Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Bog Folk

This amphibious people are one of the most common and yet the most mysterious in all of Rysanthis.

Called simply the Bog Folk, they are in appearance a salamander like, bipedal intelligent humanoid with a great frog like head set with massive black eyes and a perpetual  gaping grin.

Olive Green hued and leathery skinned, the Bog Folk stand only four to five feet in height at their very tallest, having long ungainly limbs joined to a hunchbacked body, three tapering fingers and a long thumb on each hand, and webbed, frog like feet.

Bog Folk dress in loincloths, shell and stone jewelry, and simple leather accoutrements such as harnesses, belts and shoulder straps and bags in which they carry important belongings. They have no metallurgy at all and produce only tools and weapons of sharpened, polished stone.

These gentle humanoids are known throughout Rysanthis as a peaceful race for whom almost no one has any use for except as guides in the marshes and river lands that are their home.

 Virtually no one in the City States pay them the slightest mind as they never take up residence in the cities or towns of men but choose to dwell in waddle hut villages set upon the river bank or the swamplands.

 They do ferry travellers back and forth in their long reed boats and are sometimes seen in freshwater ports for this reason, but even then most only greet them with good natured laughter at best or else downright scorn, for it is well know they accept the most mundane trinkets and baubles in exchange for their services...shells, pretty glass beads, and other mundane items which are without value to most human traders.

This disdain is a shameful thing, for the learned know that that the Bog Folk are skilled herbalists and animal friends with a knowledge of flora and fauna from their regions that is unmatched in the libraries of the most learned sages. Healing remedies to maze the greatest priest of Illuvion lie at their finger tips, as well as paralytics and narcotic essences most useful to those interested in the physic arts.

Bog Folk are utterly incapable of human speech--they have no language that can be learned either, as their native communications consist only of croaking, chirping, and warbling which are totally incomprehensible to anyone but their own kind other than to convey the most basic emotions such as pleasure, surprise, sadness or, more rarely, anger. Bog Folk do, however, have a sign language which can be learned by humans and this is used in trade situations and other contacts.

This race prizes peace, and to many, the Bog Folk appear pacifistic. In times of danger to a village they will leap into the water and try to hide before fighting. They are amicable, do not comprehend insults, and will try to help nearly any traveller who happens upon one of their villages. They do not understand the concept of war or politics and have a simple, tribal law, crime and violence among their own race being almost non-existent.

However, whoever mistakes these peaceful tendencies of the Bog Folk for weakness is foolish indeed, for Bog Folk do fight when the need arises and they show no fear in battle. Bog Folk fight with spears, slings and stone knives, and a few have been known to wield steel weapons acquired by various means such as trade or as gifts from travellers.

The Bog Folk are governed by venerable elders, and they have shamans which offer ritual and practical magicks to their folk. It is said they worship Illuvion but in a manner not understood by human observers. They venerate and make totem of a great freshwater serpent-like monster which is their greatest natural predator--the bones, skins, and painted images of these monsters are sacred, and the serpent skulls are found as important decoration in Bog Folk communes.

The Bog Folk do not, however, eat meat. They are vegetarian and subsist mostly on river plants and large insects. They have strange religious practices which includes, most notably,  a communal chirping and croaking that is believed by some sages to be a sort of sacred song, and they also dance during such outpourings.

Bog Folk can hold their breath underwater for hours, swim very fast, and can leap like frogs at very great distances.

Once in a very great while, one might see in Rysanthis a Bog Folk person who leaves their little village and travels among humans in search of adventure or enlightenment.

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