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My Fantasy RPG World, Feedback and Ideas appreciated

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Scalenex, May 17, 2019.

  1. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Revisiting Elemental base Race

    So right now a Scarterran has a species (human, dwarf, elf etc)

    And an ethnicity which is cultural, usually but not always referring to nation of origin. Fumayan Human (from the nation of Fumaya), or Meckelorner dwarf (from the nation of Meckelorn), but a few ethnicities are not directly tied to a nation such as the Cotefue humans which have no nation of their own and are spread between six or seven different nations.

    Then there is race. At least for the point of Scarterra. Theoretically you can have a Fumayan human who is mostly airy and watery and another that is mostly earthy and fiery. They are still Fumayan even if they look different.

    While I was pondering slang, I was wondering if Scarterrans would have racial nicknames, offensive or otherwise.

    These are my initial thoughts.

    Earth/Water: Muddy
    Fire/Water: Steamy


    Fire/Earth: Glassy
    Air/Earth: Dusty

    Air/Water: Rainy or Hailstorm.
    Air/Fire: Stormy

    Problem is, muddy, dusty, and glassy sounds lame and stormy sounds bad ass. I figure most people would create a rationale to explain to explain why their combination of elements is superior to the others.

    Earth/water is probably the most common racial makeup on Scarterra because most humans are farmers and most population clusters are near water. I find it odd that a group with majority group would tolerate being called "mud people."

    Then of course you have people that three dominant elements. It was easier to define them by the fourth element they are missing.

    Fire/Earth/Air: Drys (sans Water)
    Fire/Water/Earth: Stills (sans Air)
    Fire/Water/Air: Floats (sans Earth)
    Earth/Water/Air: Colds (sans Fire)

    I'm not sure how common any of them would. The desert roaming Mereshnari would qualify as "drys" and they are a whole tribal culture. You might be able to get snow loving barbarians that are "Colds".

    "Stills" would probably be the most common. Scarterra has rugged mountains near equatorial coasts. The Mondarian dwarves and humans probably qualify.

    A natural population of Floats would be hard to find, you would need a population on a volcanic island in a cold climate. Otherwise floats would be a freak accident resulting from an unlikely romantic pairing having a baby.

    Same with someone with all four elemental traits. They could be called "balanced" or "mutts" or even "shifters." They are called "shifters" because their hair, skin tone, nose shape, and eye color is not predictable. They are called "balanced" for obvious reasons. Also balanced humans tend to have Perception ratings. It is theorized that because they are so balanced, they can sense if things are off.

    Note, it's easier to have weirder elemental combinations with horses and dogs because selective breeding has fewer ethical issues.

    "Balanced" dogs make fantastic watch dogs.

    It is rare to find a stormy (air/fire) human, but stormy horses common. Because stormy horses, or "lightning horses" as they are often called, are very fast and fast horses are valuable.


    Fiery/Water: "Steamy". This also fits because fiery people tend to be passionate and watery people tend to be empathetic. I figured fiery/watery people would have a reputation for being a sensual or possibly promiscuous people though like most stereotypes there is a tiny kernel of truth that is exaggerated.

    Fiery people tend to have bronze or rare cases orange skin. Watery people tend to have light blue, slightly greenish skin. Fiery watery people usually have the skin tones of one muted, but a few even have purple skin (not many, but just like there is a stereotype that every Irish person has red hair, the stereotype exists). Maybe I'm wrong but I think that would look attractive.

    Watery people have wavy hair and fiery people have curly frizzy hair. Steamy people have hair that is an untamable mess. Dark black hair would be the norm because black hair pops up with earthy and watery people. There is sometimes a brownish, blueish, or greenish tint to the hair.

    Fiery people tend to live near the equator. Watery people tend to live near the sea. It just so happens that most of Scarterra's islands are near the equator so most islanders are steamy.

    Normal body type is medium build with slightly accentuated curves.

    Eye color varies a lot.
    Fire: Grey is especially common. Red, yellow, purple, and black are known.

    : Brown is especially common. Black, green and various metallic shades are known.

    Steamy: Black is especially common and brown is fairly common, but any of the individual colors of earth and water eyes might pop up, more often than not in a darker shade.

    Steamy people are said to age gracefully with visible signs of aging accruing fairly slow, but it is also noted that steamy people tend to die a few years earlier than most, so there is a price to pay for their seeming extended youth.

    Fiery people tend to be brave and watery people tend to empathetic. This means steamy people are often fiercely loyal to their friends and loved ones.

    On the downside, the unpredictability and indirectness of watery people and the hot tempers of fiery people mean steamy people could seem to be set off by random things and they often take out their frustrations passive aggressively.

    One trait seemingly unique to steamy people is relaxed attitudes and a tendency to look on the bright side of things. They would probably love "Hakuna Matata."

    Back to the East Colassian Confederacy

    Marginaland is mostly earthy/airy mix. The fact that airy traits are fairly rare in the rest of the Confederacy only serves to marginalize them further.

    Musselanders and Mooringslanders tend to be "stills" having most traits other than air. The latter tend to have more earth.

    Riverlanders have an equal mix of earthy/watery traits. Occasionally they manifest tertiary fire traits but not often.

    Midlanders have dominant earthy traits with secondary fiery traits. They rarely manifest airy tertiary traits as part of their Mereshnari heritage.

    Mereshnari are "drys" with a fair amount of airy, earthy, and fiery traits.

    Mineralanders have very pronounced earthy traits with occasional mild secondary fiery or watery traits.

    are mosty earthy with secondary fiery traits.

    The Marshlanders have dominant water traits with secondary earthy and fiery traits.
  2. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Okay, this is really cool :D
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  3. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    ^ under the musselanders section

    I don't like that as much as the other ones since it doesn't show anything. A lot of these descriptions you did tells me a lot about each nation's character, their fears and interests in a few words which was awesome, so imo, perhaps the musselanders' opinion on the yeti can probably reflect their love and dependence on the sea. That could probably inspire derogative thoughts of the yeti's mountainous way of life, or they could even be wondrous. idk.

    ^ I think that's much better since it shows mineraland's focus on military and weapons production as well their character of appearing to be more coldhearted and serious than their neighbors, relatively speaking.
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  4. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Hmmm, I only added the Yeti section as an afterthought.

    Geographically, Musseland is about as far from the Yeti Kingdom(s) as is possible. Also, Musseland is less populous than most of the other places and they are somewhat homebodies. But I suppose the Colassian Confederacy officially started as an alliance between Musseland, Marshlandia and Mooringsland, and the Confederate Council loosely is based off of the, so perhaps I should highlight their team player attitude.

    "We would happily ally with them if only they weren't so hard to reach."

    That was what I was going for, but I made in the vicinity of 100 opinion burbs yesterday, they cannot all be literary gold.

    I'm having trouble coming with something to follow this with. Each nation in Colassian Confederacy, by necessity, must interact with the rest of the other members of the Colassian Confederacy on a regular basis, so they are actually fairly well informed.

    A lot of the nations elsewhere don't interact with their neighbors any more than they have to and barely aware of nations that don't share a border with them.

    I thought about doing one of these for what the four elven nations think of each other, but they're political capitals are all 1000+ miles away from each other. The different elf ethnicities rarely meet and when they do, it's usually asocial loners acting as adventurers bumping into asocial loners acting as adventurers from another elf group.

    I suppose since I'm slowly working on developing subethnicities of wood elves I can cover what the wood elves think of the other wood elves and then maybe throw in their opinions of the dark elves, grey elves, and sea elves as an afterthought. But I only have three wood elf groups detailed so far. I probably want to come up with six or seven.

    Also, I like the idea that one fifth of nation of Codenya is not made up of wood elves, but is in fact made up of rarer fantasy creatures, but I am still trying to figure out what to populate the roster with. I'm thinking that centaurs and satyrs are similar enough that I don't need to give them both. So far I just have forest gnomes and forest kalazotz. Making up 5% and 2% of the nation's population respectively,
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  5. Scolenex

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    Now that we understand the character of the ten nations of the Colassian Confederacy, perhaps it is time we contact @Warden


    This may surprise you, but I am avid fan of Scalenex's fantasy world, so I think I have a fairly good grasp of Scalenex's grand vision.

    Some of the nations of the Colassian Confederacy probably had heraldry long before the idea of the Colassian Confederacy was conceived. Others probably never bothered with their own heraldry until they joined the Confederacy and wanted to "Keep up with the Jones" and come up with their own heraldry.

    It's possible that a late-comer heraldry maker might aim for something very grandiose to lord it over the other nine nations of the Confederacy, or it could be the case that one of the nations, perhaps Marshlandia or the Mereshari could pick a somewhat silly heraldry because they dislike the concept of heraldry as being elitist or they want to demonstrate humiliate. For those who are familiar with Game of Thrones, think of the Onion knight or House Clegane's hound sigil.

    There would also need to be a banner or symbol for the Confederacy as a whole. It could be something like the EU flag with a star for every member or some other abstract symbol, but as the Colassian Confederacy primarily a military alliance, a strong beast make more sense.

    If the official banner was decided by committee, it could be a messy banner (such as all ten heraldry encompassed in one banner) that few people use. Perhaps the first banner created by Musseland, Mooringsland, and Marshlandia was grandfathered in. In that case the symbol of the Confederacy might be water based because the first three member states have very water focused economy.

    No living creature is more awe inspiring or noble of stature than the mighty panda, BUT it's unlikely to be a good fit here. East Colassia is loosely based on real world Africa, especially the African Savannah and the Sahara Desert as East Colassia has both a massive savannah and a massive desert. So they have lions, camels, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, gazelle, hippos, elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, zebras, and maybe a few primates other than humans (I am probably missing a few iconic African animals, but all animals are equally inferior to pandas). It's unlikely that any group in East Colassia would choose a hyena standards because hyenas are closely associated with gnolls, and gnolls are viewed as an abomination.

