The Ten Races: An Introduction to the Dwarves

Dwarves are known for their strong affinity with Physic Energy, the Energy that makes up the physical world and the forces therein.  Although they are not very tall (3-6 feet, with an average of 5.5 feet), this affinity makes them physically strong and very sturdy.  Many become powerful Evokers and great warriors, wielding Powers based on Physic Energy. Other dwarves use their affinity with Physic to mold the matter of the world, such as silver, gold, and iron, into many different forms, such as household furnishings, fine art, or high-quality tools and weapons. Whatever they choose to do, they take great pride in their endeavors.

Dwarves_7sBecause of their affinity with Physic Energy, dwarves love stone. Indeed, several dwarf clans founded the great underground portions of Naldrin City (see map of the Tamarran Continent) by building homes and huge structures in the caverns below the Nashem Mountains; they live there to this day. Many dwarves live in the extensive cavern systems that lie beneath the surface of Tamarra.

Dwarves have a very strong clan structure: most dwarves, if not all, belong to a clan, of which they are very proud. Major dwarf clans number in the tens of thousands, although there are some clans of only a few hundred, a few dozen, or even just a particularly stubborn handful.  No matter the size, the ruling structure of clans is invariably top-down from a single ruler (of either gender) who governs with a firm hand.

It is quite common for dwarves to have disagreements with their clan and break away to join another. This can happen for a variety of reason: strong political beliefs, a battle for power and leadership, or something as small as a disagreement between one group of cigar-loving dwarves and the rest of their clan who prefer pipes.

Dwarf clans are often formed around location, providing society and protection for those in the area.  However, some form around a particular skill set, such as crafting metal implements or weapons.  Dwarf Evokers, who have a particular interest in fortifying the stone that make up walls or buildings, might come together in their own clan; another clan might be based on a political ideal. There is even rumored to be a group of dwarf sorcerers calling themselves the Tallakkarr Clan, who use chants to control metalwork.

One of the more interesting clans, and one of the oldest stories in their voluminous genealogy, is that formed by the great dwarf sorcerer Darkklaven.  Darkklaven broke away from his home clan (nobody’s quite sure which that was) in the year SP~2,073 (almost three thousand years ago) to form the Clan of the Middle Abysm.  This clan was a small nation of less than a hundred dwarves who came together to explore the very deepest parts of the extensive cavern system that runs under, and throughout, the Tamarran Continent.  It is said that the Clan of the Middle Abysm went into the very bowels of the Fekxtah (planet) Ethem, going farther than any other folk had ever gone.  This clan became legendary in its discoveries and exploits.  By now the clan is perhaps more myth than reality, since they have not been heard from in centuries.  Even so, rumors still persist that they live on in the deepest regions of the world and have unprecedented knowledge of the innards of Ethem.

Dwarves are a multi-talented, far-ranging, passionate Race. While they can be strong, loyal warriors, they can also produce some of the most delicate jewelry and finest armor found anywhere on the continent. While they love caverns and life below ground, they can also be found in the towns, cities, and kingdoms that populate the Tamarran continent.  They are on the plains and the deserts of Tamarra, on top of the mountains, deep in the forests, and even along the lakes and waterways throughout the land.  Regardless of where they live, they make themselves a strong participant in their chosen homeland and are, frequently, passionate voices in that community.

There is much more to tell about the many dwarf clans and peoples.  Watch for future blogs!

The Ten Races: An Introduction to the Crawn

Although the crawns’ strong affinity with Body Energy makes them able fighters, they can, and do, choose many other kinds of pursuits.  Most crawn love order and discipline in their lives and their societies, and tend to be methodical and cautious in their decision-making.  They are known for their exceptional courage and their willingness to sacrifice for the greater good, or simply for those they love and to whom they are loyal. Their sense of loyalty and order make crawn good companions for explorations and adventures, and good friends generally.

Crawn_Rework_Architecture+copyPhysically, the crawn tend to be six to seven feet tall and lithe, with a scaly, snake-like body and a high serpentine head.  They are strong and dexterous with both weapons and tools.  In addition, they have a vicious bite that can be used in close-quarters combat.

Although not all crawn are warriors or members of a military group, they certainly have a proclivity for it.  Many of the mightiest kingdoms of the Tamarran Continent were formed as the result of conquest by crawn armies.  Their sense of order and discipline are useful not only for conquering lands, but also for retaining and ruling them.  Those who live under crawn rule very often appreciate the stability, abundant food, and safety that come with it.  Several of the largest kingdoms on the continent are ruled by crawn, including the Kingdom of the Szaskar Crawn in the northeast and the Karrin Crawn Lands in the northwest.

