The Local Maroons
Chapter 2: The Local Maroons
When we first arrived to the area now known as Red Dock City, we were drawn in to beach our ship near the ruins here. The men were all in a nervous fit as we could see what we thought were people among the hovels of rock. There were no docks suitable for a ship of our size, all that were maintained here were small canoe like vessels, the mighty satisfying breast of my Skimming Star would have crushed their pathetic floating boardwalk.
The adventure to ensue once my feet touched the ground of my new found land is known throughout the world by now, with years of intricate history to recount, and I'll not distract into that now. Satisfactory to say that I know the creatures that live here on this island were all stranded, marooned, shipwrecked, or possibly in some other way magically bamboozled on this island mass.
The things we thought were people were actually a little race of ruddy brown skinned gnomes. Their eyes seemed metallic colors, bronze, copper, silver, gold. Hair in browns, black, or grays. The shortest of Adults I've seen was barely 2 feet in height, while the tallest stood nearly to four. “Puq'hem'ta” they called themselves. Pronounced, “Pook em'Ta'” or “Pooki”, this means, “Children of Pride” in Giths Jat. Certainly, we were curious why they would be proud, but I was told that they say they were once great but pride cost them everything – left them on the storm stricken shores of the wall. I was satisfied with their plight but there was never any evidence they were ever great in the first place. The biggest revelation would come near a decade later. Magical divination by the Royal Elven Wizards determined the “Puq'hem'ta” were none other than common Desert Gnomes, nearly identical to the Desert Gnomes of the known Worlds. So, as you can see, somehow these people were indeed “great” enough to have ships to sustain them long enough to end up marooned here on the storm ridden beaches of Arvandor Shield.
The Githzerai and the Githyanki, collectively known as Giths worldwide, we first found them here in the small passes traversed crossing the great land shield. Wherever these things turn up, they bring their civil war along with them. Claiming heritage from a Dimension “beyond” that of us true beings, these green-skinned humanoids always live in close knit communities, their telepathic abilities and physical prowess make them prone to secret societies and agendas. Generally taller and slimmer than Men, they come in similar ranges of size. Eyes in shades of Greens, Yellows, and Browns. Hair usually runs dark, black, deep red, or even the uncommon purple. They have long lizard like protrusions near their ears as well as flat odd noses. Obsessed with their “natural” abilities, they separate themselves as Githzerai – of the Mind, and the Githyanki – of the Body. Though I am told their hatred for one another goes back to their folktales of an “Astral” history. The Gith also claim greatness, only so far as to say they left this “primitive” world long ago. Eventually the Githzerai. “Those who Spurn Gith” were formed, rebelling and seeking to re-inhabit our real world. The Githyanki not only seek to punish the Githzerai for betraying their people, but the local Giths here also blame each other for being stranded in this land.
Once again, as we can see, there is satisfying evidence that the Giths of Arvandor Shield were just another outcast group of immigrants, tossed to the sea and forgotten. Given the time and isolation, being the most capable race on the island, they reproduced in large numbers and spread into villages throughout the mountain tops. The early Gith savages were so obsessed with “reclaiming their former glory”, that they designed crafts based on sail ships, birds and alchemical trickery. Most likely trying to mimic birds in some shamanic fashion, this developed into the wonder of sky vessels. With a unique form of sailing the winds while hanging from floating sacks, I am not ashamed to say that I was a little impressed. I am satisfied to say now that with the ingenuity of man and the knowledge of elves – we now have the miracle of Airships here in Arvandor Shield.
Bird people. Coming many different beak, feather, talon styles, shapes and sizes, the Aarokocra are also known to the world. The society we arrived to had the Bird folk as a race enslaved to the Giths, a standing which has since changed. The Aarokocra now enjoy the protection and equal right at the chance of Citizenship from the Empire. Simply called “bo'deg”, which is Giths Jat for “bird”, they now prefer to be called the correct globally collective name of Aarakocra. The word Bodeg is now considered an insult, the term for the poor areas of a town, and still the word for local natural birds.
The Aarakocra of Arvandor Shield are typically in orange, yellow, and red feathers; blue and green feathers can be seen on a few of the mountains deeper inland. Being a winged animal, there's no telling where all in the world they could have spread. I have also considered a possible link to the Giths arrival. Both being an egg-laying species of humanoids, it's possible they hold a common ancestor and a racially exclusive grand scheme, this could certainly satisfy a number of theories regarding the Aarakocra / Gith relationship.
The Insect creatures of the jungle caves are called, “Qunghew” or “Pit Bugs”. Ranging from 3 to 5 feet tall, they are covered in an outer shell of green or brown, very thin limbs, a pincer mouth, and sometimes multiple sets of antennae. Apparently if certain nutritional needs are met during the gestation period, a Qunghew will be hatched with a set of wings. Now calling themselves by the Imperial standard as well, the Kreen consider their winged kind to be the most attractive. Certainly this makes sense from a breeding point of view, seeking traits the most desirable to the survival of the species. Not much rationalization needs to happen here as they are an insect race. Eggs passed on as easy as the roaches, fleas, or termites brought over on our own ships.
Large, violent, mindless Frog beasts, I only list them here for their sheer size and destructive power. Completely lacking an organization or society, these slimy smooth skinned swamp dwellers seem to thrive on chaos. Locally known as “Puh'hohs”, or “Land Sharks”, they come in many breeds with different natural predatory skills. Explorers would identify the Land Sharks as the monstrous Slaadi. Slaads seem to share a kinship with Dragons, as the color of their skin is their key identifying mark.
Blue skinned slaads have an electric stinging skin and bite.
Green skinned slaads are poisonous and can belch noxious gasses.
Black skinned slaads are the most vicious, territorial and violent. Living in the most putrid swamps, their bite is acidic.
The last of the prominent species' of Arvandor Shield is the most disgusting. Likely brought along with the Pooki Gnomes, as they're the desert sub-species of both Gnomes and Trolls respectively. This fact is denied by the Puq'hem'ta themselves, despite the satisfactory evidence.
The Wasteland Troll has lamer regenerative qualities to their typical forest, and swamp troll cousins. This is made up for with a thick layer of boiled scales of armor that can grow along their shoulders, back, arms, legs and head. Standing as large as Men and up to twice that size, the trolls have thankfully retreated deep into the Tucklands. A forbidden forest county near the center of the continent. Avoid the ruins and labyrinthian jungles, and I'm satisfied to say you'll likely never see a Troll in Arvandor Shield.