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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Nov 2010

    Default Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    This is currently an incomplete idea, incorporating things I've cherry-picked from favorite experiences in prior games. The goal is to eventually bring everything together into a cohesive game world, familiar but distinctive enough to make things interesting.

    For now, I'm listing established things, with the intention of expanding each element in its own post.

    Inspirations include real world historical cultures, historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. I like playing around with linguistic elements, but I'm not actually knowledgeable in that arena.

    I tend to use 3.5 as my rules system.

    Please ask me questions to help me clarify elements, or to inspire me to flesh things out more.

    Or, maybe offer me suggestions to consider that would fit the direction I'm going for.

    ***

    The Commons: The collective lands of Human peoples that are unclaimed by the various kingdoms. The name was derived from its generally central location between the major powers.
    Inspiration/Influence: Medieval Europe
    Notable Groups: The Lyon Clans
    Racial Variation:
    Human ethnicity was due to regional variation, but all were dislocated during the time of the Giant Empire. As a result, any physical traits within the limits of human races (eye color and shape, skin tone, etc) are possible for each individual, though there may be biases with specific family lines. For example, King Lionel’s family line has traits normally associated as African in our world.


    Dowafukoku: The lands of the Dwarven peoples, a massive plateau that begins at Raptor Ridge and extends up to and within the Dragonspine Mountains.
    Inspiration/Influence: Feudal Japan and Imperial China
    Game Rule Changes: Instead of Weapon Familiarity, a Dwarf gains Item Familiar as a bonus Feat upon reaching 3rd Level.
    Racial Variation:
    Standard 3.5 Dwarves (sometimes called Hill Dwarves) tend to exist on the surface of Dowafukoku.
    Dream Dwarves tend to dwell underground, within the plateau and mountains.
    Ridge Dwarves trade Stonecunning for Woodcunning, which applies to forest environments and structures made mostly of wood. In addition, a Ridge Dwarf has a racial bonus to Craft and Appraise applied to wooden, bone, and leather items, instead of stone or metal.


    The Forged: Constructed beings, which compose the bulk of the Gnoman Republic’s workforce and military. Considered property instead of sentient beings, and treated like a slave race.

    Gaialin: (from Giant tongue, “Land of the Giants”) Common name of the game world, across all cultures. Its proper use is only for the continent in which the game takes place.

    Gaiant: The proper name of Giant species. Their empire once controlled the bulk of the continent, and brutally enslaved nearly every race in the best of circumstances, or used them as livestock or lab animals in the worst cases.
    Inspiration/Influence: None

    Goblin: Collective term for the nomadic tribesfolk, known for their violent mounted raids. The proper use of the term Goblin is for the females of the species, all considered wives to the Chieftain. Hobgoblins are the males and leaders of the tribe, with only a single male heir allowed at any given time. All other male children are neutered at birth, resulting in Bukubar (commonly called a Bugbear).
    Inspiration/Influence: Mongols
    Racial Variation:
    The three dominant goblinoid races have been combined into a singular race here, with the variation being the result of gender (or castration, in the case of Bugbears).


    Minoan Sea: Northern region which the Giants fled across. Name is taken from the Minotaur peoples, who patrol the waters for signs of Giant activity.

    Minotaur: (from Giant tongue, “Little Bull”) Preferring the term Northmen, a seafaring race of large size, once used as heavy laborers and gladiatorial entertainers by the Giant Empire. Their homeland is lost to history, and they now exist as a nomadic people. It is customary for all seaports to maintain a Northman Hall, to accomodate visiting Minotaurs at a scale comfortable to their large size.
    Inspiration/Influence: Norse

    Orclundi: The wild region beyond the Dragonspine Mountains, and home to the Orcish peoples. Renown as the only race that never succumbed to Giant rule, and respected by all races as the source of the Rise. The lands are savage, filled with dire animals and enormous reptilian beasts.
    Inspiration/Influence: Klingons, the Predator franchise
    Racial Variation:
    Half-Orcs are considered a true orcish race, rather than the result of crossbreeding. They have no belief in an afterlife, instead desiring to inspire tales of their heroism that endure.
    Standard Orcs dwell in cave systems, emerging only for the Hunt. They are known to use Dire Bats as a type of mount.


    Res Publica Gnomana: (from the Gnoman tongue, “Gnoman Republic”) The nation of the Gnoman peoples, often shortened to “Gnome” when referring to the land within its borders. Was once the capital region of the Giant Empire, and in many ways Gnomans emulate the grand architectural cues, or the benign cultural norms, of their former masters.
    Inspiration/Influence: Roman Empire
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2020-08-27 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Updating

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    I like your take on Minotaurs, and your goblinoids are a super unique concept. I’d love to see a world map to put all of these nations in perspective!
    Last edited by Sam113097; 2020-08-03 at 01:35 PM.
    Currently worldbuilding Last Haven: a setting formed on a titan's corpse! If you have a moment, I would love your feedback!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    The Commons:

    There are knights, earls, barons, dukes, and even kings scattered around, with a dozen more titles thrown in, all of various degrees of legitamacy. There are also magisters, viziers, sorcerous monarchs, and a wide variety of priestly rulers.

