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Katran, a Rivenese individual

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Extant (presumed)

Known individuals

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The Rivenese people were the native inhabitants of the Age of Riven prior to its destruction. Shortly before Riven's total collapse in 9462 DE (1807 CE), they relocated to Tay with the aid of Katran and the Moiety. They were still present in Tay in 9480 DE (1824 CE), though their status since is unknown.


The Rivenese visually appear identical to humans from Earth, in particular having some Asian-Polynesian facial characteristics, and having slightly darker skin than D'ni or white humans. While Rivenese do not have as long a lifespan as the D'ni, they age slower than humans.


The people of Riven were primarily a fishing-and-gardening culture. Little is known about their society or lifestyle prior to Gehn's writing of the Riven Descriptive Book.

The Rivenese people lived in relative harmony with their Age, residing in round, earthen huts mounted into the lagoon walls of Jungle Island. The village was an intricate system of interconnected platforms, bridges and ladders, each leading up to the small, elaborately decorated doors affixed to the side or base of the huts. Each hut's door was connected to the main bridge system by a wooden plank, which could be pulled into the hut to prevent access to the door.

While not necessarily an innate trait of the Rivenese people, they were considerably reserved and wary of outsiders and typically did their best to avoid interaction with them. When the Stranger arrived on Riven, the guards stationed in watchtowers around the village sounded an alarm, and almost all of the villagers retreated into their huts and retracted their huts' access planks, making it impossible for the Stranger to reach or communicate with them.

The Rivenese people had several viable food sources available in the Age, including fruits from the jungle and the meat of the webber fish. The sunners were the villagers' main source of meat.


Main article: Rivenese language

Little is known about the Rivenese language. The only known pieces of Rivenese speech are from Cho, Nelah, and Katran speaking to the Stranger, who did not understand Rivenese. Gehn may have learned the Rivenese language, though he usually only communicated with the Rivenese people in D'ni.

There are also no known written Rivenese texts. It is possible that the Rivenese did not have any kind of writing system before they were taught D'ni.

Following Gehn's arrival and seizing of control, he forced the Rivenese people to begin speaking D'ni instead of their native language. Despite this, the Rivenese language never died out before Riven's collapse, and presumably continued to be spoken by the Rivenese in Tay.


The Rivenese religion before Gehn's arrival was considered by him to be primitive. It is known that they held special fear and respect for the wahrk, the largest and fiercest of the known native animals; and it is possible that it was worshipped as a deity. In the temple on Temple Island, sacrificial offerings of fruit and other objects were placed before wahrk statues, though it is unknown whether this was a tradition or dictated by Gehn, who took advantage of the Rivenese people's fear of the wahrks. He used wahrk symbolisms in his decorations and surrounded his buildings with wahrk skulls and tusks, presumably to scare the villagers from trespassing.

Gehn presented himself as a god upon his arrival, and created the Rules of Gehn, three tenets for his religion:

  • Gehn is our master
  • Gehn created us
  • Gehn defeated Atrus



"Oh, what a mess!"

This section is in serious need of improvement. Your help would be graciously appreciated.

Notes: Needs expansion

Gehn, in his attempts to reconstruct the D'ni Civilization, created his own Guild system on Riven, its members copyists who he was beginning to teach the basics of the Art. After he was betrayed by Katran and trapped on Riven, he reorganized this system into five guilds, most of them based on major D'ni guilds: the Bookmakers, Builders, Educators, Maintainers, and Surveyors.

The Moiety[edit]

The Rivenese not loyal to Gehn were known collectively as the Black Moiety, often simply called "the Moiety". A constant undercurrent of rebellion, the Moiety did their best to undermine Gehn’s work and shun those who did not actively stand against him.

The Moiety were born out of the experience of a couple of villagers that witnessed the confrontation at the Star Fissure between Gehn and Atrus. Although not understanding the exact details of the confrontation, they were able to discern the basic gist of the event, as well as adding their own twist to the story. They came to the conclusion that Gehn was a false God, that Atrus, having defeated Gehn was a true God, and that Katran, having been chosen by Atrus as his wife, was the Rivenese messiah, born from the cradle of Riven to lead her people to a new world, post the defeat of Gehn.

Surprisingly, this last assumption came to be somewhat true; during Catherine's return and entrapment on Riven, she wrote a new Age for the Moiety from a discarded, half-finished book of Gehn's, which the Moiety named Tay, where they built a new home.

Known Rivenese[edit]