"Hidden away by the aspens
of Tirnook, the wellsprings of grove tenders, and the awesome
might of the technits, we live in the peace only known by the
wee folk. Brathnaii Hollows holds us dear to its heart as we
to it. For ages untold, we of the groves have remained apart
from the lands of the Sylvari, Khordaldrum, and man alike. Oh
we have chance encounters with the legends of the mountains,
great forest, and waters. But rare and far between is the calm
of our world invaded by their kind. Why would need it? We have
enough dramatics within our homeland to fill their lifetimes
Far from the hubbub of the tall folks of the world lies the fair and peace loving land of the Brathunspar - the gnomes of the groves, woodlands, and deep hills. Traveling far into the world of the tall-folk is not exactly where the wee folk wish to be, although some do see the world on occasion. Well within the ivory and mint green aspens of Hiellendale, the Brathunspar have lived quite secluded, and happy for it. They live harmoniously with the world around them, seeking good mead, conversation, and new insights to old problems.
The people of the groves live in homes harmonious with nature, and suited to the local region. Those near the coast live in dug out places that seem to be nothing more than hills and mounds. They grow flowers and grasses upon the tops as landmarks to others. Those of the woodland glades live within tree sculpted homes, and hollows built into them. Those of the rocky cliffs dig and carve fantastic homes with crystal windows and skylights to shine upon their gemwork and technit projects.
Living in simple times does not necessarily make for a simple people. Early in life, elders teach the children of their history and lives, of the groves and world, thus helping to prepare the Brathunspar to follow one of the various paths they call professions. Through learning, they enter into specific fields of study to become warriors, artisans, troubadours, leaders, scholars, priests, and wizards. But of all they have learned and done, none have become adventurers upon the seas.
The waters off of Storm Eaters Point, the southernmost tip of the hollows, has terrible storms and winds that careen against the coastline. Many believe the eternal anger of Zornthee seeks to eat away the land until he can destroy the Sylvari and their arrogance. But the scholars understand it to signify much more, warning the people from entering a world they are not ready for. If ever they do travel, it is overland to the world of men and the strange flying folk of the northern Chakrans.
The People: Brathunspar are the gnomes of Audalis. Ranging in height from two and one half to four feet in height, they live happily in their land of the Brathnaii Hollows. Brathunspar generally live about two hundred years. They typically have bright, luminous, jewel colored eyes. Hair colors include vibrant shades as well - primarily black, rich brown, scarlet, or gold. Solid colors are almost unheard of, however; highlights such as silver and flame in gold, blue and violet in black, and midnight and vermilion in brown are usually present.
Females wear their hair loose if single; tight and wound if married. The males typically keep theirs short and well tended, sometimes allowing it to grow long enough to curl the ends, signifying that they are single. When each has a sweetheart or is courting, Brathunspar braid various metals and glass beads into their hair as tokens of their affection.
Most Brathunspar enjoy and pursue their professions and arts with tenacity. Whether farmers or tenders, artisans or scholars, priests or warriors, each seeks to become the best they can without dallying about; life is filled with hard work and dedication. As many believe and live by, bending to tasks means greater rewards at the pub and home table. And when time comes to rest, they also seek it equally.
When that time comes, Brathunspar enjoy the smoking of sarnas grass and grove herbs. Mead and ales are also a common sight in mugs. But what they enjoy most lies in families, storytelling, and listening to the world around them. Breezes bring to their keen ears the sounds of the glades, glens, hollows, and seas. The sight of children at play is as refreshing as a dip in a pond or dance with a sweetheart.
The people of the Brathnaii Hollows do not all follow a path of light and goodness, but even those who follow a darker path of ill-intent can be sweet in disposition. Kindness wins more than bitterness. Of the many races in Audalis, the Brathunspar understand the need for balance better than most. They may not agree with their darker kin, but their thoughts are just as heeded and considered as the best of enlightened priests and hardiest of technits.