    The peasants have no choice but to obey whichever warlord claims his farm. Indeed, some locations are well governed and prosperous, but in others the pearants starve and pray that the tax-takers leave enough to starve through another winter.

    In the Barony of Rhu the 3rd generation Baron Rhu is considered to be a competent leader of one of the more stable city-states. Located on a secondary trade route between massive empires, for the last three generations Barons Rhu have prospered by successfully remaining neutral and serving as a middleman between the empires' trade networks.

    Spies and counterspies walk the streets of Rhukka. Trader lords hoard wealth and hire mercenaries to guard it, and a variety of thieves, both illegal and official, ply their trades in the city.

    Nearly all subjects recieve at least rudimentary military training, and are required to serve in the militia. From this talent pool the Barons have trained a cadre of active duty non-commissioned and commissioned officers to defend the realm.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    The Commons:

    [Lots of Stuff]

    I kinda like your take, and it shows a good way to run with this sort of idea.

    However, I didn't intend to have that large of a region set aside for Humans. Can get a little unweildy, and I know my own limitations.

    I only really intended for there to be 3 Human "kingdoms" (for lack of a better term), with the Commons mostly filling in the gaps between them, as well as open spaces between the Gnoman Republic and Dowafukoku.

    (I only have one "kingdom" conceptually formed in my head at the moment, "Lionspride", which kinda leans towards an Arthurian tone.)

    Your post does bring up a point, though. How exactly would the Commons work, without being affiliated with a proper kingdom?

    (Full disclosure: the only reason I chose the name Commons was to create a proper rationale for the term "common tongue". It would make speaking Common more of a trade language, with some specific dialects based on region and class.

    After that, it was just creating a concept that justified a region with that title.)

    I had initially planned on the bulk of the Commons would be filled with Freemen, which bent the knee to no one. After the oppression of the Giant Empire, some would simply find the concept comfortable.

    But it is a bit impractical. A region that would obviously be filled with trade routes, with no proper military power to protect them, and a threat of Goblin Raiders...

    Maybe dozens of minor Lords is something I should reconsider.

    [Edit: Or perhaps, it is custom to have towns organized under a local democracy, appointing representatives to a Town Counsil? And maybe these trade routes are important enough for nearby powers to donate soldiers, under the command of such a Council?

    That could be neat, and a method to actually have mixed populations in the Commons. More thought is needed...]

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    I like your take on Minotaurs, and your goblinoids are a super unique concept. I’d love to see a world map to put all of these nations in perspective!

    Glad you like it.

    I've kinda ran Goblins like this for years. I was initially inspired by the Game of Thrones books (long before the show... I get hipster points, I suppose), but running them as archers on Worgs really ups the threat level.

    Also, Barghest influence can be interesting. I kinda treat them as secret gods to the females, working to slowly undermine Hobgoblin interests.
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2020-08-03 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Idea

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    I had not thought of The Commons as a single, homegenous area, but as clumps strung along the regions between the boundaries of the empires mentioned in the OP. Certainly, there is ample room for many kinds of cultures.

    The Curraq Tribesmen

    Along the chains of hills which make convient borders for far-away map and treaty makers live the Currak. Their lands are rugged and largely unwanted by the empires, and though armies have marched to war through them, but when the fighting is over, the hills and the Currak have always been left to themselves.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    I had not thought of The Commons as a single, homegenous area, but as clumps strung along the regions between the boundaries of the empires mentioned in the OP. Certainly, there is ample room for many kinds of cultures.

    The Curraq Tribesmen

    Along the chains of hills which make convient borders for far-away map and treaty makers live the Currak. Their lands are rugged and largely unwanted by the empires, and though armies have marched to war through them, but when the fighting is over, the hills and the Currak have always been left to themselves.

    Could this be flavored with something resembling Scottish Clans? I'd like to stick with Anglo-Saxon, Gaelic, and Celtic name conventions and general cultural styles for Human groups, even if I'm not locking them into the ethnic appearance.

    [Edit: Perhaps call them the Lyon Clans, and push them near to the kingdom of Lionspride. The lands of both Lionspride and the Lyon Clans would be named after a common event or factor in that region.

    They respect and trade with Lionspride most frequently, and have been mutual allies when the needs arose, but these freemen owe allegiance to no one.

    King Lionel understands the Clans, and each Clanhead is considered an honored guest in his court. He has earned enough trust to be asked to moderate disputes between Clans.]

