Forest Tribes of Ve’tal
For as long as anyone could remember, our people have lived in the forest we call home. Despite the dangers and horrors that dwell within, it is all we have as our people are the only ones who follow the proper path forgotten by all who have abandoned the forest for ambitions that have corrupted their very being. - Tribal Shaman
Tribal Council: A council of the most influential leaders of a tribe that comes together to talk about serious issues and events that affect the tribe as a whole. Chief/Chieftess: The village leader often does what's best for their people. They will often deal with civil and political disputes and military matters, some being elected War Chief when war breaks out. The leadership of their village bestows the title, and their children do not inherit it. Shaman: The village's spiritual leader has a tremendous spiritual power that deals with spiritual and supernatural matters that a tribe may face. Their wisdom also makes them powerful healers in healing physical and spiritual wounds. Only those gifted with Spiritual Magic have the role of shaman. Druid: While not seen in all villages, Druids still have some power as they can communicate with the land and spirits within it. Their earthly knowledge and strong connection to the land allow them to awaken Wild Magic within them and gain wisdom of the earth itself. They are often used as mediators between tribes to keep the peace. Elder: Men and women of great wisdom from years of experience. They advise the leaders of the tribe and pass it down to the next generation. They will always have a say in a meeting involving their village or the tribe, as wisdom should always be present to avoid ignorance and hatred that may appear when it is not. Law Keeper: A man or woman who holds the records of sacred laws created by their ancestors so they do not fall astray from their way of life or traditions. They interpret the laws to ensure that the tribe is not abandoning the path of their people. Clan Giver: A woman who cares for the clans of the tribe and their village. They are often a part of tribal life and traditions in ceremonies, from births to marriages. She is often seen as the mother of all the people in the village and does what she must to ensure that they prosper. They have a say in what happens in the tribe and are allowed to aid in selecting a new chief. Clans: Clans are the many groups that make up a tribe and go by many different names for each of their villages. But treat each other as kin and share the same traditions and customs. Each group is willing to unite to form a community and live their way of life as they see fit.
Being a Member
We were gifted a paradise where we have everything we want without the need to take more. Sure, we went through hard times here and there, but that is nature's way. Our greatest failure comes from the fact that so many have chosen to abandon our heritage by believing that they could control it, leading to a world filled with hate and lies that takes more and more, even when they have enough. - ShamanIt is a world that very few people have ever seen or will ever experience. The forests have been home to the tribes longer than anyone remembers. Its people have always lived in peace with it and only took what it needed to survive and thrive. But now, only one forest remains that may preserve our people from a world that has forgotten where they came from so long ago. Since then, we have always been ready to defend ourselves from those who want to take what is ours and the land we call home. Our enemies are many, for they come in many different forms; some are men, and some are beasts, with very few that we call friends. All who claim that the land belongs to them by right even though no one can truly own it as we last long after we are gone. Such ways of thinking shall only bring suffering to all creatures that live on it. To avoid this, we must be the ones that shall uphold the teachings of our ancestors and the legacy that has been left for us, no matter how small it is. For their Spirits watch over us, and we watch over them to ensure our people shall never fade from the world. If we do, only greed and hatred will remain as the land will be plundered for its riches and suffer because of it. It leaves nothing left for all that live on it and wipes out the gift of life that it gives to all who accept it. So let them come, and they shall know the wrath of nature that will come with their transgressions as our people will ensure that we shall repay every heinous act tenfold.
What People Think of YouThe forest tribes have never had the best reputation for the rest of the Western Lands. They still live tribal lifestyles and live in the wilderness compared to the "civilized" peoples outside the Great Forest. Many see them as nothing more than barbarians and animals for how they live, with no regard for their lives. But the size of the forest and their skill in guerilla warfare daring to invade there have left them alone to their own devices. No one can invade the entire forest without invoking a massive army from the many tribes in it. But even they have enemies inside the forest, as the Beastmen often fight over resources and old feuds that have spanned centuries. They do have some friends, though, as people that live near the forest's borders will often trade with them and the recently dissolved Forest Guard have good relations with them. Some of its members that make up the Brotherhood of the Wood still contact them with trade for supplies and information.
To preserve their way of life and the lands they live on from those that would exploit them.
The tribes themselves only have hunters and braves to protect them from attack, and most of them only have bows and spears. Leather armor is also the closest thing they have to defend in battle, while some don't wear it as a sign of bravery. Only a few tribes even know metalworking skills. Making metal armor and weapons very difficult to find. Most warriors take metal weapons and armor from dead soldiers whenever they get the chance.
