Elder Races in Dragon Pass


Although Dragon Pass is dominated by humans, about one in five intelligent beings there are non-human. The dragonewts are a very ancient species, descended from the great immortal Dragons of the pass. They appear in several different shapes. Dragonewts are most assuredly intelligent and civilized, although their cities are grotesque and strange to humans, and their language almost musical but impossible to speak. Their sprawling city called Dragon’s Eye is the plains below Kero Fin. Five other smaller cities are scattered throughout Dragon Pass, connected by magical roads. and beaked dragonewts riding atop demi-birds are a familiar sight in those areas. Nonetheless, the dragonewts largely disdain contact with humans except at a few designated places such as Trade Think Market or the Trade Site.

Almost half of all nonhumans in Dragon Pass are trolls, whose ancient queendom of Dagori Inkarth is between the Indigo Mountains and the Rockwoods. Dagori Inkarth is part of Shadows Dance and centered on the Castle of Lead where Kyger Litor, goddess of darkness and ancestress of all trolls, lives. Ruling these lands is Kyger Litor herself, although she is rarely seen by any but her most powerful worshipers. Mistress race trolls are thought to rule deep within the darkness, although they are rarely seen. The trolls are well suited to the land, and they worship the shadows that lurk about.

Smaller troll communities can be found around the edges of Dragon Pass such as Skyfall Lake, inhabited by a troll tribe loyal to the demigoddess Cragspider. In the southeast, the Troll Woods straddle Dragon Pass and the Holy Country. They share part of their tribe with humans and are much talked about by both trolls and humans who distrust them thereby. To the south of Dragon Pass is the Shadow Plateau, center of the ancient Shadowlands Queendom.

Beastmen predominate in southern Dragon Pass, especially Beast Valley. The origin of the various Beastmen are many and colorful. What they all had in common was a half-humanity, often overpowered by the animal-half of the creature’s makeup. The predominant race are centuars, but they also include minotaurs, satyrs, manticores, tiger-men, bird women, bugheads, and many different shapeshifters.

Dwarfs are rarely seen above ground, but there is rumored to be a vast network of tunnels linking their strongholds. Beneath the Dwarf Mine is a vast city of dwarfs. Dwarfs were allies of King Sartar and built Boldhome and the road from Jonstown to Wilmskirk. Sartar’s heir Saronil stole secrets from the dwarfs and taught his followers the art of stonemasonry; as a result, the dwarfs ended their alliance with Sartar. The dwarfs now aid anyone who can pay their incredibly steep demands.

A far larger dwarf city is Greatway. This beautiful dwarf city is carved on the slope of the Rockwood Mountains, and an extensive city honeycombs the interior. Greatway is one of the centers of dwarf civilization in Glorantha, but rarely interacts with Dragon Pass.

During the Inhuman Occupation, brown elf habitation in Dragon Pass spread rapidly, covering much of what was later the Bush Range, Grazelands, and Beast Valley. Large parts of the forest were destroyed in the trollkin wars, even when the elves were not engaged directly in the war. The elves dissipated their strength further by contending against the fires of Oakfed, from nearby Prax. Sometime before 1200, the elves and trolls met in the Battle of Cloaks and Fireclouds, resulting in the death of many Aldryami nobility. The elves who survived fled back to the Stinking Forest or the Holy Country. Unattended, the vast forest which once crossed Dragon Pass began its decline. By the Hero Wars period, there only a few brown elf strongholds in Dragon Pass. Green elves dominate the northern fringes of the Stinking Forest, the Dryad Woods, and other redwood groves. There are several isolated dryads who sadly sing out to their lost elf companions, but rarely get a reply.

The Tusk Riders are a degenerate remnant of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. They were corrupted by breeding with the trolls; eventually they were destroyed by the dragonewts. Some managed to flee into the Stinking Forest where they lived among the trolls, consorting in practices both evil and corrupt. Their steeds are great battle-pigs, as large as bison, well-suited to crossing forests and hills without trouble.

Giants are known to inhabit the Rockwood Mountains and often come down to wreak havoc in the nearby lowlands. They are almost always destructive. Some villages place spikes and other defensive measures to discourage giants from stomping on their homes. A smaller number claim kinship with other mountain ranges and can be found in the higher elevations.

There are Wind Children eyries in the high mountains. The Wind Children are Orlanth-worshipers and are traditionally friendly with the Sartar Dynasty, although they usually ignore the lowland farmers and herders. During the Lunar Occupation, they hid in their mountain fastnesses, but now have begun to reengage with the newly liberated principality.

Bands of baboons are relatively common in Dragon Pass. They are semi-nomadic, and rarely have permanent settlements. They are notorious for ignoring human conventions or rules unless they are forced to. There are a small number of gorilla bands in the mountain forests.

Less troublesome are the bachelor newtlings that have settled in riparian areas. They are generally shy and fearful, and are sometimes used as slaves by the dragonewts, which they do not seem to mind.

The little Duck People of Sartar are often considered one of the Beastmen, although they are one of the tribes of Sartar. They live around the Upland Marsh and along the Creek-Stream River. They are noted for their loyalty to the Sartar Dynasty, and their irascibility and diminutive nature often makes them a subject of jokes.