    Apart from the Yeti, East Colassia does not have any fantasy creatures not seen in the rest of Scarterra. There are few dragons, beholders, kobolds, and delvers, most of these creatures live in the remote mountains which form the natural geographic barrier between Kahdisteria and the Confederacy. East Colassia needs more local monsters. Get it on it @Scalenex. Local monsters can make good local heraldry, but they would also make interesting articles in their own right. Traditionally, D&D Basilisks (different from JK Rowling's more snake like basilisk), D&D Behir, Dune inspired sandworms, or perhaps an especially lion-like manticore would all be good fits for the desert and/or savannah.

    East of Colassia used to have giants and cyclopes, but the dark elves enslaved them all and they wouldn't breed in captivity so they are all extinct now.

    Long ago, East Colassia was said to be home of the mythical Fakhari. Scalenex has deliberately been vague on who or what the Fakhari were, but it's likely that some members of the Colassian Confederacy would want to invoke the majesty of the Fakhari in their heraldry, whatever it was. For one thing, some Colassians, especially the Marshlanders claim to be the blood descendants of the mighty Fakhari. For another thing, the Fakhari terrified the ancient elves of yesteryear, and terrifying the elves is something the Confederacy would love to be able to do.

    I can think of no better real world analogy than the Ancient Egyptian so maybe a pyramid with an illuminati eye on it, though Scalenex might want to come up with a Fakhari symbol that is less cliché.

    Most of the heavily human populated portions of East Colassia are towards the south near the equator which creates a resonance with the elemental energy of fire. Also, the whole continent was a flash point for fire elementals during the First Unmaking which is why the desert is so hot despite being in what should be a temperate latitude. Also the Fire Plains are a thing, so fiery imagery is probably popular in heraldry somewhere.

    I suppose some thought needs to be given to the heraldry of the dark elves. They would have surely had heraldry before the humans did. And while there probably is a standard for the nation of Kahdisteria, Kahdisteria is divided into provinces and noble families so there would be a wide variety of elven heraldry used.

    It is likely that whatever heraldry the Colassian humans choose to adopt does not resemble dark elf heraldry.

    Since the nation of Kahdisteria claims to be the spiritual and blood descendants of Disteria, the greatest elven kingdom of the Second Age, they probably copy Disteria's heraldry. My guess is Disteria used a mighty dragon because even in the Second Age, mortals liked to emulate the mighty dragons of the First Age.

    Kahdisteria pledged eternal loyalty to the goddess Greymoria. Greymoria is associated with sneaky monsters and beasts such as spiders though again this is something that Scalenex should expand on more. I can sort of see one or two dark elf groups using a spider as their symbol but not the entire lot of them. Kahdisteria is also long and narrow with a long coastline, like the nation of Chile. Even more than the Confederacy, they are very much a sea power, second only to the grey elves of Elven Empire (though a distant second). They are likely to have some heraldry inspired from sea creatures.

    I could probably write more, but we should see what Warden thinks, and I've been awake over two hours, so it's nearly nap time.


    Until next tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2021
  6. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I wasn't sure if I should cover half-elves in the Colassian Confederacy.

    In the Colassian Confederacy, the majority of half-elves are escaped slaves from Kahdisteria. Because half-elf slaves have more privileges than other slaves in Kahdisteria, they have more opportunities to escape. Most of these half-elves in Confederate lands are very vocal about how much they want to kill the evil dark elves and since they escaped through their own wits and mettle most believe them.

    The second largest group of half-elves are the children of human women who were raped by dark elves, but somehow were not captured and enslaved by them. Some of them might adopt extreme patriotism for the Confederacy as a defense mechanism but at lot of these half-elves are insular loners who are filled with self-loathing.

    The third largest cohort of half-elves would be half-elves that are not of dark elf blood. In most cases these would be traders from Apseldia and the Elven Empire and they probably rarely leave the port of Mooringsland.

    A very tiny number of half-elf slaves of the dark elves are legally freed by their master. Five or six slaves are freed every year during the annual Zarthus festival out of a population of roughly a million half-elves. This is a carrot the slave masters dangle to make their slaves work harder. Most of these half-elves don't take up residency in the lands of the Confederacy since these ex-slaves were probably their master's pets, the Confederacy probably would not trust them. It just so happens that during the Zarthus ceremony, the newly freed slaves get an all expense paid sea voyage to Apseldia which few turn down.

    I don't know if the opinions would fit all of the people of the nation. Exception might be the Mereshnari whose superstitions are very harsh against half-breeds are generally biased against any out of wedlock births. The Midlanders share a lot of customs with the Mereshnari (in fact sometimes the Midlanders call themselves Mereshbale). I guess I could add a half-elf opinion to the specific narrators with the understanding that there are a myriad of opinions on how to treat half elves in every nation.

    Marginaland: "In my observation, no one is more enthusiastic about killing dark elves than one who carries their blood."

    Musseland: "No one chooses their parents. I pity them. Zarthus wishes us to be merciful to bastards and offspring. We dare not turn these poor bastards away, but we dare not fully trust them either."

    Mooringsland: The rest of the Confederacy thinks we are at peace, but really we just moved from a hot war to a cold war. The harbors are full of dark elves pretending to be wood elves on rumspringa or grey elf merchants selling their wares. No one is better at smelling out these spies than half-elves who once scrubbed the dark elves' floors or warmed their sheets."

    Marshlandia: "No one chooses their parents, this is true. But it is also true that blood runs thicker than water and half-elves bear the taint of the elves' foulness."

    Magicland: "If you spoken with enough of the dark elves' bastards you will notice that they all either loathe their elf relations or they loathe themselves. They are objects of pity, but they are not a threat to us. We don't need to make these pour souls' lives any worse than they already are."

    Meraland: "Mera bids us to accept all into our community if their intentions are good. We will give any half-elves who wish to join us a fair chance but we do not suffer betrayals"

    Mineraland: "Of the runaway half-elf slaves that are not captured or killed in their escape attempt, the majority find freedom by crossing into our lands. Most them prove to be stalwart allies, hard workers and very motivated soldiers, often with valuable intelligence. Sometimes an "escaped slave" is actually a spy. Rare, but it is not unheard of so we have to take precautions."

    Once in a while a half-elf slave has enough Stockholm syndrome that he or she is willing to serve as as spy, but the dark elves usually set these pawns up and want them to be revealed as spies. The dark elves have noticed that human runaway slaves are always accepted without question. Most dark elf spies are actually full blooded humans and no one in the Confederacy has caught on to this.

    Also once or twice, dark elf mages have magically fabricated evidence to frame innocent half elf runaway slaves to make them seem like Kahdisterian moles.

    Because it is very difficult for a human spy (who is probably illiterate) to communicate with his/her dark elf masters, so far most of these human spies are deployed to thwart slave revolts and not to spy on the Confederacy, but it's only a matter of time before an elf decides to try it.

    Mereshnari: "These half-breed bastards are born of evil. Pity them, but do not trust them. They should thank us profusely for allowing them to live."

    Midlandia: "They are victims almost as much as their raped mothers are victims. I still don't sleep easy when they are around. Some of them mean well and some of them are too tainted to be trustworthy. Best ship them off to faraway lands and not take the chance."

    Mariverlands: "Given the low esteem dark elves hold for their "half-human" spawn, I don't think we have to worry too much about spies among them. They are hard workers and are loyal to the Confederacy for the simple fact that they have no where else to go. I will gladly hire any half-elf who wants a job and show them what it's like to work for lord who respects them."

    So I came up with a NPC I like so much, I am dying to use him. So a half-elf was a slave on a dark elf sailing ship. At some point he managed to get off the ship and avoid drowning long enough to get picked up by a ship of the Elven Empire. He then worked as a deck hand for the Elven Empire. He was technically "free" but he wasn't able to leave the ship much and wasn't paid well, so when the ship docked in Mooringsland, he decided to quit working for the Elven Empire.

    Once in Mooringsland, he was able to share some valuable insight. The dark elves of Kahdisteria and the grey elves of the Elven Empire both have strong naval traditions, but these traditions evolved independent of each other.

    Sailors have a lot of unique jargon. Having served on the ships of both navies, if a dark elf sailor is pretending to be grey elf sailor, he can chat them up in the Elven tongue and start up an innocuous conversation "That's a fine vessel you sailed in on! Tell me about her." It is very hard for a dark elf pretending to be a grey elf to get the naval jargon right.

    The PCs in my RPG campaign are unlikely to ever visit East Colassia, but if they did, I would love to have them meet this half-elf. One of the PCs is a wood elf on Rumspringa.

    The half-elf would probably be confused because he wouldn't talk like a grey elf or a dark elf, but eventually he probably accept that he is a wood elf because the landlocked wood elves know nothing about sailing so his utter ignorance would probably prove his credentials as a wood elf. "Turns out the 'poop deck' is not where you are supposed to to take a dump."
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  7. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    A quick duck duck go search found me this list of 11 weird African folklore monsters with one very badass picture.


    1. Grootslang
    Grootslang is an Afrikaans word meaning "great snake." The monster of that name lives in a cave called the Wonder Hole in the Richtersveld area of South Africa. The story is that the original Grootslang was found to be too powerful, so the gods subdivided the animal into two species: the elephant and the snake. However, a Grootslang or two escaped this fate and reproduced. The monster can grow up to 60 feet long. Supposedly, its cave is full of diamonds, but no one knows for sure because the Grootslang guards it well. The Grootslang pictured was featured on the Cartoon Network series The Secret Saturdays.

    I don't think it would make very good heraldry but I definitely got to make the Grootslang a questing monster.
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  8. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    So I had a day off work, a cluttered apartment and a sink full of dishes. So obviously I spent my entire day pondering East Colassian monsters.

    Perhaps I am stupid to want my monsters to make sense.

    I am concerned if I create a bad ass monster that is powerful enough to prey on lions and elephants, I cannot make the monster so powerful that it's going to eat lions and elephants to extinction.

    This is an old school D&D Roc, they hunt elephants the way hawks hunt rabbits.


