Fereni (Human)

The Nomads of the Tolaran Plains


When Humans first settled on Tolara, most were of two professions: Explorers seeking fame, wealth, and fortune... And sellswords hired by the Merchant and Exploration vessels seeking such. But what they found when they reached the mainland was an untamed, cruel, and chaotic wilderness; many didn't survive the first few months on Tolaran soil, but those that did were quickly hardened by its wilds.

To make matters worse, infighting was common not only among the Humans, but among the other races as well; they fought for land and resources, for recognition and fortune, and more. Two years after the Opal Accords were signed, however, the Elves founded Eris'ka- the first real civilization since explorers began arriving on the continent. They opened its borders to all of the races, setting it up as a bastion of civilization on an uncivilized continent.   Many of the Fereni followed the flow of other races into the area and found home among them. Over time, connections to their home countries became weaker and they began to see Tolara as their home instead; their culture grew different from that of their relatives on other shores, incorporating not only traditions born of the Tolaran experience, but the practices and beliefs of the cultures they shared Tolara with. And with enough time, distance, and change, they took to calling themselves the Fereni- named for a new style of sword that had become favored by Tolara's Human settlers.

Spread & Distribution

The Fereni are found all across Tolara, intermingling with races of all stripes- save other Human ethnicities when they can get away with it. Their storied history as Mercenaries, hunters, and nomads, however, leads many of them to seek out fame and fortune where these jobs are most common... And they are, by far, most common in Ar'lasang Vaerda'ky . As such, despite being found all across Tolara, it is Ar'lasang Vaerda'ky which has the highest concentration of Fereni within its borders. No matter where they travel, though, they always return to the same spot: Home.

Housing & Architecture

The Fereni rarely build... When they do, it's out of pure necessity and nothing else. As a result, Fereni architecture is one of almost pure utility and function; their buildings are often made from heavy stone or stone-like materials and feature very little decoration or ornamentation. What decoration does exist is usually in the form of hunting trophies and furs, woven grass barriers, plain carved wooden furniture, and earthenware pottery.   The biggest necessity that drives them to create permanent structures is the need for housing. Combined with the fact that they pride themselves on self reliance, have unique family structures, and are a family oriented culture... Their houses are often built in rural (though not necessarily remote) areas and consist of large, high walled complexes. Such homesteads are large enough to house not only the living quarters (usually consisting of several buildings), but also a communal courtyard and kitchen- as well as a growing field for foodcrops, and enough room for a small livestock herd of mixed nature.

Social Organization

The Fereni are perhaps one of the least organized of the races; due to their nomadic natures they have no homeland of their own within Tolara. As a result, outside of the laws of the lands in which they find themselves, the only organizational structure which exists among them is the organization of the family unit itself. And the family unit is, above all, the most important element of Fereni life.   The Fereni practice poly-communal marriage and living. Because it's common for both Men and Women among the Fereni to take multiple spouses, their Homesteads are usually occupied by multiple family units where the adults share one or more of the spousal heads of each family. These homesteads may also occasionally be shared between family units who are not related; though these arrangements are rare, they're not entirely unheard of... But they are almost always made out of pure necessity.   Regardless of how family units within a homestead are related (or not), everyone in the homestead defers to the eldest and most experienced adult. This is usually a Man, but only because the Fereni tend to produce female offspring half as often as they produce male ones; the Fereni view all sexes as integral to the function of the homestead and the survival of its included family units. As such, the duties of the homestead are shared equally between those considered of age, who have successfully passed the rite of adulthood.   Within the homestead. these duties include tending to the crops and livestock, gathering (or harvesting) and preparing food, childcare, and others. Those with adult duties are expected to perform them not just for their own family unit, but for every unit within the homestead as a whole. Additionally, as each homestead produces a side business with which to earn income, those of age are also expected to contribute to the duties associated with the homestead's general business as well.

Food Sources & Cuisine

Fereni cuisine tends to be as utilitarian as their architecture and often reflects the food sources available to them. Given that they're so widespread, this may be rice and Oalot in Di'kae Milona, fresh seafood in Ar'lasang Vaerda'ky, or grains like barley and flax in Eris'ka. This is then augmented by fresh game and wild harvested foods gathered by the Fereni during the Rainy and Dry seasons.   But despite their variety in diet, there are still some dishes that can be found in any Fereni Kitchen regardless of the homestead's location.

Kabi

A type of soup where fish are boiled in an Ale based broth overnight before shallots and spices are added; typically served with a dark grain bread.

Sobre

A type of large, flat, wheat based noodle; traditionally they're steamed before being pan fried along with Fennel, Chicory, and Garlic.

Myam

A type of seed cake made with sesame and flax seed and usually served with fresh honey; traditionally made for holidays and other celebrations.

