following is a guide on the many and diverse cultures found in Octhania.
Eonian Humans - The Octhanians tend to range in alignment from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Neutral. They are generally a good, honest folk with strong ideas about freedom and tolerance. They form tight-nit communities in their towns and tend to frown on the idea of outside help. Most cities are protected by their own constables hired within the city itself. The mainstream religion of the Octhanians is the Divine Sibling Trinity Church, although it's not at all uncommon to find many different faiths among the Octhanian people. In Octhania, coins are crafted with a slightly oval shape and have slits down the middle of them. Because of this, some people will string their coins together to form a necklace or bracelet, and thus 'wear' their money. This can be done with Octhanian coppers, silvers and golds.
Barbarian Humans - The barbarians live in the two mountain ranges of Octhania. The Shunn Tribe (also known as the Bear Tribe) dwells in the Shunnen Mountains and the Darsh Tribe (also known as the Eagle Tribe) dwell in the Darshee Mountains. Barbarians tend to hover around the Chaotic Neutral alignment. They govern themselves and scoff at the laws and restrictions of 'civilization.' Both tribes have their own superstitions and religions. For instance, in the Bear Tribe, women are not allowed to hold office and in the Eagle Tribe, it is customary for a man to defeat his beloved's father in battle before a wedding is allowed.
Hairfoot Halflings - Most halflings are homebodies, and feel perfectly compelled to stay in the (relative) safety of the Central Frontier. Some, though, just like humans, can feel the pull of the sea and go adventuring on the ocean. Halflings don't generally have their own ships, so they usually serve on human ships. Most of the time, they are stationed as look-outs or chefs or brewers. They tend to stay close to the Neutral Good side of the alignment spectrum.
Gnomes - Like halflings, gnomes try and find haven in the Frontier. Some do find the ocean and its inhabitants fascinating and like to study it. Unfortunately, human crews believe having a gnome on board is the worst possible bad luck. This superstition is so strong, even Lawful Good crews have been known to throw gnomes overboard just to spare themselves nature's wrath. As a result, many gnomes will disguise themselves as Fangar or Halflings using illusions and heavy clothing to get aboard ships. Some stowaway, as well. Some gnomes have been working on their own watercraft--small boats that are propelled through the water at amazing speed by large oscillating devices known as 'fans.' They're still in the prototype stage, though, and can't carry more than a couple of gnomes at a time. There's been talk for years about building a "Deep Sea Research Facility", but so far it's nothing but blue prints and theories.
Fangar Dwarves - Fangar merchants are quiet commonplace on Octhania's high seas. The Fangar Federation Guild (FFG) is a global merchant's guild that spreads to all five kingdoms, including Octhania. FFG ships are usually cargo ships with larger than normal storage capacity and built with dwarf height and weight into consideration. They are not official Octhania ships, and therefore do not require at least one Blue Tsunami on board at all times (like other ships). They are also given immunity to Octhanian taxes. Fangar trade routes can go from port to port and even to different kingdoms. The Octhanian FFG Headquarters is in Heaven Island. Heaven Island boasts a magnificent bazaar known only as "Frenor's Paradise." An old saying goes, "If you can't find it in Heaven Island, then you can't find it anywhere." Fangar also have trade routes for Immerfort, Griffos and Chen. They will buy, sell, and trade just about anything from arms, spices, textiles, ores, and of course--spirits.
Orcs - In the Central Frontier, south of Hillos Forest, is where the Orcs make their home. They are of the Blood Boar Tribe. No one is sure if the orcs migrated to Octhania from elsewhere or were always here. But they have been around since before recorded history. Originally they lived in the Shunnen Mountains. However, the humans came and chased them out. This was known as the Barbarian Wars. As a result, Orcs hate Barbarians quite passionately. They accuse the barbarians of not only stealing their home, but their culture. The Orcish gods are very similar to those of the Barbarians. And even their language sounds somewhat the same. The Orcs once held the Oct'kraz, the God Axe. They believed it was the weapon of their main god, Daruum. All attempts to retrieve the axe have failed, though. The Blood Boar Orcs tend to keep to themselves and will attack anyone who enters their territory without permission. It's said they have built quite an impressive stronghold there and their numbers range between 150 and 200. They're generally so busy defending their borders from the Lizardmen that they leave the nearby human and halfling colonies alone.
Lizardmen - The Lizardmen can be found in the Mishkas Swamplands, directly south of the Blood Boar Orc territory. The two tribes often war with each other; usually minor skirmishes over food, resources, and slaves. The Lizardmen worship a single god known as "Sevasius" who is known as the "Black Night" or the "Burning Darkness." It's said Sevasius resides at the bottom of the swamps and guards and protects his people, the lizardmen. They often sacrifice treasure (usually coins) and meat (usually slaves) by throwing them into the swamps. (Treasure Hunters have often wondered just how many coins now lay at the bottom of these swamps). In tribute to their god, Lizardmen shaman usually paint their entire bodies black, thus easily distinguishing themselves from their brethren. It's said that their numbers only range at around 100. Yet they manage to keep the Orcs at bay because their tough skin and ferocious battle techniques make up for their lack of numbers.
