Different people in FORESTIUM have different roles. Their role dictates how they live and what their responsibilities are. Click on a role below to learn more …
The majority of boys in Forestium eventually grow up to become Woodsmen who provide for their villages by hunting. The most experienced and bravest Woodsmen may further develop to become Warriors, although there are fewer Warriors now that the tribal feuds are over. The bravest and most worthy of these may one day aspire to become a village Elder - the most senior role in Forestium. Villages of any significant size will typically have a single Elder.
Woodsmen develop forest skills from a young age and the transition from boy to Woodsman takes place via a series of ritual trials. The earliest age that the trials can be attempted is seventeen, but not all boys will attempt the trials at the first chance. Some may wait several years before doing so. The trials involve putting the various acquired forest skills to the test. Aspiring Woodsmen practice for many months and even years to ensure that they can pass the trials.
Woodsman skills include the following:
|Learning to track and kill various forest creatures. Perhaps the most difficult creature to hunt is the wild wood-boar.
|Probably the most commonly used weapon, a slingshot is typically made from bangle wood but fargle wood can also be used if need be. The elastic is made by twisting the inner core from certain types of vine. The type of vine determines the elastic strength and overall effectiveness of the slingshot. No self-respecting woodsman would be seen without a slingshot hanging from their weapon belt. Slingshots may also be carried by other Forestium inhabitants as and when required.
|Bow & arrow
|Requiring more skill than a slingshot, the bow and arrow is used by more experience woodsmen. It can take many years for a woodsman to learn the skills of the bow and arrow.
|Due to the difficulty in manufacturing them, knives are hard to come by and not all woodsmen will carry a knife. However, the correct use of a knife still remains a key skill that all prospective woodsmen must master. Lack of knife skills is one of the biggest reasons why young men fail to complete their trials.
|Woodsmen live from the resources of the forest and so fashioning weapons from the resources at hand is an important skill. A good woodsman needs to understand a lot about different types of wood, vine and other materials to ensure that they can make weapons suitable to the materials that are currently available.
|Tracking & navigation
|Although the terrain can vary, Forestium is covered by large swathes of forest and learning to track and navigate is an essential woodsman skill. Knowing how to track the movements of forest creatures is also critical to their hunting abilities.
Tenders are the glue that hold villages together. They cook, clean and care for the other inhabitants of their village. Children that develop caring tendencies and a compassionate nature often gravitate towards becoming a village Tender. Approximately 3 out of every 4 Tenders is female.
It is not uncommon for young villagers to be cared for communally by their own parents as well as the rest of the tenders of a village. Although less prevalent nowadays, children were sometimes orphaned due to the tribal wars. It is the tenders of a given village that inherit the parental responsibilities for such children - regardless of the village from which those children come from.
Fixers build and repair things. Children with an aptitude for problem solving and ingenuity very often become Fixers. Most villages typically have dedicated Fixers but these skills may be applied more generally by Woodsman and Tenders in smaller villages.
Fixers are constantly learning new skills and have a natural thirst to do so. In most villages, it is quite common for teenage fixers - particular the most intelligent ones - to spend many weeks or even months travelling around Forestium attempting to explore and acquire new skills. The idea is that they eventually return to their home village to pass on that knowledge to others. Villages with a healthy population of fixers tend to be more successful in the longer term.
The most successful fixers often assist warriors in the woodsmen trials, by creating obstacles and other tests for the young hopefuls. In a typical village, about half the fixers will be males and half females. They are also responsible for constructing huts and other village buildings.
Warriors are the defenders of the village and responsible for the overall safety of its inhabitants. Woodsmen that are especially brave and/or fearless may become Warriors. Becoming a Warrior is considered a great honour and usually only at the invitation of the village Elder. During the times of the tribal feuds, a typical village might expect to see half of their Woodsman population becoming Warriors. As the tribal feuds settled down and Forestium became a more peaceful place, there has become less of a need for Warriors, and fewer Woodsmen nowadays are seeking that vocation. Consequently, the overall Warrior population is aging.
