Fellfolk

The Survivors of Maezes

For almost a century no one believed any on Maezes had survived the tragedy of The Fall. Even from off shore the sailors could see the rampant magics that twisted the land and the hideous monsters that ran wild. But we were wrong. Against all odds there were survivors. These people not only survived, but they flourished. The magics that twisted the beasts into monsters also transformed these survivors. To some they may look like monsters or demons, but to my eye they are magnificent. A people strong but compassionate. Surrounded by a brutal landscape yet embraced the beauty of it. This is why I left the University and risked the Crossing. While they have not exactly welcomed me with open arms, they have allowed me to dwell among them so that I might learn their ways, their history, and study the changes that have happened to them.
— Excerpt from a letter by Magister Lobar
 

The Fellfolk are the descendants of the surviving inhabitants of Maezes who have been twisted by the rampant magics of The Fells over generations. By the time explorers found the settlement of New Moram on the far south-eastern tip of Maezes, the Fellfolk were unrecognizable as their original races.   

Basic Information

Biological Traits

Fellfolk Mage
Fellfolk Mage by Lethann (via Hero Forge)
Fellfolk are bipedal humanoids that have a range of body shapes, one of the only factors that hints at their originating race. They are as short as four feet while others exceed six feet in height. Body shapes can be lithe while others are stocky. The Fellfolk have intermingled so much over the past century that no one is quite sure who has descended from whom.
 
Skin tones come in almost all colors which do not seem to be hereditary. Those who have begun to study the Fellfolk have come up with several theories for the seeming randomness of skintones. Some speculate it has to do with the waxing and waning of the Divines, others think that it has to do with attunement to certain magics, and some even believe it is a reflection of the individual's soul. As of yet there is no consensus and the Fellfolk themselves have taken to simply accepting the differences because they have more important things to worry about, like survival.
 
One feature that has become more widespread amongst the Fellfolk is the growth of a slender, hairless tail. Those who were born with one have found that it makes navigating the treacherous terrain of The Fells much easier as it greatly assists with balance. 
 
Due to the inherent danger of The Fells, most Fellfolk do not live to reach the natural end of their lifespan. Now that relations with the eastern islands have been re-established the Fellfolk have increased their lifespans. Currently there are a few elder Fellfolk who have lived well into their nineties. The average upper age is still to be determined.

Genetics and Reproduction

Like most humanoids, Fellfolk have two biological sexes, male and female. Reproduction requires one male and one female. Fellfolk are able to reproduce amongst themselves with no issues. Reproducing with non-fellfolk has, so far, not been possible.

Growth Rate & Stages

Fellfolk pregency lasts about thirty weeks (~240 days). At birth they are pale, hairless, hornless, and only have a stub of a tail if they have one at all.

Additional Information

Facial characteristics

Fellfolk Cook
Fellfolk Cook by Lethann (via Hero Forge)
For reasons still unknown they have developed horns that grow out of their heads, first sprouting at around two years of age. The size and style of these horns vary from person to person, again seeming to have nothing to do with one's genetics. Horns continue to grow throughout their lifetime. This has caused some Fellfolk to adopt the practice of trimming down their horns in an effort to appear younger. Most, however, take pride in showing off how long they have managed to survive. Decorating one's horns is a common practice. This includes painting them, wrapping them with colored cloth or leather strips, or even drilling holes to add hoops, studs, or chains. It is not unheard of for a Fellfolk to have a broken horn, especially amongst those who venture into The Fells to hunt. Depending on where the break happens it can either be a minor inconvenience or an extremely painful experience. The development of horns seems to be similar to fingernails where the base has a bed of living tissue for a few inches which creates the actual horn material. The horn then solidifies and extends off the scalp. Tip breaks are not painful since they have already grown past the living tissue. Breaks down near the base of one's horns result in bleeding from the inner tissues and is extremely painful, akin to tearing an entire fingernail off.

