Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gren: An Overview

by Frank Shaw

The Gren are perhaps the smallest of the peoples of the lands of Desylinn. Traversing the lands in great wooden wagons pulled by the massive hounds they call c’hulla, they are either welcomed as joyful entertainers, makers of elixirs and troubadours or turned away as suspicious thieves and scoundrels. Standing on average just a little over three feet and being generally slender of stature many of Gren slip into the “scoundrel” role easily. It’s only one of the many talents and abilities the Gren possess. Gren men are skilled hunters and woodsmen, some mastering animal husbandry. Gren women have honed their ability to craft potions and elixirs, as well as looking into the depths of magic. The wisest, of these women - called the Maitre - lead the clans of Gren in their roaming, and guide their individual tribes on their journeys throughout Desylinn. 

Gren can be found across the lands, from all male gangs lurking in the alleyways of Hub to lone rogues in the employ of the Lash-ti-Nowish as trade brokers. Most Gren are found in the Fertile Lands where the earthy soil bursts forth with bountiful fruits, vegetables, and grain all year round. Here the game is so plentiful even a Troll's appetite could be sated. The Gren wander the land, burying any raw and uneaten wild yams and tubers at the start of each journey and scattering seeds from each meal along their path. This plentiful land aides the Gren in their seemingly carefree lifestyle, but it is rare to find a lone wagon in the Fertile Lands, and rarer still to encounter the same Gren in any given caravan more than once. 

Createdby the Wild Ones during the early days of the Empire of Mari'es, in mockery of the Elves, the Gren carry a startling resemblance to the facial features of the Elves. With oval shaped faces and large almond eyes, prominent cheek-bones, long slender noses and tapering ears, the Gren have honed perception and the ability to see as well in twilight conditions as in daylight. Favoring practical clothing, with splashes of color during their day to day activities, the Gren swap out their practical garb for garish costumes for their myriad and varied festivals. The only thing the Gren might love more than singing and drinking is the lure of magic.

Magic holds a special place in Gren life; most women are Oracles or alchemists. While many men are fighters and barbarians, there are sorcerers among them, feeding on their powerful emotional spectrum to cast their dazzling magic. These sorcerers generally leave clan and tribe behind, making their long pilgrimage to the larger cities along the old Elven roads, to seek their fortune in Hub, or to the heart of the Blackfire Mountains, following rumors of mysterious spell casters hiding in the rocks and crannies of the great peaks. 

Compared to the rest of Desylinn the Gren are a peaceful race, but it is wise not to cross these seemingly passive people. Although outright battle is unheard of between the Gren Families, both men and women are trained in how to use weapons and the fearsome c’hulla can go from docile hounds to ravenous beasts in the blink of an eye. Most importantly every Gren wagon has a stockpile of wands, potions and other items created to sell and barter to other races that they can use in a pinch for preservation and protection. Those clans wandering outside the Fertile Lands are trained in mounted combat as well, and usually keep several c’hulla unharnessed for when they need to mount up and defend the clan. 

If crossed by an individual, the Gren are typically less lethal. Stealing is not part of their cultural identity, but taking something to right a wrong, or even better, leaving something nasty behind in its stead is a common practice for the Gren. Cheating on a deal, humiliating a Gren, or even standing one up for lunch could lead to some unpleasant ramifications for a member of another race. Most of the time the vengeance is only as bad as the perceived crime. Some Gren, especially lone males or gangs of males, may take vengeance to the extreme, permanently harming those foolish enough to cross them. 

Gren may be the smallest of the Desylinn races, but are rarely the most overlooked.