Folkwise

Eloi had traveled through most of the lands occupied by man, and every place he had been had their own local folkwise. Most of these ventured into dark territory, often literally.There was always that one hill that people didn’t go up after dark. There was always some place that was colder than the lands around it. There was always something that lived in the woods that there were customs on how to avoid. These were tales on the dangers that existed and how to avoid or at least mitigate them.

In Capacionne, there was no exception. Travellers hurried past crossroads at night and knew that if you were addressed by somebody familiar that called you to wait in the middle, it was not them. The traveller would apologise and continue forward and wait till what was considered a safe distance away to see if they were still being addressed. Above all, when experiencing something unknown or possibly supernatural, it was important to be polite and pretend nothing was out of the normal. Then, never to speak of it again to anybody except perhaps you priest. To talk about such things publically was ….unwise. Similarly, farmers, gardners, and even woodsmen would address the plants they were to cut or disturb, either to apologize or thank them. A lack of respect never gained any friends and a kind or flattering word might put an enemy off just long enough to escape.

Rogalia was a nation that still had respect for the night. The vampire lords were gone, but many of their servants still exist. Never go into the woods at night to investigate the strange lights. If you live away from a town or village, you don’t look out of the windows into the dark. Just don’t. Even if there are strange noises, you might think it is animals, but it’s not. If you have to investigate, go to the door and open it boldly with a lantern and weapon in hand. Whatever it is seems not too keen on being confronted. They flee, …usually. People know that there are packs of wolves that will hunt lone travelers which not only are able to speak but will know the traveller’s name. Do not run or they will sense weakness and tear you apart. Do not listen, because their words are more dangerous than their claws. Sometimes eyes will peer out of the woods. Not the eyes of an animal reflecting a lantern’s light, but those that glow like hot coals of a dying fire. It is best that you make it to a spot with light and other people, as if you keep watching for them, they will be moving closer to you when you are not looking at them.

Dunland is no different. As it gets late in the pubs, and the Rogalians are gone and it is nothing but locals, you can hear things only spoken in whispers. There’s a road through the woods that you do not take, even in the day. There is that cold feeling you get in that one place. There is a deep understanding that something exists out in the moors that is older than man, that doesn’t care about us particularly, but is more than willing to kick us in the slats as let us pass unmolested. Those that are more drunk will tell of things that stand like a man but run on all fours, at least till they figure they have spoken too much and will refuse to talk any more. Every pub has their own methods of avoiding trouble if one must venture into the moors at night. Most involve some form of tribute or distractions such as beer poured into a hole dug in the ground or an offering of small cakes left on a rock, but these are all closely guarded secrets. Many Rennets disappear in Dunland and not as many are due to the Dunns as the Rogalians think.

The Shariqyn have their own stable of tales of monsters that inhabit the desert and the night. Witches with tangled hair that will steal children that wander away from a caravan or perhaps cause a man to wander away from his camp and deeper into the desert. Ghosts that demand hospitality. Birds that will mimic the whistling of a nightguard, and even other sounds including speech. Caves filled with treasure that will curse anyone that takes some. So many there could be books filled with such tales. Most of these seem like the standard assortment of cautionary and morality tales told to children. Then you see the fear of a mother who can’t find their child at night, or how the old men will grow quiet and alert when they hear and owl far from any trees.

Gotha, the seat of the Throne, has their own tales and customs. The woods are dark and ancient and filled with things that are also dark and ancient. When traveling through deep woods, make sure to keep track of everybody in the group and know them all by face. It’s a game to them and they like to insert themselves into the group and just observe before they strike. It’s said that the dower demeanor of the Gothic is because there are Things that laughter summons best not met. Even in Holy Lethia, there are cellar doors that are always locked from sundown to sunrise, rooms that shouldn’t be entered, and alleys to be avoided. These are always done on the orders of a priest, or so people say.

The Hestrali have their own collection of wisdom that seems to deal mostly with lovers or eating and drinking. If you have been pursuing a person who has rebuffed your advances, yet you meet them alone at night by the sea wanting to swim, just don’t. It’s not them. When serving meals at a table, never have an empty seat. Invite somebody, put something in it, or just move the chair. An empty seat is an invitation. So is a full glass nobody has claimed.