Civilization and Culture

Major Organizations

The Fellfolk are divided into eight major clans and two groups of exiles. While each clan is mostly composed of family groups, it is common for young Fellfolk to join a different clan that matches their skillset.

Clans of New Moram

  • Moramite Stalker Clan - This clan is the most martial of the Fellfolk clans. They train the best warriors and provide most of the guards for New Moram. Specializing in hunting the beasts and monsters of The Fells, they provide the communal stores with meat, bone, hides, and carapaces. During the Festival of the Last Hunt they lead a massive group hunt for the largest of the predator animals in the Fells.
  • Moramite Wayfarer Clan - This clan ventures far into the Fells to explore ruins, find relics, and scavenge for pre-cataclysm items. Groups of hunters will often bring at least one explorer scout with them. When foreigners come to explore the Fells they will hire one or more clan members to act as guides.
  • Moramite Excavator Clan - This clan is responsible for maintaining the old dwarven mines in the Rossheim Peaks. They provide the communal stores with raw ores and gemstones.
  • Moramite Mage Clan - This clan specializes in teaching and studying Arcane Magic. They also provide enchanting services for New Moram. While magic users are found in the other clans, most end up joining the mage clan as they seek to expand their abilities. The Mage clan is also in charge of the stores of Andaelite, magical components, alchemical supplies, and magical items.
  • Moramite Artisan Clan - This clan is made up of all the blacksmiths, stonecarvers, potters, tailors, cooks, woodworkers, and anyone else who crafts physical items. Master Artisans seek out apprentices to pass on knowledge of their craft. Each apprentice is encouraged to expand their craft and exceed the skills of their masters.
  • Moramite Masons Clan - This clan is in charge of maintaining and building all structures, fortifications, residential caves, boats, and land vehicles.
  • Moramite Cultivator Clan - This clan is in charge of all agriculture efforts. They farm for food as well as finding uses for the magical plants of the Fells.
  • Moramite Rancher Clan - This clan is in charge of all domesticated beasts as well as fishing. They raise livestock for food and raw materials as well as pack animals.

Exiles

  • The Forgotten Fellfolk - Those who were exiled from New Moram as punishment for crimes committed are called The Forgotten. They have their foreheads branded, horns removed, and their names are stricken from all records as if they never existed. Other Fellfolk shun them, refusing to speak or even acknowledge their existence. They are driven away like beasts, if not outright attacked on sight. The lives of the Forgotten are short, violent, and filled with terror and rage. Against all odds some of these exiles have managed to survive, banding together in loose groups that often turn to banditry and raiding. Children of the Forgotten are often subjugated to the same treatment of their parents with almost ritualistic branding and horn removal, though some are left whole.
  • The Bereft Fellfolk - These are outcasts who have willingly left New Moram without the blessing of their clan. Almost all of these have fled to the eastern islands, though a few decided to live in The Fells. Unlike the Forgotten, the Bereft are mourned as if dead, remembered by family members with sadness. If encountered by other Fellfolk, they are shunned, often treated as ghosts.

Foundlings - It is not unheard of for explorers or hunting parties to come across babies or young children left in their path. These foundlings are taken in to be raised by the clans in New Moram, often never knowing they were not born there. Those born of the Bereft are sometimes left with a token to identify their parents and welcomed back into the clans as orphans.

Beauty Ideals

The Fells is a place of garish, conflicting colors and harsh, jagged landscapes. As a result, the Fellfolk have come to admire muted colors and softer shapes. Pastel circles, waves, and spirals adoren their clothing and architecture. Because they can not afford to have dedicated artists, many have taken to incorporating the arts in every aspect of their culture. Clothing is decorated with designs and colors, tools have carvings, workers sing while going about their jobs. The caustic weather of The Fells has made the exterior of their buildings plain and serviceable, but the interiors are awash with murals, carvings, and rugs. 
 
Both males and females will use decorative paints in soft swirling patterns on their skin and horns. Some go so far as to tattoo these designs upon their skin or carve their horns. A few of the more martial clans have taken to ritual scarification of complex designs on their bodies, often with symbolic meanings of the person's accomplishments. 
 