    [Edit 2: Yeah, I dig the idea enough that the Lyon Clans are going to be part of the Canon. Adding that to the Commons description.]
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2020-08-04 at 10:21 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Use, modify, or discard my suggestions as you wish.

    The Woodsmen of Brechtal

    The Brechtal Woods would be included as part of the Sylvan Forest on virtually any map, save for the Woodmen.

    Divided from the main forest by a low but rugged chain of hills, the Brechtal is only thirty miles wide by one hundred twenty long, and it occupies seven valleys on its northeast flank, spreading out and thinning as it encroaches on the grasslands to the southwest.

    Within each valley there is a log-and-earth fort of the motte and bailey style. These forts are seldom used as defensive points in war. Instead, they serve as the local trade and social hub of the valley.

    The woodsmen appear to periodically vote for whomever is to reside in and administer the fort. Outsiders have difficulty following the ebb and flow of Brechtal politics, but it appears they vote in the wealthiest and when the costs of funding what government exists exhausts their wealth they vote in another.

    Indeed, this appears to be the only form of taxation the Woodsmen tolerate. They certainly resist any taxation attempts by the Elvish government.

    From the Elvish point of view the humans simply appeared there. One monarch focused attention elsewhere and in the next generation the monarch found the humans had annexed the wood. Attempts to repel the humans resulted in war, and by the time the Elves realized the price they would have to pay to get them back, the humans were no longer willing to compromise. There was never an official end to the war. The elves still claim the lands, but it has been more than a human lifetime since the last elvish excursion over the hills.

    Among the Woodsmen an occasional half-elf is born. Although the mother may be accused of collaboration, the child is seldom stigmatized, and can grow to be a free man of the woods. Those born to the elves are heavily stigmatized and their social opportunities are limited among people who see them as handicapped at best. Many such children are delivered to the druids who find homes for them or raise them as orphans to become rangers and druids of the wood.

    Typical Woodsmen live in small log houses with turf roofs, tending subsistence farms and harvesting, under the supervision of the druids, the timber and game of the woods. Barter is often based on skins and jerky, with coins and other currency rarely used outside of the trade towns.

    As may be surmised, the local druids are the religious leaders. They also train a school of bards who are employed as roving school teachers, news gatherers and tellers, and entertainers. The druids are the most organized group in the wood and assume primary responsibility for its defense.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2020-08-06 at 07:48 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Use, modify, or discard my suggestions as you wish.

    The Woodsmen of Brechtal

    (Lots of cool ideas that I can't figure out how to incorporate)

    Here's the rub. Elves don't exist in any recognizable form in this game world. The closest analog would be faeries that sometimes cross over to the mortal realm and "get stuck", but they are few.

    For the record, Halfings (called the Warrow, their lands will be called the Warrens) exist on a different continent, and will mirror various Native American cultures. Most of Gaialin doesn't know of the existence of this continent.

    Catfolk (called the Basti, as is their empire) exist on yet another continent, and will be similar to ancient Egypt, with others being more tribal, like the Zulu people. Gnolls will also exist on that continent as a rival group, but I haven't decided how I want to handle their culture(s). Gnomans know of these lands, few other beings are aware of the continent.

    I want to make Lizardfolk and Troglodytes the same species, or at least related and allied, newly emerging from the Underdark in various parts of the world. They are escaping persecution, though I haven't put enough thought into them or their oppressors at this point.

    Dragons did exist, but are almost myths. There hasn't been as much as a sighting of one since the height of the Giant Empire. If they do still exist, they might dwell in Orclundi, or perhaps an unknown continent.

    The Minoan Sea was actually named by the Giants, meaning "little sea". The Giants aren't as far away as people think.

    There is a migrating continent called Nemesis. It's rare knowledge, only sages from the longer lived races might know of it's existence, but don't know any more than it's name.

    *

    I figured I should mention all the stuff I have planned, but haven't fleshed out enough to list, if you wanna keep playing around with ideas.
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2020-08-06 at 09:47 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    The Woodsmen need not border an elfland. The idea is of a fiercely independent people who are too tough to conquer and too independent to control from a distant capital.

    The Trader Folk

    Caravans cross the lands using beasts of burden suited to the terrain: camels in the deserts, llamas in the mountains, horses in the plains, elephants in the jungle. But they are all owned and operated by The Trader Folk.

    Some say they are a single family, others say they are a cult. Romantic tales say that young children are captured and taken away to become the next generation of Trader Folk, or that youths seeking adventure sneak off to join them. The truth is a lot more boring.

    They are a network of independent families who trade across great distances. Their work is hard and dangerous, so they tend to be selective about who they allow to join. They are constantly at risk from bandits, so they concoct strange cautionary tales about their magic to discourage them.

