The Lost Tales
“There were many of them, and they were brave and well armed, and even the Wargs dared not attack them if there were many together, or in the bright day.”
Almost two thousand years ago, a shadow crept from the South and slowly drew all light from the heart of Greenwood the Great to its farthest eaves. People began calling the forest Mirkwood, and learnt to fear its deepest recesses. In spite of the darkness, many lingered along the forest’s borders, fearless sons of Men who defied the menace of the Necromancer in his dreaded abode. These Woodmen have fought the growing darkness for as long as their oldest tellers of tales can remember, and they will continue the fight now that the Shadow has deserted its lair.
The Woodmen of Wilderland are frontiersmen of the North, having a shared heritage with the Bardings. They live in sparse, isolated villages and homesteads surrounded by wooden stockades, built along the borders of the great forest, or in the valleys to the west of the river. Threatened by the shadow of Dol Guldur and what lurks in the depths of Mirkwood, the Woodmen are hunters and trackers of wild animals, battling Orcs and Spiders in self-defense. Traditionally, women fight and hunt alongside their men, or even alone if unmarried or widowed, in their struggle to survive in the hostile environment.
The wizard Radagast, one of the Wise of Middle-earth, has chosen to live amongst the Woodmen since time immemorial, taking residence in Rhosgobel. A master of shapes and a tender of beasts, his teachings have proven invaluable to the hunters and animal-tamers among the Woodmen.
As all Men of the North, they are commonly light-haired and tall, but often brown-skinned with a little red in their cheeks thanks to a life in the open. Sometimes deemed surly of speech and unforthcoming by other folk, they are rangers and hunters, haters of Orcs and Spiders, skilled in fighting in the deep of the woods with bows of yew, stout spears, and long-hafted axes. They were once skilful tamers of steeds and hunting dogs, but their life under the Shadow has forced them to mostly abandon the training of horses, and to favour that of hounds.
STANDARD OF LIVING
The Woodmen carve a living out of meagre hunts, burning charcoal and breeding animals. Their constant fight with the Wood and its wild things leaves them struggling to do more than simply survive. Their culture ranks as Frugal.
All Woodman fathers and mothers fear the day when they will see their favoured sons’ and daughters’ eyes gleam with faraway thoughts, for they know that the wild-wood and its secrets may fill the bravest of hearts and entangle them with a longing that cannot be satisfied if they remain at home. But, if that day cannot be averted, they hope at least that their road to adventure won’t lead them to forsake the defence of their own folk, as every Woodman knows the very real threat posed by the Shadow.
Suggested Callings: Wanderer, Warden.
When the Woodmen fight in the woods, they use their favoured Wits score as their basic Parry rating.
The dogs bred by the folk of Woodland Hall are dun in colour, long of limb, sharp-nosed, gaunt and great. Since you were a child, you have always felt drawn to their natural grace and ferocious loyalty. But, above all, you share their love for the hunt, and you can feel their excitement when they are closing in on their prey.
Favoured Skill Hunting
Many years ago, you and your sisters and brothers used to challenge each other to recall the stories depicted in the woven tapestries hung along the walls of the great hall of Rhosgobel. One day, you caught the attention of the wizard Radagast, and he told you how the deeds of your ancestors were handed down from generation to generation as songs. He taught you that there are important lessons to be learnt from the past, and from the actions of those that came before you.
Favoured Skill Song
They say your mother was as fair as an Elf-maiden, and that your father spirited her away from the Wood of Sorcery far in the South. You don’t know if this is true, although you doubt it, as there was nothing sorcerous in her true love for you and your father. You remember that her senses oftentimes proved to be very sharp, as yours promise to be.
Favoured Skill Search
Apprentice to the Mountain-folk
The precious ore that hammer and anvil shape into tools and weapons is difficult to come by in the vales of the Great River, and commerce has grown thin in the years of ever-growing darkness. When you were younger, you and many other children of your age were sent by the alderman of your clan to join the workers in the mines above Mountain Hall. You remember long days as dark as winter nights, spent underground searching for the glimmer that would put swords into the hands of the warriors of your folk, and needed tools for shepherds, hunters and farmers alike.
Favoured Skill Search
The wild-wood can scare the hardiest of men, but that didn’t stop you and your brothers from climbing every tree and running along any path you could find under the eaves of the forest. Your father’s rules prevented you from straying from the paths connecting Woodland Hall to the southern homesteads, but at times you have seen glimpses of queer things where the shadows in the woods are deeper. Now that you have outgrown your father’s authority, your thirst for adventure won’t be easily quenched.
Favoured Skill Athletics
When he was a youth, your uncle severely injured his own right leg, mishandling his axe. Deprived of his rightful place among the active warriors of your folk, he instead turned to his wits and experience to contribute to the fight against the Shadow. His cunning was instrumental in many a victory on the field of battle. He proved to you that when war is at hand, good advice is as important as good swords to ensure triumph.
Favoured Skill Battle