Exploring Ravensridge: The Mysteries of the Palidfolk

Welcome to the first installment of a blog series delving into the world of Ravensridge. To kick things off, we'll explore a unique race of creatures living in the underground caverns below Ravensridge, known as Palidfolk.

An Overview

At first glance, the Palidfolk appear otherworldly, with their bone-like visage, towering height of 7 to 8 feet, and absence of mouths or eyes. In place of vocal chords, the Palidfolk employ a specialized bone plate and a scratching appendage on their forearms to create sounds that serve as their speech. While their communication might be unpleasant to human ears, resembling the grating of a chalkboard, it's an integral part of their existence, serving not only as their method of interaction but also as a means of navigation in the labyrinthine Marrow Basin.

The Marrow Basin Caverns

The Marrow Basin is a vast, underground network of tunnels, caverns, and caves. Below the surface, immense bones of ancient creatures form pathways, bridges, and outcroppings above yawning chasms and expansive underground chambers. It's within this realm that the Palidfolk, the focus of our exploration, have made their home.

A Glimpse into Palidfolk Culture

Palidfolk are cave-dwelling creatures, and do not need to sleep. Unlike humans, they draw sustenance not from food or drink, but from the ethereal glow of moonlight and the luminescent cordstone, a blue mineral that adorns the cavern walls. Death, for the Palidfolk, holds a mystic significance. They do not die from natural causes; instead, when they wish to die, they leave their tribe and throw themselves into the depths below. At the base of the Marrow Basin, in the deep dark, the body of the creature slowly grows and twists into a pale, ossein tree. Down here, a place known as the Ivory Canopy, sprawls a dense forest of these trees, each once a living Palidfolk, now immortalised in these caves.

Rites of Reproduction

Intimacy and love is a complex subject in Palidfolk culture. With three distinct sexes, the race engages in a profound ceremony witnessed by their tribe. This union involves a sacred dance and a harmonious chant, culminating in the fusion of the three participants' exoskeletal bones. This act gives birth to a new Palidfolk, referred to as a 'Mother,' owing to the collection of bony spurs they carry. These spurs eventually transform into Palidfolk young after growing over a span of three months, a process that occurs only once in a lifetime and can significantly impact the population's dynamics.

Nomads of the Basin

The Palidfolk's nomadic lifestyle sets them on a perpetual journey within the Marrow Basin's depths. Their large bone-like caravans, which crawl like sentient golems, accompany them. While the purpose of these caravans remains a mystery, they often wield bone-crafted staffs and weapons adorned with the radiant cordstone, hinting at their unique craftsmanship and resourcefulness. Often, few remnants of their camps can be found; the Palidfolk tend to leave no marks behind, and seem fully integrated with the ecosystem of the underground.

Spiritualism in Palid Society

A Palidfolk's spirituality informs nearly everything it may seek in day to day life. For example, The Eye of Makmenthas, a cavern housing a statue of their god, symbolizes their reverence for Makmenthas. A palidfolk may spend years of their life making a pilgrimage to this place. This deity is believed to hold the power to undo the "Blinding," a curse inflicted upon the Palidfolk when they inadvertently offended the spirits of creatures long departed from the Basin. As a result, the Palidfolk lost their sight and became blind.

Certain tribes view themselves as custodians of the underground realm, particularly devoted to safeguarding the World Heart. Human interpretations of the heart vary, with some envisioning it as a crystalline structure beneath the earth's surface, while others depict it as a colossal, pulsating heart that pumps life through the planet's rocky veins.

Navigating Relations with Humans

Interactions between Palidfolk and humans are characterized by caution. While some individuals have earned their trust and even mastered their unique form of communication, the Palidfolk remain reticent about allowing outsiders into their tribes. Instances of hostility are rare, although reports suggest that certain zealous factions have taken aggressive actions against human explorers venturing too deep into the Marrow Basin.

Using the Palidfolk in your Game

In our games of Ravensridge, Palidfolk have served as integral factions to large conflicts, interesting moral conundrums, beloved NPC's or simply interesting setting flavour. Below you'll find a table of hooks to use if you decide to use the Palidfolk in your games:

1 A cordstone forge is rumoured to lie deep underground. Seeking its location may unearth powerful relics crafted by bygone Palidfolk.
2 Highborn culture has begun adopting Palidfolk 'pets' as a status symbol. An escaped Palidfolk pleads for the emancipation of it's kind.
3 A tribe of palidfolk have initiated a rare pact with outsiders, inviting adventurers to accompany them on their sacred pilgrimage.
4 Rumors spread of a curse that has befallen a nearby village, rendering its inhabitants blind. The origin of the curse is tied to the Palidfolk curse.
5 A tribe of palidfolk brave the surface, returning a lost and unstable adventurer to their home.
6 A soothsayer Palidfolk is rumoured to lie in the depths of the ivory canopy. They are expecting the players' arrival.

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