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The build: Hot pools on the hunt The story: A steep mountain range ran through the heart of the Enchanted Forest, dividing the very ancient forests in the northwest with the merely ancient forests in the southeast. The range went by many names to the peoples of the forests: the Wizard’s Spine, Titan’s Jaw, or merely “the range”. One particularly tall peak had, in times past, been volcanically active; now, geothermal vents still peppered its southern flank. If you knew where to look, some of these vents emerged in thermal hot pools, providing a steamy respite from the surrounding snow and ice. The Varana sisters, Ooru and Gudoo, used the thermal pools as waypoints on their hunting expeditions. Despite the sulphurous emissions, the pools were the perfect spot to remove their snow shoes, warm up, dry out their sodden fur cloaks, and brew a little tea. On this expedition, the siblings had a special target: the elusive giant snow bear. It would be a challenging hunt – to even find a bear; let alone kill it. Snow bears had long, white fur, which provided almost perfect camouflage against the snow and the ice. If you were skilled enough to track one down, you then had to content with their sharp claws, almost as long as a Varana head. Still, Ooro and Gudoo were excited by the hunt: Not only would it challenge their skills but when you were paid upfront with a gold bracelet – with the promise of a second on completion – how could you not be excited! Build notes: C&C welcome.
The build: The story: The life of a fungus herder could be a lonely one. Most mushrooms were skittish creatures preferring the quietness of the deep forest and the solitude of their own kind. Too much sunlight, noise or disturbance and they grew slowly or not at all. For this reason, fungus herders were often quiet, introspected folk. Some of the most renowned fungus herders in all Historica were the tree-folk of the Enchanted Forest. Tree-folk were often reclusive themselves, sometimes living out their entire lives in the same valley or grove. Their introspective nature enabled the tree-folk to discover the magic of fungi – both metaphorical and mystical: the phosphorescence of gilled Pixie chalices; the healing power of Witches’ Steeples; or the purifying abilities of Spotted Purple Caps, capable of negating evil rot incantations. Of all the tree-folk sub-races in Historica, the best fungus herders came from the grent sub-race. Although few grent would admit it to outsiders, part of the secret to their success was that they could form symbiotic relationships with many fungi. Tiny fungal hyphae would wrap around grent roots and even penetrate the root interior. The fungus provided its grent partner with minerals in exchange for nutrients and other chemicals the fungus needed but could not produce itself. This skill enabled the grent to intimately monitor the health of their herds and encourage spore growth. Even grent, however, sometimes needed help propagating their fungal herds. In a grove within the Enchanted Forest, stood three ancient standing stones. Twice the height of a man, these stones stood in a slight semi-circle. For most of the year they stood grey and largely unadorned; not even moss or lichen marred the surfaces. At the autumnal equinox, however, faint traces of purple and silver runes appeared carved into the rockwork, hinting at a long-forgotten magical purpose. Uncovering one – likely incidental – use for this magic, the tree-folk had repurposed the standing stones for the annual, highly anticipated fungal swap meet. Grents, other tree-folk and the occasional wild dryad would herd their finest fungal specimens across the forests to this one grove. Under a full moon, the magic of the standing stones would ripen the fungal spores, which spawned in vast multi-coloured clouds. The air seemed almost to sparkle as moonbeams fell on clouds of spores. The normally solitary tree-folk were affected by the occasion too, becoming almost giddy. They swapped stories and news; traded fungal specimens; and, on occasion, frisky grents even coupled to propagate baby grent saplings. This particular year, the first to arrive at the standing stones were a small group of grent. There was Ngaio, herding a troop of sharply-pointed Witches’ Steeples; the juvenile sapling Mahoe attending his first meet and showcasing some tiny puffballs, most still waiting for their pinks caps to erupt; and Kawa, corralling a mixed herd of Firecracker white caps and Sour Buttons. They were all good samples and likely to generate plenty of interest when the trading began in earnest. All focus, however, was on Kauri, or more specifically the magnificent specimen he was showing off. ‹Is that an Ogre’s Eye? I didn’t think there were any left!› said Kawa. ‹Is that actually up for trade?› asked Ngaio. ‹I’ll give you all my puffballs› added Mahoe. The Ogre’s Eye was a rare mushroom that was pale green in colour and with a large black spot on its crown. From above it resembled a large eye, hence its common name. While striking in appearance, this was not the reason it was causing a stir. The Ogre’s Eye was bioluminescent and soaked through with magic. It was an ingredient in many potions and highly sought after by elves, mages and even Nocturnan necromancers. Kauri let their excitement wash over him before responding. ‹Hah, no way! I’ve already got a buyer lined up in Cedrica. This one is just for show - I've already removed all its spores. I thought you’d like a look before I make my fortune.