The Wise Ones Beyond the Mountains Around 6,000 years ago, a band elves sailed into a maelstrom. With them were their spiritual younger cousins, the High Ogres of Tar N’varia. When the group reached land, they came upon a forest. The elves were elated to find that in the forest was a grove, a special grove, where slept ancient creatures of nature incarnate. Devoting themselves to the care of the grove, the elves closed off the forest to any other race, leaving the High Ogres to fend for themselves in a foreign land. The only consolation or consideration the elves gave the High Ogres was a magical stone, a fist sized garnet called the Ember Stone. The Ember Stone is an artifact that produces fire. The Strongest among the High Ogres, a man called Vicious Kal, was given charge of its care. It is the most honored position among the High Ogres to be the High Fire Keeper. One night while the High Ogres camped outside the forest deciding what to do, several of them heard a noise in the brush. In the dimming light of evening, the party saw a small group of six two legged creatures emerge from the brush. They were slightly larger than the High Ogres, similarly betusked, and covered head to toe in short, curly white fur. The High Ogres recognized them as yeti, strong, fierce warriors who live in the cold and mountains. They were backing away from something they were still fighting. As the yeti got closer, the High Ogres were able to make out what they were fighting. It was a group of trolls. The yeti were putting up a good fight, but they were the worse for wear and outnumbered two to one. High Ogres have no love for trolls. Trolls are widely known to cast Necromancy. High Ogres abhor necromancy, and will immediately try to kill anyone who casts it. So, although both yeti and trolls are considered monsters, joining the fight against the trolls was easy an easy choice. They grabbed burning logs from the fire and split into two groups, closing a pincer attack around the trolls, who, upon seeing the torches aimed at them, attempted to flee. The trolls flung necromancy like a dog shakes off water. And what the yeti saw amazed them. The High Ogres were unphased. They were being hit with Chaos energy, but it didn’t seem to affect them! This was, to the yeti, some of the best magic they had ever seen! Those trolls were no match for the flame-wielding High Ogres, and were quickly dispatched. Among the band of High Ogres were healers, and they used their magics to mend the wounded yeti. The yeti were grateful both for the fighting and the healing. In the fighting party were an Elder, and two Finders, pillars of the yeti community (see below for descriptions of these titles). The Elder, Lo, had had a vision that told him to travel South from Gorrah to meet a lost family member. The yeti were invited to share in the fire and the food the High Ogres roasted over it.. They all sat for a while and the High Ogres related their hurt, anger, and sadness at having been forsaken by the elves, with no home and no way back to the land that they had known. The yeti stayed in the camp that night, and for several more days. They found the High Ogres to be honorable, fun in the same violent ways they were, and as smart as their wisest elders.. Lo dreamed that he had found the missing family, and decided to lead them home. The yeti proposed a deal to the High Ogre elders. The High Ogres could have a home living among the yeti in their lands, which they called Gorrah, in exchange for their fire, wisdom, help fighting trolls, and healing magics. The Elders of the High Ogres conferred. With nothing to lose, they agreed and followed the yeti North to the glacier. When the settlement grew too large for the available resources, the High Ogres and yeti sadly split into tribes. Each tribe brought some fire with them to their new homes, and the Keepers were chosen to keep the fires lit. If the fire ever goes out, it is the Keeper’s job to travel to the tribe of the current High Fire Keeper to get a new fire and bring it back. They do not travel alone. They bring at least one Finder to guide them to the encampment and a couple others for fighting in case the encounter trolls. Pups may accompany the Finder if the journey coincides with their training. About 10 years ago, an influx of Dur Namarie Elves came through the Maelstrom and accidentally wound up on Gorrah Glacier. With them was an army made up of High Orcs and High Ogres. The Elves had left the High Orcs behind by the time they found an encampment of High Ogres and Yeti. The new High Ogres were offered hospitality and invited to stay, which most did. However, the Elves were provisioned and asked to leave. The High Ogres who were already on the glacier didn’t trust Elves after their abandonment thousands of years ago, and the new High Ogres were glad to not have to make war for the Dur Namarie anymore. The High Ogres are a violent, but good hearted breed. The yeti culture was a little difficult to adjust to. A lot of the competitiveness the High Ogres were used to no longer fit when living in a way that is such hard work. Only through community and teamwork could the tribe survive, so the High Ogres had to learn a different way. They fought for survival in the harsh Gorrah climate. High Ogres still value fighting prowess and they duel to solve every disagreement. The duels are always