(still a bit incomplete)
See also:Arascan Burial Customs AviontixHiberian Funeral CustomsDungeon MastersWelcome to another lesson of Dungeon lore. I see a few are missing... oh, and sorry for your hand, Rothgar. I won't repeat it anymore: You all should pay more attention!
The Pelezians, or "clay people" were strongly bound to the earth. In fertile plains and valleys they lived their happy existence, peaceful, yet ever on their guard. Many nomadic attackers they defeated, until a different enemy came; their advanced technology and weapons (and magic) were beyond the skills of defenders. One-by-one their settlements fell, until the clay people were not more.
To the greedy students of the past, their heritage is but not forgotten.Technology:
The most prominent feature of their culture was indeed clay. Whether baked or dried bricks, their houses were built of it, their pottery was of unrivaled quality even long afterwards. Their greatest weakness was not knowing the secret of metal. While sure above the primitives around, they somehow failed to harness gold, copper or iron. Some claim it had religious reasons, but I fear the truth won't be known anymore.
As for weaponry, the Palezzians valued bows at most, and these weapons were treasured highly. Sadly, few of the quality bows are still usable.Architecture:
A single building was a small cuboid thing, but most families had several, a settlement thus had many. One leaning on another, some built on the top of others, a very compact village it was. While a bit cramped, it offered excellent defense in its time: to the outside there were no windows or doors, alarmed defenders simply pulled the ladders up, the attackers now facing a bare wall and a rain of arrows. Good protection against nomads on horse or feet, but certainly no match for siege engines of today.
(A few images of buildings of native american people would do fine here...)
Primitive as they may look to us, they were skilled at using water, each village was connected to nearby springs, each house with own fresh water and drainage. Once an enterprising robber, err, I mean explorer took the pains to dig out all the pipes of a lost city, and made an excellent business. It is said these pipes serve until today.
Of still greater importance were their waterworks - the canals, pools and dams secured water; it appears the climate used to be much more dry then. Treasures:
Their love for pearls made them hoard it, and keep in hidden places. While used in some ritual context (the dead were often buried with pearls), they were most probably used as currency for significant deals. They collected other gems and precious stones, but always kept them raw. It seems the art of gem-cutting escaped them, too.
Their artwork is still valued today - especially the black pottery, the secret of its production long lost, can fetch a nice sum. Small baked figurines are perhaps the most common find, one or more in each room can be expected, depicting scenes from their life. As their quality varies, it appears that even small children were expected to make them. The figurines may have a ritual meaning as well, some dead can be found clutching them in their hands. Actual statues are rare.Afterlife
As for Afterlife beliefs, theirs was a strongly spiritualistic world view. With spirits influencing their daily life, they relied on their ancestors for guidance and protection. To keep their Dead close to our world, they built graves for the body, and homes for the spirit, two in one. Dungeon Construction
The graves were usually built in caves, or at least close to a solid stone wall. Built from baked and dried bricks, walls are often easy to tear down, or even forced like a door! But that is not always a good idea. (We will speak of traps in a moment.)
Layout - numerous small rooms and corridors, creating intricate layouts; there exist half-secret passages leading nowhere. Many walls can be easily collapsed, though it is not always a good idea. Cave-ins are a real danger, traps are also very possible. Traps:
Pelezzians are remembered as the inventors of Alchemy. Knowing well that graves tend to be ambushed, they prepared many mechanical and other traps for unwelcome visitors. Yes, things can catch on fire mysteriously. And yes, some containers explode when opened.
The worst is a strange gas without scent (with a greenish colour if concentrated), it irritates skin, eyes and the nose, leaving you crying, half blind and disoriented. The gas was often filled into eggs, which were carefully built into walls. So if you tear down any wall, be careful, and wear some protection. No, Rothgar, a shield won't do. Luckily not all tombs are equipped in this way.
Rarely, the whole complex can be suddenly filled with water. Think of what happens with all those dried mud bricks around...Special Features
One especially annoying feature of their architecture has a simple cause: spirits are not hindered by matter, right? Many times, a fancy carved stone door or window is only solid rock, a foot or more strong stone is hard to overcome for many an explorer. The room behind such a 'door' was digged and furnished from some other side, surely walled up now.
Part II: shall be a gigantic temple/burial area - no interior at all, all bodies were covered with stones, each grave enlarging the temple. Possibly great treasures, but it would take years, even centuries to remove all the stones.