D&D 5E: Smallfolk of Dragon's Reach
|Character||Race / Role||Player||Level|
|Brekki Longtoes||Grippli Ranger||Max||3|
|Helmut the Trekker||Halfling Ranger||Meriss||3|
|Jonnalyn Silver||Halfling Bard||Talisman||3|
|Rosto Sesskarr||Kobold Artificer||Garyfury||3|
|DM||Shenanigans & Misdemeanors||kokopelli|
|Joe Bob||3||9||34||2||12||candy cane
* indicates featured saves
The Islands of the Archipelago
Alichokka is the main island of the archipelago and virtually all smallfolk are represented here. Like most of the islands of Dragon's Reach, the northern shoreline of the island is made up almost entirely of cliffs. The center north-western portion of the island rises sharply to a single green peak.
- The Hall of the Mountain King - Underneath the single high mountain of Alichokka lie the warrens and labyrinths of the gnomes and the small dwarves of the reach. Kobolds and Goblins also dwell beneath the mountain, but far lower than the dwarves typically go.
- Brightwater Bay - The central bay that branches out into the halfling fjords. A bustling fishing community. Known for it's plentiful fishing and unique biosphere, between the Northwest and Northeast halves of the great isle is a long and deep four-pronged fjord, the edges of which are inhabited by the coastal halflings, but the bay is home to the towns and villages of many cultures. It is one of the most cosmopolitan places of the archipelago.
- Blackwater Brake - The south-western cape of the island is a great swampland, primarily inhabited by the Grippli. Goblins live here as well.
- The Eastern Moors - Nearly the entire eastern side of the great island is the province of the lowland clans of human folk, mostly fishers and farmers, but small settlements of gnomes and halflings can also be found.
Faer is the most cosmopolitan of the isles of the Reach, with the races of many small folk living shoulder to shoulder. Faer's prime purpose is as the archipelago's primary ports of trade.
- Trader Down - Located on the deep harbor in the southwest corner of the island, Trader Down is the major port of Faer and the closest thing in Dragon's Reach to an actual city. Goods from all over the archipelago may be found in Trader Down.
- Carcasca Eyrie - At the northern approach to the bay where Trader Down and its surrounding settlements are located is the island of Carcasca Eyrie. This extinct volcano is the domain of the ancient copper wyrm Carcasca and some few of her descendants. A trading settlement and its supporting communities - populated largely by kobolds, but also by halflings, gnomes, and an assortment of other peoples - serves Carcasca's needs and whims and manages trade through the surrounding seas. Commerce and peaceful visitors are welcomed by the wyrm, territorial encroachment and clandestine exploitation of the island are not.
- Northport - Located in a tight bay at the northern end of the island, Northport is dug straight into the sea-facing cliffs and has an underground Harbour that the tallest ships can only access at low tide. Northport is primarily an expansive fishing village, but it is said to be a place to receive illicit and smuggled goods.
- The Midlands - The center of Faer is lush farmland primarily cultivated by human clans settled in small cooperative villages.
- Polygnostic Academy - The highlands in the northeast of Faer are the location of the Polygnostic Academy, a repository of knowledge and learning open to all who come with peaceful intentions and open minds. Academicians of all races are represented here, and the institution draws visitors from the length of the archipelago who are seeking after particular pieces of lore or solutions to difficult problems.
Ki is the smallest and wildest of the islands that are more than rocks standing up over the waves. Halflings and gnomes have been known to land there to resupply or - rarely - to trade, but it is mostly inhabited by goblins, Kobolds, and a small tribe of wood elves.
- Ijon Tower - Ijon Tower is a monastery perched on the north cliffline of Ki. It takes adherents of all races.
- Ghostlight Tower - Hidden deep in the jungles of Ki, the Ghostlight Tower was once the home of a legendary kobold wizard (or possibly a sorcerer, or maybe a warlock - different tales tell different things). He was said to consort with spirits from "beyond the sky", and disappeared one night as the tower blazed with green flame, never to be seen again. Now, the land around the tower is known as the Mad Place. Distances are slightly off, and the proportions of the plants and animals seem subtly wrong - leaves grow in odd shapes, and animals leave tracks that suggest they are somehow abnormal. Sleeping there brings eerie nightmares; staying there for a week or more can bring madness. Naturally, the locals avoid this place, but there are persistent rumors of treasure or great magical knowledge to be found in the tower... as well as the source of all this weirdness.
