Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Small Things

Flavor, as in the flavor of lore, doesn't seem to be present in sweeping histories. Those are backdrop that help explain the world and where everything is. But those don't carry flavor of their own. It's hardly helpful to get a feel of the world if you know that the Thegnari marauders entered Llyris in such-and-such-a-year and the Llyrians incorporated Thegnari horseculture into their ideals of knighthood at such-and-such-a-date, even less so that such-and-such-a-king died in such-and-such-a-manner on such-and-such.

That stuff is all important. That's NOT flavor. Flavor comes from the small things.

Here's an old list of some small things that I made to help give regions flavor:

The Skinchanger Kingdoms
Hardroot, a small brush that grows near large trees, Hardroot is said to have restorative properties.
Skins and Furs (primary trade)
Tin and Iron (lots of iron)
Oddities: Skinchangers exist in much greater numbers amongst the Northmen than they do in the heartland. Northmen sometimes wield great two-handed swords, the use of which are rarely seen by heartland warriors.

The Inner Sea
Olive oil
Glintwine, a general term for mulled hot wine

Moon Kingdoms
Silk (from Diaojiong)
Spices; pepper (minor) and cinnamon (large amounts), clove
Tin (huge trade!)
Garnet, onyx
White gold
Oddities: Goblin-priests of both sexes often wear jewelry that are traditionally “female” in Atva-Arunë: earrings, necklaces. They also perfume themselves extensively (not with alcohol based perfumes, as these do not exist in the 10th Age; rather, with pomanders and other strong-scented caches of herbs, spices, or incense as well as thick salves and essential oils suspended in fat). Indeed, all Moon Goblins are fond of perfume and incense.

Sweetwater (a rose-flavored liquor favored by Rayans)
Dragon’s Tongue, a virulent weed that possess toxic properties
Hearthblossom, a flower that only opens at night and glows orange like a fire
Magestone, a purple-black semi-transparent stone said to be more valuable for working magic than even emeralds.
Oddities: The men of Hadash are said to be partially descended from elves, colonies having been established there during the early seafaring period of the elvish kingdoms. They have an intense love for silver, and mint no gold coins, valuing silver much more highly. They are a dark-skinned folk with sharp clever features, so it may be that the rumors are true. Myth speaks of elvish communities hidden in the high desert.

Shadowbloom, thought to be a kindred plant to the Hearthblossom, the Shadowbloom is a purple flower that only blooms during the day. Scholars say that it is perceptibly cooler near a patch of shadowbloom.
Seagrass, cultivated by the few dwarven colonies in Ishtria, Seagrass makes for a disgusting cocktail when fermented; however, it is better than the salt-water near the dwarven port halls. Seagrass Wine is particularly reviled in the north.
Glass, Ishtria and Khewed alone maintain a widespread glass production trade. Thus, almost all glass in use by men comes from Ishtria or Khewed via Ninfa. The same cannot be said of dwarves and elves, who have their own glass manufactories.
Desert Sapphires, are a very valuable form of amber that are prized by all races of the north and seem to be found only in desert climes.

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