    I also need to make sure that the monster isn't so weak that human adventurers cannot drive the monster species into extinction.

    This is a tough balancing act. Here are the solutions I came up with.

    Conscientious Monsters

    Most dragons and beholders are forward thinking enough that they will A) not overtax their territory to the point where the damage the ecosystem forever and B) will try to avoid unnecessary conflict with humanoids if they do not think they can win.

    Not all of them. A lot of dragons and beholders a like don't survive their adolescence.

    Solo Monsters

    One factoid stuck in my head is the etymology of the word demonstration is by repeating something you de-monster it. Because monsters are unique. D&D has influenced fantasy enough that medusa is a type of a creature, manticore is a type of creature, hydra is a type of monster You can have multiple hydras, multiple medusas, multiple manticore.

    In Greek mythology there was just one monstrous person named Medusa. There wasn't a manticore, there was the manticore. Same with hydra. Even Frankenstien made one monster, singular.

    So if a monster is one of a kind. Even a really nasty monster is probably not going to destroy an area's hunting ground completely, and if it does, the solo monster can move.

    If the creature is a spirit, one of the Nine can eventually resurrect it again if someone kills their favorite pet monster.

    Korus releases the Terasconus whenever he gets really pissed and recalls it when he calms down.

    Maylar resurrects old monsters whenever he gets bored.

    Divine Intervention

    A little handwavy to say "a god fixed it" but I'll stop using that excuse when it stops working.

    The Nine can and will occasionally step in to prevent something or someone they like being exterminated, especially Korus.

    He can nudge things in the ecosytems to make sure a monstrous beast doesn't depopulate all the prey species irreparably and he can step in to make sure a monstrous beast is not exterminated outright.

    Sleepy Monsters

    My favorite solution kind of takes the middle ground approach between all of the above.

    A rare monster has long period of inactivity between rampages. When a monster takes a long nap (weeks, months, years, decades) this allows the land they ravaged to recover. It also throws hunters trying to kill them off their trail.

    So first off, Scarterran Grootslangs are going to be a sleepy monster. They go on periodic killing sprees then take a long nap only to wake up for a new killing spree later.

    So I'm revisiting the Grootslang and we'll cover sand worms. Sand worms are kind of more science fiction than fantasy, but I like the idea of burrowing monsters. Grootslangs are going to be supernaturally potent burrowers and they can travel really far, so when they take their monster naps, they are going to burrow hundreds of miles away from the site they inflicted their last attack on only to wake up hungry in the new area.

    Originally, the grootslangs were just snakes the size of elephants. The literal translation is
    "big snake."


    But I really like the myth that they were separated into snakes and elephants to dilute their power, and a lot of artists like the idea, so you get things like these:


    and I think I really like the aesthetics of elephant/snake hybrids, so I'm running with that.

    I'm not sure if I want them to have big elephant like legs, slender dragon-like legs, or no legs at all, but I really like the four fang/tusk combo in this picture even if I don't like the rest of the picture.


    I am thinking this translates into a devestating frontal assault, but that a boring fight in RPG terms. They are either going to miss their target completely as the target aborts all actions to dodge or the monster is going to be one-shot killing people left and right, but that kind of monster would work great in a movie.

    But a single mega attack like a four fanged bite is a little dull, so we need more. Maybe a breath weapon too but that infringes on dragon territory.

    I'm thinking of going more snake than elephant with most of the elephant traits being limited to the head. Perhaps a bunch of spiny ridges along the back giving it a secondary attack to swing it's tail and cut people or at least parry attacks.

    Trunks are cool, aesthetically speaking, so I want Scarterran grootslangs to have a trunk, even if you give the trunk teeth like in jungle picture, a trunk bite is far less dangerous than the other natural weapons of a grootslang.

    But what if hypothetically, the Grootslangs elephant trunk could be used to spray cobra style poison with uncanny accuracy. That's a good substitute for the aforementioned dragon's breath.

    With a terrifying bite, secondary tail swinging attack, and a poison spraying hose, they don't really need arms or legs.

    And of course, it can emerge from the ground unexpectedly showing up in the mountains, desert, savannah, swamps, or jungles of East Colassia.

    I've been pondering whether I want Scarterran grootslangs to be as smart as dull humans or very clever animals. I'm leaning towards very clever animals.

    Then there is the question of if they are maneaters by preference or opportunity. I'm leaning towards the latter. They will eat people if it's convenient, but they will normally go after the easiest source of meat they can find. One good way a Scarterran can live to tell about encountering a grootslang is to let your livestock loose one direction and run like mad in another direction.

    Earth grootslangs are a legend from South Africa and a lot of their legends say their lairs are full of diamonds.

    I don't plan to use this, but killing a big badass monster should be a means of acquiring treasure for an adventurer.

    So I'm thinking they choose places to take long naps that are saturated with ambient magic energy so their body parts (especially their fang/tusks) can be harvested for reagents. Maybe their lairs could also be natural sources of reagents if the lairs can be found.

    Poof one complete monster. Now I just need a picture that I have the artist's permission to use.
  9. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Hmmm... won't those tusks be enormously annoying for a snake? It's not like one could slither around easily with them.
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  10. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Realism must battle the Rule of Cool.

    I suppose they could have magically retractable tusks which I suppose could make them scarier when they emerge and then transform into something scarier.

    "Ahhh giant snake!"

    Tusks grow and it unfolds a trunk, brays like an elephant.

    "What the mahrlect is it doing!?!"
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  11. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Sounds good to me!
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  12. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    People seemed to like reading what the Colassian Confederacy members had to say about their allies, enemies, and neighbors, so I’m going to try it again with the dwarves, specifically the nations of Stahlheim and Meckelorn. I do not want the various dwarf factions to be at each other throats like a bunch of Byzantine vipers but I don’t want them to be perfectly happy and harmonious either,

    Here is the @pendrake approved versions of the factions I plan to include. I obviously need to flesh out the major clans and major guilds. I only have very vague ideas for them right now, so I open to suggestions from all y'all.

    Order of the Stone: Hallisan's version of the Vatican. A tiny independent theocracy charged with protecting the Great Stone and pilgrimages to and from the Great Stone.

    Priesthood of Mera: The priests and priestesses of Mera, very influential with the gnome and kalazotz minorities, at least in Meckelorn.

    Priesthood of Khemra: The priests and priestesses of Khemra. Very influential in the royal court of Stalheim.

    Priesthood of Phidas: The priests and priestesses of Phidas. Very influential with the various guilds.

    Clan A, Clan B, Clan C, etc: The three to six politically dominant clans that always have the ear of the king of Meckelorn. It is possible although unlikely that one of the influential clans may be a kalazotz clan and not a dwarf clan.

    Clan 1: Usually in Stahlheim, most clan leaders are mere figureheads. Maybe there is one clan that has some political pull, Possibly the royal family.

    Guild 1, Guild 2, Guild 3, etc: The three to six economically dominnant guilds that always have the ear of the king of Stahlheim.

    Guild A: Usually in Meckelorn, most guild leaders are mere figureheads. Maybe there is one guild that has some political pull, possibly the armorer/weapon crafting guild.

    Rangers: The dwarves that live above ground, manage the dwarves' livestock and serve as the first line of defense for both major dwarf nations.

    Maiden Guard: The female warriors who guard the home front and serve as the last line of defense for both major dwarf nations.

    The first dwarves didn’t appear until late in the Second Age, so they didn’t get much opportunity to expand. After the Second Unmaking, unless I decide to retcon this later and add a forgotten tribe of dwarves in the continents of Umera and/or Penarchia 100% of the surviving dwarves were in the mountains of Meckelorn. There were very few survivors but these survivors had fantastic fortifications, so they were able to rebuild their society in relative peace.

    The nation of Meckelorn is built around the Great Stone, supposedly the stone where Hallisan brought forth the first dwarf man and woman.

    During Scarterra’s Red Age, dwarves almost never left their mountain strongholds. They wanted to shore up their numbers and strength before risking a confrontation with the strange human and orc barbarians.

    After at 1000+ years of isolation, Meckelorn began trading with the nearby humans and sending out explorers to the rest of Scarterra. They set up a colonies in what are now Stahlheim and Mondert. They might have set up other colonies elsewhere, colonies that failed.

    Stahlheim began to grow bigger and richer but they were still politically and economically weaker than Meckelorn, but then Mordock the Destroyer conquered Meckelorn and sent the people into exile. As the Meckelorn refugees struggled in the wilderness, Stahlheim grew rich and strong bolstered by Meckelorn refugees who were not willing to wander the wilderness.

    Mordock died of old age, peacefully in his bed. His successors were not able to hold onto they empire very long, but they held on to Meckelorn for a very long time even through centuries brushfire guerilla war with the Meckelorn nation in exile.

    Eventually, Stahlheim raised an army and reinforced the Meckelorners and helped them retake the rest of the stolen lands including the Great Stone.

    The Meckelorners were bitter that Stahlheim sat out of 99% of the war and then rode in at the last minute claiming victory. The Stahlheimers are bitter that they saved the Meckleorners and instead of thanking them for their help, the Meckelorners insulted them. Both sides believed they had the right to possess the Great Stone.

    The two nations' soldiers were prepared to war over possession of the Great Stone, but the priesthood of Hallisan intervened. The Guardians of Hallisans said that it would be ultimate sacrilege for dwarves to spill dwarven blood in sight of the Great Stone.

    Because neither Meckelorn nor Stahlheim would yield the Great Stone to the other nation, the Order of the Stone now administers the Great Stone, the great temple, and the lands and fortifications immediately around it. It’s technically a separate dwarven nation but it is a very tiny separate nation run by clergy. The clergy will let any dwarf pilgrim visit be they Mecklorner, Stahlheimer, or even Mondarian, but the pilgrims have to be unarmed.

    Much like the Vatican influences Catholics all around real world Earth, The Order of the Stone wields ecclesiastical influence over most dwarves in Scarterra.

