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The Folks are the least granular of all the social units in the otherwise largely disorganized Howl Basin, fulfilling a role far more akin to a nation than a state, more cultural than racial. As such, the lines between the Folks of the Howl Basin are somewhat fuzzy, and as always, exceptions to the descriptions and generalizations below exist. From a sociological prospect, Folks are a useful concept in dividing among the various that live in the Howl Basin along lines of similarity, and they're a useful concept at the level of attempting to understand communities; rare is the community made up entirely of any one single race, but in the more rural and wild parts of the Basin, community made up mostly or entirely of members of a single Folk is far more common.

To belong to a Folk is to have a sense of common purpose with the other members of that Folk, but that common purpose, and the interpretation of your rights and responsibilities to that folk, is different. This article discusses the folk as if they could be cleanly divided, but should not be treated as exhaustive. Some bandit gangs would think of themselves as "their folks", as might some company men, rather than thinking of Folks in the terms desribed above.

Understanding Folk from the Perspective of the Folks

To begin with, the average person living in the Basin wouldn't think of their folk as a nationality, as in "I belong to the mountainfolk because I was born here and this is mountainfolk country". Indeed, nation-states and the concept of nationalism haven't had much influence in the Basin owing to its largely wild and only recently-settling nature. Someone of the basin knows their folks as the people most like them. This is especially interesting when discussing the mountainfolk, below.

The "Common Grouping" of the Folks

Most sociological studies of the Folks of the Howl Basin would consist of the following six key folks.

The Salt of the Earth: The Landfolk

The Landfolk, made up chiefly of the Lagos, Quillions, Varki, Cervano, Bolster and Delvin, are one of the more populous folks of the valley and are seen by many even who identify stronger with other folks as the "down home" citizens of the Basin. The Landfolk value peace and prosperity, as most folks do, and have found (in their estimation) that community, honest dealing, and hard work are the best way to achieve those values. As such, they're driven toward large families and resillient communities, as comfortable in tight-knit rural counties, station towns, and major cities alike. Landfolk are often seen as the natural farmers and tenders of the land, and the tendancy toward larger families means there are plenty of them (especially the Lagos) to be found almost anywhere in the Basin.

The Kings of the Cliffs: The Eyriefolk

A crow-person with a rifle, glasses, a hat on their back, and some kind of bandolier. They are wearing a scarf.
A Corvados sharpshooter, from a sketchbook found in the desert.

The Eyriefolk are made up entirely of the Corvados, Adler, Volo, and Striggan peoples, whose ancestral lands string all along the Howling Herald Mountains. As with most the rest of the races they've taken an interest in the Howl Basin given this recent season of settlement and development, and are seen by those in the basin as somewhat aloof, even uncaring. Born with the power of flight, the Eyriefolk see themselves as the people of the sky, and the isolation of their homeland has meant that these recent explorations are a sort of "breaking down" of a long history of cultural isolation for them.

Eyriefolk can be aloof and insular, but they can also be charismatic, and are highly driven. Stereotypical Eyriefolk can be found in positions of authority, such as clergymen, lawmen, or government officials, and the other Folks of the Basin tend to expect them to be taciturn, honourbound (sometimes to a fault), and concerned with appearances.

We Who Keep the Land: The Woodfolk

Primarily native to the Basin, the Woodfolk are a Folk of communitarian survivalists, native especially to its forested areas, in which they are the specialists. Maintaining ancient traditions that pre-date the settlement of the Howl Basin by other communities, the Woodfolk have a grasp of Strangeness that is mildly stronger than those of the other folks, but not much. They are the great survivors of the Basin, keeping its traditions alive and its roads open, and count among their number some Lagos communities, along with Quillion, Volpi, Cervano, lowland Striggan, and Corvados communities.

The Woodfolk are seen by some as a people imperiled; there is no one "uniquely Woodfolk" group (all the woodfolk races are represented in the other folks, to a degree not seen with any other folk type), and their way of life has been challenged by the settlement of the Basin as part of the Frontier, and the gross industrialization of the region continues. Many younger Woodfolk wind up allying more strongly with the Landfolk or Mountainfolk depending on their own views of the changes befalling their homeland.

Those Who Hunt Together: The Packfolk

The Packfolk are a basin-folk made up chiefly of the Lupata, Volpi, Gaspard and Yotes peoples, who view themselves as ancient, honourable in their own way, and as a rule put their people first and foremost. Packfolk families are not always large, but they can seem that way to outsiders; a community of Packfolk are often all interrelated (either by blood or cultural conjunction), and they practice a collectivist attitude that they feel makes them extremely hardy. That said, their sense of community does not often extend beyond their folk, and while they are seen from time to time in cities, they're often far more comfortable in their own insular communities. There is a strong distrust between Landfolk and Packfolk communities as the result of past conflicts, some of which stretch back even further than the settlement of the Basin. That said, Packfolk and Landfolk who can set aside their misgivings about each other also make powerful partners, and they are seen as expert survivalists, rangers, prospectors, and explorers; moreover are considered the pre-eminent ranchers in the Basin. Packfolk who leave their communities and join the more cosmopolitan parts of Basin society are often sought after as guards, police, and mercenaries, which are all roles they excel in, and even more peaceable Packfolk who join major cities tend to form insular neighborhoods and reform their packs together.

Captains of Industry: The Hivefolk

In some sense, it was the arrival of the Hivefolk that really kick-started the settlement of the Howl Basin, as before their appearance there were no major settlements to drive the kind of industry that is driving this development. It was they who discovered and developed the earliest Steam Power designs and realized their extreme potential, and the naturally tightly-communal nature of the Vespos and Loci people that make up the folk has made them natural urbanizers, almost to a fault. At their best, the Hivefolk drive industry and push the importance of the good of the collective above that of the individual. At their worst, the Hivefolk's extreme collectivism and consumption over-tax those who work closely with them, or with whom they have to share the valley.

The Free and the Brave: The Mountainfolk

The least strongly-ethnically-correlated of all the Folks are the Mountainfolk, who for one reason or another share the common attitude of being better off alone, or at least best off when comfortable in solitude and self-reliance. Mountainfolk communities are rarely large, sometimes single-household homesteads... sometimes even smaller. Made up chiefly of the Raddail, Ramu, Leon and Urs, Mountainfolk occupy a dual role in the zeitgeist, as likely to be seen as vital survivalists - rangers and prospectors - as they are to be seen as dangerous wild men, up to no good in the wilds.

The Merchants of Secrets: The Seafolk

The least understood of all the major folk groups are the Nauts and their even less-understood Cark cousins. Seen only rarely and never without their Striding Suits, the Seafolk aren't quite a people of the Howl Basin, appearing almost exclusively in coastal port cities as trade partners for the Folks who do live there. If the technology of the Hivefolk is what is driving industrialization, the needs of the Seafolk are what is making it profitable, as they trade large quantities of exotic goods in direct exchange for natural resources harvested from the basin, including livestock.

Loathe to discuss too closely their own affairs, its thought that they live in sunken cities nearer to the coast than the horizon.