one on one, no magic or alchemy, and no killing blows or bleeding out. Killing someone during a duel is considered murder and will result in banishment, which almost always means death in the frozen wasteland. Once the duel is over, the matter is considered resolved. family structure/community structure- Ogres of Gorrah Glacier are a very tribal people. Ogre mothers give birth to a single child at a time, though very rarely there are twins. Choosing a mate is a violent affair. The right to breed is extended only to those found worthy in physical combat. Once a year, the single men of the tribe hold a tournament while the single women hold their own tournament. The last three men and last three women standing are paired together. Once chosen, the couple is healed back up and holds a duel (until one surrenders, passes out, or starts to bleed out) to determine which of their families/tribes the pair will join (the family of the winner). Any adult ogre from any tribe may attend and enter any other tribe’s mating tournament. This keeps the bloodlines mixing and varied. There is no limit to how many mating tournaments a single High Ogre may enter, though after a few lost ones, the High Ogre will begin to be mocked. There are eight tribes of ogres. Their lives and values don’t differ dramatically from one to another. Every ten years, there is a Grand Tournament in which all tribes participate to determine the mightiest warrior. The winner becomes the High Keeper, ruler over all the tribes for the next 10 years, and the tribe he or she belongs to becomes the ruling family. The highest rated warrior for each other tribe becomes Keeper, a lesser ruler who answers to the High Keeper. of their tribe for the next 10 years. In the case of a Keeper’s death, the tribe will hold their own tournament, with the High Keeper being pulled from the ruling family of the deceased High Keeper.. laws/punishments- Ogres and Yeti live in relative anarchy. Meals are shared as a tribe, weapons and other gear are kept on the person of the ogre, so there isn’t much in the way of taking things without asking. Hoarding is a crime against the community and is frequently punished through a Gauntlet - a battle with no rest against fresh opponents. Whenever there is a disagreement between two members of the tribe, they simply duel to determine the outcome. When the offense is small, the duel is to first blood, the more egregious the crime (according to the one who it was perpetrated against) the more blood must be drawn to satisfy the duel’s requirements. Terms are agreed upon before the battle begins. The wronged party may choose to have another act as their champion if they are old or infirm. Duels must be witnessed by a tribal elder. Along with Keepers, the High Ogres have citizens called Story Speakers, and Finders. Story Speakers are the keepers of High Ogre and yeti oral history, bearers of magic, and wise counsel for Keepers. To become a Story Speaker, one must know how to read and write, and be able to sing a song that makes at least 2 people cry. Story speakers are also the holders of the Wisdom of Signs. They are trained by their predecessors to be aware of and interpret the subtle signs of change in climate, terrain, and natural events. They will often predict the coming of a blizzard and move camp to avoid it. When the Curse comes, they have the wisdom to know that the Kracken caused the affliction and how to stop its spread. Story Speakers are identified by gloves fashioned from polar bear paws, complete with claws. Finders are the best of the warriors after the Keepers, and are called upon to lead food hunting parties and administer the Rite of Adulthood. They are the ones who lead attacks against the trolls and oversee fortifications around camp. They often serve as scouts. Finders are identified by wearing the head/scalp of a polar bear. The Rite of Adulthood is the hunt for and slaying of a polar bear. Once a year, four to five children of ages 13-15 form a team. They are trained by a Finder in how to hunt and kill smaller creatures. The team is then led to a polar bear, but the Finder may not offer any other assistance than that. They are tested not only for the hunting and killing, but on their ability to work as a team. Not every child makes it the first time, but any who fail are given one more chance with the following year’s team. Becoming an adult gives an ogre the right to wear some of the pelt of the polar bear they killed. Should a child fail both attempts to become an adult, they are not able to speak at tribal meetings, serve as Elder, Story Speaker, or Finder, and they may not take a mate (nor would any mate have them). food- The ecosystem of the glacier is small and simple. Algae, blown in by the wind and nourished by the sun, is eaten by fish, and the fish are eaten by just about everything else. Ogres eat an entirely meat based diet, including otters, fish, seals, and, as part of the adulthood rite, polar bear. Every part of an animal is used...every part. As there is not much wood to speak of, it is not used for fire fuel. Instead, the dried dung of the animals is burned. This does not stink to the Ogres. To them it’s just what fire smells like. music- While there are not very many materials available to the Ogres of the Glacier, they do make use of every resource. The bones of the animals they