The Island of Rune is inhabited almost entirely by a moiety of sea giants and coastal halflings whose lives and tribes and lands and professions are so closely intertwined that it is believed that neither could long survive without the other. The Giants are small for their kind, standing only about 9 feet at maturity, and are said to be great practitioners of elemental magics. Particularly magics of air and storm and sea. Suspended walkways of wood and land roads of stone connect every home and village on the island, none of which are named.
For centuries, some of the world's finest scrimshaw has been found on Rune, where halfling artisans produce exquisite and sometimes magical works of art from the bones and ivory of whales and sea monsters hunted by their giant friends.
The Outer Reach
The islands to the north-east are mostly uninhabitable, bearing only the hardiest and shortest vegetation. Mostly it's just violent seas and rock and dragons.
- Wandering Isle - Occasionally seen among the isles of the Outer Reach, the Wandering Isle is a perfectly normal island, small and roughly diamond-shaped, bearing a sturdy stone house at one end. The chimney of this house always trails smoke, and at night, yellow lamp-light glows through the windows. This island has been reported in numerous places through the Reach, appearing seemingly at random; it has never been observed disappearing or appearing, but its location has been noted, only for it to inexplicably vanish the next time anyone checks. Once, a small merchant vessel was found adrift and derelict; the last entry in the captain's log spoke of putting ashore at a small, uncharted island, empty save for a stone house, and the entire crew heading ashore "to find what manner of man might be living here."
- Gaira - This long island between Alichokka and the Outer Reach is mostly flat land used as pasture for sheep and cattle by the people of Alichokka's Eastern Moors, being thick in grass and thin in predators. At its northern end, though, the land rises sharply into a rocky promontory. At the highest point of the island, almost atop the windward cliffs, there's a huge cairn, a dome of mossy, weather-worn boulders piled thirty feet high. It's said to be the burial mound of an ancient giant hero, or of a legendary monster she slew. Most nights, and especially during storms, it's crowned by greenish foxfires so large and bright that sailors use it as a beacon.
The Seas of the Archipelago
The Winward Sea
The winds around Dragon's Reach typically blow in from the north, so the seas to the north are called the Windward Sea
The Leeward Sea
On the south side of the archipelago, the winds tend to blow away from the isles, so the seas to the south are known as the Leeward Sea.
To the west of the Reach is a chasm of great depth at the bottom of the sea floor that has never been measured. Even the dragons won't go there. Strange things are said to come up from the trench at odd times.
The People of the Archipelago
Dwarves are isolationists politically but also maintain a trade presence throughout the isles. The war pick is a favored weapon of dwarves and all are considered proficient int its use.
- Pick a Fight: A Dwarf taking an attack action with a war pick in the first round of combat attacks at advantage or adds +2 to their AC that round, player's choice.
Gnomes typically handle the governance of larger towns and cosmopolitan settings. The homes and villages of surface gnomes have sails.
- Limited Telempathy: Gnomes have Expertise (double proficiency) to all Wisdom/Insight checks in regard to determining whether someone is lying or prevaricating.
Goblins are vicious elementalists who live in primitive tribal settlements. They sometimes live in towns, but do not build towns/villages of their own, per se, though they do live in nomadic/migratory settlements called the Hanging Homes, woven from giant spider webbing and rendered "un-sticky" by a pseudo-alchemical elemental process.
- Flamehand: All goblins, regardless of class, know one elemental cantrip.
Grippli are the least populous of the six smallfolk races of the Reach. Grippli are masters of concocting, rendering, or just collecting poisons from plants, animals, and minerals.
There's a longstanding feud between grippli and lizardfolk over the wetlands of the Dragon's Reach. The lizardfolk are fiercely territorial and hostile to trespassers, while the grippli tend to wander with the seasons and many of their traditional travel routes and dwellings are in lizardfolk territory. Who has the older and/or more rightful claim to any particular area is utterly unclear, and constantly fought over through words and weapons and diplomatic relations; the current situation is an uneasy, unsatisfying truce frequently punctuated by local skirmishes. Goblins breed giant spiders as mounts and sources of labor/materials (webbing) and milk/food.