The Njords know that no matter which god you worship, you do not bother the large stone in the middle of the field or that old tree. If you do, bad things will happen as the fea and elves still have their places of power. There is always some idiot that will decide to chop down THAT tree, and you will see the bravest warrior decide they should not be a part of what is going on. Older njords will just say “Those poor fuckers. They’re doomed.” In some of the farming villages built recently, an important person will have some rock that was cleared away dug back up from the rubbish pile and put back in place. The most impossible things have been happening to sabotage the village production, and only replacing the rock makes things return to normal.

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Folkwise

Stonewise

Stonewise events usually happen around mid-afternoon (3pm).

Early Spring – Knockers

Knockers are underground creatures that live inside rocks and tunnels.  Some say they are Dwarves, or a queer cousin of the Dwarves that can move through the rock, and others say they are the spirits of the rock itself, or a spirit that lives in the deep darkness of the world.  Regardless of their nature, miners can hear their knocking on the shaft walls when they are near, and for those they like, they’re knocking will warn of the impending collapse of a mine-shaft, or the location of a rare mineral vein, while for those they dislike, they will cause cave-ins or collapses.  It’s thought that they have a society of their own within the rocks, and that they will uphold each other’s grudges throughout their underground community.

Every seasoned miner knows to leave a portion of their lunch down in the tunnel as an offering to the knockers, but at least once a year, it’s wise to make a more formal show of it.  At mid-afternoon (3pm) each miner should gather Vegetables, especially tubers, Meat, which they crave above all else, and bury them near a large natural rock deposit or at the bottom of a tall hill, then pour a mug of Beer over the burial spot.  Finally, each miner calls out to the knockers what they’ve done – some even declare the knockers to be in their debt now.

Reward: Each Miner extracts next Chapter as if the mine were 1 better Quality
Failure:  All shafts have an increased chance to cave-in next Chapter when used.

Late Spring – The Blind Ring Dance

The Blind Ring Dance is an ancient miner tradition in Meerland.  It’s said to represent some event that happened in a mine in ancient days, but what exactly is more or less lost – though miners like to speculate as they play.  Two concentric rings of stones are made. One miner is blindfolded and placed in the center of the ring, while the others spread out in between the inner and outer circle. Those outside must hum or mumble, but may not speak. The blindfolded one must guess who is where by their voices.  

Each time the miner guesses poorly he must take a shot of Spirits, which the miners must bring to the game.  If the miner guesses correctly then the one guessed leaves the circle.

Rewards: After successfully guessing all those in the outer circle, the blindfolded miner may become Alert whenever they are in darkness or have their vision obscured. This lasts for the Event.

Late Autumn – The Kobolds

Deep in the mines of Gotha there are said to be creatures that live in the far darkness, called kobolds.  Kobolds are expert miners and generally avoid human contact, but when men start mining in their home territory, kobolds will play tricks on them and turn valuable veins to useless, poisonous dust – named cobalt after these creatures. 

In the early Autumn, they come closest to the surface where humans mine, and even roam the surface world in the dead of night, hoping to steal back the fortunes of human miners to their underworld caves.  It’s been found to be an effective strategy for Stonewise miners to bury gold and silver, said to be the kobolds’ favorite, upon a high hill in order to distract them. It’s a small price to pay for the safety of the humans who mine, as it’s understood that kobolds become angry and vindictive when they see all the humans have stolen from the earth, in their view, each year.  

Stonewise Miners can trick kobolds into taking their find and running back to the dark by burying at least twenty collective silver pieces (or 1 gold piece) for Kobolds to find.  In the late afternoon, (3pm) they mark the ground on a high hill with circles and arrows and shout and sing of the treasure beneath the ground (some say it’s best to knock on large stones and talk about what they buried so sound travels to the underground) to tempt the kobolds, and then run away without looking back.

Rewards:  New shafts are believed to have better finds in them during the autumn if this is performed
Failure:  Shafts opened in Autumn have a high chance of collapse and other Risks.
 
Early Winter – Remembrance of Fallen Miners

Winter is a time for reflection upon the end of things and those that were lost.  As the earth freezes and becomes solid in the Early Winter, miners take time to recover the bodies of any of their comrades who have fallen or been lost in cave-ins, tunnel collapses, or lost to more sinister dangers of the dark places.  The miners gather at the center of the Forum at 3pm to meet and trade stories of any lost miners or disasters over the last year, and decide if there are good candidates to be recovered.  