    The Order of the Stone is going to be one of the groups I profile. They have influence over the religious lives of almost every dwarf in the world. Because they guard the pilgrimage routes and the pilgrimage are also arteries of commerce, the Order of the Stone is fairly rich. They are also the go-to mediator when Stahlheim and Meckelorn have to hammer out a formal treaty of some sort. The Order of the Stone only has about 300 warriors and 700 support staff, and they normally stay silent on political issues, but when they do choose to speak, other dwarves heed their words very carefully.

    Both Stahlheim and Meckelorn have a king. I have not yet named them, and I have not yet figured out what their current kings are like. I assume their current kings are decent rulers who take their roles seriously and genuinely want to look after the welfare of their subjects, but they are not saints and a little bit of selfishness occasionally bleeds through.

    On paper, the kings have absolute power. They can do almost anything they want and it’s perfectly legal.

    In practice, there are many customs and norms which limit the king’s power. Most dwarves value hierarchies, but they do not suffer tyrants or fools. There is an understanding that a king isn’t a really a king if no one obeys his orders.

    There are about 40 dwarf clans that stretch across Stahlheim and Meckelorn and about 40 that are unique to Stahlheim and about 40 that are unique to Meckelorn. If most or all of the clan elders decide to ignore one of the king’s edicts, the king must rescind the edict, or else he will look like a fool.

    There are between 20 and 30 guilds, almost all of which stretch across both dwarf nations. If most or all of the guilds decide to ignore one of the king’s edicts, the king must rescind the edict or else he will look like a fool.

    In Meckelorn, the clan elders are very powerful, so they can usually bully the guilds into doing their bidding.

    In Stahlheim, the guilds are very powerful, so they can usually bully the clan elders into doing their bidding.

    Even if only a fraction of the guilds or clan elders opposes one of the king, they don’t have to disobey the king outright to give the king a headache. They can passive aggressively obey one of the king’s edicts in a half-assed or deliberately slow way and maintain an air of plausible deniability. “Oh, you wanted the missive sent out immediately, I thought you said next week along with our regular convoy. That's safer after all. We wouldn't want the message to be lost after all.”

    There are 3-6 dwarf families that are so influential that they each can each sway about 12-20 lesser families to follow their lead. In other words, these clan elders could theoretically influence the king of Meckelorn single-handedly

    I just need to figure out who these families are, what do they want, and how do they act and behave differently from other dwarf clans.

    In Stahlheim, there are no clans that are this strong. At least half the clans need to be united in order to sway the king, even a little.

    There are about 3-6 guilds that are so rich and powerful, they can each influence 5-10 lesser guilds to follow their lead, I just need to figure out which guilds they are. In other words, these guild leaders could theoretically influence the King of Stahlheim single-handedly.

    In Meckelorn the guilds are a lot weaker. At least half of the guilds need to be acting in unison to sway the king, even a little.

    The 3-6 leading families of Meckelorn are going to be groups I profile. I need to figure who they are, and what they want to do. The leading families probably became leading families because their ancestors were celebrated war heroes which meant they got to marry the female children of the royal family and pick up some wealth and status by doing this.

    I’m sure the best way to separate one family descended from war heroes from another. What do you guys think?

    The 3-6 leading guilds of Stahlheim are going to be groups I profile. The leading guilds are the richest guilds. They are influential because they rich, status and royal blood does not factor into it. Unless someone has a better idea, I think I’m going to go with the Alchemists Guild, the wizard’s guild, and the Armorers Guild. Maybe a few more. I’m not sure which guilds would likely become the richest. I’d like to avoid a single all powerful miner’s guild or smith’s guild because that might be a bit too clichéd. What do you guys think?

    The priesthood of Mera is a group that is very important in Meckelorn and is a only a bit player in Stahlheim. This is because the majority of the priests and priestesses of Mera in dwarf lands are actually kalazotz, not dwarves. In theory the priesthood of Mera speaks for the kalazotz collectively since Mera is the pre-eiminent deity of most kalazotz.. Stahlheim accepts kalazotz, but Meckelorn cherishes kalazotz. Ergo, the priesthood has more teeth in Meckelorn.

    Also, I guess the priesthood is influential with the gnome minority but the gnome minority is probably less important than the kalazotz one. Gnomes are bit more powerful in Stahlheim because a lot of guild leaders are gnomes (who hide behind dwarf figureheads). There might be a few formally recognized gnome clans, but gnomes are less likely to form clans than kalazotz.

    The kalazotz have clans and they have clan elders, but their clan elders do bother the king or his vassals. The kalazotz are usually content to be sidekicks to the dwarf. If they have concerns they will have their elders politely bring up their concerns to the clan elder of their closest allied dwarf clan to pass on to the king or the king’s vassal on their behalf.

    The priesthood of Khemra and the priesthood of Phidas are very important in Stahlheim and are bit players in Meckelorn. This is because they have substantial ties to the human and elven priesthoods of Khemra and Phidas. Stahlheim relies heavily on trade with humans and elves, Meckelorn does not. Ergo, the disproportionate influence in Meckelorn.

    Dwarfs have priesthood of Korus and Nami that are accepted as members of society but not very politically powerful. Most dwarves pay homage to Korus and Nami once or twice a year and ignore them the rest of the year.

    Dwarves who are affiliated with Greymoria’s or Maylar’s priesthoods are seen as little better than criminals in the eyes of most dwarves.

    Dwarf rangers are a distinctive social class that is kind of part of mainstream society and kind of separate from it. Technically there are Stahlheim rangers and there are Meckelorn ranger,s but most rangers feel more kinship with rangers from the other nation than they do with their own countrymen who are not rangers. The rangers have their own article linked above.

    Rangers are important enough that they get a spot as one of the dwarf factions.

    Dwarves are patriarchal. A dwarf woman is part of her father’s clan until she marries at which point she joins her husband’s clans. Because dwarves came close to extinction more than once, and dwarf children mature slowly, there is a lot of social pressure that dwarf women should stay at home and have a bunch of kids and dwarf men should take on all the dangerous risks and work to support his wife and children.

    If a dwarf wants to avoid being tied down with a family, they can become rangers (there is a stereotype that rangers, both male and female are a promiscuous lot and there is a stereotype that a lot of rangers are gay or lesbian).

    Most dwarf priests and priestesses take a vow of celibacy. This is a socially acceptable way to dodge to an unwanted arranged marriage.

    Dwarves of either sex that balk against marriage norms (or any and all dwarf societal norms) usually leave and become expatriates. Most human lands (and the Elven Empire) are thrilled to hire dwarves as mercenaries, mining foremen, or black smiths. A lot of dwarf adventurers are outcasts from their homelands.

    Not every dwarf that leaves home is a non-conformist or an outcast. Some of them (usually male) decide to spend 10-40 years working in foreign lands, accrue as much wealth as they can, and then return home to rejoin mainstream dwarven society as rich men. Dwarf society is very rigid and static. If a dwarf is born to a low status position, the only way to find social mobility. I probably need to come up with a cool nickname for these sorts of dwarves.

    Before Meckelorn split up, clans were even more rigid than it is now. Each clan had near exclusive dominion over one particular trade. And their surnames were all based on their profession Shoemaker, Axecrafter, etc but this practice fell away from both nations for different reasons. Meckelorn and Stahlheim tend to act inversely to each other in their cultural trends.

    When Meckelorn was strong and Stahlheim was weak, Meckelorn had an informal caste system and Stahlheim had an informal meritocracy. Meckelorner sons nearly always took on the trade that their father learned and most dwarves were specialized. Because Stahlheim was so small, most dwarves had two or three jobs by necessity so dwarves (at least male dwarves) had some choice on their vocation.

    As Stahlheim grew larger, most Stahlheimers settled into one career as opposed to juggling two or three. But most trades were spread between several clans and most clans had several professions among them. Most of the clans abandoned their original names.

    Sample Stahlheim Clan,
    Shoemakers Blue Peak Black Beard Clan

    When it turned out that the cobblers were no longer exclusive to The Shoemaker Clan, but actually spread across five clans, the original Shoemaker Clan (who now had many family members with many different professions) decided we are tire of our surname being “Shoemaker” and opted to take a more different name.

    Most of the Shoemakers were settled in or near the village of Blue Peak. A disproportionately high number of Shoemakers had black hair. They renamed their clan the Blue Peak Black Beards. Meanwhile, the Cobblers Guild arose to govern the rogue makers of shoes who were no longer united by family ties.

    They created a family sigil with a blue mountain with some black trim with rune for generic good things “prosperity” and “strength”. Just to keep to their roots, the mountain is vaguely shoe-shaped but this was gradually forgotten and now only the older banners look vaguely shoe-like and many young dwarves “Why do the old sigils kind of look like boots?”

    During Meckelorn’s exile, the small communities and families of dwarves had to quickly become self-sufficient often working several trades. Almost every man, woman, and child had to learn to handle weapons. Most clans original names and took on names based on the heroic battlefield deeds of their family.

    Sample Meckelorn Clan
    Shoemakers Red Shaft Clan

    During Meckelorn’s great exile, the Shoemaker Clan was usually too busy simply trying to survive to worry about making many shoes. At one point, the leader of the Shoemaker clan was locked in a deadly duel with an orc chieftain. This was a formal challenge, Warhammer style so a lot of dwarves and orcs were watching. The orc chieftain sundered his battle axe chopping the blade off the haft and the orcs cheered as their champion was about to win but then the dwarf took the broken shaft of his axe and stabbed it through the eye slit of the orc, demoralizing the other orcs and turning the tide of the battle.

    The Shoemaker Clan thought this was so badass that they renamed themselves Clan Red Shaft. Their champion was blond as were a fair number of Shoemakers at the time. They took the sigil of a broken red axe on a gold field.

    Eventually after Meckelorn stabilized, the unrelated cobblers formed a weak Cobbler’s Guild with some assistance from the already established Stahlheim cobbler’s guild.

