Fenris: Mountain-Eater Hunt
Background - Middenland
On one side: civilization. On the other: barbarism. Let them tell you which is which.
Much of the culture and history of the so called ‘Middenland’ can be summarized by a look at a map, or the name. The warm, rolling hills and great lakes of the Middenlands not only mark it as clearly preferable to its counterpart, the Drowned Lands, but moreover occupy the only land route between Cosin and Qalash… and ships and lycantrophes tend to mix poorly. This places them in a precarious but profitable position, for despite their mutual disdain, Cosin and Qalash greatly benefit from each other’s commerce.
While Middenlander society remains basically self-sufficient, consisting of small independent packs occasionally grouping into larger villages, they have adapted to the inevitable trade in various manners. First and simplest is via the raiding of caravans passing through the area. Second, some act as commercial middlemen, providing the invaluable service of making sure Cosin and Qalashi never actually have to interact. Others have gone a step further, and rather than making small-scale trades, have embraced travel far afield to become nomad-caravans1. In practice, most packs do some share of all of these things.
For all this commerce, however, the average Middenlander lives a surprisingly traditional lifestyle. They may ride crude trucks instead of walking with tents on their back, but they still live in small packs, ruled, variably, by the oldest, strongest, or wisest. Their profits generally go to luxuries and exotic goods, with all the necessities – and even many industrial products – provided locally. They prize tradition and make a point of never purchasing things they can provide themselves, especially basic necessities. They may have access to an almost unparalleled plethora of goods, but always retain that basis of simplicity.
Religion and more esoteric forms of philosophy are complex. Many packs, especially the nomad-caravans, have absorbed a wide variety of beliefs, while those who remain in the Middenlands themselves tend to be more traditional, worshipping a pantheon of nature-gods. Middenlanders are not prone to fanaticism, but some are very superstitious, others more sober. Almost all packs will at maintain a shrine to the old gods somewhere, to which they periodically return to make offerings. Some of the Middenland packs also ‘suggest’ that visiting merchants make offerings as well. Actual magic, meanwhile, is similarly… diverse, with little orchestrated study or teaching, but plenty of bits picked up somewhere or another.
For people who spend so much time traveling from the world, Middenlanders are notoriously aloof, and most of their hosts regard them as a necessary evil, at best. They make an effort to remain apart from the places they visit, always living off the land and refusing hospitality2. Worse, most won’t hesitate to raid as well, though usually not the same people they trade with… unless something ‘provokes’ them. That, and they have acquired a reputation for seducing spouses, causing trouble, and generally swindling people. However, amongst each other Middenlanders exhibit a strong sense of camaraderie, even though they may have almost no actual interaction. They will readily come to each other‘s aid if necessary, though rarely hang around long enough to get annoyed be each other.
1 Qalash has given up on trying to stop them and now simply tries to ensure their caravans are filled with Qalashi goods.
2 Which, one will note, means they’re taking other people’s resources with a marginal invitation at best.
Feat: Intermediary: Negates a -1 penalty to social checks due to culture or conflict. Reduce the penalty for lacking a shared language from -3 to -2. If you spend Elan, you also count as if you had all Cultural Familiarities, and reduce the penalty for lacking a shared language from -3 to -1.
*Cultural Familiarity: Middenland
*Language: Middenlands Pidgin
*Language: ANY ONE
*Global Area Knowledge: Bad
- Social: Bad
- Barter: Mediocre
- Survival: Bad
- Travel: Mediocre
- Navigation: Mediocre
- Combat: Mediocre
- Transformation Control: Bad