    The Trader Folk follow old paths across the wilderness and beat new ones when there is profit to be made. And from time to time, when bandits or taxmen become a problem, the Traders come together and burn them out.

    Good leaders protect the caravans because they know that wealth comes with them and poverty fills the voids they leave when they abandon a locale.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2020-08-07 at 05:25 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Why are you so focused on the Commons? Not that I mind. It's good to see things outside one's own thought process. And the Lyon Clans alone make the process worth it.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Nuts & Bolts stuff.

    I'm thinking of having the some of the true Giants be individuals, instead of races, and immortal in some form. For example, the Storm Giant would take the place of Zeus in the Giant hierarchy, the eternal ruler of the Giant races. The Death Giant would be a combination of Thanatos and the Keres, but may also hold the key to Giant longevity in some form. Maybe tie the Death Giant in with the Fates.

    Anyways, you get the idea.

    Each would have lead their own city-state during the height of the empire, allied but mostly independent in practice.

    Those would be the leaders of the Giants. The bulk of the Giant population would be trolls (including scrags) and ogres (including ogre mages). I'm going to apply the Primordial Giant template to them (Secrets of Xen'drik), and make them less monstrous in appearance, fluff-wise. So, smarter, more beautiful, "perfect" beings, that are lead by even greater beings.

    The lesser, non-Giant races were slaves labor, used for entertainment, and sometimes food or lab rats.

    Dragons, most specifically the Gold Dragons, were the most credible threat. All dragons were hunted down during the earliest days of the empire, though the complications in Orclundi means the "Dragon Purge" couldn't pass beyond the Dragonspine Mountains.

    *

    Goblins weren't technically subjugated by the Giants. They were the equivalent of pests, vermin, scavenging on the scraps of civilization like rats. And sometimes being exterminated like rats, but their prodigious breeding rate always kept them present.

    They proved a vital link during the "Rise" of the other races, a source of communication and coordination between various factions.

    After the Rise, they suffered a new indignity. Because they weren't enslaved during the Giant's reign, the other races saw no need to allocate lands for them. They were left again to scavenge, but without the Giants crushing their numbers, they were able to organize, forming proper tribes and developing a proper culture.

    *

    The longer lived races, the Gnomes and Dwarves, have something of a cultural inertia. Their longer lifespans extends the effects of a generation, turning them into traditions relatively quickly.

    For the Dwarves, this is a source of cultural and ancestral pride. With minor exceptions, a Dwarf from 2000 years ago would easily recognize and acclimate to modern life in Dowafukoku.

    Gnomes are more technologically and magically advanced, a sort of steampunk culture (with a Roman aesthetic), but culturally locked. Advancements don't often change the way they live, serving instead to reinforce their lifestyle.

    For a race like Humans, on the other hand, an individual might live a mere 100 years at most. Because of this, their culture is more fluid, and advances more quickly. This is part of the reason Human kingdoms, and the people of the Commons, have such drastic differences despite being the same race. They aren't a united people, but that may be a strength, rather than a weakness.

    *

    There is no record of a Minotaur homeland because they are a creation of the Giants, a magical breeding experiment.
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2020-08-12 at 10:16 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    The Ridge Dwarf stood in the center of the four posts of the tomi shrine, and as the sun's first rays broke through the treetops the dwarves of the village began to become aware of him. He stood unmoving as the Ridge Dwarves of the village began to raise the alarm.

    Unlike the villagers, who wore a motley of homespun wool clothing, the Clan Mahktaht wore fringed buckskin breaches and coat. Where their beards were still tangled from sleep, his was oiled and combed, and braided in the Mahktaht pattern.

    As the crowd grew and grew louder, two questions were on everyone's lips: who is this Mahktaht warrior, and how did he get into their sacred space?

    The people of the village were Tainhu, and the Tainhu and Mahktaht had been feuding for generations. The fact that there had not been a single killing between them in the last generation did nothing to deter some in the crowd who called for his blood.

    The village parson emerged from her hut still arranging her vestments. Her voice, with the power of many sermons, broke through the clamour.

    "Who are you, and what do you want?"

    The dwarf within the tomi waited for the crowd's silence before he answered.

    "I am Keltik beyMahktaht, and I am here to announce my intent to court Teskathri senTarret."

    The crowd of almost a hundred erupted as shouts of offended pride and astonishment clashed with disbelief. That the second son of a clan warlord would have the audacity! To pledge betrothal to the heir and only child of the village lord! Why, that would make him...

    That would make him, in time, lord of the village!

    "I have brought this as token of my sincerity and in pledge of my honorable intent," he shouted over the hundred voices as he swung a heavy sack.

    He tossed the leather bag to the feet of the parson and it opened as it landed. A small part of its contents spilled: hundreds of the polished wooden buttons the Ridge Dwarves used as money.

    The villagers erupted again.

    ...

