Jan 29, 2012

The Dawnlands: The Forest People

The Forest People tribes are a collection of peoples who inhabit the rainforest penninsula of the Dawnlands and who were never conquered by the Kingdom of High Kaddish.


The Forest People tribes were once merely a collection of lizardmen, kobolds and halflings all warring with one another at the edge of civilisation. That changed when the rainforest in which they live suddenly began to bleed into another realm they called the Great Dream. The fey peoples of the Great Dream emigrated from that other realm, bringing with them new gods, new knowledge, and new organisation to the warring tribes. More bizarre beasts came through as well, and under a series of great chieftains, the tribes were unified in the face of this threat. Though they never completely eradicated the creatures, they absorbed the new peoples and colonised the Great Dream, learning much about its way. In the passing centuries, the tribes have fragmented and reunited many times, but the most recent unification, completed thirty years ago by the chieftain Xochimunza, has reinvigorated the tribes. Xochimunza's son, Moctanimunza has begun preparing them to move out of the rainforest and into the wider Dawnlands, to take vengeance for Dwer Tor's invasion of their homelands.


The Forest People have a majority of halflings (50%), but also have lizardmen (20%), kobolds (20%), and a scattering of humans and elves (>10%) amongst their members. Typically, any given tribe has only one or two species amongst its members. Tribes of the same species tend to band together in the great councils as blocs, though opportunistic chieftains will switch sides whenever it benefits them.


The Forest People worship the insect spirits of the Hivehome, the ur-nest hidden in the Great Dream. Some spirits are wild, and are little more than particularly powerful beasts, while others are intelligent and are amenable to sacrifice and other propitiation. Individual shamans tend to have a particular patron spirit that they invoke, while the wider community worships the insect spirits as a whole. The Forest People consider it a sacred duty to encourage the spread of Dreaming Trees, strange trees that spread open the border to the Great Dream. These trees feed on the blood of living things, and ritual humanoid sacrifice to them is common.


The Forest People have great canoes they use for travel within their domain, but they avoid the sea except for short trips from one river opening to another. They have few domesticated animals, and none suitable for riding other than dogs for the smaller halflings and kobolds. Many of their great temples and buildings have alternate entrances underwater for lizardmen to use.


The Forest People tend to a monogamous, patrilineal system, except for lizardmen and kobolds who are matrilineal and polygamous due to their egg-laying nature. Tribes are oriented around a charismatic individual and typically possess one or more settlements under their sway. They are typically named after these settlements though exceptions do exist. Tribes are not economically specialised, and most survive off some combination of hunting, gathering, fishing, orchard cultivation and limited agriculture. The exception are the small number of tribes who border Dwer Tor's economic outposts who have learnt to produce the specific rare goods that Dwer's merchants want - silk, teak, rare herbs, etc.

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