Ffolk

Regions

The an offshoot of the Talfir people that sailed to the Moonshae Isles and have remained in isolation ever since. There are other racial groups with ffolk ancestry in far off places (the Utter East) but these can no longer be considered ffolk.

Moonshae Isles: The ffolk exist only upon this island chain, and mostly centred upon the islands of Alaron, Gwynneth, Moray, and Snowdown. 

History

The ffolk as a subrace came to exist when a several groups of humans belonging to the Talfir tribes of the Western Heartlands migrated to the Moonshae Isles beginning in 140 DR as they attempted to flee the evils of the Empire of Ebenfar.

The ffolk were later joined by a large immigration of humans from the Tethyrian subrace in 467 DR that were seeking to escape the evils of the Shoon Empire.

The mixing of these two subraces has resulted in the creation of the Ffolk subrace, although it is by no means a uniform mixing. The islands of Snowdown and Alaron contain ffolk with an almost equal mixing of Talfir and Tethyrian blood, whereas the island of Moray have almost 90% Talfir in their heritage

Outlook

The ffolk are inherently peaceful in nature, with a pragmatic approach to life. They work hard, acknowledging that without such toil their family will surely starve, but at the same time they are careful not to despoil their environment by taking more wood, food, or ore than is absolutely necessary.

Women are treated as equals in any task they can perform with sufficient skill, but child-rearing is seen as vitally important by ffolk society. The elderly and infant in society are provided for, but most elderly perish before they become a burden (often wandering into the forest).

Characteristics

Ffolk generally have olive skin, dark eyes, and dark hair thanks to their significant tethyrian heritage. However the close proximity of norl and illuskan groups and their inevitable mixing has led to a wide variety of skin tones, hair colour, and eye colour. The most unusual trait among the folk is for children to occasionally be born with brilliant, emerald, green eyes which is believed to be a sign of fey ancestry in the bloodline

Life and Society

The majority of the ffolk live a rural, subsistence lifestyle of farming, fishing, and hunting on whatever land they can claim for themselves. Ffolk society is generally organised around large tribal units called clans, who claim the best land and loan it out to their members who work the land and provide a tithe of wealth back to the clan in return.

In the few large settlements that exist, the ffolk have established a small service industry of inns, shops, etc. The clans usually control the majority of land in the settlements and again loan them out to members in return for a tithe of the wealth. Only in Callidyrr, is society mirroring that of the Sword Coast, with wealthy merchants and nobles owning much of the land and renting it out, with increasing numbers of people becoming paid employees rather than independent land owners.

Nobility

Most of the ffolk lands operate under tribal rule, with the ultimate authority lying with a monarch and/or high monarch.

Clans: Clans are the traditional noble unit of ffolk society. In ages past, powerful families gathered others to their side in return for protection from the many dangers that threaten the ffolk. These clans were part of the tribes of ffolk (Shyffolk, Shaiffolk, Talffolk) and were integral in forming the tribal councils where Clan Law was decided and all major disputes were resolved.

As the most powerful groups in ffolk society, the clans claimed the best lands on the Moonshae Isles. Those who joined the clan, swearing an oath of fealty and deemed to be suitable, honourable, or trustworthy, were allowed to use clan assets (of land and equipment) in order to generate wealth, some of which was returned to the clan as payment.

Each clan was ruled by its most powerful family; this was usually the founding family (although occasionally the founding families went extinct and branches rose to take their place). The elders of this family made the important decisions of the clan, and their relatives were responsible for assessing new members, deciding who could use which land and what equipment.

In lands that formed part of a ffolk kingdom, the clans would claim large tracts of land (that usually went on to become a major settlement), and would pay an agreed sum each year or an agreed fraction of wealth on each asset, known as paying the King’s Head.

Individuals or families are able to petition to join any clan they wish, by approaching a representative of the clan (who would then seek the guidance of the elder or his family). Once a member, they would be given a house and land to farm (if needed and available), as well as whatever equipment, or animals they might require. As a result of this assistance, most people hold loyalty to their clan higher than loyalty to their king.

Ffolk can leave a clan whenever they wish without fear of retribution, although they must vacate clan lands immediately as well as return any equipment and animals they loaned (or remunerate for equal value). Ffolk normally only leave a clan when it fails and are free to join another clan as desired, however, those who repeatedly swap loyalty to other clans my find themselves being viewed as untrustworthy and refused their oath of fealty.

Clans are normally large, wealthy, powerful entities in ffolk society, with possession of large areas of land, and the loyalty of several hundred ffolk. With such resources they are often the source of significant military power in a kingdom (this is no longer true in Callidyrr), and as a result can influence political decisions in a kingdom (requiring the king to curry favour with a majority of clans to stay in power).

Clan disputes are not uncommon in ffolk society (particularly in modern times as the temptation of wealth corrupts traditional ffolk values). Clans have been known to steal animals from other clans, raid caravans, intimidate clan farmers, and occasionally attack other clans. When a clan is unable to defend its land and its members, it loses the loyalty of its membership and the land they work, as a result clans will fiercely defend their territory and assets.

Lairds: The tethyrians brought the ideals of traditional feudal nobility from mainland Faerun, where noble families are granted special rights, titles, and lands based upon their station and birthright. These awards are given to an individual and inherited by his eldest child in return for services to a monarch or government.

