A post that was a long time in comming. It has such potential that is disappoints. Formatting errors aside, it has spelling and punctuation errors. (Can you EVER put a space after a comma or period? The few places you do it seems almost accidental.) It seems like this escaped from the working space too early.
However, this is the key post for an entire set of posts. You call it the Land Of The Eshal after all!
The Eshal are so "alien" to common experience, you need to heap and heap explanation and examples so people have a real understanding of what they are and how they live. This write up is spartan in that area.
A couple of questions and observations...
Quadraped or Biped? So these people can carry no items while on land? (Except maybe in pockets?) Do they "walk" often, then have a burst of speed as a quadraped? And robes and kilts not very useful to 4 footed walkers.
The paragraph that starts "The average Eshal is twelve to fifteen feet long, and " should come before the talk of various locomotions. It makes sense that we know what we are talking about before you tell me how it moves.
Differences between males and females?
Can you give me an idea what these people look like? Are various castes different colors? Eyes are like? Do they have a narrow ant eater like snout? A broad flat mouth like a salamander or frog? What Terrestrial Animal do they most resemble?
Senses: Do these people have the same senses as humans? Is anything more important to them (like smell, as sight is useless in their aquatic dens). Echolocation? Sense heat? Since sight is not too important in a fairly aquatic environment, why does their clothing have specific color associations?
If there are only three castes, why not tell us exactly what their variations are? (What is the priest's variation?) Or does each profession has its own mutation? So the hands of a ceramics maker are different than one that cuts wood? You imply one, but don't explain clearly.
The section on drying out might be more useful towards the beginning instead of appended onto another paragraph.
Do these people have a stone age culture? How much building do they do? Where do the Dens okay. Other buildings or do they have a society based on dug out holes?
Do they have fire? And you can't make plaster without it (unless they are obscenely lucky and know where certain minerals are... but you make no mention of mining).
You need to expand the explanation of their lands, so people really understand about the swampy lands and the transitions about their aquatic lives. You make it seem, in parts, like they live above water almost all the time. Then the home life is totally aquatic.
The section on the Matriarch might be better placed after the section of Society. One is a better lead into the other. (The matriarch section makes more sense after we know about their society a little).
So females can generally be "forced to have intercourse" when ever a male feels the need? How willing are they? Do they just submit? do they have urges either, or is this just a case of "let them have their way and it will be over faster"? Or are they just horny all the time?
Clothing section might go better after the appearance section.
What do merchants and craftsmen wear? They do not have extra "items" to trade for more clothing to show their status? Is their nakedness just a caste enforced rule?
Why are they all not wearing hooded cloaks to avoid "drying out" when on the surface. They should look like Bedouins in loose fitting robes to avoid drying out and cancer from sun damaged skins (like frogs).
Domestic life might go better between the Society (and matriarch section) and Finance section (Call it economics or trade, these people do not do finance). This way we know people have a better understanding and the ideas lead into each other.
Cooking, such that it is, is done on the surface? (hard to marinate food underwater). Yet the house is underwater (and seemingly submerged). So all houses have a storage room and a kitchen up top? Should not all houses be "split level" with sections above and below the waterline? It looks like you have cooking... and if there is soup, then people eat above water? So there is a dinning room on the surface?
Houses (and other buildings) obviously need to be better described. And do they have "other buildings?" or is everything just done in people's houses? Is there any light in there? Are their openings in the roof to let light (and other things) in (like a beaver den)? Are there fires (oh wait, they are totally submerged, might want to fix that). Or do they exist in the dark with echolocation?
Do the Eschal manage the water level? If something happens and the water level rises or lowers (beyond tidal forcess) do they just abandon the area or create a damm/ dyke?
Religion: We have a priestly caste, but no mention of religion's beliefs, worship, or anything. It seems the priests are nothing more than administrators for trade and their nobility telling people what to do. Why call them priests then? Or how about the Link to the existing duties post?
Language: How do they communicate? Does their language work the same above and below the water? Are their two tongues? Are they telepathic. Not mentioned anywhere?
Agriculture? Are they hunters/ gatherers? Do they "ranch" fish in ponds and pools? Any domesticated land animals or other aquatics? Do they have grain fields on the dry land (or rice, since that is a semi-aquatic plant)? They must grow something of how do they have cloth to make those priests and warrior robes and kilts? Or do they trade with other races to get that?
An ambitious explanation of an amphibious people. The otherwise noted problems aside, any sub that makes such an attempt to outline the unique characteristics of a race in such detail is worthy of a thumbs up in my mind. Go to Comment
Have to echo the prior comments - and in my opinion, the punctuation especially needs to be addressed. There are a lot of text-editors (some freeware) which with a little work with regular expressions could correct these en-mass. Go to Comment
This is a post of such significance to the setting, with so much information, that you might want to break off some sections into separate posts, then make them into a codex. It's already a substantial post, so considering Moonhunter's suggested additions, it might be easier to tackle in smaller chunks. Go to Comment
Having left the hush of the upper halls, and crossed the depths of the Braeth (an underground river, which is not all that deep because bear in mind we're talking about gnomes here), you would find yourself in Wattling Street, the main road through Udnalor. It's actually a long, well-worn passageway which opens out eventually into the City Centre. The gnome-buildings branch off Wattling Street as small burrows or caverns with boulder-blocked doorways for privacy. You can find armourers and smiths (though their armour tends to be on the small side for humans to buy) and many other types of trader.
There are many streets, ginnels and cooies which run off Wattling Street, the most famous probably being Smell Street, the domain of the infamous gnomish alchemists, the eponymous smell being very distinctive: the stench of cooking fungus, the aroma of subterranean spices, the pungent reek of rotting carcasses (used in some of the more notorious experiments). An encounter with an alchemist can really be spiced up (excuse the pun) if you have a well-stocked herb cupboard, and actually make up the potions, elixirs and draughts as they are ordered by characters.