The River Folk
The Gudhuhl are a primitive folk, most consider to be backwards in their thinking and mode of living. Rather than tend proper crops and raise livestock, the Gudhuhl live along the banks of the Lithe Erith river system. This are is known for large still lakes and ponds and a myriad of rivers and streams that all drain into a boggy swamp. Some miles later the entire stinking mess drains mercifully into the sea. They are not true river folk, as they do not live on the water, or even have boats larger than rafts of lashed together logs.
The primary source of food for the tribe comes in the form of river catfish and carp. These bottom feeding fish breed in large numbers and make muddy wallows for their breeding. The tribe knows that after the eggs have been laid, the adults are fair game. It has become a sport among the tribe to see who can pull the largest fish from it’s den. The locals who deal with the tribe have long since called this ‘sport’ guddling, a mockery of the tribe’s name.
Barbarians on the Water
Being hunters and foragers, most people consider the Gudhuhl to be barbarians of the rankest order. They are often filthy, poor tempered, and ill-educated, and when times are lean on the water, they enter the townships along the river like a plague of river rats. There are several factors that mark the Gudhuhls as being barbarians and outsiders. The most prominent factor, after their muddled stench, is that they speak a pidgin form of the common dialect. This swamp talk uses a smattering of common words, but uses just as many trollish and goblin invectives as not. To a common person in a village, their language sounds like a horrible mish-mash, using gutteral alien sounds and mockeries of the common lingo.
the Gudhuhl worship a variety of deities, all of which are minor at best:
Gahnam, the Watery Watcher is the most potent of the Gudhuhl divinities and is the patron spirit of the Lithe Erith river. The spirit manifests as a half man half catfish form and carries a trident made of barbel whiskers and riverwood. The spirit demands offerings of liquor, burnt flesh, and for the maidens of the tribe to loose their virginity in the river itself.
Namal, the Mistress of the Hidden Scale is the patron of fresh water fish, and one frequently given tribute by the tribe. They throw a great amount of refuse into the river as offerings to her, and her consorts the great river fish. Namal is rarely seen, but when she is she appears as an older woman with large pendulous breasts, long black hair, and her lower body is the form of a catfish’s tail. She is nominally Gahnam’s spouse, but this is a fabrication of the tribe as Namal generally considers the Watery Watcher to be a voyeur and tyrant.
Gahntomek, of the Iron Fin is the defender of the Gudhuhl tribe and conveys upon them his protection. This protection generally comes in the form of speaking wisdom to the shamans of the folk as well as leading promising warriors on vision quests under the murky waters of the river. Appearing as a hybrid of man, crocodile, and catfish, Gahntomek is perhaps the strangest of the tribe’s gods. It is also Gahntomek who instructs the shamans that the way of the tribe is the correct way of nature, and that anyone who does differently is going against the gods of water and soil.
Ripe for Conversion
The Gudhuhl tribe is highly superstitious and suggestable, as they have long lived under the fluctuating taboos and demands of the watery icthian divinities. Unfortunately, there is little of value in the lands the tribe claims and thus far there have been no missionary efforts to bring the tribe to the Supreme Faith. Rather, the townships along the tribe’s land tend to keep good walls and close the gates when the river folk start appearing in numbers with empty hands and empty nets. Raids from the tribe’s warriors are not considered major threats since the tribe has no metal weapons or armor and instead fight with bone hooked spears, bone tipped arrows, and large wooden shields that can double as small rafts.
(Because I don’t wanna do a 30 of Riverfolk)
1. Gatoratoang - A lurker among the weeds, Gatoratoang collects all sorts of refuse from the sides of the river, shells and teeth being the most common thing. He makes these into plain necklaces and such that while are nearly worthless among the Gudhuhl, can sometimes fetch a good price in the town market. He is generally draped with fifteen or twenty necklaces, rough strings of riverwood, reptile teeth and freshwater shells.
2. Guwary - Frequent visitor to the towns and villages along the river, Guwary is a bit of a tinker and peddler of riverfolk junk, but he is also a dirty faced thief. Most canny merchants have learned to keep an eye on the youth when he comes slinking in. Strangers, they figure will learn to mind their pockets and their horses around the river folk.
3. Mehohs - Most think that riverfolk women all have whiskers like catfish and a smell to match. There are certainly river women who do match that description and a fair number of men who do to, Mehohs does not. She is a grey-eyed lass who is friendly and considerably cleaner than most. She is frequently encountered swimming with other girls, and dreams of the day when a valiant warrior will rescue her and take her away from the reeking fish and the tubid river.
4. Yudice - A matron among the tribe, she has six children and has had two husbands. She fits the stereotype having an unsightly thin mustache and constantly smells of the fish she cleans and spends all day cooking. Most are polite to her and step lightly because she carries a walking stick that doubles as a cudgel and she has no qualms about hitting anyone with it, be it an unruly child or arrogant PC.
5. Hahmal - the river urchin, this little boy seemingly has no parents and runs about from place to place. He is about half feral and knows people have things he wants, like food and blankets, so he will play half nice to get those tihngs. Otherwise he scampers off into the muck and murk around the water. He is a thief and townsfolk who know of him call him the goblin boy.
6. Tapemeca - A riverfolk elder and shaman of Gahnam Tapemeca is entering his late 50’s and is considered old among the folk. He has many decorations, a looted sword and piecemeal armor and lives like a king among the riverfolk. He has three wives, 13 children and every year has the honor of sacrificing the first of the catch to the gods of river and water. He knows the strength of his people, their knowledge of the land and the general lack of resources that settled folk want, and he also knows their weaknesses, such as lack of training, discipline, or metal arms and armor. He is a diplomat who speaks with the townsfolk when they start getting agitated and look like they might plan to push the Gudhuhl out of the river area.
7. Cuwood - A warrior and hunter of the folk, Cuwood is still single and likes to look at the pretty women. He has ambitions above himself, such as taking a townie wife, or becoming the King of the Gudhuhl. Until then he contents himself hunting river predators and trading the pelts for better weapons, armor, and liquor. He is known among the locals for spending a good deal of coin at the brothel.
8. Pohtic - An exile from the riverfolk, Pohtic broke their laws, stealing from their own and killing another riverfolk in a non-fuel worthy duel. Since then he lives on the edge of their claimed domain and moves frequently, as he is frequently run off by riverfolk, settled folk patrols, or worse, the goblins that live deeper in the swampy areas. He is thin and looks feverish and demented, and has contracted a vile swamp disease and will soon die from it.
9. Digida - A bard and storyteller among the riverfolk, Digida is also one of the most eligible females in the tribe and has resisted several suitors, one of which tried to carry her off manually. She is waiting for the right man to marry, one who can match her for stories and deal with her slight magical aptitude, she can control water to a small degree and can speak with fish.
10. Dalol - This weary man is the ‘face’ of the tribe most of the time, speaking with townies and doing most of the trading, pelts for loaves of bread and sacks of flour. He is a shrewd trader, but considering the fact that he is deeply in debt to the thieve’s guild, and has an alcoholic addiction he barely has any money when he returns with the trade goods. The townies think all of the Gudhuhl are lousy stinking drunks, lechers and thieves, and the Gudhuhl think that the townies are cheats, cheapskates, and bullies.