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Nightlings – the Goblins

“Hear me clearly. Power isn’t having magic, weapons or gold. It is not in the having, it is in the being able to twist all of these things to your advantage and use. What does it matter if you have enemies if your enemies can be bribed with one another’s money to kill each other? We are free to walk the earth to take anything we need and we protect our families and kin by having powerful and useful contacts.

We are proud of our position in this world. We are the providers of battle and they couldn’t wage their never-ending wars if we did not get them what they needed, from horses, to swords, to supplies. We provide but we are not interested in getting involved. War and carnage are not for us, we have families, we love life. We have culture and history so why do the other peoples of the world consider us to be horrible and evil parasites, to be paid off and ignored. That is a question, for which we have no answer.

We see ourselves as the middlemen, the negotiators willing to provide our clients with the strength they need for each battle. And if we should end up being the providers for both sides in a skirmish, so be it. If they both paid us, they both deserved the best service and that is what we are good at.”

Nightlings – The Goblins of the Undermountain
Nightlings are a sub-tribe of Goblins, known as mischievous meddlers, whispering troublemakers, and absolute mercenaries. They often find themselves in battles but never battles of their own making (they don’t have the time…). Cross their yellowy-green hands with a few silver coins and the job is as good as done. Nightlings are very cunning, though and if they find themselves in real trouble, they will call upon their curel and vile allies – Shadow Elves (or worse…) – to lend a hand… or cut off an ear or two.

The Nightlings after the Fall
The Nightlings actually benefit from the great catastrophe that devastated the world of Ascendallion. Being forced to inhabit the caves of the undermountain after several defeats against the Dwarves, the Nightlings now think it’s their time to strike back. Their Bonerollers actually interpret the meteor as a sign of the gods and spur their bethren on to battle. Since the Fall, the Goblins levy massive armies and streams of green skinned lunatics pour from the Undermountain.

Nightling Society
Nighlings travel in marauding bands of between 50 and 100 members, hunting and raiding by night and sleeping in caves or hollows by day. They’ll often attack merchant camp sites and steal what they can – not necessarily killing their victims as they would hate to eliminate the chance of robbing them again! More ferocious than their Goblin cousins, they have pasty yellow or grey skin. They wear hooded robes and often carry short stabbing spears, blow guns, and other close range weaponry. This sub-tribe is despised by most Goblins as they will work for anyone – wether they agree with the reasons for the conflict or not. Despised or not, the Goblins will still use them if they have a particularly nasty job to take care of!

Nightling Military
The advancement of technology and war skills has led the goblins down several paths of experimentation, including the recent development and introduction of the shield wall. This is seen to be a very succesfull tactic but is also a great test of patience and organisation for the leaders. The average goblin has an eager, easily excitable persona wich doesn’t sit well with the concepts of the shield wall – and the leaders must control them at all times.

Partly armored and skilled with various weapons and in particular the bow, the mounted infantry are very fast and manoeuverable and ride giant wolves and on occasion other beasts. These skirmish riders receive special training wich allows them to ride and use their bows at the same time. They enter battle in a unique manner, ignoring standard lines of attack and instead making fast attacks and even faster exits to pick of the slower enemy infantry. Riding about the enemy flanks and rear, they avoid their archer regiments and have been known to complete an encounter without the loss of a single rider.

Long standing troops that have gained fame from heroic acts in the service of the warlord are dubbed heroes with all the privileges this title endows. They are the acknowledged best all-around fighters of their particular regiment, and must undertake a testing ritual before they receive their public promotion to this prestigious rank.

The guard is the front rank of the goblin defense, entrusted with the protection of the homestead and other special areas. Proficient with both sword and dagger, the missile weapon of choice for guard members is the hand held sling. It only takes a small rock or crystal in the hand of a master to make it deadly. Trained in all manners of hand-to-hand combat, they are often called upon to join the ranks of travelling war patrols and may also act as personal bodyguard for the explorers, when the goblin warlord sends out a new party.

Shamanism & Magic
A long established part of the goblin life are the bone rollers, Visionaries and mystics who throw animal bones on velvet cloths and then divine the results. These “fortune-tellers” are often called upon before battles and other important events to foretell the outcome. There is a call now to abandon the old ways but there will always be those goblins who prefer that which worked for their ancestors. Goblin Magic Users, known as Shamans, are well respected in their society although they are reclusive and antagonistic towards almost everyone. Military leaders who are veering away from the use of Bonerollers in their campaigns have no qualms about using the services of a good Shaman.


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Khor – the Dwarves

So, we’re talking about Nightlings, eh? If we must, we must. I don’t mind killing them, it’s the burning of the carcasses wich disturbs me. I know that it’s necessary to prevent disease and all that but you can never get the stink out of your clothes. It’s good practice, killing nightlings, it keeps you fit and sharp. It’s better than digging coal anyway. I could have gone into the forge work like my brother, I suppose, but working with Gnomes would have driven me around the bend! They’re always blabbering on about this great idea or this wondrous invention and no matter what you do, they could have always done it better! When the coal is delivered, though, you don’t hear a peep from them and they’re off like a shot! You’ll never see a gnome lift a shovel or heft a sack but you might find one spending weeks designing an elaborate coal-lifting engine. No, the army is the place for me.

I have served in the army my entire life and my experiences, wielding the axe in the name of my lord, are what made me what I am. Before I was old enough to lift a weapon or pull the string of a crossbow, I would help my fathers regiment by feeding the Nalrim beasts, polishing the weapons, cleaning the boots. For years i watched and listened as i worked, learning all the while. my friends would come for me, asking me to go climbing or play a game with the gnome children but I wouldn’t leave a job until it was finished. I had a purpose in life even at that young age. I knew what I wanted and I knew this was the way to get it. So, if I went climbing with the others it was because the skill of climbing would come in useful later. I spent my time preparing myself for when the wasteful time of childhood would be over and I could join the clan warriors. If I was to be chosen to guard the gates, then that was as it should be, but I dreamt of the clan warriors and the battlefield.