    Do the Red Shaft Clan and Blue Peak Blackbeard Clan know that they are distant kin? Probably not. It doesn’t really matter. In the unlikely event that the two clans exchanged marriage partners, they are so many generations removed from each other that there would be no inbreeding issues.

    Anyway, because I like the backstory, the Red Shaft Clan will be one of the most politically connected clans in Meckelorn, I am not yet sure what the modern incarnation of the family evolved into.

    Sample Kalazotz clan

    Let’s say at some point the Abehreh clan of kalazotz was able to save the lives of many children of the Red Shaft Clan from goblins by hiding them in their nest. At some point, the leader of the Red Shafts decreed “From now until the ends of time, Clan Red Shaft and Clan Abehreh are allies! Let no outside enemy dare try to sunder our sacred bond!”

    Kalazotz are not as big on sigils like the dwarves are, but they have a few sigils they trot out on formal occasions. Clan Abehreh’s banner is a golden bat on a black field holding a small red axe with a crack in it, thus showing their alliance to the Red Shafts.

    The clan matriarch of the Abehreh probably never shows up to the royal court, but she probably speaks with the patriarch of Red Shaft on a regular basis and the Red Shaft elders will always keep the elders of Abehreh in the loop when making decisions.

    When the banners of Red Shaft go to war, their dwarf soldiers will almost assuredly march underneath the shadowy silhouettes of the wings of Abehreh. Kalazotz are very skilled weavers so the Red Shaft banners were probably stiched by Abehreh hands.

    It’s possible that a kalazotz clan could earn the formal friendship of multiple dwarf clans. In theory, a kalazotz clan with many allied dwarf clans could become a political power in its own right, but I’m not sure whether or not I want to have a clan like that.

    Both kalazotz and dwarf clans value have their elders calling the shots and both clans are likely to practice filial piety and ancestor worship. The main difference is that dwarf clans are patriarchal and kalazotz are matriarchal.

    Also, the kalazotz aren’t big on grandiose names. For most of their history, they had no family surnames at all. When a clan decides to adopt a clan name, they usually pick the name of their eldest living member and that name sticks though that name is then retired as a personal name within that clan. You might meet a lot of kalazotz with the personal name “Abehreh” but you will never meet someone named “Abehreh of Clan Abhreh” unless the clan is newly formed.

    As mentioned, very few kalazotz choose a clan name based on a heroic deed or specific family trait, but a hypothetical kalazotz clan that has the formal friendship of three or more dwarf clans could be given a deed name and this name might stick as the regular name eventually.

    Finally there is one more group to consider. The Maiden Guard. Dwarf men generally do not want their wives and daughters to go into the battlefield, but they don’t want their women to be helpless damsels. Most dwarf women have some rudimentary combat training. That way if an enemy attacks the home front while the dwarf men are away, the dwarf women will be able to defend themselves.

    All dwarf girls are expected to have basic aptitude with one or two weapons by the time they become adults. Any dwarf girl that shows exceptional aptitude during weapons training may be invited to join the Maiden Guard as an officer. Officers of the Maiden Guard may choose to remain unmarried and not social stigma for doing this, but officers of the Maiden Guard are allow to marry and have children if they so choose. Those that do choose to marry often marry great generals and war heroes. The children of such of unions will be watched carefully as everyone assumes that the child of two strong warriors will be especially blessed with strength and courage. Sometimes they meet the tough expectations placed on their shoulders, sometimes they end up snapping under the pressure.

    The Maiden Guard is an organization that oversees the weapons training of all dwarf girls. They have the authority to raise an alarm and call up the women of a community to take up arms. They are also extremely well-informed about the ins and outs of dwarf society.

    A matriarch of the Maiden Guard sits on every war council as an advisor and an observer. Both dwarf kings have a matriarch of the Maiden Guard on the and most of the kings’ vassals have a matriarch of the Maiden Guard on their counsels although unlike the king, they are not required to do this. It is not forbidden for an officer of the Maiden Guard to also serve as a temple priestess. The Maiden Guard officers work with the common women of every dwarf communities. That means they know of the activities of kings and nobles, priests and priestesses, and they get the local scuttlebutt from gossiping grandmas.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  13. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Here's how I am ranking the guilds amongst dwarf society. Let me know if I overlooked any obvious profession.

    Note the rangers deliberately refuse to form a guild though they will jokingly say they are part of the "Open Sky Guild."

    If you can practice a trade without any formal training (or if it takes less than a year to learn, it cannot really be the basis of a guild. If the trade is illegal, it cannot exist as a guild either, at least not a registered one.

    In Stahlheim, buying something that isn't guild approve is illegal (though the penalty is a relatively small fine). In Meckelorn, buying non-guild approved items is not illegal but typically comes with a 10-20% discount. Of course there is a black market trade for counterfeit guild certifications. Even petty guilds wield some power because of this.

    Powerful Guilds: Alchemists, Armorers, Brewers, Engineers

    Intermediate Guilds: Academics, Black Smiths**, Carpenters, Cartographers, Healers, horse/donkey breeders, kennel masters, Miners**, Plasterers, Salt Masters, Sculptors, Silversmiths, Shipwrights** (Stahlheim only), Tanners, Wizards**,

    Petty Guilds: Bakers, Barbers, Bards, Bleachers, Book Binders, Butchers, Cobblers, Coppersmiths Furriers, Goldsmiths, Painters, Potters, Jewelers, Rope Makers*, Tinkers (tin smiths who apparently cuss a lot), Weavers/Tailors*

    Not too surprisingly the Academics Guild has the Book Binders under their thumb while the Tanners Guild has influence over the Furriers and Cobblers.

    *These industries are dominated by kalazotz and the kalazotz do not take guild politics very seriously, viewing their guilds as a social club diluting their power.

    ** Among dwarves, one would think the miner’s guild should be dominating guild politics but mining rights go to the hereditary nobles who are more likely to bid wages against each other than to go through a guild mediator.

    Among dwarves, one would think the mason’s guild should be dominating guild politics but a lot of the best stone masons leave dwarven lands to supervise the construction of human castles because it pays better. It’s hard for the guild to influence dwarf politics when they suffer a steady brain drain like this.

    Among dwarves, one would think the blacksmiths should be dominating guild politics but a lot of the most talented blacksmiths poached by the other guilds because the guilds want to have their own private tool makers.

    Among anyone, one would think the wizards guild should be a force to be reckoned with but they rely on the Alchemists Guild to supply them reagents and there is still enough open distrust of arcane magic among dwarves that it’s better not to become a political figurehead in dwarf society.

    The Shipwrights Guild is very ambitious their leaders are ruthless politicians. Not that long ago, they were classified as a petty guild and they have their sights on being the preeminent guild in Stahlheim. They have targeted the Engineer’s guild to be their fall guys.

    ***Salt Master is a profession I made up for Scarterra that is especially important among Dwarves. Salt Masters are charged with preserving food for long term storage, by any means possible. More often than not, this involves salt, but they can use magic, alchemic, smoking, ice, and drying among other things.

    Politically, the Salt Masters Guild are puppets of the Brewmasters Guild.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
  14. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I got some help from a D&D forum where a guy provided me an excellent system of charts for putting together a random dwarf clan. Then I modified it to meet my setting and my love of d10s

    Meckelorn clan is especially proud of their….
    1 - adhesion to traditions
    2 - former victories
    3 - riches
    4 - famous ancestors
    5 - great dwellings and/or artifacts
    6 - artifacts
    7 – craftsmen
    8-adhension to traditions
    9-former victories
    10- pick one, roll for another

    Stahlheim clan is especially proud of their…
    1 - adhesion to traditions
    2 - former victories
    3 - riches
    4 - famous ancestors
    5 - great dwellings and/or artifacts
    6 - artifacts
    7 - craftsmen
    8 - riches
    9 – Great dwellings and/or artifacts
    10- pick one, roll for another

    Meckelorn clan is least proud of…
    (use bracketed option if the same number is rolled as above or if it fits better):

    1 - weak adhesion to traditions (breach of tradition)
    2 - former victories for the wrong reasons (current losses)
    3 - lack of wealth (lost wealth)
    4 - lack of famous ancestors (bad generation)
    5 - poor dwellings (dwellings ruined by time or war)
    6 - lack of artifacts (stolen artifacts)
    7 - lack of craftsmen (craftsmen leaving for other clans)
    8 - lack of wealth
    9 - former victories for the wrong reasons (current losses)
    10- pick one, roll for another

    Stahlheim clan is least proud of…
    (use bracketed option if the same number is rolled as above or if it fits better):
    1 - weak adhesion to traditions (breach of tradition)
    2 - former victories for the wrong reasons (current losses)
    3 - lack of wealth (lost wealth)
    4 - lack of famous ancestors (bad generation)
    5 - poor dwellings (dwellings ruined by time or war)
    6 - lack of artifacts (stolen artifacts)
    7 - lack of craftsmen (craftsmen leaving for other clans)
    8 - lack of famous ancestors (bad generation)
    9 - weak adhesion to traditions (breach of tradition
    10- pick one, roll for another

    Ancestor Worship is viewed as something that is…
    1 Frivolous
    2 Unnecessary
    3 Unnecessary
    4 Kept up for appearances sake
    5 Mostly for holidays and funerals
    6 Mostly for holidays and funerals
    7 Routine
    8 Routine
    9 Important
    10 Vital

    Clans Official Religious Practices
    1 Typical for dwarves
    2 Typical for dwarves
    3 Typical for dwarves
    4 Typical for dwarves
    5 Slightly unorthodox for dwarves
    6 Slightly unorthodox for dwarves
    7 Slightly unorthodox for dwarves
    8 Atypical for dwarves
    9 Atypical for dwarves
    10 Highly unusual for dwarves

    Kalazotz are… (Meckelorn adds +2 the d10 roll)

    1 Biding their time to betray us
    2 leeching off of dwarf society
    3 annoying to have around but we owe them our hospitality for what their ancestors
    4 Mostly harmless
    5 Useful servants
    6 Useful servants
    7 Allies of convenience
    8 Valued allies
    9 Valued allies
    10 Practically family
    11 Practically family
    12 Practically family