During the tribal feuds, it was not uncommon for village Warriors to participate in raids on remote villages. killings were rife and tit-for-tat retaliations commonplace. The original causes of the tribal feuds are complicated but they were sustained in large part due to the anger and bitterness felt by the loss of loves ones and the feuds eventually fuelled themselves. It wasn't until the Congress of Elders that took place around twenty years ago that the feuds finally started to cease. During this congress, the most senior Elders got together to hammer out a mutual non-aggression pact. This was not to everyone's liking and some Elders to this day still harbour some latent resentment at the loss of loved ones but it is widely believed that this was the turning point towards peace throughout the land.
Most villages of any significant size have an Elder - typically a former Warrior - that holds absolute responsibility for the village and its inhabitants. The Elder is responsible for all village matters, including deciding which Woodsmen will become Warriors, agreements with neighbouring villages, resolution of disputes, discipline, etc. The Elder may, at his discretion, grant an audience with younger villagers to provide guidance and council.
Most Elders are old and sometimes frail, although some of the larger and more prosperous villages have more vibrant and active Elders that even participate in Woodsmen trials - the northern village of Jemarrah being the most notable example of this.
Larger villages convene a Council of Warriors, over which the Elder presides, and in which village matters are discussed and dealt with. The Elder will listen to his Warriors and other council advisers before making a decision. Once the decision has been made, it cannot be questioned or objected to - such is the respect afforded an Elder.
As the name implies, Traders exchange and barter for goods and services between villages. Most villages have at least a single Trader but larger villages will have many. A Trader's life is spent mostly travelling between villages and staying at inns. Being so well travelled, Traders often collect information and secrets. Not everyone is cut out to be a good Trader, as it requires a certain degree of tenacity and bargaining skills.
During the tribal feuds, Traders were often the carriers of messages between remote village Elders. As such, they were largely considered out of bounds by Warriors and Woodsmen. It was considered poor form to attack a Trader and generally frowned upon. As a Trader, you could travel in relative safety even during the height of the troubles, although it was certainly not guaranteed; some of the more aggressive Warriors could be quite unscrupulous and so a trader still had to keep on his toes when travelling. The relative safety of a Trader versus a Woodsman or Warrior is one reason why the vocation was such a popular one in times past.
Just about every village in Forestium contains at least one inn and there are numerous others on the various trails between villages. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, becoming and Innkeeper can be a potentially rewarding and lucrative vocation. Innkeepers can, by and large, rely on a steady stream of traders coming through their doors looking for a meal and a place to spend the night.
The barren hills to the east of the River of Torrents is just about the only place an inn cannot be found. Consequently, few people travel there.
Although often profitable, running an inn is still very hard work. An Innkeeper's duties typically consist of the following:
|Hunting for food
|Harvesting shrooms and other forest foods
|Finding, and where necessary chopping, firewood
|Bartering for resources
|Keeping customers happy
Metamorphs are a enigmatic race of beings with magical powers. They can change shape to become other people or creatures and they have healing powers. Eons ago, there were many Metamorphs in Forestium but the Goat has slowly and systematically eradicated them to the point now there are very few of them left. Nobody knows for sure how many Metamorphs remain. Those that do still exist tend to keep to themselves and in hiding for fear of being discovered by the Goat.
Metamorphs are pleasant an helpful creatures by nature. They have an alliance with the Oracle of Forestium and will often work together with the Oracle towards a certain aim or objective. Masters of disguise and stealth, Metamorphs can be hidden in plain sight by taking on the shape of a Squirvel, Flap or any other living creature.
Imps are a diminutive race of people that have traditionally lived in the Southern Tip, a peninsula in the far south of Forestium. Natural traders by nature, they run the main trading port out of the Southern Tip. Imps can be feisty and quarrelsome at times and there have been occasional feuds between them and other Forestium inhabitants in times past.
For reasons best known to himself, the Goat banished the imps to another realm around ten years ago. That onslaught was brutal and the Imps were all but wiped out during the attack.