    The sun neared zenith and Keltik beyMahktaht still stood alone in the tomi. Its four posts offered no shade, and the dwarf's formal clothing did little to protect him. Indeed, the buckskins blocked the warm summer breeze that might have carried away his sweat. He ignored the heat as he ignored the taunts of the village harn, (youths of from twenty to thirty who were deemed to not yet be adults.) They had established that the Mahktaht was unarmed and they thought to lure the dwarf out of the sacred space where he was safe from the axes of their elders.

    In the Town Hall voices were raised.

    "I will not turn my daughter over to some Mahktaht adventurer!" shouted Akassar Tarret.

    "The peace between us could be broken if we insult the son of..."

    "Do you not wish to hear what your daughter might have to say?" asked an unexpected voice.

    Teskathri senTarret had entered as the village elders argued. She was pretty in the way all young are: with the health and vitality of youth. But there was something more. She possed a confidence and poise seldom found in a woman who had come of age less than a year before.

    "There is nothing to say," Lord Tarret said. "I'm not letting some whelp of a Mahktaht anywhere near you!"

    "Let us hear what she has to say," the parson said.

    "Second," said an elder from the far end of the table. "Do we need to call the vote, Akassar?"

    The dwarf lord looked around the table, then at his daughter. With a sigh he said, "Go ahead."

    "As you all know," the young woman said, "I have reached the age of maturity, and I am by right capable of choosing my own spouse. I choose to defer to the wisdom of the council because I am young and because my position creates diplomatic issues that you all will have to face.

    "Like all girls I have given thought to the kind of husband I would like to have. He should be handsome. He should be brave. He should be bold and daring. He should be of good bloodlines with no connection to my own. He should be smart and ambitious, and yet willing to support me when I come into my inheritance rather than rule me.

    "The dwarf in our shrine has demonstrated all of those qualities save the last, and I believe as a second son he may have trained for that role all of his life.

    "And there is one more thing I never expected, but would be pleased to have: if I marry him it will mean an end to the feud with our neighbors.

    "He is only asking to court. I am interested in seeing what may come of it."

    Most of what followed was loud enough to be heard at the shrine.

    ...

    By the time clouds began to turn orange in the West and purple in the East the council had come to an agreement. They marched out of the council house to the shrine with the lord and his daughter in the lead.

    The young warrior had not eaten or drank all day. Indeed, save for shifting his weight to maintain blood flow to his feet he had not even moved. As the column of elders approached he turned and saw Teskathri, and his eyes locked with hers.

    He spoke before the lord could, and his intense gaze left no doubt to whom he spoke.

    "Told of your beauty,
    "I had to see for myself.
    "Words fall short."

    Whatever the parson was about to say was lost in her sudden smile. Lord Tarret cleared his throat and the young dwarf turned to him.

    "You're very brass to come into my village. Tell me why I shouldn't have you killed."

    "Because all who speak of Lord Tarret speak of wisdom. I believe your wisdom is telling you that being my friend is better than being my father's enemy."

    "What do you know of wisdom?" the older dwarf growled.

    His daughter put her hand on his arm. He glanced at it then looked away with his jaw clamped shut.

    "The Elders of the Village of Tainhat have met and judged your petition," the parson said in her 'official' tone of voice. "Our decision is to grant your petition so long as you come and go unarmed and so long as you maintain propriety at all times. This is also binding upon any who come into our territory. During your courtship any act of war or feud by Clan Mahktaht will be considered a breach of promise. The order will bind Clan Tainhu as well. Do you agree to these terms?"

    "Before I answer I have one question: Teskethri senTarret, do you of your own free will, accept my petition?"

    She stepped forward, into the tomi, and then to the young dwarf as the villagers gasped. She took his hands and stood up on her toes to place a kiss on his bearded cheek.

    "I do."

    "All right, then," Lord Tarret said in a gruff tone, "There's still the matter of tresspass..."

    "My lord," the parson interrupted. She continued, "Since you came as an enemy combatant unannounced and unhearalded, the council decrees that you must leave in the same manner. In honor of your betrothal you may choose to fight our champion or to run the gauntlet."

    "Who is your champion?" he asked. Seeing the malicious grin spread on the lord's face he quickly answered, "I choose the gauntlet!"

    There was a cheer from the assembly while some of the dwarves scrambled to get sticks and staves with which to beat the young dwarf as he ran between two rows of villagers.

    He turned to the young woman facing him and said, "I am Keltik beyMahktaht, and I would stand here forever to gaze into your eyes, but I see no reason to wait while they prepare to beat my brains out. I will return in two days."

    He bowed and kissed the back of her hand, and with a smile he jumped into a run toward the perimeter of the village.

    "After him!" shouted the lord, and the villagers became a mob, running hard on his heels. He swerved as the quickest almost caught up to him and was ahead of the pack as they came to the first field outside the village.