Cultural Traditions

As a culture largely consisting of Hunters, Scouts, and similar people, it follows rationally that the majority of Fereni traditions would revolve around such things. Two of note are the Rite of Adulthood, and their annual Vindilan Festival.

Vinidlan Festival

A festival that occurs at the end of the Dry Season, beginning on 20 Alarius and ending on 1 Sarnathi.   During this time Homesteads within the same region will typically spend the week of the festival visiting one another and giving gifts. Usually these are weapons or other such useful items.   The festival closes with a large celebration on the night of 30 Alarius; homestead families gather in a central location and spend the night drinking and dancing; weddings are typically held at this time- and children about to undergo the Rite of Adulthood are blessed by their communities.

Rite of Adulthood

When a Fereni child comes of age, it's customary for them to leave their Homestead on their first solo hunt. Typically this is on their 16th birthday, but the age varies per family; children as old as 21 and as young as 10 have performed the rite.   Regardless of their age, however, children are not allowed to return to the Homestead until the Rite of Adulthood is complete.   Such a rite is only considered successful when the child returns having captured, killed, dressed, and preserved both the meat and a personal trophy from their prey.

Taboos, Superstitions, & Offenses

Not necessarily a superstitious people, the Fereni do have a few superstitions none the less. Most notable among them, perhaps, is the belief that seeing three black animals in a row foretells the death of a member of their homestead. Some Fereni believe, specifically, that this is will be the death of their particular homestead's Patriarch (or, in the rare case, their Matriarch), but others believe much more generally; while the general color associated with the superstition is black, some Fereni in other areas believe the same of seeing three of white color instead.   An interesting taboo among the Fereni, though, is their refusal to hunt (or consume the meat of) weaker prey; culturally they value strength, and the view of one's strength is often derived from their hunting prowess- whether the hunted prey is animal or otherwise. The stronger the prey, the stronger the hunter is considered. To take weaker prey for any reason other than food, self defense, or the defense of the homestead and its members, is to reduce one's strength not only in the eyes of the Fereni as a whole, but spiritually as well. As a result the Fereni do not hunt small, weak, or diseased prey for sport, for fear of reducing their own strength.   And while the Fereni do not necessarily celebrate brashness or foolhardiness, they do value courage and bravery alongside strength. Cowardice, then, is often looked down on harshly; running from a hunt or otherwise allowing fear and self preservation to override the need to do what is right or required of you is seen as a punishable offense among them. However, the murder of another Fereni- particularly of a member of one's family unit, or someone who shares their homestead- is perhaps the worst social crime that a Fereni can commit. Such crimes are usually met with the individual being branded on the forehead, and exiled from the homestead.

Race - Human Male
Rival Knights by Lulu Ming Chao

Human, Fereni

Ability Score Increase
+1 Strength, +2 Constitution
Size Medium
Speed 30 ft

Fereni Weapons Training. You have proficiency with the Shortsword, Shortbow, and Fen (a type of sword specific to Tolara).

Steady Endurance. Well adapted for pursuit and exploration, traveling for great distances does not exhaust you; you have advantage on constitution saving throws made while traveling for longer than 8 hours.

Human Resilience. A minor wound is but a slight nuisance for most humans and you recover more quickly from them; you have advantage on rolls made to regain hit points during a short rest.

Languages. Common; Fereni (Old)

Social

Societal Structure
Communal; often Patriarchal

Family Structure
Solitary Poly-Communal

Gender Ratio
1 female : 2 male

Gender Disparity
Very little.

 


Cover image: Forgotten Cultures by Chris Karbach

Comments

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15 Apr, 2018 19:12

Was getting the article and the sidebar to have the exact same length intentional, or just a happy coincidence?

16 Apr, 2018 23:53

I always aim to have my sidebar and my main text line up. I think it gives it a nicer, cleaner finish overall. But it's personal preference! You definitely don't have to ^_^

17 Apr, 2018 19:03

It was oddly satisfying, but something I doubt I could pull off with the amount of detail Iput in my articles xD

18 Apr, 2018 02:43

My advice, personally, is to decide what information needs to be detailed, and which information can be used as "quick reference" points. Use the detailed info in the main body, and use the quick reference in the side bar. You can fluff it a bit, too, by reitterating quick reference points from the body of text as well.

15 Apr, 2018 22:05

That's a seriously nice article. Well written. Let me ask, how did you embed the small image on the right? Can't figure it out for myself...

16 Apr, 2018 23:52

If you join our community Discord server (like should be at the bottom of your Dashboard here on WA) and PM / PING me over there ( @AnnaB#1500 ) I'll be more than happy to walk you through it! It's pretty simple once you know how WA's images function ^_^