If there are, the miners make an effort to dig out the bodies or recover them from whatever dangerous circumstances caused their demise.  Once the body is returned, it is dressed in better clothes and taken to the local bar, propped up, and drank with as if it were alive while the miners tell tall tales of the mines, before putting the body to rest with a funeral.

Consequence of Failure:  High chance of mine hauntings where not recovered.

Late Winter – The Tug of Spring

Like the miner coming up from the darkened mine to see the light, Spring must also sometimes be pulled out of the darkness. The Stonewise know that the best way to do this is to put on a pageantry of the struggle, as much symbolic as real.  The miners (with at least one Stonewise miner) dress in the trappings of darkest winter (black, white, grey, sometimes representation of snow and ice) and rove around at around 3pm trying to gather others to participate in a Tug-of-War with them.  Those who agree to participate take on the roll of “springtime” and, ideally while wearing at least some piece of green or bright colors, must attempt to beat the miners.

The Stonewise will supply the rope, a battle line may be drawn in the sand, and at the call of the Stonewise the Tug of War commences!  Appropriate Strength attributes should be roleplayed.  Characters with Impressive Strength or better can occasionally let out a mighty roar and give a tug, and others on the other team should Stagger forward, losing some position.

 Reward: Regardless of which side wins, all participants of the game lose 1 Despair once it ends.

 

Hearthwise

Early Spring – Ice Doll

The last vestige of winter clings to the trees, the rocks and the earth. It is a sharpness against our skin and in the air we breath, threatening a weak yield. The reviled ice witch, Volva Groa, is both strengthened by it and gives it strength.  A life size doll resembling her must be fashioned from straw, grass, branches and other plant matter.  The doll must then be thrown into the lake, a symbolic gesture of banishing the the stagnation of winter and encouraging growth.

In the early morning, (8am), those who cast the doll in the water declare their wishes for the new year and their plans and commitments before handing the doll over to the next person.  The last, nearest to the water, does the same, then casts the doll in.

Components:  Natural components found nearby, bound together
Reward:  Characters who participate may enter the Devoted state for their Devotion an extra time this Event.
Failure:  Sow and Tend actions are sluggish, only half as effective this Chapter.

Late Spring – Springtime Feast

Bundles of herbs and flowers are gathered from the nearby woods, and then hung up to dry out around the tavern, but especially at the entrance. The people should touch the bundles as the pass them, especially underneath them. At the end of the day the herbs should be prepared into a large group meal for all the peasants who participated by adding some braided herbs to the decoration (eaten around dusk, 7pm).   Eating the herbal meal is said to put the bounty of nature into those who partake of the Springtime Feast, and to make them a better Farmer for the season to come.

Reward: The participating participants may treat the meal as if it were a Feast, needing only 1 Vegetables and 1 Herb per participant, which were hung up at the start of that day, per participant.  This Feast does not require Etiquette to prepare.
Failure: Farming actions this Chapter cause Misery for the next Event when taken due to allergies.

Early Autumn – The Festival of Reaping

On Sunday morning (11am), during the Festival of Reaping, one Hearthwise celebrant takes up the position as the titular Lord of Reaping, decorating themselves in orange, yellow, and the colors of autumn, accompanied by leaves and wreathes, carrying a scythe or sickle.  The Lord or Lady of Reaping paints their face with the visage of a skull, and travels slowly throughout the Forum, flanked by any other attendants, who also wear skull visages.  The celebrants sing, dance or play instruments (at least a drum is traditional) as they travel, making a scene to draw the attention of others.  As they travel around, the attendance may ask any they encounter to join the Festival of Reaping, during which those who join commit to help bring in the harvest (thus committing their Downtime for the following Chapter).  After the procession finishes at the Forum, they usually travel through the city itself to gather more help.  Large processions gather more attention, and for each character who joined the procession in the Forum, an additional 2 Non-Player characters join the procession in the city.  The Lord of Reaping can assign these actions during Downtime.

This celebration dates back hundreds of years, and the Lord of Reaping is said to represent the Archangel Lurian.

