Peoples of Pentland
Greater Pentland is a multi-ethnic empire stretched across the Drackon Archipelago, a series of volcanic islands to the south of the continent. It is known for its powerful navy and the dragonkin that live on the central island. Merfolk and lizardfolk can also be found here.
Due to centuries of battle against nature, monsters and each other, Pentlanders value ruggedness and determination. They tend to look down on frivolity – whimsy is beaten out of children at a young age with the sharp smack of a ruler. Youths are trained to stand their ground. Pride and 'face' is important in society and this importance grows with higher socioeconomic status.
Women aren’t encouraged to fight but they win respect for being multitaskers. Among the free folk, the more trade skills a woman knows, the more she is valued as a wife and as a citizen. On the other hand, serfs are serfs and few distinctions are made between men and women on a lord’s estate.
Pentlander folklore includes many national epics that describe the feats of the forefathers in forging a future for the rest. The peninsula’s fauna left storytellers with a wealth of material: tales of dragon slaying and monster hunting abound. One example is the series of stories about Pendran Astartes whose family was slain the moment they set foot on the isle (though some tales have him being born from a volcano.) He becomes the first drake-rider and he and his allies perform fantastic primordial feats.
Sculpture and architecture are also favored artforms. Builders and artists often use bones, scales and enamel of dead dragonkin for building material and enjoy inserting a decorative twist into an otherwise functional siege tower or moat wall.
Arcane Horticulture became a popular artform recently. Practitioners use biomancy to twist and shape Pentland’s exotic plantlife to their bidding. Through careful manipulation of selective strains, a master could organically grow an entire house with waterproof leaves for roof shingles, inner spaces for rooms and furniture and bioluminescent fungi for lights. A few elves from the mainland have emigrated to Pentland to better learn the style.
Sample Pentlander Names
Male given names: Vifrim, Nillas, Adraast, Andronikon, Dragos, Ajaan, Angkoor, Nidrus, Theunis, Praxio, Talos, Xaander, Norlin, Dysmas, Eton, Krysos, Zosim.
Female given names: Altheia, Alexandra, Neventhia, Nihilit, Annika, Akantha, Alcimene, Cassimi, Danae, Kyria, Polymia, Taanis, Malarie, Semile, Ilythia, Zenais.
Surnames: Philemonis, Erebyrne, Vaasilik, Wyrne, Tessavraal, Taaldis, Eurymach, Kallistrat, Kyriak, Metrophan, Onesiphoros.
The Arrants descended from the most adventurous Ellurian pioneers who entrusted their lives to the sea and foreign climes. They speak an evolved, musical-sounding version of the Southlander dialect with noticeable Pentlander influences. Most urban dwellers are at least educated enough to read coarse-hand. Arrants do a lot of trade and fishing but the island is big and mild enough to sustain significant agriculture and thus, cuisine. Arrant dishes are renowned throughout the empire.
The main theme of Pentlander art is combat but the main Arrant motif is romance. Arrants love music and dance, especially singing and stringed instruments. One famous musician quipped that his culture has more love-songs than it has eligible maidens. Arrantiada has a great number of festivals, some brought over from Elluria and some of more recent origins. Many of these involve singing, dancing, masquerades and feasting.
Sophia’s influence created a stronger drive towards education among the well-to-do members of society. Arrant nobles tend to put their children through long, tedious curriculums as a status symbol. The most prestigious is the Merced Academie, colloquially known as the School of the Flower, where up and coming movers and shakers get trained in diplomacy and rhetoric. Other departments study natural science, history and magic.
Arrants live in towns and haciendas throughout the isle. There are several major cities, Caperne, the capital, being the largest. Pentland contributed resources towards the city’s beautification to make it a pleasant vacation spot. As such, Pentlander architecture can be seen interspersed with the lighter, Rococo-style of the Arrants.
Sample Arrant Names
Male Given Names: Guillermo, Andrenas, Berenguer, Emigdio, Quio, Fernan, Injgo, Joaquin, Octavio, Ramir, Tadeo, Zekario, Hieronymo, Marius
Female Given Names: Amparo, Adoracion, Belen, Dolores, Caridad, Ynes, Reina, Odalys, Nita, Nieve, Lucia, Carmelita, Esperanza
Surnames: Fonseca, Quintana, Tenorio, Sandluco, Greyes, Penasco, Maduras, Fresneda, Himaras, Barrameda, Sidonia
The Fionn are humans who lived on small islands for many generations and have adapted to marine life. Their hands and feet are larger and more flexible; with longer fingers and toes. They tend to be muscular, capable of easily storing up and metabolizing large amounts of body fat, which results in greater body fluctuation than other humans. Their chest cages tend to be larger, to accommodate their extremely high-capacity lungs that enable them to stay underwater many times longer than other humanoids. They tend to have good strength and excellent cardio and excel at detail work.
Generations under the subtropical sun caused them to evolve from their pale ancestral hues to darker olive skin tones. Their eyes can be a variety of colors.
Rare Fionn are born with physical anomalies like their neighbors, the Oneidhae. These usually express as minor marine mammal-like traits, making them look like merfolk-human hybrids. These people are considered closer to the ocean, but by the same token, farther from humanity. More often than not, they end up being loners, with jobs that take them away from contact with other people.
The Fionn live as a series of tribes across a large series of islands extending into the South Sea and the Great Ocean. Most of these cluster around the Tuil Sianaach. Some Fionn are even rumored to live on legendary motile isles: floating landmasses on the backs of placid seabeasts or collections of vegetative matter, that are tiny ecosystems unto themselves.