Although crawn love dry, arid places, and tend to inhabit the continent’s deserts, they are spread far and wide across all of Tamarra.  There is a crawn presence in every major city and even in some of the farmlands of the north.  The only places where they are unlikely to settle are the mountains of the continent, where it is not easy to make a long, uninterrupted sprint, and the Lochuum Plains in the south, which they find overabundant in vegetation.

Crawn are generally more comfortable as members of a nation or kingdom, where they have a specific role in society.  However, some crawn find themselves unable to live in a larger community, where their sense of order may conflict with the existing laws.  They tend to live an almost hermit-like existence, and are often found in vast deserts such as the Frestehal Plains.

Perhaps the most interesting crawn society is a group called the Szennid, who have developed amazing abilities, using Body Energy to change their appearance.  In this changed state they are able to maintain their natural affinities with Body Energy and physical Talents, while effectively disguising themselves as members of other Races or creatures.  It is extremely difficult to spot a powerful Szennid in disguise:  it requires the highest skills in identifying Body Energy signatures, down to the deepest level.

Stay tuned…we’ll have more about this group, and about other crawn societies, in future blogs!

The Ten Races: An Introduction to the Dwaheely

Dwaheelies are the smallest of the Ten Races, but their physical size belies their strong interest in intellectual pursuits and their powerful mental acuity.  They tend to form their most intimate emotional bonds with others of their Race.  They are very aware of their family histories, and tend to think of all dwaheelies as family.  They are also fiercely loyal to anyone they find worthy of respect and trust; there are times when they will actually induct members of other Races into the dwaheely clan.

DwaheelyReworkforposting+copyTheir intelligence and affinity with Mental Energy gives dwaheelies the skills needed to influence those in power.  Dwaheelies are often sought out by the leaders of nations and kingdoms as advisors and consultants on matters military, economic, and social.

Their distinctive cape-like wings stretch between their arms and bodies.  Dwaheelies call this membrane their “skin,” referring both to their genealogy and their individual identity.  This skin is run through with veins in familial patterns, parts of which are often shared by their ancestors.  Each dwaheely also has a set of tattoos acquired throughout their lifetime.  A young dwaheely can be immediately identified because of their lack of tattoos, while a very old dwaheely will have a particular and complex series of tattoos that describe their life’s journey.  Dwaheelies show significant pride in their patterns, both natural and folk-made.

Since they first came into being, dwaheelies have made their homes in the many mountains of the continent, where they have created living quarters in naturally formed caves.  Their homes are well-known for their light wooden architecture, which fills the caverns where they live.  These are frequently multi-level, often with intricate stairways that create corridors in the upper regions of the caves.  However, dwaheelies have no fear of living in other places.  For many centuries they have made themselves a part of every major city on Tamarra, and are found in virtually every region of the continent.

As mentioned earlier, dwaheelies have a strong interest in their ancestry; every self-respecting dwaheely can trace their lineage back hundreds or thousands of years, and recite their clan history by heart.  Clans can range in size from a few dozen individuals to many thousands.  Most are well known to the community at large; however, some “hidden” clans, or Invisible Dwaheelies, go to great lengths to hide their existence from the greater world, and even from other dwaheelies..  It is widely believed that these clans are scattered throughout the continent.  There are rumors of clans that secretly influence the decisions made by kings and rulers in an effort to steer the politics of the Tamarran Continent.  The members of these hidden clans often use their Mentarch skills and Powers to ensure that they remain unknown to the general populace.

There is much more to tell of these powerful and oft-times inscrutable members of the Ten Races.  We will tell more stories in blogs to come.

 

The Ten Races: An Introduction to the Ushen

Ushen are most known for their love of nature and their strong desire for individual freedom.  Most ushen prefer to live their lives unfettered by the laws and governance of any nation or state, which is why they are, for the most part, a tribal people. They are the largest of the Ten Races, often standing as high as eight or nine feet, with a hide of coarse fur, bull-like heads and feet, and elegant horns on the heads of both males and females.

Ushen_Final_1

Ushen, like all of the Ten Races, are found in many parts of the Tamarran Continent.  They love the openness of the great plains — Wellinson’s Western Prairie Lands, the Eastern Farms Lands, and the Plains of Frestehal — but they also live in cities and towns throughout Tamarra.  They are not fond of dense forests and mountainous regions.   (Note: point your browser here to see a map of the Tamarran Continent.) The greatest concentration of ushen still live where their tribe originated [1]: throughout the vast grassy Plains of Lochuum in the southern part of the Continent, home to many dozens (some say hundreds) of tribes. If the need arises, the many tribes living here can unite into a massive Ushen Nation…a force to be reckoned with.

