Races

Trolls

Common trolls reside almost exclusively under bridges. They are reclusive hermits who scoff at all things not of (or under) the bridge, which, of course, happens to be just about everything else in the world. This belief runs so deep in Troll culture that any Troll who does not inhabit the underside of a bridge might as well be dead, a transient ghost with no purpose in life.

For the most part, there is always a bridge to be inhabited, as trolls are not as numerous in the world as boggarts or folk. And if there isn’t a bridge, a troll will pick a good spot to build their own. However, the best bridges, that is–the large and well-trodden–are always the center of intense competition. A proud family name often wins a bridge over the lesser knowns, though there are occasions when a troll’s claim to a bridge is lost to stronger and more cunning challengers. “The greater the Troll, the greater the toll” is a common phrase, commenting on the stress of such challenges, and was first attributed to Fogwin Bog who lost his bridge and subsequent fortune to a bright and cruel upstart named Dunkworth the Mansquisher.

Physically, Trolls are some of the hardiest creatures of Eem, immune to most illness and plague. And despite their petty superstitions, they are very smart. Years of sitting under bridges affords them a great many hour in devotion to pondering the mysteries of life, and reading all of the wayward scrolls and books that happen to fall through the wood-beams or wash down the river.

 Those Trolls who have forsaken the bridge life, while shunned from Troll society, do not, of course, shuffle off and die as more respectable Trolls would have you believe. While uncommon to encounter in nature because they only come out at night, bridgeless Trolls have been known to band together in small groups, either peacefully living off the land, or terrorizing local communities. However, bridgeless Trolls have rarely ever been seen outside Murbletoad’s marshes or the woods and wetlands of the northern Mucklands.

Imps

Knowing nothing more than lives of servitude, Imps are diminutive, winged creatures who are usually bound to a master, whether to a witch, or magician, or anyone else with interest in keeping magic familiars. There are many ways to obtain an Imp familiar, but the most common method is through hex magic, by casting a dark dwimmer upon an unfertilized wyrm’s egg, and incubating it in fire for nineteen moon cycles. Approximately one out of five times, the spellcaster will end up with a baby Imp; the other four times, one should be prepared to withstand a sulfurous odor so powerful and nasty it has been known to slay the young and elderly within a nineteen mile radius. If one can survive this process, or come into the possession of an Imp through other means, that Imp will do the owner’s bidding until the owner perishes or releases the Imp from servitude.

In the hierarchy of familiars, Imps range somewhere in the middle, right above rats, ravens, and homunculi, and right below owls. Yes, non-sentient owls are favored over Imps among witches and magicians, mostly because they don’t back-talk or bear resentment. And in some cases owls have proven to be more adept at performing basic tasks like “going and getting a thing without getting distracted.” Of course, at the top of the familiar food-chain are dragons and wyrms, but such power at one’s fingertips demands much prudence–else a magician lead herself to ruin. Imps require no prudence–just semi-potable drinking water, and a source of heat.

Kobolds

Deep in the dank, gnarled corners of any forest, skulks a Kobold or three, looking for the best opportunity to raid an unsuspecting squirrel’s storehouse, or taint the nearest Unicorn’s wellspring. The natural enemy of Gnomes, Kobolds stand a few apples taller than their goodly counterparts, and are covered in oily, matted fur, ranging in dirty powder blue to hazelnut hues. Their eyes, like big blue fetid ponds, glow in the night, their only giveaway to wary forest guardians.

Kobolds live to harass, trick, and play morbid pranks on other denizens of the wood. Using dark forest dwimmercraft, they delight in transmogrification, turning beetles into birds and snakes into bunnies, all for a fleeting laugh. For you see, more important than anything for a Kobold is to be constantly entertained. The thought of serious business makes a Kobold almost irreversibly dour, and that is when they become their most dangerous. This is precisely the reason why Gnomes must put up with a Kobold’s endless shenanigans: to be on the wrong side of a Kobold is to put an entire forest in danger.

Aside from causing pure havoc, Kobolds are known to throw wild, debaucherous forest parties, which often take place in dense, hidden thickets, or even below the earth in forgotten caves and caverns. Usually on the guest list are any local Trolls, Boggles, Boggarts, Mudmen, and Mushrums willing to risk getting turned into an onion, all in the name of free-flowing honey-mead!