The grippli keep a variety of domesticated giant frogs for use as steeds and beasts of burden, similar to the human use of various bovines and equines. Sometimes they're also slaughtered for meat and waterproof leather, but this is often seen as a waste of good working animals. Particularly aggressive and intelligent specimens of certain mid-sized breeds are sought after for combat-trained knightly mounts equivalent to warhorses.
- Weaponpaste: A grippli may be assumed to have created enough such substances for 1d6 uses as weapon-paste per Long Rest (doses created the previous long rest are considered to have lost their effectiveness, so these don't stack). On a successful hit, these inflict the Poisoned condition until the end of their next turn.
Halflings are the most populous of the six smallfolk races of the Reach. They are the shipwrights of the Reach.
Halflings are hospitable folk, and have a great respect for storytellers. Ancient tradition holds that anyone seeking the hospitality of a halfling household will be welcomed without fail so long as they comport themselves as a good guest: respecting the household, helping with minor chores, honoring the local traditions, etc. In return, they are expected to share at least one new story, song, epic poem, or juicy bit of foreign gossip as "payment." Even a poor storyteller will be hosted for a day, but especially skilled storytellers may sometimes stay on for weeks. Violating this guest-right (such as by stealing, or harassing the host's family or servants) is considered one of the worst crimes, on par with rape or murder.
Halflings are fascinated by genealogy, and keep extensive family records. When two halflings get married, part of the wedding ceremony involves ritually adding each partner's name to the other's Family Book, a process which involves expensive inks and sometimes the services of a professional calligrapher. Although halfling families may end up widely scattered, they keep track of everyone they're related to as much as possible; there's no quicker way to get on a halfling's good side than to bring them news of Cousin Becka's oldest boy, who married a girl from the Puddlejumper family, and now they have three children and are living in Haverly Rock. Conversely, lying about family records will earn you the permanent distrust of all halflings associated with that family.
Halflings are God tier gardeners. A single halfling can create a new garden in a very short amount of time. Working together they can replant an entire region within a month. They enjoy making flower clocks, and impossible vegetable gardens. This is not to say that halflings aren't farmers, their farms are simply not monoculture and they look like full gardens.
Most halfling communities have one or more mastiff breeders. These animals are often treated with the same care and respect as the sentient members of the community. The breeders even keep a Book of Dogs with the same information as their own Books of Deeds.
- Seeds of Life: All Halflings carry a small bag of seeds, planting them occasionally in particularly barren places to encourage growth and life. At need, a halfling can instead make a poultice of the (ground-up) seeds that can be used on one person's wounds for 2d8 + the halfling's character level of healing. The halfling can replenish their seeds by the end of the next long rest. (Note: underground this will mean myconid spoors or tuber trimmings and at sea it will mean algae or floating sea plants.)
Kobolds are known for their skill with Alchemy and Magic.
It's said that inside every Draconis kobold is the dream of the dragon they wish to be. Most young kobolds reaching adulthood set out on a journey of self-fulfillment to seek to attain the standing, wealth, or fame in their chosen vocation that will prove them worthy to support a large clan and lead a long and prosperous life. Thus there is a strong streak of ambition running through many draconis, though this may manifest in many different ways according to the temperament of each individual. Just as a kobold merchant may focus on attaining prosperity and esteem in their trade, a kobold paladin with the most altruistic goals will nevertheless seek to be a shining example of their ideals.
Despite their varying physical details, both common varieties of kobold are born from eggs, and many aspects of kobold tradition revolve around them. Many kobolds keep the shards of their own egg as a sentimental keepsake and sometimes fashion them into ceremonial artworks that make up the centerpiece of a personal or clan shrine. This reverence even extends to the eggs of other species; although kobolds do not necessarily regard the eggs of non-sentient species as sacrosanct, they treat them with a respect greater than that they hold for the flesh of food animals.
- Hoard Sense: a Kobold in possession of their shard has Expertise (double proficiency) to all Wisdom/Insight checks regarding the appraisal of minerals, gems, and crafted items of value.
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