Reward: If they do so, they may act as if they have Farming 1, even if they do not, in order to help carry in the harvest for Autumn.  If the Lord or Lady of Reaping has Farming 5, then any who join the procession may act as if they have Farming 5 instead.

Early Winter – The Longest Night

On the longest night of the year, the wicked force of the Night Malefic finds its purchase on the year to come.  Wise people have long known that this evil can be blunted by burning and tending to a specially prepared log fire.  The logs, part of the celebration of Jiuleis (or Jul, in Njordr), must be selected and handled only by someone with clean hands, and considered Hearthwise and brought to a central fire pit and lit before dusk.  The fire must be tended to all night until dawn, and not allowed to go out, with no one touching the logs except the Hearthwise.

Peasants usually make this a community event, drinking warm ciders or mulled wines by the fire, telling stories and sometimes taking turns tending it.  It is said that if the fire is allowed to go out, the Night will grow stronger for the following year, and indeed, that if this ritual were ever forgotten entirely, the whole world would eventually descend into darkness as it grew more sinister with each passing Winter.   

Failure:  The Night strengthens.

Late Winter – Wreath Laying

Winter is the season of sorrow. It marks the end of things and more than any other season it takes of its own. It is a season of loss and at no time are those losses more noticeable than in the deep winter. The Hearthwise gather up boughs from evergreens and weave them into wreathes and decorate them before placing them at the base of trees at the edge of the forest. Some Hearthwise make not just the laying of the wreathes, but their construction and decoration as well, a community event, with many farmers and peasants seated at tables, drinking warm cider and feasting, recounting stories from throughout the previous year.  Some have even been known to engage in friendly competition, to see who can make the most elaborate wreathes while others choose to signify the strength of their community by chaining wreathes together. The wreathes themselves signify the eternal cycle of nature which is most visible in the forest with the turning of each season, while the practice of the wreath laying is an act of remembrance for those the community has lost throughout the year.  

Any character may make wreathes and benefit from this celebration so long as it is laid on the trees with someone who is Hearthwise.  Wreathes can be laid at any time, though there is often a celebration or speech an hour before sundown (5pm).

Effect: Your character loses 1 Despair and cannot gain new Despair for the remainder of the Event.

Woodswise

Woodswise events usually happen around mid-morning of Saturday, (11am).

Early Spring – First Tree

Spring is when the forest springs to life again, gaining power and momentum that will carry it through the new year.  Humans can aid this process by selecting a specific tree to nurture that will carry its strength to the others.  

At midmorning (11am) the woodsmen venture into the woods and find a young tree on hill or in a very high place.  This special tree is given a name, then nurtured with bones, blood, and ash, spread around the roots in a circle and covered in loam.  The strength will go into that tree and the winds of the high place will carry its seeds, fruits, and power to others in the area.  

Components: Charcoal, blood, bones
Reward: Vegetable yields during Forestry for the next Chapter are increased 

Unusual Late Spring – Rat Infestation

Rats have grown over numerous from feasting on the city’s food stores and reproducing in the granaries.  As they’re pushed out into the forum, they eat wild vegetables and continue to reproduce.  Furthermore, rats are known to be unholy and to be sacred to Lazarolth, and His influence spreads as they do.

Rats are sensitive to pigweed and licorice.  If either is made into a slow-acting drug and combined with meat, they can be placed at rats nests that can be found in the wilderness near the forum.  The rats will eat it and it will drive them mad, causing them to spread the poison to other nests and cause cascading deaths that will protect the nearby woods.  At least three rats nests must be located and poisoned to be effective.  They tend to nest in thick foliage but not too distant from human settlements where food can be found.

Failure consequence: Forestry actions yield no vegetables for the next Season, and those who use Forestry enter the next Event Diseased from bites. 

Early Autumn – Black FOrest

Foresting can be a terrifying profession in Gotha where the trees are so tall and wide that they blot out the light.  Forests are a wicked place, haunted by the hostile spirits conjured by woods witches or leftover from ancient evils of history, festering cankers where the light of Mankind has yet to make drive them out.  Foresters in ancient times believed, however, that they could appease the spirits of the woodlands, or even trick them into ignoring humankind.

On Saturday at sundown (5pm), participants will go to the edge of the woods and bring with them at least three items that have great personal significance and stories attached to them. They will walk together to different trail intersections and with a proud orators voice, so that every listening man or spirit can hear, tell a short story about each item to the other participants and to the woods themselves, about why the item represents them.  They will then use string to tie these items to branches along the path.  

