THE GNOMES OF UDNALOR: Part II
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.
THE GNOMES OF UDNALOR: Part I
Upon entering the deep underrealm of Udnalor, one must first pass through the upper halls, which were the residences of the gnomes in days of past glories. Now they have abandoned the fading tapestries to the worms and moles, and an uncanny silence reigns, laid over the oaken tables like the thick layers of dust and humus.
There may be creatures which now inhabit these areas: nests livid with giant maggots, rats and other vermin.
The watchtowers and passageways which lead to the Overground are frequently trodden, however. After all it takes a great many small humanoids to hoist a single giant rabbit corpse back through the fathoms of earth.
The gnomes primarily hunt giant rabbits with bows and arrows tipped with the subterranean poisons concocted by their best alchemists.
The Forest of Throck:
Throck forest is divided into three parts: a region of twisted black magic, which is dark and hemmed in with the legions of sable pine. This is Spindel, and is occupied by the hideous Ettercaps and their spider-pets. The second area is the chaotic elfin-wood, where the druids work their wyrd magic amongst the oaks. The last part is Udnalor, the home of the gnomes. Finding themselves surrounded by these chaotic forces they dwell as quietly as possible beneath the surface. Their culture is a fascinating one to visit, and in the next few miscellaneous ideas, I shall examine the ways and customs of THE GNOMES OF UDNALOR, with a view to role-playing them.
Small tavern in an out of the way town. Serve a wonderful delicacy that is simply outstanding. It is a creamy white consistancy, sweet, good to eat alone or a sweetener on any dessert.
If the explore or ask they are shown where they get it. They breed a group of large catipillars or some other type of insect that basically spit the product onto a setup that they created for that particular reason. Or maybe the delicacy is the byproduct of feeding them something.
A religious group has a vow of poverty. They have nothing except what is donated to them. Once a day the group walks through the town holding small baskets for offerings. Main purpose is to recieve their food for the day. Most families believe it is good luck to give the group small foods that they can spare. The group is very grateful for the donations and all bow in unison to each that gives a donation much to the amusement of many kids that enjoy giving the donation.
After building a new granary,it is customary to let a rat feast on grain. After that,there is chase and the rat is killed. Failing to catch this rat is a bad omen.
Adventurers are to capture an unknown monster for examination (for a sage or wizard) but they are themselves captured by the monsters, and researched.
A revolt or attack happens against a strong city/kingdom. All the losers of the battle that can be captured are brutally crucified along the roads that enter the kingdom to show their strength and as a demonstration of what happens to their enemies.
Small village tavern specialty of the house is fresh cow blood mixed with milk. For each order they go out back and actually draw blood from a cow by puncturing a vein in it's neck. Fresh blood brought to the table where they poor milk into the glass of blood in front of the customer so they know how much blood they are getting.
In this culture it is not wise to talk too much good things about anything - especially children,lest some evil spirit steals it. So it is customary to say it is ugly and weak and will surely not survive. Also:
"The man who boasts of his young woman is a fool,
The man who boasts of his wares will get rich."
Plant that is likely to produce allergic reactions in almost everybody, even by touch. Usage: medicinal, in very exotic foods, non-lethal traps, disabling opponents (have you ever cut an onion,anyway?), spell components, etc.
The lengthy process to do something necessary or a magical scroll needed is inscribed on the other side of a great tapestry and can't be removed. For more fun it could be in the kings throne room. Try to hide in shadows with a 20*5 (yards/meters) monstrosity!
A local fungus-breed explodes if hit or fallen upon. If there is any conflict between inteligent enemies,both sides are likely to use it to their advantage.
Temple of some malign being invites you warmly and offers help (curing,needed spell etc) for some minor sacrifice . Sacrifices must be everytime bigger to work - up to living inteligent creatures. Maybe you pay some other price,too...
The adventure can take place in a slightly shifted reality, where everybody has a totem (an animal guardian). The totem should be chosen randomly and not by the player, it is ok if "Gorflin the Large," a gigantic and aggressive barbarian, has a mouse for a totem.
These totems will assist the characters in small way. It is up to the characters to determine how to get the assistance; the animals won't solve mysteries for the characters only supply the clues. The character may even have a dream where his or her totem actually speaks to them and reveals some sort of clue.
In the middle of a desert in an oasis is a single prospering oak tree. Near the tree is a large pool of water. Drinking from the water is said to give you eternal life but really only extends your life for as long as you continue drinking from it. Those that have found it and left, have never found it again. Some search for it still.
Some people are linked psychicly and get brief glimpses of each others lives. They will have visions of what the other sees.
After killing certain animals, if you drink their blood while performing a sort of ritual you will have visions and/or gain specific powers for an amount of time.
The size and number of knots in hair, tied around neck, or hanging from belt could signify family, importance, worship, guild affiliations. Being able to translate the meaning of the size and placement of knots can give you a a large understanding of who somebody is.
May be used in a more barbaric society. Where in cities peoples clothes and crests show who they are, barbarians have no need for this so use knots.
Head priests of a order are buried sitting up with their skeletal hand sticking out of the ground so worshippers can still kiss his hand for a blessing.
tuck a small mammel into this 2' box,carry it under your left arm and the little creature takes some damage for ya and some spells cast on you are misdirected to it. If you do't mind the muffled screams!