Friday, February 20, 2009

All Challenges Accepted - Chagman of Ideon

Of all the foes that have crossed paths with the Elves and Halflings, perhaps the Chagman of Ideon are the best known. Tales of Chagman strife are as old as time and are common antagonist is many Elf and Halfling folktales. Chagman are found usually in the remote deep wilds where their own strange societies vie against one another. Humans have encountered the Chagman although far less frequently and many consider them myth only. They are far from myth however as Lucor himself had encountered the Chagman on more than one occasion.

The Chagman were first spoke of in a well known legend that is shared among both the Elves and the Dwarves. This is the tale of Hiljagaer, the heroic girl-aurora¹. The legend says that the Hiljagaer was an Elf who hunted waterfowl upon the mountain of Vanamoine, the Lord of Thunder and Prodigies. Hiljagaer kept her tracks light and only hunted by starlight as to not disturb the tame peak rife with tired wolves, sleeping bears, mirthless birds and groggy fish. Hiljagaer grew weary of the lack of challenge and bade the Bear-Giant Pondejja to throw a great rock to wake them. And so he did but incurred the ire of the God Vanamoine and was cursed. Vanamoine’s wrath also woke the beasts with an unnatural upheaval upon his mountain and set them loose upon the world. The Chagman are said the be these beasts turned dour and spiteful.

Whatever the truth may be, the Chagman are indeed violent and restless creatures. They resemble hairless bears with a vague men-like stature that fidget, scratch and nibble ceaselessly. They have large forepaws which are adept and handling tools and short legs that look vaguely comical – at least until they lope on all fours to maim their prey. Chagman live is wood and stone dwellings and have knowledge of fire, metal, masonry and the occasional inventive tool that they come up with. They eat their food raw but are highly social creatures that communicate with a series of grunts combined with blows to the head. The Chagman language is one of the most difficult (and painful) to learn.

Chagman worship the God Vanamoine, the Lord of Thunder and Prodigies. Vanamoine is a god which is physically know to sit on the peak of his mountain. The Chagman compete with one another to eventually pick the strongest among them to climb the peak and release him from his slumber. This is clearly successful when the lightning and storms overwhelms the area. This is a time of great celebration among the Chagman and they delight in such storm weather feverishly. The strong Chagman in question is theoretically taken to the afterlife in a tornado of fire-lightning. Lucor himself spoke of seeing such an event personally. To the Chagman this guarantees passage to a paradise of strong mates, ceaseless combat and general carnage.

Chagman vary incredibly in terms of their mental aptitude. Most Chagman would be ill-equipped to defeat a child in a folk-game, but some - those blessed by Vanamoine, the Lord of Thunder and Prodigies, are intelligent far beyond the norm². The Chagman refer to these prodigies as Ideon, or watchful-fathers. These natural leaders often direct the violent forces of the Chagman towards their own oddly motivated goals. On rare occasionally a particularly motivated Ideon will gather several nomadic tribes and put together a single minded army of Chagman. These armies among the most dangerous threats to the Elves and Halflings and they seek to thwart them at all costs.

In peaceful times, Chagman are surprisingly social with other races and have no quarrel with trading, competing and even dining with any others that find their villages tolerable. Travelers beware however, as Chagman constantly vie for authority and mates and routinely burst into singular combat with one another over such things. Being an outsider does not exclude one self to such things. Should one be assigned such a duel, it would be very unwise to receive any outside aid, as it not only notes disrespect but it also assumes the combatant is too weak to fend for themselves and thus worthy only as a meal for the whole village.

The Chagman as a whole are separated into many nomadic villages that have little concept of territory or ownership. This is where they conflict openly with Halflings and Elves, as they often share the same habitat. Clearly the Elves and to a lesser extent Halflings take ownership and pride in their realms and usually attempt to run the Chagman off. This is more difficult than it sounds as the Chagman are remarkably suborn and will usually only leave when the food is completely depleted, which has a devastating effect on the local lands. Also the Chagman have little concept of self-preservation and battle with complete disregard to harm. Chagman with intelligent leadership are far more dangerous still and can indeed wipe entire realms off of the map.

Edit: still looking for a pic for this entry. Proving to be quite a challenge..

¹ Hiljagaer, the heroic girl-aurora still lives and is currently sought out for wisdom by the many Eleven female warbands. It is surmised this is due to the internal Elven conflicts that have recently broken out.

² Luckily such leaders are rare, one per thousand at least. These intelligent Chagman are still very attached to others of their kind and consider them peers. It is an odd relationship to say the least. It is also no coincidence that the Ideon do well, but never win the competion to see Vanamoine - most have little interest in seeing the lightning-fire tornados personally.

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