An ushen tribe may be as small as 50 -100 or as large as several thousand.  In the latter part of the third millennium, many of the largest ushen groups formed nations that were simply loose confederations of independent tribes.  In ushen culture tribes dominate: they have a remarkable ability to walk away from decisions they do not like.  Only when there is significant danger to them as a larger group can they rally together as a single large nation. One thing they will not walk away from is their land: they are very protective of the property on which they make their homes.  

The ushen desire for freedom is also manifest in the number who live their lives belonging to no tribe.  These ushen call themselves nomads or explorers, although the tribal ushen are not as complimentary, often referring to them as drifters, strays, or even vagabonds.  They keep to themselves, perhaps traveling for a while with a few others of like mind or similar goals.

It was the ushen nomads who started the Great Migration in SP~2,617 [2], when many moved into the cities of the south, and, shortly after, the cities of the north.  It is still not known what precipitated this movement, but there were a number of confrontations between the nomads and the tribes shortly before the Great Migration.  Perhaps the nomads were pushed out of their homes in the Plains of Lochuum by the tribes around them, or a common enemy drove them out.

The ushen who have migrated to cities and to the northern parts of the continent have adapted well to their new surroundings, and have become strong members of society.  However, there is still a great longing among the ushen in the north for their southern “homeland.”  This desire becomes a small movement of its own every three years, when many ushen from the north take one to three months to travel back to the Plains of Lochuum to visit their brethren [3].  Although disagreements may arise, it is a time of many celebrations.


1. The ushen were one of the early races to populate the continent, appearing on the Plains of Lochuum over four millenia ago, when they quickly spread and settled.

2. A Brief Note on the Beyonder calendar:  “SP” is an abbreviation for Time of the “Sovereign Pulse”,  a term given to mark the years of the current time period, the Third Era of of the Fifth Age of the World.  The ushen first appeared a little over six centuries after the beginning of this time period.  The current date is SP~5,016.

3. Finding their way past the Undead that inhabit the middle regions of the continent is a difficult, and dangerous, task.  But, they have their ways…subject of a separate blog.

GERC: Mnemonic Division & Division of Geographic and Fexoanatomical Surveys and Research

The Guild Energetic Research Coalition

The Guild Energetic Research Coalition is commonly referred to as the GERC – that’s GURK, not JERK – and is the largest research organization on Tamarra by a long sight. In the coming months of blog entries we’ll be giving some details of its various and sundry departments. Find below the Mnemonic Division, a Mentarch-heavy group that is the memory of the GERC, and the DGFSR, a rather heftily named group that researches the natural phenomena of the planet.

Mnemonic Division

The Mnemonic Division (“Mnems,” pronounced “nems,” for short) comprises Mentarchs who specialize in memory. Depending on the individual member, this can serve different purposes: some mnems memorize vast libraries of books so that the information therein cannot be easily lost. Others remember and catalogue languages, or song, or any number of other anthropological bodies of knowledge. Many mnems focus on remembering the world around them; skilled mnems could repeat to you, verbatim, a conversation they heard offhand three months ago. They could tell you what color eyes the fourth fish merchant in the market had on the first Tuesday of last year. Truly exceptional members in this group can remember quite literally everything that happens to them, with no gaps in memory even while they’re sleeping – they have a continuous, completely unbroken mnemonic narrative of their lives from the time they achieved this state. A very select few mnems can remember not just what happens to them, but what happens in the area around them – they tap continuously into the consciousnesses of others near them to gain a picture of the world from many perspectives.

Members of the Mnemonic Division also study Powers that allow them to transfer memories to others, so that their collections will not be lost; some members called Vessels act solely as a kind of storage units for the order. They don’t make any effort to remember their own lives, instead absorbing the memories given to them by every other member of the division. Because of this knowledge transfer, mnems who specialize in own-life memory are valuable assets to many GERC divisions, most notably to the Sojourners, a division that deals with exploration of unexplored territories. They can act as living records of everything that expeditions discover while in the field, and transmit this to researchers who weren’t in the field for later analysis.

The current head of the Mnems is Torwwal Vvok, a Naldrin-born dwarf Mentarch. Vvok is intimately involved with both the Sojourners and Acquisitions and Archival; he has spent the past several years working to train expedition-ready journalers, and record the most important works in the Vault in the memories of his division.