Names: Parents give children their first names at birth, which are used exclusively in early life. When the young begin their paths of learning, they choose their own names, which tend to relate to their professions and desires. If the child follows in the footsteps of their parents, they may also take their family name, continuing the tradition. Many Brathunspar have names longer than the number of fingers on both of their hands. But in the name, people can know much about the Brathun they speak with.
Male Names: Grefis, Martol, Faurop, Nillos, Jaelr, Tornal
Female Names: Mayven, Olgara, Penel, Seris, Talia, Caislan
Surnames: Goodhead, Alerunner, Honeydew, Meadowrunner, Swordsinger, Hornblower, Thistlebloom, Masterchef, Scoutwatcher, Talespinner, Laydancer
Dress: Brathunspar wear various types of clothing, usually dependent on their profession in life. Technits, the great inventors of mechnits and architecture, wear leather aprons, thick cotton clothing, and caps that have many flaps and folds. These caps can be tipped and tucked to function for holding graphites for writing, small tools, candles for light, and muffins when working hard and feeling a bit hungry.
Scholars and the magically-inclined wear robes of single colors with runes and markings embroidered on the garments and accompanying cloaks. Around their sleeves they add colorful symbols of their art and study for other people to know. To easily find them within large crowds, they wear tall pointed hats gained when they first join orders. For each year an individual spends as an adept, the point and fabric is adorned to show their status.
Priests wear simple, short robes and sandals. They tend the people and world around them without much love for fine things, though various orders differ according to their faith. However, all clerics wear sashes around their shoulders with symbols of their patron deity embroidered in the colors of their faith.
Bards, artisans, and township leaders are the most flamboyant of dress. They use bright colors found in the rainbow to cover themselves in amazing feats of garment style. Wide colors, large pantaloons, smart vests with outrageous patterns, and layered skirts are all favorites of these Brathunspar. During fair days, they bring out the greatest of their garments, rivaling each other for the sport of artistry.
The folk of the groves and homes are the simplest in garb, wearing homespun in earth tones. These folk enjoy the feel of linen and leather enforced pants. Rarely do they wear shoes, enjoying the feel of their toes in the earth. Still, not a one of the common folk is without a set of finery for great festivals and holy days.
Culture and Society: The Brathunspar are a people of order, not chaos. Although they may seem uncoordinated to visitors, the gnomes know that they truly follow an exact art of thought, theory, argument, and decision. They form collectives called townships with an elected Highwyrdr. The Highwyrdr, much like a mayor or earl, presides over functions and issues. It is vital that he or she listen, heed, and consider the will of the people; otherwise, great arguments spring up.
When arguments do occur, they are planned events. Discussion and flustered words can lead to insights never before dreamed. The Brathunspar have various holidays and meeting days strictly for the sweeping claims of artisans, scholars, priests, and technits to make before their peers and friends. During these events, the higher the person, the more words are given to them. Podiums are offered, but usually through the ensuing debates chairs, tables, and other Brathunspar are piled together to allow the speaker a higher vantage. Once the pillars topple, the individual's time to speak concludes.
The society of Brathnaii remains the same throughout the lands, whether the people follow their professions in the cliffs of rock, hollows of hills, roots of trees, or groves of plains. One family or Brathun can easily travel to the another township and set up shop without much worry. And when trouble arises, they bind together to defeat the enemy. While Brathunspar accept the darker aspects of the world, they do take pains to make sure that these do not get out of hand.
Once every ten years, the Brathunspar travel to Lindaletempla, the musical tower of crystal on the Moon Horse River. Here they bring artisan pieces for the Sylvarian realm to accept in peace with their peoples. They speak here of tidings they have seen, or worries from the lands beyond. After these meetings, Brathunspar who wish to see the world of other folk leave in a large ceremony. They gather to have their memories spoken of by family and friends. Each member is given a sash embroidered with their family's names, their profession, and prayers for safekeeping. Once out in the world, they are remembered fondly at home. When travelers return, merrymaking and tale spinning can last months.
