We’re rushing headlong into year 2 of the Coldforged book writing, and I’m going to hopefully tackle here as many things to get ready to have the book printed as possible. I hope we’re in the home stretch here. I’m also going to be pushing through “Completed” content as well when the time comes. Hopefully little of it needs much balance testing! This week we’re going to look at the Children of Jet
The Great Swamp
Much of the continent of Tysis is a rough, brutal and cold place. The winters are long and a simple turn of the weather can be enough to send a household to their frozen graves. There is somewhere, however, that is generally immune to the harrowing cold, only struck when the winters are are their most intense and when the season turns unusually frigid.
The Great Swamp, on the Southwest edge of the Island, is the known home of the dragon Jet, a dire and dangerous being who secludes themselves from the world in order to ponder great and vile deeds. Their very being corrupts the world, turning a vast area surrounding his lair into a dire morass, one that remains unnaturally and uniformly warm unless under the most intense barrage.
Though they have spread to many other, much more seasonable, habitable places on the continent, it is here, within this swamp, the Children of Jet make their home.
The Children of Jet
The Children of Jet are, in both a figurative and a literal sense, the offspring of the Dragon. They consist of hundreds of half-beast half-dragon hybrids conceived from either mad experimentation or worse, and legions of Lizardkind that populate the swamp and have, as mentioned, spread far and wide.
The most populous of the beasts are the giant half-dragon alligators, Giant lizards, and frogs. These two form the most abundant beats within the swamp and display a vastly larger intelligence and cunning than their more mundane relatives. This leads them to be used often by the other Children as beasts of burden, mounts, and guards, both together and individually, as each group decides based on its resources and skills.
While the beasts are the most populous, the leaders of the Children are clearly the Dragonfolk. These ranger from the literal Children of Jet (Half dragon humans and elves who’ve made their way south to be with their father) to generations of their ancestors (black dragonborn) to the Dragonscale Lizardfolk who inhabit the swamps (Lizardfolk with resistance to acid damage) frog-people, and kobolds, all who are descended from Jet’s dalliances with the local populations.
Half dragons generally, though their experience and knowledge of the outside world, tend toward leaders and prized hunters. Black Dragonborn, through their physical size and legacy of dragonhood while also being dexterous and intelligent, seem to gravitate to crafters and merchants, able to travel within the other Kingdoms with little notice, bringing back exotic goods and wares, additionally, those wise enough becoming respected sages and council. Lizardfolk, the most numerous of the children, are often hunters, gatherers, and scouts, providing both the bulk of the warriors and providers for the group. Kobolds, being cunning yet weak, are often guards, scouts, and messengers, as well as servants to the more important Children. While it oftentimes seems as if a settlement is lousy with kobolds, it is often the same set of Kobolds running swiftly between tasks. Lastly, the Black Saldi are remnants of an old, destructive culture that ravaged much of the continent, and then vanished. Here, in the Morass, a few have survived and brought with them the knowledge and power of Thachula, their venerated patron.
While the Children acknowledge that Jet is their progenitor, they do not worship him as a deity. They look at him as a distant and unreachable sovereign who requires them to perform the duties of his realm without being able to speak with him. Their only method of gaining any sort of information is the Draconic Assembly, a small tribe of a dozen of the oldest and wisest Halfdragons and Dragonborn who live in the deepest parts of the swamp, and who have supposedly spoken with the Great Dragon himself.
Culture and Religion
The religion of the Children of Jet is opposed and, in many ways, unfathomable to those of the rest of the continent, and even the world. They do not worship and revere either the Gods (Paltonarchs) or the Accursed. Instead, their religion is based completely around an all-devouring entity they call Thachula. Their shamans and priests draw their power from this entity from beyond time and space, making pacts with the entity for all eternity, for both themselves and their followers. The dual allegiances to both Jet and Thachula aren’t something unfamiliar to those individuals who are loyal to both a monarch and a diety, and while the goals of the two rarely diverge, significant splits can occur when they do. [In game terms, almost every being with arcane and/or divine power is actually a version of Warlock that is channeling a different aspect of Thachula]
Upon hatching or joining the Children, an initiation ritual is performed on the individual, consecrating their souls to the entity. It is believed by the few scholars of the Children that this entity consumes the very souls of its followers upon their demise, preventing them from being fed to the Demon Queen. No scholar really understands how this works out in the greater scheme of cosmology, but they do believe this is one way around the Black Pact, a stunning discovery if true.
The culture of the Children is built around the duality of Jet and Thachula, with the representatives of both working together to provide for all of the Children in the group. The weak and cowardly work at making traps and being lookouts, while the cunning hunt and the skilled craft the tools for the group. Those with arcane power aid where they are most applicable, honing their abilities to improve the group’s success.
The Children understand and weigh the arcane power, heritage and might of their members, but they do not solely judge them on these merits. Instead, they have a distinctly pragmatic outlook on their members, asking what they have provided for the group lately, in three broad groups, crafters, hunters, and leaders. Those who are able to, respectively, build the best, provide the most, and make the correct decisions are given priority in the minds of the children. There are few times when open discussion and suggestions are not tolerated, but the more often that your opinions prove to be wrong or misinformed, the less you will be considered. This results in those who have recently been able to make good decisions continuing to lead until they make a false step, whereupon an individual who proposed either a solution that would have worked or an alternate decision that did work, taking up the mantle of leader.
Among these three categories, there is no discrimination about how you perform your tasks. You can be gifted with arcane power, innately proficient, or have honed your skill over the ages – as these reptile folk never seem to perish of old age – all are given equal consideration.
The Children are fairly simple people, who see little in the needs of extravagant styles, living both in the ruins within Jets Morass and their own crafted towns and villages, scraping out a living yet living free from the chilling cold that often descends on the rest of the continent.