It is said that the trees will lend their ears to the tales of the woodswise, and that the forests become their home and safe for them to pass during the Early Autumn logging season.

Reward:  Participants suffer no travel Risk as the hidden trails are like home to them in the Early Autumn. 
Failure:  Non-participants will suffer Risk for all Forestry actions performed in the Early Autumn as the shorter days and twisting, unfamiliar trails confound them and wicked spirits become more powerful as the night draws longer.

Early Winter – Tree of Light

The ancient Gothic tradition of Jiuleis, also celebrated in Njordr as Jul is a midwinter celebration of the end of the darkness.  Traditionally, the celebration involves the decoration of a central evergreen tree, called the Tree of Light, which represents the community’s thriving spirit in the midst of winter.  The tree is decorated by the Woodswise with ribbons, colored paper, apples, wafers or other decorations, then finally with safe candles.  In some cases, the tree is first cut and brought indoors to a central meeting place before decorating.
 
The traditional celebration calls for all present to partake in the drinking of ale, and the slaughter of all kinds of animals.  The Woodswise among the assembled see to the sacrifices, then perform the following blessings performed under and around the boughs of the Tree of Light – Sacrificial blood from the animals is placed within an urn or other vessel, and then trimmings from the evergreen branches are dipped in the blood, which are used to sprinkle the blood on the participants.  Each member of the community should be anointed with the blood.  The meat of the animals is then served as food for a banquet, and toasts are given.  Traditionally, the first toast is to Benalus (or further North, to Aufvaldr), asking for the Herzog or Jarl to be blessed with victory and power.  Then to Cyaniel and Melandiel (or Ura) for good harvests and peace in the next year, and a third toast drunk to the local king or ruler.
 
The exact nature of the celebration of the Tree of Light varies by region, with regions closer to central Gotha substituting blessed wine for animal blood, and other alterations to bring it into line with Benalian orthodoxy.
 
Reward:  Participants who get anointed and participate in all the toasts lose a Despair, and if they had none, gain Hope 5 which only expires at the end of the Event.  The toasted Ruler gains one Reich Orthodoxy for each Woodswise participant.
Failure: None of the local forests increase in Quality come Spring.

Late Winter – Winter ward

Woodswise characters should scour the forest for shelf fungus, which grow on trees. These special fungus (staff provided, marked in orange) can be located in the wilderness by anyone with the Woodsman ability (Survival 3) but only Woodswise characters know how to extract them and dry them properly.  

These fungus, once collected and dried, will then be lit with (safe) candles as a way of symbolizing the return of warmth and light to the forest and the melting of the deep snows.  The Woodswise then place them as an offering at the forest edge at sundown (6 PM).  These blessed artifacts of the woods are said to ward away the threats of winter, including the hungry dead.

Props Needed: a few shelf fungus (staff provided) reattached to trees with orange markers . A tea light for each fungus.

Reward: An hour after the dark, any shelf fungi can be taken to Basilica where Staff will swap the candle out for a glowstick. For the duration of the life of the glowstick, its aura wards off the threats of winter, such as the undead.  

Beastwise

Early Spring – Rogalian Deathbell

As the Throne grew wider and cultures and civilizations meshed, the plants and animals of their native regions traveled with them as well. Every spring, plants spring up in forests far from the ones they originated in, and the most infamous is the Rogalian Deathbell- a hardy fungus that spreads quickly and is deadly to non-Rogalian animals, who have no immunity to it. The wise hunter seeks it out and destroys it to avoid the decimation of the herds he hunts, carrying holy water with him to purify the ground where it grows and prevent a quick resurgence. 

At twilight, hunters gather at the blind and hunt to destroy any Deathbells that have sprung up. Rogalian Deathbell grows best around 20 yards from running water.  It is vital to douse the ground they sprung from with holy water to keep them from simply growing back and poisoning the deer. It’s considered wisest to search for them at dusk since they are phosphorescent.

Components: Holy water
Failure: The amount of Small and Large game at all Hunting nodes are reduced by one for each mushroom that was not found and properly disposed of.