    The Clan Elder

    The eldest male is always officially in charge in ceremonies, but the clan elder might or might actually be the true leader

    1-3 The clan elder is the undisputed leader in word and deed

    4-5 The clan elder shares his power with a trusted right hand

    6-8 The clan elder shares power with a right hand who often disagrees with him

    9-10 The clan elder is basically a figurehead

    The leader is: (1-6 Roll Once, 7-9 Roll Twice, 10 roll thrice)
    1 - unscrupulous
    2 - warmongering
    3 - paranoid
    4 - greedy
    5 - lustful
    6 - a terrifying presence
    7 - an extraordinary thinker
    8 - a well-known artisan
    9 - well-liked among his clan
    10 - secret coward

    (if there are two leaders, roll separately for both)

    The clan’s unofficial leader was chosen because he or she:

    1 - charismatic
    2 - great warrior
    3 - great speaker
    4 - strong of faith
    5 - rich
    6 - weak and easy to manipulate
    7 - easily angered
    8 - old and experienced
    9 - skilled negotiator
    10 - tough and resilient

    Their clan inside is (roll 2d10, interpret)
    1 - insidious
    2 - mercenary
    3 - loyal
    4 - friendly
    5 - formal
    6 - hierarchical
    7 - traditional
    8 - hedonistic
    9 - ambitious
    10 – insular

    You roll twice and figure out how they combine. For instance if they are insidious and loyal, that could mean they quarrel and scheme amongst each other but always provide a unified front to outsiders

    If a clan rolls the same number twice they are famous for that having trait to an almost ludicrous degree.

    Scarterra has about 100 dwarf clans. It would be silly to profile all of them, so I'm going to work on profiling the politically most important clans

    Hypothetically if the story demands I insert a dwarf character "from one of the less important clans", and I need to give some background on his/her clan I can cook one up in a couple minutes.
  15. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I used the chart for the five leading families of the dwarves treating all rolls on the first chart as 10. Even though there was a 40% chance of any one clan having "Adherence to Tradition" as their claim to fame, 80% of my ruling five clans rolled that trait. That fits because Meckelorn is the traditionalist realm.

    When rolling the personal traits of the clan elder, "greedy" came up a lot. I'm going to do my usual short @pendrake approved summaries followed by a lengthy blurb.

    Greystone Clan
    The royal family, strong adherents to proper dwarven tradition but trying to disguise their empty purses.

    Main Goal: Get rich again

    Known for adhesion to traditions and former victories, proud their artifacts, struggling with a lack of wealth. Ancestor worship is for holidays, religion is slightly unorthodox, kalazotz are practically family.

    The clan elder rules with a trusted right hand who was picked for being easy to manipulate. The clan leader is greedy. The clan leader’s right hand is charismatic.

    The Greystone Clan is the royal family. The king is supposed to look out for the good of the realm and not favor his family. Usually the king tries to avoid nepotism or at least the appearance of nepotism. There are a lot of Greystones running around today, many of them have only very weak blood ties to the king, but the fact that they share a surname with the king gives them power and status regardless.

    Being of royal blood, they take pride in being the epitome of everything a dwarf should be, so they are very hidebound traditionalists and have a marital focus. While the Greystones are proud of the mighty deeds of their ancestors, they don’t want to lose sight of the here and now. They venerate their ancestors on holidays and funerals but they say the best way to honor their ancestors is to do honorable and valorous deeds today.

    The clan as a whole, is broke. The clan has many pieces of priceless jewelry and legendary magical weapons, but they would not dare dishonor their clan by selling them. Most Greystones struggle just to pay their staff on time and maintain their holdfasts. They rarely can afford to sponsor festivals, make large religious donations, or finance new constructions.

    For most of their history, the Greystones viewed Hallisan as their family patron and the other deities got token worship, but recently the clan elder has named one of the Masks of Phidas as his personal advisor and is pushing greater Phidas worship on the whole family. Presumably because he wants the god of commerce to bring additional wealth into the family.

    The clan is formally allied with a clan of kalazotz and the clan is pretty pro-bat on the whole though the clan elder is a little bit less bat-friendly than the bulk of his clan. The kalazotz clan matriarch does not approve of the new pro-Phidas direction though some of the younger bats are on board, opting to focus on making weavings and crafts that are likely to sell at a high price on the open market rather than creating utilitarian crafts.

    Red Shaft Clan
    Jolly clan of brave warriors reeling from recent heavy losses hurting their pride and image.

    Main Goal: Get revenge for recent losses

    The clan as a whole is friendly and loyal, proud of their traditions and ancient victories, suffering from a recent defeats and a loss of artifacts, very closely tied to the kalazotz, moderately pious towards their ancestors, and with very mainstream religious views.

    The current clan elder is a skilled craftsmen but also lustful. The true leader is paranoid and a terrifying presence who is easily angered.

    Descended from a family of cobblers, the Red Shaft Clan became a famous clan of warriors during the Great Meckelorn War gaining their name sake when one of their leaders was seemingly disarmed by an orc chieftain only to stab the orc in the eye with the broken shaft of his axe.

    They are a prestigious clan with royal blood in their veins and centuries of honor and respect, but they are reeling from recent dishonor.

    Recently their clan was humiliated, when the elder’s traveling party was ambushed by orcs slaying a great many of their warriors and courtiers while also making off with some of the Bloody Shaft Clan’s greatest heirlooms.

    Religiously, The Red Shaft Clan follows a biased nonagon giving Hallisan lots of worship and praise and the other eight deities roughly equally rote worship. Hallisan is viewed as the guardian of their ancestors souls and their filial piety is mostly folded into their Hallisan worship.

    The Red Shaft clan members are staunch traditionalists, even by dwarf standards. They take their oaths ancient and modern very seriously. They are formally allied to Abehreh Clan of kalazotz and are very supportive of the bats in general viewing this as not only honorable, but practical as well. The one place they bend on traditions is making allowances for the Abehreh less formal ways. In fact, when a member of the Red Shaft acts informally, they don’t say “Letting one’s hair down” they say “Going bats.”

    The new clan elder is a skilled craftsman and is generally well-liked, but he would usually much rather be in his workshop or getting drunk in a taern than presiding over clan meetings. The true power of the clan is the clan’s general who is aggressive and paranoid. He has implemented harsh security measures on all clan holdings and is sending out war parties to punish the orcs and reclaim their clan treasures.

    He is way different from the mainstream clan’s typical laid back friendly attitude. Some of the clan members resent their general but most are so angered by the recent losses, they are willing to tolerate his excesses as long as he gets results.

    Red Scales Clan
    Spiritually focused insular traditionalists that influence and are influenced by the kalazotz more than any other clan.

    Main Goal: As long as we survive

    Adhesion to traditions and famous ancestors. Victories for the wrong reasons, ancestor worship is important, slightly unorthodox religious views, kalazotz are practically family. Clan is loyal and insular.

    Clan elder has a right hand. Clan elder is greedy and chose his right hand because he is rich.

    The Red Scales Clan is said to be descended from a half-dragon, a spirit legacy or possibly both. This is unclear, but there have been a disproportionally high number of favored souls and spirit loas born among them throughout the years. This has given them more pride in their ancestors than most dwarves and it’s rare to see a member of the clan not at least make weekly visits to the family shrine.

    They were among one of the first clans to solidify ties with kalazotz and they have assimilated with the bats more than any other clan. Rather than put Hallisan on top of the spiritual heap, they put Hallisan with equal footing to Mera, largely due to the influence of the kalazotz. The Red Scales Clan was the spiritual heart of the Meckelorn during the Great War, possessing a lot of mundane magical healers, again with a lot of influence from the kalazotz. The Red Scales Clan is largely responsible for the fact that more and more kalazotz are developing their own version of ancestor worship. The Red Scales Clan is more knowledgeable about herbalism than most dwarves, again due to kalazotz influence.

    The Red Scales Clan greatest source of dishonor is that during the Great War is that they won battles in cowardly dishonorable ways using poison or murdering enemies in their sleep. At the time, this was viewed as perfectly justified, but through the lens of history, not so much. Cowardly sneaks skulking in the dark, like little bats…

    The clan elder married a dwarf maid from a noveau rich clan and he gives his father-in-law a lot of influence in clan affairs out of naked avarice but they have a good partnership with the elder being the brains and the father-in-law being his charismatic mouthpiece.

    Family comes first, the notion of “family” can be extended to non-blood relatives, but anyone outside of the family can fend for themselves.

    Dragon Bane Clan
    A clan of nobodies steals a dragon hoard and now they are noveau rich.

    Main goal: Prove to the old school families that we are respectable too.

    Adhesion to standards and former victories, lack of famous ancestors, routine ancestor worship, typical religious practices, dislike kalazotz

    Greedy Clan elder has hand picked right hand who is easily angered and a skilled negotiator.

    The Dragon’s Bane clan is the youngest clan to be a major shaker in Meckelorn. An adventuring party they sponsored slew a dragon and took its hoard. The family invested the treasure wisely and are among the wealthiest Meckelorn clan, despite having a lackluster list of historical accomplishments during the Great War.

    Their ancestors were essentially a bunch of peasant tanners before their clan got dragon’s gold. They venerate their ancestors recently and publicly more to show defiance to their naysayers than out of genuine filial piety. Their ancestors had bad experiences where the kalazotz failed to help them making them among the least bat-friendly of any Meckelorners. Among other incidents, a kalazotz ratted out the criminal dealings of a previous clan leader.

    Officially they are primary Hallisan worshipers but this is mostly for show.

    The Clan elder has a handpicked right hand who is a ruthless Machiavellian schemer rumored to have ties to many criminals. They both want to acquire wealth and use this wealth to leverage the other clans, ideally using arranged marriages to build up some respectability.

    Heart's Fire Clan
    The one Meckelorn that succeeds being non-traditionalist reinventing themselves every two or three generations. Right now they are beer barons.

