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Lines of Blood: A History of the Gnomes
Other Bloodlines

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The history of Gnomes is incomplete. Until the remaining bloodlines are completed, the following will serve as general information about each of the bloodlines.

Bloodline Aledotter
Historical summary: In 1134, Winedotter brothers Urho, Urko, and Urho Tewodros leave Ta’Vaalor to explore the dwarven outposts on the DragonSpine. They sneak into the mines, pilfer some raw ore and low quality gemstones. They return home with their booty, and quickly sell it off. Recognizing an opportunity for profit, they regularly travel between their new home in the mountains and the gnomish compounds beneath the elven cities. Eventually, they expand this trade to carry gnomish goods (and messages) back and forth between Winedotter, Withycombe, and even Basingstoke compounds. Never intending to establish a new bloodline, the brothers Tewodros nevertheless attract many Winedotter gnomes who admire their freedom of movement and thought; this new group willingly adopts the name “Aledotter” after it is applied to them by a Winedotter wag.

Cultural summary: The gnomes of Bloodline Aledotter live outside the caverns of the dwarves, often sneaking inside to glean information about metallurgy and forging. Inveterate tricksters, these gnomes sometimes perform acts of great kindness and sometimes of great mischief, though more often than not fear and respect temper both impulses. Aledotter gnomes supply the other bloodlines with metals and weaponry; over time this role has expanded to encompass the entire inter-bloodline trade. Aledotter gnomes rarely overlook an opportunity to turn a profit, especially when it does not involve any actual work of their own. These gnomes are particularly proud of their size, believing that it gives them an advantage over larger, clumsier races; as a result, Aledotter women are known to choose their mates on the sole basis of stature. Like other burghal bloodlines, the Aledotter gnomes perform the coming of age ritual known as the arvyad’gno, but for the Aledotter the ceremony involves running away from home to see the world. Those gnomes who return are initiated with a bloodmarking of three vertical lines crossed by a horizontal sword, signifying that they are NOT Winedotter gnomes. Aledotter gnomes rarely worship the gods on a personal level, though respect for Eonak and Gosaena is deeply embedded into their cultural lives. The Winedotter gnomes are led by, insofar as a people who actively cultivate an anti-authoritarian ethos can be made to follow, a triumvirate of elderly gnomes whose respective spheres of authority are pilferage from the mines, trade with the burghal bloodlines, and trade with the forest bloodlines. The Aledotter gnomes live more like forest gnomes than burghal gnomes, in a single compound on the side of the DragonSpine range and wandering the roads of Elanthia.

Bloodline Greengair
Historical Summary: Within the Imaera priesthood of the forest arises a heresy suggesting that the goddess would not approve of the gnomes’ most basic relationship with nature. Stating that the race should live in harmony with nature rather than in conflict with it, this ideology makes little headway until the conversion of Doina Mazonn, head priestess of the Basingstoke line. After a series of impassioned sermons, in 2389 she leads nearly a third of forest gnomes off to establish a new group, named Bloodline Greengair after the fixed compounds they build.

Cultural summary: Unlike their wandering Basingstoke forebears, whom they liken to a plague of locusts, Greengair gnomes live in permanent compounds that resemble parks and gardens. Because of their fixed location, these gnomes have been known to tinker with the environment, seeking to maximize the yield of useful plants. Greengair alchemists also produce natural compounds that have the ability to modify (for better or worse) a person’s skills and characteristics. Many Greengair gnomes are vegetarian, and most are fanatical devotees of Imaera. The Greengair bloodmark consists of five straight lines arranged in a pentagonal shape, like the briar-covered log fences that surround the greengairs.

Bloodline Wendwillow
Historical Summary: After the departure of the Greengair, the Basingstoke gnomes enter a reactionary period in which dissent and disagreement are strictly prohibited. Resentment over these new policies grows, and less than a century later the forest gnomes fracture again, this time producing a group of gnomes famous for their unwillingness to settle on fixed policy or procedure. Led by Mircea Adhiambo, a gnome chosen for being the least likely to offer a settled opinion on any question, the new group wanders aimlessly until someone suggests stopping. They remain a while until someone suggests moving on. Over time, this settles into a more fixed pattern in which the entire bloodline wanders along the banks of rivers or the shoreline of lakes and the sea. Groups break off from the bloodline whenever they reach a spot they consider too beautiful to leave.

Cultural summary: Known for their hospitality and diplomacy, Wendwillow gnomes are easy-going and good-natured. They often stop their wayfaring to heal environmental damage from fire or flood, and many of them are drawn to the healing profession. Their fickle nature leads many of them to worship the goddess Zelia. Wendwillow gnomes have no institution of marriage. They choose seasonal partners called Summer Loves and Winter Love. In some cases a couple renews those relationships throughout their lives, but in most cases the dalliances are for one season only. Wendwillow artists are famous for working with sand. They blow glass, making wonderful colored objects for practical use and artistic design. At the end of a season, they are destroyed or hidden in the sand of a riverbank. Another unique art of the Wendwillow gnomes is sand painting. They use colored sand to create elaborate designs and realistic landscape paintings. They are created, enjoyed, then immediately destroyed. The bloodmark of the Wendwillow consists of six wavy lines, arranged like the limbs of an ancient willow tree.