Late Spring – Hunter’s Ring

As the spring draws to a close and the young born that season become more wary, hunters must become ever more wily in order to make their kills.  Hunters know that they can bless the season’s hunt by building a sacred hunting ring in the woods together and baiting it with sacred herbs and things of the forest.  
Retreating the heart of the forest (at late afternoon, around 5pm), the hunters work with their fellows to create a simple hunter’s blind. After it has been created, they adorn it with herbs and wild onions to attract animals and disguise it as a part of the natural landscape of the forest.  The more herbs and wild vegetables that are left, the more effective it is said to be to bless the hunt.  Once the blind is constructed, the Hunters sit together and each tell a story of one of their most memorable hunts.
Reward: Animals recover twice as quickly this Chapter.
Failure consequence: Forest resources do not recover animals this Chapter. 
 

Late Autumn – Hunt of the White Beast

The ancient tradition of the Hunt of the White Beast is said to originate from ancient Gothic tribesmen.  In such times, the greatest hunter would prove their prowess by striding out to hunt the Great White Beast alone.  Some legends have this animal as a great white stag, while others a white bear, a white eagle, or some other enormous – and always white – beast of the wood.  It is said to test the greatest hunter of the tribe with a rigorous and dangerous hunt to take it down, then gives its own life in sacrifice to make the hunter even greater than before if it can pass its test.  The trophies claimed from the body of the beast, its spirit joined forever with the hunter, are said to be the hunter’s own predatory spirit made manifest in this gift.
 
Before the great hunt, ancient hunters would perform a ceremonial hunt to demonstrate their prowess to the watching White Beast and sharpen their skill.
 
On Saturday early afternoon (1pm), participants gather at the edge of the wilderness with a tray or bowl of small foods. Some will portray beasts who will don beastly masks or paint or muddy their faces and flee into the wilderness. Non-Beastwise friends are often asked to help portray these beasts – the more the merrier.  The Beastwise will, if possible, all portray the hunters which may number no more than half the number of Beasts.
 
At the appointed time (1:30pm, after conversing and choosing of sides is done), the beasts will begin their flight.  Beastwise Hunters will wait three full minutes and then will try to tag the beasts with their hand or with a bow and blunted arrows.  For best results, a hunting horn is blown when the hunt begins.
 
Traditionally, neither hunters nor beasts will leave the Wilderness until the Hunt ends- either in one hour or when each beast has been caught. Hunters will attempt to tag or shoot the beasts, which will give them 1 Hope for each at the end of the Hunt. The beasts will try to get to the tray or bowl and eat some of the food which will grant them Hope and make them no longer able to be caught.  Hunters may not stay within twenty-five paces of the food, though they may pass through this area.  At the end of the hour, the hunting horn should be blown again to signal the end of the hunt.
 
Reward:  After the Hunt, hunters gain Hope equal to the number of Beasts they captured. During Late Autumn, The Great White Stag is said to appear to the greatest of the hunters while they are out using the Hunting Downtime Action, and its hide is said to possess special, even mystical, properties. 
 

Early Winter – Mari Lwyd

In some regions, during the cold nights of the early winter, a mysterious spirit can be seen which resembles a hooded beast, usually a horse.  This spirit, called Mari Lwyd, is generally not considered to be dangerous, and if encountered, goes house to house.  When it is encountered, it will sing outside of the door and attempt to entry through the medium of song or rhyme.  The household is expected to deny the creature entry, but also through the medium of song, and the two sides would continue their responses to one another in this manner. If the household eventually relents or is stumped and can’t respond to the rhymes or song, the spirit will enter the household and drink all of their alcohol.  If the spirit relents, those who bested it gain its blessing.  Some report that if the spirit isn’t engaged at all, it will drink all the alcohol in the local tavern!

Reward: Those who best the Mari Lwyd are immune to Fear for the Event.
Failure: Those who attack the spirit are cursed with Fear for the evening.

Late Winter – Appease the Redcap

The redcap faerie comes out of its den in ravenous hunger during this time of year, looking for hot blood to warm its stomach, or else pass its hunger to others.  The Beastwise know how to truss, bless and hang a game animal (stuffed prop) at the door of any cabins near the woods as an offering to the fearsome redcap.  

 Failure: If this isn’t done, when the redcap comes prowling it will curse those within a cabin with terrible hunger, causing Misery.