    Then he surprised everyone when he turned left and began to lead them on a weaving course between the small wooden houses back to the tomi!

    He turned again and again until villagers began to drop out of the chase. Some even began to block lanes in an attempt to trap him. With a burst of speed he turned to one of the blockers.

    It was Lord Tarret and two younger dwarves. The lord waved to the pair indicating that they should spread out across the lane as the runner approached.

    Keltik charged Lord Tarret and planted a foot as if he was going to jump. The moment the lord's club went high the leap turned into a slide beneath the club.

    Akassar was getting old, as the run had proved, but he retained the reflexes of a veteran warrior. His club came down and glanced off the young dwarf's eyebrow before hitting his shoulder. Before the lord could recover for a second stroke the young dwarf turned his slide into a roll, bounced back to his feet, and was running straight down the road into the forest with a pack of determined young villagers behind him.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2020-08-20 at 07:20 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Metastachydium's Avatar

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    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamantrue View Post
    Res Publica Gnomana: (from the Gnoman tongue, “Gnoman Republic”) The nation of the Gnoman peoples, often shortened to “Gnome” when referring to the land within its borders. Was once the capital region of the Giant Empire, and in many ways Gnomans emulate the grand architectural cues, or the benign cultural norms, of their former masters.
    Inspiration/Influence: Roman Empire
    (Since your Gnomes are based around the Romans, and they apparently speak something that resembles Latin, here's a little suggestion: make ”Gnome” an exonym (a name used by other (non-Gnome) folks to refer to Gnomes) resulting from a misunderstanding and a number of phonetical changes. Latin does, in fact, have the word gnome (-es), a borrowing from Greek (cf. γνωμη, -ης). Latin restricted its meaning upon borrowing the word, but originally it had quite an array of senses. Among other things, the Greek original meant `common sense` and `knowledge (of stg.)`. Subsequently, if you were to rename the Gnome state Res Publica Gnomes (/rε:s publika gno:mε:s/; gnomes is the (irregular) genitive of gnome), the name could mean something like `the State of Knowledge`. Now, gnome in Latin (and Greek) is actually pronounced /gno:mε:/ rather than /noʊm/ as in English, but all it takes to get from the former to the latter is trying to pronounce the word in a language that abhors word initial consonant clusters and tends to leave word final vowels silent or otherwise reduced. If someone speaking such a language were to try and reverse engineer the name of the population from the name of the polity, they would naturally end up believing that the population calls itself Gnomes.
    Since basically calling yourself `a knowledge` is fairly weird, I'd have them use a different endonym. They could call themselves, for instance, Gnostae (the Latin plural for Gnosta, otherwise also from Greek (cf. γνωστης)), meaning `the knowledgeable [ones]`.
    In order to explain why they don't try to correct everyone who gets their ethnonym wrong, you only have to make them smug enough to actually like the idea: if the others have difficulty using the correct name, they can perceive that as a proof of their intellectual superiority.)
    Last edited by Metastachydium; 2020-08-19 at 09:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Lots of Stuff
    That's a pretty cool linguistic coincidence, that goes great thematically with what I'm trying to do here. Thanks for the tip.

    Weird question, since I have access to someone that seems familiar with all the terminology: My Gnomes are going to be steampunk-ish, but with a Greco-Roman flavor instead of Victorian. Their cities will be patrolled by dirigible-style airships, and I've been struggling to figure out a term for them. You got any suggestions?

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    Romans used biremes and triremes, so how about skyremes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Romans used biremes and triremes, so how about skyremes?
    Heh. Fun pun, but I don't think sky would really fit into the theme in this form, while provided we intend to take into consideration the original meaning of the words used, we cannot disregard the fact that the part with remes referred to (rows) of oars, with bi-, tri-, quinque- (&c.) referring to the number of such rows of oars a vessel had, and I don't think dirigible patrol airships would have oars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamantrue View Post
    That's a pretty cool linguistic coincidence, that goes great thematically with what I'm trying to do here. Thanks for the tip.

