Sword sharpness is equal to the status and skill of its wielder.
A people who believe it is incredibly impolite to speak to anybody they meet for the first time. They believe their actions should speak for them until they are comfortable in each others presence and can then trust each other. Only then would converstation be appropriate.
During battle/war the heads of all slain are decapitated and collected by the slayer. The slayer will clean them up and put them on display for inspection by the commander. Depending on the deads name, rank, and expression on the face held by the death blow-the slayer will be rewarded by gold and/or status.
Archers never waste arrows in a volley. Always aim for something. To waste an arrow is a great dishonor and if caught will be shamed.
As a new member of a magical organization you get 1-3 magical scrolls to do with them whatever you want. They are unmarked and contain spells you dont know and will only find out at the moment of reading=casting.
A culture has it forbidden to say their rulers name under penalty of death. Anybody in power must be referred to as their title. Comes from the fact that the rule or position can be taken over by anybody from any level in society. To use the title elevates them or brings them down from whatever level they were originally at before they took the position. Respect and authority comes from the position, not from previous life.
City, group, religion; every time a significant event happens to the city/person a new name will be given to signify the event. Could add the names to previous ones like a list of titles or could just be completely changed every time.
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.
When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.
To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.
It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.
The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.
It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.
GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).