Freeholds and Redoubts
Patron or Ruler: Various
Primary Race: All
Primary Language: Various
Suggested Traits: Bullheaded, Courageous, Experienced, Hardy, Luck, Militia, Survivor
Regional Feat: None
Scattered throughout Zenáthras are dozens—maybe even hundreds or thousands—of tiny enclaves, populations of all the different races that cling to life in a world where monsters threaten and the whims of Great Beasts can decide the course of entire nations. Some cluster around one or more of these Beasts, a patron who cannot or does not wish to support a larger group. They can number as small as a few dozen individuals or as many as a few thousand, in hidden valleys, deep caves, or isolated islands where the terrors of the modern world have overlooked.
Their cultures and ways of life are varied, with no defining characteristics or uniting features amongst them except that they do not have the power or presence of the other nations on this list (which the exception of the Gevan, who can serve as an example of what one of these small communities might look like, though it is by no means typical or universal).
Vast, powerful nations divided the face of Zenáthras during the Era of Heroes, but with destruction of the Well and the loss of numina, those nations fractured like crushed glass. Many died, and great cities were destroyed or simply lost, filled with dust and bones or grown over by hungry vines. The survivors lost much of their culture and history, forgetting such things in the struggle to survive.
It has been more than a thousand years since those dark days began, but even now, the ever-present threat of monster attack is quite real and few cultures are able to endure without the help of a powerful Great Beast to serve as patron and a source of limited magic. The history of a specific freehold or redoubt—how it was founded, from whom it descended, and whether they were able to find a patron—will be utterly unique for each culture that is come across.
How these different civilizations deal with outsiders will vary from one to the other. Some may be open to outsiders and others openly hostile; they may actually seek out others for trade or may have never seen another sentient humanoid for centuries. There is no real way to know prior to actually meeting them.