Bloodline Rosengift
Historical Summary: A group of Basingstoke rangers led by Srinath Harazhdo decides that too much effort is put into hunting. They develop a variety of poisons, originally for use on arrow tips, but soon enough for darker purposes. Bloodline Rosengift splinters off for its own protection after a young gnome accidentally uses the wrong compound when hunting, leading to the death of five families who shared the tainted venison.

Cultural Summary: The gnomes of Bloodline Rosengift believe that they have a mandate to subject the forests to gnomish rule. Rosengift gnomes reject any law but expediency and their own personal code. They take particular delight in violating the so-called “laws of nature” by cross-pollinating plants, breeding new varieties of animals, and tattooing their fitness-sculpted bodies. They delight in sporting contests and competitions of every kind, and they rarely find time or inclination to marry. Rosengift alchemists reduce food products to powders which are ingested with water or wine. Rosengift gnomes are also rarely content with the body that nature provides, seeking to alter their features in every way conceivable through body art and piercing, as well as sculpting through exercise. The bloodmark of the Rosengift resembles a bundle of seven arrows.

Bloodline Nylem
Historical Summary: In 4120, Danail Nylem is exiled from the Withycombe for violating a centuries-old period of official mourning for the collapse of the Kannalan Empire. More than a quarter of the bloodline admires Nylem’s transgressive humor, and they accompany his departure to form a new bloodline. Reaction against the departure forces the Withycombe to abandon their long-outdated somberness and return to their original good cheer.

Cultural Summary: The gnomes of Bloodline Nylem love nothing better than a good joke, preferably at someone's expense. Where Withycombe gnomes act for the good of their hosts, the Nylem undermine with dirty tricks. They often select targets who deserve punishment for some failing or flaw, but in other circumstances these merry pranksters act with no moral purpose at all. Most Nylem are profoundly irreligious, though Cholen and Jastev receive respect. The cultural life of the bloodline surrounds the roast, and no acquaintance of a Nylem gnome is spared their caustic wit. The Nylem live in close proximity to the Withycombe, often traveling by common tunnelways, but they never live in the same compounds or work in the same establishments. The bloodmark of the Nylem consists of a single line radiating outward through eight spiral rotations.

Bloodline Vylem
Historical Summary: A secret cult of Eorgina arises within the Nylem, their worship of the dark queen at odds with the neutral trickster-ethos of the bloodline. A brief but bloody struggle for power ends with the Eorgina faction separating under the leadership of Hjoka Doru, teenage high priestess of the goddess. They adopt the mocking nickname bestowed by their Nylem cousins as a sign of the purity of their devotion.

Cultural Summary: The gnomes of Bloodline Vylem are the proudest of their race, and they brook no disrespect from other gnomes. Worshippers of the Lornon pantheon with a special devotion to Eorgina, the Vylem are ruled by adolescent queens whose every whim is law. Vylem men always defer to Vylem women, who tend to be imperious as a result. Many Vylem men chose a life of chastity, for reasons best left unsaid. Alone among the burghal gnomes, the Vylem are self-sufficient, believing it demeaning to work for--or even steal from--the other (inferior) races. The bloodmark of the Vylem consists of ten small tongues of flame.

Bloodline Angstholm
Historical Summary: A compound of Wendwillow gnomes established on an island at the confluence of three rivers in the lake country northwest of Ta’Nalfein is lost to a rushing deluge. The few survivors who make their way back upriver vow never to place themselves at the mercy of more powerful forces again. With the help of some Winedotter engineers, they fortify their island with a wondrous array of traps, flood tunnels, and other mechanisms of defense . . . and then effectively disappear from history. Rarely does a visitor to the island of Angstholm return to tell a tale, and when they do they often report having found nothing whatever but thickly-forested land. It is rumored that Angstholm gnomes have built fortress compounds on other, similarly located islands.

Cultural Summary: The gnomes of Bloodline Angstholm rarely leave their island fortress home, and when they do they are notoriously private and shy among strangers. They make acquaintance slowly, and even among their closest friends they say little about their homeland. Descended from Wendwillow survivors of a cataclysmic flood, the Angstholm gnomes remain dedicated to their founders’ pledge to tame the elements through the study of elemental magic. They have long been disdainful of the Arkati, whom they hold responsible for the flood; according to reports, many have turned away from the Arkati altogether to worship the elements directly. The bloodmark of the Angstholm consists of two concentric pentagons with a wavy line representing floodwater coursing over the top.

Bloodline Neimhean
Historical Summary: The Withycombe, as the eldest of the bloodline has come to be called, dies under mysterious circumstances. An investigation uncovers a secret society of gnomish assassins led by Todor Neimhean. Neimhean is put to death immediately, and the rest of his followers go underground. While some are captured and killed, it is believed that a small bloodline survived the purges.

Cultural Summary: The gnomes of Bloodline Neimhean live in silence and shadow, in and among the larger burghal bloodlines. A society of assassins and thieves, the Neimhean mask their identity from all but fellow initiates. The very name "Neimhean" is anathema to all but the Rosengift gnomes, who supply the group with poisons. Rarely will a gnome tolerate the presence of a Neimhean, even one who renounces membership in the group. So vicious and permanent is the revenge taken on oathbreakers that one may safely assume that a gnome who speaks openly about Neimhean cultural practice is a fraud. The Neimhean wear no bloodmark of their own, but often adopt those of other bloodlines as part of their subterfuge.

 

 




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