As island specialists, the Fionn are known for their excellent boat building and navigation skills. Early on in their history, they have pioneered a double-hulled canoe that took them farther than many larger deep-water ships that other races have come up with, much later in their development. They are also well-known for taming aquatic creatures such as giant crabs and other exotic marine life. Some creatures are herded, others are used for hunting, transportation, or even battle. The Fionn have an almost supernatural understanding of how to make use of the marine life in their vicinity. They practice underwater and surface agriculture as well, sometimes trading with the Oneidhae or other visitors.
Fionn otherworldly beliefs describe the two domains of ocean and sky. They consider themselves the people who straddle the border between these realms and also think that they live close to the edge of the world where sky and ocean blur into each other. Their folktales are full of air or water spirits that control the elements or steal children into the depths. As a cultural trait, caution competes with the spirit of adventurousness that enabled them to explore so much of the ocean. Since the conquest by Pentland, sullenness and melancholy crept into the ethnic character as well.
Sample Fionn Names
Male Given Names: Partry, Niall, Bradach, Feidhlim, Odrhan, Tearlach, Murchadha, Domnhaill, Ciaran, Aedh, Maddoc, Teague
Female Given Names: Caitrionn, Aibhilin, Else, Muirinn, Siochain, Creirwy, Gwenhwyvi, Mairghana, Margwen
Fionn use no surnames, instead using the first names of their parents for identification: (ex: Siochain-of-Teague-and-Margwen.)
The mysterious Oneidhae live beneath the waves of the great atoll, making their home throughout the coral reef. Through pruning, they control the shape of the coral deposits, growing barriers, passageways and public fixtures as they see fit.
The Oneidhae or merfolk come in a range of different appearances most of which involve some humanoid torso along with the traits of fish, marine mammals, crab or even jellyfish. There is some variation based on which city they're from, but caste plays the biggest role in determining an Oneidhae physiology. Strict adherence to the caste over hundreds of thousands of years caused stark differences between each group.
Many Oneidhae, especially the nobility, believe that some castes are inherently superior to others and more fit to rule. The bottom castes have very little wealth and power, living like servants. When caste-mixing happens, the offspring tend to have difficult, ambiguous lives if they survive into adulthood. The Oneidhae have a dedicated warrior caste: The Myrmidons, who are some of the fiercest fighters in the South Sea.
The society is largely matriarchal. Females, while smaller than males, have a higher affinity for magic, naturally putting them in charge. The priests, mages and governors tend to be females, though males sometimes fill these roles. Lineages are traced from the mother. Still, female Oneidhae can be found in the lower castes.
Some merfolk are born with anomalies like multiple pairs of arms or as conjoined siblings. Their shape is considered auspicious, touched by the divine. This overrides their ordinary caste in determining their place in society.
Oneidhae religion is poorly understood. They revere the ancient gods of the deep and see sentient marine life as a single massive hierarchy leading from the divine to the mortal.
Sample Oneidhae Names
Male Given Names: Ixion, Anaxhid, Iakkos, Artairis, Innenin, Omphaelos
Female Given Names: Nerys, Una, Anais, Nyx, Ismene, Mneme, Nada, Ullisa
Instead of surnames, Oneidhae identify each other by caste and if that’s not enough, by some physical trait. Example: Bluegreen Ionar the Myrmidon.
The powerful Malkraans inhabited the imperial isle before it was a glimmer in any human’s eye. Nowadays, most of them live in the Kargaan wilds and the magma pools of the Heathdern volcano. Pentlanders refer to them as Lizardmen which is a misnomer – the proud creatures have more in common with fire-breathing dragons than with cold-blooded reptiles. The ancient race lives to serve their god, Malkraas, master of the wilderness and patron of the hunt.
The Malks stand over seven feet high, with a hunched posture, a scaly lizardlike flesh and a long, toothy mouth. Tufts of quills extend from the base of their heads; their serrated tails reach to the floor. They walk on a pair of powerful legs and sometimes wear metal plates to augment their already impressive natural armor. Their eyes are a molten orange. Their partial draconic qualities make them highly resistant to heat and flames, making them natural smiths.
Malkraans don’t have much of a society to speak of. One time they lived in greater numbers with elites and institutions but even then, they were a highly individualistic race, prone to wandering alone and lording over a territory in solitude. Long battles with the humans and the deaths of great wyrms who once ruled over the race have driven them farther and farther apart. It’s uncommon to encounter two Malkraans in the same place at the same time.
Still, the lizardfolk have built a series of meeting markers throughout the island and come together there sometimes to exchange goods and information. Males and females pair off and produce several children, then drift apart again once the young can survive on their own.
The lizardfolk believe that they were created by the dragon-god, Malkras, to have dominion over the beasts of the isle and to maintain and enforce ecological balance. As such, some become rangers. Their tales say that their god has given them the power over tools in order to compete against larger predators, including enemy dragons. Despite being behind humans in civilization, they know certain tricks of how to make watered steel and adamantium. Some of the most renowned armor and weapon smiths in the realm come from Malkraan stock.
Nowadays, most lizardfolk live as citizens of the realm, for the most part, obeying the laws set forth by the king. But they weren’t meant to live this way and their numbers are on a slow but steady decline. A few have banded together to demand domain throughout Kargaan Vale and Heathdern but they run up against local human lords who will not hear it.
Sample Malkraan Names
Male Given Names: Tammuskerebrazassek, Anaxirandolovrejs, Pengrastragvenrtr
Female Given Names: Malinaxatararesh, Vinitrianiskrite, Imbohlinadrashattra
The Lizardfolk do not use surnames.