The tribes rarely number more than a few hundred individuals, most only consist of a few small families. The people live a nomadic life by necessity. Permanent settlements do exist, but once discovered they tend to be attacked often. The nomads have to fear all of the neighboring countries, the monsters that live alongside them, and even other nomads who may dislike their element.
They keep oral histories, and remember well who their friends and enemies were. Some nomad storytellers talk about how the humans and elementals united to fight a great evil, but they lost and scattered. It wasn’t until long after the original threat was gone that humans once again prospered and kingdoms formed, the Gein Kingdom being one of them.
Those that formed the Gein Kingdom never broke their ties to the elementals, and all the elements stayed on the same side. At least until the kingdom was about to fall, which is when some of each elemental faction started a blame the others and infighting started. This is what made the kingdom weak against it’s enemies, and some still insist the elemental rivalries are justified. While nomad families tend to all be associated with the same element, tribes consisting of multiple families could have more than one element present. Very large tribes may even have all the elements present, but that doesn’t mean they get along.
The elementals and elemental kin used to wander the Gein Kingdom like they were citizens. Now some tribes have the same connection with the elements, while others rely only on spells and summoning. It is possible, but rare, for a tribe to have a very little connection to the elements. This is because humans are weak and have a hard time surviving without elemental protection.
Many nomads banded together to form Gein, which is similar to the Gein Kingdom, but it’s a fragile relationship. This was done to halt the expansion of the Leaguelands of Vestigius, and so long as that enemy remains there will always be some degree of cooperation among the tribes. The nomads that aren’t in Gein tend to do the same whenever an old enemy wanders too far over their border into The Wasteland.