An Ancient CultureWestern Lands as they had lived amongst the Elves when they ruled over the land. Back then, many tribes lived across the land, mainly covered with forests, and lived peacefully with the other races and the Elves. Everything changed with the Beastmen and the great fires that caused the burning of many forests, scattering their people across the west and forming their own cultures after being isolated as the Beastmen ruled the land. But some managed to keep their culture intact in the last remaining forest in the west, which would later be known as the Great Forest. From this point, the tribes that made up the forest inhabitants would come and go with time. They continued their lives even after they aided in defeating the Beastmen in the Beast War with the The First Kingdom of Men knowing. At the same time, Humans were now the sole rulers of the west. They had lost their way and began fighting one another over power and land. The tribes returned to the forest, removing themselves from the rest of the world and its problems. In time, the many tribes would come and go, with battles between themselves, the Beastmen, and other creatures. Creating the twelve great tribes that lived within the forest and how they all lived valued the teaching of land and the Spirits that made their home within it. They would go by the same name to remember who they were and where they had come from, the Ve'tal.
Survival Through IsolationSince they hid from the world for thousands of years, the tribes had lived in relative peace as myth and superstition surrounded the Great Forest, leaving them unaffected by the ever-changing world. The tribes cared little for the way of life that those of the beyond forest followed as they had no regard for the old ways, replacing them with gods that demanded absolute obedience and killing one another for just about anything. The lands beyond it were destroyed as it was torn open for shiny metals and people claimed ownership over it to use it as they wished rather than share it. It was nothing more than a selfish desire to feed a never-ending hunger that could not be satisfied. For that reason, contact was forbidden, as going into it would lead to nothing but the destruction of their people. All they needed came from the forest and had no use for money, nor did they need cities of stone that killed the buried life under it. While there were some notions of trade between the tribes and outsiders, they were minimal for tools and other items that helped with everyday life. The tribes remained the way they were, existing in their world and never involving themselves with the problems that affected the nations beyond their homeland and living the way they wished.
Fighting to ExistNo one tried to commit to a full-scale war against the tribes again, as the terrain and the tribe's skills in guerilla warfare were too challenging to deal with. Most people who dare enter the forest often do it in small groups to avoid detection, as the tribesman can easily spy on anyone without being seen. The tribes have since gotten used to these things with each passing century, as they are constantly under threat of being attacked. But there have been improvements in chances of survival since the Forest Guard was formed and created peaceful agreements of cooperation to keep the peace. Though the tribes will still raid beyond the forest's borders if they feel that is necessary. Though the last time that the tribes were on the warpath was when Norrians invaded Ardania during the Warlock War, the invasion failed, and the survivors fled into the forest in order survive only for none to ever come out of the forest again as the tribes made sure of it. But since then, the tribes have maintained the peace they wanted for many more centuries, proving that they are a force not to be underestimated.
A Time of CrisisMuch has changed in recent years that have put all the tribes on edge; the War of the Raptors saw the Kingdom of Ardania fall at the hands of the Vatian Empire and the lands of Ardania are know apart of it. The tribes were not neutral in the conflict, as they killed many Legionaries when the imperials entered their lands to invade the kingdom. Many were killed during the Battle of the Dark Wood as the imperials became lost and isolated after the kingdom defeated them in battle. The war is over, and a new order exists from the still-smoldering ashes, with the empire now bordering bother sides of the Great Forest. It makes them constantly cross the forest to supply their armies in Ardania and has caused many disturbances within the forest itself. The tribes now deal with the consequences of their actions and face many challenges. Fear has begun to spread as another war may come to their lands that they might not win, which is not an option as their way of life and their people may fade away forever if they do. All they can do now is prepare and wait for the time to come to determine their fate to see if they continue to live or join their ancestors after their final battle, as they will not go down quietly nor be slaves to men that care little for the world around them.
Demography and Population
It is often difficult to determine the actual number that makes up all the tribes of the forest, but it's believed that due to the amount of land that they cover and the settlements than can be found in, they are nearly around half a million.
Each tribe lives on its patch of land to survive in the Great Forest, using them as hunting grounds and growing crops. Combined, all of the lands used in the forest almost make up more than half of the forest itself.
Each of the tribes has warriors known as Kato'rua, raised from an early age to become skilled fighters by the time they reach adulthood. Each of the tribes has a different tradition regarding how they train, but they are still considered fearsome foes to face in battle. They are mostly men, with some being women fighting for their people when needed.
The tribes themselves live in primitive societies, with many not even having access to the technologies outside the forest. Most tribes do not even know metallurgy. But can make tools and weapons from stone and wood, along with methods with fire and fur to build things that were of use to them, and create large structures for practical and spiritual purposes to be used for everyday life. The ability to create clothing from just about any material they can find is also a fascinating sight to witness.
The tribes follow the old ways of the forest, which comprises ancestral worship and the spirits that inhabit the land around them. The greatest of these spirits are considered the gods of these people, known as the Great Spirits of Hotecha.