Many who first encounter the Fellfolk are surprised to learn that they value intelligence over physical prowess. The strong helped them survive, but it was the intellects who helped them reclaim their society. They value fitness, but are more likely to pursue a mate who has proven to be intelligent and inventive.

Gender Ideals

With survival their primary focus, few distinctions are made between males and females in terms of 'ideals'. A person should be physically fit, but this goes for both genders. Intelligence and ingenuity are prized and a feature sought after.

Relationship Ideals

Monogamy is something the Fellfolk let go of long ago. The first few decades saw so many of the survivors die that many who were in monogamous relationships were soon left without a partner. In time they came to view these relationships as unnecessary and unwanted, choosing to simply live as a loose clan who all sought comfort and joy with each other. There are still those who seek to bond themselves to a single one, but this is a choice and not something socially expected. These bondings are also do not limit of physical relationships.

Average Technological Level

The Fellfolk have worked hard to re-establish themselves as a civilized people. In the past century they have gone from scraping out a living in caves to having a bustling city. This was quickly accomplished once pockets of Andaelite were found. This magical crystal was quickly identified as a source for sustained magical enchantments that have done wonders to help the Fellfolk achieve their return to a more civilized lifestyle.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

The century of isolation led to Shirian (the common tongue of Bennoria) to evolve into a language unique to the Fellfolk. It is a blending of Shirian, Maezin, and phrases from the dwarven clans from the Rossheim Peaks. When the first sailors arrived on the shores of New Moram it was only thanks to language spells that the two groups were able to communicate. Since then many of the Fellfolk have learned Shirian and those who frequently trade with the Fellfolk have made an effort to learn their language, referring to it as Felmaezin.

Common Taboos

Nothing is worse in Fellfolk culture than the act of being selfish. The harsh environment requires that all Fellfolk work together to survive. Food and possessions are shared freely, though taking something without asking is unacceptable. Laziness is not tolerated and everyone is put to work from a very young age. Anyone caught shirking their duties is harshly punished and repeat offenders have been known to be exiled to The Fells. 
 
Anyone caught abusing a child is dealt with harshly. Children are very precious to the Fellfolk and great pains are taken to protect and educate them. Accusations of child abuse are thoroughly investigated because it is such a serious offense in Fellfolk society. It is not something taken lightly and anyone found bringing up false accusations receives the punishment an abuser would get, often death or exile.

History

When The Fall happened, the residents of Moram were spared the absolute worst of the effects due to its distance from Eminor and the Rossheim Peaks that had separated them from the rest of Maezes. The oldest of the Fellfolk recount stories told by their parents and grandparents of seeing a flash of darkness followed up by a loud booming noise. This enticed many to leave their buildings to find out what was going on. Then the Fel Wind slammed into the western side of the mountains raining boulders and rocks down onto the city. Before the wind passed the ground started to shake. The mountains violently jutted upwards gaining hundreds of feet in height while the ground around them shook and broke apart. Over a quarter of the population perished in the initial wave of devastation. Almost half died within a year. The survivors made their way to the base of the Rossheim Peaks seeking refuge. The caves there gave them shelter from the magical winds and twisted monsters that ravaged the land. Over time they were able to slowly build what would become known as New Moram outside the caves.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Fellfolk view those from the other islands in one of three ways:
  • Many are ambivalent, preferring to focus on their own survival and having interest in any other way of life.  Outsiders are simply others surviving in their own way.
  • Some Fellfolk view the Easterners with hostility, considering the other races to have abandoned their forbearers in selfishness. 
  • Many of the younger ones look upon the foreigners with curiosity and interest. With trade relations having been recently established once more, several have received permission to leave and explore what the other islands have to offer. There is an embassy established in Dragonpoint to help with trade negotiations, staffed by those elected by the clan leaders. Those who leave without first consulting their clan are considered outcasts and are mourned for as if they were dead.
Fellfolk Wayfarer
Fellfolk Wayfarer by Lethann (via Hero Forge)
Race Statistics
D&D5e use Tiefling (©WotC)
Origin/Ancestry
Maezen exposed to wild magic.
Lifespan
70 (Maximum is over 100)
Average Height
4' to 6'8"
Geographic Distribution
Fellfolk Stalker
Fellfolk Stalker by Lethann (via Hero Forge)

