Many a curious mage and alchemist has pounded fruitlessly upon the door to Wipp’s abode. He ignores all such attempts at first. Most go away after a time. If they catch him while he is out tending his garden or if they are especially persistent, he will respond in exasperation by shaking his head and pointing toward the town. As a last resort, he will sick his hounds upon the interloper. The hounds first work to intimidate and will only attack if pressed.
Few test the mettle of Wipp’s hounds, for they are the size of bulls and made of animated crystal. One is of dark amethyst, the other formed of rose quartz. Both are well armored, with abnormally hard crystalline hides, and well armed, with teeth and claws like unbreakable glass daggers. They are always on guard and cannot be fooled.
These hounds are a type of golem created from the larger of Wipp’s sculptures. With the proper powers and incantations, these finely detailed sculptures can be brought to animated life. A passing wizard managed to broker a deal through the town merchants, giving him a statue of his own in exchange for animating the hounds, one of the very few trades of this sort that Wipp has ever done.
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Crystal golems are of low intelligence and will follow only the simplest of commands. They are, however, completely loyal and immune to any enchantments which affect the living. Once animated, their finely sculpted forms come to fully to life. They are perfectly mobile and display no jerkiness in their motions.
Though none know of Wipp’s origins, there has been no end of speculation among the townsfolk.
Some believe him to be a man cursed by the gods to understand only his craft and nothing else. Such folk believe that that is why the gods took his speech; one does not need to speak in order to work. Many a fanciful tale has been spun to fit this idea. Perhaps, they say, he was a craftsman who became too proud of his own skill and tempted the wrath of the gods by comparing himself to them. What better punishment than to make him incapable of anything else? One variation on this theory is that he was once a minor god who showed disrespect to the greater gods and was banished to the mortal world for his hubris.
Others find it more likely that he is but a strange alchemist whose forays into the understanding of his crystal art led to a mutation of his physical form. Perhaps, these say, he was always so devoted to his craft that the compounds he constantly works with destroyed his ability to speak and then twisted his mind so that he can no longer connect with other men.
There are those who believe he is a bastard child of some giant race mixed with human blood. The theory goes that a bizarre combination of human curiosity and giant affinity for stone gave him a unique perspective on mineral life but no way to understand either his giant or human sides. Others say that rather than being a mix of giant and human, he is actually a demigod, and they spout off half-a-dozen gods whose essence could mix with humanity to produce such a creature.
Speculation remains limited to Ulanta, as few in the outside world have any notion of Wipp. The local merchants are well aware of what a goldmine they have in him. When they carry his wares to trade with the wider world, they make up tales of exotic merchants from far away and bemoan the high cost of purchasing these phenomenal works of art.
Very informative. While I've had a vague notion of what some of those terms meant, it is nice to have it spelled out for me with good examples that really make it easy to grasp.
Having Common in games has always been a useful device for sidestepping problems that could overly complicate things, but it's always seemed a little too generic. But looking at this, I can see how there could be a common language that is based around the dominant political power and give more flavor in the process.
Quite brutal. It paints a pretty strong picture of the overall culture. I imagine a particularly paranoid ruler might get a little overzealous in defining what makes a criminal in order to be sure enough deaths occur. I wonder if these executions actually make a difference? The first success against the dragon was done through subterfuge but perhaps these executions have already been accounted for.
Count me among those intrigued. The core idea grabbed my attention right away. There are a lot of ways this can be developed and I am particularly fond of subs that get my wheels turning.
The second-to-last paragraph just confused me, though (not that that's a difficult task) and would probably be better replaced with more concrete examples added as idea scrolls.