The symbiosis of plants and animal has always been present, but long ago a special bond was formed to make the survival of plants coincide with the survival of their caretakers.
In Dedication to Tom Kerner, long time D&D player, and grower of bonsai. He would have gotten a kick out of this.
Born out of the forests and plains of the world the Bygnok began as a nomadic people but due to the limitations of their kind, they began to settle and farm, for they had a natural affinity to plants. They treat every plant as if their life depends on its survival, and for some plants it does.
When each child of the Bygnok is born, clutched into their tiny hand is a seed wich must be planted immediatly upon birth or the child will not make it through the night. This is their 'Life Root' their soul is eternally linked to this plant. If the plant gets sick, the Bygnok linked to it becomes ill as well. Their life is the care of this plant.
Bygnok are human-looking creatures and have a natural affinity to farming or becomming druids, but they rarely stray far from their place of birth. They have an earthen hue to their skin and normally dark brown or black hair. They're eyes are almost always bright green, blue or brown, this is the child's deemed affinity. Green is the most treasured eye color, it stands for the affinity of life, blue is for the affinity of water and light, Brown is for structure and sustinence. Two children have been recorded as being born with one blue and one green eye, this has brought great pride to the family and they became high priests of the Bygnok.
The hight of the Bygnok differs greatly. Though all adults will reach a minimum of three feet tall one man, Durth the Great, became a giant. The largest recorded of his kind, his liferoot was a great oak tree wich he planted into the ground, as the tree grew, so did he. Right up to 15 feet. No Bygnok will dare to do such a thing again, for his life root was struck by lightning, sevearly damaging Durth's brain. He could not get out of bed, and nobody could care for him or harvest fast enough to feed him. In the end the town had to dismantle his home from around him when he passed away, so they could hook all of their horses, mules, oxen, goats and sheep together to pull him into the large grave that the whole town had to gather to dig.
The average hight remains around five foot tall due to carefull cultivation and painful trimming.
Culture and history
When the Bygnoks were nomadic their life was hard. They all wore packs made out of hard leather to plant their life roots in. During this time it was though by other people of the land that these plants actually grew out of the backs of these people as they rarely took them off for fear of mixing them up. They didn't have pesticides and fungicides at this time so whole tribes were often nearly whiped out by an infestation of black spot disease or locusts. They eventually found that it was easier to farm then hunt and gather.
They're towns are nicely spaced as each family has their own personal gardens. One for the life plants of the family, some are kept in earthen pots on benches in the garden, others are kept in the ground but all life roots are housed in a highly fenced in area. There have been times where somebody has forgotten to close the high gate on the family life garden and the town has awakened the next morning to find them all dead due to a hungry, wandering deer.
The Bygnoks are one of few cultures to domesticate plants for ornamental as well as agriculture uses. Many potted plants are constantly being rotated into the home from the outdoors as plants are part of each member's lives.
The Bygnoks are often referred to by other races as: Greenfolk, greenbacks, half-plants, vinebacks, life farmers, plant-slaves and various other things.
A Bygnok cannot leave their liferoot behind and go off adventuring, if they get outside of 2 miles of it they feel rather weak. 10 miles they will pass in and out of conciousness. If a Bygnok is carried outside of 20 miles beyond their liferoot they will die rather quickly, as will the plant.
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? Responses (11)-11
Wow! this is a brilliant idea Andimia! It does need some polish, mostly in the form of some spellchecking and spacing with the paragraphs. I like the imagry of the giant's tree being struck by lightning, and those who carry their life seeds on their back so constantly that no one thinks the two are seperate.
I agree with both Scrasamax's comments on the idea, and the work that needs to be done to correct it.
Keep it coming!
I have to say I really like it. This would perfectly mix with the Garan idea, a form of magic that is similar to a plant.
I would like a bit more detail on the colour of eyes and the roles of their owners in their society - is this a mere belief, or are they really better suited for a particular task; are they raised for the job determined by the colour, or actually forced by tradition or laws? What is of those that resist?
I would be also interested in the legends (or truth) that explain how they came into being, turned from plants into humanoids (of sorts).
Oh, and: how long do they live typically, and if lucky? I can well imagine an ancient Bygnok of hundreds of summers (or winters, they would call a year in some special way), worn by the years, but still standing, cared by his loving family, known far and wide for his wisdom.
This should be included in the Minor Race codex, but it is still in the working zone.
As is, it would work as an average sort of post. With a little polishing, it would be great.
This a great, well constructed idea making my mind twirl with thoughts.
Two miles is quite a short distance if they were to plant their tree in the ground.
There was a small hint of the pain of the trimming to stop them from growing. Intriqued, I am.
That paralleled with the thought of the brain damage is great. Does the tree provide anything in return. Long life? Feed the tree, feed the man? Anything to show symbiosis vs. dependability.
I would think there would always be one 'Oak' as it seems they are rather fragile and having somebody that could protect them would be rather handy.
Polish and post it. We are ready to vote!
Maybe, some of them grow into width, rather than height, becoming the strongarms of their race. One hit with a large wooden fist should dissuade most attackers.
Actually, the trees could 're-spawn' Bygnok who have died at a younger age - so, teens could have a very high chance to be reborn amongst the roots of the trees, wereas an elder would most likely not be restored by the plant.
Indeed, a little polish and I'm happy to toss my vote and a HOH nomination on this sub.
A nice race to add depth to unexplored regions of the world, although a little detail on northern varieties woudl be excellent. (Given winter woudl either put these people into hibernation aside form the ever green ones, their culture would be someone seasonal in nature.)
Overall, I think this is an excellent idea. This is an intriguing race, just alien enough to make interacting with them interesting and quirky.
I would also like to see some detail about how the eye color and affinity aspect works. Perhaps some concrete examples?
What sort of advice are you looking for in order to take it out of Advice Requested?
Maybe this race encroaches on the traditional niche of elves as nature folks, but they do not have the baggage the elves have. As described the plant-link seems more a disability, I think the benefits should be described more. If the Bygnok have some kind of plant-magic that makes them masterfarmers, they are probably amongst the most valued citizens of any nation.
I agree with Phaidros in that the life root seems more like a liability. Strolen's idea of one Oak per town seems pretty great. Maybe the advantage is that they can effectively choose their size/weight? Maybe the vain ones spend all day pruning their tree in order to have, lets say, whiter teeth? Do they ever go missing but their tree lives on? Isn't 10 miles a really short distance if you have to have spread out farms and then a central town? Is there anything wacky, like one can fall asleep and the life root awaken as a kick-ass treant?