    Main Goal: Ride the gravy train as long as possible, then do something else.

    Riches and famous ancestor, weak adhesion to traditions, ancestor worship is important, kalazotz are useful servants. The clan is hedonistic and insidious, religious practices are slightly unorthodox.

    Greedy clan leader rules alone.

    The Heart’s Fire Clan has their name sake from a famous artificer who forged magic weapons in a volcano in ancient times though at this point the story cannot be verified. During the Great War they produced a great many war heroes. Filial piety is important to them and most visit their family shrines at least once a week.

    Since the war was over, they mostly hung up their battle axes and turned to commerce and politics, something common to Stahlheim but rare in Meckelorn. They export a lot of metalwork to Fumaya and Kantoc and they import a lot of wine and ale. Their clans power comes from their wealth and their wealth comes from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Their religious practices are also similar to Stahlheim with them viewing Hallisan, Khemra, and Phidas as being a triumvirate.

    In Meckelorn, no group employs more outsiders than the Heart’s Fire Clan with humans and tengku employees and more than twice as many gnome retainers as most other dwarves. Detractors say this has eroded their essential dwarf values.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  16. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I started a stereotypes blurb for the groups in Meckelorn. I am concerned that these quotes do not sound "dwarfy" enough. I need to figure out what Scarterran dwarves sound like when they talk. I am reluctant to fall back on the lazy fantasy writers' stand by of giving them over the top Scottish accents.

    But then again, maybe it's not unreasonable. Meckelorners live in the highlands, value machismo, and place great pride in their clans.

    I was thinking of putting delvers on the list of stereotypes but almost every Meckelorner has the same opinion. They are helpful but expensive.

    Greystone Clan on the Others

    Red Shaft Clan: Strong warriors of great honor, and best of all they take direction well.

    Red Scales Clan: They are mildly useful in helping elevate the kalazotz, but they spend too much time in their shrines to get anything useful done.

    Dragon Bane Clan: A bunch of puffed up rangers get lucky and kill a dragon, and they think this act can disguise their peasant blood.

    Heart’s Fire Clan: They are pleasant and helpful now, but their fiery hearts will change course like the wind.

    Order of the Stone: Their motives are pure, but their cause is obsolete. There is no danger of Stahlheim and Meckelorn going to war right now. It makes more sense for the Guardians to return administration of the Great Stone to those born to it.

    Priesthood of Mera: Pleasant enough and they keep the peace at home, but they aren’t worth much consideration.

    Priesthood of Khemra: Khemra has her place, but we dwarves are so naturally disciplined that their priests are redundant for us. The human noble families might need Keepers to remind them of their duty, but we do not.

    Priesthood of Phidas: They are our allies for now, but we are watching them closely.

    Rangers: It’s good that all the clans great and small, have a place to put their least social members where they can still serve the nation.

    Maiden Guard: We haven’t had a major attack on the home front requiring them to take to arms in a major way in almost century, but I do not think it is wise to let our guard down at this time. As much as I do not like the cost of maintaining a second army, it is a cost we must endure.

    Armorers Guild: It is the duty of all smiths to provide high quality arms to the clans to defend us all. It is galling that they set terms to us. Worse, this is emboldening the other guilds to defy us and if they all follow suit, we will be dancing on the puppet strings of the tengku just like the Stahlheimers.

    Kalazotz: The bat folk ask for little and provide us much thus I am happy to pretend I’m not grossed out watching them eat.

    Stahlheim: It is good to play at commerce, but it is bad to let one’s blade grow dull. Will coins protect them should the Elven Empire, Swynfaredians, or Uskalans come for them?

    Mondert: It’s a pleasant diversion to speak to a pilgrim when they show up, but I don’t otherwise see why we need to worry about our backwards human-loving cousins.

    Kantoca: These humans have great honor and great courage…unless that courage requires them to take their precious steeds over rough terrain. They are even slower to come to our aid than the Stahlheimers.

    The Borderlanders: We have an alliance of pragmatism with the Freistadters and we are taking a gamble supporting the Barony of Bats. That’s probably enough. We want to have eyes on the Borderlands, but we don’t want to get too deeply involved.

    Fumayans: I hope the Great Boot can endure, but we cannot afford to send them aid when we have our own issues to deal with.

    Swynfaredians: The dragon is poised to either eat its own tail or else they will eat up half the continent.

    Codenya: They are neither our enemies nor our allies. This is satisfactory.

    Uskalans: Since King Drosst has halted his expansion over a century ago, it has become easy to ignore these humans far away from us. Perhaps too easy.

    Orcs: Our great grandfathers expelled the orcs from our lands. Our grandfathers and fathers rebuilt our fortifications. Once we have rebuilt our war chest, it will fall on us and our sons to make sure the orcs never rise to threaten us again.

    Goblins: Vermin, but the Dagger Sheaths are useful to use as training for our youngest warriors to cut their teeth on them.

    Kobolds: Some are hostile, some are friendly, but they all claim to be friendly when cornered. I have better things to do than sort out the good kobolds from the bad ones. If the “friendly” kobolds are wise, they should keep their distance from us.

    Red Shaft on the Others

    Greystone Clan: I proudly follow the orders of our good king without question, but if the king’s relatives want me to do something, I will ask a few questions.

    Red Scales Clan: Their warriors are mediocre at best, but they understand piety, community and the value of hard work. Fine allies in peace time, but are we ever truly at peace?

    Dragon Bane Clan: I am proud of my noble ancestors, but great deeds now are more important than having great deeds in the past. The Dragon Bane Clan are doing things in the here and now, which I respect. Would that more lesser clans follow their example, the whole nation would be better off and perhaps a great many more orcs would be dead.

    Heart’s Fire Clan: They are fun at parties, but their tendency to emulate the Stahlheimers mercantile ways might cause them problems or cause us problems.

    Order of the Stone: I rest easier knowing that the noble Guardians protect the Great Stone and our pilgrimage routes. Never speak ill of them in front of me.

    Priesthood of Mera: The kalazotz respect Mera and this is good enough of an endorsement to me.

    Priesthood of Khemra: We spend most of our time underground and sup with bats, so the Lady of Light matters little to us.

    Priesthood of Phidas: Commerce has its place, but you would be wise to keep the Masks at arm’s length.

    Rangers: They talk about being our first line of defense but they are sorely lacking at spotting our enemies until they are already attacking. Perhaps the kalazotz should be our watchers on the surface instead?

    Maiden Guard: I will always support the Maiden Guard fully. Our men are strong because our mothers are strong. Many Red Shaft men marry officers of the Maiden Guard including my grandmother. Many of our daughters become officers there too, including my niece.

    Armorers Guild: Fair wages for fair work. As long as the Armorers continues to provide the best arms in Scarterra I will meet their prices.

    Kalazotz: They are strange folk but they hard working and loyal. Allying with the bat folk is the smartest thing Meckelorn has ever done. I doubt we would have survived this long without them.

    Stahlheim: Ones true wealth is one’s family and true friends. I am not opposed to possessing other kinds of wealth, but Stahlheim has traded in all their true friends for “mutual business interests” and this will serve them badly in the long run.

    Mondert: Their customs are strange, but they demonstrate honor and strength, so they have my respect.

    Kantoca: The horsemen hold mighty Halllisan in high regard. This is enough to make us friends.

    The Borderlanders: They lack discipline, but I admire their spirit.

    Fumayans: These Booters also suffer the depredations of orcs. Perhaps we can ally against our common foe.

    Swynfaredians: They set up puppet regimes in the Borderlands and routinely violate the sovereignty of Fumaya. We must dissuade them if we can.

    Codenya: We have had little to do with these elves, but they seem to hate orcs, so perhaps we should reach out to them.

    Uskalans: They have allied with the camazotz, sworn enemies or of our sworn friends. Eventually this will force us into conflict with them.

    Orcs: It is long overdue we take the fight to them, before a successor to Mordock arises.

    Goblins: They are our enemies, the least important of our enemies, but our enemies none the less.

    Kobolds: I do not know what these dragon gnomes actually want, nor do I care. We have more than enough enemies to deal with right now so I would just as soon avoid the kobolds.

    Red Scales on the Others

    Greystone Clan: One’s king is one’s king and the king’s family usually take the burden of their bloodline seriously…usually.

    Red Shaft Clan: Loyal and brave and they understand how important it is to keep the bat folk close.

    Dragon Bane Clan: They are only out for themselves, they do not even honor their ancestors and allies. Once they run out of pilfered gold, the tanners will drift back into obscurity where they belong.

    Heart’s Fire Clan: Despite their clan name, this clan is made up of pragmatists with cold stony hearts. They treat their allies like employees rather than brothers.

    Order of the Stone: It is both just and practical that the Guardians hold vigil over the sacred place of our birth. The Guardians have our full support in this and all other things, they are our sword and shield

    Priesthood of Mera: Without a hearth to protect, our warriors would have no reason to fight. The Tenders are our heart and hearth and thus are worth protecting fiercely.

    Priesthood of Khemra: Khemra’s Zenith celebration is four months away, why worry about it now?

    Priesthood of Phidas: Did I miss Phidas’ Apex celebration this year? Perhaps I’ll throw the Masks a few extra coppers to make up for it. Perhaps not.

    Rangers: They choose to roam without the comforts of family and hearth. I am unsure whether this is a noble sacrifice or a fool’s choice. Perhaps both.

    Maiden Guard: They perform an honorable and necessary role for society but it might be better if we armed the Tenders or kalazotz instead of or in addition to arming our wives and daughters.

    Armorers Guild: Superior warriors with adequate weapons will always defeat adequate warriors with superior weapons. We choose to make our onw weapons rather than accepting their terms.

    Kalazotz: Our peoples complement each other well and both grow stronger from it.

    Stahlheim: Oh right, I think they showed up at the end of our last war just in time to claim a seat at the victory banquet.

    Kantoca: They are honorable enough but they avoid mountains like the plague, so their actions really don’t concern us.

