The Mountain Birdfolk

This article is one of a series providing basic information for someone choosing to role-play a Birdfolk of the Mountain Culture in a TTRPG based in the World of Cartyrion. The series is designed to encourage preparation of a Player Character by focusing on the nature of the character without focusing on the game statistics.
As part of the Mountain Culture of the Awkwana, you are physically gifted in ways that make life among the high peaks a little less frightening. Your physical frame is lighter and more birdlike than that of other Birdfolk - with lighter bone structure and with long pinfeathers on your upper arms rather than the small, tight feathers that other Awkwana have. While you cannot fly, you can control the speed of any fall as long as you are conscious - a valuable ability for those who live and work along tall peaks and narrow ledges.

Mountain Birdfolk.png
A Mountain Birdfolk Artisan

Cultural History

The sages among the Awkwana teach that the Birdfolk of the Mountain Culture are physical examples of the first Birdfolk to be Awakened, and they are probably correct. Birdfolk of the Mountain Culture have occupied Kaal Ruk since its founding, and the earliest likenesses of the ancestral Awkwana preserved in stone all seem to show the distinctive arm-feathers of the Mountain Birdfolk.

Geographic Distribution

It is likely that the dominant culture in Kaal Ruk is that of the Mountain Birdfolk, but this is not to say that Mountain Birdfolk are bound to their home roost. Being raised among the Mountainfolk does not preclude a sense of wanderlust from arising in some individuals, and it is these Awkwana that have ultimately given rise to the establishment of the mountaintop cities and settlements far from the ancestral home of the Birdfolk. A number of the Mountain Birdfolk have even made their homes in cities among other races, where they fill their societal niche by performing jobs that require climbing to great heights or balancing above precarious drops.

Role-Playing a Mountain Birdfolk

Interacting with Other Birdfolk

The Birdfolk are perhaps unique among all the races of Folk on Cartyrion in that there is little or no friction between subcultures. The sense that one culture is superior to another is never entertained. Thus, while your Mountain Culture could boast of being the first - or "true" - culture of Awkwana, this does not make you special, and certainly does not entitle you to any extraordinary treatment. You rely on the Hunters and Waveriders for much of your food; they rely on the Mountainfolk for crafted metal items. That is the place in the scheme of things for your culture: you work the stone to extract and transform the riches hidden within.

Interacting with Folk of Other Races

The Mountain Birdfolk have a special affinity for the Dwarves, as it was they who taught the first Awkwana to work the stone of their mountaintop Awakening places. There are no notable negative feelings toward any of the other races. Kobolds are sometimes looked upon with distrust - all Birdfolk culltures are cautious around Kobolds - but you will not be openly hostile or dismissive of a Kobold unless it gives you cause to be. As with other Birdfolk cultures, your acceptance of other lifestyles will make you tolerant of practices and beliefs that may seem quite foreign or even 'wrong' to you - as long as those practices do not negatively impact you, your family, or your friends.

Interacting with Your Adventuring Party

Your Birdfolk upbringing means you will not introduce any race-based prejudices into party dynamics when you are first getting to know your fellow party members. You may, however, find yourself favoring any Dwarven party members as your Mountain culture upbringing has alway held them in high regard. As with all Birdfolk, there may be issues involving the reading of emotions and moods: your associates will not be able to read you since facial expression and body language are not natural for Birdfolk. You may not understand others if you are not practiced in recognizing these subtle, non-verbal clues as well. Your unique ability to survive falls may prove useful to the party in some special circumstances. Should these circumstances arise, you will not be reluctant to put your natural talent to good use.
Traditions and Taboos
There are no culture-specific morals that Birdfolk need to live up to, but the race-spanning ideals of tolerance are of course present. You will accept others - Awkwana or any other Folk - for what they are and what they do. Their customs and beliefs may be quite different from yours, but as long as those differences do not adversely impact you, your family, and your friends, they are to be tolerated if not accepted.

As a Mountain Awkwana, you are proud of your armfeathers, and will never willingly trim or pluck them. You will not lightly abandon any lost or broken plumes; these are to be carried with you until you die, when they are entombed with you.

Likely Professions
Living high in the stony mountaintops, your work experience will most likely have either involved working with/in stone (a mason or miner, perhaps), or as an artisan of some sort. Mountain Birdfolk jewelry is unique and craved around the world. Alternatively, scholarly pursuits (mundane, divine, or arcane) are also quite common among the Birdfolk that live in the high mountains.

Preferred Dress / Gear
If you are inclined to wear armor at all, your preferences will be toward lighter armors of hide and leather, though solid metal breastplates are not uncommon among the Mountainfolk. You are likely to prefer sleeveless tunics and robes in order to prevent inadvertent damage to the long upper arm feathers that Mountain Birdfolk possess. Armor on your upper limbs may include shoulder pawls, and bracers on your lower arms,

Your choice of weapons will be similar to that of most birdfolk: smaller, agile bladed weapons are the preference.

Naming Conventions

As with all Birdfolk, your parents will have given you a hopeful, encouraging name shortly after your hatching - a short phrase of a name that suggests some ideal or goal your parents hope you can achieve. This name may be yours for life, though if you go on to meet your goals, or achieve some other significant task or milestone, you may take a new name that memorializes your success. In the Mountain culture, chosen names are often associated with the sky, mountains, artisanry, or scholarly pursuits.

When introduced to non-Awkwana, you will give the common language translation of your name, as the Awkwana version will be difficult, if not impossible, for non-Birdfolk to pronounce properly.


Banner background by TC Perch from Pixabay
Banner portrait and other character images by RPGDinosaurBob on Heroforge

Comments

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Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
27 Dec, 2020 21:30

The distinction of their arm feathers is really cool - I can see that being interesting with roleplay if the PC lost some!

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