more important than an individual's needs; holy Koda's will, as translated by the Voice , supersedes any single kodan's wishes.

Each Sanctuary is led by two important individuals; the Voice and the Claw. The Voice cares for that Sanctuary's “spirit,” giving them guidance, meditating on Koda's will, and sensing the balance of the Sanctuary and the world around it. The Claw protects and guards the Sanctuary, leading the hunters, or when necessary, the warriors. The Claw operates as the physical presence and visible leader, but in fact it is a partnered role; the Claw guides the people martially while the Voice remains in a place of safety deep inside the Sanctuary. Both are needed to rule. Between these two powerful kodan, the Sanctuary is run in a very organized and social style. Each member contributes and works to maintain peace, encourage sharing of resources, and provide support for others within the Sanctuary.

The Voice and the Claw are, essentially, partnered leaders within kodan society. Neither has the right to overturn the other's decisions, and both have clearly delineated spheres of influence—the Voice , spiritual; the Claw , physical. They are chosen at the same time if possible, and serve for centuries together, leading and guiding their Sanctuary and the kodan within. If a Claw dies, it is tradition for the Voice to retire; so, too, if the Voice should go mad or pass into Koda's arms, will the Claw step away and give another his post.

Category: Guild Wars 2
This page last modified 2011-01-13 23:12:21.