Technits: Brathunspar place respect and honor in the following of professions. Of these professions, one particular of this race and no other is the Technit. Technits strive to understand the power of science and engineering. They focus on the power of what they call mechnits - the science of gears, pulleys, and the laws of nature.
Many technits begin as wizards and scholars, but just as many come from the followings of Kharox and Telemor. The driving goal of these buccaneers of tools and invention is to build greater mechnits to complete the tasks of everyday folk, to answer the questions of nature, and to study the places beyond like the stars and heavens. Each Technit has a personal viewpoint on creation and the cosmos. They each follow personal laws of physics and sciences. But all of them agree that the pursuit of invention is as important as the need for artistic expression or a good strong sword.
The inventions of technits range in size from as small as a child's ball to as large as horse drawn carriages, and even small houses. Each prized work functions in ways as individual as the technit that created it. Some cut vegetables, others superheat metal or create glass, while others can shoot crossbow bolts fifty at a time.
Technits have earned various names from the world abroad. Some call them "tinkers" for their love of tools and experimentations. In Felarin, the wizards call them "masters of steel dragons" after the great technit Alfus Worldshaper, the first Brathunspar to study at the famed Academy. But many others call them by curses, underfoot saboteurs, and various other obscenities for their extreme viewpoints of rebuilding what didn't need touching in the first place.
Trade and Commerce: Brathnaii economy is not much of one in comparison to other lands. Gnomes of the hollows simply barter and trade for goods and services. In their view, everyone needs help or goods from one time or another. Why charge for it, when you can trade? Gems may be valuable, but so are the works of scholars, prayers of priests, and meat pies of bakers.
The entire barter system depends on an equal sharing of goods and services between parties. Some deals can include up ten parties, each giving something to another that a different party is willing to give in trade for something else. Elders are often needed to make sure that the deals are square, and sometimes the Highwyrdr is ultimately included, whether they like it or not.
Trade between townships works the same as that between individuals. During great festivals, founding days, and building days, Brathunspar gather together to trade among communities. Here, families see each other, make trades of news and goods, and plan the next festival after too much imbibing of mead and ale.
Trade with other peoples are rare and hectic events. At odd times of the year, every few years, Brathunspar travel to bordering villages of Coria to sample human wares. Here the humans try to impress upon the Brathunspar the meaning and value of coin; they believe in buying, rather than bartering. The otherwise simple act of exchange evolves into a chaotic mess of arguments, glove throwing, and finally shaking hands and sharing pints.
Religion: The Brathunspar follow gods as do other races. They have devout worshippers, followers, and priests among their numbers that call upon the pantheon to aid them in living, dying, and building. Of the pantheon, Brathunspar primarily focus on devotion to Wizerran (Jusarin), Gesjikie (Shinara), and Yialla (Miellyah).
Wizerran (Jusarin) - Great technit of the mind and spirit, keeper of lore, and majesty of kings. Of all powers in the pantheon, Jusarin is the one most follow for his wisdom, insight, and knowledge. The technits seek his fellowship through the Path of Dynasty.
Gesjikie (Shinara) - Lady of misfortune and insight. If ever a great Brathunspar was in need of inspiration, Shinara has brought that by breaking their technit projects or sending dreams through the mead as they call it.
Yialla (Miellyah) - Mother of the hearth, home, and heart. Of the pantheon, if Jusarin is the mind, Miellyah is the heart. She is the lady of growing things, joys of the home, and keeper of children.
Hiellendale (Kith-Jora) - Lord of the wilds and beasts of the earth. Kith-Jora loves the people of the Brathnaii Hollows in some ways as he does the Sylvari. Their common and simple ways and protection of the wild places gave him pause to create the Tirnook aspens, holy trees that hide the paths into their homeland from the ground.
Marcierlyn (Telemor) - Lord of art, color, and the creative genius.
Rosshun (Solanis) - Lord of the sun and light.
Caelis (Tyrannis) - Wench of terrible pain and gnawing anger.
Zornthee (Anskar) - Lord of terror from the skies and deep.
