[Halfling Culture] Roavers

NIAH

Secretly Elz
Retired Staff
#1

Roaver Halfing
(Commonly referred to as Blue Folk)

| H I S T O R Y |
In years passed, the halfling people thrived in the days before Queen Grief. Most banded together in caravan groups, and made their living out on the road. They followed the teachings of their spiritual matriarch, known as the cilpen, and marked their skin with blue ink to represent their caravan. However, their numbers were culled when Queen Grief warped them to create the Greyling people. It has been a long and difficult road since then, with many halflings focused on just surviving and trying to escape the stigma that followed them. In the times since Grief, after their numbers dwindled, many halflings lost touch with their caravan ways and settled in cities or made their own settlements to try and stave off dwindling numbers. There are still those that cling to the old ways, and Roaver caravans can be seen parked outside of cities and along the roadsides, with their campfire songs, their caravan dogs howling in the night, and merriment heard all till morning.



| G E O G R A P H Y |
Roavers, by the nature of the name, do not linger in one certain place for long. Their caravans travel along the roads of the kingdoms, and follow wherever the wind or omens blow them. It is, however, rare to see them far to the north among the snow and ice due the difficulties traversing the frozen terrain. Often seen in groups outside of cities, or parked along the winding roads across the continent.



| P E R S O N A L I T Y |
A Roaver is loud. A Roaver is proud. And a Roaver is riddled with superstition. They love the open road, and their camps are rife with song and instruments around the campfire. When the songs die down, they gather and tell stories amongst one another. A Roaver, while at times obnoxiously boisterious, is also an unparalleled storyteller. They are overbearingly proud of their heritage, and Roavers think themselves the truest of any halfling for keeping to the old ways. When faced with other clans and halfing cultures, the Roavers tend to find themselves in unexpected altercations because the have an unfortunate habit of standing on tables and drunkenly calling out the others for having abandoned their cilpens and caravans, or announcing themselves as the superior of all the small folk. Roavers, for the most part however, have a lust for life and a passion for travel, and will make friends of any that come along their camp so long as the cilpen deems them clear of heart.



| P H Y S I O L O G Y |
Roavers bear no differences in physiology. Their traits cover the wide array already existing within the halfling genome. The caravans openly welcome any halfling that chooses to return to the old ways, and this has kept the traits varied.



| H I E R A R C H Y |
The cilpen is the oldest female of the clan, and is revered as the leader of the group. She determines what roads the caravan takes, and settles the family squabbles as they arise. Below the cilpen, a Roaver halfing does not have any large bearing on status. Brothers and sisters in the caravan are equal among any other, and have as much chance of being heard by the cilpen than any other. However, a Roaver may be blackbanded by the cilpen as punishment for endangering the caravan, or for some spiritual taboo he has done. The blackband tattoo is an herbal mixture that stains the skin, and typically fades after around four weeks. While the blackband persists, none are permitted to look at or speak with their marked brethren.



| S O C I E T Y |
They travel in large caravans, with several wagons along the roadside. They make their coin by trading gathered herbs, handmade wooden crafts, clothing, scarves, pipes, exotic wares, ornately carved quarterstaves and baskets, as well as plying themselves as priests of Jax. Often times, a Roaver will be the first and the loudest to volunteer for adventures. If given the cilpen's blessing, the Roaver will go out and gain respect and coin for the caravan in order to bring it back to the family. They listen to their matriarch for guidance and for spiritual advice, and travel to her whim. A The Blue Folk are recognizable by their blue tattoos all over their body, and bear these markings proudly. When a Roaver does something the cilpen deems as honorable, worthy, beneficial to the caravan, or heroic, they will gain another tattoo from the matriarch herself. In fact, when an outsider halfling chooses to join a caravan and return to the old ways, the cilpen will take them aside and give them their first tattoo as a marking of their place in the caravan. However, if a Roaver chooses to abandon their caravan forever, they will never be accepted back by their cilpen. They would need to find another caravan that would take them, or abandon the life altogether.

In Roaver culture, there is a fairly defined idea of who does what within the train. The men are seen as shrewd negotiators and admirable hawkers for their wares, so when they are in cities or parked just outside of them, the men will often be the ones negotiating prices and doing trading. When they are on the road, the men will be the ones taking the caravan dogs out hunting, or guarding them as they move. A select few play instruments as they go, to boost the morale of the caravan train. The women tend to be the craftsman, and spend much of their time near or inside the wagons when they travel. When parked, they'll be seen sitting on stumps while they carve staves, whittle pipes, or while they're sewing up garments. The elder men and women that aren't quite able to contribute as much as others are the ones that prepare the meals for the caravan. Children tend to be unruly and Roavers don't generally believe in punishing the young folks, thinking that they'll grow out of their wild behaviors as they get older. But seeing as how boisterious and loud they are as adults, it is somewhat amusing to consider how that belief has developed in their small society.