    Weird question, since I have access to someone that seems familiar with all the terminology: My Gnomes are going to be steampunk-ish, but with a Greco-Roman flavor instead of Victorian. Their cities will be patrolled by dirigible-style airships, and I've been struggling to figure out a term for them. You got any suggestions?
    Eh, if you want something based on an actual nautical term, I can only offer somewhat long and complicated suggestions. The Romans had a type of light patrol ship called (navis) lusoria (lusorius (-a, -um) meaning `related to playing, playful`; whether it referred to the size or the good maneuverability of the ships is unclear, but at any rate, you can safely go with the latter). From this you could form words such as caelilusorium (if you tweak the original meaning of lusorius just a little, it can mean something like `skydancer` (caelum meaning `sky`)).
    Of course, like I said, that's one long word, so if you don't insist on using words that actually formed the basis of the name Roman used to describe some type of vessel they had, you may as well go with something shorter. I could recommend volans (volantes in the plural, the stem being volant-), which means `flying [thing], flyer`. It's a perfectly good Latin word, and, as an added bonus it may sound familiar to the English ear, since English borrowed it as an adjective from Latin or French as volant (which could be what non-Gnomes call the damn things).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Heh. Fun pun, but I don't think sky would really fit into the theme in this form, while provided we intend to take into consideration the original meaning of the words used, we cannot disregard the fact that the part with remes referred to (rows) of oars, with bi-, tri-, quinque- (&c.) referring to the number of such rows of oars a vessel had, and I don't think dirigible patrol airships would have oars.
    I would make a case for replacing screw-type propellers with a row of broad bladed oars which pivot like bird's wings and undulate like the flappers on those things that attacked New York in Endgame.

    However, I do like the idea of a gnome trying to explain what it is to a barbarian and concluding with: "It's a flying thing."

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    The Forged:



    Constructed beings, which compose the bulk of the Gnoman Republic’s workforce and military. Considered property instead of sentient beings, and treated like a slave race.

    Gnomans spend most of their efforts devoted to artistic, magical, scientific, philosophical, and political pursuits. They consider themselves "above" the menial tasks, such as labor, but recognize the need for such tasks to maintain their lifestyle. Early in the republic's history, they created the perfect solution: the Forged.

    The Forged are constructed beings, produced as-needed to serve and maintain the needs of the republic. They work the fields to produce and harvest crops, they build and maintain the infrastructure of the aqueducts and shipyards, and serve as personal attendants to the aristocracy. The Forged are versatile creations, and can perform virtually any task.

    All this allows the Gnoman population immense freedom to pursue even their most eccentric interests. Even the lowest Gnoman families own at least a few Forged to assist them.

    Price of a Forged = (Level, including LA)˛ X 100 gp

    The Forged are mostly constructed of bronze and marble, with wood, earthen, and steel elements at the joints and deeper within their structure. There is great detail in the sculpting, enhanced with permanent minor illusions, often modeling them after specific individuals to convey ownership or to pay tribute (due to their indefinite lifespans, Forged can resemble ancestral rather than current owners). As such, when they are not actively performing a task, they are to pose motionless on a designated perch, acting merely as works of art.

    Gnome city streets have Forged "statues" at each corner called Sentries, which fill roles such as fire fighting, disaster relief, medical aid, and law enforcement. There is usually an additional Sentry or two in common areas, such as at entrances to public buildings.

    Though their appearance is nearly flawless, their mannerisms, composite construction, and Gnomes' resistance to illusion has made interaction with them someone unnerving, a phenomenon Gnomes have dubbed the "Uncanny Valley".

    Racial Variation

    The following represents the most common Forged models.

    The Standard: (Warforged Scout) The size of the average Gnome citizen. Used most frequently as personal attendants or for administrative tasks. Variants are used in the military as cavalry and scouts.

    The Hardy: (standard Warforged) The size of a Human or Dwarf. Used most frequently as laborers or as Sentries. Variants are used in the military as heavy infantry.

    The Colossus: (Warforged Charger) The size of a Northman (Minotaur). Used for heavy tasks or as Sentries at Gnome borders. Resemblance to Giants makes them unpopular, and they are no longer being produced.

    The Simian: (Warforged Simian, homebrew) The size and shape of a baboon. Used as mounts or beasts of burden, or occasional specialized tasks. Popular mounts for Forged cavalry.
    Last edited by Adamantrue; 2020-08-27 at 05:50 PM.

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    Could this be flavored with something resembling Scottish Clans? I'd like to stick with Anglo-Saxon, Gaelic, and Celtic name conventions and general cultural styles for Human groups, even if I'm not locking them into the ethnic appearance.

    [Edit: Perhaps call them the Lyon Clans, and push them near to the kingdom of Lionspride. The lands of both Lionspride and the Lyon Clans would be named after a common event or factor in that region.

    They respect and trade with Lionspride most frequently, and have been mutual allies when the needs arose, but these freemen owe allegiance to no one.

    King Lionel understands the Clans, and each Clanhead is considered an honored guest in his court. He has earned enough trust to be asked to moderate disputes between Clans.]

    [Edit 2: Yeah, I dig the idea enough that the Lyon Clans are going to be part of the Canon. Adding that to the Commons description.]
    The Just Blade

    During the Rise, there was a great human hero, Lyora the Lightbringer, also known a Lyora the Lyoness due to the orcish lion (Dire Lion) that was her chosen mount. She lead many factions of rebels to some of their greatest victories, often turning lost battles into triumphs.

