The Wulvers

Origins

According to the old tales handed down from the time before there was such a thing as the written word, wulvers were born of a great old she-wolf Spirit whose mane was as blue as the sky after suckling an abandoned human child in the desolate wilderlands. She led her children, the wulvers, to the lands rich with life and game to feed them on. In this way, humans are considered “cousins” of a sort.

 

Physical Aspects

Wulvers are formidable-looking humanoids who have the heads of wolves on a human body. Their bodies are covered all over with fine short hair that ranges from mottled grays to browns, blending perfectly into their wilderness habitats. This makes them excellent Skulkers and Stalkers in the woods, the best of Huntsmen and Woodsmen. They have a number of other lupine qualities, as well. Like the wolves, wulvers can lope along at a brisk but easy pace and can do so all day, making two or three times the mileage a day as any of the other races on foot. Their extraordinary stamina also allows them to go long periods without eating in the wilds – as long as two weeks without impairing any of their physical attribute scores.

The average life expectancy for a wulver is 60 years. Characters with an above average CND can expect a longer life, barring any unforeseen injuries and/or accidents, a shorter span for those with below average CND.

Favored Environment

Wulvers rove the wild places far from the other races, ranging far and wide. The habitations the wulvers build blend into the scenery perfectly, like those of the elfs, but not nearly so fine. Their shelters are always merely temporary due to the fact that they remain on the move, following the game and moving along as their foraging strips the local resources. In their perambulations they are fond of caves for their lodgings when they can find them – much easier to adapt to their needs and to disguise their entrances.

All wulver characters will only ever hail from Rural backgrounds, as they shun large settlements of any kind, except under the most dire of necessities.

Due to the circumstances of their origins, they usually make a habit of keeping a watchful eye over the human folk who may live in the same district. They go to great pains to conceal this fact. Hunting and fishing are their lives, and provides the perfect opportunity for them to keep tabs on the humans nearby. Wulvers spend the bulk of their time each day threading their way through the wilderness in search of game for the table to feed themselves and their families. Their skills are much enhanced by the coloring of their fine short coat of hair.

If the Huntsman or Ranger trade is taken, the wulver character will receive a +25% bonus to any experience earned towards it, bundled skills included.

 

Point of View

Because the dunladdin are a gentle and industrious lot wulvers share plenty of common ground with them, but they can be far too rambunctious and loud in their near-constant parties. The lack of generosity of the dwarfs the wulvers find disturbing, though the clannishness they definitely identify with. Elfs they get along most easily with, but when they start celebrating Life, the wulvers head for the hills again. The wood elfs are a bit too boisterous for wulver comfort, they tend to get on best with the quiet marsh elfs and frost elfs. Humans they take on a case by case basis. Though they treat them as their charges, looking after them from a distance, they are careful to sort the bad from the good, the chaff from the wheat. The irdanni they have little exposure to, like the rest of the ground dwelling races, little common ground except as hunters to form any sort of regular relationship. In the marketplace the two are competitors in selling hides and furs. In the pumatharæ, the wulvers see most of the worst that can be found in humankind collected and distilled. In general, they steer a wide berth around them. They are the most likely to provoke the ferocious wulver temper in defense just from the way they behave on a daily basis.

Thoughts & Beliefs

The great She-Wolf who suckled humankind and spawned the wulvers as a result is commonly believed to watch over the wulvers to protect against fire, disease, and other calamities and bring fertility to couples hoping to have children and plentiful game for hunting and fishing. The wulvers cling fervently to the Old Ways regardless of the strength the newer religions achieve.

Rather solitary, wulvers tend to maintain their distance. They will usually try to avoid contact with strangers, to the point of even abandoning their shelter or whatever they are engaged in when an approaching stranger is detected.

Despite their fearsome appearance, wulvers are most commonly a gentle folk, even largely benevolent. They believe is letting others be, so long as they are shown the same courtesy. Very egalitarian, they believe in helping out those in need who are not able to help themselves. It is common in seaside communities near where wulvers live for gifts of fish to be left in the night on the windowsills of poor families, or fish or small game in inland communities. They are generally very fond of fishing, especially for the quiet repose it affords them.

The wulvers are shy and retiring by nature, though ferocious when pressed or cornered. It takes them a while to acclimate to any other race. They prefer the quiet lonely wilderness that the human folk shun for fear. The fun and loving nature they hide is why some humans seek their friendship. The wulvers’ loyalty and commitment to defend those they love are strong, even fierce.

Work Ethics

Wulver are a rather industrious people, but in a quiet measured pace. Slow and steady wins the race. They enjoy all of the common cottage industries : cooking; baking; spinning; weaving; crochet and knitting; embroidery; sewing; soap and candle making (chandlery), and the like. In their weaving and embroidery they show a simple rustic charm. They do not work the fancy designs in bright silken threads of the upper classes. Whittling and basket weaving are commonly favored for useful pastimes, as well – even some fine carving, especially during the winter months. No matter how fine the carving, the motifs are still rustic, not for them the incredibly intricate ornaments of the upper classes, the irdanni or the elfs.

Wulvers’ Society

Wulvers are a rural folk, primarily social hunters and foragers, and where they have appropriate open wilderness to do so, they enjoy herding small numbers of sheep or cattle so they need not spend as much time hunting. Their needs are very simple and rarely do they have any interest in material wealth. Any such wealth they do have of that nature are usually in the way of sentimental keepsakes.

As far as social organization, they follow a sort of signeurial hierarchy among the larger groups. On that scale they function in much the same way as any human village, with the same sort of headman or reeve, simply without a liege lord, except where their lands are owned by a lord of another people..

While they can be found alone, these are most commonly young bachelors. They can also be found in married pairs, or in village-like communities of as many as 20. Extended family groups of about eight individuals is a more typical social grouping.

Unlike the rest of the medieval world, social rank among the wulvers does not follow the blood by heredity. Rank order within a community is established and maintained through a series of ritualized fights and posturing best described as “ritual bluffing”. Wulvers prefer ritualized displays of aggression to physical confrontations, meaning that high-ranking status is based more on personality or attitude than on size or physical strength. While the majority of wulver aggression among their own kind is ritualized and non-injurious, more about establishing social precedence, a high-stakes fight can easily result in injury for either or both parties, but these are rare. The loser of such a confrontation is frequently chased away from the community. It is difficult at best to remain with the family or community after losing face in that way.

Wulvers are solitary creatures, as stated, unless married with pups. The small family groups are rare to be encountered by the other races, usually retreating to even more remote areas till the young are raised to help keep them safe. Wulver young, or pups, are the responsibility of all their people to raise, to the point where, if a pup should wander off and be found by more of his folk who are strangers, they will follow his trail back home to find his family and return him to them.