kill for meat have many uses, and among them are instruments. Otter and seal bones are often fashioned into little pipe flutes, and larger polar bear bones are arranged by size to make a form of xylophone. These are fun at parties, however, most serious Ogre music is sung. They are often sung chorally and do not always have words. The vibration is deep and resonant. Some of these primal performances have been known to make even the toughest warriors shed some tears. They feel zero shame about this. The more people who cry, the more the song is revered. language- The ogres of Gorrah Glacier can speak common, though are not always right on with words or grammar. They are able to communicate in the grunts and moans of the yeti cousins they took up residence with. magic philosophy- Ogres do not cast Necromancy. Nope. Not ever. There are a good deal of healers among them, fewer Celestial scholars, but they’re not entirely absent. Most celestial magic is practiced by Story Speakers, but neither is a requirement for the other. The High Ogres believe the tales of the Kraken's Curse. They have seen explorers and hunters of other races begin to hunger unnaturally. Their Story Speakers know how to stop the progression of the curse. yeti- The Yeti Elders have ancient tales about people who lived before the Great Wave (when the ocean rose up to engulf the massive area which froze on impact, creating the glacier). They called themselves Gorralyn S’waith. They were powerful, but their hubris angered other powerful beings and led to their extinction. Some of the yeti believe that while there are no more Gorralyn S’waith, their power has not gone completely from the world. Gorrah remembers. They say that the the glacier’s memory of the Gorralyn S’waith is what keeps them and the High Ogres from contracting the curse. A few nights, several generations apart from one another, have been filled with dreams of songs and tears and whispers from the ice below. These nights have preceded rumors of terrible attacks by brutal beasts from the sea, wicked storms that ravaged the Southern lands. and grievous destruction of land and life. thoughts about other races Elves: They kind of get it, but can’t be trusted to care for any but their own. Dwarves: Sturdy folk, good fighters, and they hate trolls. Sometimes we trade with them and they are fair minded. Biata: Potential necromancers. Not to be trusted. Human: You can never tell a human’s intentions. Some of them can be trusted, but it’s hard to know which until you get to know them. Too many variables. Kin: The Kin are little brothers. Be good to them and they will mostly be good back. Dark Elves: Who? Stone Elves: No fun. Hoblings: Nice enough., from the limited exposure they’ve had. Mystic Wood Elves: Much fun! Mostly trustworthy. They hate slavery and necromancy too. High Orcs: Potential necromancers. Not to be trusted. clothing- Ogre clothing, owing to the plantless nature of the glacier, is mostly skins and furs. They’re happy to don fabric clothing when in warmer areas (anywhere South of home) as the furs and skins get too hot. They would happily run around naked, but understand that there are cultural taboos against it...at least in public. They will always wear their polar bear pelt somewhere visible so other ogres know they are adults (if they are). homes- Many ogres live in houses built of ice and packed snow, or tents made from skins.. Tribes that live near the southern and western mountains will sometimes carve homes into the rock faces or build homes of stone which are held together by pouring water over a layer of stone which will freeze them on place, then another layer is added, and more water, etc. economy- There is little in the way of an economy in Gorrah. The system of distribution is socialist in nature. Everyone helps with hunting, food preparation, home maintenance, and child rearing. It is entirely unheard of for an ogre not to help with any tasks or be lazy. Shirking responsibilities is punishable by hunger. No work, no food. When there are excesses of needed supplies, the glacier folk will travel down South and trade with the Dwarves for coffee, dwarven spirits, weapons, shoes, and the like. people of note- The current High Fire Keeper: Kessa - Kessa rose to the High Fire Keeper position 6 years ago. She has kept the Garnet safe and her tribe has repulsed every troll that gets within 100 yards of them. Fruit, including juice, causes a rp only effect that’s like steroids and red bull mixed together. It makes them want to fight. The ogres of Gorrah Glacier have not had access to fruit in thousands of years, not even through trading (the Dwarves they do most of their trading with aren’t really into fruit so much). This feeling will be entirely new to them. Why would High Ogres leave the Glacier? Jenda, often called Jenda Clear Eyes, has been reading the signs of nature for many years. Something, a big change, is coming, and Gorrah has an important part to play. She says that all the lands within the Maelstrom are in trouble. Something long asleep stirs, and the weaker races need our strength and wisdom. Let the brave people of the glacier go to their aid. Jenda says she must, as in the ancient times, go South. Elder Quest has declared this an honorable journey and trusts that the frozen power of Gorrah will guide the path of any who follow Jenda..