Many of the tribes remain isolated from Humans that live outside the Great Forest, but others tend to trade with villages that are close to the forest from time to time.
Agriculture & Industry
The tribes though lacking in indutrial capablities have instead gone for a agricultural based soicty they allows for the creation of crops to support food their people. Their methods and food differ from tribe to tribe but they have learned to enrich the soil to grow crops and to grow large amounts of to ensure that their was enough food.
Trade & Transport
Trade was made personally by tribes and villages, often done at a selected meeting place where both parties could exchange the desired items.
Everything in the tribe is handed down from parent to child by their designated gender. Boys learn things such as fighting, hunting, and tracking to make them capable warriors and hunters. While girls learned how to farm, build and make clothing, among many other things. But both would know the history of their people through the shamans, druids, and elders of their village with stories given to them from countless generations before them.
Due to their tribal lifestyles, they lack the most common things that most common things they are lacking such as water systems, and roads. But they can build their settlements anywhere in the forest and out of anything from stone to mud to make their settlements.
One with the Land
Savages, forest folk, tribesmen, children of the forest, Ve’tal
The tribes have no understanding of money, so instead, they use practices things such as food, furs, and materials to allow trade through a bartering system in order exchange for things they are lacking to increase their chances of survival.
Protectors of the Land
We are all children walking up the land, and we are thankful for everything it offers, but not all accept this, and we must fight to protect it. - Native ElderThe tribes have sworn to one another, never stripping the land of its resources and beauty. As it is sacred to all of them and their way of life, it is used to survive and not to benefit oneself, leaving all others to suffer from greed. Doing this has given them a deep connection with the land. They know of many secrets lost to the rest of the west thousands of years ago. The forest is constantly threatened by outsiders who have tried taking from it without giving anything back. Causing conflict with the tribes as they chase them off their land. However, the threats are not always from outsiders but within, as it is an ancient place that holds many dark things from a bygone age, both wicked and cruel. They can keep these creatures at bay through their ancient knowledge and blessings bestowed on them by the Spirits of the forest.
Freedom of the Wilds
I will never understand why the Chu'ruk is willing to give up so much only to receive so little when bound by so many rules that make no sense. - Tribal YouthFor outsiders who have met the tribes, their way of life is far different than they could imagine. People who don't see them as savages see them as living a life that does not require money or property to ensure that they live. They could find what they needed in the forest to survive and trade for what they needed. The concept of a king ruling over their subjects is foreign, with them instead electing their leaders by merit and consideration of their peers. With communities that looked out for one another and knew all that lived in them. It was something that they did not believe could be achieved, and the freedom to live their lives like this was something that so many desired to have. Some even did so, abandoning their old lives and joining the tribes if Ve'tal accepted them. Still, some of the tribes created by outsiders chose to embrace the old ways, often referred to as the Teren or redeemed, as they decided to live their ancestors' lives.
Everything has a spirit that lives within it, from the animals to the trees. They give strength and wisdom to them to live on until they leave their earthly vessels to journey to the Beyond. - ShamanIt's known that the Ve'tal followed a different faith, unlike the rest of the west, but one with their faith and religious beliefs significantly affected their way of life. To them, their world, both them and spirits that live amongst them through everything, exists. These spirits can be both excellent and terrible, depending on their nature. It is one of many reasons that the tribes respect the land, as it is a gift given to them by these sports. The strongest are their gods, often called the Great Spirits, that watch over them and ensure that nature is safe from harm. People with a close connection to them are the Shamans and the Druids, who have opened themselves to become anchors that connect to the spirits around them. Allowing them to make peace with them and defend themselves when some means to harm them with the knowledge passed down.
Warriors by Circumstance
A warrior must have a deer's speed and a fox's cunning to defeat his enemies in battle. All who can do this will ensure our tribe is safe from harm. - Veteran WarriorConsidering the tribes' situation, it is no wonder that many have decided to take up military traditions to protect their homes and people from harm. Many men and some women train to be warriors at a very young age, preparing them for battle when they reach adulthood. Each tribe has its traditions for producing its warriors, but the result is always the same, a capable fighter can face even the most skilled soldier in a fight and win. These warriors can produce fear in their enemies and are not harmless despite lacking armor and metal weapons. Each is fully committed to fighting for their people and homeland without hesitation. Even willing to sacrifice themselves against overwhelming odds if it means victory and the continuation of their tribe.
From Many to One
We must never forget that no matter how many tribes are that we are all one people and should never turn on each for petty things - Village CheifTwelve tribes use the land they consider their ancestral home to live their way of life. Each is different to one degree, but they live and follow the same beliefs as their ancestors. Yet they are often at odds with one another over resources and disputes over past differences. However, they keep the place by staying on their land and keeping to themselves unless necessary. But it doesn't mean they will abandon each other if another requires aid.