Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pellatarrum: The Lesser Races

Part 3: The Lesser Races
And so it was that after the creation of Pellatarrum, each of the former slave races -- now the elder races in this new world -- went their separate ways, seeking only to create a new life for themselves in peace.

Which is a polite way of saying they hated each other, and the tenuous alliance needed to create the new Material Plane was now gone for good.

The Dwarves claimed the Dayspire as their own, and to this day it is their ur-kingdom and cultural center. The Elves disappeared into the seas, though a cultural schism resulted in some of their number relocating to the forests. The Orcs claimed the hills and crags, and the Dragons disappeared into the skies of whatever climate they found most favorable.

So having accomplished their grandest goals and living in a paradise of their own making, it's only natural that they would wage war against each other.

It's easy to blame the Orcs, but they were creatures of fire, whose nature is to consume and destroy without regard for consequences. They created the Goblinoid races as servitors and foot soldiers, and within a few years had amassed an army which numbered greater than the other races combined. Their intent was to drive all non-Orcs from Pellatarrum and claim it for themselves alone.

There was some opposition to this, as you might expect, but the remaining races were too few in number to contest the Fire Horde. Their only salvation lay in another alliance, and yet they could not tolerate the others enough to engage in any form of diplomacy, so each elder race created their own servitors to act as couriers, diplomats, go-betweens and assistants.

The Dragons, fewest in number of all the races, created Kobolds to represent them in council and guard their treasure and eggs when not in their lairs.

Elves created the Gnomes specifically to parlay with Dwarves. Short in stature and comfortable underground, yet also inherently magical and full of whimsy, they proved ideal for this task.

Similarly the Dwarves sought to find common ground with the Elves, and so created Humans. Shorter than Elves but taller than Dwarves, they could comfortably talk to both, balancing Dwarven practicality with Elven emotion.

Thusly united under a common banner and able to communicate effectively, the races of air, earth and water shattered the people of fire, slaughtering the Orc leaders and destroying their capital. To this day, the Orcs remain a broken people, still driven to fight and consume but without a unifying culture or history. They squabble amongst themselves, and even their former servitor races oppose them.

The other races, not wishing to have history repeat itself yet again, emancipated their servitor races once they were numerous enough to develop their own society and culture. For the most part, the Gnomes and Humans remain on good terms with their parents, though there is the occasional disagreement. Kobolds, on the other hand, promptly re-enslaved themselves to their Draconic patrons. The only reason that free Kobolds exist today is because there are far more of them than there are Dragons to give them orders.

No one knows where or how Halflings were created. They just appeared one day, shortly after the Fire War. Scholars theorize they may be a Gnome-Human hybrid, but experimentation seems to prove that the two races are not interfertile. The Halflings themselves believe they were created along with Pellatarrum itself, incarnations of the cooperative spirit needed to create the world and the desire for contentment shared by all races. As such they are more than happy to share "their" world with the other races, but remain quietly confident that they will eventually inherit it all.


3 comments:

DemonicBunny said...

How does this reflect on the age of any individual race?

While most mythologies have Dragons, Elves and dwarves as long lived races Orcs are sort of half-half, either being as immortal as elves (in some of the versions where they're based on elves) and in others being very short lived (having even shorter lives than humans).
IMHO anything would work for Pellatarum Orcs. On one side they're an elder race and could be very long-lived (the fire in their heart sustains them!). On the other they could be very short lived (the fire consumes).

Kenneth Raymond said...

Heh. Reminded of a fan-made creation myth for the D&D races. The gods came together and had a neutral arbiter judge and "balance" their creations: the elf gods demanded magic and swordplay and beauty and longevity and nature and on and on, so the arbiter declared they'd have weak spirits away from their places of power, and never be numerous. The human creator demanded an industrious and numerous race to act as his slaves, and so the arbiter declared that freedom would burn bright in them and they'd cast off all shackles, including their god's, to the point they'd eventually forget that god.

The halfling goddess smirks and says, "I want people who are short, funny-looking, and unambitious." The arbiter agrees and says that someday they'll rule the planes with an iron fist.

DemonicBunny said...

It's also pretty cool that Elves are water based (instead of the usual association with the element of air).

Does that mean that in Pellatarum the center for Elven civilization is basically...Mer-elves?? (Or maybe Merfolk are the real elves with what we view as elves merely being a rebellious, and strangely shaped, offshoot?)

Does this in any way reflect on the culture and physiology of forest elves? Can they breathe underwater?

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