Each family unit tends to have their own wagon in the train, and each wagon tends to have a focus on whatever they specialize in crafting. Passerbys that roll by and shop for the wares may notice one wagon has a specialty of intricate wooden beads and necklaces, while another has well made vests hanging on hooks. Others may be adorned with hanging bushels of herbs and flowers. Most wagons have a dog or two that are kept as pets, and occasionally used in hunting when they haven't traded enough supplies on the open road.



| T R A D I T I O N S, B E L I E F S, & R E L I G I O N |
By and large, the Roavers show fervent dedication to Jax and his sense of travel and adventure. They call their endless travel "The Traveler's Path," and believe that their cilpen is guiding them along the path set out for them by Jax. As well, individual caravans have their own superstitions, wives tales, and traditions that stem from the cilpen that guides the carts.

For the most part, the Blue Folk are good natured though. They are good spirited usually, but also just like the idea of fate being decided by a chance game of cards. In fact, many decisions are come to by the toss of a coin or by a game of cards.

Here are a few superstitions and beliefs that can often be seen around the caravans:

-- Many believe that it is bad luck for the caravan to travel when the moon is hidden behind the clouds or darkened. As such, caravans usually park and stay in one place during the course of a new moon. Usually a time filled with drinking, song, and crafting.
-- Many cilpens believe that a wail out in the wastelands is a lost spirit trying to lure them to mischief.
-- The cilpen must be the one to drive and lead the wagon over the bridge, as Jax will lend her his favor. If someone else leads the caravan, the bridge may collapse without having Jax's luck on his side.
-- The Blue Folk maintain a longheld superstition that sickness can pass through the eyes. They will not meet the direct gaze of anyone sick or ailing, for fear of taking on their sickness.
-- If a caravan comes to a fall tree across the road, or some similar obstacle, the cilpen will roll a set of dice. If the number comes out even, they will clear the obstacle and continue forward. If they land on odds, the caravan will turn around and wander a different path.
-- If the cilpen is rained on, the caravan will have a week of bad luck. A lot of the time, the cilpen's children will go about the task of carrying an umbrella over her if she leaves the cart in the rain. Some of the disgruntled youth tend to whisper that the cilpen's just too afraid of getting wet, though they'll never let the elders hear them make that joke.

-- A Roaver may roll his dice to help make a decision, no matter how small or large. They do not do this for every decision, but there is an element of fun to it and a common occurrence to see a Roaver pull his dice out and roll them occasionally, then putting them away without a word.
-- They believe that all bets and wagers should be upheld. If someone reneges on a gamble, it's worth getting the blackband.
-- When someone dies within the caravan, their body is traditionally burned while the musicians play. The caravan will band together and the cilpen will organize that a fifth of the caravan's profits will go to the Roaver's family wagon.



| C L O T H I N G |
The important thing about a Roaver's clothing is that it must remain practical for travel. Their carts are often loaded with different fabrics they've traded over their journeys, and a Roaver is going to be a fair hand at making their own clothing because of it. It's important to be able to patch clothing on the road, so it's a basic skill known to any of the Blue Folk.

Men: The men in the caravans tend to favor a variety of hats and a multitude of belts. As they veer towards the merchant path of their society, there are pouches for nearly everything hanging from those belts. Usually with a scarf, and a long coat with a half dozen pockets hidden thereabouts.

Women: The women often wear long, knee length vests over blouses and corsets. Their scarves tend to be colorful and bright, and usually wear breeches rather than dresses. Dresses are more for festivals and special occasions, as riding and travel isn't entirely practical when fussing with a skirt.


| H O L I D A Y S |
It is difficult to pinpoint many of the holidays held by the Blue Folk, as any time they find a place to park it is celebration enough. However, twice a year, many cilpens guide their caravans to the open grasslands near the swamplands, and for a span of two weeks, it is an ongoing party. There are many competitions of skill, elaborate performances, and many folk dances. Most often referred to as, "The Fair of Songs" in the early flowering months and "The Feast of Coins" around the time of a traditional harvest.

Marriages and births turn into their own holidays of sorts. When a child is born, the entire caravan will gather around the wagon and sing songs and play rowdy music all through the night. Marriages turn into dances of revelry and are a time for reflection for many of the families in the caravan train.


| T I P S F O R R O L E P L A Y |
Understandably, it may be difficult to get the full experience of the Roaver culture without a group of players to RP as part of the caravan. In instances like this, consider that your character has been sent out by the cilpen to gather fabrics for the tailor, or that you are a youth allowed to explore the world on your own before returning to the caravan life. Just because you are not in the wagon train does not mean you have abandoned the life altogether. The cilpen will give blessings to solitary endeavors, or send out individuals on certain errands.

Or perhaps your caravan is not a large one, and is made up of your character's immediate family and their grandmother as the cilpen. Talk to region owners about setting up a caravan build on the border for some fun merchant roleplay! Another option is that you are a devout follower of Jax, and travel to bring other halflings back into the old ways! There are a lot of ways to circumvent the lack of caravans, but if you can gather folks for a big group it would be the most fun!


| C A R A V A N S |
If you would like to form a caravan, message a staff member with the name of your caravan and its members. We can keep track of it here, and if any would like to join a wagon train in the Roaver culture, message the "cilpen" or defacto leader to get involved!

Known Caravans:
"Shenora's Train"
Cilpen: Shenora Weatherfoot (IGN: @Example McPants)
-- Jon Weatherfoot (IGN: @Example Example)



| C R E D I T S |
NIAH for writing
Fitz for the original idea from old lore
Solus for looking over and making the request
 
Last edited: