The Widnez are a culture of humans who live on the far side of Lake Hali living in the forests of the Black Alps. They are significant trading partners with the Drakesdoom, Midmark and other settlements and Kingdoms down the River Halit They bring lumber, amber and trade goods from other cultures of the Black Alps across the lake in great log rafts escorted by their swan necked longships. They ship gold, livestock, minerals, skins and more back to the Black Alp cultures.
Build: The Widnez tend to be stocky with relatively long bodies and shorter arms and legs.
Colouring: The Widnez are very dark skinned humans, generally brown eyed with dark afro-textured hair.
Endurance: Widnez endurance is within the normal human range though the nature of Widnez culture and economy means Widnez tend to have better than average strength.
Height: Typically around 5’8”-6’ for men and 5’4”-5’8” for women
Lifespan: Within the normal human range where decent healing magic is commonplace 50-60 years.
Resistance: Widnez are resistant to many diseases of the Black Alps which would lay low a traveller from other parts.
Clothing and Decoration:
Widnez men tend to wear their hair cropped short and men of rank will occasionally wear moustaches, sideburns or beards as a status symbol. Common male dress is a long sleeved tunic which goes down to the knee made out of thin if richly embroidered cotton. Shagreen or leather girdles, equipped for carrying tools as often as weapons girth their tunics. Likewise arm and calf guards are crafted from the same materials (the shagreen is fashioned from the great freshwater sharks and rays of Lake Hali and the leather imported from Drakesdoom.) Hard topped but ventilated clogs are very common.
Widnez women fashion is similar to the men’s though the clothing is more brightly coloured. Girdles tend to be cloth and guards are not used. Widnez women hair tends to be styled or braided.
Fears & inabilities: As normal humans the Widnez are subject to the normal range of fears and inabilities.
The Widnez live in small villages which cluster together into communities led by an Andriana or noble woman elected by the female heads of household in the community. From the outside the Widnez lifestyle seems to mirror gender roles. Men hunt, fish, explore, lumberjack, peruse trades and trade. Women tend crops, gather fruits, prepare foods and hides, raise children and tend to the sick. The difference is the Widnez do not weight the activities above those of the women. Rather the opposite – as nurturers and carers it is women of Widnez who are given positions of leadership in Widnez communities. It is perhaps a coincidence that the Widnez engage in less conflict than other cultures around Lake Hali.
When conflict does occur the Widnez are well prepared for it. Typical Widnez weapons are punch daggers, short staved flax’s or assagi, a martial variant of their typical woodaxes and javelins. A typical Widnez touch is a sawblade on the back of a single edged weapon to enable it to be used for pioneer work. Militarised versions of climbing hooks, boots and hand axes are also used. The thick Widnez forests make the use of a bow impracticable outside the fringes of a village clearing, for these reasons it is typically a women used by youth and village women in home defence. Armour is usually a simple spangelhelm helmet, selective plates of armour and shagreen shields.
A Widnez village is typically in a clearing where crops are grown. The buildings are unpretentious log cabins with leafy roofs. The profits from Widnez trading tend to be invested in luxury goods for the home with some retained by the Andriana for investing in village projects. Widnez culture is inordinately fond of storytelling, poetry, music and dance and such arts form the basis of communal celebrations.
Widnez culture frowns on slavery though richer members of the community do hire servants and employ poorer members of the community. At the harsher end of the culture poor adults can be exiled from the village on the decision of the Andriana. Sometimes these exiles bind together to form renegade and bandit groups in the forest.
Marriage Pattern: Widnez culture is monogamous, naming and property is inherited down the female line. Illegitimate children, orphans and foundlings are cared for by the Andriana’s household as part of the costs of the position.
Religion: While other faiths have imposed upon the Widnez (especially the expat community in Drakesdoom ,) the principle faith worship the Five Magnificent scarabs. Jhone, Jhorg, Phowl and Rhunga attend to the Forest, Home, Trade and Health respectively while the mysterious and many named Fifth scarab binds them together. The Widnez clergy is not a full time position but ritual duties form part of the Andriana’s role.
Demeanour: To the outside world the Widnez (especially the men) present a hail fellow well met and carousing aspect. Those who regularly trade with the Widnez advise underneath the bluster they are typically canny negotiators. In actual fact as humans the range of Widnez personality is as wide as any.
Language: Widnez speak Wi-det a tongue of click, whistles and low vowel sounds. It is written in rune-like hieroglyphics.
Prejudices: The gender balance of Widnez society means they can take against cultures that enslave or oppress women. They also do have some resource conflicts with other peoples in the Black Alps which can prejudice particular villages.