Setting Noodling III – The Current State of Things

N’Humans have been on Kenorland for only about a decade and though they have arrived in non-trivial numbers, the five races (dwarves, halflings, orcs, n’humans, and elves) are more or less balanced in numbers. Elves are slightly less populous than the other races, but are not notably rare.

While there is some mistrust and prejudice, the races are not in conflict at a macro level. Any conflict that exists is at the individual level. There are bullies of various races who won’t forget old misconceptions, but most folks are accepting of other folks.

Kenorland is largely unpopulated, a frontier open to exploration and settlement. There are also a large numbers of ruins and lost relics for adventurers to discover. As a result, many small towns have sprung-up in-land, typically to support dungeon-crawling.

Though each individual is unique, a number of distinct “professions” have started to be recognized and grouped by the population. Open to all races are: healers, spell-slingers, shape-shifters, and tinkers. Tinker is a nice title for individuals who specialize in opening locks and disarming traps.

Each race also has a fairly unique archetype: Dwarven Earth-Borne, Elven Dryads (also known as Treants), N’Human Law (or Lore) Speakers, Orcish Beastmasters, and Halfling Hosts/Hostesses. Earth-Borne and Dryads can drawn on the strengths of their respective elements. Law Speakers are battle-trained healers. Beastmasters forge bonds with wild beasts. Hosts have gifts around providing food and comfort to their guests.

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Setting Noodling – Part II – The Return

STANZA FOUR

In the fullness of time, Odintala and Damkwibalch turned back to one another and were able to heal the homeland of the People.

The halflings were the first to return to the surface of Kerguelen, which is now known as Kenorland. They were small of stature but quick of mind and body. They tamed the plants that had sprung up in the ashes of the old world and planted seeds that they had saved from the time before. They made their homes in hills and carved fields out of the soil. By this time, they had among their numbers none who were bound to the old gods nor any who were bound to the element lords. So their numbers remained small despite their growth.

Next to emerge were the dwarves, from the depths of the earth. They had healers among their numbers and those bound to the earth, the mightiest of whom who could become like living stone. They were not used to the light of the sun and the open air, so few of them walked upon the surface of Kenorland. The dwarves and halflings lived in peace for a generation for they each understood the trials of living beneath the earth.

The memories of elves are long, but the memories of trees are longer.

STANZA FIVE

When the time was right, the orcs returned to Kenorland, guided by the elves who walked among them. They brought the children of Artileo with them and animals returned in abundance to Kenorland. For a generation, orcs lived in peace among the halflings.  But the orcs did not understand the constrained ways of the dwarves and for two generations the two peoples turned their faces away from one another. The dwarves also turned their faces from the elves who had brought the orcs to Kenorland.

The orcs had among them healers who could offer the blessing of the old gods to plants, animals, and the peoples alike.  These healers kept the balance between the peoples and all creatures flourished.

Though they had been all but forgotten, shapeshifters also walked among the orcs. And then, they also walked among the dwarves and halflings, inspiring many tales told to children in the dark of winter and cold of night. These, too, helped to keep the balance between the people for three generations.

The memories of elves are long, but the memories of trees are longer.

STANZA SIX

Finally, when the time was right, nhumans returned to Kenorland, guided by the elves that walked among them. Nhumans (or men as they were called by the other peoples) had not forgotten the ways of the elements or those of the old gods. Among men walked healers of their own, who sought to teach the words of the old gods as they remembered them.  This caused much strife as the peoples each had their own words, but it also caused much healing as the peoples found much in common.

Also walking among men were magi, male and female, those who were bound to the elements.  Where these men walked, so walked strife, for each strove to prove his or her power superior to others of their kind. Many magi died within year of maturity. Those that survived to the graying of their hair were powerful indeed.

The magi, male and female alike, would teach their secrets to any who could meet their price.  And so it came to pass that magi walked among all the peoples, though some in greater frequency than others.

The memories of elves are long, but the memories of trees are longer.

Setting Noodling – Part I. How the Races came to be.

STANZA 1

In the beginning, Odintala and Damkwibalch created the world and all that was in it. They set the great lands in the seas and made the People to populate Kerguelen, the Land of the People.

They also gave birth to the five Elements: Terra, Lady of Stone; Selvans, Lord of Trees; Artileo, Lord of Animals; Teshub, Lord of Storms; and Kojin, Lady of Flames.

None of the Elements were good and none of them were evil, but sometimes they forgot.

And ten thousand years is like a day in the eyes of a god.

STANZA 2

In the fullness of time, the People became Tribes and filled completely the Land of Kerguelen.

And the Tribes were Seven and they were called: Durin, Hauflin, Orcneas, Bildung, Alfar, Seth, and Zurvan. With each Tribe, the families were of similar mind and temperament.

Among the People walked those with affinities to the gods and the elements. The strength of these affinities varied by tribe, with those of Zurvan showing the greatest connection to all of the elements.

Those that bound themselves to Odintala or Damkwibalch were granted the gift of healing and were able to drive disease from their tribes. Those that bound themselves to one element or another were granted gifts in accordance with their binding.

When they were of a mind, the Alfar dedicated themselves to Selvans and were thus blessed with the lifespan and nature of trees. It is the Alfar who remember the tales we tell.

And ten thousand years is like a day in the eyes of a god.

STANZA THREE

When any coupled pair spends time enough with one another, there come times when they must separate or come to blows.  It was so with Odintala and Damkwibalch and for a time, they turned away from one another, one to face three of the Tribes and the other to face three more. And one Tribe was left without parent.

It was during this time, that the Burning Scourge emerged, threatening all life upon Kergeulen. Those People who had bound themselves to Lady Kojin were blamed and were hunted down by all the Tribes. In the end, however, the People were forced to flee from their homeland.

The Tribes of Durin and Hauflin fled below ground where the flames could not reach them. They took no other Tribe with them and they closed their great stone doors behind them. The Tribe of Durin dug deeper into the world, mastering the secrets of harvesting and crafting minerals, and they became the Dwarves. The Hauflin burrowed only shallowly, growing small in stature but crafty in agriculture, and the became the Halflings.

The Tribes of Orcneas and Bildung fled upon great ships to the jungle Land to the south known as Gondwalla. Upon each ship, they took with them three of the Alfar that the children of Selvans might survive the Burning. The Tribes of Orcneas and Bildung each dedicated themselves to Artileo and were granted gifts according to their binding.  The Orcneas bound themselves only shallowly and took on the traits of the jungle animals: the tusks of boars, the markings of great cats, and the strength of arms of the apes.  But far from being the brutes they appeared, they became a spiritual people, in touch with the life around them and respectful of their animal kin. And the Tribe of Orcneas became the Orcs. The Bildung bound themselves fully to Artileo and were granted the ability to take on the form of his children. Each of the Bildung dedicated themselves to one totem whose form they could take. The greatest among them could bind themselves to many totems. The Tribe of Bildung lost their name and diffused into the world, becoming Shapeshifters and emulating the people among whom they lived.

The Tribes of Seth and Zurvin fled upon great ships to the Western Land of Rodinia. And upon each ship, they also took with the three of the Alfar that the children of Selvans might survive the Burning. The Tribe of Zurvin married into the Tribe of Seth while in the Land of Rodinia becoming a new people: The NHumans.

And ten thousand years is like a day in the eyes of a god.