Sorjourn (D'hurgen) - Lord of soft endings and mourning.
Frievir (Vilathera) - Lady of the hunt and provider.
Lauriel (Lysora) - Lady of care and peace.
Values and Taboos: Brathunspar covet knowledge and ideas. Inventions in the home, their work, and the world at large inspire them. They have a love of growing and living, of tending groves and gardens, of raising families, and of increasing their own aptitude. The people of the hollows value strength of heart, stoutness of mind, and labors of love.
Unlike many other races, the Brathunspar understand the need to learn about, but not fall to, the dark. Living always in the sun, never blinking will leave you blind. But closing the eyes and seeking only shadows in one's life can also end learning. They accept their darker brethren, though they always seek the middle road. At times, some may falter too far, becoming twisted and truly evil. At those times, all come together - regardless of creed - to either help their friend out, or to end their blight.
If any taboo exists, it is the destruction of knowledge. Forcing someone to live a life not fit for his or her mind, heart, or soul is a prison to them the same as any room with bars. Choosing one's path is the right of every living thing. Also, Brathunspar cannot stand the ending of learning. People who hoard knowledge, burn books, hide libraries and goods locked away bring shivers to any Brathun. "Learning for living, and living for learning" is a common expression. To end that lovely cycle is to commit a terrible crime.
· +2 Constitution, -2 Strength.
· Small: As a Small creature, a Brathun gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a medium character.
· Brathun base land speed is 20 feet.
· Low-Light Vision: A Brathun can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Weapon Familiarity: Brathunspar may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
· +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions.
· Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by Brathunspar. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.
· +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids.
· +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it's caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.
· +2 racial bonus on Listen checks.
· +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks.
· Automatic Languages: Apanonese (common) and Brathnaii (gnome). Bonus Languages: Draconic, Khordaldrum (dwarven), Sylvarian (elven), Giant, Goblin, and Orc. In addition, a Brathun can speak with a burrowing mammal (a badger, fox, rabbit, or the like, see below). This ability is innate to Brathunspar. See the speak with animals spell description.
· Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day-speak with animals (burrowing mammal only, duration 1 minute). A gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities: 1/day-dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation. Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + gnome's Cha modifier + spell level.
· Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass Brathun's bard class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.
OSGS Stats (Old School Gaming System):
· +1 bonus to their Intelligence scores. -1 penalty to Wisdom.
· Favored classes: fighter, thief, cleric, or illusionist. A Brathun can have two classes, but not three: fighter/thief, illusionist/thief, etc.
· Brathunspar can choose to know the following languages, in addition to any others allowed by the DM: Apanonese (common), Khordaldrum (dwarven), Brathnaii (gnome), Sylvarian (elven) goblin, kobold, and the simple common speech of burrowing mammals (moles, badgers, weasels, shrews, ground squirrels, etc.).
· +1 for every 3½ points of Constitution score to saving throws against magical wands, staves, rods, and spells.
· Suffer a 20% chance for failure every time they use any magical item except weapons, armor, shields, illusionist items, and (if the character is a thief) items that duplicate thieving abilities. This check is made each time the Brathun attempts to use the device, or, in the case of continuous-use devices, each time the device is activated. Brathunspar can sense a cursed item if the device fails to function.
· +1 to attack kobolds or goblins. When gnolls, bugbears, ogres, trolls, ogre magi, giants, or titans attack gnomes, these monsters must subtract 4 from their attack rolls due to gnomes' small size and their combat skills against these much larger creatures.
· Infravision 60 feet.
· Brathunspar are able to detect the following within 10 feet (exception: They can determine their approximate depth or direction underground at any time.). They must stop and concentrate for one round to use any of these abilities.
Detect grade or slope in passage 1-5 on 1d6
Detect unsafe walls, ceiling, and floors 1-7 on 1d10
Determine approximate depth underground 1-4 on 1d6
Determine approximate direction underground 1-3 on 1d6
Thanks to Olan Suddeth for this contribution!