If you want to skip ahead and see what these dudes actually look like, and take a look at some of the other races, the Eldritch Foundry has a 'Lore' section now. Link is at the bottom of the post. Click through and Lore is on the top right.
Also we have an initial-area continental map coming with clickable backgrounds and descriptions for everything on there, if I can ever finish the writing for it.
Writing - the main challenge for the EF stuff is that, at least initially, its driven by the market, or by what the market is assumed to be. Which to begin with means Elves, Dwarves, Half-Elves (maybe the most popular PC choice) Halflings, etc.
And then later, animal-people and tiny Fey, who are apparently major desired products for 3D printing as models for them are not well served by mass produced plastic-injection moulding.
So this is me trying to interact with, or at least approach, the general public. (Those who know me are sniggering behind their hands reading this).
I knew this going in, it was one of the reasons I took the job.
One of the general race-concepts for Uud is that everything is very slightly more pseudo-scientific than usual. Several of the 'races' are meant to be alternate versions of Humanity from parallel planes, trapped together when Yggsrathaal started to decay this one.
So the mind states of Aeth and Deoth are imagined as them having subtly different cognitive architecture, literally a different sensorium, biology, perception of the world and not just different biology in human terms but operating under the shadow of very slightly different natural laws.
Most of these 'races' have almost completely forgotten that they are from different versions of reality.
As to 'Humanity', essentially its defined by the majority. Somon, (Homo Sapiens) are from this reality. (This is also why they have only one name when encountering extra-dimensional beings, hence the name 'Somon'. As fast-breeding agricultural omnivores, there are a lot more of them, so they get to decide what it means to be human. Which mean Aeth, Deoth, Homon and a handful of others are *in*, and 'monsters', 'orcs' and definitely the Children of Yggsrathaal are definitely *out*.
I haven't got round to 'Orc' yet, but essentially, from the perspective of human cultures, its "Looks-Kinda-Human-But-Not", someone, or something, that is in the uncanny valley of human perception, human-seeming enough to freak people out but without some essential quality of 'humanity'.
So, this is both a physical, and in a way, a legal definition. Who or what is or isn't an 'Orc' can depend a lot on how the people around them perceive them.
Anyway, here are 'our-Dwarves-are-different' Deoth.
ALIENATED FROM NATURE
Imagine if, when you looked at a tree or a flower unfurling, or a cloud crossing the sun, you felt as if you had seen a spider crossing your hand.
Or if, when you saw a green shoot in fresh soil, or a baby lamb, it felt as if you were looking at a skull, picked quite clean by insects and time.
These things aren't necessarily awful, or even inherently ugly or monstrous, they can be said to have their own strange beauty. But they are Other; alien and strange. They are not like you.
The Deoth feel and intuit nature, in its immediate forms; trees, plants, forests, weather, wind, rain and storms, the sun (but not the stars) as something alien.
For them, a meadow surrounded by flowers is like a field of crawling insects. Not evil, but not fun, and they feel the same way about natural growth as you do about decay. It’s necessary, but you wouldn't want to sit there staring at it.
Wherever they come from or however they were made, those things were not natural to them and no matter how long they have been here, those things remain other to them. This instinct never fades, or abrades with time. They are not at home.
This bone-deep alienation from the natural world cascades up and down the Deoth state of mind, affecting their culture on every level. If they were ‘at home’, somewhere they intuited as ‘normal’, would they seem more ‘human’? Or even stranger?
BODY AND FORM
If Somon (Human) proportions are roughly 1 by 3 by 9, i.e. three times as wide and nine times as tall as they are thick, then Deoth proportions are more like 1 by 2 by 6, twice as wide and six times as tall as they are thick.
They have slightly denser mass and roughly the same amount of flesh, just differently proportioned. This makes them heavy, wide, and strong.
The range of morphology crosses over with the edge of the Somon range. An unusually short, dense or squat Somon and an unusually tall, lithe and gracile Deoth could look very similar.
At the other end of the range, the extraordinarily short, wide and thick Deoth look almost like creatures from legend of children’s tales.