    In the final years of the Rise, Lyora was charged with protecting a large refugee camp in the highlands, along with united factions of humans, dwarves, and orcs. During a patrol, scouts spotted a massive force of giants, two days away from the camp. Though willing to fight under the Lightbringer, Lyora recognized that untrained and unarmed refugees, still weak from their recent escape from the giants, stood no chance of surviving a confrontation, even alongside the seasoned freedom fighters charged with protecting them. And they couldn't be evacuated. They were too weary to outpace the giants or survive the wild, even with some of the most experienced rebels escorting them.

    And the leaders of the factions, under Lyora's command, all disagreed on what the best course of action would be. She dismissed them all from the text, telling them she would make a decision by the morning.

    That was the last time anyone saw the Lyora.

    In the morning, her tent was empty. Both her and her orcish lion were missing. Were she someone other than the Lightbringer, other than the Lyoness, the people could have assumed she fled. But because she was Lyora, a hero of the Rise, no one even considered the possibility.

    By midday, scouts returned with unexpected news. The giant armies lay in waste.

    Two dozen men explored the aftermath. There were no survivors of the enemy force, ravaged by tooth, claw, and blade. Lyora seemed to defeat the entire force overnight, but both her and her lion were nowhere to be found. All that was found was the blade of her greatsword, broken off at the hilt.

    *

    The Blade of Lyora became an object of reverence after the Rise, kept upon a stone altar where it was found. The surrounding highlands, now known as the Lyon Highlands, sometimes tell tales of a massive, ghostly lion running through the hills. And the site of that refugee camp is now home to the Kingdom of Lionspride.

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    When folk speak of The Northmen they speak as though they are all of one kind. The truth is that they are of many kinds, though two races are most common. Almost all minotaurs are brownish-red to reddish-black. There are some with white and black or white and red, some which are solid black or even brown, white, or red brindled, but color is not what determines the races. Indeed, in the far north where most are some variant of white, the two races coexist.

    What divides the two is the shape of their horns. The more individualistic Boath, who are more commonly seamen, have wide horns which turn forward at the tips while the more organized Mokath have horns which turn forward. The Mokath are more likely to live in cities and other large communities.

    While both have clerics, they tend to worship pantheons of their own gods, primarily derived from ancestral heroes. When it comes to arcane magic the Boath tend to have fewer per capita and they tend to be spontaneous casters while the Mokath have academys for training wizards. Both rely upon Bards as the information network and for general education.

    The two races live amicably, each recognizing how they compliment one another. Intermarriage is not forbidden, but there are many fables concerning the unhappiness of such unions. Half-breed children usually go strongly toward one culture and abandon the other, so interbreeding ironicly increases the cultural separation.

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    Thoughts about Goblins...

    For most races, there is a even split between males and females. For the Goblin race, only 1 in 8 children are born Hobgoblin (the Goblin word for male), though the specifics vary for each individuals (some Goblins cannot produce sons at all, while others have a 50/50 chance). This results in a faster rate of population growth. The smallest tribes tend to consist of a Hobgoblin Khan, 5 Bugbears, 50 Goblin adults, 70 Worgs, and 20 Goblin young.

    The Giants began the castration process on the Hobgoblins, in an attempt to control the Goblin population, and this created the first Bugbears. This became part of the Goblin tradition, with Bugbears acting as the muscle for each tribe.

    Hobgoblins take as many as a dozen wives, to ensure the birth of some sons. Besides the obvious need of Hobgoblins as heirs, eldest sons are traded as peace offerings between waring clans. Since wandering clans often cross into each others' territory, this is a surprisingly common practice, and actually protects each clan from excessive inbreeding.

    Since Goblins greatly outnumber Hobgoblins, Goblins often pair with each other, and generally tend to prefer it to a heterosexual relationship. Even the Hobgoblin's wives may pair with one another, though are still dutybound to the Hobgoblin. Though rare, sometimes Goblins pair with their Worgs.

    There are two leading roles for Goblins, that together can rival the Hobgoblin's authority. The first is the Heart, which is preferred wife of the Hobgoblin. Though by default his first wife inherits the role, it will often be changed when another wife proves to be most worthy in his eyes, and rarely changes after that. The other role, the Fated, is the mother of a Hobgoblin heir, and rarely changes unless there is an untimely death. It is uncommon, but sometimes the Fated and the Heart are the same Goblin.

    Though Goblin raids are common in some areas, many Goblin clans have allied with multiple settlements, and act as protection for trade caravans between them. Because of this, learning the Goblin tongue is useful, though the difficult pronunciations prevent it from replacing Common as the trade language of choice.

    Goblins and Worgs worship the Barghest as gods, and the Barghest have shaped their culture for centuries, even before the Giants. It was the Barghest that created the Worg, and introduced them to the Goblins as a gift after the Rise. They work to keep Goblins from truly allying with others, perpetuating discord and conflict.

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