Today I stood at the foot of Jargal peak and traded with Bipple Barefoot, my halfling friend, for items we need for the upcoming campagin. he is strong and preserving and will never disappoint on our promised trades. He answered my call on the beckoning horn most promptly and along with the special consignment, he delivered the toy he had promised for my son. He is a good friend.”

Khor – the Dwarves of Torgmar-Banor

Dwarves are a short, stalwart race whose warriors are renowed for their skills with the axe. It is a social custom for their men to have impressive beards and they will often plait their hair to keep it out of the way during battle. Rumours persist among most other races that dwarves live in dark and dingy tunnels hewn roughly from the rock but they actually live deep within the mountains in thousands of brilliantly carved out tunnels and underground cities, with streets, halls, libraries, workshops, homes etc. Travellers and adventurers are very unwelcome in their underground abodes but they are tolerated if they have a contribution to make. Dwarves make friends very seldom but when they do, they are fiercely loyal and protective. They have a great respect and admiration for the achievements of their ancestors, and as such, their laws and beliefs tend to be ancient and solid. Their system of law deals with crime in a swift but efficient manner: If you are caught stealing, the courts will confiscate all your possessions; if you commit treason, you will be branded and banished. The death penalty is used only by the military courts to punish desertion, cowardice in the face of danger, etc. their justification for this? A dwarf’s best friend is another dwarf and if your actions endanger the lives of other dwarves, i.e. your comrades in arms, then you do not deserve to live. End of story.

Khor Society
Dwarves are natural fighters and their society, structured around honour and glory is quick to reward excellence. When a particularly sterling warrior is brought to a clanlord’s attention, he will be promoted to a position of responsibility such as kings bodyguard or henchman before being returned to the ranks as a hero. They are then expected to make a name for themselves by continued acts of bravery and heroism above and beyond the call of duty. To fight alongside a hero is what dreams are made of in many a dwarf home throughout the land. Champions are the acknowledged best all-around fighters of their particular regiment and are promoted to this class as an honour of service to their lords. They are then responsible for maintaining the honour of their regiment and for motivating and inspiring the troops to the best of their abilities.

Khor Military
The responsibility of the guard is to protect the gates to the underground cities, the first line of defence against the outside world. usually armed with spears, short swords and shields, they are also used in battles to support the centre point of defensive ranks. the uniforms of the guard vary widely depending upon wich clan they are from and for wich gate they are responsible. for example, the guardians of the great eastern gate (also called the gate of rising sun in some records) are clad in tunics of silver and gold and carry shields emblazoned with a symbol of the sun. the great western gate is protected by guardians who wear deep red and golden tunics and carry shields decorated with a stylised symbol of a setting sun.

War Strategy
Dwarves have had to fight for so long, and for so many reaons, that it is now second nature to most of their kind. The recent lull in the never-ending orc wars has led to decline in the number of veteran dwarves in the standing army. But their absence has been covered up by the introduction of new pike troops, an idea stolen from the Eszmerian human empire. Dwarven love for missile weapons is apparent in their abundant use of crossbows and the like. Artillery has improved immeasureably in recent times with the new “magic” of gunpowder and artillery pieces have been spotted not only in the gnomish workshops but also in various border forts.

Important Places
The stronghold of Torgmar-Banor, located in the heart of the world mountains, is considered to be the strongest of all dwarven fortresses. Composed of incredibly steep cliff faces and more inhospitable areas than you can count on the fingers of many hands, the area has served as a superb fortress for many centuries. The fact that they had no need to continually defend their holdings in the past – as is the case with most other dwarves tribes – has allowed the dwarves and gnomes of Torgmar-Banor to concentrate on pleasureable and practical inventions. A prime example of this creative powerhouse is their underground rail system, wich predates the aboveground rail system found within the empire by at least a decade, and wich boasts hundreds of miles of track. Working on an ingenious system of conveyor belts and cogs that propel the carriages along level runs and up slopes, gravity (and a skilled driver/brakeman) guides it down slopes where it picks up speed to send it on its way. This system is used for practically all long travel within the fortress.

The royal dwarven familiy maintains a clan hall within the strong walls of Torgmar-Banor. Although it is not a castle, as would be expected, the palace was constructed within a large, crystalline chamber within the mountain and it is a glorious sight. In common with most civilised races, dwarves wear different types of uniforms and armour, etc. to identify their allegiance to certain cities or strongholds. These outfits and their corresponding markings are often quite distinctive. the military leaders of their people, the lords are answerable only to the king (the absolute ruler of the many dwarven clans) and are highly respected. With a council of advisors and scholars at their side, they rule jointly over the dwarven armies. It is not unusual for a clanlord to rule for several centuries, stopping only when he is physically unable to lead the army into battle. Following this retirement, he is automatically entitled to join the council of advisors.

Allies & Enemies
Dwarves have a strong relationship with halflings, obtaining food, etc. for protection and gold. although dwarves have “officially” ended their wars with the orcs, they hate them still and dislike the Formorian and all goblins (including nightlings). They will ally with certain sun elf families and the human empires of eszme and lyeness.

Wizardry & Religion
As the dwarves follow no religion (at least not officially) but instead believe firmly in the tenets of existentialism, their teachings focus on existence, change, freedom and self cognisance rather than the worship of an unseen being (it is true that dwarves often worship their ancestors but this should not be confused with a religion, as such). their philosophers also function as teachers in dwarven society.


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