In traditional ffolk society clans claim land under the same rights as individuals, but are able to claim and control more land based upon the size of their membership. The idea of an inherited, feudal nobility is incompatible with these tribal values, and in places such as Callidyrr the clans have been moved out of their power base onto the fringes of society, while noble houses are granted almost permanent ownership of lands.

In most ffolk kingdoms, the title of Laird is given to the clan elder (or someone he appoints), as a sign of prestige and power to ensure loyalty to the monarch, it is almost always given with the ownership of lands that a clan already claims a majority of. So, for example, the Laird of Cantrev Myrrdale is given to the MacMurllan, thus cementing their claim on the land, such appointments in traditional ffolk kingdoms are not permanent and are reappointed each time a new king is invested.

Commoners

Traditional ffolk live in rural communities, spending their days foraging, farming, fishing, hunting, mining, crafting, etc. If they require something they make it themselves, if they cannot do so then they trade with another who can craft it or possesses spare. In the evenings, ffolk spend their time at home or in clan halls where they eat, dance, sing, and tell stories. Excess is frowned upon, the ffolk work hard to provide for their families and meet their obligations (tithes to clan, king, and anyone else).

The ffolk are mindful of their effect upon their surroundings and upon others. They are careful never to farm or modify the land too intensively, never to eat or drink too much so that others go without, community is important and the ffolk work together to ensure everyone can thrive.

Ffolk consider clans to be an extension of their own family, working alongside their extended family in the fields and the mines, and socialising with them in the clan halls during the evenings. Clan rivalry is fierce among the commoners, with feuds between rival clans being settled by its members everywhere (often leading to an escalation of such feuds), it is rare that members from different clans will mix except at the Green Groves (which are common – neutral ground) or in large settlements where mixing of clans is inevitable. Any meeting of different clans (in groups of 10 or more), almost always ends in fighting, although actual bloodshed and fatalities are rare.

Slaves

Ffolk society does not condone slavery in society, to the point that even indebted servitude is frowned upon (except in Callidyrr, where the practice is becoming more common). It is believed by the ffolk to be lazy for anyone to rely upon another to earn the fruits of the Earthmother, a man (or woman) should do his own work in order to provide for self and family.

Oath of Bondage: The Oath of Bondage could be viewed as a form of slavery, where one person voluntarily vows to serve the wishes of another. This practices is most often performed as the ffolk version of marriage, but in Moray it is used for captive norl to swear to serve another for a period of time in order to make amends for the damage they have caused. In rare circumstances the Oath of Bondage is used against criminals to allow them to serve their victims, or by the heavily indebted to serve their debtors.

The Oath of Bondage is voluntary, and can be unsworn whenever either party desires, although to do so can carry a significant cost of honour and reputation to either individual depending upon the circumstances. Most ffolk would rather perish than abandon their sworn obligations.

Customs

Gender Equality: In traditional ffolk society, the ffolk do not discriminate against gender. A woman can take up any role or profession in society as long as they are capable of doing so (although some clans, lairds, or monarchs may hold different opinions), and so it is not uncommon to find women farmers, miners, even warriors.

The role of mother is held sacred in ffolk society and so many women voluntarily take up the role and relinquish the opportunity to perform other professions (until the children are of age). 

Oath of Bondage: This peculiar custom involves a person swearing loyalty to another, requiring them to honour that person in preference to themselves, obeying their wishes, and serving them for a period of time (as declared in the Ties of Bondage).

An Oath of Bondage is sworn in a ceremony; usually at the Green Glade, officiated by one of the Druid (alternatively a priest, laird, clan elder, or other respected person if a Druid is not available). The people to be bonded clasp forearms and are tied using a cord (made of their own hair), then the person swearing bondage makes a declaration (including the length of time – which can be unto death although this is rarely sworn), and the other party accepts the bondage.

The Oath of Bondage has been used for many purposes in ffolk society over the ages; it can be used for criminals to make amends, for warriors to swear their lives to a King, for the indebted to pay off their debts, and for traditional marriage rites.

Most ffolk consider their honour to be an important aspect of themselves, and would rather face death than break an Oath of Bondage. However, when the need for the Oath has passed, it is not unknown for the Oath to be cancelled by the one who originally accepted it (as happened when Kazgoroth was defeated and Cymrych Hugh’s honour guard left his side).

There are always unscrupulous individuals in any society who will abandon oaths if there is more to gain by doing so. Clans, and most honourable ffolk will treat an individual with considerable disfavour if it is discovered that they have broken an Oath of Bondage.

Language

G sounds like a Y. Ch sounds like a sh.

Fanq: Fish

Mac: Clan

Crgan: Head

Crigh: King

Ear-Crigh: High King

Cwyn: Chieftain

Ffolk: People, person

Ffigr: Giant, large person

Fiern: Warriors

Cantrev: Town

Baillen: Settlement

Suich: Cog, a sailing ship with a single mast, round bottom (to help manoeuvre quickly in the fast currents and rocky straits around the islands), and open deck.

Loibar: wretch, vile

Gibhn: Gift

Bran: Raven

Pryn: Bard

Maur: Great

Celilas: A communal meeting point in a settlement loosely translated as Green Grove.

Dervynddur: Seeker of Knowledge, derived from the elven word Teranthvar (meaning knowledge). It is believed this one of the origins of the word Druid in the Common tongue.

Frewwrd: Brother

Laird: Lord

pen: Son of (immediately or paternally related to someone of significance)

ap: Kin of (distantly or maternally related to someone of significance)

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