Originally Posted by sktarq
OK, I can expand some... the focus of that initial blurb was as a response to a request for some of the other cultures the Choumin might interact with.
First, specific reasons why the Choumin would want to interact with them:
* As guides and scouts on land, especially in the vast areas of inland forest and the deep wilds.
* As fellow traders who move smaller valuable goods around on land where Choumin are less active.
* As sources of things found in the deep wilds -- lost artifacts, herbs and plants, exotic animals, news of remote lands that might be someday be reached by sea, etc.
Second, on the Moon People themselves:
What they eat -- they hunt and gather, and trade for things they can't grow or make themselves, but a lot of their food comes from a sort of communal agriculture that the various wandering groups collectively maintain as they move through areas or stop for a season. It's expected that they'll put in at least enough effort to make up for what they take, with a lot of cultural and religious weight behind that expectation. A band who takes a lot more than they give will find themselves shunned both by their fellows and by the spirits. So somewhere deep in the wilds might be a grove of fruit trees mixed in with the other trees, where the soil has been enriched over countless generations and the trees carefully maintained, for example.
Very few of them stay in any one place permanently, but there are permanent locations where you'll regularly (but not always) find one band or another; and places where bands always come together to observe certain holidays, where there are shamans and wise old ones and a handful of others who end up making permanent homes.
Those who lose their fellows to misfortune or strife with other cultures (human nomads in some areas, "civilization" expanding its footprint by clearing or trimming forests or planting open areas in others), or who are exiled/shunned, often end up in a town or city somewhere. Some places are welcoming, some are not, it just depends, so they could end up as valued members of the community or stuck living hand-to-mouth doing the work no one else wants. More than a few humans have a few drops of Moon Poople blood in their veins from some marriage or dalliance generations ago. ("Moon People" would in real-world scientific terms best be understood as an inter-fertile subspecies with a quite divergent culture, unlike the human-similar but "alien" Twilight People who are effectively infertile with humans; Choumin / Storm People are simply a specific human culture.)
They stay in this lifestyle because of their beliefs about their relationship with the natural world and with the spirits and the gods; and sometimes because their uneasy relationship with humans, who they fear could turn on them with little provocation, makes them uncomfortable if they can't pick up and leave on short notice. Their "homeland" is the world, and they come and go like their goddess. When they travel, they will sometimes cross over into the border with the spirit world where the old roads are still semi-real, and cover several times the distance one might expect of families traveling with all their belongings through the deep wilderness. They are the Wandering Ones, travelers of the hidden byways and secret paths.
Keep in mind:
* the history and cosmology (and several of the religious dogmas) of this setting lead to a lot more fear and distrust of night, darkness, and shadow in many human cultures. The darkest forests are not welcoming to those people, and they avoid remote places.
* there was a drastic "end of the age" that brought down the old overarching empire/civilization an aeon ago (metaphorical aeon), leaving a semi-connected web of civilized areas, with a lot of gaps and hinterlands and "emptiness", and lots of ruins and remnants that many humans believe are haunted or cursed. Many of the old road networks have gaps, old bridges are gone, etc.
Hope that helps make them clearer.
Any thoughts on the Twilight?