Merchants are the lifeblood of the Deep Wood, the sole way in which goods vital to the survival of the denizens of the forest circulate between the fortified hamlets. It is a hard life, full of danger and risk, but for those who undertake the perilous journeys every Passage, it is one that surpasses all other professions.
More than just purveyors of goods, traveling Merchants are held in high regard for their knowledge of the goings-on of the Deep Wood. Their travel from settlement to settlement provides them with unique insight into the forest, and can often be found serving as guides and navigators when they are not leading caravans themselves.
Merchants are among the rare few from the forest who have ever visited the Gate of Thorns, a fortified redoubt built upon ancient ruins which guards the solitary mountain pass connecting the Deep Wood to the wide-open plains of the east.
Nobles are a rare sight in the Deep Wood; the tall spires and robust stone walls of their fortresses reside firmly outside the densely-forested territory. Few inhabitants of the refuge villages have ever seen a Baronet, and the dangerous, dreary Wood holds little appeal for the landed class.
To be sure, there are traces of a new aristocracy in the Wood. Some burgomeisters in the more prominent refuge villages have begun to amass power, consolidating their influence and assessing how best to expand beyond the walls of their settlements into the Deep Wood itself.
Characters with this background are smugglers, poachers, thieves, and burglars. They have expert knowledge in coded signs, possess shady connections, and have a skill set perfect for exploring dangerous areas.
The Stalwart Guard is a familiar sight to all who dwell in the Deep Wood. Whether escorting merchant convoys during the Passage, keeping a watchful eye on the forest from atop a fortified village tower, or holding the Gate of Thorns against terrors that seek the verdant greens beyond the mountains, guards are essential to continued existence within the Deep Wood.
The training and experience of guards is varied; those who enlist at the Gate of Thorns benefit from a rich and storied martial tradition, while those born deep within the forest who volunteer to protect their home are considerably less well off. Competent guards, no matter where they served, are not only formidable in battle, but also observant and quick to bring down the might of their comrades in order to confront an obstacle.