Division of Geographic and Fexoanatomical Surveys and Research

The DGFSR – other GERC members usually just call them “Geo” instead of the alphabet soup that is their name – is a group that focuses on mapping and characterizing the so-called anatomy of our planet. Ethem is not just a hunk of dirt and water that we happen to live on; It is a hibernating being from one of the first ages of the universe. It has what Geo has coined “Hearts,” or areas where Energies seem to ebb and surge in regular pulses over the year. A “Lung” has recently been discovered under the Kellith Sea – a pocket of air that somehow stays intact despite being under the pressure of thousands of feet of water. Everyone on Tamarra has heard of the “Spines” that cross the oceans on either side of the continent, creating Energetic turbulence and violent weather that renders them near impassable to ships.

The current division head of Geo is Tesch Hooper, a human Charismatic who had been working in the Energetic Experimental Group – the GERC’s most pointedly pure research group – for years before being promoted directly into the position of Geo division head. While he’s only been there a few years, many Geo researchers resent him for jumping the ranks like that; he is a fairly competent administrator, and is trying to learn about their area of research, but his promotion smacks of internal politicking.

The Guilds of the Tamarran Continent

The Guilds are one of the most powerful forces on the Tamarran continent. They may not have the large armies or lands of a kingdom, or claims to any throne, but they do have exceptionally talented, powerful people, and a scientific method that is continually making them more so.

Even though the Guilds officially stay out of Tamarran politics, they are still a massive organization, and require some serious structure just to run.  Perhaps most importantly, they’ll often be a very important part of your characters’ lives.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions you might have, answer other people’s questions, and just generally discuss. We love to hear what you have to say!

Organization

The Guilds organize themselves in two main way: internally (within a particular Guild), and externally (interactions between the different Guilds). This blog entry is about the internal organization.  

There are three levels of Guildhouse: Central, Regional, and Local.

The Central Guildhouses, which are the headquarters, are located in Tarnath. From here, policy decisions that affect Guildhouses and members across the continent are made. These Guildhouses are the most elaborate on the continent, having been built by the great Samron himself during the height of his power. They are also home to some of Tamarra’s most powerful channels, including The Guild Council, composed of six Channels (one from each Guild) who form the primary governing body of the Guilds.

There are Regional Guildhouses for each Guild.  They oversee the local Guildhouses in their region of the continent:

  • The Inner Sea Guildhouse has jurisdiction over the very southern edge of Tamarra — the Plains of Lochuum, the region of Jowea, and the southern islands. It is located in the city of Riverbend. Since the Stillness War, it has been relatively isolated from the rest of the Guild structure — it is not cut off completely, but it is now considered by many to be something of a “frontier,” and it has been unable to contain an outbreak of sorcery.
  • The Naldrin Guildhouse in Naldrin City has jurisdiction over the western/northwestern part of the continent. Because Naldrin City is the largest and most cosmopolitan city on Tamarra, this Guildhouse has recently argued that the Central Guildhouses should be relocated here, rather than in Tarnath (which they consider a minor city, especially since it is no longer the grand center that it was during Emperor Samron’s time).

 

  • The Northern Guildhouse is located in the capital of the Kingdom of the Szaskar Crawn. It has jurisdiction over the northern parts of the continent, including the Crawn Empire, and the Icy Wastes. This Guildhouse is perhaps the most politically involved of any on the continent, as it has come to a “mutual understanding” with the Crawn government. In exchange for turning a blind eye to sorcerers (frowned on by the Guilds but surreptitiously employed by the King), this Guildhouse receives political and military support in its endeavors. This is a cause of friction between this Guildhouse and the others on the continent.
  • The Eastern Guildhouse, formerly the Quay Guildhouse, has jurisdiction over the center of the continent, including the Plains of Frestehal and the Bay of Perrin. It used to have jurisdiction over the Quay Empire as well, but since that Empire’s de facto destruction in The Stillness War, the territory overseen by this Guildhouse has shrunk considerably. Its influence has shrunk along with it — a definite sore point.

 

The Regional Guildhouses are all well-equipped. It is not uncommon to find powerful Channels here who have overcome the 12th barrier in their Energy and are considered to be amongst the top of their Guilds. The structures themselves contain laboratories, training facilities, and ample security.

The next level down the ladder the are the local Guildhouses. Depending on the size of the town or city in which they are located, these may have anywhere from several powerful channels from each Guild to one or two low-barrier channels from only a few of the Six Guilds.

We will discuss the interactions between the different Guilds (external organization) in a future post.