Their blood is denser than water and crystallises into cuboid prisms, like salt, when it dries. Their bones, skin, nails, teeth and hair follicles are thick, towards the end of the Somon range.
They are omnivores, and can survive on very little, but they like to eat a LOT, especially of carbs. They are happy if they can add in extra carbs as drink at the same time. Thick foods, thick drinks.
They like booze, because their extremely fast calorie conversion means they have to work to get fat, and perhaps drinking aids them with their mild and continual alienation from the 'natural' world. Low-level alcoholism is common to many Deoth cultures.
They also sometimes nibble small pieces of metal and mineral, and can often identify them by taste. They aren't getting nutrition from them, but they may integrate trace elements into their senses.
SLEEP AND DREAMS
Deoth almost always lucid dream. They are aware they are dreaming, can change the nature of the dream and recall it afterwards. These dream-states are of enormous precision and exactness. If a Deoth dreams of writing a book or sketching a plan, when they fall back asleep the same plan or book will be there, exactly as it was before.
Deoth spend a lot of time in dreams, planning and building, making and shaping. They have a near-perfect memory for objects so every Deoth has a kind of internal catalogue of plans and built things which they have developed from childhood.
They do not fundamentally need to sleep, but they can and they enjoy it. Their dreams of craft are one of the few pleasures they are afforded in their strange world and they are opportunistic sleepers.
Sleep also re-energises them a great deal, a regularly-sleeping Deoth will seem to have a lot more energy than a Somon on the same schedule and will usually wake up full of plans.
Tired or poorly fed Deoth don't dream, which is distressing for them, and their para-senses and craft skills suffer. This isn't very noticeable to other races - to an outsider their gross physical actions remain the same. This is where part of their reputation for tirelessness comes from. This lack of dreaming makes them grumpy, which is where part of their reputation for being arseholes comes from.
Deoth find humanities formless, memoryless dreams in which the dreamer not only cannot control what is happening, but does not even know they are dreaming, really weird and mystical. For them, lived experience is the strange, formless and uncontrollable part of existence, and the dream a refuge from that.
A Somon waking up afraid from a nightmare, or talking in their sleep, is a slightly magical experience for Deoth.
“Where did you go?” they ask.
Deoth have a range of partial senses that Somon do not. These vary a great deal by individual according to lines of descent, personal aptitude, diet, culture and sheer randomness.
They have a partial magnetic sense, like a pigeon or migrating bird which they describe it as a kind of 'tightness' in the air.
They have a very precise pressure sense in their sinuses, like the Somon experience of quickly gaining or losing height, but much more exact. They generally know how deep or how high they are.
They have a blotchy and imprecise short-range infra-red sense, they will often see living things glowing slightly in the dark at close range.
They can sense (but not 'see') the presence of ultraviolet light and even more high-frequency particles. Birds and flowers have a ‘brightness’ to them which Somon do not see. The irony of Deoth being able to see this when they cannot appreciate its beauty has not been lost on generations of poets and ironists.
The combination of these sense, plus a complete absence of claustrophobia or of any fear of being trapped in a small space, means Deoth are very comfortable underground or in enclosed spaces of any kind.
Somon become uncomfortable in these situations relatively quickly and Aeth even faster but Deoth are completely happy rambling about through narrow tunnels for days, months, forever really. There are no 'infinite' depths for them since they always know how deep they are and they never have the sense of being crushed or buried.
There have been Deoth in Blackriver since anyone can remember.
It’s widely thought they built the Grey Cities. Under the eons of decrepitude and grime, beneath the tattered flags, collapsed icons to forgotten faiths and crumbling spires, many of the key buildings, and much of the core design of Galdor, Vocht, Declension and Yga is clearly their work.
Today, they are massively outnumbered by Somon and are usually allowed high-status functionary roles that minimise social interaction. Anywhere from Blacksmith to Bureaucrat to Executioner. But they are often are kept out of Somon hierarchies. Their usual low sociability and disinterest in social position means they barely object.
A local Deoth might be the village blacksmith, money changer, house builder, night watchman, village drunk or all of the above.
