Monday, March 2, 2009

The People of the Mounds

The northern lands are dotted with strange, inexplicable hills. Over the centuries, their original purpose has been forgotten and only the foolish make any attempt to pass through the entrances that have been discovered in some. Near all that is known about them is that they are one of the few artifacts left behind by the People of the Mounds, those who ruled much of the northern lands long before the current races were born. Those beings that most today name as Faerie - Nixie, Pixie, Dryad, Redcap, etc. - are merely minor spirits of nature and not of the same race as the Mound People and know no more than the meanest farmer.

Though little is known about these beings, it is known that they still roam the land from time to time, their agenda unfathomable to those who find themselves in their paths. Throughout all the stories, it seems that no two examples of these entities are the same - some giants of men wielding huge bludgeons, others seeming bare wisps of mist upon the moors - but in certain things they are similar.

1. Immortality: Whether they can be killed or not is unsure, but it is believed that those Mound People who remain are functionally immortal. What form this immortality takes is simply unknown. Stories persist of fell beings visiting the generations of families throughout time, seeming guardians of a bloodline for some unknown reason. Other tales tell of great heroes slaying such a being, only to encounter it days later seemingly unharmed.

2. Iron: All Mound People are adversely affected by iron in all its forms. Steel weapons pain them and they will not carry such blades. Where no other bond will hold them, iron or steel chains, or a simple circle of iron dust will keep them at bay. Wounds inflicted by cold wrought iron weapons cause maximum damage against the Mound People.

3. Divination: Mound People have access to knowledge and wisdom from unknowable sources such that even the greatest diviners of men and elf seem ignorant in comparison.

4. Tokens: Each of the Mound People carries or leaves behind them a token, icon, or other thing which is the most concrete evidence of their presence. Often, these tokens are small items bearing the symbol of their creator and owner, but sometimes they are stranger. The Green Man, for instance, leaves behind many trees with faces carved into them, each with a unique and often unsettling living expression. Some of the druidic faith consider discovery of such a tree to be a blessing and omen of good fortune.

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