Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kobolds; Races of Sarterra

Kobolds are a very close relative to their much larger Dragonborn cousins. Up until recently, Kobolds have mostly kept to themselves, but are now starting to venture out into Sarterra. They are looking for knowledge and technology, seeking it out as hungrily as stray dogs scrounge through the garbage. Large cities with vast libraries and advanced mechanics are their favorite haunts. The Kobolds gathering there in great numbers.

A diminutive race, the Kobolds make up for their lack of physicality with their intellect. Extremely bright, Kobolds are eager learners, and quite capable teachers as well. The Kobold race has sought to master arcane magic in its many forms, as well as steam driven mechanics and engineering. They have a penchant for knowledge in just about any facet of these two domains one can think of, able to do a little bit of everything. This versatility makes them extremely adaptable in a moment's notice and able to call upon a dazzling array of magical and mechanical talents.

The Kobolds are scholars first and foremost, they travel the breadth of Sarterra looking for the next new invention or latest spell. Many races openly welcome the Kobolds, since a mutual exchange of ideas usually takes place. Other races will tolerate the Kobolds long before they will other races, also knowing the goods and information the Draco-kin can bring. Even the races that are outright hostile towards most others will take in Kobolds for a short time and share their stories with them in exchange for goods they could not obtain otherwise. All the while, the Kobolds are quietly gathering knowledge and secrets from every corner of Sarterra, from every sentient race possible.

Rumors exist of secret vaults maintained by the Kobolds that hold machines and arcanika, steamworks and alchemy, tomes upon tomes of magic, and tapestries of history hang from the rafters. These fanciful tales haven't been confirmed however. The wonderful Kobold Karnivale is a traveling caravan of merriment and mercantile goods that visits the cities of Sarterra, ever on the move.

Kobold personalities can change to match the moods around them. When openly greeted, they are cheerful and friendly. When among hostile races, they can be reserved and methodically diplomatic, whatever it takes to get to a society's libraries. Their clawed hands are usually stained with inks from constantly scribing scrolls, and about their person they have an endless array of pouches containing all manner of spell components and mechanical devices. It is a rare thing to see a Kobold without some sort of staff, many wear goggles, and some have clockwork familiars that sit upon their shoulders. They stand about half the height of a man, and have scaly, dry skin usually found in light, earthy tones. Kobold heads resemble that of a Dragonborn youngling, even when they are fully grown.

"Come one, come all, come to the Kobold Karnivale!"

The Karnivale is quite the unique spectacle in Sarterra. A troupe of Kobolds, numbering in the hundreds, travel the realm, setting up a lively tent city wherever they go. The Karnivale boasts some of the best of what the 'good life' has to offer. Kobold chefs prepare dishes and feasts that some may never experience again in their lifetimes. A unique brew is fermented with rare fungi that rivals the potency of the stoutest of ales, and all of this at exceptionally low prices. Actors perform plays that tell the history of Sarterra's greatest (and most tragic) moments. Bards and musicians perform day and night, the list of festivities goes on and on, and then there's the Bazaar.

The Bazaar of the Kobold Karnivale is why cities of every race allow the tent city to set up to begin with. Whatever you are looking for, from the mundane to the fantastic can be found here. Serious collectors of antiquity will travel far and wide when they hear the Karnivale is in the region. Warriors seek out the Karnivale for their exquisite arms and armors, the mightiest of wizards humbly barter for secret tomes and unique spell components.

No one knows when and where the Karnivale will show up next. It might stay in one place for many months, or disappear in the middle of the second night. They might travel a heavy circuit for a decade, then show up only once or twice in Sarterra the following decade. They very rarely visit the same city more than twice in a generation, so when they do show up, it is a cause for celebration.

The Karnivale is not an easy mark for brigands and thieves. It is heavily guarded by well paid, loyal members of other races. These are usually Dragonborn, but the Karnivale Protectors, as they are called, count many races in their ranks. Powerful spells and wards, especially in the Bazaar, keep pickpockets and worse at bay. How this gypsy caravan travels from place to place is also unknown, most assume it's either magic or use of secret portals. They simply arrive one day and leave the next.

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