    The Borderlanders: I’m hopeful that our efforts to influence the Borderlands will bear fruit, but I am not optimistic.

    Fumayans: I bear no ill will towards the Booters, but we have nothing to gain by trying to aid them. The people of the land will still trade with us even if a different lord’s banner flies above their castles.

    Swynfaredians: They like us have the blood of dragons among them, but they do not see us as kin, nor we them. They disparage us not being sorcerers and we disparage them not being trustworthy.

    Codenya: They have allied with many mortal races yet retain their elven character. They even allied with a tribe of kalazotz even. This speak well of them.

    Uskalans: The vampire king is far away, but we have not forgotten the massacre of the Grey Forest kalazotz and we will make him pay, no matter how long we have to wait for our chance.

    Orcs: They are still our enemies, but I’ve noticed they seem to be attacking humans more and attacking dwarves less. I prefer not to interrupt them from their new strategy.

    Goblins: I do not know which of the Nine created goblins. I do not know if they were created to be evil warriors or if they were originally created for some more benign purpose. I do know which ever god or goddess created the goblins must be ashamed of this great failure.

    Kobolds: We should try to reach out to them. They cannot like goblins or orcs any more than we do.

    Dragon’s Bane on the Others

    Greystone Clan: They look down on us and our common blood, but what have these royals done in the last generation other than preen their beards and posture?

    Red Shaft Clan: Of the leading old families, these are the only ones who do not scorn us, at least not openly. This is because they understand that nobility is in actions and not blood. They do not rest on laurels, even now they are seeking to avenge a great wrong. I pity their enemies.

    Red Scales Clan: A useless waste of dwarf blood. They waste their time breathing in dust from their family tombs and hide behind the bats who do all their heavy lifting.

    Heart’s Fire Clan: They understand at least when to hold to tradition and when to adapt to changing circumstances though a bit too fickle to be true allies.

    Order of the Stone: They cloak themselves in holiness but they are a money grubbing group of schemers like everyone else.

    Priesthood of Mera: The Hearth Day feast you served was nice, thank you. Now go away.

    Priesthood of Khemra: Oh right, I hear there are dwarf Keepers and not just human Keepers…

    Priesthood of Phidas: “We are Masks and we are here to help” is what you hear before your wealth is stolen.

    Rangers: A lot of our ancestors were rangers and that is why we are strong today.

    Maiden Guard: It is good that our women know how to fight. I’m not sure it’s necessary to make a whole organization around it. Mothers and fathers can teach their daughters what they need just fine.

    Armorers Guild: Give us some weapons and we’ll show you how to use them!

    Kalazotz: Some of their ancestors saved the lives of some of our ancestors. How long do we have to keep these winged goblins around our holds to repay the debt? Forever? Really?

    Stahlheim: If the Meckelorner clans refuse to treat us with respect, perhaps Stahlheim will give us a warmer reception.

    Mondert: The older clan call us an upstart peasant house, but when one of these backwards islanders shows up to visit, they roll out the red carpet. Hypocrites.

    Kantoca: We may share a border with the horse lords, but we do not have any interests in common.

    The Borderlanders: This chaotic mess occasionally spawns great human heroes. We should try to improve relations with the more reasonable Border Barons.

    Fumayans: Their humans are wise. Their lords are all too eager to hire dwarf mercenaries and craftsmen. The older clans may view working for humans as beneath them, but that’s why they are all struggling to pay their expenses.

    Swynfaredians: For some reason the dragon worshipping humans don’t like us making a name for ourselves with a dead dragon. Not a big loss. The Swineherdians have always treated Meckelorners with contempt. We are just the first clan to give them a reason.

    Codenya: They defend their borders fiercely and leave their neighbors in peace. A wise policy.

    Uskalans: The vampire feed sacks are evil bastards but they cannot attack us without fighting through the wood elves and Swineherdians first, so I don’t see why the other clans are so afraid of them.

    Orcs: Their power is broken. If they are wise they will stay away from us lest we finish what our ancestors started.

    Goblins: Filthier than rats and only slightly deadlier.

    Kobolds: I don’t trust them and even if they we could trust them, what can they provide to us that dwarves cannot do better. If I see them near our lands, I will destroy them.

    Heart’s Fire on the Others

    Greystone Clan: A grumpy bunch, but they are easy enough to soften up with a few barrels of ale.

    Red Shaft Clan: I wish them well on their campaign of retribution. They throw the best victory parties.

    Red Scales Clan: A little too cozy with the bats for my taste, but they are decent people.

    Dragon Bane Clan: The torch that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

    Order of the Stone: The Guardians sometimes overreach, but they take on weighty responsibilities, so I will not speak ill of them.

    Priesthood of Mera: Well meaning, but inconsequential.

    Priesthood of Khemra: They have more to offer dwarf-kind than the others give them credit for. They have much wisdom and keep us in check from our worst impulses.

    Priesthood of Phidas: They are useful in small doses.

    Rangers: I certainly don’t want their job, so I’m not going to bother them.

    Maiden Guard: They were vital in our past, but their usefulness is over. We should take their best warriors and fold them into the regular army, then disband the rest. A separate men’s and women’s army is wasteful.

    Armorers Guild: Everyone deserves to get paid for their hard work. I’m not going to begrudge them for aggressively negotiating their payment.

    Kalazotz: Useful allies, but I’m not inviting them to my next feast unless they are willing to serve me drinks.

    Stahlheim: They might lack courage on the battlefield, but their decision to expand trade relations with non-dwarven people was a wise one. It’s about time Meckelorn accepts this and follows suit.

    Mondert: They have adapted to an unusual environment showing how we dwarves can thrive anywhere and anything if they are willing to adapt.

    Kantoca: We think Meckelorn should trade with Kantoc more, but most of our lands and holdings are to the east, not the west so all we can do is give the western clans unsolicited advice which they will certainly ignore.

    The Borderlanders: Every young dwarf should visit the length and breadth of the Borderlands at least once for his education. It’s like all of Scarterra is condensed into one small stretch of land.

    Fumayans: The Booters are hard workers and know how to enjoy the simple things. We must make sure they remain strong and do not fall.

    Swynfaredians: If we don’t curtail their expansion now, our children and grandchildren will end up fighting the dragon bloods on Meckelorn soil.

    Codenya: We actually engage in some limited trade with the wood elves. They do not allow us to see much, but what we have seen has been impressive. We should strengthen our ties with them if possible.

    Uskalans: Whatever King Drosst is planning right now, we probably won’t like it.

    Orcs: Each generation has its own struggles and difficulties. The orcs were our grandparents’ enemy. We must focus on our current problems.

    Goblins: I pity these wretches but I will not allow murder and theft to go unpunished.

    Kobolds: Dwarves and kobolds are a lot alike. We are scrappy individualists who value strong family ties and like to live in the mountains. Because of our similarities we will never be able to forge a lasting peace.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
  17. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    I am missing the gong farmers' / nightmen's guild.

    Unless those Dwarves of yours are _very_ technologically advanced (think 19th century England) then that guild will presumably be quite important and wealthy as soon as a city reaches a certain size (a few thousand people).
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  18. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I disagree. I think there would certainly be gong farmers in dwarf holds. They certainly exist and they are probably well paid, but I do not believe they would have a guild, or if they had a guild, the guild would be a classified as a petty guild with no real power, little more than a social club.

    A guild cannot exist if it cannot create a barrier to entry. Ostensibly this is to maintain professional standards but really this regulates the supply and price of the service.

    Before an apprentice is accepted, they need to present an exemplar to the guild masters and the guild masters need to examine his exemplar carefully and approve or disprove it.

    For instance, an armorer's exemplar might be a sword which the masters scrutinize carefully. A baker's exemplar might be a cake that the masters all taste.

    Also, a would-be journeyman never gets to be an apprentice in the first place if a guild master doesn't take on the apprentice.

    I don't see how a gong farmer would create an exemplar. You also don't need an apprenticeship to be a gong farmer, you just need a cart, a shovel, and a strong constitution.

    I also figure kalazotz would dominate this trade in dwarf lands and they are not very political. Kalazotz are nocturnal, shy, and they eat grubs and carrion so they are inured against gross smells.

    If a hypothetical gong farmer guild tried to jack up their prices, there is nothing really to stop a bunch of non-guild scabs to enter the industry and become gong farmers.
  19. Scalenex

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I just had a thought. Kalazotz are generally portrayed as little goody-two-bats, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

    I am picturing a criminal syndicate ruled by an unusually cunning and ruthless kalazotz using gong farmers as cover. A bat father if you will. Or perhaps a bat mother since kalazotz tend to be matriarchal.

    After all, few would suspect a kalazotz of being a crime lord and fewer still would want to search a poop silo for hidden contraband.
  20. Aginor

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    And logistics!

    In that business it isn't about making something, it is more comparable to the work of a trader, a postman, or a transport business.
    A shovel and a bucket won't do, you need a lot of shovels, buckets, men, carts with animals to draw them, storage, distribution ways to get the feces from the cesspits to storage, and from there to the ones who want them (farmers and tanners mostly).
    You have to manage all that. A huge organization task that requires a lot of skill.

    The guild makes sure that those hard working businessmen who don't mind getting their hands dirty don't fight each other over the most lucrative jobs (big customers on either side of the business) and they absolutely can put pressure on their customers since they cannot be easily replaced by someone with a bucket and a shovel. The pure mass of feces is the problem that requires the good organization.

    I agree that in small cities there would probably not be such a guild as the people would do that themselves, but in a large city (starting at a few thousand inhabitants and where people stop having their own gardens so there is no place to put the feces) that's a major task.

    So a good gong farmer is someone who is good at that kind of management, not in shoveling poo.

    That fits your crime lord well. A business like that will create good businessmen.

    In medieval Europe the gong farmers were organized in guilds, and they were among to the richest guilds. Can't find the source right now but IIRC the gong farmers were in the top 3 of richest guilds in 15th century London.

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