They can do well in the military, where social roles and reactions are all written down and their enormous capacity for work is rewarded. There are no Deoth Emperors or Kings (in Blackriver at least), but you might find one acting as the Marcher Lord of a watch-tower on the margins of the Waste, a mix of military commander, colonist, monster fighter and feudal lord.
Its standard for most Deoth to have at least one or two of the personality traits we associate with Aspergers; difficulty with facial expressions, literalism, trouble with eye contact or metaphors. They are not necessarily very deep on the spectrum but it’s rare to meet one that has none of these markers at all.
Just because they have difficulty in social situations does not mean they are necessarily anti-social. They can draw as much pleasure from the company of others as anyone, but their strange relationship to the world, strange mentality, intense focus, object obsession and long lives (300 to 400 years usually) mean they find it hard to maintain social bonds.
Generally as they age and get more familiar with Somon they find ways to adapt to the surrounding culture. They live so long, with such regular habits and private interests that to generations of Somon they seem almost to fade into the background.
Deoth are less into Gender than Somon.
They like to have something on their face, either a beard, tattoos, piercings or some other body modification or mask.
The classic Deoth look is a bearded male and a tattooed and pierced female, but with Deoh you never really know since males do shave occasionally, women sometimes grow facial hair and they often don't signal gender much.
Its entirely possible to spend a long time with some Deoth without ever really knowing what gender they are. They might not think to bring it up themselves.
It's theorised that they have a breeding season or some specific thing that activates sexual desire, with it being low or neutral the rest of the time. Whatever it is they don't talk about it much and others are often too embarrassed to ask.
In theory Somon and Deaoth can cross-breed, with a low likelihood of producing young and a near-impossibility of producing fertile young. But since almost no human wants to sleep with a Deoth and they have little interest the other way, half-Deoh are extraordinarily rare, and usually just look like short Somon.
THE STEEL KEEPS
For the Deoth Blackwater the Steel Keeps are legendary places. They are described as mountains of steel or huge towers of metal, mistaken for shining castles but growing deep, deep into the earth, with mountains and forests grown up around them.
Deoth legends place the Steel Keeps at the centre of all their origin myths.
These all differ, in a few the Deoth were created in the Keeps. In most the Keeps are what brought them here, to Uud, from wherever they were before. In some legends they fell from the heavans, in others they were summoned or rose up from the ground. The tales all differ except to say that the Steel Keeps pierced the world and the Deoth came forth.
All the Keeps are lost, except for one. The Waste of the world and the Ash of Yggsrathaal has consumed and folded over them, lost to monsters or time, or the children of Entropy, or to cultural change, abandoned, ruined, sinking.
Except for one. In the most distant of the Mountains of Reality, on the border of the Cataclysm and with the ruins of lost Phosphorfall just visible from its peak, stands the Beothoborg, a sky-piercing shard of steel that shines like ice, with black scree-slopes gathered around it like blankets.
Few Deoth live there and those that do are considered even stranger that Blackriver Deoth. High-minded and difficult to deal with and extremely unimpressed. They hold to what they claim are ‘older ways’ and wield ‘pure’ runic magics. It’s said they make food by alchemy and nothing grows inside.
Most Deoth have some kind of vague dream of repairing or reconquering, re-inhabiting the Steel Keeps, or a specific one, though to exactly what effect they either do not know or will not tell. A vision of shining walls on a distant horizon hangs before their eyes - a dream that mutes the loneliness of a world that never feels quite right or makes sense.
Every month there seems to be some report of Deoth springing into unlikely action.
Striding into the ash to seize back names from Name-Takers, leaguing with Somon or Aeth to fight spindlelimbed taxmasters, troubling, or even directly defying the authorities. There have always been a few radical monster hunters, easy enough to divert into pointless or low-success missions out in the ash, but now things are getting really out of control. Who would have thought it, from the Deoth of all people?
YOU CLICKED BELOW THE CUT!!!
YOUR ADVENTURE ENDS HERE...
Not really. I feel intensely awkward watching or reading reviews of my stuff so if anyone wants to watch this one and tell me how it goes, feel free. And thanks.