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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 Howler 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.

Lifestyles and Culture

Cultural Values

Much like the similar Landfolk, the woodfolk have a highly unified culture, where the traditions of individual heritages within the folk are more like idiosyncracies than complete cultures in and of themselves. This is largely because of the three key virtues of the Folk being universal across all the disparate groups that make it up.


The Woodfolk place their traditional ways of life as paramount among the virtues and consider their ability to keep living in the ways they always have as paramount. They consider Howl Basin in whole to be their responsibility to maintain and identify their traditional methods of farming and industry as being in harmony with the land in ways that the increasingly industrialized modern practices are not. In more contemporary times, this ideal is a major sticking point between the older generations and the younger ones, who want the freedom to leave their tribal lands and explore the possibilities of the new industries.


If the sense of community is a key underpinning of Landfolk culture, the Woodfolk similarly prize tribe, which can be thought of as community writ large. Several individual settlements often have one shared tribal continuity, and it is the pleasant duty of every Woodfolk individual to set aside their individual needs to provide for the tribe. Before the expansion of the Frontier this was a straightforward ask. In more contemporary times, this ideal is a major sticking point between the older generations and the younger ones, many of whom feel that the Tribe is too small a unit and that all woodfolk, or what is left of them, need to pull together.


There is argument amongst the contemporary Woodfolk as to the extent to which their traditional definitions of trade should extend beyond the woodfolk themselves. While they've always had good terms with the Landfolk, even before the expansion of the Frontier, that same expansion of the Federation's influence into Howl Basin has brought a lot of change, displacement of Woodfolk communities, and destruction of the natural landscape. Some argue that continued trade will allow the Woodfolk to benefit from the largess of this rapidly-industrializing economy. Others, especially the older generations, argue that continuing to trade with the "newcomer" groups (and especially the Hivefolk) will only encourage their destructive industrialization.

This emphasis on trade went deeper than simple economics. Many old footpaths which have since become roads and railroads in Howl Basin were established by travelling Woodfolk traders and maintained for multiple generations. More than goods were exchanged as well, and cultural, scientific, and linguistic interchange were all heavily encouraged.

Woodfolk Rangers

While the most iconic of Woodfolk lifestyles (and probably the most common background for Woodfolk adventurers), Woodfolk Rangers are more exception than rule. With many (if not most) woodfolk communities being relatively remote, but a communitarian drive to connect those communities, the ranger social caste sprang up to fill a need for an expert survivalist. Rangers are pathfinders, foragers, and (where appropriate for the diet of their community) hunters, who are usually intimately familiar with their surrounding areas. Such figures lead lives of adventure they themselves think normal; finding, marking, or maintaining paths from point to point; plotting the routes of migrations of their people; or serving as a sort of informal militia, in addition to their day-to-day duties.

Woodfolk Towns

Woodfolk build towns. While this sounds strange to say to someone unfamiliar with tales of the Howl Basin, it's sometimes asserted to the contrary. A common stereotype about the Woodfolk held by the other Folks is that all Woodfolk are nomads. This is not so. It is a misconception born of the combination of the architecture of the Corvados and the tendency of Striggan communities to be broadly geographically dispersed. While some tribes are mobile and do practice nomadism, even their camps should be more properly thought of as towns as they may stand for many months in one position.

Whether static or nomadic, however, Woodfolk towns have the commonality that the people who live in them often practice specialist trades. Such gathering places are the primary residences of the Woodfolk (who have no corresponding practice of homesteading) and these communities are usually a central cluster of structures surrounded by a wide area of actively farmed, ranched, or ranged land. Woodfolk nomads have evolved a colorful system of Wayfinding Markers to communicate changes in the paths between fixed towns and moving ones which are maintained by their rangers.

Woodfolk Mystics

Woodfolk traditionalists have a mystic class in the same way that most cultures have some form of religious apparatus, though this should be thought of as seperate-yet-equivalent to a church or religion, as most of the peoples that uphold these traditions don't see this caste as "priests" in the same way they don't see their mystic traditions as religions, and often practice both. Woodfolk Mystics usually occupy a roll much like the Rangers; they have a hometown, but are not often there, and they have important responsibilities that draw them away from greater civilization.

Coming Up Woodfolk

The childhood and rearing of Woodfolk is in a sort of middle ground between the relatively cherished phase of life seen among the Landfolk and the rushed push of responsibility shown by the Eryiefolk. Children are given the time they need to grow into their social role and encouraged to play and experiment, socially and "professionally". Education is entirely informal, taking the form of experts in this, that, or the other passing on their knowledge to the next generation through storytelling, demonstration, and apprenticeship. By adolescence a Woodfolk's role in society begins to solidify, but may not necessarily be the same as either of their parents', as personality, aptitude, and willingness are all taken into account. Throughout this process they also undergo a number of rites and ceremonies that mark their passage through life and celebrate their connection to the Woodfolk culture as a whole.