› Kawa looked away to hide his disgust. This was a classic move by Kauri, who loved showing off but also proved damn successful at almost everything he tried. Kawa moved off to inspect Ngaio’s troop, refusing to give Kauri any more attention. Tiny Mahoe, however, was clearly impressed, shuffling up for a closer look. Thankfully the moment didn’t last long, with another arrival. A hulking tree-man shuffled into the standing stones glade, preceded by a collection of red and white capped -shrooms. ‹Baob, you’ve really packed on the rings› said Ngaio in greeting. ‹You look like you’re ready to go to seed!› When tree-folk reached a certain age, they gave up their mobility to put down roots. ‹True, I am. This will be my last swap and I’m giving away all my troops in preparation.” Baob was a different sub-race from the grents, a much stockier group known as mallowmen. Three large trunks grew from his hunched back curving outward in gentle lines. The offer of free mushrooms was enough to entice tiny Mahoe to the newcomer. ‹What is it with everyone going to seed all of a sudden? First Rimurapa, now you› interjected Kauri, shifting his specimen in a transparent attempt to restore attention to him. ‹Rimu’s gone to seed?› said Kawa in shock. He’d always been close to that particular grent and it came as a surprise to hear the wizened mentor had settled down without letting him know. ‹Yes, over by the Notomys’s coast› Kauri preened delivering the news to his rival. He’d intended to wait until there was more of a crowd before doing so, in order to embarrass Kawa in front of more kin. Hearing that development, Kawa immediately lost interest in the swap meet. While he needed to stay to revitalise his herds, he resolved to visit his old friend as soon as he the meet wrapped up. He wanted to perform the fungal exchange rituals known to ease the transition to a sedentary state – and find out what had caused his friend to seed years earlier than expected. The herders and their herds: From left to right: Kauri - the Ogre’s Eye; Kawa - Firecracker white caps, Sour buttons; Mahoe - pink cap puffballs (mature and immature); Ngaio - Witches’ Steeples; Baob - red-capped toadstools, pink-spotted boletes, red hard-caps Build notes: Comments and constructive criticism welcome!
The build: Anton's Bait Shop The story: Anton was something of a fixture in the sleepy hamlet of Notomys. The burly and gregarious fisherman was always ready with a tall tale or a free filet for a family in need. While his Bait Shop sold supplies – hooks and bait, smoked fish and seafood – many villagers stopped by more for entertainment. There was that story of Anton riding a manta ray right up the estuary; his claim to have caught a gorgeous naiad with his lucky lure (actually a rather furious were-beaver); or the yarn about how he drunk some visiting dwarves under the table – and what a low table it was! When the Drow incursions into Avalonia reached the Enchanted Forest, Anton was one of many local men lining up for the Notomys’ militia. It was a mixed-race contingent, reflecting the diverse population of the village and its surrounds: men and wood elves, jerboans and were-beasts, even the odd local orc. Unsurprisingly, the militia operated in a somewhat chaotic fashion but it did enough to harass and harry the Drow and buy enough time for support to arrive from a unit of fleet-footed elven stag cavalry. Sadly, while Anton returned from the war, he did not survive it. Shot in the leg by a poisoned Drow arrow, Anton was carried home by one of his fellow militia, a weathered grent known as Rimurapa. The unlikely pair had bonded when Anton shared a few, stumbling words of greeting in the old Druidic tongue with the tree-man. The fisherman had learned the phrase from his wife, a wood carver and devotee of the old ways, until she passed on after the birth of their second child, Gorki. Anton spent his final week with his children, Sofia and Gorki, retelling familiar stories. Most stories ended with a rip-snorting punchline, but they also contained wisdom and nuggets of fishing knowledge – where the fattest trout liked to sun themselves on winter days or the best bait for catching the rare, blue woolly eel. In truth, he needn’t have worried: although still a young woman, Sofia was a natural at crafting traps and snares that even the wariest crustaceans were draw to. Gorki was still merely a boy, but Anton knew the village would help raise him into a man. Still, fathers were fathers. Anton’s final words were directed not at his children but at Rimu: “Promise me, you’ll watch over my kin. Promise!” Rimu promised. Grent ways were mysterious, even to those that had lived among the forest folk for centuries. Anton couldn’t have known he would be taken literally by the grent with Rimu sinking his roots deep into the soft silty soil behind the fishing shack, going to seed. Years passed from that sad day and still Rimu stood tall, watching over the grave of the father and his dear children. Seasonally, the grent’s limbs bore juicy purple plums while edible mushrooms sprouted from his trunk. Between this and Sofia’s seafood catch, the orphaned siblings not only survived but were able to set aside a little coin. Sofia bought chickens – the lucky birds were allowed to shelter inside the shack when storms struck – grew a veggie patch with some gifts from the market gardener and even mended the leaky roof. The Notomys villagers did their part, too, by continuing to support Anton’s Bait Shop. Now, though, the roles were reversed: it was the villagers sharing their favourite story of the gregarious fisherman or supplying a free meal to a family in need. Build notes: C&C welcome and appreciated.