Articles under Fellfolk



Cover image: by Lethann Aeda

This species has multiple parents, only the first is displayed below.
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Comments

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18 Dec, 2020 09:45

I love the way you've integrated Tieflings into your world! Nice work :)

sending good vibes <3 - Author of Interarcanum and Shakiraverse
18 Dec, 2020 18:43

Thank you! I wanted something that wasn't "half demon" and led to the bias of 'automatically evil' feelings. Yes there will be those who are prejudice against them but simply because they are 'different' not inherently evil.

Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
23 Dec, 2020 17:54

I love the amount of detail in this article. <3 I particularly like the section about beauty ideals, and I can just imagine the beautiful interiors of their houses.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
24 Dec, 2020 04:12

Thank you so much. This is a beast of an article for sure. I'll be getting some pictures up, found a place in Turkey that has the aesthetic I'm looking for so keep an eye out. Glad it's done and looking forward to moving on to to other things.

Grandmaster Teyvill
Andrew Belenkiy
23 Dec, 2020 21:56

Just stopped to say thank you for suggesting totally remaking d&d species :)   Funny thing, your tieflings ended up being almost total opposites of mine) yours are communal and selfless, mine are individualist, vain and selfish :)

24 Dec, 2020 04:09

Glad to have been a help. ^_^ I need to go read yours when I get a chance so I can compare how they turned out. Now to get the Sparked (warforge) done. World Ember is almost done, the end is in sight!!

Grandmaster Teyvill
Andrew Belenkiy
24 Dec, 2020 10:17

Hah! What a coincidence, I've done my Warforged (they're Golems in FE) right after Tieflings ;)

26 Dec, 2020 16:21

This is super interesting and gives a good overall image of the society. I wish there were some famous characters. Fellfolk seem like a very intriguing and complex lot.

26 Dec, 2020 19:41

Those will come in time. Right now this world is BRAND NEW and unlike most worlds I've done that start with a story first, I'm building this one from the world up first. Each of the clans are based around one of the 'founding members' and each will have an article.

27 Dec, 2020 17:10

The Bereft are interesting. It seems like leaving New Moram is voluntary in their case, yet it seems extremely personally costly. What would be some of the reasons someone chooses to leave the clans?   Seems like these clans are almost akin to guilds or professional associations. What's the general distribution like? Do they mostly farm, mostly fish? Basically, what's the core subsistence strategy?   All in all, cool article and immediately inspired me to want to read about New Moram, an article that apparently does not yet exist :P

27 Dec, 2020 21:53

All are very good questions and yes, there are SEVERAL more articles in the works. I think once I finished this one up I had... 10+ stubs to go deal with? They are coming I promise! This world is brand new for world ember so it's very bare at the moment, sorry.   In the meantime I'll try to give some brief answers: The Bereft are extremely few in number and their reasons for leaving are the same as any 'runaway'. Some dislike the "community above individual" focus of their society while others want to leave the deadly environment of The Fells to live elsewhere in the Bennoria.   The clans are indeed very much like guilds. Each clan will have their own organization article. That's kinda why I didn't go into detail about the society itself here since this is just the species article. One of the things I'm working on is the national "city state" article that will detail more of their society in general.

5 Jan, 2021 18:48

I really like the page design. Especially the effect highlighting headers. I may just be stealing that as an idea... :)

Kahuna the Elder aka Leo - www.kahunatheelder.com Creator of Arnathia
5 Jan, 2021 19:45

LOL I got it from Dhelian so why not?