Becoming Woodfolk

Woodfolk communities are often happy to induct new members in the form of willing adults who wish to live and work among them, as long as those individuals are willing to uphold the traditional ways of life of the woodfolk. This is, however, an increasingly contentious practice in modern times. Many Woodfolk leaders and elders consider the practice to be diminishing the focus on Tradition in an age where more and more young woodfolk are moving away from their communities, which is seen as an abandonment of important Woodfolk values. Conversely, other elders and communities encourage the assimilation of interested outsiders into the woodfolk way of life as a way to recover from this same attrition, believing that the way of life exemplified by the Woodfolk culture can be taught and applies to everyone.

Outcasts and the Woodfolk

There's no such thing as a true outcast in Woodfolk culture. Howl Basin is an unforgiving region and throwing someone permanently out of the community is seen as tantamout to killing them, which is largely taboo. At most, habitual troublemakers might be kicked out of an individual town or sent for a time to a location for confinement, but they're never fully outside of the support of Rangers or Mystics sent to observe them.

With the growing trend of Woodfolk leaving to join the cities this has created a second kind of "outcast"; Woodfolk who disappear for a time and often return to find they have angered their original communities.

Gameplay Rules

In the Howl Basin campaign setting, folks serve two roles. If your character was raised within the cultural context of the a Folk, they take that folk as their Background. On the other hand, circumstances occasionally lead to a character becoming a member of a folk retroactively. This happens at their discretion as long as they have and maintain a Connections score above 60% with that folk. At the player's discretion, such a character becomes an "adoptee" member of that Folk. Facilitators are encouraged to roleplay out this adoption as much as fits the taste of the party. Each folk's "lifestyles and culture" section includes a section on any additional requirements to join that faction permanently.

As A Background

When taking Woodfolk as your starting background, you develop your starting skillpoints and acquire a character trait as a result of your upbringing. For the purposes of determining your starting skillpoints, there are three subtypes of this background: Town Woodfolk, Woodfolk Ranger, and Woodfolk Mystic. You must pick from one of the three types when creating your Woodfolk character, but please note you may still have had a mixed history, having lived the lives of any or all of the three subtypes prior to becoming an adventuring character.

Starting Skill Points

All Woodfolk start the game with Analysis * 1 + Intuition * 4 skill points which they may distribute among any skills they so choose. These represent the skills you acquired during your youth as a rounded member of the Woodfolk society.

In addition, Woodfolk characters add the following skills as Occupation Skills depending on their subtype:

If one of these bonus Occupation Skills is already a feature of your chosen occupation, the Facilitator should work with you to come up with a substitute skill. If no substitute skill can be found, take 5 extra Occupation Skill Points in lieu of the substitute.

Woodfolk Trait: Strange Senses

Regardless of subtype, Woodfolk characters start with the Background Trait Strange Senses. This is an Active Effect and an Ability. At will, a character with the Strange Senses ability may heighten their senses as connected to Strangeness. This provides them with the ability to:

This includes passive Strange Occurrences which are active on their target at the time the effect is in progress.

Strange Senses costs 1 point from the Strange Potency pool per round the user is keeping it active. Activating or maintaining the effect in combat or while performing any other action (such as driving, climbing, etc) requires a Strange Efforts check. If the character does not already have a Strange Potency pool when they obtain the trait that gives them this ability, they gain the pool at its normal base value.

Starting Connections

All Woodfolk characters begin with the following connections at a score of (Presence + Hardiness + Willpower):

  • Woodfolk
  • The Character's Hometown
  • The Character's Tribe

As a Connection

Adoptees who meet the faction alignment requirement and exemplify the traits of the Woodfolk to the point of becoming cultural adoptees to the faction retain their original backgrounds and do not retrain skills, for obvious reasons: the past is fundamentally immutable and moving your house doesn't change your capabilities. That being said, they do acquire a new trait.

Landfolk Adoptee Trait: Wilderness Training

This is a Passive Effect. Whenever a character is making a Survival check, they may instead user their Connections: Woodfolk score. On a failure, they lose 1d4 points from the connection (to represent the failure to absorb the lessons they have been taught). On a success which generates an Advancement opportunity, the Survival score is advanced rather than the connection.

A player who lowers their Connections: Woodfolk score below 50 in this way may experience roleplaying penalties as a result at the discretion of the Facilitator.