Ogres - The Darshee Ogres live up in the mountains that bare the same name. Because of this, traveling into the mountains is a very dangerous path, although through the mountains is quite different. The ogres don't seem to care at all about the Darshee mines, so long as the top of the mountains are not disturbed. The Ogres worship their chieftain as if he were a god. Their current chieftain is named Timmbo. The god-king rules with divine power and is passed on from father to son. If a chieftain is unable to bear a son, then another ogre is chosen to take his place (this is very rare, as the chieftain has the right to mate with any and every female he wishes, even those mated to other ogres). They often come down from their mountain homes to raid nearby human communities such as Wallark (although they try and pick smaller and less defended areas). In fact, part of the ogre 'rite of passage' is to send their recently matured men to raid a town. If they can bring back something (or someone) particularly valuable, they are then considered full grown men and warriors of the tribe. It's said there are only about 30-50 ogres in the mountains.
Corloin Gnolls - About 130 nautical miles off the shores of A'naka are a small chain of islands (the Corloin chain) inhabited by a group of gnolls. There are five islands in the Corloin chain. Most of the gnolls (about 1300) live on the largest island. Their houses are made of wood, although a few are made of stone. They are all built by slave labor. Their Flind is the high priest of Ruse. These gnolls migrated from Gontoria right after the Carnage War (in the year 3) and took up residence in these islands. As the world was in chaos, no one really stopped them. Previously, these islands were part of Octhania and were known as the Coral Drake Islands. They were called this because they were inhabited by a large number of coral drakes. The gnolls came in and wiped them all out. Using their rare horns, they began to trade with the FFG and other nearby cultures to help build their new society. This was only for a short time before they took up pirating. Gnolls will now attack any ship that comes into 'their' territory, even FFG. As a result, the FFG will not trade with them any longer.
Corloin gnolls are different from their eastern cousins. For one, while the typical Gontorian gnoll has green or yellow fur, Corloin gnolls almost exclusively have blue fur. Secondly, Corloin gnolls are tritheistic--they have three gods, and Pyr is not among them. They worship Ruse first and foremost. They also worship two 'hero-gods' from their culture, Corloin (god of luck and the sea) and Vallos (god of combat). The Corloin gnolls took to the sea quite easily, and even learned how to build their own ships (mostly of Viking design). They engage in piracy to keep their civilization going and will attack anyone who comes near their islands. As you might imagine, the BT aren't happy with this. Shortly after the Renosia war was won, the Blue Tsunami sent a fleet to take care of the Corloin gnolls. This resulted in a stalemate, with both sides taking heavy losses. The BT had to retreat. Since then, they have been unable to send a large enough fleet to try again, because the moment they do, Renosia will swoop in and take the undefended flank of the kingdom.
The gnolls were able to survive this battle (which they called "the blue battle") because of their secret weapon--Primals. Primals are lycanthropic gnolls that have been 'blessed' by Ruse. They are extremely dangerous. The 'curse' of Lycanthropy is seen as a blessing to the Corloin gnolls. It is a true gift from the moon goddess, as it removes all sense of thought and emotion; so that all is left is instinct. Thus, Primals are highly revered and it's considered the highest honor to become one. Only the best of the best are allowed this privilege. The strain of Lycanthropy that creates Primals is unique and created by the gnolls. It is one of their guarded secrets, along with the gnollbar weapon. It can only be placed on a gnoll and it cannot be spread. (That is, being bitten or scratched by a Primal, even if you are a gnoll, will not inflict you with the Lycanthropy.) Once a Primal is 'blessed' with the disease (by a high ranking priest of Ruse), no notable change occurs at first. However, whenever touched by the light of the full red moon, they will under go 'the change.' They grow in size, becoming very bulky and muscular--roughly the size of a large grizzly bear. Spikes will protrude from their back and their jaw nearly doubles in size (as do their teeth and claws). In this form, Primals have the same immunities as typical lycanthropes (in that they can only be harmed by silver or magical weapons). Primals are generally reserved for very big battles or for wars. It's a common tactic to have several Primals board an enemy ship, and then to have a cleric cast Moonbeam on the deck. The Corloin gnolls believe that if you cook a gnome just right, it'll grant you three wishes. They're very superstitious and do not like sorcery at all. Also, the Corloin gnolls number in about 2000. There are also about 1000 non-gnolls there, mostly slaves. Most of their culture is assimilated from their slaves.
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