Friday, February 14, 2014

the Eldragoths

The Eldragoths represent a competitive culture that exalted fighting, but they have turned their savagery inward and suffered as a result. The Eldragoths are the poorest of the five major human cultures, and also the most savage. Their society spread to the far north following the last Turning, and rather than compete with Athomians and Beastmen for resources they fell into raiding and pillaging most of the settlements they encountered.

The Eldragoths are a divided people, clustered together into nomadic tribes that will hunt game in one area until the population withers, then forced to move on to more populous lands. Whole tribes frequently compete with other Eldragoth tribes for the best resources. A single Eldragoth, either an outcast or one who was dislodged from a role of command, will often fight as a mercenary for other races. The most important thing to an Eldragoth is food, and if fighting for gold or silver brings them food than that is what they do, even though they disdain the use of money as a sign of weakness.

Might makes right in their eyes, and the leader is always the strongest of the tribe. He or she may take whatever they like from the weaker members of the tribe, including life and property. All forms of disputes, as mundane as personal grudges or as inevitable as challenges to leadership, are settled by contests of physical strength - usually fights - and serious grievances involve bloody and prolonged fistfights that don't end until an opponent is bludgeoned to death.

Eldragoths always prefer to fight with their fists and they disdain large weaponry, an Eldragoth will never use a weapon to kill another Eldragoth, even in a tribal conflict. But outsiders should always be wary as Eldragoths have no disdain for picking up knives or bows to slay outsiders. An Eldragoth with a knife is a foe to be feared!

Anyone who is unable to fight or hunt is considered useless and will become an outcast. One who fights and loses is not considered dishonorable, but just of a lower station than one who wins. The children of these Eldragoth tribes learn how to fight at an early age, or they die. A few tribes will abandon their weaker children, these few usually become slaves to other tribes, or in worse cases become victims of the Beastmen.

No single tribe worships a god or pantheon of deities, but each seems to have their own form of religion revolving around the worship of nature spirits. These spirits often have elaborate names that are never pronounced the same way twice. The spirits across various tribes all have one thing in common, they respond to blood. The greater the sacrifice of blood, the greater the boon.

Eldragoths have spread out farther from the northern plains, and have not localized to one area for at least 140 years. Some tribes are spotted as far west as the Black Plateau. They hunt anything with meat on it, and it is an acknowledged fact that a few tribes have turned to cannibalism, willing to hunt other humans or dwarves when food is scarce. They don't ever seem to eat each other, just as they don't kill each other. An important facet of Eldragoth culture that must be remembered by anybody who wishes to hire one as a bodyguard or soldier.