Here is my entry for the count down challenge "Populating Historica". This is my first thread on the forums and first proper contribution to Guilds of Historica. It was such a fun concept to try! I intend to link as many as I can with my settlement-to-be Notomys, a small fishing hamlet on the coast of the Enchanted Forest. I hope you enjoy! Avalonia: Bayawarra, Jerboan tracker Bayawarra’s knowledge of forest scat was second to none, making him one of the finest Jerboan trackers in the Enchanted Forest. Avalonia: Jultarra, Jerboan trapper Trading marten furs provided Jultarra a living, but more importantly it gave plenty of opportunity to practice archery; her dream was to be the first Jerboan to join the Faerie Forest’s elite Archery Guild. Varlyrio: Marquis of Motu, Human business magnate With Varlyrio intrigue never far from the boil, the Marquis of Motu restored a summer manor in sleepy Notomys; the perfect spot to avoid the (literal and metaphorical) heat. Varlyrio: Lady Motu, Human socialite In Lady Motu’s eyes, a ball was the only way to christen a new manor; invites were sent to all the local Notomys “lords” (insofar as such a thing existed). Kaliphlin: Monoii, Desert Cyclops heiress As heir apparent to her clan of desert Cyclops, Monoii choose to leave Kaliphlin to explore other lands and forge new alliances. Kaliphlin: Arges, Desert Cyclops brute So long as she kept him fed, Arges would follow Monoii to the ends of the earth (which was Barqa, as far as he was concerned...). Mitgardia: Duned’in, Human drunkard Comatose the night the Algus raided his village, Duned’in retreated further into the bottle and further from Mitgardia to escape the ghosts of his family. Avalonia: Sofia, Human fisherwoman Sofia always had a knack for designing snares and craypots to catch even the craftiest of crustaceans. With her father a victim of Drow poison, her skills kept Sofia and her brother Gorki fed. Avalonia: Gorki, Human orphan Gorki specialised in catching hermit crabs; anything larger he left to his sister Sofia lest he be on the receiving end of a nasty bite. Avalonia: Flix, Pixie larrikin For Flix, the work of a pixie was never done: first, there was gathering pixie dust, then there was distributing it; then there was pranking those that visited his fairy ring. Avalonia: Aliạria (Ạria), High Elf herbalist Buck teeth were an ill fit for High Elven standards of beauty - but a perfect target for cruelty. After suffering one too many practical jokes, Aliạria quit the Kingdom of Hesperia and found purpose and belonging as the herbalist and healer in the tiny hamlet of Notomys. Avalonia: Kawa, Grent fungus herder Kawa spent his days tending mycorrhizal fungi and propagating lichen. He was alternatively helped and hindered by his friends Ạria and Flix. Avalonia: Marija, Human widower Left a widower with three infants, Marija discovered a sharp business acumen running the village markets gardens – with support from her mother Đoris. Avalonia: Đoris, Human gardener There was nothing like purpose to roll back the years: Đoris gained new vigour expanding her daughter’s gardens and helping raise her three tiny sprogs. Nocturnus: The Devourer, lich sorcerer Known only as the Devourer, this sorcerer emerged from the fens of Nocturnus during the Drow-Elf War. Now years later, it was rumoured to be sighted again stalking the moors. Nocturnus: Ạrken, Corrupted Drow assassin Its Drow body corrupted by malignant voodoo, Ạrken longed to return to the North and scorch Elven forests to the bare earth. And one of the whole crew together (Flix not to scale!)