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Matthias, Player Account

i'll be your baby doll and your bodyguard if you tell me to / i'll try to make it all not as hard if you let me through
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Created By: matt
Contact: pm here or discord (OUTERHEAVEN#6548)
Lore Type: culture
Availability: open

Swamp People of Austenferd

Where the sprawling plains of Vestri met the damp and encroaching swamps and forests of Austenferd, there once lived a people as resilient and as terrifying as the creatures of the swamps they inhabited. They sought to live beyond the confines of polite society- to be as wild and as free as the stallions of Bifrost Meadows. 

Now, many see them as little more than a sideshow attraction- a culture to coo condescendingly at while making your way across Austenferd. Tourists far and wide can tell you of these backward folk: a hardy people, eeking out a living while the world around them changes and leaves them behind in the dust. Bigger than life, these outlaws were (and still are), and often marked by their distaste for the civilized world they had left behind for the swamps and plains of their new home. 

The bog men of Austenferd are known chiefly for their role in caring for the cattle, bison, and horses of the plains of Vestri. They travel far and wide, herding the cattle from point a to point b with tireless ease. And then, when the job is complete, they return to their homes, typically found in the depths of the swamps near the Vaenger Rapids. They pride themselves in their ability to live on little, to pick up and move on with ease. They track the flow of a river or the turning of time and they live by the law of the land, ignoring the world that exists beyond the bayous and plains of their home. 

Academics the world around could argue for days as to the origin of the cowboy. Some claim them an invention of the desert people around the Great Roads, while others still think them born of the primordial slurry of the swamp itself. Whatever the case may be, the swamp people themselves care little- they know their truth and keep it close to their chest, and very few find the need to impart their oral tradition to any outsider curious enough to ask. To be truly trusted by a bog man is to know the truth of their creation: that they were the outcasts, the ones too harsh and too misshapen for polite society. They were the ones smart enough to take life by the reins and to pull, molding their culture around nature just as nature molded them.  

As a people, they are neither unified nor uniform- a group in the south might survive solely by stealing, while another might work tirelessly for the law and never think of straying. Their culture is marked by the diverse parts that make the whole, all the more stark when compared to the aspects they have in common.

While they are a complex and diverse people, there is much that ties them together: a distrust of outsiders, an ability to melt seamlessly into the swamps they call home, and typically a familial group that they run with. They are incredibly insular, and the nature of their work and home makes them self sufficient and proud of their individualism and identity. They believe in the power of the self: a man that must rely upon the law to protect himself is lesser than the one that can protect himself and his cattle on his own. 

The swamp people have, by and large, been untouched by the conflicts of the races. They accept all walks of life and all races into the fold, so long as they can work and fend for themselves. But beyond that, their culture demands of them a certain amount of distance from such things- too busy herding across the great expanses of the plains to look back at the society they left behind. A group might take up a bounty to hunt a dragon for a fae, or to protect a human and its bonded from the fae, or any other number of related tasks, but as a whole the swamp people do not care for the outside world or the conflicts there. 

There is, however, a code of conduct, though the reality of the matter is much more loose than the phrase typically denotes. The ranchers, wranglers, and outlaws of the plains and swamps all follow a similar practice: take only what is needed, keep your nose out of others’ business, and above all else put your people before your profits. Simple rules, and ones they all follow without complaint. Those that stray from the code are fiercely fought against, and gangs that go too far find themselves the target of their fellows’ ire. 

The Famous Gangs of the Austenferd Bog Folk

As with most cultures and populations, the folk of the swamp and plain have a few names they all know to some degree or other. Typically gangs are family run and operated, with a single figurehead that the gang is named after and lieutenants and other loyal members following their instructions. Swapping loyalties is typically severely frowned upon, though working together is not unheard of in times of trouble or need, and a gang that is fractured is often absorbed by one of their neighboring groups. Grudges can and have been held for years, if not longer, and perceived slights between the families can be carried down through the generations. 

Among the swamp people, families and gangs have come and gone, but of late there are five names that are the most well known and, in some cases, reviled. 

The McCarty Gang

A technically above-board operation run by the McCarty brothers, based out of the Grunlyd Uplands. They tend to their cattle and roam far and wide, bringing their camps with them on horseback or dragonback rather than settling in one place for very long. They follow the cattle rather than asking the cattle to follow them- it’s rare to see them straying far from their charges, and to see one without a herd behind them typically means there’s trouble afoot. They are a fiercely traditional people, and believe in keeping their heritage as pure as possible. Where other families might freely accept any human or fae from any walk of life, the McCarty’s take “family comes first” to the next level. The McCarty are the owl- watchful and wary, but making their own way in the night. 

The Mossbough Gang

The Mossbough’s are the epitome of swamp culture- they, unlike their compatriots, rarely travel out into the plains of Vestri, instead remaining hidden away in the bayous of Austenferd and making their living there. They specialize in making things- and, for the right price, people- disappear. Little is known of their operation’s location, as Mossbough representatives prefer to come to you when called. They are as the gators of their home: resilient and long lived, but tending toward long periods of silent contemplation before lashing out with all-encompassing rage when provoked. 

The Rythvane Gang

An all-fae outfit, the Rythvanes are a wild, vicious sort. They’re more beast than man, some would say- they pride themselves in being the most comprehensive carers of buffalo and cattle this side of the Trident. Their consideration for their charges does not carry far, however, and any who they find crossing their paths are subjected to sharp tongues and sharper knives. They’re a prickly, precocious sort, and it’s not uncommon for them to be feuding with two or three of the main families, let alone an untold number of smaller gangs in their area. Where the Mossboughs are the resting alligator, the Rythvanes are the rabid raccoon, clutching hands grabbing anything that finds its way into their line of sight. 

The Chamirral Gang

The Chamirrals are, for lack of a better word, outsiders. Highborn nobility from Kastali City that once held shop with royalty. Now, they’ve fallen far- though they certainly haven’t suffered for it. They haunt the Great Road, regal head dipping in and snatching whatever they set their sights on with ease. Much of their compatriots put up with them for fear of retribution should they not, and there’s much bitter gritting of teeth and promised biding of time until the Chamirrals finally get what’s coming to them. They are the heron, long legs allowing them to wade through the bog and play at being destitute, adopting a culture that is not their own to ensure their survival after they were cast out of their nest on high. 

The Underhill Gang

A storied gang of outlaws, held together by bonds of heart more than blood. They often act as the go-between for many of the other families, and are considered the arbiters of judgement, when someone has strayed from the code of conduct or spit in the face of their compatriots. Their history is well known, often considered one of the founding families of the swamp people and their culture, but unlike the McCartys they’re much more open to members coming and going. While the core family yet remains, the Underhill gang sports many branches that all tend to their own business, only returning home when called back by their patriarch. The Underhills are the stolid black bear- following the natural order of things with practiced ease, and throwing their weight around to ensure others follow it too. 

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8/6/19 Thanks for your patience! I adore the different gangs you've brought forth, and how each of the Gangs are different characteristics or ideals but they all are still similar enough to tie into the overarching Bog Folk! What a great idea.
Thank you for your contribution to THOD!

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